Thursday, 20 July 2017

We need to be kinder to ourselves

I'm back in my target range!

After feeling pretty narked last week for slipping out the top, by just half a pound, I was so determined to get back in it this week.

For those not familiar with how it all works, I have three pounds above and below my target weight to work with each week. If I go out of that range, I have one week to get back in to it before having to pay again. And nobody wants that!

I was a woman on a mission this week, and managed to lose the 1.5lbs that I had put on last week; taking me back into my range.

I am still towards the top end of my target range, so am going to look at working my way down it over the next couple of weeks. But seeing that dip once again, and my red dot being closer to that purple line, makes me feel better.

I was so disappointed last week with not only my gain, but for creeping out of my range. Not just because the previous week I had been voted by my group as Diamond Target Member of the Year, but because I thought I'd had a really good week. And was expecting a loss.

This last week I was determined to lose the weight I put on last week. I really needed to get my head in the game as, admittedly, I'd not been counting my syns and had probably been going over them every day.

Before last week's weigh-in I didn't feel like I had that many body hang-ups, I felt quite happy with how I looked and felt. Afterwards, however, I didn't feel great.

Just knowing I'd had that little gain made me look at myself totally differently. I felt bloated, I felt bigger, I felt horrible. I'd look at myself in the mirror and criticise my reflection, even though I knew, deep down, there really wasn't that much wrong with it.

It's something I think everyone experiences, whether they've lost, or are losing, weight or not. We all are far too critical on ourselves, and we really shouldn't be.

It was discussed in group last night. There's a lovely lady in my group who is struggling a bit at the moment.

My consultant had the best words for her, and the rest of us, to remind us all to be kinder to ourselves. She said we need to remember that if someone said the things we say about ourselves, about someone that we love, we'd be really angry. We'd be upset, we wouldn't stand for it, and we wouldn't let them get away with it. So why is it ok for us to say these things about ourselves? If we wouldn't be happy listening to someone else say horrible things about our family and friends, or even about ourselves, then why should we put ourselves down in that way?

We need to be kinder to ourselves.

There's enough pressure put on us from every aspect of our life. We don't need to put pressure on ourselves, too.

I'm guilty of it, I admit that. I can be my own worst critic, and my biggest doubter. When really, I should be my biggest supporter. I should believe in myself more than anyone else. I should back myself more than anyone else. And I do, some of the time, but I should all of the time.

Last night's group made me realise that. Believing in myself more, supporting myself more, and being less critical of myself is the key to not only learning to love my appearance, but achieving more in life in general.

This is why I love Slimming World. It doesn't just help you lose weight, it helps you look at life more clearly. It is genuinely the best therapy I think you could ever get!

I'll wrap it up now, before I start singing kum-by-ah and expecting everyone to hold hands in a circle.

Here's my food diary from the last seven days. I did forget to fill it in from Friday to Tuesday, so it's probably not as accurate/detailed as it should be. But you get the gist!

I'll aim to do another this week because, as I said, it really helps keep me focused and on track.

Have a good week lovelies! x

You may also like: You're never a failure if you keep trying

This week's food diary:

Thursday:

Breakfast: Porridge (40g for HEB) with semi-skimmed milk (HEA) and raspberries
Snack: Strawberries and clementine
Dinner: Tagliatelle with red onion, passata, tomatoes and spinach.
Tea: Chilli and garlic salmon prawns with new potatoes, asparagus and broccoli
Syns for the day: 0

Friday:

Breakfast: 45% reduced sugar cheerios (40g for HEB)
Dinner: Tagliatelle with red onion, passata, tomatoes and spinach.
Tea: Spaghetti carbonara made using fat free quark and eggs with asparagus.
Snack: 50g raisins (8 syns) with fat free quark.
Syns for the day: 8

Saturday:

Breakfast: None
Dinner: Nando's (approx 25 syns)
Tea: Morrisons The Best salmon, cod and haddock fish cake (2 syns) with new potatoes, broccoli and asparagus.
Syns for the day: Approx 27.

