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 😀

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One Year Anniversary

My first post on this blog was made on 5th April 2014 and it kind of dealt with how I was sick of being so fat, sick of not having a life, sick of going to bed thinking I was not going to survive the night and sick of worrying about leaving my kids alone too soon. It stated how I was determined to change my life for the better. Subsequent posts revealed how I didn’t want to just lose weight, I wanted to get fitter, engage more with life, be a better person, be happier, get healthy and make changes forever which would help me to beat what I called my ‘fat demon’ and break a lifetime yo-yo cycle of gaining and losing weight once and for all. I wanted to get to the root causes of my issues with food and weight and deal with them. It was now or never.

HappyAnniversary.175114211_largeA year on, reading through those early posts for the first time since they were written I hear my old self in my writing but she is someone I don’t really recognise anymore, someone I’ve moved so far from that I even had trouble relating to her. That shocked me. It shocked me how much we can change as people in just one year, just by altering our lifestyle. How we can forget so quickly how we felt and transition into our new way of life. I think it’s a good thing that we can change and move on, I really wouldn’t want to carry the doom and gloom of my 2014 self around constantly, it would be as restrictive as carrying the weight I’ve shed around. But I really don’t want to forget how miserable I was and how hard I’d made my life. I thought that I could recall how bad I’d felt but reading back makes me realise I don’t come close to remembering at all. For that reason alone it has been worth charting my progress through this blog because I know now that I will never be able to forget how it felt because I can go back and read how it felt, at the time, for me. I can remind myself of myself and nothing will be more powerful than that.

This blog will make sure I never forget that person because if I forget her I have a chance of becoming her again and I do not want to become her again. I don’t have to relate to her, in fact the less I relate to her the less I’m likely to become her again. I’ve never been under any false illusion that this transition is a one off, short lived, time limited thing, I know it will be ongoing for the rest of my life and I know that there ill be times when sinking back to her may be tempting. I’m strong now but I’m not stupid, I know that something could send me spiraling back out of control and just being mindful of that, having things to remind me how that felt should I feel myself falling will help me to win over the compulsion that still exists inside me somewhere to use food to self destruct.

But positives…I can’t even list the amazing things that have happened in my life since I first wrote on this blog. I couldn’t begin to share the knowledge I’ve acquired about food, exercise, physical health, mental health, holistic well being in general and about how all of those things make me who I am and change who I am every day. I’ve experimented with food groups, cooking methods, recipes, home growing and fermenting and now we have chickens and fresh eggs.

I’ve experimented with exercise starting with walking and stepping from one foot to another I’ve tried out so many new things including swimming (which I only learned to do properly this last year and has now become one of my favourite pass times), tai chi, cross fit, climbing, pilates and I’ve even managed a little run or two and am now getting to grips with yoga. All of the experimenting pays off for me because it gives me a wide varied repetoire of activity which I can slot into a day no matter where I am or how busy I am or even if I’m not well or injured, I can do some activity, some form of movement which enhances my general state of well being and makes me feel good about myself and keeps my body moving. That’s all exercise is, I’ve learned that… it’s just moving however you can and however you want to and however you enjoy doing it. I do have a routine when it comes to seriously working out and keeping in shape because I need that in my life and I enjoy it and I get so much that I need mentally from it besides needing the discipline of a routine. However beside that I also have this huge bag of activities i can dip into when I feel like it for fun, pleasure and even just to enhance my mental state, to take away stress or give me thinking time or just to give me an energy boost.

The same with food, all of the trial and error and experimenting has kept my body on its toes, I’ve tried a few approaches and each new one has taken me a step towards finding an eating plan which suits me perfectly which makes me feel energised, satisfied and well. But it all came about through trial and error, this has been a year of experimentation for sure. It also came about from advice and links and reading blogs so again blogging has really had an impact on my success.

I’ve also delved deep into my past. My upbringing and my relationships with people throughout my life and found how those relationships have influenced my relationship with food and I’ve looked in to myself and found a way to love me and accept me and to stop self destructing with food and to stop thinking food is my friend when it’s actually not. I’m more open with my feelings more expressive and demonstrative a better mother friend and lover and I’ve learned that it’s OK to take from those relationships now and then to lean on people who love me at times just as I love them to lean on me when they need a hand.

Besides all of this I’ve changed how I work and what I do for a living and had the courage to do something I wanted to do for a long time. I’ve learned new skills and developed a professional confidence that other people always thought I had but I never really did. I’ve started a fabulous relationship and my kids are positively thriving and definitely benefiting from all of the changes either directly or indirectly. Their habits have changed and they’re healthier, sleeping better, doing better generally and they are benefiting from having a much happier, healthier mum who is engaging with life now instead of hiding and waiting to die. I think I’m far more fun to be around and they don’t say it but I’m sure they are relieved that they don’t have to worry about my health now.

