Mental Wellbeing, Weight Loss, Weight Watchers

Sometimes You Have To Fight It

I was bitterly, bitterly disappointed when I stepped on the scales at class this week. I put on half a pound. I wasn’t upset that I’d gained that particular amount, but because I’d let it happen. My week has been a whirl of my own work, lambing, bottle-feeds and checking stock. Some nights James and I weren’t getting in the house until after ten. This resulted in grabbing food if and when I could. Some days I was barely eating, and others so hungry that when I started munching I couldn’t stop. I didn’t track, and that’s what annoyed me. I let my priorities slip – something I promised myself I wouldn’t do over the weeks of my challenge. After all, if I can’t look after myself, what good am I to five hundred ewes and their babies?

bottle feed
Yet another feed

We’re now mid-way through lambing and hitting the busiest part. When this time comes, I’m tired, run-down and it begins to drag me down. It becomes difficult to focus on the successes and every sick or abandoned lamb tends to dwell on the mind. I’m not alone, and it isn’t because of my mental state. We’re all feeling the same and we need to see the light at the end of the tunnel to remind us that another few weeks and we’ll be done. James, who can be a typical hard-hearted farmer, was wiping tears away as I went into the shed, after losing a lamb we fought hard to save. It’s because it’s hard work.

Normally when my mood dips like this, I go into lockdown and focus on the simplest of tasks and ignore the rest of the world, sort of like running on an emergency power generator. Complete the essentials like washing and working to achieve the minimum requirements. I’ve learned to go with the flow and not worry about how little I’m sleeping, or the fact that a million other things aren’t getting done (I’m normally great at ‘getting stuff done’) knowing that I’ll come out the other side and things will go back to normal.

Not this time. This time I’m dealing with it head-on. Aside from the sleeping part which I can do zero about, I’m working hard to stay positive and not slip below the surface into that horrid pool that so often drags me under. The expression ‘pick your battles’ springs to mind, and I’m up for this one. I can’t lose focus, and I’m determined to get through lambing without my mood ruining me and my weight loss.

I’m even busier this coming week, with on-farm visits and early morning milkings piling

walking woo
Walkies with Woo while the collies work

up on top of lambs (not literally, obviously). If I can get through the next fortnight, I’ve won. I have the knowledge and the tools to do it. This week, I’m making time for me. ME. Snatching a few minutes to track on my app and taking an hour out to walk the smallest dog makes all the difference. Walking gives me head space and a snippet of relaxation and tracking on my app shows me if I’m eating too much or too little over the day, so I can regulate my intake. Wow. Too little?? Never thought I’d say that!

I’m hoping this strategy will carry me past the halfway point in my challenge a few pounds less than I weigh now, and I won’t have to revert to my defensive lockdown. The end of lambing will be near and my heart will be a lot lighter again. It’s funny how easy it is to forget that it’s the simple things that work. I am NOT gaining again this week.

Let battle commence!

 

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Exercise, Healthy Eating, Life Journey, Mental Wellbeing, Targets, Weight Loss, Weight Watchers

A Quarter-Challenge

I went to my new meeting. It was fabulous. It is indeed very small, and everyone is so supportive of each other. Because I’ve moved about a fair bit, I’ve attended a lot of different meetings. I can usually tell straight away whether I’m going to like it or not, and I knew the second I sat down in the little room that it was going to be splendid.

One of the things it did was lift my mood, and for the first time in weeks I’m beginning to feel better about myself. It feels nice. Getting up and getting on each day feels easier. I want to go out more and I’m becoming less irritable. In my normal pattern, this ‘up’ episode usually begins around the clocks changing at the end of March and I think the early turn is due to going back to Weight Watchers. That sounds a little dramatic, but sometimes isolation in large doses can skew your thinking more, and having a group of people who share your struggle can just be enough to knock you in the right direction.

IMG_2522
One of our farm walks – what’s not to like?

Having turned the proverbial corner, my mind has floated towards my weight loss and my holiday at the beginning of June. I tried on some of my holiday clothes that I kept from waaay back – I got rid of most of them when I started to slim down. The ones that were left were all too tight to put on. In most of the major/nice times in my life, I can tell you what weight I was, and my last holiday abroad was a long time ago and I was 13st dead.

