Share the cost

Following on from comments and thoughts around the update on Katie Hopkins story…

the cost of feeding ourselves is spiralling in the UK and no doubt elsewhere. For some depending on where they live, personal circumstance or mobility, sourcing affordable healthy options can be difficult especially if a wide range of different fruits and veg is to be consumed to pack in all of those essential nutrients which will benefit health and aid weight loss and let’s face it keep healthy eaters interested and satisfied.

One of the ways you can make healthy choices more affordable besides shopping late in the day, growing your own, shopping in discounted and close to sell by date aisles and bins, using budget outlets and such is to buddy up and share. This is something I did once upon a time when I was at a slimming club with a relative’s wife. We’d meet up to do our healthy food shop and we’d look for items that were on offer, buy one get one free, large packs that worked out cheaper than smaller ones (such as yoghurts) which we could split, boxes and bags of frozen fruits and vegetables (especially berries and peas which are fab frozen) which we’d split the cost of and share. We’d buy bags of fruit that were prepacked like bargain apples, pears, oranges, grapes and split them so we each had a good selection at half the price. If I could only afford apples and she could only afford pears between us we could have both for the same price. This is not quantum physics but some people just don’t think of it.

It comes in handy when buying items which can be expensive like good quality olive oil, condiments, herbs, spices, pulses and seeds. If you can split the cost of a good selection and decant half into spice jars and racks both of you can make food more tasty and of a higher quality with a bit of collaboration.

When we did it, money was very tight. We also started an exercise class at my house, 4 of us used to attend and do a work out video together three times a week while the kids played in the back end of the room and we’d all sit and have lunch together after with us sharing the cost of some salad and a tin or two of tuna.

We also went halves on a spa membership and although neither of us used the gym we’d take it in turns to go for a steam or swim. This isn’t altogether honest but needs must and all that and we felt justified as we never used the gym and nobody ever noticed. We used it less than one person would.

If one of us saw something good and healthy on offer we’d buy it and drop half off at the other’s house. It took some coordination and relied on similar tastes but it worked for us and saved us lots of money while keeping our diet very interesting and diverse.

You could take it further and get a few of you together who all grow different herbs or leaves and share out your crops, you could hand down clothes if you are different sizes, you can take it in turns to cook an evening meal or to host lunch, you have someone to walk with… lots of possibilities to make the healthy life less costly, to add variety and to have some support along the way. In a household where maybe you’re the only one following a really strict regime or if you are someone who lives alone it can make shopping healthy so much cheaper and also reduce waste.


Skin Shrinkage or Not

Let’s talk skin sagging.

This is a big issue for a lot of obese people, men and women, who are thinking of or who are losing weight, especially those of us over that age where everything just snaps back into place or where gravity hasn’t even started to have an impact yet. Although there are young people who have very loose skin just as young people can suffer stretch marks. It’s not entirely the domain of the older person.

Using a picture of a man’s excess skin as I don’t see why we should always point out flaws in just the female body

Most of us do not want to end up with bags of loose empty skin hanging around when we finally reach our goal and some use this fear as an excuse to not lose weight. It maybe looks unsightly but it can also cause chaffing and soreness, infections and all kinds of non aesthetic related woes. Even if you are happy to look good with clothes on and not so bothered about your naked appearance, even if you are happy to tuck it all in and hold it all together in shapewear or hide it with the fashion choices you make it would be great if we could avoid baggy, empty skin without going under the knife or at least minimise its potential to replace our fat as something which prevents us from getting the most enjoyment as possible out of life.

Well, rain check, this could be impossible, regardless of age but more likely to be impossible the older you are and relative to the speed with which you lose weight. Skin is a living thing, it is our body’s largest organ, it has a really important job to do besides just keeping us looking more appealing than we would without it.  This is good news, that skin is living, because it means we can take care of it, influence it, nourish and even repair it and help it not to sag too much too soon. Even if we only manage to reduce the amount of sagging and bagging it is something and the time to do that is not when you’re at goal it is when you start to lose weight.

