The Diminishing Vegan

Veganism and Weight Loss

Category: Personal (Page 1 of 2)

Lockdown During Coronavirus

Lockdown during Coronavirus – Covid 19

I thought I would do a post with my current routine during this lockdown during coronavirus, and my efforts to not gain/lose weight (which isn’t doing great so far!)

We are currently in lockdown, only allowed to leave the house for strict reasons,

  • Essential shopping
  • One set of exercise with your family group or at least 2m apart from others
  • Urgent Medical Appointments
  • To and from work if required, but should only be essential

I have been working from home since the 13th March so have settled into it, but I am struggling a bit. I am good at logging in at start time, taking a break at lunch time and finishing at end time, but working in the same room all day as you usually relax in does make it a little more difficult to relax.

I am still getting up early, around 5:30 am. When I wake up I am meditating using the Waking Up app by Sam Harris. I was finding that my mind was running at a million miles per hour, and I wasn’t really aware of it, so I have introduced morning meditations and it seems to be helping. First morning I could barely stop thinking, but this is improving and I find during the day I am a little more mellow.

This is followed by either going for a short run, followed by my cooldown being a short dog walk, or a long dog walk in the morning. I haven’t been regularly exercising for a while, so the run is tough but I am trying to build up and just ensure I am getting outside for a bit. I’m currently fasting for around 18 hours. No breakfast for me, but I make it for everyone else in the morning before work.

Just before work starts I plan what my daughter will do that day with her school work. We are using a mix of work provided by the school, additional resources such as BBC Bitesize and Khan Academy, and time spent playing her musical instrument. She is pretty self motivated and just gets on with it unless she runs into any issues.

At lunch I get off my laptop for the whole hour. I have been doing some jobs in or for the garden at lunch time. My kitchen is currently looking like a makeshift greenhouse with seed trays everywhere. I will do a longer post about my garden and growing ambitions at some point soon (once things start growing!).

I’m then back on work for a few hours. After work I do some cleaning while making dinner. Meals have been not too different from usual, although some supplies are beginning to run low and seem to not be getting restocked in our nearest supermarket.

This week I am going to add in some kind of home body weight workout I can do with my daughter, squats, pushups for example. It is so important to keep moving during this time, I find it much harder to be strict with food while at home so much, so I need to keep my calorie burn up as much as possible.

I’m not losing weight at the moment, I’m probably eating too much, but every day I do try. I’m still using my fitness pal, meal prepping, making the usual meals, but here and there an occasional vegan cheese and pickle toastie may pop in my mouth, or vegan shortbread which I have the best recipe for (coming up soon!)

I’m going to the shops twice a week at the moment, the big shop is at the weekend, either early on Saturday or Sunday morning, and once midweek for bread and any other essentials. My logic of going at this time is that it is quiet, and hopefully they are restocked, however, for staples like pasta/rice, I’ve not been able to buy these for 3 weeks. Thankfully I had a couple of bags, and we have had some potato based meals to spread out the use of the things I can’t get. Also I am having cous cous with my lunch instead of rice as this is still available.

My weekends are being spent again, in the garden, or doing home related jobs (of which I have many). I’m also trying to include our daughter in these just to keep her occupied. This time is not easy, certainly not as easy as I expected it to be. Working from home has now got a little tiring, trips to the supermarket are paranoia filled, the news updates are terrifying. There is nothing we can do other than stay at home if you can, and if not try to stay physically away from other people. There are plenty of things I am grateful for, having a job that enables me to be able to work from home so I keep getting paid, our health, our house, there are many people in an awful position at the moment all over the world and I feel terribly sorry for them, so even through this I try to remember what I am grateful for.

Keep safe everyone! You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Feel free to share your routines and coping mechanisms!

Lockdown During Coronavirus

Coronavirus – Covid 19 – March 2020

Well this is not a post I thought I would be making. When, right at the end of 2019, news came out of china of a new virus, the coronavirus that was spreading, I didn’t seriously think that less than 3 months later, the entire UK would be in lock down, schools would be shut, I would be working from home and that numbers of people infected would be rising daily.

There are a few things that strike me during this time of crisis, and one major one is the difference in people’s attitudes. As of the 23rd March we are under an unofficial lockdown. We are only allowed outside of the house for very specific reasons. This has moved on from when I started writing this post just a few days ago where the  scientific expert advice is that we were practising social distancing. All non-essential businesses are now closed, including clothes and electronics shops, pubs, nightclubs, libraries, cinemas, gyms, many restaurants/takeaways. Laws have been relaxed allowing many restaurants have changed to takeaways so that they can continue to generate some revenue but many have shut, including chains like McDonalds, KFC, and Greggs. There are a limited number of shops open now, we are only allowed out of the house for essential shopping, one period of exercise per day alone or with household members, emergency medical care or to go to essential jobs.

Even with all of this, there are still some people claiming this reaction to the Coronavirus is an overreaction, that they will be fine, we don’t need to worry, the flu kills more people (a whataboutism argument that just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny). These people flaunt the rules, there was a pub open locally at the weekend full of people. It was eventually shut, but this is ridiculous. I know people personally who had  their elderly relatives over to visit for mothers day, when these people are the highest risk. The weather  at the weekend was nice, and thousands flocked to the coast, mingling certainly less than 2 metres away from each other. The introduction of fines for disobeying the rules may curb this behaviour, but I worry they will need to make the lockdown even more stringent

The economy is facing one of it’s toughest times, countless people are losing jobs, businesses are going under. The government has announced a huge input of money into the economy, for people and businesses to try and keep them afloat.

Schools have shut and more than likely will not open until after the summer holidays. Exams are cancelled, only the children of key workers such as NHS staff are allowed to return to ensure they can still go to work.

When we were in Amsterdam in January, I remember watching the news in the hotel, and thinking about that the Netherlands had no confirmed cases of the Coronavirus, but considering whether the airport was safe. I saw a girl with a mask on and I was shocked for a second, but it seemed to sink in that something was happening.

Now, a few months on, it feels as though the world has changed. Everywhere is affected. Deaths are still fairly low (currently just over 17,000 worldwide, only 10,000 when I started writing this two days ago), but expected to rise exponentially. This seems unreal at the moment, like we are in a dream, or a simulation.

