The Diminishing Vegan

Veganism and Weight Loss

Category: Personal

Absence

I’m sorry for my extended absence, yet again consistency is something I struggle with, during weight loss and making blog posts!

I’ve not completely fallen off the wagon, my weight is exactly what it was a couple of months ago, no more no less. That however is the problem! Losing weight should not be so damn difficult. I say to myself (and others!) it’s my body, I’m 5.5 stone down and it just doesn’t want to lose anymore, but inside I think surely that cannot be right? If someone is starving their body still loses weight, it doesn’t reach 5.5 stone down and then they forever stick at that weight do they?

I know it’s not as straightforward as calories in vs calories out, but really it’s not far off, hormones have a role to play but not so much that weight loss just doesn’t happen. I don’t think it is purely down to exercise either but it’s safe to say my consistency with that hasn’t been great either.

In my defence (and I seem to say that a lot…making excuses for myself), I went on a weeks holiday (where I barely gained any weight, and lost it the next week), and I’ve been going through a stressful time for the last month with a personal issue. But these are ultimately just excuses and they mean nothing. If I can’t be accountable to myself on my own weight loss blog then where can I? I must be eating too much, and not exercising enough, and that is just it.

This week I’m going to religiously use My Fitness Pal, aim for wholefoods (which I’ve been pretty good with tbh), and get in some exercise.  I’m still fasting, 16 – 18 hours a day and I’m going to keep this up, but not aim for the 20+ hours I was, I shouldn’t need to go to those extents to lose weight. I do sometimes think about stopping calorie counting and sticking to all whole foods, but then I remind myself that sometimes I really lack self control and think calorie counting is for the best. Wish me luck!

Thanks for reading and you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support and updates from me!

PMDD

Sorry for the wild tangent with this post, it is not related to veganism, however I do think it is slightly tied to weight loss. If you’re not a fan of anything to do with “The time of the month”, this probably isn’t the post for you, although I will refrain from going into detail!

PMS, Pre Menstrual Syndrome. I have heard and read many things about this, ranging from it affects up to 75% of women, to the idea that it doesn’t even exist but is used as a way to keep women down.

It’s the cliche isn’t it, it’s approaching the time of the month, the woman starts getting angry, crying for no reason, can’t stop eating chocolate/junk food in general. Bloating and pain can be part of this, along with nausea and an upset stomach, it’s not really a great time, and we get to experience this every month for a large portion of our lives.

When I was younger, and until I lost quite a bit of weight, I suffered from irregular periods. Years on and off the pill, two children, and yoyo weight (right up to 19 stone), meant that I could go months without a period, once even as long as 12 months. Around the time I got my first period I also started developing depression symptoms. I had period of very low lows, feelings of complete and utter lack of self worth. This led to a couple of bouts of anti depressants, and I would seem to get better for a while but then it would rear it’s ugly head again.

I never for a moment thought this was linked to my cycle initially, until my husband mentioned that around once a month I have a breakdown. Even when we first discussed this I didn’t think it could be related as I was still going through irregular periods. But fairly regularly, around once every month or two, life would just get too much. I would have constant build up in my head of negative feelings and thoughts related to pretty much anything and anyone I had any contact with. Normal life would make me angry, bitter, and it was mostly aimed at my husband.

I would feel resentful to the point of meltdown, snide comments would slip out while inside I was hating myself and trying to stop it. Eventually he would react (I wanted him to I think on some level) and there would be an allmighty blowout. This would usually end with me crying, him asking and struggling to understand what the hell was going on. A day or two later everything would be back to normal. Until the build up started again.

This cycle has happened many many times, him joking I just need to explode occasionally. Sometimes this would lead to ongoing depression, but even when depressed much of the time I would feel normal, then extreme depression would hit, and take over my life. I began to think I had bipolar, the normalness, happiness of most of the time, and the ridiculously low (and angry) bad times. I went through years of counselling on and off after losing my parents and recognised I had a very negative inner voice which initially was running out of control, and I wasn’t even aware of it.

Talking therapy and CBT taught me to recognise this, meditation has helped even further, and there is no doubt I am no longer depressed. But still, once a month I would have some kind of emotional blow out. But now, after losing weight I have a regular period, and I could see the correlation between my moods, and my periods.

I have been using the free clue app to track my periods for around a year, and can log mood changes here too, it was undeniable. Around a week before my period it begins, it raises to a crescendo where I feel almost out of control, then the day I get my period it releases. I then have around 3 weeks of normality before I’m off into lala land again.

With this knowledge I began googling “extreme mood swings with period”, “extreme PMS ” and other search terms like this, and I found information about a syndrome known as PMDD, Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder. This is a recognised condition which is believed to affect 3 – 8% of all menstruating women. How could I never have heard of this before?

According to mind.org.uk the symptoms of PMDD are:

“Emotional experiences:

  • mood swings
  • feeling upset or tearful
  • feeling angry or irritable
  • feelings of anxiety
  • feeling hopeless
  • feelings of tension or being on edge
  • difficulty concentrating
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • lack of energy
  • less interest in activities you normally enjoy
  • suicidal feelings.

Physical and behavioural experiences:

  • breast tenderness or swelling
  • pain in your muscles and joints
  • headaches
  • feeling bloated
  • changes in your appetite such as overeating or having specific food cravings
  • sleep problems
  • finding it hard to avoid or resolve conflicts with people around you
  • becoming very upset if you feel that others are rejecting you.

 

You will typically only experience these symptoms for a week or two before your period starts. The symptoms follow your menstrual cycle, so you might find they start to get better when you get your period and will usually have disappeared by the time your period is finished. “

It looks like PMS, but the extreme versions. I can recognise I have many of these symptoms, physical and emotional. My mood swings are on another level, irritability even at minute things is huge. I have considered (not seriously) suicide, many times at this period, thinking that the best thing for all of my family would be for me to not be there. This coming from someone who is mostly happy for the rest of the time, quite an extreme jump to take. I can’t avoid conflict, in fact I am so angry I am looking for it. The conflict is irrational and completely unresolvable. I have achy boobs, bloating is so bad I don’t even weigh myself for that week (and when I have I am up 5 – 7 pounds for around 5 – 7 days). The symptoms disappear as soon as I start my period.

The whole thing is debilitating, but when I know about something I instantly feel that makes me more capable of dealing with it. I’ve not sought a diagnosis, I’m unsure how you even go about that, but looking at the list of symptoms, and with years of historical data, I feel confident in saying I suffer from this.