Sunday:

Breakfast: An apple
Dinner: Ham salad sandwich (using two slices of wholemeal bread as HEB) followed by melon, raspberries, carrot batons, and pepper.
Tea: Italian-style turkey steaks with red pesto linguine (2 syns) and tomato, courgette, red onion and spinach.
Syns for the day: 2

Monday:

Breakfast: Fat free quark mixed with passion fruit and topped with strawberries.
Dinner: Ryvita (HEB) with low fat Philadelphia (HEA) and cooked ham, followed by two clementines.
Tea: Spicy sausage pasta - 3 syns for Morrisons Nu Me Cumberland style sausages with courgette, peppers, red onion, garlic, chilli, tomatoes and passata served with pasta twists.
Snack: Mars Ice-cream (7 syns)
Syns for the day: 7

Tuesday:

Breakfast: Fat free quark mixed with passion fruit and topped with strawberries.
Dinner: Spicy sausage pasta - 3 syns for Morrisons Nu Me Cumberland style sausages with courgette, peppers, red onion, garlic, chilli, tomatoes and passata served with pasta twists.
Snack: Two clementines
Tea: Morrisons The Best salmon, cod and haddock fish cake (2 syns) with boiled rice, broccoli and asparagus.
Syns for the day: 5

Wednesday:

Breakfast: Two slices of wholemeal toast (HEB) with Nutella (4 syns) and raspberries
Dinner: Rice and courgette, peppers, red onion, garlic, chilli, tomatoes and passata.
Snack: Strawberries.
Tea: After weigh-in.
Syns for the day: 4

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Why has this series of Love Island been so popular?

Everyone is talking about it, wherever you go.

Offices, bars, the supermarket, the hairdressers... It's the question everyone starts with now, when meeting someone new - do you watch Love Island? The answer is most likely going to be yes, so straight away you've some common ground.

You've issues to discuss like is 'muggy Mike' really deserving of his 'muggy' title? Are Amber and Kem the real deal? Is Gabby really interested in Marcel? And how do we all get an arse like Montana's?

We've been given the date of the final now, with just 12 days to go until series three bows out for another year.

Already I am thinking of starting a Love Island support group, with group chats scheduled for 9pm each evening to help each other through the huge hole that will be left in everyone's lives.

I remember getting hooked on last year's series, and being devastated when it ended, but this year's seems to have been even bigger.

Everyone is talking about it, everyone watches it, and even those who were sceptical and critical of it at first are now obsessed.

But why has this year's series got everyone so hooked?

Is it, perhaps, we are all so fed up with the doom and gloom we constantly hear about and see on the news that we want something light-hearted to enjoy at the end of the day? Maybe we're all just sick of hearing about Brexit and politics and want to lose ourselves in something more easygoing?

I, personally, think the formula just works. Watching relationships develop is interesting. Watching how different personalities and different characters, from different background, interact and get on is fascinating. While there's natural competition as people vie for the attention of the opposite sex, it's not brutal or uncomfortable to watch like other reality TV shows can be.

Finally, reality TV is exciting again. It's getting people talking and it's relatable. The people in there, on the whole, are normal people - students, receptionists, hairdressers... Of course, there's the odd former Blazin' Squad member and Calvin Klein model thrown in for good measure, just to keep it exciting.

The concept is simple - a Big Brother-style house where a load of strangers are stuck together and their every move filmed.

Big Brother has had its day now, I think everyone would agree. It was great when it started, just like The X Factor was, but everyone has got over it now. Geordie Shore and Ex on The Beach have just got too trashy and definitely only appeal to a certain age group or demographic. And TOWIE and MIC have probably also exhausted their concepts.

Love Island, however, is something everyone can watch.

Tom's auntie, who must be in her 70s, is a huge fan of the show. When I learnt this I could've burst with excitement - I can just imagine her sitting down now to watch it having her opinions on all the islanders.

This year's series is literally everywhere now. There are countless stories on Mail Online, The Mirror,  The Sun... This Morning's Holly and Phil are obsessed, Jeremy Corbyn is backing Marcel, and Liam Gallagher admitted to sacking off watching Glastonbury to catch up on Love Island.

Stores have started making Love Island t-shirts with famous quotes from the series emblazoned on the front, you can't log onto any form of social media during 9pm and 10pm without seeing memes galore, and there's no way anyone can receive a text message without announcing it in Love Island fashion.

There aren't any bells and whistles to Love Island, it's simple. Throw in the fact you can watch these relationships forming before your very eyes, whether it be romantic or friendships, and it's just a winning formula.

I feel emotionally invested in all of them now.

I squealed with joy at Jamie and Camilla's cute moments on her birthday, particularly their Dirty Dancing lift; I screamed at Olivia when she was being mean to Chris and made him cry; I clapped when Montana and Alex became boyfriend and girlfriend; and I wanted to hit Jonny repeatedly when he was just being a complete clown.