Now, as I mentioned, attitudes differ. I stand on the side of believing the scientists, they have no reason to lie. Governments have agendas, all politicians have an agenda and the current leadership in the UK is not who I chose, but scientists speak in facts and figures, and as someone who works with software and with computers, I appreciate facts and figures.

For our family, we are following the lockdown to the best of our capabilities. Limited trips to the shops for essential food shopping, washing hands before and after. No non essential travel, I go for  a run and walk the dog before most of the neighbourhood has woke up. We are both working from home, supervising our daughters school work the best that we can.

My plea for anyone reading this is to stay at home. This virus is deadly for a number of reasons. This article explains the reason why the lockdown will work in the long term to save lives and is definitely worth a read. Another good article that describes how the virus works, why it kills people and generally the scientific background can be found here. There may be a time to discuss the suspected theory that the virus made the jump from a bat to humans at a Chinese Wet Market, or that the global lockdown is reducing our greenhouse gas output, but now isn’t that time.

Please everybody, stay safe, stay at home if you can. Don’t panic buy, wash your hands, follow the scientific advice and hopefully we make it to the other side.

You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit.

Losing my beautiful cat

This past month has been a world of chaos. Never mind losing weight, I have had one of those runs of bad luck where everything has gone wrong at once. I posted a little about this on Instagram, but I’ve been either too busy, or too emotional to post. Even getting through the basics of life at times this month has been difficult.

The first and most traumatic event was that my beautiful old cat suddenly got very sick. She had gradually been going off her food but I thought she was just getting a little fussy in her old age, however one morning we got up and she couldn’t use her back legs. We rushed her to the vets and were told she had a sudden onset of Chronic Kidney Disease.  I nursed her through a extra month, with a subcutaneous drip daily, special medicine to make her eat, antibiotics, steroids, you name it. Unfortunately we reached a point where she was completely refusing food, and the drip wasn’t helping at all, so we had to make the difficult decision to have her put to sleep. This was on the 7th March, and I really struggled for the first few days to accept what had happened. The fact it had been my decision really upset me, I was plagued with continual thoughts of, could I have done more?

I had Shelly for 19 and a half years, I picked her up when I was 17 years old, and she was only 7 weeks. Over half of my lifetime later and life without her seems something I can almost not fathom. She was my trusted and loving companion through so much, my parents dying, meeting thomas, my children being born, so many house moves, job changes, being a student, pretty much my entire adult life. I am adjusting now, but I still look at her little spot every single time I come up the stairs, and inside I sigh. I know there was no option, and this is the quandry of all pet owners. I’m grateful though for having such a long time with her, and I will miss her dreadfully.

My best friend, Shelly

On top of losing my gorgeous girl,

  • My washing machine broke
  • A leak was caused by new washing machine, plumber had to come out
  • Cooker element broke
  • Electrician pointed out that our fuse board is dangerously old so have arranged for this to be replaced
  • Car broke at the house and had to get it towed
  • Had to go into the garage for a relatively expensive fix
  • A family member has had some ongoing, worrying health issues

At one point in the month I could have just screamed. I felt so run down, a lot of that was probably attributed to the internal knowledge that Shelly didn’t have long left. Things were finally beginning to settle down until Covid-19 came along to remind me that all of these problems are passing, and sometimes there are bigger worried to think about.

Myself and my husband are lucky as we both work jobs which enable us to work from home in this time of crisis. I feel incredibly sorry for those who can’t, all areas, but the fear of those working in healthcare, I can’t even begin to imagine.

On the weight loss front, things have pretty much been a wash out. I have been eating pretty well, counting calories, having a mostly whole foods plant based diet but I still don’t lose weight. When I hear people say you don’t need to count calories on a whole foods plant based diet it makes me angry. This may be right for some people, those have recently switched from a standard junk food diet, but for me, after years of eating mostly plants, it’s just not enough.

So I come to two conclusions being the solution. I can either severely cut my calories, and eat the same amount of meals, trying to frontload the day, or I can go back to intermittent fasting. Recently I have made the decision to move towards intermittent fasting. Doing this during the week gives me a little more wiggle room with calories. In all honest, I get so frustrated and just think will I ever get to a healthy weight?

Anyway, I’m going to keep trying, but for the next few weeks I would imagine anyone in the world reading this will be trying to remain isolated. This coronavirus is incredibly worrying. I’m not in the danger age group, and I know it doesn’t affect children as badly, but you can’t help but worry that it is your bad luck to be the one in the tiny percent that is affected by this. I’ll do a post relating to the corona virus later this week, but keep safe everyone!

You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, support is very appreciated.

Vegan in Amsterdam – January 2020

Myself and my husband have been to the Netherlands a couple of times now and we have just loved it, the architecture, the food, the people, the public transport, everything is amazing. We loved it so much that six months ago we decided to start learning Dutch using duolingo. We’d been looking for a language to learn for a while, and thought why not go for Dutch?

We also decided to book a long weekend away in January, to give us something to look forward to in the bleakest of months, so went to Amsterdam and this is my review of the food here.

Amsterdam is one of the most vegan friendly cities I have visisted, there are so many places on the Happy Cow app it is almost difficult to decide where go to.

Maoz – Vegan Falafel Chain

In europe, all of the places we have visited, there seems to be a lot more falafel available. I’m not speaking your standard lunch falafel wrap here, these are freshly made, fried falafel that I have struggled to find in Scotland (shout out to Turquoise here in Glasgow as they come pretty close!)

Maoz is a chain of falafel based fast food options, I have seen three in Amsterdam at least, and I wish so much they would come to the UK! The main choice is a falafel pitta, they also do salad boxes, and have a large array of salad toppings for your pitta. They have lots of sauces too, and everything I’ve had out of here has just been delicious. They also do fries that are crispy and tasty.

Vegan in Amsterdam

Vegan Junk Food Bar

This is another chain, I’ve seen at least two of these in the city centre of Amsterdam. They have a large menu of junk food, everything is vegan, and again, everything I’ve tried out of here in the past few visits has been delicious. I couldn’t eat it every day, it is definitely under the junk food category, but when you are really hungry it hits the spot! The Bitterballen are amazing!