Last period was the first one since discovering PMDD. In the run up I joined some facebook groups for support and they have been a good resource, although many people post about really out there symptoms, in general I have found them worthwhile. Last period I prepared myself mentally, to know what to expect. With meditation I have tried to be more mindful, so I tried to be aware of my feelings, to recognise when my frustration and anger was taking over, to take a few deep breaths and ask myself whether this was something I really felt, or whether logically if this was something being exacerbated by my hormones.

PMDD

I also spoke to some friends about this and was surprised to learn that one of them thought she had it too, extreme bouts of crying and generally feeling down came her way. The other friend had never heard of it.

While this month was not perfect I do feel it was better than the previous months. I spoke to my husband about all of this and he agreed it is a definite possibility, although was more concerned with how to deal with it rather than knowing it has a name.

There can be some treatment options including the pill and SSRI’s, but if I’m honest after years on and off both of these things and still having this, I feel I want to give mindfulness a try, although I can 100% understand why others feeling this would want to go down the treatment route.

pmdd

I can only hope for me that knowledge is power. I have been practising meditation on and off for years but have meditated every day this year and will continue to do so. Life is too short to let something like this steal 1/4 of my month, every single month. It’s not fair on my family and husband either, so I will try my best to be rational. I feel this is something that could be affecting many others though, hence why I am writing this post. Don’t let it take over, if you think you could be suffering with PMDD, do some research, speak to your doctor, but do something. If you are interested the PMDD group which I joined on facebook can be found here.

Thanks for reading and you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support and updates from me!

sober clubbing

Sober Clubbing Glasgow | Bad Alcohol

This year I have severely cut back on my alcohol consumption, having drank twice or three times, and not much on any of these occasions. This has been an intentional act, not one to make it into my New Years Resolutions as I don’t want to feel tied to it, but over time I have found drinking alcohol agrees with me less and less, for a number of reasons.

As I have aged my hangovers have became awful. Around 20% of the time they are normal level, tired, not right for a day or two. But 80% of the time I can’t move for about 12 hours after drinking without being sick. I fondly (!) remember a night out with friends, having to travel back on the train and being sick in random bins, even in my hands at one point. Honestly, it’s horrific thinking about it. Not only am I sick, I feel awful mentally and physically for at least two days. A general feeling of malaise (never used that word before!), the fear making me not want to leave the house, or engage with anyone ever again. On top of that my filter that stops me stuffing my face completely disappears, and I eat anything in sight, usually fatty, salty takeaways.

After this extreme event I feel awful, binging on food and alcohol clearly doesn’t agree with me, and it often starts a period of overeating. I am also concerned that when I start drinking a frenzy begins and before you know it I’m doing shots and it’s 3 am. This cannot be having a good impact on my liver, or weight loss efforts.

So with all of this in mind I think it’s understandable that I want to cut back on drinking. However, I still want to socialise! I used to love a good night out clubbing, the music, the lights, the dancing, I have always enjoyed it. I’ve never felt hugely confident while out clubbing, and while I have enjoyed nights out there is something about a dark night club full of drunk people that makes me feel on edge.

While on Facebook I saw an event that caught my eye, Sober Clubbing at Ivory Blacks. Vegan snacks and fruit juice to keep you going. My thought process was, “That sounds fun”, “Wait, are you actually brave enough to dance sober, in front of strangers?”, “Will anyone go with you?”.

sober clubbing

I shared this on Facebook and a friend from work said she was up for it, so we booked our tickets. My husband thought it sounded awful, one of my friends said it made them sad. I’m not sure why going out and not drinking has such an affect on people.

sober clubbing

On the 29th May me and my friend went along and it was one of the most fun, liberating nights I have had, no exaggeration. I danced like I have never danced in public, surrounded by like-minded strangers. I was sweating, adorned with a flower garland and glowsticks, and all sober. Mindblowing that I actually managed it, but also mindblowing that I had the best time! Sober Clubbing Part 3 is on the 3rd of June and I’ve already signed up for it with a super early bird ticket.

sober clubbing

There was also a vegan meetup group on meetup.com so may dip my toe in with this next time too. I’d like to get out there and socialise some more and that seems a good way to do it! All round sober clubbing was a hugely positive and enjoyable experience, no hangover, healthy snacks, calories burned and a lot of fun!

Thanks for reading and you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support and updates from me!

 

Hurtful Comments

I’ve had my fair share of hurtful comments along the way, most of them while at my highest weight. Mostly while out at the weekends, where you are trying to make an effort to look nice and some drunk idiot shouts a name at you and brings you crashing down in seconds. If my self esteem was a little stronger these comments probably wouldn’t hurt so much, but I think the issue is deep inside I’m telling myself the same thing. Sad but true and I suspect many people probably feel the same way.

Well tonight I had a hurtful comment from someone I expected more of. I showed them the picture I shared on the site in my last post of my face to face comparison, and proudly told them I was going to post it in my first ever #facetofacefriday. I see people posting in these and #transformationtuesday on Instagram and always want to but have felt like a bit of a fraud until yesterday when I compared those pictures. So it’s great (!) to show them to someone close (the only actual real life person I have shown them to) and have them bring you skidding back into the low self esteem.

When shown the picture, first of all they squinted, took my phone off me. Comment 1 was “Your face looks unhealthily thin in the second picture, I never noticed“. Comment 2 was, “Oh and your skin looked better in the first one“. At this point I bluntly told them to get to f*ck and that they were being totally out of order, this was followed by a quick “But you look much better now!”. Yeah, I don’t believe it. Well, no, that’s not strictly true, I do think I look much better now, I was just completely shocked.

This person has never been hugely supportive of me losing weight, mentioning about not losing too much, what about the loose skin etc etc, focusing on the negatives instead of the massive positives. Never thinking of what I want, health an vitality, seriously, eff the loose skin, I want to live longer, and healthier. Not that they have been unsupportive either, more a casual, slightly disinterested observer. Not revelling in my successes, not kicking me when I’m down. Just completely average.

My instant reaction was to get angry, then sad. Queue 10 minutes of crying to myself listening to Radiohead. I’m not usually a crier but for some reason this really hurt me. This person then accused me looking for a reason to get offended and that I had taken the comment out of context. Asking for clarification of context, they said, I just meant in that picture, of course I look better now. Too little too late I’m afraid.

