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Break free today

Every day seems the same.  Get up, go to work, come home, bed, then repeat until the weekend.

Ah, the weekend.  Days when we can hibernate at home and not have to face the world.  Feel judged.

We feel out of control, like we cannot change.  Do we really want to?

Some days it can seem that we don’t.  The warm duvet wrapped around us while we are watching tv.  Eating on the sofa.

Life feels hopeless.

A lethargic body that does not like movement.  Easier to stay on the sofa. Movement hurts, trying to use muscles that are not used to movement.  

Taking control back is too much effort, it is easier to let life pass by. 

Until one day you snap!  Why does life have to be this way.  I should be happy every day. Have energy and do all the things I want.

Play with my children, go on adventure holidays and not be stuck on the bus, or watching everyone else, but out walking and seeing all the wonderful sites.

The first moment is hard, aching muscles that shout to stop because you have listened in the past. Walking for a few minutes more than you ever has is painful, difficult.  You keep telling yourself to stop.

Keep going!

Slow and steady.

Each day a little more each day, maybe one minute more.

It adds up and weeks later you can walk double the time you did before.

Less pain. Muscles are stronger.

Every day is a new start, a chance to change a little bit more. 

To Live!

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Exercise is about mindset

Having just completed my latest challenge, a half marathon that is not lapped, meaning I could not stop and rest between laps. I am reminded that it is a more about mindset than ability.

I could have stopped and walked, or just walked the entire race. I would have received the same medal. Completed the same distance. Would I have felt I had accomplished as much?

Maybe not.

I struggled during most of the race with myself. Unlike the last race I had to keep all my nutrition with me. Enough water in case the water stations ran out, I have heard many horror stories. A small pack filled with what is needed and emergency items.

I had to force myself to get up an hour earlier, to leave to catch the train. Then to be on my own in the starting wave. There were over 16,000 people there. No one would have missed me.

The last wave, were I was is where the slower runners, more joggers, and the walkers are. Some intend to walk the entire thing, others start out too fast and have to stop. I start out slow and stay slow.

My mind says, “You could walk, it would be much easier…Why don’t you walk”.

I tell myself to be quiet (ok, a little stronger than that for those who know me). I keep going.

People along the route cheer their friends, some cheer everyone. Those are the ones that bring tears to my eyes. Thanks for cheering those of us who have no one watching.

Two children are giving out small bags of jelly babies, so I go over and take one and thank them. They may never know how much that means, only 4 miles in and their kindness helps me to keep going.

The Tower of London is close and we will be running across Tower Bridge. Keep going.

The charity cheer squads yell and make tons of noise, it makes it easier to keep going.

Now in the Southwark and it slowly gets quieter, less crowds, very few cheering. the faster runners finished hours ago, so people got bored and went home or out for the day. I get slower. My pack is getting heavy.

I just have to make it to water station 4. My friend Dee is there volunteering. Mile 10 comes into view and one foot is sore, my ankle starts to ache as well. I keep going, water station 4 cannot be far. I see the station but no Dee, then I hear my name and there she is. she hugs me and my legs collapse.

Dee is a runner and knows what to do. She gets me back onto my feet and fills my water bottles up and sends me on my way. I just want to stop.

It is so painful now. I reach mile 11 and continue for a little while more before I am limping too much so I walk. The band at the side is taking a break so no music to help keep going, they don’t even cheer.

I can see mile 12 so start jogging again, the pain is less, only just over a mile to go. I will jog over the finish line!

It seems the finish is never going to come, the course twists, it says that it is close but I cannot see it. Then another corner and there is the finish by Cutty Sark.

Keep going, keep moving. Nearly there.

I step over the finish and my phone pings that I have a message. I am finished.

If I had listened to myself I would have walked or not even bothered, but I didn’t and now I have added another race to my book, I do have a physical scrapbook where I keep my race numbers and items and hang all my medals in my hallway.

I can do it if I keep moving forward.

You can as well.

