New year, same me…

  
I was going to post the above image on Instagram with a little caption about the year and the new year but it turned out to not be so little so, to the blog!

I’m not making any New Years resolutions this year, not because I don’t have goals because I do. My aims for this year are to progress more in my career and pay off the remainder of my credit card.Both are more than achievable. I do want to make progress with my health and indeed my weight but, I’m not pinning it as something specific.

The start of 2015 saw me wanting to achieve a heck of a lot but not one thing I wanted to achieve was peace and happiness which turned out to be my biggest achievement of the last year.

  

I’ve made goals in the past to fit into a certain size jeans, get a boyfriend, buy something materialistic. None of which have ever been ticked off the list that’s soon forgotten about when life gets in the way.

2015 was a hard year both professionally and personally and certainly presented a lot of challenges.

 

 
Professionally, I got promoted at work into a role that tested all of my comfort zones, and it still does. There’s challenges I face every day that scare the shit out of the remnants of the “old” me that still lingers inside but, on the other side of that I absolutely love my job and the people I work with and it makes me a better person due to its challenges because every time that I overcome one it’s a success and it’s hard not to grow when you’re being successful.

I’ve been in a job previously where I left due to being bullied and being stressed and I always swore that was never a situation I’d find myself in again and whilst by GOD can I get stressed, it’s a good kinda stress and I’ll always know I can get through it because of the people I work with.

  

Personally, I’ve had to get really selfish this year. There’s been a lot of negative people I’ve had in my life and whilst I absolutely adored them, it was ultimately poisoning me so I had to cut them out, just like that.

It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do and my social circle was already a small one and now it’s one I can pretty much count with one hand.

  
I still miss these people and sometimes want to go running back because I miss the fun times but then I can recall the hurt and the disappointment and it’s not worth it. Being selfish is never something I’d want to pride myself on but I’m taking it this time.

It’s made me a stronger person and will continue to make me stronger whilst I affirm the fact that there will be nobody who can bring me down. I’ve realised that sometimes when something is broken, it needs to stay broken because you cannot fix everything and that’s okay.

  

I’ve also made some fantastic friends and maintained some good friendships in my life that mean the world to me and I’ve also realised a lot of previous errors I’ve made with old friends and tried to make amends. That’s a work in progress and will definitely be something I build on this year.

  

I’ve also realised the true value of family and their success. My parents are successful, there’s no denying that and I’ve always been fortunate enough the get the benefits of that success and never really questioned where it came from. It came from hard work.

It came from 16 hour days and never giving up.

It’s so inspiring to watch and listen to my Dad. Even at 53 he still has such big plans and dreams and he NEVER stops. He’s always been my hero but I’ve certainly learned a lot more about him and my Mum.

I’ve taken a lot of their love and wisdom for granted but I’m learning to cherish it and enjoy every moment – don’t get me wrong we still bicker but, show me a family that doesn’t.

They’ve made me realise that hard work does pay off and whilst I know they will do anything for me, it makes me want to do it for myself, simply because that’s exactly what they did.

  

I’m going to be doing a separate post about my 2015 weight loss because that too will be a biggy.

I don’t want to start this new year trying to make a new me.

2015 has been full of adventures and if I’m totally honest, has been the year I finally “grew up” and that’s something I don’t want to wipe off and reset like it was nothing. I feel like it’s set me up on a solid foundation to keep going where the only way is up and that’s quite a powerful feeling.

I’ve never been so “at one” with my life, I’ve always been chasing something wether that be the latest iPhone (which I’ve got because of….wait for it…working hard) or a new job. I’ve always craved something to make my life better without realising, I already had everything I needed…

  

Cycle 1 – 90 Day SSS Plan – Complete!

A good few weeks ago I posted about Joining #TeamLean2014 and signing up to The Body Coach 90 Day Shape Shift Sustain plan.

I really was super excited and then I got my plan through and got really overwhelmed and stuck my head in the sand and ignored it rather than bury myself in the 62 page document.


I was occasionally venturing out for Greggs and McDonalds and basically doing the complete opposite of what I’d just paid for.

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Money well spent as always.

Then I saw more progress photos posted on Instagram and showed my Auntie who helpfully pointed out that could be me if only I just started the god damn thing.

So I did.

I read my plan through and it made sense, I was just having select hearing, or more seeing, skills.

The plan is filled with recipe options that include low carb options and then carb refuel options.

If you train – you refuel.

If you don’t – keep it low.

You have 3 meals a day and 2 snacks. As someone who is a huge greedy bitch indulger AND grazer, putting structure into my meals was a bit difficult to adjust to but this became easily very quickly due to the fact you’re full to the brim. I was actually struggling to eat the copious amount on my plate. The meals are varied and full of flavour and at no point have I ever felt like I was missing out on anything.

Take a look for yourself:

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The hardest thing for me was limiting my tea intake to one a day. This was hard and for the first few days on plan I felt like I had a terrible hangover and after speaking out on twitter this case of Caffeine Withdrawals seemed to be common among most of us.

And being totally honest I’m still having 1 – 3 brews a day but as a general rule I’m trying to limit it to a “no tea after 12” rule rather than cutting out. This also follows on to the peeing. I’m almost convinced that at least 20% of my success is due to how many times I’ve traipsed up and down the stairs at home and work to pee. Joe recommends at least 3 liters of water a day which is a lot when you’re not used to it and this has probably been the area where I’ve had to train myself the most but given that I can chug down almost 2 liters during my HIIT sessions, this wasn’t hard to achieve.

Have I cheated at all during the plan?

Yes I have.

I may as well be honest but I have had a couple of slices of chocolate cake, 3 slices of pizza, 2 chocolate bars and a handful of chocolate buttons which isn’t good but when you consider that this has been consumed over a month and when I’d usually eat that in a day, it’s pretty good going!

Another thing I found with this plan is that it’s much easier to forgive yourself. In the plan there is a little section on “cheating” where Joe advises that you just draw a line under it and carry on. I also had a nice meal out with my family and was able to enjoy it whereas with other weight loss program’s you’re shamed for enjoying such things by having your weight wrote on a card in red pen with a sad face and then have to reveal to a group of women that you’ve gained weight for daring to have a bit of cheese. That’s no way to live.

