Ozeri Kitchen Scale Review

After trying out the amazing Ozeri Wok I was sent an additional item to try out… introducing the Ozeri Digital Kitchen Scale.

Ozeri Scale Full View

Now this little gadget looks like some sort of tablet computer… so much so people have even asked what it is when they’ve been in my kitchen.

To me a kitchen scale is the one piece of kitchen equipment you need if you wish to cook healthy meals and live a healthy and nutritious lifestyle. Yes I measure everything – why not when it’s quick and easy to do and keeps you on track?

It certainly is a step up from my previous kitchen scale as the Ozeri boasts the following features!

  • Features advanced touch sensitive buttons for easy operation, and large LCD screen that displays weights in pounds, kilograms, grams, and ounces (lb/oz, kg/g, fl.oz., ml).
  • Boasts a tempered glass surface in reflective black that is 4 times stronger than normal glass, and an award-winning thin design.
  • Equipped with 4 new high precision GFX sensors, the Ozeri Touch Digital Kitchen Scale provides accurate measurements from 0.1 oz to 11 lbs (1 gram to 5250 grams).
  • Precision Tare features calculates the net weight of the ingredients (automatically subtracts the container weight to calculate the weight of the ingredients being weighed!).
  • Includes 2 Lithium Batteries and an Easy Access Battery Compartment (no screwdriver needed). Perfect as I hate getting electronic products and not having the right batteries to get using straight away!

On first impression it looks extremely impressive and is super light. It’s modern look fits in perfectly with my new kitchen. Not only that it is small enough to store away easily. It is also extremely responsive and I don’t need to press down too hard to switch between different measurement formats e.g. g to oz. It has certainly been getting a lot of use since I was able to start cooking again!

What I also love is that it keeps clean really well – no separate sections of the product which usually leads to ingredients such as flour etc becoming trapped between the parts and effectively rendering the product useless after a period of time.

If you are in the US it also comes with an instruction booklet that provides information on the US Postal Service – additionally it also covers a calorie guide which is useful but I tend to stick to MyFitnessPal to rely on tracking calorie and nutritional information.

Ozeri Scale

The only thing I would say is it would be great to have some additional stabilising feet to the very front of the scale and not set in a little – when weighing out light items and pressing tare to add some additional ingredients I have on occasions almost sent ingredients flying. But that is my very minor criticism of this product.

Overall, it’s a great addition to my kitchen!

So, if you are in the market for a kitchen scale, definitely consider the Ozeri.

Note: I was sent this product free to review. All feedback is based on my personal experiences. I have not been paid to write this post and believe me if I’m not impressed with something I will say!

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Counting Calories – Yes or No…

I recently read how counting calories is a bad thing, do a search on Google and you will find numerous posts all stating the same thing.

I disagree!

I have been using MyFitnessPal since late January (2013) and what it has done is open my eyes to not only the calorie content of products but also the nutritional breakdown of a product too.

When I started out I was consuming around 1000 calories just in a morning! This was just a bowl of cereals early on, I have to eat within half an hour of waking up otherwise I am starving, this was usually followed by some toast mid-morning after doing the school run and settling down to read my emails. I always thought my choice of breakfast was relatively healthy, that is until I started counting calories and realising that I was not only consuming far too many calories, but that reasonable diet I thought I had was in fact the complete opposite. To some extent it was reasonable, much more reasonable that the diets of many other people as I pretty much cook all meals from scratch, rarely have processed foods and even less often than that get take out or eat out!

You will have heard me mention before how that ‘suggested serving’ of cereal that you pour is in fact more likely to be 3 times than what is quoted on the box and I couldn’t believe how much calories there are in butter and marmalade!

Cue some changes…

It all started out with a lot of trial and error but rather than submit to the suggested serving of cereals, I now vary my breakfasts and feel much fuller for longer. I might have poached eggs on wholemeal toast (no butter) or perhaps protein pancakes topped with fruit. I still have cereals occasionally, but I rely on my scales to ensure I don’t have any more than double the ‘suggested serving’. I also try to have a protein packed breakfast where possible to ensure a steady release of energy as opposed to something that will give me energy for a limited period and then cause me to come crashing and reach for the nearest snack… again usually bad!

A lot of the concerns about counting calories were how it would lead people to make negative changes i.e. not eating foods such as nuts due to their high calorific content even though they are good for you. I have to say in my case this is untrue, I actually eat more nuts than I used to do because I have come to learn that they are an essential part of my diet.