Vegan in Amsterdam

Willerton Vegan Cheese Shop

After reading an article about a British expat who had moved to Amsterdam and opened a vegan cheese shop, we decided to go visit while in Amsterdam.

They have a variety of cheeses, some made by themselves and more made by some third party companies. We tried a few different options (all of which were delicious!) but settled on an Apricot Cumin and , a hickory smoked and the cheese fondue.

We ate these with crackers over the next few days in the hotel and I could have eaten double. All of the cheeses were delicious, and while not exactly like cows milk cheese, they are so close it is almost indistinguishable. I struggle to see how anyone could complain about vegan cheese when the upper end vegan variety are truly delicious, with none of the cruelty. Now if only we could get the supermarket vegan cheese a little better.

Vegan in Amsterdam

Vegan in Amsterdam

Dominos

Okay, it’s not a review, but one night we had been out all day and were exhausted, so decided to go back to the hotel a little earlier to watch a film. I had heard Dominos did a vegan option in Europe, and it turns out I was right, and they delivered to where we were staying. Not much to say other than it was good to be able to get a takeaway vegan pizza. This is something lacking from the bit of Scotland I live in!

The Breakfast Club

On our last day we went to the breakfast club in Sloterdijk (where we were staying). We had a vegan breakfast burger with fries each, and then shared a portion of pancakes between us. The burger was nice, not the best I’ve had but tasty, but the pancakes were the best out of the two choices.

Vegan In Amsterdam

Vegan in Amsterdam

Cafe Flor

My last meal in Amsterdam was at Schiphol Airport. We stopped at a little place called Cafe Flor, and my body at this point was crying out for healthy food. I had the tofu poke bowl and it was so fresh, tasty, very nice. My husband had a wrap which was okay, but the poke bowl was the best of the two. It has inspired me to make something similar to mix up my meal prepped lunches. The rice/tofu/vegetable combination really hit the spot and gave me some vitamins I may have been missing over the last few days with all of the junk food! Although to top off the healthy food, we did share a piece of banana bread (I think this was pretty healthy too, it certainly was tasty!)

Vegan in Amsterdam

Vegan in Amsterdam

Vegan in Amsterdam

Vegan in Amsterdam

It’s safe to say I love the Netherlands, and Amsterdam. It’s not often I feel so comfortable somewhere else, I consider myself a real home body, but I just love Amsterdam, the architecture, the people, and the food! My Dutch is coming along, and we are booked to go back in Summer with the kids for a week, can’t wait to try some new places!

You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, support is very appreciated.

The irreversible damage of morbid obesity

The Irreversible Damage of Morbid Obesity

While I am still overweight, I am no longer morbidly obese. The day I discovered I was categorised as morbidly obese, well it wasn’t a surprise but it was depressing. While I may have some grumbles with the BMI measurement system (doesn’t take into account body composition for example), there was no denying it, I was massively overweight for someone of my height, and I didn’t need a predefined scale to tell me this, although there is something awful sounding about it, obese to the point of morbidity.

While you can lose weight, lose the fat, there are some things you just can’t undo. It’s why prevention is better than a cure, but the irreversible damage of morbid obesity is unfortunately something that many of us will need to face.

Skin…skin and more skin.

You know when you go on Instagram or Facebook, and you see these amazing weight loss transformations, lost over 100 pounds, look at me now, with an attached picture of the person looking like they never were 100 pounds overweight? That’s a reality that doesn’t happen very often and isn’t realistic for most people for one big reason. Where does the skin go?

Skin has elasticity, and if you are young enough I’m sure it isn’t quite as extreme, but once that skin has been stretched, it doesn’t just spring back into place, no matter how slowly you lose weight.

I have a lot of loose skin. Being only 5 foot 2, and originally 270 pounds, my skin was very stretched when I was at my highest weight. My worst area by far is my stomach. I still carry most of my weight there, but it’s difficult to tell what is remaining fat and what is skin. I also had two cesarean sections along the way which I’m sure hasn’t helped.

My only solution I fear for my stomach would be to get surgery once I have finally reached my goal weight, but until I get there it’s difficult to tell quite how bad it will be.

I also have loose skin at the top of my thighs, and a little around my upper arms, but my stomach is where it is at it’s worst. One day I may share a picture of it but that would take an extreme amount of bravery.

When I’m wearing clothes that doesn’t cling to it (work trousers – why do you fit so bad?! I usually wear flowing dresses), to the outside it probably doesn’t look too bad. I know though the damage underneath.

One thing that helps me dealing with the skin is to see others who have had similar issues, on youtube and instagram I love Jordan Shrinks, she has a number of videos from before and after weight loss surgery and is very open about the impact on her skin. Another favourite is PuggyPantsDoesPlants who had weight loss surgery, and again has pictures from before and after. These ladies are so brave for posting these, and as someone who is considering weight loss surgery, it gives you a realistic end goal, separate from the “oh I had no loose skin at all” talk.

Still being morbidly obese inside your head

A lovely issue that you may or may not suffer with is that you are still the same weight in your head. I know I am healthier when I was morbidly obese, I can tell by the sheer fact that I can walk for more than 5 minutes without needing to stop, but somewhere, somehow I don’t see myself as others do. My mental picture of myself is bigger.

It impacts the type of clothes I go to buy, how I feel before I walk into a room, what I think other think about me. If I’m not careful, and mindful, it can impact a lot of situations that it has no right to.

Something about being that size, and knowing what it feels like to be that size sticks in the psyche.

The long term health risk factors

The good news is that a lot of the long term health risk factors can actually be reversed by losing weight, and following a whole foods plant based diet. Not all of them though. You will more than likely never be quite as low risk as someone who has lived a similar life but was never obese as far as I understand.

The outcome?

These irreversible damage of morbid obesity, well, there is nothing that can truly be done about them once you have been obese. While they are not great, and things no one would want, they are certainly more preferable than still being obese. My stomach may look awful, but I would take that any day over still being 270 pounds.

What can you do about it? Ensure the next generation don’t reach this point, speak openly about your issues with historical morbid obesity, as to help others avoid even reaching this point. Let go of the things you have no control over and focus only on health. Looks don’t really matter, they mean nothing to me anyway.