So, all I did was just draw a line under it and immediately crack on with the day – I didn’t think “oh well I’ve had this I may aswell have that” I just had my next meal as planned.

You actually have to sit down and plan your meals and write a shopping list if you want to get results from this plan. It really is all about the planning and the preparation.

I’ve never felt more grown up than when I was walking into Aldi that first week with my shopping list AND I’d remembered my bags – I’m owning this.

 

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I did feel a bit lost, I was buying things I’d never bought before and reading labels and OHMYGODWHEREISTHEFLAXSEED (its at Holland and Barrett, not Asda just as a future FYI for anyone).

Coconut oil was another trauma to find but they sell that at Sainsburys.

That first shop was pretty stressful (and expensive – I didn’t have much change out of £100 that week) but by week 3 my shop was around the £35 mark and I was just wondering about the supermarket throwing things into my basket like it was second nature.

A lot of people, myself included, are dubious about the cost of the food upon starting the plan and whilst you could argue it’s pricey, I justify it to myself as it’s an investment in me and to create a better me so if that costs money then it costs. I could happily wonder in to town on my dinner and spend £10 between Greggs and on chocolate in just my lunch hour – now my food breaks down to £2 per meal – result. 

I haven’t taken any of the supplements apart from the vitamin C but due to the supplements not being compulsory I decided to try without them (again more of a cost issue).

I did get some whey protein though so I could make the now much loved protein pancakes.

Again, preparation is vital for this plan. This is no secret, Joe stresses this ALL the time and it’s really the case. Sunday afternoons for me are now spent cooking, making, mixing, fridging and freezing my meals for the week which makes the rest of the week a breeze when you can just grab your Tupperware box and go.

I live in a “meat and two veg” kinda family so this plan has been quite the education for me to learning how to cook, what works, what substitutes for what and all about flavours.

My Dad nearly had a breakdown over the smell curry that I made from scratch and I’m struggling to remember a time when me and the house didn’t smell of garlic!  A blob of ketchup and a dash of salt is usually the only condiment and flavour in our house so I’m feeling very proud of my ever growing herb collection!

I was going to the gym roughly 4 times a week so the exercise wasn’t much of a change for me except being in and out of the gym within half an hour – usually I’d spend no less than an hour in there (with very little results in comparison to the time on cycle 1). I’m now at the gym 5-6 times a week.

I’m fairly certain I now have more conversation with the gym receptionist than I do my friends and now all of the PTs let on to me – I feel confident in saying I’m now a regular at my gym and that makes my inner skinny do a little squeal.


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So far 3 people have signed up to the plan on my recommendation, so it’s a safe bet that I’m a huge fan of this plan and the results so far.

If I could give advice to anyone looking to start the plan it would be:

  • You would have to be willing to commit a lot. You have to commit your body and your mind, which sounds rather dramatic, but unless you’re in the right mind frame and willing to open your mind to the education then you won’t do very well.

  • You’ll have to be willing to get a lot of flack – me having mince for breakfast is still blowing peoples minds 4 weeks on and a lot of my food has been met with “ewws” and questions of what’s in it which was a little disheartening at the beginning but now not so much. Doing HIIT at the gym also got a lot of stares as everyone wonders what you’re doing when you immediately stop on your sprint which during the first week was a bit awkward and intimidating but at the end of the day I realised I’m there to reach goals, that’s it.

 

  • PREP PREP PREP PREP annnnnnd PREP. If you prep as much as you can, the plan won’t take much more time out of your day than eating “normally” would and once you’ve smashed out your workout your day is your own.

  • Dont be afraid to ask for help and advice – if you are on social media such as Twitter or Insagram, use it! Follow Joe and follow people he RT’s and use the hashtags on your posts and you’ll soon start building up a group of friends who you can talk to about the plan. Also, don’t ever forget Joe is there, it’s like he knows when your flagging and he’ll post a tweet to get you going again. Anytime I’ve had to drop him an email he has always responded quickly so make sure you utilize the back up that comes with being a part of #TeamLean2014 and don’t ever feel like you’re alone! When I went through my bad spell of cheats and treats and posted about this on social media, the response I got from my new found Team Lean friends was invaluable and I really do value their support and I’m confident that I’ve made some new friends for life – thank you ladies, men and Joe.


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Now for the nitty gritty! The results!

I felt the changes in myself after about 5 days. I was sleeping much better and waking up with more energy. I’m not a morning person at all and this coupled with having to be at my desk for 7:30am was never an easy challenge but it has been a bit easier since being on plan. Whoda thunk it!

My skin is AMAZING. I’ve had no breakouts during the cycle which isn’t the norm for me at all but I’m not even wearing foundation anymore so that is a magic effect of the plan for sure!

A few posts ago I mentioned about my PCOS which as a result means I don’t generally have periods. My last one was back in August but with a few weeks on plan, I’ve had a period. This may seem like a complete over share but when you look at the bigger picture – me being overweight was effecting my fertility and the possibility of having a family one day and that has come back. I’m so overjoyed about this.

I’ve dropped clothes sizes, I’ve loved my clothes becoming baggy and some previously non-wearable items becoming wearable and finally getting a bit of confidence in myself.  It’s great to see the number going down on the scales but nothing compares to picking up a smaller size hanger whilst out shopping!

I’ve also noticed silly little things that have helped show that there’s a difference, the two main ones being that I don’t need to contort myself into some unknown yoga position to paint my toenails – just bend down and job done. Less belly clearly equals more stretch!

I can see my toes – usually something only pregnant women experience but helloooo feet (I’ve also dropped a shoe size, but I’m not going to put that as a separate point as this is becoming like a bit of a foot fetish thing).

My boobs look much better – I exclaimed the other day that my boobs looked higher, when infact it’s just because they’re not resting on my belly like a Buddha.