If you can take care of your skin while you are on your path to the new slim you. you will probably have a better end result than if you ignore you skin and then try to deal with it at the end of the road when it’s left hanging there.

Some of the things you are doing as part of your dietary and exercise changes will be helping your skin already from the inside out but there are still more we can do to try to help and even if they don’t help that much we’ll feel better and the skin we do have on show will be glowing and healthy as a result.

Also don’t give up on it straight away, skin can take up to 2 years to catch up to the rest of the body’s shrinkage so you might find that long after you’ve stopped shrinking your skin carries on, so take good care of it post weight loss in the same way you did during the weight loss and wait a while before you think about going under the knife or before you think you are stuck with it forever. These are some of the things you can be doing during and post weight loss to give it a helping hand.

images (5)Water – water will keep the skin nice and supple and hydrated. Drink at least 2 litres a day and try to make sure that it’s good stuff, filtered if possible.

images (6)Exercise – not only to tone muscles which will hold your body and your skin better in place but stretching exercises can increase the suppleness and elasticity of the skin and also sweat produces sebum which is the skin’s own moisturiser.

Exfoliate – remove all of the dead cells, toxins and grime from your skin at least once a week with a good exfoliation either using a home made natural exfoliant or a brush or mitt. Here are some great home made body scrub recipes from Treehugger

Steam room – following on from exercise above and the value of sweating, go sit in a steam room steam-room1for ten  minutes and see those natural oils start to flow out from your pores, rub it all in. Sit in that steamy room in your bikini, or wrapped in a towel and massage those oils back into your skin. When you leave a steam room take a couple of minutes to sit and let the oils be reabsorbed before showering or better still immersing yourself with fully cleansed, open pores into a mineral spa jacuzzi or hydropool and then taking a cold shower to seal all of that goodness in. I’ve noticed that when I’m fat I produce a lot more oil from my skin in a steam room than when I’m not fat so make the most of it and go use the steam room while you’ve got a rich supply of oil to rub back in. A lot of gyms, leisure centres and spas let you use such facilities on a pay per use or day rate so you don’t even have to be a member and can keep costs affordable to indulge yourself. Don’t worry about exposing yourself either, you can do as the ladies in the picture and sit in a towel or you can do what I do, go in with a swim suit and towel over and once I’m in the steam room I decide if I’m feeling good enough that day to take the towel off or not. My spa has a dark steam room so nobody can hardly see anyone else anyway.

Moisturising – following on from the above take care to moisturise your skin daily at least once a day and especially after you’ve showered. I am seeing great results with my skin shrinking in line 94210m_zwith my weight loss and don’t have anything hanging yet.  I use Vitamin E Body Butter from the body shop, I also use their vitamin E face cream, in fact I use the whole Vit E range, when they have their 50% off sales stock up on the stuff to keep costs down. Get someone else to rub your creams in to make it even more fun. I don’t  just mean your other half either, when my kids were little they used to love rubbing my cream in after I’d done theirs and those baby soft little hands can be so relaxing and it’s such lovely bonding time. I’m a great believer in communal bathing and pampering I loved seeing it on my travels and think it’s a shame that we are too hung up or scared to practice it as a matter of course in the west anymore. Oils such as bio oil or cheaper alternatives with the same ingredients are also good, I use this on my chins to try to stave off that wobbly chicken throat look and also on my boobs where much help is needed and I also rub a little in under my arms to avoid bingo wings, around my inner thighs, and on my belly. Basically use it where there is greatest potential for sag to happen. As a rule with moisturisers stick to ones which contain Vits A, C and or E. Here’s a link to the Bodyshop’s huge vitamin E range.

