Life Gets In The Way

Sometimes life just gets in the way of things we love to do.

It’s been totally crazy lately with my businesses both taking off in a much bigger way than I’d imagined. I took on a number of corporate clients and have been having huge fun working with them creating some gorgeous branding and packaging which I am totally enjoying but have now had to out source. That goes against what I originally set out to do but you know you have to move with the times and keep some free time to live a little and I was finding I wasn’t having much of that so I had to re-strategise.

I also started tutoring kids coming up to the end of their basic education and because I wanted to make that accessible to all I was a little overwhelmed with demand which, me being me, I couldn’t say no to. But we had huge success in this summer’s exams and so that was tremendously fulfilling, far more than teaching in a school ever was but could have been.

My kids go from strength to strength and have such busy lives which I want to be a part of still and so as long as they want me involved I’ve been making time for them and we’ve been having lots of fun. We’re all still shrinking although I think we’re all at a point where we’re in a normal weight for height bracket now and we just focus on keeping strong and healthy and trying out new things to challenge us physically. I still struggle with food demons but it’s so much easier a fight now. I even have had the odd wild binge when I’ve been super stressed and have had a couple of complete wipe outs but the  thing is, now I eat so clean and I exercise so much I seriously feel those binges. My liver distends, I get chronic head aches, raised temperature, palpitations, bloated stomach, my bowel has a breakdown and I realise just how bad all of that sugar and processed shite is for us so I really do quickly get back onto the path of righteousness immediately I’ve had a go at destroying myself. It’s not good and needs to stop altogether but it’s not a daily thing anymore, it’s a once in a blue moon thing but even so it needs to be a never thing and I’m working on that. I always knew this fight would be forever.

Nick and I are now planning our wedding which is fabulous and very exciting. We would have been married already if it wasn’t for me wanting to get married in a particular spot and us having to do more planning to make that happen than I realised, so next summer it is even though I don’t want it to be that far away but the desire to have my perfect moment over took the desire to be his wife immediately. I’ve written a blog post about this which I will finish soon but it talks about what’s the most important thing and it might sound selfish but having a perfect moment is something I feel I’ve earned and I can allow myself that without it detracting from my love for Nick. I kind of got muddled with the two being different things and it took a while to realise that they go together and one without the other wouldn’t work anyway.

I was proposed to in a very romantic manner and I shall go into detail on that at some point too if anyone fancies a romantic gushy love story, I cry when I recall it or recount it so writing it will be just as tear jerking for me as talking about it and I’ll try to put something of my secret self into it to help any readers understand why it’s such an emotional thing for me.

Nick’s been working more in London lately and that’s another reason why blogging’s been light on the ground as we’ve been spending lots of time down there and we’ve been taking in so much of the London scene and just enjoying the city so much, myself and my son have had a wonderful summer of bonding having spent a fair bit of it exploring. When Nick’s made it with us and my daughter especially it’s been even more wonderful but I’m getting better at accepting that she has her own life and I don’t need to be a constant part of it and it’s OK for me to enjoy myself without her. That part of letting go of my first child was so hard and I’ve started a blog post about it which I’ll get around to finishing now things have calmed down again.

Nick’s ex wife moved to the Caribbean a couple of months ago and so that was pretty awful for him to feel he was losing his two youngest children. Of course that’s not the case and fortunately he is in a position to see them often, not as often as he did of course but that’s the price of divorce. I don’t mean to sound flippant about it, it’s another reason I’ve not managed to finish a blog post. It was and is a pretty sad time for me too, to feel helpless to help him cope with that sense of loss and distance. All I could do was love and support him and just give him lots of time to talk and express his emotions which I’ve also started to write about but never finished so I’ll be on that too. His elder two are still in the UK studying so that is something and in some ways I think it’s made him put a little more into communicating with them. I’ve blogged about this but I think before he kind of felt as if he had a quota on the number of times a week he could contact them and now he’s much more spontaneous with it which is a good thing to come from so much sorrow. He’s also had to cope with the ex having a new man in her life who was moved in pretty quickly and who is definitely playing daddy to the little ones and I don’t think we’re being over sensitive to say that we feel there’s some enforced kind of competition and nastiness going on which I’m so glad Nick has not risen to in a negative way but has handled well even though it’s hurt him a lot. I’ve seen the other side of divorce, from the man’s side and I will be writing lots about that. Although of course no two cases are the same and my own case and experience with my children’s father is very different and has always been far less fraught than many I’ve seen over the years.