Some also voiced their concerns how you can become obsessed with counting calories. I admit in the early days I would plan what I was eating meal wise so I knew how many calories I had left for snacks and treats and you could perhaps say this was obsessive, in my case I don’t think so, it had such little impact on my day. We have to take care and pay close attention to other aspects of our lives, so why not tracking your consumption? As time has gone on and my diet has become progressively better sometimes I don’t even log what I have had until the end of the day. The reason for this is that I have generally learnt what is high / low calorie and what is good / not good for you.

Another also felt that people would instead turn to diet products that are quoted as low-fat, low-cal and various other items in a bid to keep fat and calorie content down. Again not me, I have tried diet food in the past, mainly as one offs if they were on offer. But generally I found that they all tasted bland and I would then be reaching for something to satisfy me, not only that but if I knew I couldn’t make that particular meal from scratch for those amount of calories then I knew something wasn’t quite right and that meant processing!

I guess what this post is saying is don’t always believe the hype (especially in the trashy mags!) – find what works for you and you alone! I personally could not live off diet foods or severely restrict my food intake. Instead calorie counting has taught me to find better foods to consume and I now actually eat far much more than I used to eat before calorie counting. Secondly, do your best! Don’t let people put you down or try take you off course. Remember a diet is a temporary fix, one that you are likely to fall off from, learning about what you consume is something that will change your life and it is exactly what I intend to do! Slow steady progress means you are more likely to see continued results.

As always my diary is open to view on MyFitnessPal. You will see some days are better than others, in fact I had a bag of crisps today (Monday) but the rest of the day was pretty impressive! Well I think so anyway and it is a major improvement from 7 months ago!

This is what I ate…

Breakfast

  • 65g Serving of Fruit n Fibre
  • 125ml Milk

Lunch

  • Mushroom omelette using 2 eggs including yolks, cheddar cheese and semi skimmed milk cooked using Flora Low Cal Spray
  • Homemade Juice – Pineapple, Jalepeno Pepper, Spinach, Kale, Celery

Dinner

  • 175g Diced Turkey Breast in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce (using Cream Cheese, Gia Garlic Paste, mixed herbs and chestnut mushrooms) and cooked in Coconut Oil served with 75g Brocolli.

Snacks

  • x2 Nairns Oatcakes with 12g Peanut Butter
  • 50g Total Greek Yoghurt with 18g Granola
  • 30g Peanuts (I had these as I was low on fat intake for the day… our bodies need healthy fats to aid the absorption of essential nutrients!)
  • 1 Bag Salt & Vinegar Squares

I also drink lots of green and peppermint tea and water!

Total calories consumed 2087, with a pretty perfect nutritional split across carbs, fats and proteins. I did however burn 667 from exercise.

MFP Nutritional Breakdown

See… told you I ate a lot!

To The Proskins Sceptics…

So it’s been a week since my Proskins #28DayChallenge came to an end.

Since then I have been undertaking normal activity, which I undertook throughout my challenge (which also included a bad week) along with my healthy eating. This week I have already been to the gym three times and burnt a total of 2208 calories whist consuming an average of just under 1800 calories per day. Again nothing new since before I undertook the challenge. If any of you want to view my diary on MyFitnessPal you are more than welcome, as I am completely honest about what I am doing – you will see I am not starving myself to lose weight or exercising like a maniac to burn calories and therefore lose weight. I don’t want to be skinny, I want to be fit and healthy!

So why am I writing this?

Well aside from using the scales to measure my weight, which has actually increased by 0.3kg over this last week (most likely down to muscle – I’m not stressing) I also take measurements so I can see the physical changes. I did this today and compared to the measurements last week they had barely budged. One actually went up!

So I reviewed my measurements over the past four weeks and put together this little info graphic that I thought you might like!

Proskins InfoGraph

  • Green – Represents a loss
  • Orange – Represents no change
  • Red – Represent an increase

Due to having no differences this week over the past four weeks, this to me is real evidence of the Proskins working alongside an already healthy lifestyle. For the measurements that did go down, they only went down by 1mm, whereas the smallest loss I have had previously has been 3mm. I’m going to do another week without and compare once again, then the Proskins are going back on for four weeks before I hit the beach!

Polar FT7 – Heart Rate Monitor Review

I bought my Polar FT7 back in March in order to accurately (or as accurately as possible) track my calorie expenditure in conjunction with using MyFitnessPal to track my calorie consumption.

I know the machines such as treadmills give you an indication as to the number of calories burnt but these miss our important factors such as your sex and height which are important in accurately calculating calorie expenditure which could mean the difference in losing weight and not losing weight!