Diet – keep that diet full of fruits and veggies, lots of antioxidants in the diet, lots of Vitamin C, have variety in what you consume, make sure your cover all of the colours of the fruit and veg spectrum in a three day period and repeat. Since I’ve been consuming Kefir and Kombucha daily I have noticed a huge improvement in my skin (again this could be due to diet and exercise and steaming and creams BUT I’ve never noticed this good an improvement). Kefir promotes a healthy gut and allows for better absorption of nutrients from your food so it figures why that would maybe promote healthier skin and Kombucha acts as an effective detox which ensures liver and kidneys are functioning well and also impacts on the function of the digestive tract and the blood and so helps to provide the skin with nutrients, rid it of toxins and helps to promote a healthy oxygen supply through the blood. Here’s a link to the BBC’s Good Food site with advice on how to eat yourself to a healthy skin.
Used to see so many of these on the beaches in the South of France

Tanning – tanning dries the skin so if you’re out getting some sun really slap on that sun screen and buy one that has nourishing ingredients if possible. Get into the sea, use sand as a natural exfoliant and try to stick to pools with salt water if you can and avoid chlorine although this isn’t always possible but do try to combat its effects by showering well and following a swim with a good layer of moisturiser. Too much exposure of bare skin to the sun isn’t good for other reasons so as all things, good in moderation. That vitamin D hit is essential though so don’t be a total recluse from the sun’s rays. Remember healthy moisturised hydrated skin tans better too so make moisturising part of your routine before you get around to tanning and after tanning use lashings of after sun or regular moisturiser. If you do burn your skin exfoliate and lather on natural yoghurt let that absorb then shower off and use an aloe vera based moisturiser.

download (5)Massage – back to the point above, a nice massage, either professional or amateur does the world of good, they can get to areas you find hard to reach and you are more likely to have those nutrients worked well into your skin by someone else rather than when you are rushing as part of your daily routine. Massage also helps to stretch and increase elasticity and suppleness of the skin, it helps to relax and de-stress and also helps with toning of muscles and release of toxins. Here’s a link to some fab home made massage oils from Mountain Rose

Smoking – avoid or stop this. It’s not good.

Stress – avoid this too, It can prevent the skin from functioning well and lead to skin irritations, inflammations, damage the thin membranes which protect cells from damage and all manner of other ill effects. Take time to relax, meditate, chill out, tai chi, massage anything which focuses your mind on resting, on calmness, on good thoughts and which allows you to breathe properly because oxygenating the skin is important.

Facial Skin – be careful about which cosmetics you use and allow yourself make up free time, cleanse tone and moisturise and have a facial now and then, either at home or a salon. Have aimages (7) good nourishing face mask once a week and exfoliate with a natural exfoliant once or twice a week. When you hit a milestone treat yourself to a micro-dermabrasion they are wonderful for sloughing off the dead cells and rejuvenating the skin and if you are really adventurous and want a whole new fresh look why not treat yourself to the odd non surgical face lift or a facial peel. I know people who have had both and they look amazing afterwards. Here are some great facial scrub recipes to try at home from About Style

Speed of weight loss – the best way to avoid baggy skin is to ensure that your weight loss is slow and steady so that your skin has time to adjust to the size of its new filling, variously a loss of between 1-5 lbs per week is considered to be something the skin can cope with so even the experts don’t really know. For some people a fast loss is unavoidable due to health reasons, sickness or the method of weight loss which works for them but still everyone can take care of what they have while they are shrinking to minimise the extent of skin bagging at the end by doing all of the other good stuff.

GEN-CASTOf course there is something to be said for genetics too. If you are prone to baggy skin there may be only one way to deal with it at the end of the journey and that could be to have it surgically removed or to live with it, but trying to fend it off is not going to do you any harm and as I said, the skin you do display will be beautiful, healthy and glowing.

At the end of the day some people might think that some saggy skin is a small price to pay for the health and lifestyle benefits losing weight has brought them and nothing to be concerned with and I kind of agree, I don’t think I’m going to be upset if I have some pouches at the end of the day but staving them off isn’t going to do me any harm and taking care of my skin which is prone to disease just like any other organ is all part of a holistic approach to keeping myself healthy and hopefully alive and kicking for a bit longer.

Update on Katie Hopkins

Well, well, well what a turn up for the books. Remember my post on Katie Hopkins, vile creature, fat and unemployed basher who had made herself overweight by almost 50lbs so that she could prove to fat people how easy it is to lose weight? Click here if you missed it.