Anyway, enough about boobs and feet, here’s the stats:

Cycle 1 Start End Total lost
Weight 17st 0lb  16st 4lb  10lb
Waist  43.5  38.5  5
Hips  51.5  47.5  4
Thigh  27  23.5  3.5
Bicep  14  13  1

 

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Cycle 2?

I just can’t wait to be leaaaaan

I’ve hit a bit of a brick wall in the sense that I’m really confused about EVERYTHING.

Well I say everything but it’s not like I’m at the point of trying to stuff my boobs in to my socks instead of my bra or anything but just more with my diet.

Getting on the scales recently results in me doing a Kimmy K style cry because the number isn’t changing and more recently it’s going up.

 

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In my head, I’m doing everything right.
I’m doing more
I’m eating less
I’m doing weights
I’m doing cardio
AND I’ve cut carbs.

Wrong.
SO WRONG.

I posted asking for help on instagram and the general advice was eat more, move less and nobody seemed to be advising this as a joke.


I’ve spent the day doing a bit of research and getting so confused and stressed I had to eat a bar of Dairy Milk just to calm down.

Cue this:

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Once I’d had my moment I decided to turn to my inspirational guru and see what I could learn.

Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 6 months I’m going to assume you’ve heard of The Body Coach or you’ve at least seen something about him.

He’s a cracking curly haired character who has broken the mould in the sense that there is more to a trainer than abs and a great smile and a cheeky sense of humour and great hair – you get the idea right?

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He’s brilliant.

I went through his Instagram and looked at his meals and did myself a little, actually large, shopping list and took myself off to Asda to do my weekly shop.

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Now the first indication to me that made me realise I potentially hadn’t been eating enough was the fact that my weekly shop is usually done with a basket, which is actually a long way from the human buckaroo I used to play with myself balancing a bag of chocolate buttons on a pizza with a bottle of milk, box of Frosties and oooh look those crumpets are only £1! But instead of a basket – I needed a trolley.


My shopping consisted of:

Chives
Pink salmon
Parsley
Cashew nuts
Blueberries
Asparagus
Celery
Green chillies
Broccoli
Apples
Red onions
White onions
Chestnut mushrooms
Kale
New potatoes
Bananas
Baby lead salad
Whole grain oats
Light mozzarella
Total 0% yoghurt
Rice cakes
Cottage cheese
Mixed peppers
Spinach
Ginger
Cherry tomatoes
Lean mince
Chicken breasts
Feta cheese
Oranges
Avocados

NO BREAD
NO CHOCOLATE
NOOOOOOOO

Oh and I also bought some more Tupperware which caused my Mum to ask me if I’ve replaced my shoe habit with a Tupperware habit because I keep buying that many but, preparation is key and I bought some shoes on Friday so it’s swings and roundabouts really.

I came home and shoved it all in the fridge and have sort of been opening the fridge door, scratching my head and shutting it again because I’m still confused about what to do with it all.

I went back on to Joes Instagram (The Body Coach is called Joe Wicks for anyone I momentarily lost there) and looked for more inspiration and then I just thought “sack it, might as well do it proper” and signed up to his plan.

It seems like I’ve just made a whimsical decision here but I haven’t.

I’ve been following Joe for what must be towards 9 months now at a guess. I initially thought it was all a bit too good to be true and sort of kept my eye on things as a sceptic.
A bit like watching Ghost Adventures.
Do you really believe in ghosts? Probably not, but the lead presenter is a bit hot so I’ll keep watching just incase.

 

When I decided to get a bit more serious about my diet a good few months back, I decided to incorporate a few of the meals/workouts from his Instagram into my routine and see what happened and I was impressed. So impressed I decided to email my before and after to him and say a little thanks.

This is probably where my love for this fella started to grow because he replied.

I wasn’t a paying customer – I hadn’t bought his plan or anything but he still replied and congratulated me. I was over the moon with this response and it helped to inspire me more.

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A few more months have gone on since then and Joe now follows me on twitter which means a few weeks back I was able to DM him a new progress shot and again thank him to which he again replied.

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It is so rare these days to experience good customer service that I was really impressed and it does go to show why Joe is so successful in what he does. He just wants to help and if he’s helping then he’s happy and it does feel genuine.

I’m very excited to start my 90 Days SSS Plan and more excited to think that by the start of 2015 my plan will be completed and I’m likely going to be the best I’ve ever been.

Once you’ve signed up you fill in a detailed questionnaire about you, your current eating and exercise patterns and about your health and send that back with a front, side and back shot of yourself and viola in 3-5 days you have your plan.

The price may initially make some people wary.

It’s £147 for a 3 month plan.

I’ve taken the option to pay in 3 monthly payments of £49. So that’s basically like 2 Nandos and a takeaway from Pizza Hut but you get less hot sauce and more hot body. Brilliant.

The shopping detailed above cost a little under £46 and I’ll be posting photos of what meals I make on Instagram (Jennifer23W) so we can have a shufty at how far that shopping goes and what I didn’t need to buy.

Add the costs together and the plan PLUS my food is costing £8 per day. You can’t knock that really.

Bring it on.

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If you want more info about Joe or the 90 Days SSS Plan you can follow the links below:
Instagram
Twitter
90DaySSS

In my zone

As usual I seem to have gone AWOL again from blogging.

I’ve actually been itching to do some work on my blog but I’ve been waiting until I had something decent to say and something positive. My posts have been very grumpy lately and I’d much rather be sharing smiles than woes. 

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I’ve been dieting, I’ve been dieting HARD. 

My whole being is consumed with dieting and fitness and training which is quite a new experience for me. I’m no stranger to this game and it’s certainly beaten me many times in the past but now I’m in the Zone. 

I’ve been to the gym 4 times in the last week which for someone who didn’t have a gym membership this time last week i’d say that’s pretty good going. 

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I now have a personal trainer. This wasn’t something that was an easy choice to make, mostly due to the finances. I did my induction with a trainer at the gym who I really liked for more than his amazing arms. He wasn’t condescending and I didn’t feel like the fat kid, I felt like I had potential and that was a fantastic feeling that I wanted to cherish even if it did come at a price. 