So further to being gifted a £50 Amazon voucher by a friend (Thank You!) I took the opportunity to purchase a gadget that would do exactly what I needed and after reviewing various makes and models on the market and trying not to go over the £50 too much I finally settled on the Polar FT7.

The Polar FT7 is a Fitness Watch which consists of a chest strap and sensor along with the watch. In order to calculate your heart rate the chest strap must be worn, it’s comfortable and discreet (honestly) and you can however wear the watch as a normal day to day watch if desired.

Polar FT7 - 2

Before using the watch you are required to enter your personal data such as your height, weight and sex in order for the calorie expenditure calculation to be as accurate as possible (make sure you update this as you lose the weight to ensure the calculations are accurate).

So once you have done all that all you have to do is get moving!

You can use this watch doing absolutely any exercise. I use whilst taking classes, doing weights, using the cross trainer and even swimming! Just make sure you don’t press the buttons on the watch whilst submerged, I tend to start before entering the water and stopping once my hand and arms are dry.

What I love most about this watch is that it doesn’t just tell you how many calories you have burnt but if you workout increased your fitness levels or burnt fat. I am all for the latter and right now as I am trying to lose weight and rid my body of unwanted fat this was the feature that made me chose the Polar FT7.

I guess the main thing that this watch has taught me is that lower intensity workouts are the best for burning fat. You will see me in the gym doing high inclines on a treadmill or a high setting on the cross trainer slowly and not looking like I’m putting in much effort or doing the LBT classes in order to keep my heart rate at the right level to torch fat. More recently I have switched over from using the machines to using weights in a bid to torch more fat and tone up.

You really do not need to go all out sweating your arse off on a treadmill til you can barely breathe to get in shape and I think that is where a lot of people go wrong! I certainly was, but I have a lot of runners who argue this with me. I’m sorry but I’m going by the data on my Polar FT7 along with my personally results of losing 18lbs since I really started to get into this fitness lark at the end of January. It works for me and my knees are crap so you can keep your running!

Moving on there are various other features for the serious athlete such as showing your heart rate whilst working out so you can keep to the required BPM to get the most out of your workout, an overview as to average and maximum heart rate and it also shows a weekly overview of calorie expenditure.

Polar FT7

I have also found that there can be a vast difference in the figures the machine tells you and the figures the watch tells you. On certain equipment I can burn around 100 calories more per session, but on others I can burn considerably less. So for example you do not want to be told you’ve burnt 500 calories in a workout when you might have only burnt 250 and therefore eat your exercise calories back because in that case you will be overeating and therefore you will put on weight and will be wondering why exercising is not doing anything for you!

Having started to use the Polar FT7 on the 21st March, I have undertaken 70 hours worth of exercise (92 sessions) and burnt a grand total of 27,825 calories!!! And since I bought this little beauty I cannot work out without it. It’s like a little personal trainer on my arm pushing me to work harder and burn more. It’s like I am constantly battling against my personal best trying to increase my calorie burn since the last workout – especially in class situations.

So does anyone else use a HRM – if so which one and what do you think about it?

Week 1 Proskins Review #TeamTrim

So Saturday marked Day 7 of my #28DayChallenge! I have managed to get through a whole week wearing nothing but my Proskins and a top of course!

As the weather has been rather glorious I have been teaming with tunic style tops, skater dresses and maxi dresses and not once felt too hot. It’s just a good job one of my legs was still sporting a massive power hoop bruise otherwise I would have been gutted at keeping my legs away from a Vitamin D top up! If the weather is good this week (is that too much to ask) then I am going to switch my wear to the evening.

So, how have they lived up to their claims?

Well after Day 1 my legs felt great after a full day in the leggings. I usually suffer from quite dry skin and the skin on my legs can somewhat resemble that of a snake about to shed it’s skin! Not with the Proskins!

I regularly moisturise on an evening and usually by morning it has soaked into the skin and I’m back to thirsty looking skin once again, but with wearing the Proskins they still feel smooth and look quenched in a morning. I cannot remember the last time my skin on my legs felt so great!

After having babies – the most recent almost two years old I have become a victim to stretch marks but I have found more recently with regular exercise and the reduction of fat around my waist this has drastically reduced. I have also noticed that wearing the Proskins seems to have aided this further and the appearance is less visible! Maybe I will wear a bikini this summer after all!

So cellulite – well I wouldn’t say I have a massive amount, it’s certainly there – let’s see how I feel at the end of the challenge when I brave the hot pants!

