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Why everyone should learn to say NO!

I’m awful at saying no to people, and er food – yes it does talk to me. I’ll agree to anything even if it will leave me feeling exhausted or anxious. The same goes for food, I can be full and feeling all healthy and then I spot a cake and instead of just eating a little slice, I’ll scoff the lot. What the hell, it’s only cake – it’s not a big deal. Same with plans – you can’t do everything so just say no and move on. I have serious arguments with myself over my inability to say no.

A lovely friend of mine had noticed this trait and gave me a little exercise to do. She said, “imagine a colleague asks to lift share with you but there’s no way that it could work. I’m that person, now tell me no”… Okay weirdo, I can do that…

“Er, I’m really sorry I won’t be able to do that because I think you live in the other direction to me and it’s not on my way to work. If I picked you up then drove to work I’d have leave really early, and er I could leave really early I guess but er” I couldn’t actually say no! I was so embarrassed, even in a silly conversation while drinking a lot of red wine (hell yeah I was out at the time), I couldn’t say no!

However, I really need to sort it out. On a few occasions I’ve felt like such a bad mum as a result of not being able to say no, because it’s meant my daughter’s routine had been completely messed up because  I’m trying to do everything and please everyone – she was completely shattered (as was I). Other examples have been over unexpected foodie occasions when I’ve planned to catch up with someone thinking we’ll have have drinks and it’s turned into a real food fest. (I’m not anti food fests when the time is right, but sometimes i’m in the zone, I’ve eaten a healthy meal and I just want to sit with a beverage and save my Weight Watchers SmartPoints for a big dinner with pudding in the evening – it’s all about priorities!) Long story short, I’ll eat too and I’ll always end up eating way more than the other person once I get started. I’ll then return home feeling annoyed with myself and just pants.

So, I will try to say no more without being rude, ending up a complete bore, or leaving my daughter completely worn out by traipsing her around everywhere. If you’re like me, join me in my challenge to say no! It doesn’t make you a bad person, other people say no and I think we’re going to feel a lot better for it!

P.S.
I would like to confirm that I do enjoy food out – please don’t stop inviting me out for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Mum tum and stretchmarks – why I’m proud of these war wounds!

So, as you know I’m on a quest to lose a lot of the weight I put on during pregnancy. If you need a reminder as to how much that was, it’s a whopping 5st! (I’ve got super skills when it comes to putting on weight). It’s important to me to shift the weight so that I can run around with my little girl (and for anyone who knows my daughter, she literally runs everywhere and she’s only just got to grips with plain old walking); to feel confident in my own skin again; and to be able to wear all the size 12 clothes I splashed out on before getting pregnant!

However, I have to admit I’m not hating my stretchmarks or the ‘interesting’ (okay, it’s weird) way my stomach now looks. Is that strange? In fact, I feel kind of proud of them. If I do make it to my healthy goal weight and feel brave enough to wear a bikini (not that I was ever that confident to wear one before giving birth), I will be showing them off! I did giggle when my husband referred to them as my war wounds, and I don’t think that’s a bad description – after all they were 9 months in the making.

Why walk when I don’t have my Fitbit on!

I’m currently obsessed with my Fitbit, to the point that it pains me to walk anywhere if I’m not wearing it!

That’s a little bit wrong I know but at least when it is on, it’s motivating me to walk more than ever before!

In the early days of my wearing my Fitbit I would be lucky to reach 10,000 steps – the recommended number of steps each person should take in a day. Fast forward a few months and I’m clocking up way over 15,000 and have even walked more than 20,000 steps on several occasions!

If you have no idea what I’m going on about, then let me take a step back. Fitbit is a type of pedometer and there are quite a few on the market, but I’m a big fan of this little guy. You wear your Fitbit (I’ve got a wrist one – Charge HR to be specific – but there’s also one you can clip to your waist) and use the free app to sync all the data. Through the app you can find friends (via your contacts or by syncing with your various social media accounts) and join in on challenges with them, too. I’ve currently got a few of these challenges on the go, including ‘Workweek Hustle’ – a five day challenge to see who can walk the most steps from Monday to Friday!

I’m in second place as we speak, so let me get up and get walking! (I never knew I could be so competitive!)

Why does a broken routine lead to binge eating?

I’ve spent the last few weeks visiting family and celebrating some special occasions with friends. It’s been such a lovely time but in the back of my mind I’m constantly beating myself up over not being able to stay in control of my eating when I’m away.

It means so much to me to to lose the excess weight I’m carrying, yet the sight of cake, ice cream, home cooked pies and prosecco makes me forget all of that instantly!

Breaking bad
I have a habit of either being really ‘good’ when it comes to my diet or ‘really bad’. I try to plan treats into my day, but if I go off course I tend to think – “Oh i’ve ruined it now, so I might as well go crazy and eat everything in sight!”. If I just stopped after a few squares of chocolate for example, it really wouldn’t be the end of the world – or the end of my diet – but do I do that? On this occasion the answer is a big no! I eventually got back on track and had two healthy days before my Weight Watchers weigh-in and I exercised on both days. Amazingly I lost 1lb!

