Thursday, 18 December 2014

The importance of acceptance.

I promised myself this year I would write more and I guess I let myself down again. So I thought I would crack on with my 2015 resolution and start as I mean to go on and make amends with that resolution.

The difference today is that I've been very inspired to write recently. With my birthday tomorrow, the week running up to it has always been a time of reflection for me. I look back to where I was last year and it truly is incredible to see how much can change in many aspects of your life in one year. Luckily for me it is all for the better this year... Now that is a nice thing to say.

2014 wasn't a bed of roses, believe me, but I've come out the other side a stronger person and happier than I've ever been before. Let me explain....

This time last year I was getting over a horrible break up and the whole process was tearing me apart, killing my confidence and making me generally bleak.

I've previously spoken to you before about my weight loss... Well, I never admitted this before but the main trigger for me to really lose all my weight was him. Pre-him I had started to lose weight, I think I was at my biggest in 2007 but being with him really spurred me on to lose more. The reason was certain comments were made and I never felt good enough to be by his side. I had no confidence in my self at all around him. I was even conscious of everything that came out of my mouth (he would correct my English). It was tiring and draining, and I became a person my mum admitted she no longer recognised.

You're probably feeling anger and hate for him now but he actually did me a favour. Yes, perhaps eating soup and Ryvita for dinner was a little extreme (it didn't last long) but going through that horrible process meant it gave me the kick start I needed.

A year on, well 2 months following our break up, I am no longer doing it for him, it's purely for my self. I thrive off the fact I'm leading a healthier lifestyle, releasing those amazing things called endorphins in the gym and feeling the most confident I have ever felt in my self.

Notice that I didn't mention the size of my dress there... Well, as the theme of this blog is acceptance, I need to explain just how lucky a girl I am. Although I used to have a man in my life who was toxic, luckily for me I always had a strong group of friends and family to fall back on.

I visited my best friend Joe at the weekend. We were talking about my losing weight and the ex etc and Joe simply said:

"Liz, in our group of friends you were never the big girl. It was never mentioned between us and we only started talking about it when you started losing weight and thought, oh Liz is looking really good and happy. It was never, ever an issue and if the occasional drunk ever said anything to you we would all just be really shocked and get protective."

I look back now and remember how much time I would spend thinking about what I looked like to other people. Joe remembers how long it used to take me to get ready and how many times I would get changed before a night out. I guess my glamorous clothes were an armour and distraction from the self conscious feelings that were bubbling away underneath.

A year on I am still single but I truly feel happy with that (I haven't always felt like this year).I believe you don't meet the person you're meant to be with until you're happy with yourself. Well I am bring it on karmic universe.

I am waking up on my own on my birthday, something I've never done but want to do, without an armour of family or friends initially around me. Then I have a day filled with the truest kind of love a girl could ask for, and plenty of Prosecco. I am so lucky.


Thursday, 27 March 2014

10 Things I Love About Losing Weight

I write this full of a cold or some type of chest infection, I'm rattling like an 80 year old. This week my body has craved chocolate and bread due to feeling like utter crap. No one told me that salads would be the last thing you'd want to eat when ill... So what do I do when I crave the two vices in my life. I give in, just a little. I fed my body the sugar it craved from some lovely Green and Black's chocolate (organic at least!) and for the first time in months, I had a sandwich for lunch today.

I believe in listening to the body, sometimes it just needs to delve back into eating for comfort to get you back on the path of well being. Yes, sugar is the number one enemy but sometimes it's good to give your body what it wants. I know I'll be back on my normal routine next week, it's just about balance and moderation after all!  When I'm less ill, if I crave chocolate at night  I normally have a mug of Cadbury's highlights for the choc fix!

So I divert... This blog is meant to be about the 10 things I love about losing weight... I've learnt a hell of a lot about myself and those around me over the past year. Here's just a few things I love about my new healthy lifestyle and how my life has been enhanced...

1. I feel so much more confident. I always thought I was pretty confident but it was always a bit forced in reality. I still have my self-conscious, 'do I look fat in this?' moments but on the whole I feel a hell of a lot more sure of myself. If a guy used to look at me, I'd think he was looking and thinking, 'urgh'. And it's not about the size of your dress... About how you feel inside and how that carries through in everyday life.

2. I can wear jeans and a top. Muffin top... Whatever you call it. We all have the bits of our body we hate. Mine is the tummy area and it's an area I'm still working on but I do feel confident enough to wear jeans and a top now. It might not sound that exciting to you but for someone who could never carry off jeans due to lumpy thighs and a tummy that would stick out leaving me look pretty much pregnant, it feels like an achievement! I still prefer the glamour of a  dress, always.

3. I don't feel self conscious. Now I've shrunk to a smaller size, it's only now that I realise just how much time and experiences I have wasted in my life from being self conscious. This is a huge part of my wanting to make some changes. I often think how my life would have panned out if I had grown up being a size 10... But then I wouldn't be the person I am today if I did. I now spend hardly any time worrying about my wobbly bits, I still have the shadow of the fat girl hang ups hanging over me but slowly they are going. And I feel like I am truly living my life.

4. No more name calling. If you're fat you're gonna be called names, it's inevitable. Just like skinny people are targeted too. Everyone has an opinion on your size and some will tell you without any sensitivity. If you're ready, like I was, it will knock you into the reality of needing to make changes and doing something about it, but only if you want to - for you! No one else... It just won't work if you're not doing it for your self.  I've been called some truly vile things throughout my life, particularly at Hugh school where I was actually scared to go to some lessons. I only have to look back and look at myself today and just think, well thanks! You made me who I am.

