Single mum Yvonne is a 31 year old psychology and criminology student. Her busy life means she quite often eats on the go and goes for simple convenience food when she cooks, admitting she is quite lazy in the kitchen. She has even been known to phone round her friends to find out what they are having for dinner and then invite herself along so she doesn’t have to cook!
She loves a full English fry up for brekkie (and any other time of the day!) and adores takeaway – eating takeaway more often than she cooks in a week. She has a serious addiction to cheese, getting through about three packs a week and for lunch most days, she has a takeaway pasty and sausage roll – packed with calories and fat! She also has a penchant for a donner and has one at least a couple of times a week. She said,
‘I think the naughtiest thing I do with food is buying pasties. I know that I don’t know what’s in them but I can’t help it! I love having a fry up. I can just get the frying pan out, chuck as many things as I’ve got in the fridge in there, so it’ll be sausages, bacon, beans, mushrooms, eggs. I’ll have a fry up two or three times a week.’ And, about her beloved Donner, she said,
‘I love the kebabs because they’re fast and they’re hot and it’s got all the textures I love and, I know it might sound strange, but they’re fast to eat. Just love all the different flavours, the garlic mayonnaise, the donner and the chips and mix ‘em all together and it’s my idea of heaven!’
Since returning to full time education three years ago, Yvonne’s body has ballooned. At 5’6” she weighs in at 15 stone 5lbs. She said,
‘I want to lose a stone and a half for my graduation in a few months’ time. Long term I want to lose maybe three and a half stone.’
‘Being a mum is a busy business so it’s natural to look for shortcuts. Having a good grasp of cookery knowledge means you can whip things up in seconds that are also low in fat.’
Gizzi Meets Yvonne
Gizzi arrived at Yvonne’s house to see how she could help the busy single mum get back on track with her eating habits. Gizzi asked Yvonne how she felt about her body image. Yvonne said,
‘I haven’t really had time to think about it over the last few years while I’ve been studying and now, suddenly, when it’s slowing down, I’ve looked at myself and I can’t believe I’ve let it go like this.’
Gizzi asked if it had suddenly crept up on her and Yvonne said it had and that she hadn’t taken any notice. Gizzi asked which dishes were Yvonne’s Achilles heel and Yvonne admitted it was kebabs. Gizzi said,
‘Do you go for the proper grilled kebabs or the naughty donners?’ Yvonne admitted it was the naughty ones. Then Gizzi asked did she have chips with it and Yvonne, sheepishly, said she did!
What’s in Your Fridge?
So, Gizzi then wanted to have a rummage in the fridge and cupboards. The first thing Gizzi saw in the cupboard was Yvonne’s stash of crisps. Yvonne is a bit of a snacker. But, as Gizzi pointed out one bag of crisps has 8.3 grams of fat in it and a woman is only supposed to have 70 grams in a whole day so, a bag of crisps is over 10% of Yvonne’s recommended daily allowance!
There were also packets of biscuits and Gizzi asked Yvonne how many she would get through. Yvonne said about half a packet which is about ten biscuits. That’s a massive 39 grams of fat!
Then came the fridge. Gizzi found Yvonne’s favourite donner kebab and chips in there. Gizzi said,
‘A donner kebab. You can imagine what that’s doing to your insides! This is the one thing I’m really interested in looking at for you.’
In the freezer, Gizzi found some mini kievs which are 46 calories each and Yvonne can polish off eight in one sitting! Gizzi said,
‘That’s 400 calories almost. We really need to teach you how to cook properly!’ she went on to say,
‘Yvonne’s diet is pretty dreadful. Everything she seems to be eating tends to be processed, be it the donner kebab she loves - no nutritional value at all. She’s making so many mistakes. Just doing a few tweaks in her diet is gonna make the biggest difference to her.’
It was the pasty that Gizzi wanted to have a go at first. The pasty contains over half Yvonne’s recommended daily allowance of fat for the day and it only lasts seconds! Gizzi said,
‘I’m guessing you like warm food, something that feels a bit toasty? Do you like a bacon sarnie?’ Yvonne said she loved them. Gizzi continued,
‘I’m going to show you how you can make a really healthy, low fat, low calorie bacon sandwich.’
As Gizzi has explained before, the really calorific part of the bacon is the fatty bit so, she always removes it before cooking it, leaving lean loin pieces. She said if you do remove the fat you save so many calories! It actually reduces its fat content by a massive 80%! Gizzi also used a griddle pan to cook the bacon, cutting down even more on the fat content because it doesn’t sit, cooking in its own fat and, of course, out came the oil pump.
Yvonne loves a carby snack but there are better ways of getting your carbs than with stodgy bakery pastry. So Gizzi suggested Rye bread for Yvonne because, unlike processed pastry flour, rye flour is full of nutrients and gives more energy AND helps keep you fuller for longer!
Instead of using butter for the bread, Gizzi used a low fat cream cheese. She said it works just as well as butter with fewer calories but, it adds much more flavour. She also added tomatoes and avocados to the sandwich. Avocados are high in calories and fat but, they are part of the Superfood group and are VERY good for you. The fat they contain is the healthy kind though that helps fight cholesterol.
Yvonne’s stodgy pasty comes in at a massive 420 calories per portion.
Gizzi’s yummy, filling Bacon, Tomato and Avocado Sandwich on Rye comes in at a deLITEful 295 calories per portion. That’s 125 calories less and the sandwich will boost Yvonne’s energy levels too!
The finished sandwich looked amazing – nice and full of filling and very tasty. It would definitely make a great brekkie that would help keep Yvonne full til lunch time. Yvonne got stuck in and Gizzi asked did she like it. Yvonne said,
‘It’s got cheese and avocado in it!’ So, the first success of the day.