Well here’s an update and another current story in the UK which is linked and I apologise for it not being from a quality newspaper but they are tied up with Scotland and the Middle East at the minute so this Daily Mail article will have to do. Briefly it is that of a lady who is 25 stones and unemployed, living on state benefits who has said she would like to lose weight and go to work but she knows her weight is stopping her. She has no confidence, she doesn’t look right for employers, she is discriminated against and whilst she seeks to blame no one other than herself for her predicament she has publicly stated that if the government increased her benefits so that she could afford healthy food and to go to a gym or to buy some home equipment she would lose weight and get a job as her appeal, confidence and health improves. Here’s an article for information although listening to her put her point across is far better if you can find a clip.

There has of course been outcry about this but when you think about it the lady has a point. It is not cheap to eat healthily, to cook fresh when there are processed meals available so cheaply, when takeouts are so cheap as outlets compete and as it always seems to be the choc and biscuits on offer in the big supermarkets. Surely investing a modest amount of money, even in healthy food vouchers would be a small outlay for a potentially huge long term saving as the lady loses weight, goes to work, stops claiming benefits and perhaps staves off the need for any state funded obesity related medical interventions for the rest of her life.

Anyway I don’t wish to dwell on that story, it’s background for my main point and as such was essential to summarise but step forward Katie Hopkins with her view point. Katie Hopkins who by the way is clearly losing or has lost her weight gain.

katie-hopkins-christina-briggs1Everyone is expecting Katie to be as obnoxious and vile as usual but no, she understands the 25 stone lady’s plight. She sympathises with her and on a TV interview actually affectionately touches the lady to show support, compassion, humanity, understanding.

She actually supports the overweight benefit claimant’s request! Hater of the fat and unemployed has turned a corner. She said that she now understands there is an invisible number of people who are trapped in obesity, locked away behind closed doors, incapable of helping themselves, too ashamed to go to a gym, too poor to buy appropriate healthy foods who are being let down and ignored. Whilst she still stands by her previous view that lazy over eaters get fat and the route to slim is to eat less and exercise more, she understands that some days herself being just slightly over weight and that being purposefully self inflicted, she gets to her front door and just doesn’t want to go out, she doesn’t want to engage with the world because of how she looks and how that makes her feel and the cycle is something she now understands because she’s experiencing it.

Now is this the real Katie we’re seeing, one who realises that she underestimated this issue, that there was a lot to being obese that she didn’t understand, is this the newly enlightened and educated Katie who realises that being obnoxious isn’t essential for fame and riches or is this Katie putting a spin on her upcoming documentary, realising that she has upset a lot of people who are unwell out there, she has decided to paint herself as the fat person’s champion?

Whatever it is, Katie is now doing good in my opinion, she is showing that there is far more to being fat than eating and moving, there is a psychological element which you can only understand if you are fat. She understands that losing that fat is not as easy as she imagined, it’s not as easy for a fat person to go to a gym as it is for a thin person there is a whole bucket load of issues that need to be overcome first. She sees that healthy eating is not within the reach financially of so many who are unemployed and living on benefits. She sees that many are not living on benefits out of choice but because they are not well enough in the body or more likely the mind to find or hold down a job, they often lack in confidence and they are discriminated against by employers.

Katie herself said she would never employ a fat person and so how can a fat person on benefits get off benefits and afford to make themselves thin? She’s woken up to so many issues and I applaud her for acknowledging that and for not just continuing to be obnoxious to save face by making out that she doesn’t see another side to this whole fat/thin equation now.

You know I’m actually hoping that she uses her outspokenness on this issue and her infamy to do some good and starts to work to raise awareness of the issues and to stop this discrimination and fat bashing that has become so acceptable and which contributes to keeping fat people fat.

I really hope she does and if she does then she has my respect for that and all of her past sins will be forgiven. If it takes a fool to change the world then so be it but I think that just maybe Katie is showing that she’s not the fool everyone thought she was and she is woman enough to own up to being able to admit when she was maybe not wrong, but definitely not 100% right.