May I get surgery once I reach my goal weight? Potentially, but not to improve how I look, more to get rid of the damn skin as it tends to get in the way. (Yoga is not good when doing a downward facing dog!). The mental side of it, there is nothing I can do apart from being mindful of who I am, and for long term health, focusing on a whole foods plant based diet is my best chance of reversing long term damage.

Have you suffered with any of these or other side effects after losing weight? You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit on any of these platforms and please share your story.

The Self Licensing Effect

The Self Licensing Effect and Weightloss

While reading how not to diet (there is a review coming but it’s going to be a biggy!), I came across a psychological effect known as the self licensing effect, and it was described how it can come into play regarding weightloss.

The description of it made me realise that I am susceptible to this, and the knowledge of it’s effects has made me more aware of it. It goes like this –

You have been good for a few days, eating well, exercising. The weekend rolls around, or a night out, or there is junk in your house, any scenario that takes you away from following your typically healthy new diet. You think to yourself, oh I’ve stuck to this for days now, surely I’m due a little something to reward myself? Instinctively, you reach for the unhealthy food choice. You are now rewarding yourself for healthy choices, by doing the complete opposite, making the unhealthy choice. This sabotages your effort, and at the same time minimises quite how bad this food is, and the effect it will have on your long term goals.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with an occasional treat, the issue around this is that it only ever works one way. This effect only strongly encourages you to eat badly when you’ve been good, not healthily when you’ve been bad.

If this is an occasional thing, then it’s not really an issue. If it happens once every two weeks, an occasional treat isn’t going to derail you. The issue I find is that as changes in eating extend in time, this tends to happen more and more, to the point where you are undermining all of the good work with these choices.

It is as if the brain is keeping a counter of “good” and “bad” choices. When you think you have made enough “good” choices, then it isn’t so awful when you make one of the “bad”, even though this is completely counter to your overall goal of losing weight.

How to overcome the self licensing effect?

For me, it comes down to really trying to not see these food choices as good or bad, as not seeing decisions I make as good or bad. You have to recognise that something either moves you towards your goal, or away from your goal, on an individual meal basis rather than looking at the whole picture.

This healthy meal moves me towards my goal, it is irrelevant how many healthy choices I have made previously, or even how many I may make in the future, but right now, this meal will move me either towards or away. Now, do I really feel like I want a bit of pizza? Yes, but I will need to accept that this moves me away from my goal.

This can be easier said that done, as much of the time we aren’t actually thinking about our goals, we are living on autopilot.

The key to battling the self licensing effect

There is one simple key to realising that you are self licensing, and that is mindfulness. Being present right now to see what the outcomes of your choices are. For mindfulness I would really recommend some kind of meditation plan, it may feel that you are struggling with meditation but it’s long term effects are huge.

If, with every meal, you are mindful of your long term goal and not your immediate good/bad percentage, then you are more likely to make decisions that are in line with that goal. When making choices, try to remember your long term goal, and not your previous choices.

You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, My Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, support is very appreciated.

Previous Weight Loss Attempts

Something I have never really spoke about are my previous weight loss attempts. I am counting the last 5 years as a single event, as in reality I have trended downwards that whole time, with a couple of blips along the way.

This is not the first time I have lost weight. Twice, I managed to lose 3 stone, but then hit a wall. I think, with a few more years experience I now know why.

At the time I really thought I just couldn’t lose weight. It must have been genetic. I was just destined to be fat, and go through this endless cycle of weight loss and weight gain. I was eating less, more healthy and exercising, if I couldn’t lose weight doing this then I never could.

Then I discovered veganism, and then later, whole foods, plant based diets. I’m now just under 6 stone lost, and still have a bit to go. This is however, the longest, sustained lowest weight I’ve had in my entire adult life.

Previous attempts, I had tried a variety of things including, but not limited to:

  • Calorie counting reasonably healthy but non vegan food
  • Calorie counting unhealthy food
  • Slimming World
  • Scottish Slimmers
  • Slimfast

They failed for a variety of reasons, but I can categorise them into two distinct areas, either I was still hungry, or for some reason, it wasn’t sustainable.

Long Term Sustainability

I found the slimming clubs to be unsustainable in the long term. They encouraged healthy eating in some respects, but certain foods were recommended to avoid, and some unusual foods were recommended. Something in the nature of it didn’t sit right with me. I get that they are businesses, but when it’s motivated by money then the main aim is usually making more of it.

There was also something about the sympathetic tones when you didn’t lose much, or at all, and were questioned on whether you had a bad week, as if weight loss is linear and your body knows the play along with the club.

It was always the same people at them too, very few people ever reach their target weight at all, but the people who go to slimming clubs are paying for the privelege.

Still Hungry

My previous calorie accounting attempts, and slimfast left me hungry. Although they all involved eating different foods (junk food, healthy omnivore and slimfast), ultimately they all failed for the same reason. In one way I was on the right track, it is important to keep an eye on the calories to ensure you are eating a deficit. However, I have an issue with food volume. I can eat a high calorie but low volume meal and I don’t feel full. In fact, unless I have eaten an absolutely huge amount, I don’t often really notice feeling full. For me, portion size is important.

And this is where all of these attempts failed. As I was still eating a lot of calorie dense foods but restricting my calories, so I had less on my plate. I would start eating more vegetables but it was never enough. This is where a plant based diet comes in.

Why a whole foods plant based diet works for me

The reason why this diet works for me where my previous weight loss attempts didn’t, is calorie density. The food I now fill my plate with isn’t calorie dense, but it is dense in fibre, vitamins and minerals, and almost more important for my weight loss, it takes up a lot of space in your stomach. I often have kale and spring greens as a base to any meal I am eating (sometimes with some added sriracha). This big serving is likely to be around 40 – 50 calories, but the volume is the key here. Steamed, these vegetables take up a lot of space. This makes me feel full, and that is the key to my weight loss. I have discovered, the only way of me keeping on track is feeling full. The only diet that can do this, at the portion size I like, is a whole foods plant based diet.

I sometimes look at my portion sizes and feel a little bit shameful (hello still morbidly obese brain!). I then however look at what others are eating, compare calories mentally and realise I am eating less than them, but often many more nutrients and definitely more fibre.