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The best advice I was given at the start of my Weight Loss Journey

The best advice i was given at the start of my weight loss was not about diet or exercise. Too often people give advice on what to eat or how to exercise without ever having gone through that journey or understanding what it is like.

I was feeling depressed and like I had lost everything. it was a little over a month after surgery and I had stopped losing weight and was eating as little as I could. I was being sent abroad to work for 10 days and was not sure how I could cope in a foreign country, not being able to eat much, working, staying in a hotel. The list could go on.

So I called my dietician Gail. She talked me down from the weight loss edge.

She probably does not remember what she said to me she was trying to reassure me and set me on the right course. She said something like:

LIVE YOUR WEIGHT LOSS

That is what I remember. Her instructions were simple, do not work for the entire time, go out and see the city, try food, enjoy life.

Live my weight loss.

That got me thinking over the next few day, weeks then months. Why was I waiting until I lost the weight to try things out, do things, to live?

From that point on I made sure that I started to live. Why wait?

The weight came off, I became happier, the happier I became the more the weight came off.

Do not wait until you are at your goal, try new activities now, live today!

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Same diet, different results

If two people go on the same diet do they always follow it the same? Do they eat the same foods?  In the same portions?

I was once on a diet which was high protein and low in fat.  I started out unsure and took in the food list to the grocery store.  Read the forums and recipes and followed it exactly.

I lost 2 dress sizes.  That was the first diet I had tried that I actually lost weight on.  Problem was I fell off the wagon then tried to restart. But no more weight came off.  

The people who supported the diet would tell me that my diet was fine I needed to up my exercise.  

I worked, and was exercising as much as I could, how could I increase it more and still have a job?

I had changed how I applied the diet, and because of that the results were different for me.

Image by <a href=”https://pixabay.com/users/stevepb-282134/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=695723″>Steve Buissinne</a> from <a href=”https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=695723″>Pixabay</a>

Years later when I was finally changing my life and learning more about nutrition I realised what I had done wrong, but it was too late.  That sounds bad but it was actually good that it was too late for me. I changed my life not just for the time I was on a diet but forever.

It was all about how I used the tool given to me.  Now I follow a healthy eating regime. No fad diet or something temporary.  

Does that mean I do not enjoy food?  No! I love food and actually eat nicer, tastier food than before.  I learned more about what healthy food is, whether all sugars are bad for you and if fat makes you fat.

This didn’t happen overnight.

By taking time and learning slowly I could apply smaller changes into my life.  Some I didn’t even notice. Looking at my diet six months apart I could see a big change.

What I noticed was that I ate nicer food.  Food that I could really slow down and enjoy.  Rather than eat fast and not remember what it tasted like I now enjoy what I eat and remember the foods I eat.

Why not try to slow down and really savour what you are eating today?  What is it that you life or dislike about it.  

Change is Possible

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How to look fabulous on a tight budget

Whether you are a man or woman knowing you look good makes you feel better with yourself. Finding out what style clothing suites you can make shopping so much easier and cheaper.

There have been lots of shows on tv and videos online about what clothes would fit and make you look your best depending on the shape of your body.

Before I found out what shapes and styles of clothing looked good I would buy an outfit and thought it looked ok, which it did. Even if it fit more like a sack then anything else.  It definitely did not make me feel confident.

As I was losing weight I was lucky to have a great friend who would challenge me to try out different styles and shapes of clothes to see what looked good on my new shape. We spent hours trying on clothes.

Now I can pop into a shop and pick out clothes that I know will look good which feels great.

If you are in the middle of losing weight you do not want to constantly buy a new wardrobe but by shopping thriftily you can look great and give yourself more confidence as your weight changes.

Because it does cost a lot of money to create a new wardrobe so here is where to shop on a tight budget:

  • Charity shops
  • Discount shops
  • Sales
  • Ebay and online 2nd hand
  • Consignment shops
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Look around the high street and in malls, find brands that you like then keep an eye out for them in Charity Shops. You can even create saved searches on ebay that will let you know when clothes from that brand are available.

It is worth the time it takes to find clothes that make you feel amazing.

Happy Shopping!