Yeah I got really sweaty, yeah my glasses started steaming up when I got warm (always a hoot) but then again, as the saying goes “sweat like a pig to look like a fox”. 

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I’m loving the feeling of waking up in the morning and feeling happy that I’m one day further towards my goal and I’ve got another day to make things count. 

I’ve had a couple of moments this week where my fat self has almost beaten my fit self and these achievements have meant the world to me. 

Yesterday I arrived at the gym and I really didn’t want to be there. I sat in the car staring at the building just staring at it and thinking about going home.

“I was tired”

“I was hungry”

“I’d had a busy day”

“I didn’t want to be here”

All of these ran through my head and they almost won but then I thought about what would happen when I got home, chances are I would have gone home and felt like rubbish and then because I felt like rubbish I would have raided the fridge and eaten pretty much any chocolate I could get my hands on. 

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Instead, I got out of the car, got changed and hit the treadmill. 

I did half an hour on the treadmill and actually managed to get a new personal best. Not only did I manage to continuously run a full mile but I also knocked ten seconds off my previous time for a mile. 

It felt good, instead of going home and consuming calories, I managed to burn 168 of the little buggers off. 

Then today I had a huge craving for sweets. HUGE. CRAVING. To the point where I could actually taste the ones I wanted in my mouth. 

I ate my very healthy, protein packed lunch and when I’d finished the craving still hadn’t gone and I think at this point all my colleagues were staring to look like Tango toobz. I got my bag and headed off towards the Pound Shop with every intention of getting what I wanted. I was a woman on a mission and the wotsit coloured people of Oldham were not going to get in my way. As I got closer the fit me started to win her little battle on my shoulder. 

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“You wont be able to just eat one”

“Imagine how many calories are in them, more than 168 I bet….”

“All that sugar”

And then I thought about my PT session tomorrow and what I would say if he asked me how my food has been for the week. I’d have to tell him which would be bad, or I could not tell him and lie, which would be worse. 

There’s actually a Sports Direct shop in town, right next door to the Pound Shop and what I found myself doing was wondering around there looking at all the tight gym gear. Sweets ain’t gonna let me get in them that’s for sure. 

Then I went for a walk the long way back to work. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly no saint when it comes to this and any time I’ve attempted my weight loss challenges before I’ve usually been defeated by my own self, I’m my own worst enemy when what I should be doing is being my number one fan. 

Motivation and success are two things which come from within, you can’t buy it and I’m pretty damn sure that I won’t find it at the bottom of a sweet packet. 

I’m doing a little cardio at the gym as a warm up and then moving on to mostly weights. I can see daily changes to my body this last week which is a massive thing for me, I’m actually looking in the mirror and being ever so slightly approving of myself. I’m not by any means kidding myself that I’m anywhere near goal, there’s still 5 stone of me sat between now and then but for the first time in a long time it actually seems to be possible. 

I have more support than I’ve ever had. My colleagues are being fantastic and whilst I favour calling them cruel they’re not. They currently have a system in place where if they see me eating something bad I will be fined 10p which means I have to either be healthy or stealthy. So far, I’ve been healthy and the amount in the jar remains at zero. 

Speaking of my diet. It’s actually ended up being a bit of a trial and error. I originally started doing a very old Weight Watchers program which was great and set me off to a good start but it just feels wrong now.

I don’t know if it’s because of the information I’ve learned and been told over the last 12 months but I just can’t do what I’m doing at the gym and have a carb heavy diet – just can’t.

So I’m now back on a high protein and low carb diet which is a bit repetitive but essential and I KNOW it works if I stick to it. I am posting a lot of meals on my Instagram page and my username is Jennifer23W but if you also want some ideas follow thebodycoach – that guy is my hero and worth a follow on ALL social media.

I’ve still got a long battle with my Fit and Fat Alter Egos but it’s been a successful journey so far and I’m really excited to see where I can get to for Christmas time.

Summer summer summer tiiiiiime

Oh don’t tell me you didn’t sing that too. 

Stop singing now, it’s time to focus and read. 

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No, really. 

It’s impossible not to feel a little jazzy with this weather. It makes EVERYTHING seem better and I’m happy to report the biggest trauma I’ve had lately has been discovering my chocolate has melted in the car. There was certainly nothing teasing about those malteasers, it was more maltblob…actually I kinda know how they feel… 

But the weather does make me pretty happy and has me galloping into town for my lunch feeling like this:

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My last blog posts have been pretty heavy to not only write and make public, but probably to read too. It’s not really normal for me to put myself out there in a negative light as I do like my reputation as the funny one but shit happens.

Clearly, I’m still funny though. 

I read a quote the other day that said “Sometimes all it takes is one person to see your wings for you to be able to fly” and that feels like it accurately sums up the last six months for me. 

I’ve taken a hell of a lot of chances and people have taken a chance on me and they’ve worked out for the best which is great because that finally means I can cheer the fuck up and write a happy blog! 

My book has finally started to take shape and I have finally let someone read what I’ve put together so far which has suddenly made it more real. The feedback I got was good and whilst it still needs fluffing up and at least another 20 chapters writing, it’s actually happening. 

Look!

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Now I just need to finish it, get a book deal and live happily ever after. 

Dream big, right?

I have had a few people asking me what the characters secret is and many of you seem to be under the impression that Eva is a catfish. Which is good news for me because as a writer (do I qualify to use that title?!) that means I’ll have the upper hand on the story.

I’ve been back on my diet for almost a month now and it was hard to begin with. I has having Subway shakes and chocolate withdrawals but I made it through and have so far lost a stone.

I’m in a different zone with it this time in the sense that it’s not actually a big deal. It’s just happening rather than consuming my life like previous attempts have. I post about it on my instagram account quite a bit but that’s as far as its presence goes.

At the end of the day, I know I need to do something about my weight and I am so I don’t really need to share it with everyone who I went to school with who probably don’t give a shit.

Whereas sharing it on my instagram and blog it’s targeting those in a similar position and who have an interest in me. Gosh, that sounded a bit self important.  