That’s where we’re going.

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My last holiday ~ 13st

The funny thing about it was how big I remember feeling then. There are no bikini photos, any time I stood up I put a sarong on and even now I still can’t stand the sight of my legs in shorts in those pictures.

But I was healthy then and still in my 20s. I wasn’t even aware I had any problems with my reproductive organs, let alone in agony waiting for surgery. I’ve come through a lot since and the thought of being back at 13st right now is delicious.

So I have 12 weeks. A quarter of a year. My challenge is to get to 13st by the night before my flight. Funnily enough, my class happens to be the night before I go. Once again, I feel like the gods are trying to help me as best they can.

That works out at a little more than a 1lb per week for the next 12 weeks – a goal that is not unreasonable. Every week I will set a different intention to help me get there. If anyone wants to join me, feel free – I’d love to hear how you get on.

Week one for me is about assessing my fitness routine. At the moment most of my exercise is covered by walking my dogs round the farm and mixed yoga practice most days. At some point in the next twelve weeks I’m hoping that will change. I’m a keen runner but a old dodgy knee injury will not carry me up and down the rough trails on the farm at my current weight. If all goes to plan, I should reach my ‘safe’ running weight sometime in the course of this challenge.

If I can establish a baseline fitpoint achievement this week, that will allow me to set myself minimum standards and increase it as I get lighter and fitter (again).  So this week I aim to track all of my activity using my Weight Watchers app.

It’s so nice to have found a bit of hope and motivation again, and have someone tell you that yes, you can do it, yes, it is feasible and yes, help is at hand. We can all do this, one week at a time and with a little help from some friends.

Exercise, Healthy Eating, Life Journey, Weight Loss, Weight Watchers

Someone is Listening

I’d been saying that I think some other-worldly force has been trying to send me a message. The breaking of the corkscrew was a hint – one that I should have heeded. Well, the cosmos hasn’t given up on me.

After last weeks’ corkscrew incident, I pretty much couldn’t get any lower. I’m hunkered down right now, fighting my way through a black episode and trying to function as best I can as a normal human being. For me, that means washing, brushing my teeth and making sure my animals are cared for, plus the absolute bare minimum obligation for work. If I manage all that, I’m done and usually knackered. I don’t even try to be socially acceptable in public. In fact, I try to avoid being in public at all.

Needless to say at times like this, watching what I eat and weight loss are the last things on my mind. It’s not that I don’t care. I do. I really, really do. It’s just that they are so far down the list of priorities that they get swallowed up, and it feels like and seems like I don’t care. When personal hygiene feels like a mountain to climb, there isn’t much hope for kale smoothies and 5-mile hikes.

Fate has definitely been listening and paying attention, if not, then definitely reading my blog. Two things have happened in the last few days that have helped me turn a corner. I’ve booked a holiday. This is a big deal –  James and I have never been abroad in nearly five years together. Being a farmer is sh*t for holidays, and we’ve always either been too skint, too busy, or moving house. I’m not excited about a holiday which is a shame, but my current mindset will not allow enthusiasm. However… I am happy. It gives me a focus, something to work towards and a really good, solid reason to lose weight.

The second thing is my Weight Watchers class. I had to stop going to the only class in the area for a few reasons. I am a person that needs my class, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. During low periods it can prevent me from being a shut-in and improve my self-esteem (even if that translates as a half-lb loss!). I was toying with the idea of travelling further afield, but didn’t want to because I really like my leader. As if by magic, my leader tells me she has started an evening class in town and that she misses me! (how nice is that?)

Again, no enthusiasm. Relief. I feel relieved that I have a class to go to again. I’m not going to get any bigger. I’m not going to struggle on my own any more. If I am struggling, I’ll have support. I can do this. There is a tiny chink of light peeping through the crack at me, and I’m cautiously smiling.

Whoever or whatever is responsible, thank you from the deepest part of me. It’s just the motivation I need right now.

 

Life Journey, Mental Wellbeing, Stop Smoking, Weight Loss, Weight Watchers

That Man

I had a loss at the scales this week, which was important for me. I also had an epiphany. It’s been an interesting week.

Writing my post last week very much finalized the fact that I don’t smoke any more. It’s the first time I’ve ever called myself an ex-smoker, and it sort-of felt like the end of a chapter. Closure? I don’t know. But it’s an end.

