Liv Thompson

Liv Thompson

Liv is 22 and a media student and part time nanny in London. She has a wardrobe full of clothes that don’t fit her anymore and she would love to be able to get back into them – as a student, she can’t afford to buy new ones! She does admit she is a lazy cook with pasta in tomato sauce being one of her staples. She also loves pre-bought mash with tomato sauce and cheese mixed into it! Another favourite is a Chilli Con Carne ready-meal.

When she does cook, her signature dish is a stir fry chicken curry but, she does use full fat coconut milk in it. That said, it is a hit with her friends and she tends to cook it whenever they come over.

Liv’s weight does really fluctuate and she can usually shed a few pounds for the summer. Like most of us, she does tend to be a bit heavier in the winter. She used to be skinny but has been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes which makes it all the more difficult.

At 5’8” she is nearly three stone overweight and getting heavier. She said,

‘I haven’t always battled with the bulge. When I was, probably late teens, that’s when I started putting on weight. But before that I never had a problem at all. Never even thought much about food and now it seems to be all I think about.’

Liv is definitely a serial snacker! She has tried to curb her love of all things sweet and, in the process, she created one of her downfall dishes – her sweetie jar. She said,

‘The foods I can’t live without – sweets and also crisps just cos they’re easy and they taste so great and they come in such fabulous flavours! I absolutely adore chocolate and I don’t mind what kind it is, what brand, what colour, what texture, what shape, anything. I absolutely adore it!’

Her flatmate, Harriet said,

‘She read in a book that if she had this sweetie jar and stopped making sweets and chocolate a taboo she would stop wanting to eat them so much. So what she was meant to do was take a handful everyday and ration herself. Well, there was no rationing at all and she just eats out of it constantly.’

Liv said that if she’s had a bad day, she would probably have a couple of handfuls and, she admits, that her hands aren’t small!

Gizzi said,

‘What’s not to love about snacking? But it always adds up, especially on my bum and my thighs. But, there is a way that you can cook delicious food but without piling on the pounds, forever!’

Gizzi Meets Liv

Gizzi arrived at Liv’s place to help her get to grips with her cooking (and snacking!). She asked Liv to give her a bit of an insight into her eating habits. Liv said,

‘My eating habits, tch. I’m always on the run, if I’m nannying or if I’m at University I just find it kind of hard to sit down and have a meal.’

Gizzi asked her if she cooked. She said she did, if she had the time and the ingredients. But she did admit to Gizzi she could be quite lazy about food shopping.

Gizzi then told Liv she was going to have a quick look round her kitchen to see what she could find. Liv did look a little worried!

What’s in Your Fridge?

The first stop was the fridge which Gizzi said was quite bare but, one thing the fridge was well stocked with was those nasty ready meals! One of the ready meals was Liv’s beloved Chilli Con Carne. Aside from ready meals, Liv does like to keep her food shop down to a minimum so the fridge was quite empty and Gizzi said there wasn’t much to talk about in it.

However, she then spotted the infamous sweetie jar! She picked it up and said,

‘That is a big old sweetie jar right? Blooming hell, it really is heavy!’ she then asked Liv how many she could get through at a time. Liv said,

‘God, it depends. I just kind of find my hand going in and in and in and then all of a sudden it’s looking quite depleted.’

Then Gizzi opened one of the cupboards. Stashed in there was another load of sweets and crisps. Gizzi said,

‘Crikey! This must be costing you a small fortune as well!’ She went on to say,

‘The thing about Liv is she’s living a young person’s life, she’s a student and it’s a typical student fridge which, you open it and there’s barely anything there. All that she had in there was a couple of ready meals. What she needs to do is stock up on fresh ingredients. She needs to get organised, ultimately.’

Snack Attack

The first thing for Gizzi to tackle was Liv’s snacking habits. Liv’s sweetie jar contains a jaw-dropping 12,796 calories! Gizzi told Liv she was going to make her some strawberry and cream cupcakes. Liv seemed very happy with that – she said she LOVED cupcakes! But, as always, these cup cakes had a couple of hidden surprises!

Out came the courgette again! Liv looked horrified! As Gizzi has explained before, the courgette adds sweetness and moisture which means you can cut down on the fat that’s needed. She also used a reduced sugar jam to add some sweetness to the finished cakes. Liv said,

‘There’s something really satisfying about having homemade cakes and I really don’t do it enough!’

Once the cakes were cooked and cooling, Gizzi said they were going to make the icing for the top. She said,

‘A really good way of making low calorie icing is to make a meringue icing.’

Normal icing is made from lots and lots of butter. Meringue icing uses just egg whites and a little bit of sugar. On top of the meringue icing, Gizzi placed a fresh strawberry. The finished article looked very yummy!

Gizzi's Strawberry and Cream Cupcakes

Liv’s Sweetie Jar portion comes in at 417 calories.

Gizzi’s Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes come in at just 194 calories per cake. Less than half!

The cupcakes definitely got a thumbs up from Liv, in between mouthfuls! She said it was so good. Gizzi asked her if she could taste the courgette and Liv said she couldn’t. Gizzi also asked if the cake tasted diet. Liv said,

‘Nope, tastes lovely!’

Move It . . . Just a Little Bit

In her teens, Liv didn’t have to worry about her weight at all. But she said that she was now the heaviest she’d ever been and was finding it hard to fit into her clothes. She said,

‘I think this time I really am serious about losing weight because I just can’t keep spending money on new clothes as I get bigger and I really want to be able to fit into my old things.’

As Liv is a student and a part time nanny, she already leads an active life. But, she can fit a little bit more exercise in to help her with the battle of the bulge and she wouldn’t have to change her routine.