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Goals that stretch you can help motivate you

It can be so easy to give up or not push ourselves a bit. When we have a goal that stretches us from our normal.

Over the years I have seen people who say they want to accomplish something but then do not because they do not push themselves a little each day or week in order to meet that goal. If it is a physical challenge they do the minimum they can then stop.

Their progress is slow or they never improve. They then compare themselves to others who have worked harder then their minimum and are demotivated.

By setting a goal with a deadline that stretches your limits a bit you can surprise yourself when you meet it. How amazing is it to do something you never thought you could do?

Photo by Up-Free on Pixabay

That is the same with milestones or steps to reach your goal. If you have to push yourself a little to reach them you will feel so much accomplishment it can keep you motivated to strive for the next one.

In order for this to keep you motivated you do need to set goals that stretch you a little in a time frame that you can reach. Then work a little harder each week to reach that goal. If you set a goal that is too difficult or easy it has the opposite affect.

I had a step goal of 10,000 steps and wanted to return to that after surgery, so when I went back to work I took my normal route, and walked throughout the day as I had before. I would come home exhausted and not able to do anything.

I could barely make it through the day.

After a couple of weeks I decided that this was not working. I was not getting fitter, I was not even reaching the 10,000 step goal. I wanted to give up.

Instead I set a goal to be able to reach 10,000 a day.

Photo by Free-Photos on Pixabay

I had a step counter so looked at my average steps and reduced it to 2,000 steps a day. I deliberately walked less and started to take the bus into work. when I could reach 2,000 steps I added 250 to that. I took an extra trip to the toilet and to get a small drink. Only a couple of minutes each but they added steps rather than being efficient and having everything I needed at my desk for the morning and waiting until lunch to use the toilet on my way to the lunch room.

When I could reach that step goal 3 days in a row I would add another 250. Some weeks I would add to my goal twice. Soon I was up to 10,000 again but without feeling I had hurt myself or it was too easy.

It was a bit of a stretch for me, some days I had to make an excuse to walk a little more. go to the toilet to put on lipstick again. By the time I reached 10,000 I felt like I had accomplished something and was keen to keep going, so did, I now have a daily step goal of 13,250.

What is a goal that you could set that would stretch you a bit?

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How looking at food issues helped me lose weight

If we keep doing the same thing over then we are just going to repeat the same process over and over again. We need to break the cycle. For weight loss that means more than just a temporary diet.

Why are we making the food decisions that we do?

I had to look at what I was eating, when I was eating and why did I make those decisions.

Issues can be easy to identify, overeating, comfort eating, emotional eating, and more.

Photo by Pexels on Pixabay

The main thing to find out is WHY do we do these things.

Some people will be able to tell you why, for a lot of us we have to dig deeper. Think about what we think of when we think about certain foods.

I am an introvert when it comes to self help. I like to work on my issues on my own. Occasionally I like to talk things through but I am quite happy to sit on my own and work through things.

So I completed some brainstorming, I would think of an issue then brainstorm all the thoughts that came out from it.

I then would look at the ones that affected me the most, the phrased or thoughts that caused the most emotion. Then do another brainstorm on those.

After I found out what the original cause of the issue was I would use a technique called EFT to work on releasing the issue. For me it took more than a few sessions but I slowly started to get rid of the emotional tie to food.

This is not a quick fix. It takes a lot of time and effort. But I felt I was worth the work.

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How I started my weight loss journey

Like most people I did not gain weight overnight, but losing it was more difficult than gaining it. I tried lots of diets and exercise programs. Had personal trainers, tried low fat, low calorie diets. Diets so low in calories that you were not allowed to exercise while on them.

Diets and Exercise programs were ok to look at but there were some things I had a block on and refused to look at.

That is what stopped me from losing weight. Doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result means failure. I needed to look at other tools.

Diet and exercise are two tools that are looked at and used by people. Are they permanent? Does everyone who goes on them lose weight and keep it off? No.

Tools are there to help us and the more tools we use the more permanent the weight loss and the easier it is.