I’ve always felt like I needed validation before in many aspects of life and whilst we all love to get praise, sometimes it’s nice just knowing you yourself is totally owning it and just enjoying the ride.

Today I had my first moment of feeling slim. My work pants have gone baggy around the waist which is amazing progress and I don’t feel like I’m pregnant with octuplets when I either sit down or indeed look down at my belly. Now I just have my boobs with my feet peaking out instead of moment like this:

 

It was my birthday yesterday and I’m now 26 years old which seems like a frighteningly grown up age for someone who still isn’t sure how long you need to boil eggs for, and don’t even get me started on poached egg fuckery. You must be a wizard if you can do that vortex-vinegar-slide-it-in-thing and make a good one. 

I ate a lot yesterday, cake cake CAAAAKE but I didn’t feel bad about it and actually just got right back on track with todays food and didn’t even cave into a foot long (cheeky) at Subway and trotted back to work with my salad like I’d just won us a Gold at the Commonwealth. 

I also attended my first Zumba class this week which was a good laugh and pretty awesome. In terms of a work out I’m not entirely convinced of it’s benefits but given you don’t stop shaking what your mamma gave you for 45 minutes, it has to do something. 

I’m the most uncoordinated person in the world and have as much grace as an elephant in tutu but Zumba is actually quiet easy to master, she says, I’m probably not very good at it but I had fun and that’s what’s important. 

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My birthday was actually pretty great though, spent the day in work which isn’t too bad when you actually enjoy being there and then I went out for a meal with my parents which is always nice. We live together but it’s rare we actually get to go out together and do stuff so I was a happy bunny.

I’m off to the Doctors tomorrow to get the results of my previously mentioned tests so that’ll be good to try and find out what’s going on and hopefully get on the road to not feeling like shite. I do have to say though that since losing the weight a lot of my symptoms have dramatically reduced and in turn given me a lot of hope for the future. Although my broodiness has evaporated and I’m no longer massively keen for babies any time soon, I’ve decided I’ll know when I’m ready when a baby holds the same level of cuteness as baby Oleg.

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Look at that face!!

Plus, my Mum and Dad were also 26 when they had me and it blows my mind to think that they were fully responsible for the care of another life.

Don't get me wrong, they clearly did a fantastic job, but I walked around town the other day cradling 4 pairs of shoes that I had no intention of buying but I just liked them and got attached. I don't think my levels of responsibility are quite up to scratch just yet…

Here’s to hormones and health

I write a lot about being fat and not wanting to be fat anymore but there’s a little bit more to this story than I ever let on.

It’s very difficult to write about health issues because due to there being so many issues with obesity, having health issues now is added on to the “I’m just big boned” list of excuses and nobody really cares.

I love food and in the past I’ve loved a lot of the wrong food which has obviously contributed to an expanding waist line, however, I also have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

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Now, PCOS affects different women in different ways, I can only talk about my story with it. The easiest way to say how this affects me is to say that it leaves my hormones as confused as Leonardo DiCaprio is at the Oscars. They thought they were doing the right thing in growing some facial hair and turning up, but no, it’s all wrong. It’s just not right and you keep hoping it’ll fix itself but it never does.

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Sometimes, my body thinks it’s a man and that’s when I get problems with facial hair and basically a lot of unwanted hair in general. I think I’ve single handedly kept the disposable razor industry afloat these last 10 years.

I don’t have periods – which was great the first few times it happened. You can make jokes about being preggers and not do a Carrie every month but eventually it makes you do a little cry because why aren’t you working? There’s obviously something seriously wrong with your lady plumbing but ah well, suck it up is generally the advice.

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When I was first diagnosed I was around 21 (I’m now nearly 26) and it took a good year to finally find out what was wrong with me as the initial diagnosis from the doctor was that I was just morbidly obese (her actual words to me, bitch) and that if I lost weight then my symptoms would be cured – which would be great if I could have lost weight but it was like fighting a never ending battle.

PCOS makes it hard to lose weight and I’ve never hid behind this or used it as an excuse but losing weight is hard enough at the best of times, throw in your hormones having a rave and forgetting what day it is and your diet ends up having a bit of a ‘mare.

I’ve also been pre-warned that I may struggle to conceive when it comes to me wanting to start a family. Which even with the absence of periods was still a massive hypothetical slap in the face.

At 21 this didn’t seem like a huge deal though and for the last few years I actually managed to successfully convince myself that I didn’t want children anyway.

That was a lie. I actually have never been as broody as I have been this last 6 months. I coo over babies and have started to become quite fluent in baby talk and almost bought a little cute denim shirt from Primark the other day for no reason other than OHMYGODITSSOSMALLANDCUTE.

See, I told you my hormones are broken.

Having that thought in the back of my mind is something that rears it’s ugly head probably once a day.

I feel a pang of failure is probably the only way I can describe it. Making a baby is what we’re supposed to do and my parents would give anything for grand kids.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s every chance I could get a bit merry on jäger bombs recapturing my youth in town one weekend and have a drunken fumble and end up with child.
Actually no, there’s probably very little chance of that happening given that I require more information on any potential suitor that what MI5 hold, but it was a fun thought that I might do something so crazy and reckless.

On a serious note though, I hope that when I do reach that very grown up part of my life everything will work as it should do but I have to face the reality that it might not.

Everything was ticking along quite nicely, I’d managed to shift a huge chunk of weight and things were okay but at the start of this year – my periods stopped again. I put it down to stress with work and money and hoped it would just correct itself and it did in April and then that’s been it.

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Slowly since then my symptoms of PCOS have snowballed. To the point now where I’ve actually put on weight that can’t be seen on the outside which has caused me to have huge concern for the cysts that now exist inside my body. I’m struggling to do any sort of work out due to the pain I get around my pelvic area which is that excruciating I can’t actually lift my left leg up to go up stairs.

My facial hair problems have gotten worse, my skin is oily and I have regular acne breakouts, bad dandruff and the all important mood swings.

It’s not a nice condition to live with and it can cause me severe anxiety somedays due to these symptoms. I have a job where it’s very people orientated and deal with the public and some days this can cause me real turmoil battling with my anxiety issues over PCOS symptoms.