If she was to pack her books into a rucksack and then replace her walk to University with a run, she could burn off 246 calories. If she only did that once a week, she could burn half a stone in a year!

Calorie Swap

The next heavy-weight contender for Gizzi to wrestle with was Liv’s ready meal, Chilli Con Carne. Gizzi said,

‘What’s inspiring is that she’s a young person who gets food and wants to eat well. It’s just giving her the means to do that. Taking on her ready meals, I know that whatever I make is gonna be rammed with ten times more flavour than she’s used to!’

Gizzi told Liv she was going to show her how she should be eating Chilli rather than pricking the plastic, bunging it in the microwave and eating it out of the carton!

Instead of using the normal minced beef, Gizzi had decided to use beef shin in 4cm chunks. Beef shin is a cheap cut of meat so is perfect for a student’s budget. Gizzi said,

‘It’s a slow cooked meat so you get this delicious meat that the second you put a fork into it shreds.’

While Gizzi was cooking the sauce and meat, she told Liv that the amount she was cooking would serve six people so, she could portion it up and freeze it and have her own, home-made ready meals to just heat up when she was in a hurry. Gizzi cooked the meat with the spices and then popped it all into the oven for two and a half hours to make sure the meat had got to the ‘shredable’ point.

She didn’t put the red kidney beans in until after the chilli had come out of the oven. Liv asked her why that was. She said it was because tinned kidney beans are already cooked so you don’t want them to go soggy. So leave them til the last minute and warm them through in the chilli. Gizzi then said to her,

‘I’m not just going to give you chilli con carne. I’m gonna be giving you a whole mountain of delicious things!’

She then went on to make some fresh guacamole. Guacamole is made from avocados which are notoriously quite fatty and high in calories but, they are sooooooo good for you. They are, in fact, a ‘Super-food’. The chunky chilli was served with basmati rice, a dollop of guacamole and a dollop of soured cream. It looked amazing! Yuuuuummmmmmm!

Gizzi's Chunky Chilli Con Carne

Liv’s Microwave Chilli Con Carne stomps in at 540 calories per portion.

Gizzi’s Chunky Chilli Con Carne steps in at just 483 calories per portion and that’s with the added guacamole and sour cream! Without the guacamole and soured cream, it would be a mere 401 calories.

Liv tucked in and said it was incredible. She looked really happy with it. She said,

‘There’s so much more flavour. It’s just so much less bland and it’s colourful and lovely!’

The Fat Buster

Liv’s last downfall dish is one she cooks herself when her friends come over to visit – stir fry chicken curry. But when she cooks it, the amount of oil she uses makes it look like it is deep fried AND she uses full fat coconut milk!

She cooks her stir fry at least a couple of times a week because it’s easy. Her flatmate, Harriet said,

‘It’s really yummy, lovely. But there’s just a lot of it!’ Her other flatmate said,

‘Liv’s curry is gorgeous but it’s just not something that I could eat every week just because it’s quite heavy and it’s quite creamy.’

So, Gizzi’s challenge was to show Liv a healthier dinner party dish. She said,

‘She loves her stir frys. I want to give her something filling that’s totally satisfying that she’s gonna get a real kick out of, give her loads of spice and bite.’

First though, Gizzi wanted to show Liv how much fat was in her Chicken Stir Fry curry. She asked Liv if she had ever considered how much fat was in the stir fry and Liv said that she hadn’t thought about it because she had always thought it was so healthy. But then she said,

‘I suppose the coconut milk and everything adds to it. Go on, how much?’

Gizzi told her there was the same amount of fat in her stir fry, per portion, as there is in 24 slices of corned beef – a massive 88 grams. More than a woman should eat in an entire day! Liv looked disgusted at the corned beef and said,

‘That’s horrible!’

Gizzi told her she was going to show her a way that she could have stir fried curry and be super-full but without the fat with her Spicy Stir Fried Singapore Noodles.

Because everything is cooked hot and fast, all the ingredients need to be prepared before you start cooking. Liv’s curry had just one chicken breast but, because Gizzi’s is so low fat it had prawns, chicken and bacon in it. To start cooking, all Gizzi used was a teaspoon of oil!

While she was cooking the stir fry, she asked Liv if it was a lot different to the way she cooked her stir fry. Liv said,

‘Yep, definitely. A lot of coconut milk would’ve gone in by now, probably quite a lot more oil as well!’

Gizzi's Spicy Stir Fried Singapore Noodles

Liv’s Chicken Stir Fry Curry has a whopping 88 grams of fat per portion.

Gizzi’s Spicy Stir Fried Singapore Noodles has just 5 grams of fat per portion. 17 times less fat – wow!

Liv got stuck in and she said it was incredible! Gizzi asked her if it tasted like a dish that had only 5 grams of fat in it. Liv said,

‘Absolutely not! It tastes brilliant. Amazing!’

So, Gizzi had transformed Liv’s downfall dishes. But had she persuaded her to cook herself thin? Gizzi said,

‘So, how have you found today?’ Liv replied,

‘It’s been so much fun. I’ve been completely shocked. I mean, when you told me that my stir fry had like 88 grams of fat in it, I was just, that corned beef thing threw me! It was really gross and I’m gonna think about it a lot more when I make stir fry.’

Gizzi then told Liv she had a gift for her. She gave Liv a wok to help her carry on cooking for herself instead of using bland, tasteless ready meals. And it was a non-stick one so it means Liv only needs to use a tiny amount of oil when she’s cooking.

If Liv swaps her dishes for the new recipes that Gizzi has given her and runs once a week, she could lose three stone in six months! Now that is how you cook yourself thin!


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Cook Yourself Thin Episode Eleven Liv Thompson

Last Updated Monday 21 June at 11:07 AM

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