Added to the weight loss, eating a plant based diet makes me feel fantastic, my skin is pretty good, and I’m full of energy. But that’s not the point of this post. If you are struggling with calorie counting, and still feeling hungry, I encourage you to up your roughage. Leafy greens are so low in calories, but filling and excellent for you. Try having a large salad before your meal, or for lunch with some added legumes and grains, but have them as the side to the salad.

I hope my tales of my previous weight loss attempts helped you. You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, support is very appreciated.

Burger King Peta and Veganism

Earlier this week burger king launched a plant based burger. This sounded exciting, I’ve always liked the bean burger from there, and a new option would have been appreciated.

I’m using past tense there as unfortunately, they released that this burger was not suitable for vegans or vegetarians as it was cooked on the same grill as the meat burgers, and that this burger was always aimed at meat eaters looking to reduce their meat intake.

It’s safe to say, this has angered vegans. Having a new vegan burger released but it being inedible to vegans, well, it seems to fly in the face of logic.

Shortly after this began to die down, a tweet was shared online, from Peta UK, in response to another tweet. This tweet suggested that vegans should eat products made on the same equipment as meat products as this doesn’t help more animals.

Burger King Peta

I recently made a post about KFC, and how I felt that in my opinion it was acceptable for vegans to eat from here, as I feel that supply and demand means that if we buy the KFC burger, and more vegan food becomes available, then eventually this will take the place of the animal products, and less animals will be killed.

This may seem like a similar argument to above, but I don’t think you can classify this burger as veganism.

The definition of veganism, from the vegan society

“…is 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…” 

The main purpose of this statement is to not use animals. Nowhere does it say to take all steps required to ensure less animals are killed. Now I know, I know, of course, avoiding using animals products will indeed cause less animals to be killed.

When it comes to this burger (and the chips for example out of KFC being cooked with the popcorn chicken), we know there are animal products in there via contamination. The companies themselves have told us this, no if’s no buts. If you eat these products, there is a likely chance you will consume some remnants of animal products. And for me, with the above definition of veganism, this just doesn’t fit.

Avoiding as far as is possible and practicable is not choosing to eat a burger soaked with animal fat, in an attempt to ensure less animals are killed. It seems backwards to me. There is a line for every vegan, and this is where my own sits.

There is also the “may contain” argument, and I do choose to occasionally eat foods that may contain milk for example. But there is a very big difference from a manufacturer warning in case of accidental contamination via production, and the manufacturers telling you of deliberate contamination via cooking.

I also feel that if vegans do get behind this burger, it sets a bad precedent. That it is purely acceptable to create a plant based burger, but take zero care in it’s preparation. Other companies could look at this and think it’s a money saving way to cash in on the vegan craze. We can make a vegan option and we don’t even need to bother with the logistics of preparation, they will buy it anyway.

Others will have differing opinions of course. I was surprised about Peta publicly stating this. I have mixed feelings on them, and I’m thinking of doing a couple of posts about them this month. It just seems like an odd stance, for a group that apparently loves animals, and especially for vegans.

I still think encouraging natural supply and demand is the way forward, plant based foods are now taking up a significant chunk of my local supermarket, even in the meat aisle. Personally however, I will be avoiding foods where I know they are contaminated.

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Veganism is a protected philosophical belief

Ethical Veganism is a Philosophical Belief

Earlier this week a number of news stories popped up about a man who had been fired from his job at the League of Cruel Sports. He pointed out that their pension fund was being used on a company which tested on animals.This led to a court case, and about whether veganism should be considered a philosophical belief, and therefore carry the same protections that other philosophical beliefs carry (such as religion).

The man was sacked for gross misconduct, for sharing this information publically. Whether this was correct or not is debatable. Usually when working for a company there are rules about releasing negative information about your employer. This court case however seems to have morphed into a larger question over the philosophy of veganism.

According to lawyers Boult burdon Solicitors in the UK, while discussing the Equality Act 2009,  a philosphical belief is defined as

  • it is a belief and not an opinion or viewpoint based on the present state of information;
  • the belief is genuinely held;
  • the belief concerns a “weighty” and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour;
  • it is “worthy of respect in a democratic society”; and
  • it is held with “sufficient cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance”.

The outcome of the course case was successful, ethical veganism can be considered a philosophical belief, and looking at the definition above I would suggest this is correct.

There is a difference between someone purely following a plant based diet, and someone who chooses to step away from the mass use of animals and their body parts in daily life.

  1. it is a belief and not an opinion or viewpoint based on the present state of information; – Veganism is an underlying belief to avoid animal use in life, the present state of information is irrelevant. Information has changed drastically over the years, yet still vegans choose to avoid animal related products
  2. the belief is genuinely held; No question over this, vegans (or ethical vegans as the wording was in the court case), genuinely hold the belief of avoiding animal products.
  3. the belief concerns a “weighty” and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour; This is a little more difficult to define, but choosing every product in your life and diet to avoid animal products could easily be defined as weighty and substantial.
  4. it is “worthy of respect in a democratic society”; I think most people would agree that veganism and it’s arguments are worthy of respect (although maybe not all of the trolls on social media but they can be ignored)
  5. it is held with “sufficient cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance”. Even non vegans could surely agree veganism, and holding it as a belief hits the above points.

I’m unsure what this means in the future, but surely ethical veganism being a protected belief is something we can all agree is a positive thing. I personally have never experienced anything other than curious questions, a few debates and requests for recipes at work, but perhaps I work in a field which is less likely to discriminate against veganism.

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Year Start

Review of 2019 and Looking Forward to 2020

A new decade is around the corner, and this year has been one of my quickest yet. It’s been another big year of changes (although every year for the last few has been). We bought a house at the end of last year, moving out of our long term (huge) rented flat, and moved into a regular/verging on small 3 bedroom house. This was a bit of a shock to the system, and I was very grateful of my years of minimising our belongings.

Moving showed me though that we still have too much, and this year I have continued to clear our, and I’m now reaching a point where the end is in sight (although still likely a year away). Our new home needs a bit of a makeover, and we have tenatively began this, but have big plans for the next year which I’ll likely mention occasionally, at least keeping track of the number of items that leave the house.