Now like a div, I didn’t personally record my starting measurements (aside from my hips as I track them in MyFitnessPal) so far there are no changes in the hip measurements, but from memory I think there are a couple of mm’s everywhere else. Let’s see what the measurements say on week 2 and I shall report.

Due to the anti-bacterial properties of the leggings I managed to get through 5 days of wearing these leggings before putting in the wash. Even though they didn’t particularly smell I just felt 5 days was about right to stick in the wash, also the youngest daughter managed to put ice cream hands over me! After washing as per the instructions they felt nice and tight again although they hadn’t sagged whilst wearing (remember I sized down).

My only comment on the leggings is that they are quite shiny (not Disco pant shiny though) so it would be great to have a pair of the matte ones. Also with young children and Velcro being rife, I have managed to obtain a couple of snags on the leggings which although not visible to others are to me – perhaps the matte ones wouldn’t be as noticeable?

Proskins in the Sun

N.B. I haven’t been paid to post this review nor have I been gifted a free pair of leggings. I made the purchase based on the 50% discount (which is still ongoing) and reviews found on Amazon, Next and Tesco. Therefore the above comments are my actual thoughts on how the product lives up to its claims.

Bliss at Bannatyne Spa

Today a friend and I visited the Bannatyne Spa in Barnsley (there are also various other Bannatyne Spa’s around the country). After returning from Chicago and finishing off my diploma I wanted the opportunity to relax, wind down and get my head in order before getting back to work (next week).

I didn’t want to spend too much as I have a spa weekend coming up shortly, but really just wanted the opportunity to have a treatment, relax, have a swim and just time away from anything digital.

Bannatyne’s were offering a 2 for £69 deal which included both guests receiving either a Swedish back neck and shoulder massage or a Bannatyne Energising facial; plus a heavenly scalp massage plus access to the clubs facilities including extensive air conditioned gym, classes, Pool, Jacuzzi, Sauna and steam room.

After a little time relaxing in the steam room and sauna, we opted for the Swedish massage which was followed by the scalp massage. Although a short treatment in all, it was extremely relaxing. The therapists were friendly and there was no hard sell to buy any products. Once the treatments were over we decided to have lunch which we had pre-ordered, I went for a chicken salad but was gutted to find that there was no cake! A spa day with no cake! Instead we opted for an Oatmeal bar – so fairly healthy but just treat enough!

Once lunch had settled we went for a swim – somehow I managed an hour and burnt 488 calories! I used to be an amazing swimmer, in fact I did synchro, but it’s been a long time since I have had a decent amount of time in a pool. Following on the the exercise we spent the rest of the afternoon in the steam and sauna rooms and the jacuzzi.

The only thing that was disappointing is that at 2.30pm the pool was all of a suddenly filled with young children. I don’t hate children – I have two of my own aged 7 years and 23 months, but my spa day was to relax, have peace and generally be away from kids, therefore when booking it would have been nice to have been informed that between certain hours children have access to the pool area (especially when they are jumping in just inches from where you are sat), if I had of been aware I would have booked my treatments around this time.

To counteract this it would perhaps have been good if Bannatyne had a separate room with loungers away from the noise in order to relax and read a book – or sleep!

However, for the price it was an extremely good deal and I would visit again in the future – just taking care to consider the times I have my treatments.

Definitely worth a visit!

Oh and MyFitnessPal said if every day was like today I would weigh 2kg less! The perfect excuse to spa more often!

The Windy City… a few days in Chicago

Last week I was in Chicago for work (hence the quietness of my blog). I have been once before and I just feel so at home in Chicago. If I had the opportunity to live overseas Chicago would be one of my top choices. I love the mix of the city life, but with the relaxed beach lifestyle plus every time I have been the sun has been shining and it just makes downtown Chicago glisten, from the lake to the river to the skyscrapers, it really is beautiful.

Obviously I was there for work but I did have a day to myself and a couple of evenings to enjoy all that Chicago has to offer.

The day after I arrived I woke up stupidly early but was woken by an amazing sunrise so I can’t really complain, therefore I took the opportunity to hit the gym! I had promised the guys at my gym that I would visit at least once and I’m proud to report I actually went twice! I was staying at the Swissotel where the gym is on the 42nd floor, as the Swissotel is triangular you get various views of the city whilst using different parts of the gym. My favourite views were watching the boats on Lake Michigan whilst I was pounding the treadmill!