There are some slightly naughty moments, as you'd expect on a show where couples and relationships are forming, but I definitely don't think we've seen as much sex as last series. Last year, every couple in there did the deed; whereas there have been very few this time who've gone the whole way.

I'm already thinking of starting a petition to hand to ITV for a winter version of the show. I'm thinking at a ski resort, with lots of open fires and hot tubs. I saw Zoella tweeted saying she was pitching Love Iceland, and I could totally get on board with that.

While I am quite unsure what I will obsess over after 24th July, and generally do think I may need to join a support group, I am excited to be able to go to bed early again and not have to worry about missing all the latest gossip and drama from the villa.

You may also like: 24 signs your Love Island obsession has peaked


You're never a failure if you keep trying

I was so, so annoyed last night. Annoyed with myself and annoyed with life.

A week after my Slimming World group voted me to be Diamond Member of the Year for 2017 for our session, and I crept out of my target range for the first time since February. Fuming.

It was only by half a pound, but still, I don't wanna be floating around the top.

I was so annoyed, and disappointed, because I felt like I'd had a really good week. I didn't have my usual post-group binge last Wednesday, I was organised with my dinners at work, I planned teas at home... I went into group thinking I had maybe even lost weight, if not maintained, so I couldn't believe it when I stepped on the scales and they said I had put 1.5lbs on.

I was so disappointed because I have done so much exercise and activity this week that I was sure I would have lost weight. I've been doing couch to 5k, and have done 3 runs since last week's weigh-in. I also went on a long walk on Sunday, and on Wednesday night before group, and have done close to, if not over, 10,000 steps every day. So to say I was miffed is an understatement.

I have a week to lose the half a pound to get back into my target range, but I want to lose more than that. I want to be comfortably in my range, nearer the middle if possible.

I've been so good at maintaining over the last few months, hovering around that purple target line. I really don't like the sudden jolt above it that we're seeing this week. Next week, it will be back down. I'm determined.

As I sat digesting my gain last night - and wanting to punch my dad, who'd just returned from two weeks in France gorging on bread, cheese, wine and beer and still lost 4.5lbs - I decided to go back to basics this week. I'm going to count my syns - and stay within 15 every day - and up my speed intake with meals.

I have been a lot more flexible with my syns since getting to target, it's the easiest way I've found to maintain, but I need to string a few losses together now.

I'm a bridesmaid for my best friend in six weeks, and we're going on our honeymoon in 10, so I have lots to aim for.

It's a slippery slope once you get out of your target range. It happened to me last year.

It starts with just half a pound, as I am now. Then it's another half a pound, but "it's ok because it's easy to lose 1lb". Suddenly, you've missed group. It's ok, though, because you'll go next week and just have a really good "on plan" week to lose those extra pounds.

The week doesn't go to plan, you don't want to go back until you're back in your target range, you've surpassed your grace week and you don't want to have to pay again, so you stay away.

Before you know it, the weight has creeped back on, slowly but surely, and you're in a real pickle.

That's exactly what happened to me last year.

I thought I could do it alone. I couldn't. Then I didn't dare go back to group. I didn't want people to think I was a failure.

But nobody would, because everyone is so supportive.

A lady at our group summed it up perfectly last night "you're never a failure if you keep trying."

And you're not.

Keeping going to group is the key for me. I will lose half a pound or more next week to get me back into my target range. I don't want to have to pay and I don't want to get onto that slippery slope away from target.

It's so easily done, but it needn't be. As I said last week, this is a plan for life. It's a lifestyle change, not a diet. I don't restrict myself of anything, if I want to eat something then I will. I enjoy every single syn that passes my lips and never deprive myself of anything I fancy. Food optimising isn't a fad, it's forever.

I have already planned my meals for the rest of today and tomorrow. I have done my online shop with Morrisons to come on Saturday morning and it is packed with fruit, vegetables and meat.

I am also going to keep myself a food diary, and publish it with next week's post. I really like doing that because I will literally write everything down that I eat. It keeps me massively on track, makes me accountable for any gain I may have, and helps to keep my daily syns under control.

So, here we go, I'm having another "week one" this week - wish me luck!

You may also like: Confessions of a Slimming World target member

Thursday, 6 July 2017

"It took a lot of willpower, but I finally gave up dieting"

I just bloody love Slimming World. And my Slimming World group, in particular.

Last night's group was just lovely. There wasn't as many of us there as normal, but secretly I was glad because it meant it would finish earlier and I'd definitely be home for Love Island starting at 9pm!

