Well, it’s been a while since I blogged with regularity, so I guess it is time for an update. I have been working from home for approaching 7 months, and I am incredibly grateful to still have a job as so many people don’t. Coronavirus really has changed life, but I have always been a homebody, so it’s not all bad for me, we are all healthy and doing okay. I’m glad we have the garden though.
Category: Personal (Page 1 of 2)
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, My Fitness Pal and Fitbit on any of these platforms and please share your story.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
Well it’s the start of a new decade, the day the resolutions are made, and as mentioned in my previous post, my one main aim this year is to finally reach my 140 pounds goal. The last year, while pretty much moving no further forward to my goal, has taught me some lessons about what works and what doesn’t for me. I am 37 years old, and I know the older I get the less likely I am to reach that weight. As a result, this year, I am giving this my single focus.
While this is my main single focus, I have also given each month a mini aim, 1 relating to health, 1 to personal goals, 1 to minimising our belongings and 1 to doing up our house, I will update my progress on these as well.
Weight and Health Updates
Weight at Start of Month: 201 pounds
Weight at End of Month: N/A
Fat Percentage at Start of Month: 43%
Fat Percentage at End of Month: N/A
Days within calories: N/A
Body Measurements (inches)
Upper Thigh: 24
Max Run Distance: 2km
KM Time: 8:30 (this is a guess based on previous starting times for a km)
Average Sleep: N/A
Monthly Mini Goals
- No Takeaways – Takeaway food is my nemesis. I do the most of the cooking for our household and a takeaway is a great way of meaning I don’t cook. The problem with them is that they are always fattening, I have poor self control with how much I eat, they cost too much money and I inevitably feel rubbish after them. My no takeaway goal covers evening meal takeaways while at home. We are going to Amsterdam at the end of January, to practise the Dutch that me and my husband have been learning for 6 months, and there will no doubt be eating out then. I may also try the vegan KFC burger when it launches but this would have to be with a salad and fit in with my main meal. This goal is used a few times throughout the year and actually think it will be quite difficult as we generally rely on takeaways once a week/fortnight, often on a Thursday or Friday night, so it is important that I plan easy/no excuse meals for these nights.
- Work on Blog every day – I have been rather slow blogging this year and I’m unsure why as it’s something I enjoy. I have a number of posts in a half written state, and a large list of ideas so for January I will be working on the blog daily.
- Get rid of 4 boxes of belongings that I need to have valued and sell – I recently cleared out part of a large cupboard and have some nice China given to me by my parents. Now while it’s lovely, I have and will never use it. It sits in a cupboard wrapped in newspaper. I’ve got over the emotional ties of letting this go, but practically I’m a bit stuck. I suspect it may be worth something, so I’m going to try to sell it first, and if I get nowhere then I’ll donate it. It is my aim to do these four boxes in January. My plan is to photograph the china and send in pictures to a local auctioneer for valuation, then once this is done either sell via them, try on ebay and if none of these work then donate it.
- Paint the window frames in my main two living room windows and cut, then put up new blinds I have for these – Our house requires an interior update (the polite way of saying it looks like it’s from the 1990’s), and I’ve been doing some little bits here and there but for 2020 I have a plan of things I’d like to do every month. This month it is as above, paint some window frames that are chestnut to white, take down the ancient vertical blinds and replace with some room darkening grey venetial blinds I bought at the end of last year. There are three windows in the living room, one is very high up so that’s got its own item later in the year, this is for the two floor level/easily reachable windows. The blinds need cut, and I’ve never put up this type before so could be an interesting job.
A summing up of my starting measurements is that really, it isn’t good. I’m not focusing on that though, only on the small steps to follow this month which for me are mainly a 1500 calorie whole foods plant based diet, no takeaways, and beginning to reintroduce regular exercise.
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 Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, My 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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:
Physical and behavioural experiences:
- breast tenderness or swelling
- pain in your muscles and joints
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
- 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…
- 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!
- 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!
I’m now a few days into the New Year and on have officially weighed myself and as I knew I had a bit of a blip, I am up a stone exactly, taking my weight to 218 pounds. I’m still 52 down but there is no doubt I am disappointed with myself and the gain.
Since I did the 10k, and even in the run up to it I knew I was eating too much. I was focusing on completing the race, knowing I needed to fuel my body, and to be honest I think I just needed a break. Losing weight is a long ongoing process, it takes up a lot of my thoughts, I need it to, that is the only way I can ensure that I keep going in the right direction. I need to be logging everything I eat, considering every single mouthful. If I don’t I go the other way. So for three months there I didn’t go completely haywire, I still fasted a fair bit, kept an eye on what I was eating but I knew I was eating too much. That, combined with Christmas and New Year has led to the stone gain.
Looking at this from the other direction though I can be positive about this gain too. Three whole months, not quite following plan, barely exercising, then Christmas and New Year and I only gained a stone! Previously, when I’ve had an off spell all of the weight has come back and more. So gaining a stone, what is that over the course of a lifetime journey?
This week so far I have been excellent with my eating, 18 hour fasts, smoothies and a salad for my first two meals totally around 500 calories, then a large evening meal. I’m averaging 10 – 13 portions of fruit and vegetables every day, feeling full, and way less bloated. I just need to wait and see how the weight loss goes now!
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
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.
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.