After the workout I had a fabulous room service breakfast of pancakes with a gorgeous Lemon, Kale, Ginger & Apple Juice drink (I need to replicate this at home! So refreshing!) before heading to the conference venue to get our exhibition stand set up. As a company we travel pretty light so after 30 minutes I was able to head off and sample the sights of Chicago.

As I had done a fair amount last year, this year I wanted to see ‘The Bean’ and take a stroll along Navy Pier along with a little shopping. It was a beautiful sunny but cold day in Chicago. Millennium Park wasn’t too far a walk from where I was staying so I slowly made my way down. As I was getting closer to Millennium Park there was lots of ladies around wearing pink and carrying roses. It was Mother’s Day in the US and there had been a race on for Cancer Research, there seemed to be a lot of love around and I felt it was very poignant that Mother’s Day was chosen as the day to hold this. On arrival at Millenium Park I was amazed at just how vast but perfectly beautiful this park is. It is so green and clean but is right in the middle of a city, a really beautiful area of tranquillity! With the clear blue skies The Bean looked glorious – my kids would have loved it! It’s amazing how an unusual piece of artwork can really capture your imagination!

After spending some time exploring the park I did a little bit of shopping and visited Protein Bar for some lunch. I had posted in MyFitnessPal for some suggestions of where to eat healthy in Chicago and this place came out tops! It didn’t disappoint, but I feel that the portions could have been a little smaller as I struggled to finish my Guac-a-roll! Portion size I think is a big issue, honestly guys we wouldn’t take offence if you served us something a little smaller!

So after this, I dropped my bags back at the hotel and then got a cab down to Navy Pier –  mid afternoon it was freezing! Especially by the Lake! Navy Pier didn’t really do much for me, but I was on my own. It would have perhaps been more enjoyable with my family and a bit of warmth. I did consider doing a river tour but I was just so cold by this point that I chickened out! After over 4 hours of walking around I decided to head back to the hotel for some downtime before colleagues arrived.

Monday was the start of the conference, but we managed to fit in some visits to a couple of cool places in the evening. Firstly House of Blues cutely nestled underneath two very strange high rises, this is an amazing venue and a must do if you ever visit Chicago! The room is dark, but cosy, with a real ‘blues’ feel. The walls feature some amazing artwork and the ceiling is made of face casts of I am assuming famous blues artists. We had not eaten all day so went in for starters and a main, for me Pulled Pork Sliders (3!) followed by Citrus Chicken. To be honest I was satisfied after the sliders! Towards the end our meal this amazing band came on with a female vocalist. I’m a fan of various types of music (probably a little more on the emo side) but this blew me away. The musicians were exceptionally skilled and it’s a shame that there aren’t more of these bands featured in today’s music lineup.

Tuesday was a long day, but I managed a salad at lunch (again enough for two people!) but it’s a good job I did as it was almost 10pm before we got dinner. After researching I found out about a place called Girl and the Goat the menu looks a little strange but don’t let that put you off. The dishes are relatively small so perfect for ordering a few to share amongst yourselves. We had a selection of Oysters, Halibut, Charred Pork Belly, Chicken and a few other dishes. The Oysters were amazing, in fact all the food was and if I was ever in Chicago again I would definitely stop by here (although I would make a reservation next time! You need a reservation if you want to eat at a decent hour!) They also know how to make a decent vodka, lime, lemonade too which everywhere else just seems to struggle with, adding far too much vodka! After this we were recommended a place called Kingston Mines to carry on our evening. If you like drink and good blues music this is another venue you need to add to your list!

En route, I really did wonder where the cab driver was taking us, it seemed like quite a drive from where we were and soon we appeared to be in the suburbs of Chicago. From the outside it doesn’t look like a club but upon entering I can see where ‘Mines’ came from. You really do feel as though you have stepped underground. A band called Vance Kelly was on, he is one amazing guitarist and his vocals were something else! Again, why is this music not in the charts. Again this place knows how to make a drink which is always a bonus. Not only that but it is open until 4am – every night of the week! A really fun and enjoyable place! So after heading back to the hotel, getting two hours sleep I was up and ready for the final day of the conference before heading home. Thankfully it was a night flight so I managed to get some sleep!

On arriving home and waiting a day I decided to see what the scales had to say….. 1lb lost!!! How I have no idea after the food consumption, but hopefully the two visits to the gym, a swim and plenty of walking helped counteract the bad foods I ate. So looking forward to getting back into a routine of healthy eating and exercising!

Apologies for the long post – back to shorter next time!

Chicago