Move It . . . Just a Little Bit
Yvonne was slimmer in her younger days but, since she gave birth to her son, she’s been slowly piling on the pounds. She said,
‘I carry a lot of weight in my stomach so, I always look pregnant and I just hate it. The amount of times people are asking me when’s it due, are you mad having another one or offering me a seat on the train. I do play up to it! I do sit down holding my back saying thanks!’
Yvonne now feels that her weight is affecting her life with her son. She said she doesn’t have the energy that her son needs her to have to keep up with him and play with him. She’s also concerned about his eating because she doesn’t want him to pick up her bad habits. She said,
‘He doesn’t like to try new things. I feel guilty like it’s me not exposing him to different flavours, is making him not want to try them.’
But it doesn’t take an expensive gym membership to get a little exercise into our lives. If Yvonne ran short sprints with her son, for five minutes every day, kicked a ball around the park and then played lifting games for a further five minutes, which would tone her upper body and bingo wings, she could lose a whole stone in a year. Not to mention the fact that her son would have a whale of a time!
The Fat Buster
It was the Donner Kebab that was up for a Gizzi makeover next. But not before Gizzi had shocked Yvonne by telling her the fat content in her donner and chips! Gizzi said,
‘I feel like I can totally give her something which is gonna be way more nutritious and way more delicious but, it’s quite terrifying because I don’t know if she’s gonna be able to handle that clean flavour that isn’t drenched in fat.’ She went on to say to Yvonne,
‘Can you imagine how much fat is in that?’
‘I wouldn’t even know where to start!’ shaking her head.
Gizzi told her that in her donner kebab wrap and chips, there is the equivalent fat as TWELVE LITRES OF BANANA MILKSHAKE! 106 grams of fat and 1785 calories! Phew!
Lamb is one of the fattiest meats available and Gizzi said she wouldn’t be able to cut back the fat enough if she used it so, she had decided to use skinless chicken breasts to make Chicken Kebabs with Garlic Sauce.
Gizzi told Yvonne she was going to make a crunchy salad for her to go with the kebabs. She said she was going for a Lebanese style salad with white and red cabbage, carrots and gherkins.
Kebab Tip: Soak the wooden skewers overnight so they don’t burn when you cook the kebab.
Yvonne’s fat-filled donner kebab with chips and garlic mayo comes in at a massive 106.2 grams of fat per portion.
Gizzi’s Chicken Kebabs with Garlic Sauce and a Crunchy Salad comes in at just 8.3 grams of fat per portion. Twelve and a half times less!
Yvonne got stuck in to the kebab. In between mouthfuls, Yvonne said she liked it! Yay! Another success!
Yvonne’s third downfall dish is her fry up with sausages, bacon, eggs, beans and mushrooms. A belt-busting fat and calorie fest! Yvonne said,
‘I’ll have the fry ups at least twice, maximum four times a week!’
Gizzi’s challenge this time is to keep all the elements of the breakfast but with half the calories. Reckon she can do it? She said,
‘A lot of people eat a fried breakfast, it’s fatty because of the nature of it being a meaty breakfast but, the way you cook it can change everything.’
Before Gizzi started cooking her version of Yvonne’s fried breakfast, she asked Yvonne to guess how many calories would be in her normal version. Yvonne said she reckoned on about 600. Way out! There is actually 1270 calories in Yvonne’s fry up – nearly all of the calories she needs in a day!
Gizzi started with the mushrooms and said that, instead of frying them, she was going to bake them. She said it helps to concentrate the flavour. Gizzi popped some cherry tomatoes on the vine onto the baking sheet to go in the oven too.
With the sausages, Gizzi took out the sausage meat and shaped it into a pattie. This stops the sausage skin holding all the fat in and, because it’s a pattie, it drains off a lot of the fat. She then placed the patties onto the griddle pan along with the bacon. She griddled some lovely looking wholegrain bread and, instead of fried egg, Gizzi cooked a poached egg which on its own saves 30 calories! Good tip there!
As an added bonus, Yvonne can have a bowl of blueberries and a glass of juice with her breakfast to help add nutrients and something sweet. Gizzi asked Yvonne if it looked disappointing and Yvonne said it looked great!
Yvonne’s normal fatty fried breakfast comes in at a massive 1270 calories per portion.
Gizzi’s Griddled Full English Breakfast with Blueberries and Juice comes in at just 639 calories per portion. Including the pudding, that’s half the calories!
Gizzi told Yvonne to get stuck in and asked her what she thought and whether she thought she would feel she was missing out if she was given the breakfast. Yvonne said, sheepishly, that she thought it was probably a little bit better than what she would normally cook! Woohoo!
Gizzi asked Yvonne how she thought the day had gone and Yvonne said,
‘To see it put in those terms, when you’re eating it fast and you’re just grabbing it from the shop, you don’t think about those things (fat and calories).’
Gizzi had a gift for Yvonne to help her carry on cooking herself thin. She gave her a chopper to help her make the salad for her kebabs. Yvonne said it was excellent. Gizzi said,
‘The whole point of what I’m doing here is just to show you that these tiny little changes that you do day to day will add up. Even if it takes you that little bit longer to lose the weight then you’re gonna lose it for good cos these are things you’re gonna be able to change forever. I don’t want to deprive you of anything.’
Yvonne said she didn’t think she would feel deprived with the dishes Gizzi had shown her. So, a real triumph for Gizzi.
If all Yvonne does is change her three downfall dishes for Gizzi’s new deLITEful dishes and does the playground workout with her son every day, she could lose the one and a half stone she wants to get rid of for her graduation in three months. Now that is how you cook yourself thin!
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