I Miss Her: The Emptying Nest

I miss her, I really can’t put into words how it feels. Last time I saw her it was crazy, I felt so emotional at the thought of the imminent opportunity to hold her in my arms, to smell her and feel her that I could barely breathe, I felt scared to even catch sight of her because I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold my emotions in and she found it so amusing when finally I looked at her and hugged her and sniffed her and stroked her through my tears.

I can feel her hand in mine, that delicate little soft pouch of chicken bones as we laughingly call them, so unlike mine, so dainty and delicate, so fragile and elegant, I only have to think of her and I can feel it, that tiny hand even in adulthood, gently placed in mine.. never clinging, too confident and sure for that, just there because it fits, no other reason.

I can smell her, I think of her and my senses are reminded of her fragrance, a fresh, autumn wind smell of new life, youth, excitement. That fragrance I could nuzzle down into forever, comforted, calmed, assured, hopeful… safe.

I can see her, I hear her soft voice and my mind is filled with her, the smoothness of the rise of those wonderfully sculpted cheek bones, the cute shiny section on the end of her nose, the brightness of her eyes, the brilliant white surrounding the deepest brown, almost black, so dark and rich and shiny that the pupils are indistinguishable, the way her eyes lift at the edges, happy eyes framed with the blackest of lashes, strong, thick and flicked up like all the individual features of her eyes are smiling.

I held her in the cold, dark, early hours of a winters morning, I drew her into me, she nuzzled, her perfect little face pressed against my skin and her eyes opened, lids fluttered, she squinted and screwed up her tiny face, she tried to focus, then she relaxed, those big black spheres aimed directly at mine, another tiny frown, a sigh and I felt her thoughts “So you’re my mum?”. “Yes, little one I’m your mum” I replied kissing the end of her tiny soft shiny nose. We breathed a simultaneous deep sigh and it made me smile as she closed her eyes and nuzzled some more, content, united in a bond unbreakable. Promises were made in that moment, a million promises unspoken, each to be upheld.

I still feel her in my arms, I still see her tiny face, I still smell her newness but she’s not here and I miss her.

Expecting another, wondering how can I share this, not knowing how it works, not bearing to take anything away from the one who already has all of your heart, not being able to fathom that when another arrives there is no sharing, a whole new heart full of love opens up. Just as one does not replace another, one can not replace another. I still miss her even though I have him. I still love him even though I miss her and one day I’ll miss them just as much as I miss her.

A Piece of Cake

download (4)No, I’ve not been scoffing again, this is a book of that title. I read this on holiday, it’s an autobiography by a lady called Cupcake Brown – what an awesome name! I want a name like that. You can buy it in the usual formats here on Amazon or you can download it for free or read it free on line here at The Ultimate EBook Library

Now I won’t give too much away other than what is contained in the accompanying descriptions of the book should you click on any links to buy or read, but I will say that I cried reading this book… a lot. I read it in two sittings (or lyings) as I just couldn’t stop reading it. I was drawn in from the first few lines and I stayed a part of this lady’s life as a privileged onlooker until the last page.

Let me tell you something, again without giving too much away. I am the type of person who loves books with pictures and no, I don’t mean children’s books. I always flick through for the pictures first and I also scour the bits of the book that are not the actual text before I begin the text. I read the back, the front, the inside cover, the fly pages, the back cover, the bar code… nothing goes unread and no photo goes unseen.

For some strange reason, I can only call it the hand of fate, I didn’t perform my usual pre-reading ritual with this book. I’d read the blurb on the back and I got stuck right in. As I say I was immersed from the start. This is a tale of a sorry, sorry existence, of deprivation, desolation, abuse and bad choices by the score. It’s unthinkable what happened to this lady and incredible what becomes of her.

Throughout the whole story I felt a definite affinity with her on one key issue, that of her self proclaimed, unashamed admission and acceptance of her ugliness. It hurt to hear how she felt about herself and her self description conjured up an image in my head of the author and I pitied her but at the same time I understood her, I know how it feels to be ugly I thought as I read.