Honestly, I’m sorry for the rant, but when things like this happen, especially from close people I am so saddened. When you can’t be supported by those closest to you it’s a sad day. Even if they thought what they thought, would that not have been an appropriate time to keep it to themselves? I certainly would have. I would have considered what the other person would have felt. Am I being overdramatic? On edge? They did apologise eventually but now I feel they were forced into it and only did it because they could sense this was a big hurt for me.

This has taught me something I already knew, my self esteem is not in a good place. It never has been. If it was stronger I could have just shrugged this off, but this really upset me. Really, in an idea world, what other people think about me would have little to no effect, because I know and believe what I think about myself. I would like to find some way of working on this. My self esteem has never been good, but losing weight doesn’t appear to have helped it. I’m stuck in this weird place in my head where I’m still 70 pounds heavier, barely able to see the difference in my body. I’m not sure where to go from here with it but I’m always open to suggestions.

Feel free to hit me up on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Any tips for improving self esteem would be much appreciated.

Bad weekend…

Unfortuantely not all of my posts are positive and successful, sometimes reality bites and you just mess it up all by yourself. My mess up this week started on Saturday morning. I was out with my husband and daughter picking up something from my husbands work, while waiting in the car I went on Facebook and saw that the Love Vegan Festial was on in nearby Partick. I had went down as an interested in this a while back, but I was only 20 minutes away now so convinced my husband a quick trip there would be worth it.

Well, we all know the main reason for going to these events, food. Vegan junk food, everywhere. I was fasting, but duly bought a huge sgaia mheats roll, pizza, pies, doughnuts, cakes, pretty much everything unhealthy. I didn’t eat anything there though and brought it home as to not completely destroy my eating window. Around 2pm I had the sgaia roll, it was so salty and oily, the complete opposite to my recent diet. While it was delicious I think my body was in shock. I had to go for a lie down afterwards and drink about a litre of water. Later on that evening I had my dinner (not a hugely healthy one!), then half a doughnut and a fairly cake. The icing was so sweet I had to scrape it off, again, I think my taste buds have changed. My daughter scraped hers off too, she is pretty healthy nowadays so I think suffers from the same problem when it comes to sugar.

Next day I was so bloated, my weight was a way up, clearly because of the sodium as there was no way I could have put on even 1 single pound from that afternoon. I ended up out all day again, and had a reasonable day, fasting until 3 pm which was very late for me at the weekend but felt necessary after feeling so bloated the day before.

Dinner rolled around, and what happened? A chinese! Vegetable Curry with boiled rice and salt and chilli mini spring rolls. A huge portion, to be fair I barely ate anything else that day but after an already bloated day it is safe to say when I stepped on the scales on Monday I could have cried. I was up 7 pounds. Impossible to have gained that in fat, if one poun is 3500 calories I would have had to have eaten 24,500 extra calories, which I clearly didn’t. Sunday and Monday were not good days for my mental health either, I had a real dip, one of the first I have had in a long time, now it is Tuesday, looking back I believe that in part was due to what I was eating.

I took double water with me to work Monday and Today and I’m beginning to flush some of it out of my system. I was down a pound a half this morning and hopefully tomorow it’ll be more. I’m just so annoyed at myself for going so out of control for a weekend, I am so close to onederland, and I feel sometimes I start self sabotaging at this point.

Yesterday and Today have been good with food, I have done two 20 hour fasts back to back, and if the weather is nice I’m going to head out for a run tomorrow. I suppose the plus side to this is that I have stopped it before it went any further. I still fasted, so it could have been worse there too. And, the food made me feel downright ill, physically and mentally. Plus the flavours were overwhelming. If I am being honest it has put me off some of it, so maybe that’s a win overall!

Hopefully next week I’ll reach the elusive onderland. I’ve got a couple of social occasions coming up so I really want to stick with it during the week 100% so the weekends don’t impact me too hard.

Thanks for reading and you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support and updates from me!

Race for Life | 5k

I’m taking part in the Race for Life in Irvine in June later this year and while it is just a 5k and I have no doubts I can run the length of it the main thing that is worrying me is my speed, or lack thereof. I am running it with 4 lovely other ladies from work including the owner of the business, and it’s safe to say they are all significantly smaller (and fitter!) than me, although I believe I run the most out of everyone.

Part of my aim with focusing on losing weight is that it will help me speed up, I’m still so slow, between 7:30 – 8 minutes a km, taking around 40 minutes for a 5k. My aim is to cut this down to around 30 minutes for a 5k before June, although I have no idea whether that is realistic or not! It seems quite a big jump, and I’m not sure how to start making gains with my speed.

I’m giving myself until mid April (around two months to go) before I really start making an attempt to get my speed up, that gives me around another month to lose weight while running normally, then two months to focus on speed, I just don’t want to embarass myself! (Plus it would be nice if I could run a bit faster, especially if I’m considering a half marathon later in the year)

You can sponsor me here although that is totally not needed. I actually feel a bit cringey even posting the link, but it is for a good cause! Plus this may be good training for something a little longer later in the year.

Thanks for reading and you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support and updates from me!

What I think about tesco as a vegan

What I think about Tesco as a vegan?

A bit of a weird title but “What I think about tesco as a vegan?” was the question asked by my omnivore husband this week. This comes off the back of the range of vegan ready meals launched this week, Wicked Kitchen . I’ve already tried a few  and have even been to two separate tesco’s to get them and my opinion on the taste of them is that they are delicious. They are plant based, don’t use fake meats/cheese and while I have absolutely nothing against these (and eat them from time to time), these meals are really tasty and don’t need the fake stuff. They are also pretty healthy for ready meals, £4 a pop is pretty steep but for an occasional treat (and in place of a takeaway!) it’s great to have options.