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Today I’ve been back to the doctor and she didn’t hesitate in sending me straight for some blood tests and for an ultrasound to see what’s going on.

It just goes to show really – I last went for my check up 9 months ago and my doctor nearly fell of her chair at how well I looked and was so happy with things she took me off any medication and let me fly solo for a while and who knows what has happened in those nine months, but I’ll be sure to find out soon when I get my results back.

If you or anyone you know can relate to anything in this blog, please seek advice from your GP as soon as possible.

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Plans and thanks

Last nights post was a pretty heavy one and I want to thank everyone who took time out to read it and also to those who’ve been in contact with me about it.

One thing that always amazes me is that feeling you get of not being alone when it comes to things like this. After all, you’re pouring your words on to a page and not really knowing how it’s going to go. But to read those words of encouragement from people and also know that other people are experiencing similar feelings is quite a safety blanket.

It isn’t nice to think that someone else is in the same position as me, but then again I’m not selfish or stupid enough to assume that I’m alone.

Following on from last nights post, I wanted this one to try and be more upbeat and that step forward.

There’s two things I was to talk about in this post – my plan and my dreams.

Both two quite big subjects so you might need to grab yourself a brew or something. Should have warned you about that last night!

Last night I publicly declared that I have a problem, both physically and mentally with my body image and that’s not something that’s going to immediately fix itself. I have October as some sort of deadline in my head. No idea why and I don’t particularly have a goal weight in my head but by then it would be nice to be a lot happier.

I’m going to do my first month solo in the sense that I’m just going to experiment with my meals and doing HIIT workouts at home.

I’m going to weigh myself at the start of the month and at the end otherwise I’m going to become obsessed. It will be good to know my weight but I’m going to focus more on inches and clothes size and most importantly – on my reflection.

Once my first month is up I’m going to assess things and take gym memberships and other options in to consideration from this point onwards Otherwise I’m going to bombard myself with things, feel overwhelmed and scared and end up doing nothing.

I would like to point out that whilst I’ve shown quite a different side to me in these blogs, I’m not in any means a timid or broken woman or anything like that. All that’s happened is my confidence has taken a bit of a bash and I’m being rather dramatic about it all.

I’m going to be posting all my meals on an Instagram I’ve set up to run along side this blog @hhandhealthymeals

If you would like to give that a follow for ideas or even to offer constructive criticism I would be most grateful but otherwise the intention at the moment is to use that to post all my weightloss things so I’m not spamming my timeline with it.

Now for the second item on the agenda which is quite exciting!

My blog is one of my hobbies, whilst I’ve not been posting much lately I’ve still been writing my ideas and things down. Writing is something that I love and is a great way for me to get some of the nonsense out of my head and on paper.

I have mentioned on Twitter and Facebook in the past about a book. This has been an idea in the making for a while now and it needs to happen so my dreams for this year are to get fitter but to also complete the first draft of my book.

I’m going to give myself the target of Christmas to get this completed and then I will be requesting that some of you lovely people do a read through and provide feedback.

What’s the book about you ask? Well the book is based on myself and my dating experiences over the last few years but given that I want to also get a bit creative with it, I’ve decided to write a novel instead of an autobiography type book. It’s a work in progress but this is currently the blurb:

Dating and trying to find your Mr Right isn’t easy. With the many ways of meeting new people, you’d think it would be easy, but with the added pressures of modern society, it’s harder than ever.

Meet Eva, a twenty-something single girl who’s trying to find her happy ever after after signing up to a dating website. But Eva isn’t quite what she seems, she’s hiding a secret that there’s no getting away from…

Curious to know the secret? GOOD!

I also want to make sure I give this blog more love and I’m going to try and branch a little bit into the world of video blogging and see how that comes out. I’ve recently recorded a couple but they’re rubbish quality so I shall have to get them redone.

I’m looking forward to being back and I hope you’re glad to have me back too. I’m hoping the rest of this year will bring great things for me but also for you, because you’re pretty damn special too dear reader.

X

A big post for a big girl…

I haven’t blogged for a long time. Too long in fact and this is going to be quite a heavy blog to post as my comeback.

This is going to be very a frank and honest blog that I imagine many will be able to relate to and isn’t really something that’s going to be easy to post.

Now before you carry on reading, I would like to point out that this isn’t a sympathy blog. This is my introduction back and will be my post for moving forward with and hopefully bring with it more interesting stories. So just stick with me here because it’s going to be a load of waffle.

My last post was about getting a new job. I’ve been there just shy of three months now and I can honestly say I love it. It has it’s moments where it stresses me out and generally I deal with these moments by going a bit red and poking the photocopier a bit harder than I usually do, but then the moment passes and it’s business as usual.

I’ve become one of those people who are consumed by work, when I’m not at work I’m talking about work and what funny thing happened or having various little discussions with ideas in my head and I’m pretty sure everyone but me must be pretty bored by now, but I love it.

Have I mentioned I love it? Yes? Oh..

Well, in my last post, I posted about how when I decided not to be a prison officer, I felt a bit lost because my dream had gone and I wasn’t sure what to focus on and aim for.

I’ve found that has still applied even though I’m now in a job I love. (Sorry!) So much of my thinking been focused on IF I get a new job and less on WHEN.

“If I get a new job I’ll….”

Well I’ve got a new job that isn’t really a new job anymore. That “excuse” has been taken away so I’m back in limbo.

I’m also very happy with things personally. I’ve moved back in with my parents and also have my auntie and cousins back in my life and that still feels like every Christmas in one and when we get together it actually gives me the fuzzy feeling that you get when you’re all together with your family on Christmas morning.

Now if you’re wondering where the hard hitting, nitty-gritty is that I spoke of; brace yourself.

You see whilst my life on the surface looks pretty rainbows and candy floss, I’ve suddenly found myself suffering from a severe case of Being Complacent.

Now it’s a running joke that women are never happy. For example: I wasn’t happy until I got an iPhone and then I wasn’t happy until I got a MacBook and THEN I wasn’t happy till I got an iPad. (I’ve got them all now).

