Losing Weight the Frugal Way…Not So Much (You Can’t Outrun a Bad Diet)

The Boy finally got round to making me a follow up certificate to celebrate my 1 stone weight loss that I had achieved by the 17th of February.

I had a sneaky suspicion getting the certificate might be a curse, and not that I believe in any of that mystic stuff but it may have been.

In the last week I wasn’t able to exercise as much. Monday I had to pick up a parcel after work, Tuesday was busy as I had an interview for a weekend position, Wednesday I was ill, Thursday it snowed but I went to the gym and had an epic work out (but then had a takeaway for tea).

On Friday I felt that despite the red level weather warnings that had been announced across the UK due to the snow, it would have simply been lazy of me to not go to the gym again.

I live a 30 minute walk from the gym, the snow was very deep, at one point I slipped and hurt my wrist and knee and considered turning back.

I ploughed on (get it!? Ha ha ha) and arrived at the gym only to realise I felt ‘wrong’. I was in a weird head space and I wasn’t sure why. I was ok on the weights machines but the cardio machines felt beyond me.

There is a difference between me being reluctant to exercise, or being just tired, compared to what I felt yesterday. I assessed that I wasn’t up for exercising because walking in the deep snow is really hard! At least it is hard to me as we get snow once every 3 years in the parts of the UK I have lived in so I am not used to it.

Let me finally get to my point.

I had a gain this week, and not really that insignificant a gain either. 3 pounds. My weight this morning was 15 Stone and 0.125 pounds.

Boy, and I was complaining about my 0.125 lb loss last week, I would have loved that this week.

I also, confession time here, went to Pizza Express last night with The Boy and some friends. I did (briefly) consider getting the under 500 calorie salad, but instead had a broad bean pasta dish…and cheesy garlic bread…and a beer…and cake…with ice cream.

One thing I have read time and time again when it comes to exercise and weight loss (and in particular weight loss and running) is:


The principle being no matter how much you exercise, if all you eat is crap and too much of that crap, then you will put on weight.

So although I burned an estimated 700 calories at the gym on Thursday, I probably consumed that in about half of one of the two blow out meals I had over the last two days.

BUT it is not all bad news, as I have lost a half inch from my thighs in the last 3 weeks, and I still have my (fl)abs. And I keep accidentally brushing my leg and realising it is nice and toned.

There is a popular ‘don’t do this, you idiot’ bit of advice bandied around weight loss group and articles. It is that if you eat a big blow out meal, most people get into the ‘I’ve f***** it now’ frame of mind and carry on scoffing.

Which I think we can all agree is stupid. But I have been like that with food, and I was certainly like that with money, because when I was poor and using credit cards to pay for everything, because I couldn’t afford anything it was meaningless to me whether what I couldn’t afford was £5 or £50 (or £500).

I have been there and done that with Slimming World and I think I went 4 times in total across 3 different groups and each time it would be the same.

WEEK 1-3 Motivated to lose weight, and so I do.

WEEK 3-5 Work really hard but stay the same, get disheartened.

WEEK 5-15 Try to be good, fail, usually put on a pound or so, maybe lose it the next week, then put it back on, or stay the same and round and round until I give up on it all.

Now, I know I said this last week, but it is clear my diet has been to blame.

Addressing what went wrong and taking responsibility for it will mean it won’t happen again.

The last two weeks have been us coming to the end of the food budget month, which I had extended to take into account my new pay day dates. This meant we were going for longer with diminishing funds, and I couldn’t buy everything I wanted. I also got busy and couldn’t batch cook something healthy for Breakfast or Lunch. I’ve been ill, it’s snowed, I’ve been cold and want to snuggle down. I have also let The Boy dictate the Dinner Meal Plan which has resulted in higher calorie food then I would have chosen.

So, going forward, I need to find the time to prep food. I need to tell The Boy that we need healthier dinners, I need to find ways to exercise. I have an exercise bike, I can exercise in the house should I need to.

I hope to see you all again next week with better weight loss news.


Review of February 2018, both Financial and Personal


In 2017 my food budget ‘months’ ran roughly from the 27th to the 26th of the following month, this was due to being paid on the 27th.

Now, I am paid weekly, so I have decided that my food month will now be a standard month in terms of the budget.

Sadly I decided to do this mid way through February when my original end date of the Feb Food Budget was set to be the 23rd, having begun on the 26th of January.

So by continuing to the end of the month this is perhaps why we have ended over budget.


I think we will do better next month.


As you know by now I divide my disposable income spending into sub categories.

I also spent a lot of money in February and now have approximately £40 to last me until the end of March.

But at least I have cleared my credit card bill.