A conversation with my husband about these lead the above question, what I thought about tesco. I felt a bit annoyed at this question initially but dug deeper to try to understand what he really was asking. I asked, in what way? He said morally, they are one of the worst companies out there ethically, and sell mostly non vegan food, so what do you think about them. Here are my thoughts:

  1. I feel like people judge vegans way more strictly on their ethics than they do non-vegans. Do I go around asking non-vegans about what they think about tesco? It’s like being vegan is taken as a target on your back, and you are expected to have much higher ethics in every single area of your life. Now I know, vegans probably do consider ethics in some areas more, certainly when it comes to using animals. But being vegan does no equate to being more ethical in every area of life. They are unrelated in my opinion. Veganism is defined by the vegan society as“… a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” Nothing to do with other ethical areas. Do I think vegans consider ethics more in other areas too? I don’t know, some certainly do, some don’t. Do I feel comfortable with the ethics of Tesco? Not particularly. Why do I shop there? Because of number 2…
  2. I have a lack of choice. Realistically, the way the world is built, and where I live in it, the main options for quick easy shopping are large supermarkets. I feel when it comes to the ethics of these (Asda, Tesco, Sainsburys, Lidl, Aldi etc) they are all probably pretty similar. My life is busy, I work a full time job, have a family, try to look after myself somewhat, have pets etc, and have limited time to shop/look for other options. Therefore I shop at places like Tesco. If there were other options in my area I would definitely look into them. I do look to see if there are local shops/delivery options but really where I live in the West Coast of Scotland (Inverclyde), there isn’t many choices. If there are some out there which you know please let me know too!
  3. Non-vegan food. Obviously Tesco et. al sell mostly non-vegan food. As a vegan I don’t like this. But, surely the more vegan food they sell the less space and demand they have for non-vegan food, the less non-vegan food they order, the less animals are killed, the less animals are bred and on and on. Tesco recently shut some meat and fish counters due to lack of demand and the new ready meals have been selling out all over the country. Just eat has seen a ridiculous rise of 987% for vegetarian food and the RSPCA says there has been a 37% rise in demand for meat alternatives. This can surely only lead to less animal death. All of those statistics are for the UK only, I’m aware in other areas of the world meat consumption is increasing, but for the UK this is great news, and I am confident this will spread. I believe people are slowly waking up to the fact that meat is bad for the planet, bad for people and I think concern for animal rights is beginning to grow.

So there it is, my opinion on tesco as a vegan. Bit of a weird one I know but worth a post I thought!

Remember you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support and updates from me!

January 2018 Progress Report February 2018 Weight Loss Report

New Years Resolutions | Word for 2018

Well another year is drawing to a close, I’m left marvelling at how 2017 passed so quickly. I already covered in my last post how I felt that 2017 was overall a success, but it is time to look to the New Year,make plans for how I want 2018 to go, an set an intentional word for 2018.

Last year when making my resolutions I purposefully steered clear of specific weight loss targets. I had lost some weight and hit some major plateaus, this year has been fairly similar. Last year I also decided to set a word for the year, and throughout times in 2017 I have tried to keep that word, Simplify, in mind. I did simplify a lot of my daily routines, food and exercise. This year, weight loss is in the forefront of my mind. I know, it’s not linear, I only have so much control over how much I can do, but I feel I’m ready to make a good long push to get off the rest. I’m around halfway, half to go, I’m sure I can do it. Therefore, my word for 2018 is Focus. I’m focusing on losing around 5 stone. It may seem a lot, I’m not sure whether my body will play ball but I’ve decided 2018 is the year when I give it my all. So, how am I going to change my behaviour to do this? Some of it is based off of what I already do, and some is taking it a little further,

Word for 2018 – Focus

Fasting

On work days I will follow 18:6, fasting for 18 hours every day, and having an eating window of 6. I will start eating at 1 pm, and finish by 7. Now I honestly don’t know whether fasting will be a massive help with weight loss but logic dictates, if I am less time to eat I should eat less. Towards the end of this year I have been fasting, but in all honesty I’ve been eating too much in the window, taking it as a time to really force food in. I’ve not gained (maybe over Christmas though!) but it’s not helped me lose. One thing about fasting though is that I feel great when I follow it, I am full of energy, generally not hungry, feel lighter and just feel good.

Whole Foods Plant Based Diet

I already “mostly” follow a whole foods plant based diet. I’m taking this a step further in 2018. I’m going to cut down drastically on oil, sugar and processed foods. My first meal of the day when fasting will be a large smoothie full of fruit and vegetables. If hungry after this I will have a salad a little later in the afternoon. In the evening I will have a fairly large, mostly plant based meal. For example Risotto, Pasta, Chilli, Curry, Stir fry, Rice and vegetables. Certain things will be staples, all green vegetables, all vegetables in general, paired with wholegrains, legumes, beans. Snacks will need to be looked at carefully, I want to start being more smart with snacks, rice cakes, things not full of sugar, not just jump to a packet of crisps. I’m still going to be loosely calorie counting and using myfitnesspal, but not to be strict with calories, more to watch my nutrition. I believe that you can really pack away lots of whole fruits and veggies without thinking too much about calories.

Goodbye Takeaways

This is going to be a huge one for me and I feel I have really sabotaged myself this year with takeaways. I am busy with work, I am out every day from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm, my husband is an awful cook, therefore it’s down to me to provide the meal every night. A lot of evenings I am feeling lazy, it’s not tiredness as such, just a desire to not be cooking. We will then get a takeaway. This is at least once a week, but usually it’s at least twice. It costs a fortune, a family of 4 is at least £30 a time, twice a week is £60, every month that is £240 and that is a really low estimate. I hate it, but for some reason I keep doing it. This is a behaviour I am going to work really hard to change. I will allow myself two lunch time takeaways a month (sandwiches/pasta/subway/possibly a burger king) and one big takeaway dinner a month, probably a Chinese. If my husband still wants them occasionally that’s fine, I’m not in control of him or his choices, but for me, and the kids, on those nights I can’t be bothered my first choice will be to pop to a supermarket and get something convenient, a tofu stir fry, sweet potatoes to pop in the microwave and have with beans, even a plant based microwave pot. I just cannot justify it any longer. Taking away the money, and the hindrance to weight loss, I always feel awful after eating them! I eat way too much, it’s full of salt and oil, yeah, they have to go.

Focus goes into more than the weight loss too, I have signed up for 2018 in 2018 with the aim again of getting rid of much of my possessions. The more I get rid of the less time I spend cleaning, that really does go hand in hand so I’m back on the bandwagon. I also want to focus on spending less and saving more. We want to go on a family holiday this year, I’d like to pay off some debt and even save a little. All of this should be possible with some cuts in some areas, re-prioritising in others.
Meditation again is something I want to keep up over the year too, it helps me in ways other things don’t, keeping me grounded, aware of the now, not so caught up in mind. I also want to keep blogging, blog more in fact, I’m going to need the support and accountability in the year ahead.