5. I know what foods make me feel good.  I know sliced bread doesn't agree with me, so I rarely eat it. I know red meat isn't my best friend so I eat chicken instead. I know dairy is pretty much the enemy so I cut down on the cheddar. I know vegetables give me energy so I eat a variety everyday. I know oily fish is amazing for your skin and mind so I make sure I eat plenty each week... It's just a bit of common sense. Why would you constantly put something in your body that doesn't agree with you, listen and watch how your body reacts and just cut back. Just make sure you feed your cravings and don't deny yourself, you'll just want it even more and totally fall off the wagon.

6. I have a new lifestyle routine. I'd never use the word diet... As soon as that word is mentioned I think everyone must envisage a donut, I don't even think of going back to my old ways... My eating habits just feel normal now. I'm pretty good In the week - high protein and low carb meals - and then at the weekend I allow myself to indulge a little. I walk an hour each day, occasionally do Pilates and do weights. It works for me but everyone needs to find the lifestyle that suits them.

7. Inspire others. The best thing about losing weight is that so many of my friends have said I've inspired them to make changes in their life too. Whether it's tips on healthy recipes, being able to get in their wedding dress, or just showing that if I can do it, they can do it too... It's a really lovely feeling. It has encouraged me to keep on track too, which has been a huge support. My beautiful friend Marga in Portugal, who I think is perfect just the way she is. is also now on a healthy lifestyle and she's keeping me up to date with how she is doing. Doing it together definitely makes it easier. Watch out for our healthy Portuguese-style recipes during my trip there at Easter!

8. Fitting into a size 12. I know it's not just about your dress size but for me this was a proud moment!

9. Being able to wear bangles. That's right folks. Your hands even lose weight. I can now slide beautiful bangles over my hands and onto my wrists.

10. Being more open with friends and family. I realise now I have never truly  been able to open up to my friends and family about my weight until now, now I've done something about it. I've always been incredibly sensitive talking about my weight so I guess my friends never thought it was an issue for me when really deep down, I wasn't happy with myself. My friends and family have always loved me for me, not my dress size, but now they see me happier and more confident than ever, and continue to support me. I can tell them things I've never told them before and that has made us stronger. Thank you.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

10 Things I Hate About Losing Weight

It's a year ago this month when I decided to take charge of my life... I'd been overweight since I could remember. Even at infant school I remember hearing the f-word. I guess I had a love for food and the more I enjoyed it, the bigger I got and the more criticism I received, so the more I ate to comfort my shattered emotions.

I never thought I had the will power to make a change to my lifestyle. I think I was at my biggest in my early 20s when I bought a size 22 dress. Even that didn't shock me into making changes. I guess I always over compensated my weight with my 'bubbly' character and nice clothes that would cover up what I was ashamed of underneath. I had big boobs too, you can go a long way with a pair of boobs.

The thing is I have always been lucky enough to be surrounded by friends and family who loved me for me, and they still do, I just have a smaller waist and, more importantly, a healthier future.

Later in my blogs I'll go into more detail about the ways I've made healthy changes (NOT A FADDY DIET) and how I've kept it up. I'll also reveal some yummy healthy recipes that will fill you up without giving you the dreaded bloat.

Over the past year as I've gradually dropped nearly four dress sizes, I've been aware of so many changes, not just in my body but life in general. Before I show off and go on about what I love about my weight loss, I thought I would reveal 10 things they don't tell you in diet books!

1. Your skin will loosen and head south... I know, gross. I'm now on the mission of toning myself and it's even harder than denying yourself toast in the morning.

2. Your boobs will shrink. I miss the fullness of my boobs, they are still a good handful, don't get me wrong but as my collarbone protrudes so does my d├ęcolletage lessen.

3. Some people will encourage you to go back to the dark side and cheer if you give in and have a chocolate, and when you declare what you've eaten and how good you've been, they'll roll their eyes. True story.

4. It makes you feel guilty. I've relaxed a bit now but in the early months I would feel so guilty for even looking at a cookie. I realised your relationship needs to be healthy so I do give in but in moderation!

Back when I was a bit more buxom!

5. Hangover food is a tough business. The other night I had a bowl of soup when I got in after one too many rather than a greasy takeaway... Now that's dedication! Good hangover cure too, by the way.

6. You become a bore. I'm sure I've bored friends and family with my nutritional advice as they bite into a sandwich. Sorry.

7. It's hard to constantly come up with healthy recipes. It's so easy to grab a sandwich rather than a pathetic looking salad for lunch. I'm lucky enough to work at the amazing Fazeley Studios with chefs who create protein filled salads for me each lunchtime!

8. You'll have to say goodbye to 'favourite' clothes. I've sold numerous size 18 dresses on eBay and many held treasured memories, and I have to say, always made me feel good.

9. You have to buy a whole new wardrobe (apart from the dresses I clinch in with a belt). Now don't get me wrong... If you know me, you know my favourite thing in the world, apart from Pinot Noir or  Malbec, is buying new dresses. It's been a long process of selling (and buying) on EBay, and I have to say not making as much money as I thought I would for new clothes.

10. Even your knee high boots don't fit anymore... Yep. I was walking to work one day and noticed my knee highs slowly gathering at the bottom until they were round my ankle. Not a good look.

So there you have it... I'll be back with the positives of the past year of losing half of myself.