SOCIAL = £89.60

TRAVEL (DAY TO DAY) = £15.30


GIFTS = £111.88



HOMEWARE = £2.49

CLOTHING = £163.55



HEALTH = £14

HAIR = £7.72

TOTAL = £532.06

That’s a lotta wonga.


I read two books in February, the above photo shows the two books. Both were very good, particularly Runner although I do love Lauren Graham a lot. Both were from the Library because I am being economical.



I wombled over £219.73 of free stuff in February, using vouchers, special offers, things given to me, free cinema tickets, meerkat movies and so on.


A small but mighty 5 No Spend Days occurred in February, bringing my total for the year to 18, which is under my target of 10 NSDs a month.



I made this yummy Granola.


I lost 4 pounds in February.


Today was a sick day, bringing my total for Feb to 2.5. I feel awful about this, almost as awful as I felt this morning with my head in the toilet being sick (No, I am not pregnant).


  1. Lose 4.125 more pounds (target weight for March will be 14 St 7 Lbs).
  2. Run a 5k distance all the way.
  3. Find a second job.
  4. Stay within budget.
  5. Read 2 more books.
  6. 10 NSDs.
  7. Womble another £200 of free stuff.
  8. Try 3 new exercise classes at the gym.
  9. Try my best to not be ill.
  10. Make 3 new recipes.

This Wonderful World of Purchase Power: Financial Review of Week 8/52 2018


I spent more on Thursday and Friday on personal spends then I have in some months. In fact it is very easy to say I spent more this week than I have in some months.

It was all stuff that I needed, and also included The Boy’s birthday present, but the thing was I couldn’t really afford to buy any of it, so I put it on my credit card, reasoning that I had about 6 weeks before the next statement and therefore next due date to find the money. I figured I would do it in instalments.

But it turns out that I have such an aversion to owing money that yesterday I paid the card in full, even though none of the items had cleared yet so my account will be in credit first.

It may mean that I have to not have any fun until I have money again, but I’m glad my debt is cleared.

Let’s get down to business.


Milk £1.10

Bread, Cookies, Garlic Bread, Chilli Spices x 2, Spaghetti Bolognese Spices x 2 £6.10

Milk, Margarine, Pizza, Baguettes x 2, Pasta Sauce, Crisps, Baking Potatoes, Stew Pack, Apples £8.96

TOTAL = £16.16

Now let’s move on to the B I G spends.



3 x Cartons of milk £1.79


Jacket Potato and tea £6.70

Coffee and Biscotti £4.15


Sweets for a work colleague £0.75

The Boy’s Birthday Treat Number 2 £63


Hair cut and tip £25

Hair Mask, Special Hair Brush and Hair Clips £7.72


Running Trainers £108.05

16 Pairs of Pants/Knickers (4 x 4 packs) £20

Dressing Gown and Slippers £22.50


Baguette and Wedges £4.15

Comedy Gig Tickets £6.50

Indian Takeaway £16.10


Dentist appointment £14


Bus Ticket £1.60

(Let’s add up this scary amount of money)

TOTAL DISPOSABLE INCOME SPENDS = £302.01 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!)


The funny thing is we are now £1.31 over the food shopping budget after doing the weekly shop, and I knew we only had a little bit left so I was saying to The Boy I wanted to restrict our spending to just the essentials. The Boy, who has plenty of money began ‘It’s great that you have a food budget and that you do all this, but….”

‘You don’t want to be deprived because you have lots of money’ I said.


Now, in order to try and claw back some self respect from you all, I will go through my ‘wombles’.*

10% Discount on the Running shoes = £12

Multi Buy savings on the Hair Products = £1.25

Free Biscuits that The Boy has brought back from work = £1.25

Using vouchers I had earned on the Dressing Gown and Slippers = £22

Watching a film for free at the Cinema through volunteering = £7.90

Total savings this week = £44.40

So it could have been a lot worse.

*Womble = Saving money, getting money off, or getting something for free. Based on The Wombles, a UK Children’s TV show about furry creatures who ‘make good use of the things that they find’ (that is a line from their song, yes, they had a song).



Losing Weight the Frugal Way Part 6

In the last week I have officially lost 1/8th of a pound.


It may have had something to do with the Indian Takeaway The Boy and I had last night. And the 1.5 cookies I had.

So I could read it as I have lost more, but a night of excess undid the work.

The thing is, I have been very good, my running training has picked up to the next stage, I attended my first exercise class in about 4 years (this is a big deal for me as I am afraid of exercising around other people in a group setting due to my fears of being laughed at) and for the most part I have been following my calorie goal.

Was the takeaway worth it?


Especially because I tried a different main dish to my usual, which made me feel like it was all worth it.