So what made me change? Why did I look at other tools?

I was at the end of my rope, unhappy and desperate to live my life not just exist. Work had become my life.

Talking to a normal weight person who had successfully lost weight 7 years before and had kept it off was what set me on my new path. She had an active life doing activities I had always wanted to do and was happy.

Photo by TeroVesalainen on Pixabay

In order to have the same happen to me, I needed to change my thoughts and opinions. Changing how I thought was very difficult.

I did research, searching the internet for information about weight loss surgery. Was it an easy option? How many people did it fail on? How long did it take to lose the weight?

I was sure that there was something wrong with me and that if I had weight loss surgery that I would not lose the weight and I would be the percentage that failed.

But what were my options? Stay large and be unhappy, existing rather than living or I could take a chance and maybe succeed.

Live my life!

I took a chance and changed my life, but weight loss surgery was not the only tool I used. More about that next week.

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Paving the path of our journey

Some journeys seem to be difficult with obstacles and it seems to be easier to give up.

Why walk on a path of rough boulders when you could walk on a paved flat path?

Because not all destinations that are worth getting to have an easy path.

Weight loss is one of them. We could go the easy route selecting a diet or program that is easy and we lose weight quickly. Then, once the program is over and we go back to our “normal” eating the weight returns as well.

A bumpy, difficult path can teach us more than the easy one.

It is our choice. We can chose to learn or ignore what is going on around us, why what we do is unhealthy or causing us weight gain.

We are in control.

That is very empowering.

As an overweight person, about 300 pounds, I felt out of control. Diets did not work. They were easy to follow, telling me what and how much I could eat. They did not teach me what a healthy lifestyle was or how I could be happy eating healthy foods and leading an active lifestyle.

They want you to jump in from day one.

If we think of it like a path. Some paths are temporary, like a trail through a forest, if no one uses it for a few weeks or months it disappears.

How long did the Roman roads last? They have foundations, they took a long time to build and real effort. The path though the woods did not.

If we create a foundation to our weight loss path, plan, learn and make real changes we can be like the Roman Road. Lasting more permanent.

Taking time to learn how we can live a healthy life where we do NOT feel deprived of food, where we can do the activities we want, and that we enjoy. That is worth the effort.

What is being a normal weight worth to you? A quick fix that does not last? Or a longer journey that is permanent and easy to maintain?

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Each journey is different

As we start 2020, literally running out of 2019 and into 2020 with a group of wonderful people from my running group, I was reminded that our destination can be the same but the road we each take can be very different.

The destination can be anything, a specific age, a job, a race or event. Whatever it is we all start at different points, have different past experiences and are in different situations.

For example weight loss.

Do we all start at the same weight? Take 2 people who start at exactly the same weight, and ask some simple questions:

  • Do/did they have the same operation?
  • Are their post op issues the same?
  • Can they handle food the same?
  • Do they go on exactly the same diets? Eating the same food and amounts for each meal?
  • Does their bodies process food the same? What is each persons nutritional needs?
  • Do they do exactly the same exercise/activities?

The questions could go on. The start of the journey is the point in which you make that decision to do something AND take the first step. You can think about something for years but not take any action.

But action can also be very passive and only move you slowly forward, like the person who decides on weight loss surgery but all they do is research online. It could take them years before they call and start the process to have surgery but the research they do moves them very slowly by adding to their knowledge.

Why is it important to remember that we all have different paths?

We compare ourselves, too much, to others. Why do I not lose weight as fast as that person, or get into shape just as fast as the other person?

Are you doing exactly the same things each minute of the day?

Does your body react the same?

NO

We can be on similar looking paths in that the destination is the same, weight loss. The surgery might be different, how well we stick with the healthy eating plan and how much we increase exercise is different.

Photo by Image by SplitShire from Pixabay

It is great to have others around us with the same destination in mind, we can learn from their successes, failures and everything in between. But because our journey is different we need to find the best path for us and pave it with the actions that will give us success.

Next week I will talk about that paving of the path.

Welcome to 2020, change is possible!

Solutions = Success!