With the new Weight Watchers plan there’s a lot of literature on positive thinking. My personal favourite is the 80/20 rule – the idea being that you make healthy choices for 80% of the time – after all no one is perfect! In hindsight I think this is something I obviously need to remember a little more often, and not let one slip up lead to binge eating on foods that could sabotage my weight loss efforts.

My goal for the next few weeks is to be a little kinder to myself, allow for treats in moderation; and have a go at saying no when I’m offered a tempting and high-calorie food that I know will just leave me feeling gross and too full.

When nothing else fits pass me my lipstick

In recent months I feel as though I’ve rediscovered makeup. Although I’ve always worn a little, I’ve never been too confident in how I apply it, or if I’m using the right shades and tones for my skin. Once my little one started to sleep better at night and I got more used to the demands of motherhood, I’ve started to do a few things just for me. Playing around with makeup is now one of those treats.

I decided to book a makeup lesson at my local salon and at Bobbi Brown. I absolutely loved the lessons and had so many eureka moments. Turns out I’ve always bought the wrong shade of foundation, used scrubs that would make my oily skin even more oily; and missed the mark on quite a few quick tricks that make the world of difference to how I apply makeup and the finished look.

The makeup artists who I had my lessons with were incredibly knowledgable and I had never really appreciated how much makeup artists need to know about skincare. It was truly fascinating and gave me such a boost.

I’ve been practicing everything they showed me and it’s funny how a little bit of blusher and lipstick can make you feel like you’ve been pampered. I’d happily not wear makeup all the time but it’s been lovely putting the professional advice into practice – especially on days when I’ve felt a little shoddy. So, when nothing else fits – pass me the lipstick!

5 summer snacks that are Weight Watchers friendly

I’m a huge snacker and so finding foods that are low in Weight Watchers SmartPoints that will either keep me full or satisfy my sweet tooth are a big must for me.

Here’s a little round up of the snacks I’ve been enjoying this summer.

Frozen grapes
Pop a box in the freezer and hey presto you’ve got yourself some nibbles! Frozen grapes are not only 0 SmartPoints they are also great for chewing or sucking on. I find I take a longer to eat a handful of frozen grapes than any other snack.

Popcorn
I love the sweet and salty variety and there are so many low calorie options in supermarkets and by the tills. They also make a good sharing alternative to a bag of crisps!

Banana ice cream
Freeze a loads of bananas and then blend them with vanilla extract and a drop of skimmed milk and there you have it – banana ice cream.

Hard boiled eggs
These little fellas are actually really filling. I like making a load at once and keeping them in the fridge. They’re great to have after a workout or before dinner (if you get peckish like me mid-afternoon).

Apple and almonds
A power plates instructor told that eating some almonds and an apple is a great post workout snack and you’re getting some good fats along with sugar to give you a boost. I’m paraphrasing and could be completely wrong but I like the idea of it!

4 Reasons Why I’m Loving Weight Watchers

Joining Weight Watchers has changed my life in more ways than one. For anyone who thinks the programme is for old ladies who just eat ready meals, you couldn’t be anymore wrong. I’m a huge advocate of the plan and here’s why…

P.S I promise no one from Weight Watchers has sponsored this post!

  1. It Works
    This first reason is pretty straightforward – Weight Watchers works! I feel like I’ve been on a diet my whole life, but it was only after I joined Weight Watchers that I saw real success. When you first join you’re given everything you need to be able to follow the plan – and you’re not alone. Their app is amazing for tracking what you eat and I’m a huge fan of the meetings – it’s a place where you can get real tips on how to eat healthily and lose weight.
  1. It’s taught me how to cook
    This is something I didn’t set out to learn, but I’m glad it happened by accident. As part of your membership you gain access to loads of recipes. They’re easy to follow and taste delicious. I’ve cooked the recipes for friends and family and no one ever knows (until I tell them) it’s come from my Weight Watchers stash of recipes. After testing out a few recipes, I was soon applying the methods I had learnt in creating my own dishes! Now that I’ve got the hang of it, cooking from scratch feels a lot easier (and tastes better) than depending on jars of sauces and so on.
  1. It’s given my confidence a real boost
    Being overweight not only makes my clothes feel uncomfortable or harder to move about doing everyday tasks, it really does get me down. When I’m carrying extra weight I don’t feel like myself and I simply want to hide from everyone and everything. I’ll wear all black and if possible I’ll do my best to get out of social functions. However, once those pounds start to fall off it’s literally a weight off your shoulders and you feel free in so many ways. Knowing i’m doing something active to change my eating habits for good, feels truly amazing. The plan has also showed me how vital it is to have a positive mindset to your weight loss and your relationship with food – it can make a huge difference to your success.
  1. It’s made me active and I like it!
    Weight Watchers isn’t just about eating the right foods. The programme also teaches you the importance of moving more and being active does get addictive! Being able to walk more, run for a little longer and have the energy to try new sports feels amazing. I was also the kid who made excuses to miss P.E – I still can’t believe that I now actually exercise voluntarily!