Despite there being less people, it was still a great group.

One of the lovely ladies got to target after losing a jaw-dropping five and a half stone!!! Honestly, I am so in awe of her, to lose such a vast amount of weight is admirable. She'd brought some of her before pictures in and she's unrecognisable. 

There's another lady who goes to the earlier group on a Wednesday who got to her target last week. She's lost - wait for it - EIGHT STONE!!!!! She'd also lost around a stone and a half, I think, before joining Slimming World, meaning her unofficial loss is nine and a half stone.

NINE AND A HALF STONE! When she told me last week I couldn't believe it. That's like a person.

Again, she's unrecognisable from when she first joined. She told me she'd seen one of her husband's friends, who they hadn't seen for some time, and he walked straight past her as he didn't even recognise her. 

Just incredible. 

The target celebration alone at the start of group made me feel all warm inside and motivated last night. As did group itself, hearing everyone's stories about their week and their plans for the week ahead.

Then it was the Diamond Member of the Year awards.

For those who didn't read my blog yesterday, the Diamond Member of the Year awards celebrates target members who have stayed at their target for at least a year. You become a Diamond Member after staying at your target weight for a year. So managing to do that is a huge achievement in itself!

Beth had text me on Tuesday to say I had been nominated and to prepare to say a few words, but I didn't have a clue what to say.

I just babbled a bit, about how Slimming World has changed my lifestyle, my eating habits and me as a person. 

And, low and behold, I won! I couldn't believe it.


I felt all overcome and didn't really know what to do. Then Beth was thrusting all these things into my arms and I felt like a rabbit caught in headlights.

It was so, so lovely to win, though.

The other lady who was nominated was so lovely, I really wanted to go all Cady Heron and share my prizes with her.

I went home feeling so positive and motivated to stick at it, no matter what life throws. Beth gave me some of the nomination slips that people had written last week, too.

She'd had them laminated for me so I could keep them and read them if I was having a bad day.

They were so, so sweet I felt a bit emotional when I read them when I got home. The general vibe was that I am always so positive - and that really made me feel fuzzy.

It's so lovely that other people think I am a positive person. Often, I don't feel too positive about myself - like any girl, I am sure. Knowing that other people think that of me, though, makes me feel more positive.

That maybe makes no sense whatsoever, but I know what I mean!


With that positivity firmly in place, I felt good when I got home. I'll be honest, usually when I get back from group on a Wednesday I eat like shit. I don't have time for tea before group as I go straight to the gym from work, so by the time I get home around 9pm I am ravenous. While I was on my weight loss journey, my Wednesday night tea was restrained. Often poached eggs on toast or a ham and cheese toastie.

But, since getting to target, it's like someone's told me I'll never eat again after a Wednesday night. I don't know what it is about post-group, because of course it all still counts the next time you get on the scales. Something in me just thinks it's ok to stuff two packets of crisps and a Twirl down my throat while waiting for my toast to be ready. It really isn't, though. From now, my mini goal is to stop my post-group binges.

Last night was my first night of deciding I wouldn't have my usual synful binge. I opted for some leftover 'dirty rice' that was in the fridge. And it tasted even better knowing I was keeping on track.

For those wondering what the hell dirty rice is, it's not rice that's been on the floor. It's basically pork mince fried with cajun and a variety of whatever I had in my fridge that needed eating. It had celery, red onion, peppers and cherry tomatoes in. I added Worcester sauce and soy sauce as well as some chicken stock and a bit of tomato puree. It's probably nothing like the other recipes out there but it was bloody lovely!! Most other recipes I've seen use bacon. Mine would have had bacon, too, if we hadn't eaten it all on Sunday morning...

Today, I've bought porridge and raspberries to have for my breakfast and am going to have an Iceland SW meal for my lunch. Since moving offices I am loving life because there's an Iceland in Goole, so the days I am totally unorganised in terms of lunch mean I still make good choices.

I put on half a pound at group last night which I was over the bloody moon about. After the copious amounts of naughty food I consumed over the weekend, I was chuffed to ribbons that it was only half a pound.

I am still comfortably in my target range, but would ideally like a loss next week. Even if it's only a little one.

I wrote in my blog yesterday that Slimming World can't be called a diet, and it really can't.

A diet to me is depriving yourself of good things, and I definitely don't do that.

One of my prizes last night was a mug and it had the perfect saying on it...