I started a new job in May which I am loving. It is much closer to home, and all round it is a better job for me. I have massive imposter syndrome, so getting a new (more technical) job was a big step, but turns out I build everything up in my head and I’m doing fine there. My husband also started a new job, so with work it’s been pretty hectic!

A note about my husband is that he also (finally!) went vegan this year, 3 years after myself and our daughter did. I thought he would never make the switch, but he did and I’m so proud of him. We eat pretty differently, he’s not a fan of huge salads, tonnes of legumes, and I still often find myself cooking multiple versions of meals, but it’s baby steps in the right direction, and that definitely makes life a little easier.

On the vegan food front, this year there have been so many different foods released in so many different shops, it is crazy the amount of choice even compared to January 2019. Some notable mentions are richmond sausages (we all love them), Marks and Spencers for continuing to expand their range, the Greggs sausage roll (great for publicity if not for health) and Tesco. They are our closest supermarket and for the first 9 months of the year they were pretty diabolical, but they rapidly expanded their range overnight and it has been greatly appreciated by our family.

Onto the elephant in the room (again), weight loss. I got to my lowest ever weight this year, however I have regained about a stone. I have been lazy with my eating, eating too much, too much of the awesome vegan options. Exercise has been sporadic, although I have really came around to the idea that exercise is for health as opposed to weight loss, and I need to see it like this, to avoid the “oh I can eat more, I went to the gym this morning” mindset. I think my ability to remain around the same weight (gained a little but far from it all back), shows that my mind set has changed, and that it is actually incredibly difficult to lose weight (and so much of it) consistently and over a long period of time. The moral of the story here is don’t put it on in the first place, although I’m a little late for that.

On that note, for 2020, I have one singular New Years Resolution, and that is to slowly, and healthfully get to my goal weight of 140 pounds (10 stone). I recently read How Not to Diet by Michael Greger which I will be doing a review of in January, but I am going to be implementing some of his tips, such as front loading the days calories, eating more greens with every meal and a few more I will cover.

For exercise, I’m not setting myself any firm goals other than get back into running. I would like to, and will incorporate strength training alongside this, but at least for the first three months of the year this won’t be my main goal. Running (especially outside) is something I thoroughly enjoy, so I should definitely do more of this.

I have set myself a number of monthly challenges, 1 based on health, 1 based on personal development, 1 based on minimising and 1 based on decorating our house. I will share these at the start of each month, alongside a summing up of the previous month. As usual I’m tracking everything in my new bullet journal, this is my third year using one.

If I was picking a word to guide this year, I think it would be Intentionality. I want to make sure that my time is spent doing things that align with my long term goals. For those they are being healthy, living in a comfortable home which requires minimal upkeep, freeing up time for other things, such as running, spending time with my family, being creative.

Thank you to everyone for your support mainly via Instagram this year. I did take a fairly extended break around the time of changing jobs, and will be posting a little more this year.

You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. I am most regular on Fitbit, MyFitnessPal and Instagram, so if you are also trying to get healthy and lose weight drop me a message and we can support each other.

Consistency

Extended Absence

I fear I am just destined to be an intermittent blogger, no matter my inner promises to blog somehow life gets in the way, when time and mental space are at a premium my poor blog suffers! I’m still active on Instagram and My Fitness Pal during these times, it just becomes increasingly difficult to fit in time to write full posts. Anyway, enough of me beating myself up for my absence and onto the reasons/excuses.

The main source of lack of time is that I started a new job 7 weeks ago, it’s the type of job that for a long time I thought I would never do. For the last couple of years I have worked in a software development role, but I would use that term a little loosely. There was day to day development but it heavily leaned on an existing framework, which was great, it offered a level of support in such a small team, but I was aware that ideally I wanted to get into a more hands on, technical development role. A recruiter contacted me for a role at a large international company, I  interviewed (even with a technical test), and I was over the moon when I was offered it, but at the same time terrified. I have impostor syndrome, although not as bad as it once was. While at uni I remember thinking “Well, there is no way I’m going to be able to do this as a job“, that I had wasted my time (I got a first class honours degree and postgraduate diploma with distinction..didn’t exactly scrape passing!), that I would never be good enough to work in this field.

Starting this job was a massive step, it was a little overwhelming to begin with, they have huge projects, not in my first programming language and a fairly large international team. But I have tried to take on lessons I have learned in years of meditation and mindfulness, don’t think too much about the big picture, notice when I am stuck ruminating on my fear and distract myself, and just get on with it.

It’s difficult at this stage to tangibly say how I’m doing, but I’m enjoying it, feel I am understanding things and writing code in a way I haven’t since University. The atmosphere is very positive, I’ve made some nice friends, it’s a world away from my previous job which I enjoyed but had some serious flaws. My commuting time has cut by 40 minutes each way as well, so I have more time back to myself, and it’s more money with routes upwards, better benefits. Overall it has been highly positive, and I’m looking forward to keep pushing forward.

My gym and diet however, especially in the last few weeks of my old job and first month of this have not been great or very consistent. I haven’t flown completely off track, but my weight has crept up a little, I’m currently 13 stone, 3.5, or 185.5 pounds. This is 6 pounds up from my lightest weight 2 months ago.

My weight is fluctuating wildly at the moment, initially I thought there was something going on physically (unsure what though) but now I think it is a combination of dropping off going to the gym, and general inconsistency with food. I am very susceptible to bloat after eating salty/oily food, it hangs around for days, and there has definitely been more of this on the menu in the last few months.

To get back in the routine I have been meal planning, and batch cooking at the weekend. For the last two weeks I have picked up exercising again, running and weights at the gym. I’ve changed the plan I’m following and will do a post about this next week. The IT department (including software development) have a weight loss competition I have joined to keep me motivated. They also have a little gym which I’m going to try out at lunch time with one the girls who goes fairly regularly. Overall, everything is moving in the right direction now, but things have definitely been a little bumpy!

Thank you anyone still around and I’m sorry for not being about! I suppose that is real life and weight loss, sometimes your focus has to shift, but it’s important to not throw it all away. A few pounds I can handle, it’s about recognising when things are going south and putting the brakes on before you end up back at square one.

We’re going on holiday to Dubrovnik in 3 weeks and I’m looking forward to trying some of the vegan options out there, so there will be some upcoming posts about that too. I’m also going to do some posts on my meal prepping/batch cooking healthy meals to save time during the week.