You see everything in life is quite similar. I have a great family but I wanted the great job so now I have the family and the job but now I want the great ME.

And to be honest, I’m far from great right now. If I’m honest I actually hate me right now to the point I even look in the mirror and hate EVERYTHING, even right down to the way my eyebrows are growing.

Told you it was going to be dramatic. I bet you still wasn’t expecting eyebrow rage though.

I’m a serial dieter. I diet, I lose weight, I feel great and people notice and then CAAAAAAKE and then I’m back at square one. I always claim that This Time will be different and it will all work out and it will be amazing but I’m so easily distracted and also so easily disheartened it never works.

I’m not proud to admit that the last time I lost my motivation it was down to comfort eating over a boy.
Said boy had been a very good influence on my lifestyle due to his own and it was very easy whilst spending time with him to adopt his policy and my weight was doing brilliantly and then he was a lot of an asshole and I turned to food for comfort. It makes me hurt to think where I’d be if I’d just carried on after this instead of resorting to food but if ifs and ands were pots and pans, well, I’d have probably eaten them.

Anyway, after a mountain of cake and spaghetti and cheese – I got over that.

Then I started struggling in my old job and my way to deal with that was again, by eating. Cinnamon buns, bread rolls and Nutella was actually great for dealing with that and then usually a couple of bags of Giant Buttons thrown in for any remaining emotional hunger pangs.

I got massive again and when I found myself shopping for an interview outfit it was a huge slap in the face, not that I needed one really given the size of the pants that I needed to buy – I had to buy a size 20.

Now for someone who was aiming and well on track for size 12 clothes this time last year that was a pretty huge smack in the belly rolls.

I started eating better and was walking quite a bit more and slowly my comfort fat has started to come off. I posted a comparison photo on Instagram which I have since removed whilst currently operating in my I HATE MYSELF mode. I’ve done pretty well but I’m still fat.

It is starting to affect a lot of my life and being fat has started to consume all of my thoughts which isn’t making me any thinner which I’m hoping this blog will help because then I can get all my word and thought vomit out and move forward with my plan.

A plan I’m not fully sure of yet but given this is going to be it then it’s going to have to be a trial and error situation.

I would like to point out here that I’m quite content to refer to myself as fat and this is in no way a judgement or comment to anyone other than myself. I am overweight because of my fat but I will continue to view myself in the mirror as a fat girl for the time being so that is how I refer to myself. I’m not intending to upset anyone.

Last weekend was a pretty big weekend for me for two reasons.

Reason number one – I was going on the first date I’ve been on since last December.

Reason number two – it was the 10k Great Manchester Run.

Back to number one. I haven’t dated for so long because I have been focusing on other things (job and family – like I had to point that out) but I’ve always had my account on Plenty of Fish that I dipped in and out of and not much took my fancy and it wasn’t really a priority. Mostly because I hate the fact that dating can make you feel so shite.

It might go well when you meet up and you think it’s okay but then they send you a message or even worst they don’t send you a message and you just never see them again. Now this is something else I’ve come to shrug off “oh it’s because I’m fat” and if that still continues when I’ve lost weight I’ll have a huge struggle on my hands to stop being boring or something but for now let’s go with that.

But anyway, I was due to meet this guy who seemed lovely and was attractive and had a good sense of humour and he wanted to take me to my favourite restaurant – perfect!

But no. I ruined it all because the night before I was trying to decide what to wear and ended up trying EVERYTHING on in my wardrobe and everything looked awful and I was even getting so worked up that I even started hating my shoes and I love my shoes.

I cried.

Why bother going on the date when he isn’t even going to fancy me and make me feel like shit?

What was actually happening was I was making myself feel rubbish but blaming this poor guy I’ve never even met!

I made an excuse not to go and he knew it was an excuse but there we go.

This is how deep set my mentality has got with my appearance at the moment. I’m back to thinking “when I lose weight I can…”

I remember discussing this issue with a friend a long time ago and she asked me what will happen when I get thin. I was momentarily stumped and she continued asking me when will it stop? When will I stop with this unhappiness with my body or will it forever continue and in fairness, she raises a very valid point. I put off and excuse myself from so many things with the auto-answer that it’ll all get magically better and stop when I can fit in a size 12 pair of jeans? Or maybe when I can wear a bikini or feel comfortable getting naked in front of another person?

It’s hard to tell when you’re so caught up in the unhappiness of the moment and your current reflection. I can see myself slipping back into little ways of not wanting to bother with my appearance as it is at the moment. I’m not styling my hair or wearing much makeup. I’m wearing the baggiest clothes I own in order to hide my body and not feel aggravated, especially with the heat we’ve had.

Wow I’ve gone totally off subject here. Wasn’t I talking about dating? Long story short, I didn’t go because I’m feeling fat.

Second point, the 10k. I did this last year and was really proud of my achievement last year but this year not so much. I didn’t do very much training at all. I still managed to achieve a good time but when I saw the photos from last year I was so unhappy. I pledged to myself that next year will be different and I will look great and it’ll all be great and it wasn’t.

It took me 4 minutes longer to do the race this year, which when you consider I hadn’t done any training wasn’t so bad, but I’m still unhappy with my pictures and really can’t take much pride in what I’ve done. There were all shapes and sizes on the day but I felt like a huge fraud and was so uncomfortable.

So I suppose this is the moment I draw the line under all this drama and crack on with changing it?

I’ve got lots to focus on these coming months if I want to finally achieve something with my body.

I want to get my fitness levels up.
I want to get into smaller clothes.
I want to be confident in who I am.
Most importantly – I want to love myself.

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Left: 2013
Right: 2014

Lost and Found: My Dreams

Just before Christmas my Mum told me that I needed to stop being so miserable.

It was the month of mince pies, Quality Street and held the guarantee of new perfume come Christmas Day. It’s the best month EVER.  I was a bit taken aback by this comment, I’l admit.

Why was I so miserable? How could I stop?