I've now got it firmly placed on my desk at work to remind me that Slimming World is a lifestyle change, a plan for life. Diets are things that you do for a certain amount of time before sacking them off and trying something new.

Slimming World isn't temporary, it's for life.

You may also like: Just like Shakira, my hips don't lie

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

It's been a while since I wrote about Slimming World

I've always been a bit of a loser, but now I've been nominated for an award to mark being a long-time loser!

Beth, my Slimming World consultant, text me yesterday to let me know I had been nominated for the Diamond Target member of the Year award.


Basically, for those non-Slimming World go-ers, you become a Diamond Member when you have been at target for a year.

When Beth text me I was chowing down on a Kit Kat Chunky. It's like she knows when I am putting chocolate in my mouth and chooses the exact moment to text. When she used to text me each week to see how I was getting on, it was always just as I unwrapped a bar of chocolate, or contemplated face-planting a chocolate fudge cake.

The food I consumed over the weekend was far from Slimming World friendly. And while I tried to remain on track the best I could, the track was like a tightrope and I was just about staying on thanks to a very big harness.

I had pizza, white bread, wine, cake galore, sweets, sausage rolls, pork pies... I'm salivating just remembering the delights I enjoyed. But I felt bloated and a bit bleugh as the new week began. 

So Beth's text really cheered me up, and spurred me on to be good until I get on the scales tonight. 

I reached my target in March 2016, four months after joining Slimming World on a cold, wet November evening.

I still remember now, the bag of nerves I was walking into the room that evening. I'd been toying with joining Slimming World for a number of months but kept putting off, thinking I could just eat healthy at home and continue to try all the quick fixes out there.

But nothing worked, and I knew I needed some proper help.

I had written a story at work about Beth launching a brand new group in Selby so dug out her contact details to get in touch.

As I walked into the room I felt so nervous. I was like a tortoise that just recoiled into its shell in a blind panic.

Stepping on the scales that night was awful. I knew I had put weight on - I could feel it, see it and tell by the fact my clothes didn't fit. But I didn't realise just how much until I saw the scales.

I set myself a target of losing two and a half stone and my journey began.

I found Slimming World so, so easy, losing 4.5lbs in my first week. I only had three gains during my entire four months of losing - one was Christmas (1.5lbs), one after New Year (0.5lbs) and one after Tom's birthday (2lbs). Every other week was either a loss or a maintain.

During that time, I still ate out, still ate chocolate and takeaways, and still enjoyed a drink. My life didn't change at all, I just made better, more healthy, choices.

I changed as a person, too. I became more confident again, I started sleeping better, my skin improved - it was all round changes I was seeing.


I lost my way a bit after initially getting to target, believing I could do it on my own without the need to go to group every week. I couldn't, though.

I went back to group in February and was just 1lb out of my target range.

Again, for those not privy with how it all works, you've 3lbs either side of your target range to work with. Once you go beyond those 3lbs, you have one week to get back into the range before having to pay again.

Second week back and I was right back into my target range, and have remained there since.

It's now almost five months since I started going back to group every week and I am so, so proud that I have stayed within my target range the whole time.

Of course, I have weeks where I am nearer the top of said range, and have had other weeks where I've neared the bottom, but that's all ok. This week will be touch and go whether I sneak out the top after my extravagant weekend - so that will look great after being nominated for this award for being at target over a year. Irony is painful sometimes!

I don't deprive myself of anything, and that's the beauty of this plan. I won't call it a diet, because it isn't a diet. A diet, to me, is eating rabbit food and missing out on the good stuff.

I still eat biscuits, crisps, chocolate, bread and all the nice things in life. I still enjoy wine, takeaways and cake. Hell, life wouldn't be worth living if they were out of bounds!

Without realising, Slimming World has become a way of life for me. I now 'food optimise' without even really thinking about it. I make better choices when I eat out (most of the time) without giving it a second thought. 

It just proves it is possible to lose/not put on weight by enjoying food and drink - and isn't that what everyone wants?

I won't lie to you, maintaining the two and a half stone loss has been much more difficult than losing the weight was. But having things to aim for keeps me motivated.

At first it was my wedding, now it's my best friend's wedding, then it'll be our honeymoon. I'm pretty sure after then, given that it'll be my birthday then Christmas, I'll struggle far more to keep on track. 

Trying new recipes is also a good way to keep focused. I love finding new favourite meals and discovering all the different variations I can try.

Slimming World has changed my life. And I will be forever grateful for that.

Getting to target at all was the biggest prize for me, so I already feel like a winner.