I guess more than anything since this blog began I’ve learned to just relax, enjoy life, be me and let myself go with relationships (including those with food and things as well as people), not to question myself, not to doubt myself or to be so hung up on what other people think of me. I feel like losing the weight has just freed me from the hell I’d allowed myself to sink into, or even purposefully put myself into. I think I’ve become more conscious of myself whilst becoming less self conscious. That may sound weird but I think there is a definite difference between the two.

Life is good and I’m so glad that I documented this past year and so glad that I went through everything I went through to get me to here. I’m feeling strong and ready for my challenges in the coming year and can’t help but get excited about whatever is in store for all of us.

300 People To Thank

I passed 300 followers sometime between November and now and I’ve been meaning to post about it but I’ve been so busy or in so much discomfort it’s not been easy.

I use my phone sometimes to read blogs and watch vlogs but I hate using it to comment or compose posts as I don’t get the spell check facility and what I write is painfully bad in terms of spelling and grammar because I just can’t get used to tiny touch screens. It takes me hours to do and nine out of ten times I accidentally delete what I’ve written or post something I’ve not finished.  So I’m very much a lap top user for these things and being an old school touch typist means I can rattle out a blog post very quickly, the comparative slowness of using a smartphone annoys the heck out of me. Sadly though sitting in a comfortable position to type has proven difficult until I went really old school and dug out a keyboard which has made it easier.

BUT, I’m nearly back to normal now so hopefully I’ll get back to regular posting and commenting. I hate when I read a great post and all I can do is click like and not leave my thoughts. I love the community and social aspect of blogging and vlogging and I really love to contribute and further that by having my say when I can, if only I had time to read and comment more.

So knowing how tough it is to keep up with the many people out there in social media land (I call blogging and vlogging the quality social media because it tends to require more effort and devotion and more of ourselves than the other less quality social media such as FB, Twitter and all the various snapchat or whatever type things are out there).. sorry for the digression… knowing how tough it is to keep up with everyone I am even more grateful than I would otherwise have been, which is hugely grateful, to those people who have decided that what I ramble about is worth stopping by now and then and reading and even more grateful to those who comment and share their thoughts and experiences. It wasn’t something I’ve even consciously courted as I write more for myself and for accountability, so it’s something of a bonus for me, but it is definitely something which has hugely impacted on my blogging experience but also on my life.

The comments, advice, support, genuine caring nature of my fellow bloggers has kept me going, helped me on a practical level and has bolstered me emotionally. This battle with addiction is not one you can win alone, I thought I could but one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that you can’t, we need people either in our real lives or in our virtual lives and a good mix of both is quite useful. I find virtual friends really important as I feel that the barrier of the screen means that we are often far more honest and blunt with our advice and thoughts than our real life face to face friends might be. I know some take that to an extreme and trolls are born, but I’ve not come across any of that with my blog, it’s all been constructive and heart felt and I’m so grateful for that.

I know 300 is a very modest number by many standards but to me it’s amazing that so many people have found anything I’ve said interesting or useful. 300 people would make a great party wouldn’t it? What makes it more poignant for me is that many of those 300 take time to comment and like and each one of those likes and comments spurs me on. So thank you. Thank you also to those who read and simply don’t have time or means to comment even though they would ideally like to, I feel your pain and I thank you for just reading.

I believe vlogging and blogging is the way we as human beings will eventually reinvent communities which are being closed down in our cities and towns and villages and start to widen those communities using technology to expand them globally, to build supportive networks of friends from a huge diversity of backgrounds and experiences to enhance our lives, open up new ways of thinking and even new opportunities for us. I think these are exciting times for us to shift our focus when we think of socialising and embrace the world that is at our finger tips as well as the world that is immediately around us.  I’m happy to have quality people in my life in person and on line and it humbles me how vast  yet tiny this world we live on really is and how so much alike we all are. As barriers are broken down by this global experience, as age, gender, ability, ethnicity, religion, sexuality even all become immaterial we are able to uncover and demonstrate ourselves to be pure and simple human beings underneath a pile of unnecessary, stultifying labels.

So thank you, 300 times, thank you.

Losing the Plot

I originally started this blog to chart a weight loss, or a lack of weight loss, I wasn’t sure which way it was going to go back then and still yet it could go one of two ways… I’m never complacent with these things, been there too many times, although this time certainly has a lot of differences which keep me more hopeful.

On a scale of 1 to 100 I probably started out on this with 25% self belief and 75% doubt. I’d say right now I’m at the 85% self belief and 15% doubt point… maybe slightly more self belief but I’m aware this is not a fixed measure, it’s an ever changing scale and I know that one thing could happen and it could plummet down to 0% self belief at any point… but let’s not think negatively, I’m doing it this time and I’m not going back to the dark side.