My Weight Watchers success so far…
I joined Weight Watchers after a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time turned up at my house looking amazing! I had to know her secret – It was Weight Watchers. That week I found my local meeting and went along. I was so nervous and afraid of being the biggest person there. Everyone in that room, from the leader to fellow members to the meeting helpers was fantastic. When I left with the plan details by my side, I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to put the plan into practice – even though it all seemed straightforward. It took a tiny bit of time to get used to but by the end of the first week I got it. That week I lost 5 lbs! In the months that followed I got engaged and had an even bigger reason to finally lose the weight that had keep me down for so long. I lost almost 3 stone in time for my wedding day and felt amazing.

A year after I got married I fell pregnant and ate, ate, ate. Long story short, I put on 5 st during pregnancy. Having followed the plan before I thought i’d be able to pick up where I left off. However this time round has been so different as my whole lifestyle has changed. After some weight loss success over the course of a year I decided enough was enough – I needed to be back attending Weight Watchers meetings. I’m so glad that I did, as in the two months I’ve returned (properly) to Weight Watchers I’ve lost over a stone!

New love of fitness – thank you Rio 2016

There’s nothing more motivating than watching the girls and boys currently competing in the Rio 2016 Olympics. This is a short and sweet post to say that each and every competitor has made be feel inspired to get up and get moving. You are all incredible!

Mums on the run

That’s the name of the whatsapp group I’m part of with two close friends of mine, who also have young children. In the last few weeks we’ve ordered our other halves to be home on time from work, so that the three of us can hit the streets and run side by side. Running with friends has definitely helped me shed a few more pounds lately and I feel so much fitter. Here’s how I got back to running after having my little girl…

I started running for just 10-15 minutes once a week and would alternate between a jog and a fast walk. After having my daughter, my hips have felt quite stiff and so this felt a lot more comfortable for me to do. The first run I went on was tough and I finished thinking I’d never run properly again! The next run was better and I made a bigger effort to warm up and stretch off afterwards. Out of frustration on a few of these earlier runs, I continued jogging even though I was in discomfort – thinking that maybe I just needed to run through the pain so that I would get better quicker. Once I had stopped I realised how foolish that was, as I could barely walk after. Note to all – do take your time when getting back into exercise and listen to your body!

Once I felt I could accomplish a walk and jog with relative ease once a week, I challenged myself to jog for the complete 10-15 minutes. After a month or so of doing this I found I was able to run for 25 minutes without stopping. However, old habits crept in and I started to feel less motivated to get out and run – not sure why – and so making a commitment to others that we’ll all run together has been truly amazing. My friends really spur me on and there’s no more cancelling jogs I’ve promised to go on, as i’ll be letting my friends down as well as myself.

There are also loads of running training schedules you can find online too. These can be good motivators as well. Here’s an example – 10k Training Plan.

Milk Matters

Before my baby arrived, I could never have imagined the in-depth conversations I would later have surrounding milk. Who knew the white stuff could be so complicated…

After I announced my pregnancy to friends and family, I was surprised by the number of people who would ask me whether I would breastfeed or not. Yes, I knew I would be giving my baby milk but I really couldn’t understand the fascination with this question and I started to find it quite annoying. However, that was before I truly understood this age-old debate.

My answer was always “I’ll give breastfeeding a go and if for some reason that doesn’t pan out well, I will move onto formula”, simples. After a long labour (that’s another story) my baby was given to me very quickly to breastfeed. It was such a strange sensation, but in my mind my daughter seemed to latch on with ease.

I had to spend some additional time in hospital after giving birth. During that time I continued to breastfeed but my daughter struggled to latch onto one particular side. Several midwives visited me to review my method and all agreed I was doing everything correctly but she just wouldn’t latch. It became increasingly frustrating, for both me and her, and that’s when the guilt kicked in. I felt so ashamed and embarrassed that I couldn’t breastfeed my daughter. I was certain she wasn’t getting enough milk and when I resorted to expressing my milk I was horrified to see how little I had produced after hours of pumping! Within the first week of having my baby girl I moved onto formula feeding but felt such guilt for doing so.

My little girl genuinely seemed more content once I did, but I hated telling people I was using formula milk. Especially when it was the first question midwives would ask as well. Friends of mine persevered for months, whilst I had ‘given up’. All my pamphlets talked about breastfeeding too and gave just a few lines worth of attention to how to feed your baby formula milk.

Most of my friends and family were very supportive, but I often thought they were just being nice. Whilst a few closed to me made it quite clear that they thought I was doing the wrong thing. It really was a challenging time and to think, my journey as a mother had only just begun! I’m just thankful that my husband was on my side and that my baby was getting the food she needed. In the months that followed and once the guilt had surpassed, a little, I realised there are so many more things to be concerned about and milk (once you find what works for you) shouldn’t be something that causes so much grief.

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