To join and support me (and also to get some support back too!) please add me on My Fitness Pal , and other social media, InstagramFacebookTwitterFitbit.

Consistency

2019 Week 5 Update

This week I’ve lost 3 pounds, this year that is now 10 pounds.

My total weight loss is now 81.5 pounds, with 48.5 to go to reach my 10 stone goal weight. I’m officially the lightest I have been in around 10 years..madness.

No OMAD this week, I’m struggling to fit it in if I’m being honest. Every day I have fasted for between 16 to 18 hours. I’ve eaten between 1200 and 1500 calories a day. Still taking a B12 supplement, Biotin supplement and a vitamin D supplement although I’m on the lookout for a new one as I’m not keen on the D Spray I have.

Exercise this week –

  • Sunday – Lower body strength workout
  • Monday – AM – 15 minute HIIT, PM – 1 hour of swimming
  • Tuesday – AM – Upper body strength workout
  • Wednesday – Rest Day
  • Thursday – AM – 15 minute HIIT, PM 1 hour of swimming
  • Friday – PM – 1 hour and 10 minutes cardio at the gym
  • Saturday – AM – 1 hour and 10 minutes cardio at the gym

My plans for next week are –

  • Sunday – AM – 1 hour lower body Strength Training
  • Monday – AM – 15 minute HIIT, PM – Swimming
  • Tuesday – AM – 15 minute HIIT, PM – 1 hour of gym cardio
  • Wednesday – AM – 15 minute HIIT, PM – Upper body strength training
  • Thursday –  AM – 15 minute HIIT, PM – Swimming
  • Friday – AM – 15 minute HIIT, possible rest day although the gym was so quiet this week I’m tempted to go back and do something on the Friday as well
  • Saturday – AM – Long Run/Cardio

Weights are still improving slowly, although I’m planning on doing a post about this soon. This week my husband has been tagging along to exercise with me which has been a good motivation. He really complimented me by saying that although the gym is full of super fit people I work out as hard as the rest of them…I do try!

To join and support me (and also to get some support back too!) please add me on My Fitness Pal , and other social media, InstagramFacebookTwitterFitbit.

Consistency

Word of 2019 and looking back on 2018

Goodbye to 2018,  and Hello to a New Year. I know that really the new year has no proper significance, it is just the day we humans picked to reset our calendar, but there is no doubting for many that it provides an impetus unfelt at other times of the year.

Looking back on my 2018 my results are mixed. Overall it was a successful year, but not necessarily in some of the ways I wanted it to be. We went on our first family holiday abroad (Majorca), also went on our first couples holiday abroad (Amsterdam). We also bought our first house, which really took up a large number of months, and caused a lot of stress.

In the process of getting ready for the move I hit my target of getting rid of 2018 things in 2018, which was really needed. I think without the decluttering that has taken place in the last few years, our move would have been incredibly difficult.  We moved to a house that had more rooms (and very importantly a garden), but has less storage and floor space. In the end it was pretty easy, so much so I have signed up for 2019 in 2019, although I do think this year will be a lot harder. I’m not even sure where I’m going to start for next year, but I’m sure there is more to go, at least 2019 things.

The elephant in the room that I didn’t reach my weight goal in 2018. Not even anywhere close. I started the year at 218 pounds, reached a low of 189 pounds, but ended the year at 199, 10 pounds up from my lowest weight. So overall, over the year I lost 19 pounds. Not great, but I really need to look at the positives here. Another year has passed and I have finished it lighter than I began. The reasons why I didn’t reach the weight? Well, ironically considering my word of 2018 was Focus, I definitely lost it at times. Not to the point of completely throwing my weight loss away, but enough to make any decent headway. It is really frustrating when everyone around you seems to be easily losing weight, 3, 4 pounds a week. I remind myself I’ve lost over 5 stone so far, but it is a hard pill to swallow.

However, I put on a few pounds, lost a few, and overall I reckon I’m at least capable of maintaining. It is really now about getting my head down to get the last few stone off, and I know it is not going to be an easy task.

Time, tiredness, a busy life, they all get in the way, so my word of 2019 reflects what I need to get my weight over the finish line….Consistency. I’m going to avoid the ups and downs, the periods of non exercise and takeaways, and I’m going to give it my all to be consistent with my eating and exercise during 2019.

My plans are to focus on the day to day, rather than the actual physical weight measurement. If I can consistently eat well, exercise and get enough sleep, my body can do this. If I obsess over the minutiae, the half a pound here, or half a pound there I will get demotivated, start eating more, exercising less and maintain. I have been at this long enough to know the thought patterns, the excuses that arise in times of frustration.

My goal, 10 stone. Do I think I can do it this year? Yes..I really believe I can. I have rejoined the gym, have a new exercise and eating plan in place which involves healthy meal prepping and a little less fasting (but this will still feature I’m sure).

I am adding in another couple of health checks over the year, so keep an eye out for posts related to that too. It’s not just about weight, there is more to health than what the scales say, and I’m keen to see how healthy I really am.

To start the year I thought I would also share a recent selfie taken on a night out, and I must say I felt pretty damn good when that was taken, even at the weight I am.

Consistency

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Frustration and the end of 2018

This year has went by so quickly, almost in the blink of an eye.

I am putting a lot of the feeling of that down to a few significant life related events, the biggest of which was buying our first house, then the move, which was a fairly drawn out process!

Moving house is not an easy process for anyone, but after 8 years at our rented flat, and having inherited most of my parent’s posessions after their deaths, the run up to the move was intense. I thoroughly decluttered, more than I ever had before. This was a combination of selling, giving and throwing away. Although we were moving from a 2 bedroom flat into a 3 bedroom house, our 2 bedroom flat was massive, floor space and storage were readily available. Our new house lacked in both, not that I was phased by this, I’ve always liked the idea of having a bit less space, I find you generally expand your posessions to fill the space you have, smaller space = less stuff.

We got our keys at the end of September, and gradually began moving non essential items. The main move was on the 15th October, I swear it was the wettest day of the year. Thankfully it went smoothly, but due to the sudden nature of our house purchase, and generally being short on cash, it was done on a budget. Our movers moved all of our big furniture, but we did all of the small things. This trickled on for another month, I only moved our goldfish and shrimp at the start of November, it was a military operation.