Nick also began trading over seas which has led to a number of trips that I’ve managed to tag along on, having a 16 year old means that they are more than happy to be left at home with friends for 4 days while you take off on a business trip and some times he’s come along depending on the location. I’ve not had my house trashed yet and I have been super impressed with the way the boy and his friends have taken care of the veggie garden and animals this summer, we’ve had bumper crops and tons of eggs.

The blog wasn’t the only thing which suffered when our lives got in the way of the things we enjoy doing, our allotment project, which is still going strong, now does so without our direct involvement although we continue to be financial backers and we do drop in when we can but the over eaters group have really made that their own and they are doing a fantastic job of it and have lost tons of weight between them as well as been able to offer each other vital support in their battles with food and the number of people in the group has grown too. They are talking about having a young over eaters side group as there are a number of young kids and teens who are getting involved and they have specific needs. It’s all great and so good that the professional counsellors and doctors are involved but letting the members lead the way and shape the group the way they want it to be.

I don’t have Darren, my personal trainer anymore, sorry if I already mentioned that. He’s now taking care of ladies in another part of the country and specialises in helping obese women now which is great. He really understands the psychological issues and the battle it is and I’m sure he’s going to transform many lives. I train more at home now and have a pretty straight forward training plan which takes one hour four times a week (that’s all about strength so is kettle bell swings, burpees, planks and resistance work) and then I exercise every day, walking, cycling, swimming, rowing, playing sports, dancing and just generally keeping active. I maintain a very low carb diet and more lately have reduced the amount of meat I eat too, so I have a couple of days a week where I’m a veggie and I continue to drink tons of water and have my cultured drinks each day and shots of goodness. Nuts and seeds are a part of almost every meal too.

Life is just settling down now into a normal pace again where there is less upheaval, less emotional stuff going on and more of a routine being established. I’ve missed blogging so much and have written so many posts which remain incomplete but I will be getting on with those now. I feel like life just went through a massive gear change, it kind of took off at full pace and we’ve had to work at bringing it back down to a nice steady trot again, but I feel we’ve achieved that now and I definitely feel less stressed and more calm. I feel like I’ve been on a crazy round the world trip, sleeping in a tent and at last I’m home, showered and in my own bed again.

Can’t wait to catch up on what all of my favourite bloggers have been doing 😀

Treat Yourself for Pancake Day

Not sure if the February tradition of pancake day is a global event or just something we Brits do.  Anyway I guess it’s a throw back to when Christianity was widely practiced on this island of ours and in the run up to lent and its forty days of fasting people would stuff their faces on Shrove Tuesday the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of lent. Although the eating of pancakes is thought to be a pagan tradition where pan cakes were eaten as symbolic suns.

English pancakes are more like French crepes not as thick as the American version (although I believe the Scots have pancakes similar or the same as the US version). We whip up plain flour, egg, milk, water and a pinch of salt, lightly grease a very very hot frying pan, drop a helping of batter in, swirl it around, watch the colour change and then we toss to the other side. Taking just seconds to achieve perfectly cooked pancakes we slide them onto a plate and traditionally add a sprinkle of sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice and we scoff as many as we can. Again traditionally we would do this around tea or afternoon tea time before dinner.

When I was a kid it was the only day and time of year that we would ever eat pancakes so it was a nice prompt to get to action and make a heap.

Nowadays some of us have modernised the consuming of pancakes but many still stick to that age old tradition of thin home made pancakes with lemon and sugar. In modern times we have folk buying batter mixes and ready made pancakes. Toppings are an anything goes arena from nutella to peanut butter, jam, fruit ice cream, cream and savoury fillings.

Of course pancakes are not the absolute healthiest of foods but they’re not exactly the worst either. They contain egg and milk which contain so many fab nutrients as well as protein, if you use a good non stick pan the amount of oil required is minimal, a squirt if reduced calorie and fat fry spray is all it takes to stop them sticking and to ensure a nice golden colour. If filled with fresh fruits especially a mix of  berries and topped off with a blob of fat free fromage frais and a really light dust of icing sugar they are acceptable as an afternoon tea treat or a once a year Shrove Tuesday celebration dessert.

I did the pancake day thing yesterday and we all managed to content ourselves with one large pancake each about a nine inch diameter and I managed to get them ultra thin but strong enough to contain some hefty topping when rolled (you’re either a flat, rolled, folded or layered pancake eater and I’m a roller). There was more good in those pancakes than bad and that’s a good way to look at rare treat foods. Keep in mind moderation and balance  between nutrition and indulgent empty calories and a little of what you fancy is just fine.