I pondered and identified my job as being the main cause. My mojo for the role got lost somewhere in the year and I was just following the motions and looking forward to payday like many, many other people do.

But did I have to do this? Not really. I’d busted my ass off at school, college and then night school to make sure I had the groundings for a good career yet at 25 I was still ultimately being the brewer uperer.

Whilst I’ll be first to admit that a good brew is the foundations for a good day, it would be damn nice to have one made by someone else now and again.

My battle with teabags wasn’t the cause of my unhappiness but it seemed to be a definitive point for me that despite all my hard work, efforts and determination – I was still at the bottom of the ladder. The point of a ladder was to climb but I seem to have lost sight of climbing and set up camp on the bottom rung.

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No no.

I had dreams!

When I was 14, my Mum bought me a key chain. I’m not sure if this was because I used to loose my keys a lot or because I wanted one. It was actually the closest I ever got to a goth phase though, so it seems like a pivotal moment.

pocket-chainAnyway, back to the point. I used to swing this key chain about and walk like I was going to punch someone or more politely, with “ten to two” feet. Someone made a joke that I would make a cracking prison officer and this was something I took quite literal as 11 years on, this was still my ultimate career goal.

I went for the job of a prison officer when I was 18 years old but failed on one of the exams at the final stage. I was crushed but looking back I can appreciate that I was too young and would have probably been scarred for life.

In November last year the opportunity came up to apply again. I applied, took my exams, passed and got invited down to London to the assessment day. I was over the moon, there was light at the end of the tunnel and my dreams were in reach. I was owning this.

I booked my train tickets and hotel and got all set.

I then decided to do some research online to see what the current situations were in Her Majesties residences and see if I could find anyone in the same position as me.

What I found out was not what I expected. What I always visioned to be my dream job was suddenly a sham. I couldn’t find anything good and the long term prospects of the job were neither promising or secure.

I can only liken the feeling to that I felt when my parents finally revealed that they were actually behind the eating of the mince pie and the leaving of presents on the 25th December.

I discussed my findings with my family and close friends and got their advice and I made my decision to withdraw my application.

This was very difficult for me to do. Suddenly my goal in life had gone and I wasn’t quite sure where to turn next.

Ideas went through my head from wanting to own my own coffee shop to being a PA. I had no idea what my new long term plan was. I just resolved that if I wasn’t applying to the prison service, I needed to put some serious effort into finding myself a new passion.

I started job hunting. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for but I’ve always said that I would know when I saw it. That turned out to be very true.

Scouring the local job sites I saw an advert for a job that was simply titled “People Person”.

I am a person, I like people, people generally like me. I liked where this was going.

I was intrigued. It was in a field I had interest in and with a company that I really liked the sound of and a company that sounded like they were going places and I also wanted to go places. It was perfect. Ironically, I also ended up interviewing for this job on the same day I was supposed to be travelling down to London to take my assessments.

Long story short, I got the job!

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I’m very happy about it and can confidently say that long term it has a lot of potential and really seems like something that is very me and is a job where I can be myself – which is surprisingly hard to find.

I said that 2014 was the year to get shit done and I think this move means about 85% of that is done. It’s huge and it’s exciting and I can’t wait to see what challenges it brings and how much my life changes. Because whilst you think it’s just work, it really isn’t. You spend more time with your colleagues than your friends or family over the duration of the week and you spend a lot of time sat at that desk and if you’re not enjoying it, then it will effect you a lot more than you realise.

It took my Mum calling me a miserable bitch to finally realise how much my situation was getting me down and it should have never got that far.

So now it’s time to work on the other 15% of my “Getting Shit Done” plan.

Size 12 jeans maybe?

Watch this space.

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I’m addicted to Pinterest.

In case you don’t know what that is. It’s basically a collection of every funny picture, meal, workout and hairstyle you could ever want all in once place.

You “pin” them to your own boards and can look back over them at any time.

It’s great for if you’re planning something or looking for inspiration and after 2 hours laughing at funny dog pictures it’s also a helpful reminder that you should probably go outside just a little bit more than you do.

One thing I always come across on my time on Pinterest is usually an e-card bashing Disney for giving us false expectations of men.

Women's Rights News

Now, I have to be honest here and ask: are you kidding me internet?

Yes, this is technically seen as a joke but for a moment – lets be realistic here.

Who is going around expecting to lose their shoe and gain a Prince? That shit does not happen and when you really think about it, William has Kate and Harry has the blonde girl so our chances have been rapidly reduced to the point of not existing anymore. At all.

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I struggle watching Disney films now I’m older. They don’t have their magic but they have realistic issues which make me cry.

I don’t ever remember crying when I was a kid at these films but now they make my eyes leak and I make terrible sobbing noises when anything dies.

They teach you about death, bad guys, romance and happy ever afters.

Happy ever afters very rarely exist anymore. People and things are too disposable and just replaced. Why work something out when you can just get rid or get a new one?

I mean, I’d love nothing more than to meet someone who can give me a castle, a library and a cute little talking tea cup (no prizes for guessing my favourite Disney film) but do I expect that? No.

I think Disney gave us great expectations of men.

  • They want to rescue us when we’re in trouble? Hell yeah.
  • They want to marry us and live happy ever after? I’ll take it.
  • They want to take us on magic carpet rides and show us the world? Well, make it a plane that has an extensive on board duty free selection and let’s do it.

I’m very Disney in my approach to romance which probably makes me a bit biased and I’ll never admit it but if you ask any of my closest friends why I’m still single, they will tell you it’s because I’m holding out for my happy ever after.

After all, the way I see it, I’ve managed 25 years and achieved some fabulous things by myself, if I’m going to let someone share that with me then they are going to have to be good.

And if anything, I think Disney has given men somewhat unrealistic expectations of women.

  • We do not wake up in the morning full of song.
  • The dishes do get done by us, not by wildlife
  • And as for having our hair all nicely tied up in a ribbon? Women would have more chance of being able to figure out how to nail jelly to a tree before tying our hair with a ribbon becomes as sucessful as they make it look in those films.

In fact. This is probably the most spot on Disney moment I’ve ever seen:

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