But now, mid December, we are in, mostly settled. The new house requires some work but we’re waiting until the new year to even think about this.

Weight wise I have made it through this period maintaining, which is a positive considering how much takeaway food I have eaten. I have continued fasting, mostly whole foods plant based, but not as rigid as I would have liked, and certainly not good enough to lose weight. Exercise has been minimal, I did go do a 5K  and to the gym last week and I think next year I will be ready to start adding that back in again.

I’m looking forward to the start of 2019. I thought this would be my year to reach my target weight, but alas it was not to be. Maybe 2019 will be that year? On the other hand I am glad to have made it through another year lighter than I was at the start of the previous one, plus my general health and energy levels have been fantastic, and this is not something I can easily discount.

Please add me on My Fitness Pal , and other social media, InstagramFacebookTwitterFitbit. I love new people and the support from online sources is invaluable.

weightloss failure

My ongoing weightloss failure (and what I’m going to do about it)

I really don’t like to make a post which such a negative title, but I’m stuck in a rut when it comes to weightloss failure and I really need to do something about it. I feel this rut is inevitable, and I guess potentially the reason most people are unsucessful losing weight in the long term. You stop losing weight for a variety of reasons such as :

  • Your body has adjusted to lower calories but you haven’t made any changes
  • You start eating more and not realising it
  • You stop exercising but continue eating more
  • You get bored
  • You have a personal crisis/stress period and start eating more

When the weight loss stops, you may not have fixed your underlying problems with food, you get annoyed, fed up, eat a little more, the cycle continues, before you know it you are gaining again but ignoring it. You stop weighing, feel your clothes getting tighter, eat more until eventually you reach a point when you just say enough, bite the bullet and weigh yourself and either you have gained, or you may even be the same weight you were to start with (or more!). I’ve been there. This has happened to me twice, I have lost 3 stone twice and put it all back on. Losing weight is very difficult over the long term.

Losing weight is what I am currently failing at, I am stuck, I have been stuck now for a number of months. The 16th June was the last time I registered a loss. Very very frustrating. Since that period I had a week long holiday in Spain where I overate and drank, I put on around 6 pounds and lost it within a week. I have bobbed about the same 2 – 3 pounds since then depending on water retention.

Why? Why am I stuck? Well, I could make a lot of excuses, the one I hear myself saying all the time (and I mean all the time) is that my body has had enough of weight loss. 5 and a half stone is as much as it wants to do. I say this as if my body has it’s own brain and has made some kind of conscious decision. People tilt their head and nod understandingly, saying something like, oh you’ve lost so much already, surely you don’t have that much left to go anyway. I still have nearly 4 stone to go! I don’t feel anywhere near done yet.

My real reason for being stuck probably is a number of reasons:

  1. I stopped OMAD (I found it too extreme), but I’m still doing 18-20 hour fasts every weekday, and 14-18 hour fasts at the weekend. I think fasting has helped me not gain.
  2. I upped my calories a little as I felt I was struggling (1200ish to 1500ish). I did this because I just felt as if I should be able to eat more, I compared myself to others and felt I was too restrictive.
  3. I have stopped exercising as much. In my personal life there is an ongoing issue (regarding housing), and it is taking up my thoughts, and some time. This is time I was previously exercising.

When it actually comes down to it though, the real reason I’m failing can only be that I am eating too much! I know, it’s not just as straightforward as calories in vs calories out. Hormones, Microbiome, Sleep/Stress etc all play a part. But people in parts of the world starving don’t generally have a two month plateau. I’m not suggesting a starvation diet is required, but I need to stop making excuses to myself. Excuses are not going to get me to my goal, they help literally no one.

My goal regarding my weight is healthy, rather than too slim. My body will be ruined in a way. After over 9 stone (hopefully) of weight loss I am under no illusions my skin is going to go back into place. But how I look isn’t why I’m doing this. I’m doing this to not be obese.

Why do I want so much to not be obese? Well, we’re all going to die, I watched my parents die, I know there is no stopping it, but I don’t want to live a lifestyle that hurries it along. One of the biggest causes of death is obesity, or more specifically the increased risk of other health problems that obesity brings, cancer, heart disease and many others.

So, what am I going to do about my goals..? I’m going to think back to the 1st January this year when I posted my word for the year..the word was Focus.

I’m going to remember how much that word means this year and I am going to fully refocus on what I have power over. The main thing I have power over is how much I am eating. I’m putting my calories back down slightly, back to 1250. If I exercise I will allow myself to eat less than half back, I’m sceptical how much I really burn.

For food I will keep doing what I’m doing with whole foods and fasting, however I will cut back to my new calorie goal.

Every day I will have:

  • A salad with grains, legumes, greens, potatoes and other vegetables.
  • A fruit smoothie/nice cream.
  • A main meal.

Everything will be weighed and measured, and added to my fitness pal, every single mouthful.

I’m going to start properly weighing in every week on instagram/this site. I’m not sure on the best day to weigh in, I would like to avoid weight fluctuations so think mid-week is probably best, at the moment I will go with Thursday. I may move this to around the weekend as they do tend to be a bit of a problem.

I did consider rejoining a slimming club but I still fundamentally believe they are unecessary. What I need is accountability without prescribed actions, and without the cost! So my accountability will come from you guys on the internet. You are going to help cheer me over the finish line.

 

Exercise will be gradually re-added in. I am struggling with the personal housing issues (trying to buy a house and it’s not going well!) but this should be sorted one way or another in the next couple of weeks, and I can’t keep making excuses about not being able to fit it in. Even 15 – 20 minutes in the morning is better than nothing. The exercises I will be doing will be a mix of strength training (I will make a post about this soon), running and swimming.

I’m thinking about starting a Youtube channel, or using instagram stories more but I’m worried my Scottish accent is too Scottish! I definitely need to make myself more accountable and I’m open to suggestions. I’m over the half way point and I really need a push to make it over the goal line. To lose this final weight this year will be tough, and I may not do that, but I’m going to give it my all.

Please follw me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. I love new people and the support from online sources is invaluable.

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!

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