When I’d finished, I will never forget this moment, I was lying on a low sun lounger by the pool, music was playing softly from inside the villa, it was hot, sunny, just after mid day. There was no one around, Nick was inside having a ‘hide from the sun’ siesta. I read the last page and clutched the book to my chest and had a good old sob. I felt elated and proud at the strength of my fellow woman and of mankind in general. I felt uplifted, stronger, happy and sad all at the same time.

Then I moved to put the book down on the table beside me so I could get up and go get a cuddle from my partner… now remember I’d had this book all but glued to my hands for two days. I’d read it lying on sun beds, bobbing along on pool lilo’s, I’d held it up to shield my eyes from the sun, I’d layed it down while I was tanning my back, I’d rescued it from near dips in the pool, I’d dozed off with it on my face and yet it never did what it did when I put it on the table beside me… it opened on a full page photograph at the back, one I hadn’t noticed or known existed, a photo of a strikingly beautiful lady… I gasped “Are you Cupcake?” I spoke aloud in my disbelief to the photograph as I picked it up again to check and yes, she was Cupcake.

Now I’m not giving much away as most people will find the photo before they start reading the book, but not I and that is why this book really, really struck me. I didn’t question for one second throughout the book that Cupcake was as ugly as she described herself yet when I saw her I knew that Cupcake wasn’t ugly at all, she never had been, she had just been told she was, she had been made to believe she was and that sure knowledge she had of her own ugliness led her to some ugly places and down some ugly paths and to some ugly people and into some ugly situations and to commit some ugly acts when all along she was beautiful, after everything that happened to her she was beautiful still.

I sat there and sobbed some more, for Cupcake and for me and for all women who are made to feel ugly by the world. It’s so unfair and it’s so wrong and it’s so bad and I hate it that so many of us live a life feeling like we are somehow sub standard, somehow tainted, somehow unworthy of good things, unworthy of good people because somewhere down the line someone told us we were ugly or made us feel ugly and we believed them and carried that belief throughout our lives and hit ourselves repeatedly with it and allowed it to beat us down so we felt unworthy, disempowered, second class, undeserving of anything good.

Finally that day I could see that maybe I’m no that ugly either, the doubts were gone, I’d accepted my beauty.

It’s a harrowing read but worth it if you can bear to be dragged to the depths of humanity, the pit of human sorrow and if you’re prepared to be inspired by the stop start climb to self healing, self belief, self worth and self acceptance.

Free Book

TheirNameisTodayENI got myself a review copy of this fab book, Their Name is Today – Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World by Johann Christoph Arnold by default as a friend of mine who teaches in early years education managed to get two by accident, however if you live in Aus, UK or USA you can also get a free copy (there isn’t even any P&P to pay) for a limited time only by following THIS LINK. You do have to sign up to a newsletter but that’s no biggie and it’s actually quite interesting anyway.

The book is a must read for anyone who works with young children in any setting and for parents, grandparents, child minders, aunts, uncles anyone who has contact with kids. It focuses on cutting out the damage the world does to children and through thoughtful teaching and parenting to ensure that children enjoy the right to experience the wonders of childhood.

It’s not an airy fairy book, it’s practical and useful and I’m sure there is something in there for everyone to learn or at least think about. The link up there has some information about the book and the author too if you need to check out if it’s for you or not but I didn’t think it would be relevant to me with my kids being older and me teaching older kids but there was plenty in it for me. I understand myself a little better now and maybe for others who feel they have issues stemming from childhood they can read something which will help them stop hating and blaming themselves and start to see how they were maybe let down by the institutions set up to help their childhood be happy, carefree, constructive experiences.

Who am I?

It’s been a tough week.

hitting-the-wallI’ve been thinking lately that when we alter our life style so drastically it can whip us up into a tornado of fast paced change and progress that we get carried along in and whilst that seems to be a good thing we have to be mindful that there could come a point where that tornado dumps us, from a height, flat on our faces on the ground again if we’re not careful. I feel I’m at that dumping point, I’ve hit a wall, I’ve been dropped on my face.

I always talk about step by step… it taking one small step to start a long journey… to make small changes because they add up to achieve the whole. I really believe that’s the way to win this battle and yet I feel that I’ve forgotten my own mantras and started to not only stride along the path but to positively leap along it. I images (1)fear I’ve hit a point where I’m just totally exhausted, knackered as we Brits like to so eloquently put it. Not in a physical way but mentally.