So that’s my 2018. My only tangible goal this year is 5 stone (at least) in one year. I’m putting all my focus into that and I’m going to do it.

Remember you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I’m going to need you all during 2018 for support ?

New Years Resolutions/ Reflecting on 2017

Reflecting on 2017 | A Successful Year

It’s that time of year where you look back at the year that’s passed and begin to make new plans for the year ahead. I would say that 2017 for me has been a pretty good year! I got a full time graduate developer/IT job which I enjoy and I got a new car which isn’t completely falling apart, that has released a lot of anxiety and stress I used to feel.

Last year I set the word simplify as my word of 2017, along with some tangible goals which I will recap:

  • Simplify my diet/Eat more plant based
  • Simplify my exercise/Run a 10k
  • Simplify my house and routines
  • Simplify my waste/Recycle

When it comes to simplifying my diet and eating more plant based I did pretty good! The plant based simple menu I came up with in January last year was pretty much followed, nearly every single week (although we’re all a bit fed up with tomato pasta!). I definitely ate more plants, however I did feel we ate a lot more takeaways. I’m putting this down to the new job (being out of the house from 7:30 am – 6:00 pm takes its toll) and having more money. This is something I’m going to address next year.

Simplifying my exercise and running a 10k. Well that was well and truly smashed. I ran the 10k in October, never did I really think it was possible. I’ve barely ran since, weather and time, but as soon as the weather improves I’m getting back out there. I also went back to swimming and rejoined the gym for when I can actually make it.

Simplifying my house and routines was more mixed, I took part in 2017 items in 2017 and failed miserably, only getting rid of 680. However added to my 1000+ from November 2016 I think that’s not too bad. I still have a lot I want to get rid of so I’m back in for 2018 in 2018 and determined to complete it this time!

Simplifying my waste didn’t really go anywhere, I am recycling more but this is something I want to look at again.

Losing weight wasn’t a goal I set myself last year, I knew that while I was trying to lose I had to focus on other things for a while, but I’m over 20 pounds down in the year without focusing too much. That though will be different in 2018 but more on that early next week.

Overall I would say a successful year. The highlights have been getting the job and running the 10k but overall it has been good, my family are well and healthy, animals are fine (17 year old cat is still going!), I’ve met and spent time with great people old and new and I will look back on 2017 with fondness.

I also just wanted to say a massive thank you to anyone reading this! I can see from google analytics that some people are actually coming here to read what I say which is kind of scary considering I mostly talk/type rubbish, but it is really appreciated. I have been quiet on Instagram for a while, in all honesty I just needed a break from weight loss as a whole but with the New Year approaching I’m feeling re energised again and would love for anyone else on this journey (or any!) to give me a follow/send me a message.

You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit.

I hope everyone has a lovely New Year and I will see you on the other side!

My Approach to Social Media

This post comes off the back of a mammoth post about veganism, and specifically the damage caused by red meat to both humans and the environment, made by my husband on Facebook recently which sparked a lot of debate (and outrage from some).

My husband’s general way of using Social Media is very brash, he has no care for offending anyone, deeming offence solely with the reader. I do agree with this, however, my approach to social media is the opposite to his. Instead of not caring at all about others I worry too much that I may offend them! This is on my personal page, on my diminishing vegan page I post anything as my thoughts are that people have to go there to follow it therefore are fine with what I say.

I noticed pre any vegan related posts I used to get a lot of likes on things. Now please believe me when I say that I couldn’t care less whether lots of people “liked” what I have said. But I have noticed a sharp decline since I went vegan. My assumption is that people who I’m not that close to have unfollowed me. Of course that is people’s right to, the truth is hard to take especially from someone you went to school with in the mid 90’s and have never seen in person since. It’s easier to hide than read and think.

This correlation though between veganism and likes made me think about whether I was offending people, was I doing wrong by sharing things about veganism? I never shared any graphic content, more interesting articles and information I thought people may not know, often not even saying anything of my own.

My worry about this led to this website, my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I occasionally shared something on facebook, usually about visiting a vegan festival or the like, but I pretty much stopped sharing information. That was until I witnessed the blow up on my husband’s status. A lot of people on his status said that this was not the right way about getting your point across, but having done it the other way for a year a half I can say he got more reaction than I ever have!

So I have started sharing on my personal facebook again, I ensure as far as I can what I share is from a legitimate source, try to find academic backup, and I even give a commentary on it.

So far I’ve had one bacon joke, original eh? I’m going to keep posting. It is too important not to. Climate change has been in the news so much recently and many people don’t even know the impact their diet has on the planet. If they don’t care about animals, surely they will care about what happens to their children/grandchildren. I need to take a page out of my husbands book and just get on with it, and stop worrying about things I have no control over, it is not on me to think about the offence of every single person on my Facebook!

How much do you share on Facebook? Do you think about what others think about you?

Remember you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, My Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support 🙂

Apologies for my absence…| New Job

Hello to anyone reading! I can only apologise for my absence, things have been very hectic in my life in the last few weeks.

Two weeks ago I started my first graduate job. This is something I’d been trying to get since the start of the year so I’m lucky and grateful it didn’t take me that long to get, and I’m in a place with great people, where I’m going to learn a lot of new skills, doing things slightly different from my degree but familiar enough to be comfortable with. My background is with computers, computer programming, totally different from this blog. For a long time I seriously doubted my skills in this area, ridiculous considering I got very good results at University at Undergraduate and Postgraduate, I think I suffer with imposter syndrome, which is very common according to the internet.

Getting this job has been a massive step forward for me, even attending interviews and attempting to speak about my skills was a huge hurdle. I think the hardest bit was getting my head around the fact that I could actually manage a professional job, I just didn’t believe it for a long time. It has also led to a shift in my whole lifestyle. I’m no longer available to pick the kids up from school, I’m not at home during the day, I’m adjusting to having less free time.

There is another side to this too though, I’m actually beginning to believe in myself. I am gradually realising that I’m perfectly fine at what I’m doing, yes, I am needing to learn a lot of new skills but surely this can only be a good thing in the long term. It is expanding my knowledge, that in the future can be used, and I actually love learning. I’m interacting with new people daily, and I love meeting new people. And the obvious benefit to working, having more money.

I know, I consider myself a minimalist (of some version), and I will not be rushing out to start going mad with consumerism. But there are some things in life that require money, for example a car that actually works, or holidays. These are things that I’ve just not been in a position to think about, but now I will be, and I believe our family life while being different is going to improve.