I know myself. I know being good is not something I can achieve 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I need ‘treat’s’, I definitely do not need them every day, no one needs them every day, but I need them every once in a while.

The old Flo, the old stupid Flo, who wasted all her time and money at things like Slimming World would have been devastated if I had had a bad week with them, and would have fallen into a vat of self despair and probably binge eating.

Now I just think, well, I’ll push myself a little harder at the gym this week and be a bit stricter with my calories. I mean, a bad week was going to happen at some point by the law of averages, just because I had a bad week it doesn’t mean the weight is now stuck to me and can never be removed no matter how hard I try. That’s silly.

I am feeling so good about my body right now. It may have only been a stone (I have about another 4 to go before I reach what is considered a healthy weight range for my height of 5 ft 7 inches) but I look noticeably slimmer, I look better, especially with my new hair (see how swishy it is! This haircut earned me a wolf whistle from 2 young scamps on my walk home from the hair dressers).

flo pic 2018

So this week hasn’t been particularly frugal, nor has it involved much weight loss, so erm, sorry about that.

On the plus side I did a 4 mile jog/walk thing this week. It took me 60 minutes but it was the most powerful I had ever felt on a ‘run’. I felt invincible. I think I really experienced the runner’s high then.

I feel in love with my life right now. Yeys!


Financial Review of Week 7/52 2018

Hi everybody,

I would like to thank all my followers, old and new, for reading, cheers!

Let’s see how I foolishly wasted wisely invested my money this week.



Ice Cream, Milk, Golden Syrup £3.84

Milk, Wash Tablets, Orange Juice, Cheese, Frozen Sweetcorn, Apples, Rice, Prawn Crackers £14.92

Poppadoms £1.45


Coconut Water x 4, Pizza x 2, Naan Bread, Poppadoms, Cookies x 2, Pilau Rice, Quorn Pieces, Quorn Mince, Baking Potatoes, Agave Syrup, Greek Yoghurt, Cucumber, Chicken Fillets £16.16


Laundry Cleanser x 2, Washing Machine Cleaner £2.97

Beer x 3, Milkshake, Chocolate Treats x 2 £6.50 

Bread, Beetroot Shots x 2, Cayenne Shot £4




2 x Magazines £8.40

Sports Watch £5.99

Race for Life Pretty Muddy £20

Magazine £4

Resistance Bands £3.50

(Total = £41.89)


Stamps £7.80


Thank you cards £2.98

The Boy’s Birthday Treat Number 1 £30


Taxi £2 (The Boy gave me £5 towards it)

Bus £3.40


Memory Box £2.49


Meal out with The Boy £20


Work Trousers £5

Exercise Trousers £8


Coffee £2.70




Losing Weight the Frugal Way Part 5

I have lost my first stone!

Ok, so I stood on the scales about 3 different times on various parts of the bathroom floor as the floor is uneven and I was trying to get an accurate reading, and maybe I stopped checking the levelness of the floor after I got a scale reading that confirmed I had lost my first stone…but if the only person I’m fooling is myself surely that is ok?


The trouble is, I am keeping a bit quiet about it. Yes, I am posting about it on a public blog under my own name, and I have demanded that The Boy makes me another certificate marking my achievement, but I haven’t told any friends or work colleagues yet.

This is because since summer 2016 I have gone up and down and round and round the scales between about an 18 pound difference.

From 16 Stone to 14 Stone 10 Lbs.

That may be the first time I have publicly declared my weight, so please don’t judge me.

I started this weight loss adventure at 15 Stone 12.75 Lbs.

On Saturday, my official weigh in day, my weight was 14 Stone 11.25 Lbs.

I have lost over a stone in about 5 weeks.

More impressive than that (to me) is that I am training to learn how to run again, and the training plan I am following asks me to train/run 4 times a week.

Since starting that training plan I have not missed a single session.

I have to fit it around my life, and sometimes it has been tough, sometimes I do my ‘run’ on the treadmill at the gym rather than the streets, but I have done every single one.

But I am still keeping quiet about my weight loss, apart from with The Boy and all you guys reading, because it won’t be until I have lost that magic 19th lb (and weigh 14 Stone 9 Lbs) that I will feel the ‘curse’ is broken.

I am so glad I have lost this stone, because I cheated and booked a hair cut for Thursday, and didn’t want to cancel if I hadn’t lost the weight. My hair cut is my reward for losing a stone. But it is sort of being frugal because I am going to a beauty training college, and I haven’t had my hair cut in over 2 years so I think it is a necessity more than anything else. My split ends have split ends (sorry for being gross).

Now, onto the running.

I wanted to run the half marathon that takes place in my home town each October, but I couldn’t afford the entry fee.