I am doing so many positive things that strangely it’s started to be counter productive. I’m not talking about weight loss, that’s happening as it should as are all of the other physical health and wellness benefits and the aesthetic improvements but not my emotional and mental health. I think that my body is moving way faster than my head is prepared for.  It might take a fellow addict or another person who has had a lifelong struggle with obesity to understand this because it just sounds such a messed up concept… that doing too much good is bad for you. But I do think it can be true, I think it IS true in my case for sure.

I’m calling to mind a post by Debs over on her blog  who worried if she was somehow afraid of being slim and healthy and felt kind of safer as the fat girl. I thought I knew what she was talking about when I read it and I did to some degree, but now I’m starting to understand what she was talking about in a very different way or at least to relate to it in a very different way.

I think for some of us who are fat because we’re comfortable and safe that way, we use it, wittingly or not as our shield, we might find catapulting towards slim and healthy scary at some point. I didn’t think I was one of those people, I didn’t think I could be one of those people but I think that I am and wonder if we all are.  I think the important words back there were ‘at some point’ because that point might come anywhere along the road for us and for different reasons. For me I think I’m scared that I’m heading there too fast and that I’m getting there by substituting addictions.

I’m feeling very low of mood, bordering on depressed and as someone who has battled depression I’m not using the word lightly. I’ve always said that this fight is won in the head not the mouth or the stomach and for me that is so true and I think I’ve reached a point where my head is getting a bit uncomfortable with the pace of change. At least that’s how I’m self diagnosing this out of the blue way I’m feeling.

download (3)Because of this acknowledgement of the discomfort with the pace and asking myself why it’s happening, I’ve realised that I’ve gone from being addicted to food to being addicted to exercise. I’ve just replaced one addiction with another and neither are healthy. I can’t sleep if I’ve not done at least several hours of rigorous exercise a day and I mean rigorous as in nearly throwing up from physical exhaustion. Is that any different to not being able to sleep knowing there’s a cake in the fridge or nearly throwing up because I’ve stuffed my face beyond my body’s capacity to cope with it? I don’t know it is although on the surface it appears far more healthy, is it really?

I’m a total maniac, there is no other word to describe it and I’m making myself laugh now because that’s exactly what I am now that I just took a second to look at myself from the outside in (I love that blogging allows you to do that, even forces you to do that sometimes. Excuse me a minute while I go and enter a post on my music blog sharing Maniac from Flashdance as it’s so apt for how I see myself right now and it’s a song I love).

Back to the subject now even though I feel better for that moment of light relief: I’m a woman possessed, to get through a movie of my day quickly would not require a fast forward it’s just super fast forward as it is.

I really think I need to curb it a little, I think it’s doing me harm rather than good. I think it’s too much too soon, I’m feeling like I’ve been caught up in that tornado and I’m out of control and I really need to be in control of myself, that’s what this is all about. images (2)Addictions happen when we lose control or when we want to control too much and all I’ve done is gained control in one area and lost it in another. I need to be moderate. I need to be in a place where everything doesn’t have to be all or nothing,  where things do not have to be taken to extremes to be valid. I need to be able to eat what I need and exercise enough.

I really believe that if I’m to emerge from this healed and well mentally and physically I need to notice when I’m developing addictions and when I’m losing control or taking too much control and take action to moderate whatever it is that’s the problem. In that respect I’m glad that I’ve noticed this, I’m glad that in spite of things going well in my life, I’ve developed this sad feeling to indicate to me that something isn’t quite as right as I might think it is.  I do feel this is the problem, I’m over doing it, I’m exhausting myself. Feeling like I’m coping is an illusion brought on by the high of the addiction, the high of having my ‘fix’ which masks how ‘the drug’ is really affecting me. Just like it was back in the day when I thought food was making me happy.

Thinking back to Deb’s post I think what I’ve done without realising is dressed up the fear of heading towards a new me to look like enthusiasm and the very fact that I’ve allowed myself to lose control shows that it isn’t all enthusiasm, it’s still fear.