But anyway, what I wanted to say (digressing? me? surely not ;)) was that whilst the majority of my posts in some way link to my weight loss/healthy eating/healthy lifestyle/exercise/improved mental state, either directly or indirectly there are some which have sod all to do with it whatsoever, where I have lost the plot. I’ll forgive the ones which are blogging community related or which are part of a challenge.

My recent Tom Jones outburst was one such post and I figured that oftentimes I’d love to blog more about my life’s musical soundtrack but this isn’t the place to do it. However, music does inspire me to move, or it influences my mood or triggers off an emotion or memory which needs dealing with and all of those things are relevant to my struggle with weight and losing it and changing my whole lifestyle, so I might have some valid cross over now and then but I thought it would be lovely to start an aside blog, one which focused solely on music, musical memories, musical inspiration and all that stuff.

I have a blog which deals solely with teaching, practice and theory, resources, reviews of teaching related media from newspaper articles to blogs to TV programmes and I keep that totally separate and also have a post a week rule on that so the volume of posts is low and the audience are purely teachers, academic students of education, student teachers, teachers of teachers and the like. This is mainly to keep it manageable but also because much of the writing is academic and has to be referenced and developed so it can take a while to put together. I do find that I have more than one idea a week now and then and so I start off draft posts as ideas come to mind and they sustain me through the lean when there is not much education news going on or nothing of note to write about that week.

I think I might do exactly the same with my music blog and make it manageable by posting just once a week and not having much text at all, just like Tom Jones post having a lead in to each song, why I like it, what it means to me and that’s that. I’m sure there are tons of other blogs out there which do the same for me to follow and lots of challenges which are music related for me to tap into.

I very much want to keep this my main blog because this is my inspiration for all else in my life, this is what is making me who I should be and is my motivation, this is where I’m me laid bare but I’m plotting things to keep me busy during the dark nights and this is one of them. 

So I’m not a real whizz when it comes to designing blogs, I’m basic at the very best and it’s taking time to get my new blog ready and choosing a name is another thing altogether. Everything I wanted was taken but I’ll come up with something that I will hate in a couple of weeks’ time and can’t change. So from now on this blog should pretty much stick to what it’s intended for and remain focused on issues related to my huge lifestyle change with links of course to my other blogs if it’s warranted. 

I don’t know, are eclectic blogs better? Oh gosh sometimes it’s hard to be a blogger, giving all your love to just one blog, you’ll have bad times and you’ll have good times writing things that no one understands… all together now! Stand by your blogs… 

 

Poll: Your blogging voice

I know polls can be very difficult to attract responses to but if you have a moment I’d really appreciate it and if you share it even better but no pressure. Reading the post will throw some light on what prompted the poll and why I’m attempting it.

My daughter likes to read my blog and she told me yesterday that it’s struck her how sometimes I write posts in a more formal way and at others in a more natural way. She said “It’s like you have a blogging style and a non-blogging style but sometimes your non-blogging style creeps in almost like your telephone voice giving way to the more relaxed you”.

I was interested by this and thought about it and agreed that yes I do feel I have a blogging voice like my telephone voice. Not that it is contrived, I guess it’s just a slip into or out of the more formal, we adapt our communication styles all of the time depending on our situation and the people we are communicating with and how we are communicating, there is nothing phony about it.

In my professional life I do a lot of research into formal and informal means of communication related to learning and as blogging is becoming a more commonly used teaching and learning media, I’m just curious as to what other bloggers think. Do you feel you have a blogging ‘voice’ akin to your telephone voice or do you feel your blogging voice is always the natural you or like me do you skip between the two maybe dependent on topic.  I know I don’t have a significant enough following in terms of sheer numbers to generate huge amounts of data but it would be interesting to try a small poll and to hear some thoughts.

If you could find a way to share without me appearing to be begging for reblogs or links that would be greatly appreciated. I’m particularly interested in this as I am studying how teenagers (which I teach) absorb information from formal and informal sources and how use of  language can impact on their ability and willingness to learn. One of my goals is to try to use less formal social media to enhance teaching by delivering information in a less formal way and I’m wondering if we all use a more formal ‘voice’ when blogging how that may impact on the usefulness of this particular media.  So anything which gives me a deeper understanding would be really useful.

 

200 Followers

I just noticed that I passed 200 followers while I’m here doing nothing. That’s awesome that 200 people have some interest in something I have to say or have had to say or share. I remember being so excited when I got my first follow which I never expected so this is really humbling.