The Boy rang me on Thursday after I had been to the gym (go me!).

‘Hi Flo, do you still want to run the half marathon?’

‘Yes, but I can’t afford it’

‘Well, this is your lucky day’

The Boy then proceeded to tell me that he had gone to sign up for a free place through his employer at an open event. He works for one of the Universities in our town. It was there he found out they had many free spaces going, and they were available for:





Members of the public.

All I have to do is raise a set amount of sponsorship, which is the rather achievable £200.

The Boy and I are obviously being very mature about it and have decided to have a competition between us to see who raises the most money.

The bonus point is we could choose between 2 of their charities, and whilst both were worthy, we opted for the Mental Health charity because of my experiences.

So that is another frugal bonus, and a rather good ‘womble’ because I also got a free T Shirt and water bottle.

I am now Walk/Running 5K, and today was my Personal Best of the year at 41 Minutes 40 Seconds.

In more frugal news I bought a sports watch on Amazon using my vouchers which cost me just £5.99 after discounts.

The thing is, what I think is working for me, the reason why it is all going well, is because I am just doing it.

By which I mean, normally I overthink things to death, or I have an all or nothing approach and believe if I am not running 5k all the way on day one then I am a massive failure and waste of space. Normally I push myself to unrealistic targets and pick up an injury and then stupidly carry on until I really hurt myself and have to take 3 weeks off by which point the sofa has become rather comfy and pizza is very tasty.

I am being so sensible, and I am not doing anything with any fanfare or fuss. It’s not a case of before where I was like ‘I HAVE BEEN TO THE GYM, LOOK AT ME, I AM GREAT, I SHALL HAVE A BEER AS A REWARD’.

Instead I am just going to the gym, because….crucially…I want to.

I can see myself in the mirror, and although I still have a large belly and haven’t seemed to have dropped a dress size, there is definition to my stomach. They aren’t abs, they are my ‘fl-abs’. And I am very proud of them.

I am still drinking alcohol (in moderation), I am still eating treat meals (in moderation), but I am being healthy most of the time.

In regards to my running training, I have already repeated one week because I didn’t feel ready to progress, and I am going to do the same with this week’s training. Before I would have felt like I was being weak, now I know it is the reason why I am getting stronger.

I wish I knew what the secret was, because then I could market the hell out of it and pay off my debt very quickly, but I think it can be summed up with a famous sports brand’s slogan.



Losing Weight the Frugal Way Week 4

2 weeks for the price of one in this blog post.

Over the last two weeks I lost 3 lbs on the 3rd of Feb, and a further 1 lb on the 10th of Feb. I knew my weight loss would naturally slow down as my body adjusted to the increase in exercise and decrease in high calorie foods but it was still slightly sad to have only lost a pound, but that is better than a gain.

I am doing really well at the gym, I am genuinely enjoying it, but it comes at a price. Long time readers will have noticed a decline in blog posts from me, and I haven’t been on my favourite forums for weeks, I have had to strip my life of the excess, not just in terms of food but in terms of keeping on top of things.

I work, I go to the gym, I try to do my 4 times a week Couch to 5k training, I do housework, I watch wrestling at times, I have regular baths (baths are such a treat for me as I usually only have time for a quick shower) but this leaves little room for browsing the internet, which I guess is fine? I mean if anything had to be cut it would be that, but I would like a little more free time to read and to write.

The panic is, and I am getting a little off topic from weight loss now, that I pretty much need to get a weekend job. Not in that it would be a good idea, or that it would help me clear my debt quicker, but I am only earning 15p above minimum wage, my income is less than £1000 a month, and I have increased my expenses by £50 a month with my gym and personal training.

Things are tight financially.

I need to buy new trainers, my current ones are 2 years old (nearly), but I don’t have the money. I need to pay back my sister £70, ideally by her birthday in April. I don’t have that either.

And Queen are touring the UK again.

But I am already struggling with my health and weight and ability to keep on top of everything and that is without a part time job on top of a full time job!!!!!

The other worry is I currently have the time, admittedly at the expense of chilling on forums, to dedicate to exercise and batch cooking and cooking from scratch.

If I get a part time job I am scared I will put the weight back on.

I survived (for the most part) doing a No Spend Year in 2017. I can clearly commit to a year long challenge, I could in theory do it again.

But a No Spend Year is a removal of something. Getting an extra job is an addition. I don’t think my life can take any more additions.

But time is running out. My goal is to be debt free and fat free by my 30th birthday.

Yes, it is more than a year away, but I have £4000 (nearly) of debt, and I am at least 3.5 stone overweight still, minimum.

I have a long way to go and things are difficult.