So again, I apologise for my quietness, things are changing in my life, it is on a different trajectory, but that doesn’t change that I’m still me, a vegan trying to lose weight. I will be trying to post more regularly from now, so hang with me please!

Remember you can find me on facebook, twitter, instagram, my fitness pal and fitbit, feel free to follow and interact with me on any or all.

 

Why I get up at 5 am | Early Rising

5 am

If anyone had suggested to me when I was younger that not too far in the future I would firmly believe 5 am is the best time to start your day, I would have laughed my head off. I was always an early riser, but 5 am was still the day before in my mind. 7 was acceptable, 6 was early, 5…madness.

But every day, my alarm is set for 5:02 am, that includes weekends (mostly). Why I hear you ask? There are a few reasons for me but I suppose if I was breaking it into three distinct areas, they would be as follows, peace and quiet, self reflection, routine.

Peace and Quiet

The world can be a busy, loud place. I live on a main road, it’s got cars on it at all times, a lot of cars. All day long I hear them in the background going past. When you get up at 5 am, you can hear the birds. There are cars too, but a lot less than during the later hours of the morning. In addition to being quieter externally, it is also quiet in my house. When I get up it’s just me and my cat and dog. I feed them, give them some attention, they wander around after me, happy to see someone else up. The kids and my husband are asleep. I love this time for that reason. I grew up an only child and really cherish alone time. Getting up at 5 am allows me to have this.

Self Reflection

What I do at 5 am differs depending on what day it is, but there is always an element of self reflection, and self improvement. Every day I meditate for at least 5 minutes, more if I have time. At the moment I’m using the free app insight timer, this has many different types of meditation, to music, nature, my favourite though at this time are guided, I find hearing the voice lead me keeps me on track. Currently I am meditating to forgiveness based meditations, but I have followed anxiety, self esteem and many other types. Starting my day with meditation is a beautiful and calming start to the day. Next up my day branches depending on later plans although I will usually have coffee at this point. I may include journalling, I try to do this daily, although sometimes if I can’t fit it in during the morning I do this at night. I also have a book of ideas to write about, to aid creativity, I find this a fun addition to my days, and do it at least 5 out of 7. I also write blog posts in the morning, scheduling them for later publishing. I may also do some yoga, especially when it’s a nice clear morning and the sun is rising.

Again, depending on the day, I leave to go to the gym around 5:45 am for a 6 am opening. On days I don’t go to the gym I take my dog out for a walk around 6 am. It is important for me to get exercise in early, it means that I can get on with the day and know I have done some activity.

Routine

Routine for me is really the underlying reason and motivation for getting up early. I have suffered with depression on and off for many years, and if I have a good, healthy routine, diet, and exercise included, this generally keeps it at bay. Getting up early gives me the chance to combine work on me, and peace and quiet, so it’s a win win. Getting up early allows for me to think about my day, and what I would like it to be about, setting an intention for myself, which I find very helpful.

One thing that does suffer as a result of getting up so early is my ability to stay up late at night, although I was never a night owl, now I like to be in bed for around 10, and I have a marvellous knack of being able to fall asleep in seconds. I usually get around 6.5 to 7.5 hours sleep, this may seem a little low but over the years I seem to have settled on this being sufficient, if I’m any under 6.5 I begin to feel a little tired, but anywhere in my 6.5 to 7.5 window and I’m great, no tiredness throughout the day. Sleep is so important, there is no point getting up at 5 am if you aren’t going to sleep until midnight. For me, those morning hours are more important and useful than the night time ones, where I would generally be sitting about watching TV, or eating!

There is a podcast I listen to that is really big advocate of early rising, plus he is also vegan, so definitely worth a listen, the 5 am miracle by Jeff Sanders, he is one of the most positive people I have listened to, his energy is really inspiring, so if you are looking for some motivation to get up early, or some productivity tips in general, I definitely recommend checking him out. What time do you get up? Do you have any other routines you would like to share? Feel free to comment on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

Minimalism in 2017 | Simplify for 2017

In the spirit of my word of the year, simplify, this post lays out what I am doing regarding minimalism in 2017. As I’ve previously covered, my desire to move towards a minimalist life is driven by a few desires, one of these is using less time to clean, organise and generally think about my house, plus to cut down on the stress associated with it.

My scenario a few months ago, I was tired, swimming uphill, my house was always messy, not the end of the world messy, but messy enough for me to look about daily and inwardly say “Why is it like this? How do I spend so long tidying and it never gets any better?” The door would knock, my heart would pound, I have fairly bad anxiety attached to the house and other people, and the door knocking would send me into an inward frenzy. Don’t get me wrong, it was never awful, but the untidiness added to my anxiety meant it was bad enough for me to know I had to do something about it. I had implemented many cleaning routine, a timer, flylady, the app unfuck your habitat, breaking every task into a time limit and doing one hour a day, every day, massive weekend cleans, roping in the kids, I had tried pretty much everything, nothing worked. My house was still messy.

Why did nothing work? Because even with my good intentions, I had too much stuff. It is impossible to keep your house tidy and clean with too much stuff (unless you are willing to spend many hours doing this, which I wasn’t, and even then I think it’s impossible really). I would spend all my time moving things back to their “place” and when I got there the place was usually full, so the offending item would pile on top of other offending items. Cleaning? The surface cleaning happened with regularity, but when you have so much stuff, deep cleaning is once in a blue moon.

Having toyed with minimalism previously, and having got rid of a lot of stuff before I still hadn’t made much headway, it always seemed to creep back in somehow.

So last year I took part in the minsgame, I got rid of over 1500 items. To the normal house this may leave you in an oasis of calm and emptiness. Not to my house! It’s still full, granted a lot less full than it was previously. I actually managed to get through Christmas and New Year without household chaos, and keep the place reasonably clean and tidy. We also bought the kids a lot less this year, my son an xbox and daughter a starter laptop, but not loads of small, space consuming presents. My husband, not full on board, said on Christmas Eve, there is no big things, we should have got big things. He felt uncomfortable with the amount there was there, I felt joy. Glad I had made it to Christmas without caving. The kids were over the moon with what they got. Everything has been used, nothing discarded in the living room.

So overall it was a good Christmas season, I am evaluating every single object that comes into our house, and I’m back on the getting rid train.

