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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?


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!

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Falling of the diet wagon

Holidays can be very difficult when you are on a diet. They seem to revolve around food and drink.

If you are on a diet it can spell bad news. You have CHEATED!

So what, that is life! We need a bit of naughty foods.

The next meal is a new start. Go back to eating healthy food that provides good fuel for your body that you like to eat.

If you overcompensate and go on an extreme diet you will probably fall off that wagon very quickly so better to eat heathy and regularly instead.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay
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Learning to live with naughty food

When we look at food there is some we consider healthy and some we consider naughty.

  • It is a fact of life that there are going to be times in our lives when we should eat naughty foods.
  • Celebrations, parties, maybe just friends over.
  • Instead of telling yourself off when you eat any food you consider naughty you should make sure that before you eat them you feed your body something nutritious.
  • Then the next meal or the next day you start eating healthy again.
  • When deciding how much to eat think how much you need to feel satisfied. I have seen people scarf down food without tasting it. How can you enjoy what you are eating if you eat so quick that you can’t taste it? Remembering another meal?

Whatever the reason if you eat naughty food quickly you need to slow down.

It is called mindful eating.

Put your utensils down while chewing, think about how the food tastes, the texture. Chew the food completely, that takes a bit of time.

Some people follow the 20/20 rule or one like it, chew 20 time or for 20 seconds or whatever they are following. I found that I was not enjoying eating when I did that. I was concentrating on counting chews or watching the timer.

Now I concentrate on the food that I am eating. Enjoying it. Yes this takes longer but I am so much more satisfied with what I have eaten that when I eat cake or chocolate this way I eat less but enjoy it so much more.

I call it having a foodgasm. Try it over the holidays to see if it makes a difference to your enjoyment and the amounts you eat before you are full.

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How an adventure is changing my life

Is there something that you occasional see or hear other people do and think, I really want to do that.

But you never do because it is too expensive, or difficult or something else. I have a lot of those.

I remember as a young woman my work colleagues going to the Yukon to walk a passage trail. Watching them plan meals and get their kit ready all I could think about was that I would love to go but I didn’t think I could make a week hiking with all my food, clothes and shelter with me.

I regret not going.

This year as I was improving my fitness I talked with friends about a challenge I found online. A colleague from a few years ago does them and I thought it would be nice to do one eventually.

There are different distances in this challenge, 25k, 34k, 50k or 100k. I can walk a fair distance with no problems and was doing a very slow 5k jog (and was walk/jogging 10K). A few friends decided to walk the 34k challenge which is the end of May 2020. Being the summer of 2019 when we discussed it I thought, mmm, how difficult is it to walk 34k over 2 days (we since learned that that challenge is 1 day but at the time thought it was 2 days)?

That would be 17k a day. We were walking over 10K, usually around 12 miles on a Sunday at the time.

So I booked the 100k over 2 day challenge.

My thought was that if I could walk 12 miles in a day and be fine the next day and do my normal routine then 17k for 2 days would not be much of an increase over 9 months.

To increase to 50k a day for 2 days in 9 months, that would be a challenge.

I looked at the timings, when the event was, how much I could jog, because I plan to do a very slow jog for half of it, and the distance I currently do.

I created milestones to jog an entire 10K, then do a half marathon then a marathon.

It is December and my first marathon is 8 December, I am writing this the week before that. I have jogged 10 miles with my running group but not a half yet.

My next milestone is a marathon which I have booked this week. The Boston UK marathon in April, the flattest marathon in the UK according to them. If I can get through the half marathon it means I will have to slowly increase my distance over the next few months.

That is not the only thing, I need to improve my endurance. It is one thing to do an event on one day then rest. This is a 2 day challenge which means that I cannot go through all of my reserves in one go but must ensure I have enough energy to be able to continue for two days.

Keep an eye on my Facebook page – Epiphany Wellbeing Solutions to see how I did in the half and whether I made the full marathon or not! I will be writing about exercise and nutrition soon.

running the Southend 10k 2019
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How Goals Helped me Succeed with Weight Loss

I am a very goal oriented person. I never used to be, I was more of a dreamer. Wishing and meandering through life. I saw some lovely places but was in a job I didn’t like and lived in a place I didn’t like either.

Goals sorted that all out.

Then when I found myself unhappy and extremely overweight I used goals to get me out of that position.

I was a size 10 in 1997 when I arrived in the UK. I wanted to be that size again.

Knowing what didn’t work for me helped. Because I had been overweight for many years I know what diets that I had only lost 5 pounds or so on. So they would not work.

When I decided to have weight loss surgery I researched the average weight loss, the length of time it would take me and calculated what my weight loss should be each month. One site mentioned that most people lose 75% of the weight they want to in a year.

2 months in I was not on track, in fact I was not even close to meeting my target. If I had not had the monthly milestone in mind I probably would not have know that I was so bad at the weight loss. Because I did not reach my goal I called my dietician and discussed what I was eating.

She helped me see what food issues I was having and put me on the right path. I slowly changed my eating and over months it changed drastically, just with the small changes I made.

Exercise had to change as well. Since my bariatric medical team insists that weight loss is sustained for life through a healthy diet and exercise it meant I needed to exercise.