I still believe that the key to alleviating the fear is to take it slow, step by step, to get used to the new me. We change in so many ways on such a long life changing journey from super morbidly obese to normal weight. It’s not just about the outside but the inside. For once in my life I have not turned to food to comfort me when I’ve been feeling down and that is fantastic, it’s great it’s what I’ve always wanted but it’s so unusual for me to realise that, to have lost my appetite when things are bad rather than want to stuff my face, it’s just not me.

It’s a shock when something is just not you, more than you realise. It’s like you wave good bye to a part of yourself you’ve known your whole life, even if you’re glad to see it go, it’s a change, a huge change.

images (3)We experience so many changes we find ourselves thinking so often, that is just not me… I’ve experienced it with clothes I’ve bought, wearing bright colours and patterns is so not me. I love it, I think it looks great but it’s a huge shift in who I have been for so long, dressed in black plain clothes from head to foot. Looking at colours and patterns and feeling it’s OK to buy them to wear them now is such a huge change. It sounds crazy but it’s really not, wearing them is not me but it’s becoming me.

I’ve had my hair dyed back to my youthful blonde and had it cut into a style that just is not me. I love it, it looks fabulous and I see that it suits and flatters me but it’s not me and it takes getting used to when I’ve worn my hair the same way in the same colour for so long, scared to draw attention to me, hiding, trying to blend in. That decision to change it, to change me was a scary one, it took courage and every day I look in the mirror now I’m still surprised to see that hair colour and style on my head. It’s not me but it’s becoming me.

I swim and run and those things are just not me, I don’t do them and I love that I do them now but they’re new they are alien and take getting used to and sometimes when I’m in that pool in my swimsuit pushing through that water with other people around me and I realise I don’t care I’m also reminded that it’s not me. It’s not me to not care, it’s not me to be this big still and to be comfortable in public in a swim suit, it’s not me to be pushing myself through so many lengths in the morning before I go to work, I’m the person who swims for fun, couple of lengths, some breath holding, jumping the waves, falling off an air bed, serious swimming, powerful, aware of my muscles working, that’s not me, but it’s becoming me.

I have learned to let my man spoil me and pamper me and arrange surprises for me but that is just not me to be out of control and not to be the one making the arrangements and surprises and as much as I love it it isn’t me but I’m enjoying it and it is becoming me.

I’m starting my own business, it’s not what I do, what I do is work for other people and images (4)get frustrated by it but the confidence I’ve built from losing weight had made me change and made me believe I could be happier as a business woman working for me. It’s not me but it is becoming me.

You see where I’m coming from? I hope so. All of these changes are happening in one tumultuous short period of time. I’ve been me for 47 years, I’ve been this version of me for a few days, weeks, months and it’s scary. Daft as it sounds it is scary and it’s a lot to be happening at one time. My over zealousness is my way of  coping and I’ve worn myself out. I need to rethink and re-plan my regime and factor in some down time.

I had a word with my trainer today and he was shocked when I told him what I do every day, he said that I need to rest, I should have days where I rest completely and I don’t even have hours where I rest completely. He reiterated that if I was preparing for something or wanted to reduce or tone up fast then I can step my efforts up but for steady progress and over all kindness to my body I should be exercising less.

I feel like it’s one thing after another, I cure one thing and another one pops up but then I am not letting it get me down any further, I know there are lots of things to cure or resolve and it’s good that I’m doing this and making the progress I’m making and ultimately I will reach my goal healthy and strong in body AND mind. I need to spot my issues, I need to notice them and contemplate them and work them out so that I can find MotivationSteppingStonesQuotemy way to a better place where I can feel happy and healthy and stay that way. I don’t want to self destruct anymore, I don’t want to go back to the size I was, I don’t want to fall off the wagon before I reach my goal and being aware of all of my issues and hang ups is important to ensuring I succeed.  Sometimes stumbling blocks are actually steps up to the next level, to the next phase of the journey, they just take a little readjustment and setting straight before we can climb up on them that’s all.