Also keep it real one skinny pancake filled with a mix of berries is not going to put ten pounds on you so don’t deprive yourself of normality and don’t beat yourself up about indulging. These changes are for life and who could live with never having a pancake again ever? Totally unrealistic isn’t it?

Weight Loss Up Date… 124 pounds of fat naturally shed for good

I’ve finally managed to get to a point where I really do let weeks and weeks go by without getting on the scale. This has been a goal for a couple of reasons:

1. I know my weight loss is slowing and I don’t want anything to dishearten me so the longer I leave it the bigger surprise I get which spurs me on. This will only work if you are 100% honest with yourself and as a person who struggles with obesity and over eating I can own up and say that I know I was always lying to myself about what I ate so don’t think you’re alone, I’m sure we all do it. If you know that you are going off the rails then get weighed more often maybe to give yourself the shock to get back on track. I know I’m eating super healthily and exercising lots 99% of the time so I know I’m not going to be gaining fat so I’m happy to leave the scale alone.

2. I don’t want to be a slave to the scales. I want my journey primarily to be about how I feel, my lifestyle improvements and how healthy and fit I am and not focusing on my size or weight alone. So weight isn’t something I need to check constantly although it is of course the indicator which will show progress and which will get you into the desired blasted BMI bracket which your doctor, insurance company, company nurse will use to assess your ‘health’ in terms of your weight to height ratio. Like it or not and I don’t, that BMI figure is used to judge us and so we may as well try to comply, it’s a measure if nothing else.

I envy people who can totally set themselves free from the scales and use measurements of body parts instead as a guide, or clothes sizes or whatever but I do need to see those numbers I’ll admit it but I’m able to prioritise it less and less in terms of importance to me. But having said that I do like to be able to visualise my progress statistically and mounting numbers is a good way to do that.

Anyway I’ve gone over a month again without stepping on a scale and weighed in today after my training session. Before I do the reveal, I have to tell you it was a really tough session – gruelling, sweat tears and almost blood as we stepped outside onto the beach today and I ran up and down the sea defence wall 4 times [remember when my goal was to be able to walk to the top??] and I lost my footing on the final descent and tumbled to the bottom… fortunately only from two steps up. I’m fine though, fortunately I was so wrapped up against the winter chill that I think I bounced on layers of fleece and wool. Darren my PT laughed when I turned up and insisted that I went through my layers to show him what I was wearing. I unzipped the first fleece top and revealed a big chunky knit bobble hat under the hood after I’d unwound ten layers of self crocheted scarf and two pairs of gloves. Under that I had two sweat shirts and two pairs of sweat pants, 2 pairs of socks, a tee shirt and leggings and a base layer over my thermal underwear which was over my control pants and sports bra. I kid you not, this is the North Sea we’re talking about, it’s February, the sun wasn’t even up, I was taking no chances even though movement was slightly inhibited. I had to shift some rocks today… that’s what Darren does to me he has me rearranging whatever nature deposited on the beach often.

I weighed when I got back to the gym with Darren (who incidentally wants to see my weight loss in pounds periodically for his records) and found I have lost a total of 124lbs almost 9 stones now with a loss since last weigh in at the beginning of January of 7lbs. That translates internationally to give me a current weight of:

15 stones 13 pounds  OR     223 lbs    OR     101.15 kgs

I am close to some goals here – next weigh in should see me through that 9 stone mark and under 100 kgs. I am at my lowest weight now for over 15 years which is the most important thing to me.

Tracey has now lost 17 chunks and next weigh in should be another piece gone, leaving just two before I can wave goodbye to her forever. If you don’t know Tracey she’s my visual goal of ten stones which I set when I started this journey in April 2014. There is not much of her left now unfortunately, she’s been like a buddy through this, a buddy I wanted to shake off but will miss dreadfully. I might have to create a mini Tracey to carry in my wallet just to remind me of her. When Tracey has gone of course I will also no longer be obese in terms of BMI so she is a hugely significant goal for me. When she’s gone I’ll just be over weight with a nice steady paced journey ahead to become ‘normal’ and then a long, steady road always taking me away from being a fat person. I can’t wait to be able to start that journey of maintenance although really, if you’re doing this with healthy diet and exercise and making real lifestyle changes you are already on that journey anyway.

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Tracey as she was
Tracey now
Tracey now