As I’m lying here sunning myself, rum cocktail to hand, smelling lunch being prepared, I played a little game with myself and tried to remember who my first follower was and I had a few in mind as I went off to have a look. I’m not that good at blogging and had to search a little to find who it was but it was Ginger over at Smasherchyk. Unfortunately I didn’t guess right 😦  But I did recall following her as she was/is on a weight loss quest like myself and although I really do try to keep up to date with as many bloggers who I follow as possible I have not had anything from Ginger appear in my reader and have not read any posts for a little while so as she was my first follower I thought it only fitting as gratitude and to mark the occasion to go and catch up on all that I’ve missed. I had a lovely read and am pleased to see that the quest continues for another of my ‘old school’ of life style changers, 4 months on and still going strong, step by step, little by little getting to a better place. Any of you fat fighters who are doing it the slow but sure way Ginger is well worth a follow, she keeps it real and understands that sometimes we might falter but it’s dusting off and getting back on track that shows our true desire for a better ‘us’.

It just made me determined to catch up more often and to use that list of followers (now I’ve found it) to try to make sure I’m dipping in an out as much as possible. I write a lot (I didn’t get the quality over quantity memo) but I love to read a lot too and I like to comment or at least like where I feel I have something to add. This element of blogging is as important or more important to me than writing. I’ve learned so much that has enriched my life and broadened my experience on this planet by proxy.

Accentuate the positive

This has been a very positive week for me and there are a number of things at play which have brought this about. I can’t go to bed until I’ve finished writing this post which I started on the journey home today. When I’m compelled to do something I just have to do it.

Slide1One of them was this post by My Red Abyss which truly struck a chord in me and which I am re-reading every day. If you read in it what I did, then it will be plain to you why it is so uplifting. I’ve thanked the author for it as if it was written just for me but no harm in expressing my gratitude and appreciation once more. It kind of links to the second finding which helped me to be positive…

Erik’s post and the rest of his blog:  It made me revalue older people, I’ve a long way to go to being Feliciano’s age but it made me realise in the remnants of my mid-life crisis that older people are valued and respected as sources of information, insight, wisdom, Slide2experience and history. We have a duty to pass it on. I suddenly thought that when I’m old I want to have plenty to share with younger people who care to listen, so I’d better get busy having more experiences. I realised I don’t want to be a boring 80 year old who stopped experiencing life at 40 for whom all of the adventure lie at the beginning with a distinct dearth in the second half. That would be a pretty crap book or movie with a plot like that and this is my life, my reality it can’t peak too soon and fizzle out. I want 80 years of memories to call on, 80 years of adventure and learning not 40.

Slide3Finally I’m linking to M-R’s blog because her writing (on her blog, in her comments and through her book) have all made me believe two great truths. Firstly, we all deserve to be completely, blissfully, unashamedly happy at some point in our lives and secondly no matter how unlovable we imagine ourselves to be there are people who will and do love us completely we just have to let them.

So many words and stories of encouragement and inspiration have rung in my ears and helped me to fight demons and just relax and enjoy being me again. I realise now through what I’ve read and written that I’ve been ill, not just fat, I’ve been sick but I’m healing and I’d be here forever if I tried to link to every comment that has helped me so far.  My gratitude is in my heart and progress not in my links and I hope you know that and I still have a way to go so there will be more of these sharing type posts to come.

The reason I chose these to share was that the authors didn’t Slide4know me, they didn’t write for me, they didn’t write to me, they were just writing from their hearts. In very different ways, in different places, very different people, writing for different reasons. Yet their words moved me, miles away, another different person in a different place writing for yet more different reasons.

What I really want to say besides thanking them and everyone else is that we should make an effort to read blogs and not just write them and in writing we should know that no matter how simple our story or words we might be writing exactly what someone somewhere needs to hear. Never be afraid to hit that publish button.

Slide5I know it’s tough finding time and not everyone speed types straight from the hip like me and lots of people have a hard enough time finding a slot to write in let alone have time to catch up with the blogs of others, but try. There are treasures out there if you look for them. There is inspiration where you might least expect to find it. There is motivation, example, genuine love and a whole battery of information and practical advice. If you never read, you never know who is writing just for you.

Another thing, when you have a blogger who you enjoy reading check out who they read to expand your reading along a similar vein, chances are you will connect with bloggers they like too. I learned this early on from Rob, one of my first followers (if not the first) and someone who encouraged me into the blogging community. He’s a great guy and loves the blogging network and encourages people to stay and share.

Finally, to make it easier for you right now Opinionated Man has kindly opened up his Slide6blog for anyone to share any post. This is a fantastic idea as there is a mish mash of bloggers blogging on a range of subjects popping links to posts on there and you can have a look and see if anything takes your fancy and extend your reading and network further by liking, commenting and perhaps following. Give OM a read while you’re there he’s a funny and interesting read himself, he is opinionated but doesn’t bite… at least not too hard 😛