I was walking 10,000 steps before my operation and tried to do that right after. That was not a good idea. My energy levels went down 2 weeks after the op and I felt I was walking through sand.

I over did it. I was not eating enough for the amount of activity I was doing at work.

Steps Stairs Up Staircase Stairway
Free-Photos / Pixabay

By dropping my daily step goal to 1,000 and taking the bus more as my diet improved I slowly increased my steps. So I set a goal to reach 10,000 steps again.

I added 250 steps to my step goal each week. It was an amount that I could add and not notice during a day, maybe an extra trip to the tea point and an extra trip to the toilet.

Some weeks I felt well enough to add another 250 steps mid week.

As my fitness increase and my diet became more nutritious I lost a lot more weight. The fat was sliding off me.

I reached my goal in 7 months, that was just over 150 pounds lost.

I now set more goals and am more conscious about making the milestones short enough that I can reach them within a couple of months, hopefully shorter.

Take a look at the 3 day course on goals if you would like to reach your goals faster.

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Are all calories equal?

On most diets I have been on calories was talked about, you can have xxx number of calories each day.  But are calories as important as some believe?

How are calories calculated?

There are a few ways to calculate calories.  The original way was to put food in a container which is put into water, electrical current is put through the container with the food until it burned and the rate the temperature of the water increases creates the calorie amount.  The 2nd method is to take averages for the nutrients within the food to create a total number of calories.


Bread Taste Chocolate Butter
jackmac34 / Pixabay

Compare a chocolate bar with an egg salad sandwich of the same calorie amount.

Which is better fuel in the long run for your body?

Which gives you more nutritional value?

The egg salad sandwich.

Things may have the same calories but they are probably not going to be as good fuel for your body.

When deciding on what you are going to eat think not about calories but more about nutritional value.

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Wellbeing includes how you look

Our wellbeing includes how we look, as in the clothes we wear, skin care, hair and all aspects of our appearance.  When I was large I would make sure I looked neat and tidy but did not feel I could look great.

As I started to lose weight I started to try on clothes that had shape, rather than the tents I used to wear. When I wore clothes I felt good in and that I looked good in I would feel happier.

If you are like I was then start small.  What colours make you look great? Some colours make our skin look better other colours can wash us out.  When you find out what colours are your colours you can go through your wardobe to see what items are the colours that suite you best.

Next find out what your body shape is and what clothes are recomended to complement that shape.

Woman Fat Plus Size Portuguese
luizgwyer / Pixabay

Go through your wardrobe and see what you have that are the types to complement your shapes, then go to the shops to try clothes but only try those that complement your shape.  

Something to keep in mind throughout it all is your style.

You could have a classic, bohemian or modern style, look at what you like and what suites you to create your style.  

It is a combination of colours and shape that suite in a style you love is how you really feel amazing about how you look.

What is your favourite outfit and why?

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Protein is important to both weight loss and wellbeing

Protein is an important way to help your weight loss, it is also a necessary nutrient for your general wellbeing.  Eating too much for long periods can cause issue but not eating enough can cause health problems.

I was talking to a woman about her diet, she said that because she was a vegetarian she could not eat protein. So untrue!

Protein is found in high quantities in meat, like beef, lamb and chicken or fish but it is also found in vegetarian foods.

Pulses and beans are a great source:

  • Baked beans
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney beans
  • Butter beans
  • An so many more
Broccoli Soup Potato Bean Beans
10glassnails / Pixabay


  • runner beans
  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Mushrooms
  • And so many more

Some foods work well on their own but some should be eaten in combination.  Baked beans work better if eaten with rice.

Eggs are also a great source and very versatile.

Lentil Soup Lenses Stew Food
schlauschnacker / Pixabay

Soups and stews can be high in protein by adding meat, beans and vegetables.  Try adding Butter beans or kidney beans to your stew.

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How goals helped me to reach my ideal size

For years I wished I was “thin”.  I would diet, exercise and never reach my goal, because it was not a real goal.  Wishes are what we want, but we do not plan out how we are going to reach them.

I stopped looking at a diet and instead looked at what tasks I needed to do each day to reach my goal. Because I had so much weight to lose I would have lost momentum if I did not have milestones to reach along the way.

Think of it as a ladder, the goal is at the top of the ladder, each rung on the ladder is a milestone.  My goal size of a size 10 was at the top and each rung or milestone was a size closer towards it. 

Steps Stairs Up Staircase Stairway
Free-Photos / Pixabay

To get to a milestone I had lots of tasks to do, changes in my diet and exercise as well as work on how I thought about things.

I also had a physical goal, a dress I had made 20 years before while I was in my 20’s.  I never thought I would be able to wear that dress again. It hung on my wardrobe door.

Every milestone was celebrated, but not with food.  I would meet up with friends, go to a museum to see an exhibit that I wanted or book an event I would not usually have done.

By reaching a milestone I was one step closer to my goal.

Me wearing my goal dress
Me wearing my goal dress

Every few months I would put my goal dress up against me and one day, Christmas eve 2017 I tried it on. It fit!  So I wore it to the Christmas eve service at church, most people had not seen me since the summer and did not recognise me.  

I glowed not just from losing weight but from reaching my goal.