For 2017 I have joined a facebook group of lovely supportive people called 2017 in 2017. The aim, as the name suggests is to get rid of 2017 items in 2017. I’m pretty sure I can manage considering I got rid of 1500 in November 2016, however this 2017 is going to be considerably harder! I have tied it into a new round of the minsgame for January, giving me a fairly slow start. Some people in the group have already got rid of hundreds of things, myself I have got rid of 10 (1 + 2 + 3 + 4). I will keep going though with my quest to minimalism. It’s worth it. My cleaning time is already far lower than it was and I’ve implemented a new cleaning routine I’ve now followed for a month, and my house (and head) is thanking me for it. We even had a friend over the other day and all it took was a 15 minute going over.

That’s minimalism in 2017 for me, a simple goal, rid myself of 2017 items. Continue to clean my house. Be happy and spend more time on the important stuff. If you think you’d like to join in, please join the facebook group and use the hashtag #2017in2017out on social media.

New Years Resolutions/ Reflecting on 2017

New Years Resolutions | Word for 2017

New Years Resolutions and my Word of 2017

The Christmas season is drawing to an end, and for me this year it has been a good one. I missed my mum and dad a lot this year, my mother in law couldn’t make it over due to illness so it was just myself, husband and kids, which made not having my mum and dad a little more raw I think, but despite that we still had a great time, completely overindulged and enjoyed the period. For New Years Eve we stayed overnight at friends, they have a little girl, so we took our kids and dog too. Said friend made a delicious meal, some of which was especially vegan, which was much appreciated!

While we had a lovely time, I’m glad for some normality to return. I do usually make some New Years Resolutions, but its 50/50 whether I manage to finish them, although I believe in the past I have made them a little open ended, which doesn’t help with completion. Really, you must aim for a finish point to be able to say you succeeded. (Last year my daughters was to go through an automatic car wash for example, very random but we completed it in the Summer).

For 2017 I have decided to use a word I would like to motivate my year, and additionally i have two completable new years resolutions which tie together a lot of other areas I would like to focus on.

My word for 2017 is Simplify.

Simplifying for me means making changes in my life to cut out unecessary thinking, decisions and time. I feel I spend too much time thinking, and doing tasks and jobs that with a little work could be cut significantly, leaving time and thought process for more important areas of my life, that I would like to succeed in.

Simplifying my diet is my number one simplifcation. I’m moving to a more plant based whole foods vegan approach. Less processed food, less oil, less bread, less sugar, more whole plants, fruits, legumes, wholegrains. I love big portions and food in general, but big portions only work when food is low in calories, big portions of processed, sugary, salty food makes me (and I’d imagine others) gain weight. I love vegetables, I feel food when I eat them, so that’s what I’m going to do. I doubt I’ll be perfect, but losing weight is a massive priority for me, and I think moving to whole foods will be an amazing step in the right direction.

Simplifying exercise comes in next but is also tied to diet. One of my new years resolutions is to run a 10k race. This is a resolution that can be gained with work, it has an end point. Simplifying my exercise for me means a focus on walking and running, and not overthinking it too much, just to get out and do it. Even if it’s a walk/jog. I have my gym membership but I’ve not used it enough, so fitting in the gym and treadmill are on my list of priorities.

Simplifying my house and household routines via minimalism is very important to me. I took a huge step last year getting rid of over 1500 things in November that I didn’t need or use, but I still have a long way to go until I reach a level I am happy with. My cleaning routine is faster now than it ever has been, and additionally, my house looks cleaner than it ever has. Funny how those things tie together. There is still a way to go though. For January I am back on the minsgame challenge, but for the year as a whole I have joined a facebook group to help me reach New Years Resolution number two, get rid of 2017 things in 2017. I don’t expect this to be too hard, and I would like to have it done well before the end of next year, but I think 2017 will be the year where I start to really put my money where my mouth is, and take minimalism seriously. We had successes at Christmas, our kids still got many Christmas presents, but less than previous years, and they were over the moon with what they go. They have used what they got, there isn’t endless piles of pointless stuff still lying around the living room. I know stuff is not the answer.

Additionally, and I guess tying in to the last simplify, I would like to simplify my waste. I can’t see me reaching the dizzying heights of zero waste any time soon, but waste is bad for the planet. I’m already doing a good job on the planetary front with veganism, but another area in my life I am interested in targeting is waste reduction. I recycle already, but could recycle more. I am looking for shops in the area where you can buy with less packaging, and if eating whole foods there will be less anyway. Additionally, I am looking into composting leftovers indoors, I don’t have a garden sadly, but that shouldn’t stop me.

There are many other things I am looking to continue throughout the year, bullet journalling, blogging, meditation and yoga, these all help me keep a healthy mind. I also have big changes on the horizon, I am in the early stages of setting up a new education business, this will require much concentration and work, and a large part of simplifying other areas of my life is so that I can give my business the focussed time it needs without many other distractions. I know the new business is massively important, but I need to clear space in my head (and home) to give it the time it deserves. Simplification does this.

So there are my aims for the year, run a 10k, get rid of 2017 things and simplify. What are your aims for the year? I’d love to hear on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

Happy Birthday Mum | Grief

I’m not really sure what category to put this post under, but I would like to say Happy Birthday Mum. She would have been 73 years old today, sadly, she died on the 14th September 2013, when we were in the process of planning for her 70th birthday.

My mum was a truly wonderful person, she had her issues in life, but generally, she was a great mum and she was my true best friend. When I was a child we were very close, when I hit my teenage years we struggled. She was just trying to guide me, but in a way that made me feel like a child and often caused me to rebel. Thankfully, as I grew up and especially when I had my son, our relationship healed, and we became closer than ever.

I could talk to my mum about anything, and I did, frequently. Her number was on speed dial, we often did that thing of calling each other at exactly the same time and one of us being able to hear the other dialling. We talked ten times a day sometimes, I bounced nearly every decision off of her, valued her input, learned from her, we laughed, we cried, she was the best mum I could have wished for.

Around the start of 2013 she started suffering a shortness of breath, especially when doing anything that caused exertion. She didn’t like exercise, she didn’t even enjoy walking, and now this caused her to get out of breath even over small distances. She went for numerous tests, heart, lungs, all was found to be normal. Still the shallowness of breath continued. The doctors even insinuated that she was imagining it, she did have a habit of focusing on illness, and what was wrong with her, occasionally taking to bed for a day or two at a time. I used to joke with her, come on mum, it’s in your head! I remember the day me, my children, my mother in law and her went to view me and my husbands potential wedding venue, the walk to it was awful for her, she had to stop continually. I was worried, but the doctors had told us there was nothing wrong with her.

I suggested to her that perhaps she had asthma, I had it as a child and the symptoms seemed similar enough to suggest it. She visited the nurse, and their verdict? Not asthma, but COPD. (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder). A very mild case, completely treatable with medication. She had smoked for much of her adult life, but had stopped around 20 years previous.

She was given a little inhaler and started treatment. Then she got a cold, which progressed to a chest infection. She took to bed, ill, unable to move much in part down to the shortness of breath. Eventually, after a couple of days, my otherwise completely healthy mother had to be hospitalised.

She was sent to a local hospital, but eventually they were so worried about her she was moved from the island she lived on to a larger hospital, closer to where I lived. I visited her with my children after school on Friday 13th of September, she was in bed, with an oxygen mask on, awake though and speaking to the kids. I remember she had a look of mild panic in her eyes, she hated being ill and was scared being in the hospital. I sat with her for about an hour, told her I was going to stay with my dad, he was 83 at that point, with parkinsons disease and other health problems. We would be over the next morning. I hugged her, kissed her, stroked her hand, told her not to worry. The kids jumped up on the bed and spoke to her. The last thing I told her was I would see her tomorrow and I loved her very much.

I went to my dad’s house and we settled in for a normalish evening, other than the undertones of worry, but telling ourselves she was in the best place.

Around 10.30 that night, the phone rang. It was a doctor, speaking to my dad he asked “Why was your wife not being treated for low oxygen?” What? We didn’t know she should have been. This sounded ominous. Around half an hour later the phone rang again, the doctor again, this time asking for a full run down of her symptoms, he had her notes but he wanted us to describe it. My dad did.

We had a cup of tea in the kitchen, and spoke about how worrying and unusual this felt. I decided to try to go to bed, my logic being the sooner I got to sleep the sooner it was the next morning. I was sleeping with my daughter, in my mums bed, surrounded by all of her belongings, her smell, everything except her.

I was woken, at around 2.00 in the morning, no light on in the room but with my dad standing over the end of the bed, a silhouette only, saying “Fiona, you need to get up, the police are here, your mum is dead”. It felt as if my head exploded and heart broke simultaneously. I started screaming from the millisecond what he had said registered. I stumbled out of bed, walked into the living room, catching a glimpse of myself in a mirror in the hall. I will never forget the look I had on my face. Horror, shock, like my world had just fallen apart. My son was awake in the living room, I glanced at him, but kept walking, into the kitchen, to find my dad sitting at the same table we had sat at a few hours previously, with two police people, a man and a woman I think.

I was still screaming. What happened? How? This can’t be happening. I need to get there. This is not happening. Shriller and shriller, the tears were flowing, time stood still.

It transpired that the doctor had phoned my dad back not long before 2, and told him she had died. She had a panic attack and they had given her some tranquilliser to calm her down, it didn’t work, they thought her heart had stopped but would need to do an autopsy. There was nothing they could have done and they were very sorry. My dad, in a daze, hadn’t hung the phone up correctly, and they heard him hysterical in the background. They called the police and asked them to go to the house. My dad had known for at least ten minutes before the police came to the door. That breaks my heart, that he hadn’t told me and suffered alone. What he must have been going through.

I phoned my husband, he was stuck on the mainland, the boats to the island went off overnight. I was barely understandable, still screaming and crying. I felt as if I would never stop. He phoned his mum, she lived nearby, she came to the house and was just there. I will always appreciate that. I don’t know how I would have made it through that first hour without her. I wandered out into the street. It was the middle of the night. I was praying to be knocked over, or murdered, so the pain would go away. The pain of loss was overwhelming, every second felt like an hour, as my brain attempted to reprogram itself into the “Accept your mum is dead and you will never see her again” mindset. Safe to say that didn’t work for about a year.

I’m not a religious person, I don’t believe I will see her again. I’m happy for people who believe they will, but for me that is the easy choice, the path of least resistance. I wonder, for the people who believe they will see them again, does it make their suffering any easier? Either way, for me, she is gone. Her beautiful, supportive, loving light was out. And I was going to need to live my life without her. It was 8 days before my 31st birthday. Not a baby, but I assumed I would have her for many more years. My dad was the older parent, the sicker parent, and now the reality that my mum was dead was also bringing with it the reality that in the not too distant future I would be an adult orphan. 621 days to be exact.

The whole first year was a bit of a daze. I had my birthday a few days later, myself and some very close friends went to a local pub for drinks. Inside, I was dying, but I was grateful to be surrounded by the people closest to me. My mother in law watched the kids a lot in the first few days, I was unstable, prone to episodes of hysterical crying, my face was red raw from all the crying. I had to go and buy eye drops to moisturise my eyes. I stayed at my dad’s house for nearly two weeks, we had to wait that long for the autopsy and funeral. The funeral took place on the 30th September. I spoke at it, I felt I needed to. Everyone already knew, but I wanted to make sure everyone knew what a great person she was. Everyone said I did well. I barely remember it.

I continued going to uni somehow, it was my 3rd year, the hardest year. I made it through with one re-sit. I’m not sure how, but I did, and went on to fourth year. It was around about 6 months after my dad got diagnosed with a brain tumour. He died 2 weeks after I finished my fourth year of university. I will do a separate post about my dad at some point.

I was lucky to get the parents I had. I loved them, cherished them, respected them, and for some reason never really considered life without them. I’m now over 3 years down the line from my mum dying, and a year and a half from my dad. Life does have a way of keeping you going. Things will never be the same, but good does come out of the pain. I am able now to think about them and smile, laugh, remember the good times without having an emotional breakdown (although it still happens occasionally). But every day I think of them, what I would give for a single conversation. I’m sad my children will grow up without fully experiencing their love, but I speak about them regularly and keep the memory of them alive. I look at pictures of them, sometimes I cry, sometimes I smile.

Do I have any final words? Cherish your parents and anyone you live while you still have them, she shock of my mum dying taught me that death can come out of nowhere, a long time before you think you’re ready, so make the most of the important people every single day. Something else I’m working on, which is easier said that one, live a life you won’t regret. Time marches on quickly, and I don’t want to look back in my elderly years (if I even make it that far) and regret how I lived my youth.

Happy Birthday Mum.

Happy Birthday Mum

 

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