I pondered this as I walked my foggy path round the farm one day with the dogs. I’ve conquered something massive that has blighted my entire adult life. It’s quite liberating. It almost makes me feel like I can get on with the rest of my life and achieve the things I want to now that it no longer cripples me. And it did – financially, socially and mentally.

That made me stop and think. Sub-consciously I think smoking has been an excuse not to lose weight. That horrifies me. I did say I felt like a fraud and that I’d never lead a healthy lifestyle because I smoked. (Go on, look back at the last post – I did say it, didn’t I?) How long have I struggled with my weight? Have I been sneakily sabotaging my weight-loss attempts with a sub-conscious negative attitude for years? Uh oh. I have. That thought sent all of my nerve endings prickling and brought the familiar flip-flop stomach that I hate so much. Right there in the middle of my ‘safe’ place among the firs and needle-cushioned paths of the farm, I returned to self-loathing Gem in a flash. Anxiety went from zero to ten in less than a second.

And that’s how quickly my triumph of the last few weeks came tumbling down. I mean, reality check. I am horrendously overweight. I’m back to being ‘fat’. Too fat to run. All my clothes are tight. My underwear doesn’t fit. I’m unattractive. I’m never going to achieve the weight loss I’ve longed for. I’m useless. I can’t do anything right. I’ll never achieve the other goals in my life.

By the time I got home twenty minutes later, I’d mired myself in a self-created pit of pure hatred and spite topped off with negativity. It was time to retreat to one of my other ‘safe’ places – playing computer games. I needed to forget all the thoughts that had just destroyed my confidence.

I’m currently enjoying a zombie-mashing, button-bashing affair (Dead Rising 4 if anyone’s interested) on Xbox. I got playing with this American guy in multiplayer. I knew nothing about this man. Zero. After playing with him for two hours, I knew him well. He was very polite.

I could hear him smoking. He had a wheezy sort of breath which his microphone picked up when he spoke. He told me that smoking calmed him as he suffered with severe anxiety, and that was why he allowed himself to smoke. He coughed in a short, sharp rasp roughly once every six minutes. He told me that if a doctor told him he was dying of cancer, he’d stop, and he could stop no problem. Through other routes of conversation I established this man to be between thirty and thirty-eight. He lives alone. He drinks spirits because beer doesn’t get him drunk, and he can and does drink a lot. This man is overweight. I was this man.

It made me realize how far I’ve come. How much I’ve already achieved. What I no longer am. The habits I’ve dropped and how my life and attitude has changed. And that my earlier internal outburst (I realize that doesn’t entirely make sense) was out of proportion and very, very harsh. There was still a grain of truth, though. A chance that I might stay this way forever, or worse, return to being ‘that man’.

I took action. I have the tools, I know the rules. I no longer need food as a nicotine replacer, I am aware of that now. So, it’s time to boogie. I fired up my Weight Watchers app, and I’ve been tracking ALL my food and exercise properly. A few pounds off and I can run. I feel better already.

This isn’t about failing at weight loss. It’s about picking battles, timing and appreciating the positive steps that have changed your life. No matter how small. It’s those things that keep you positive and turn you, however slowly, into the person you actually want to be.

I’ve come a long way.

 

 

 

Mental Wellbeing, Weight Loss, Weight Watchers

Being the New Girl (Again.)

It’s something I’ve sadly got used to. Due to moving about a lot, I’ve constantly been thrust into new situations, often on my own. Wednesday saw my return to Weight Watchers. I picked a class some weeks ago and mentally geared myself up. I’ve missed it, but with moving and associated job/farming stresses I knew I wasn’t ready before that point.

Some of my longer-term readers may remember me describing the experience of walking into class not long after I started this blog three years ago – I was a mess. Nervous, ashamed at the weight that had crept on and lonely. I nearly didn’t go in at all, and I’d driven ten miles to get there.

Similarly, when I moved to England I felt the same. I wasn’t in a good place mentally and physically my health was poor – I had the weight of surgery hanging over me and could barely walk the length of myself. My experience of my first class there was less than comforting. I’d just like to point out that the leader and her helper were both lovely, but I really was an ‘outsider’ – no-one spoke to me, or even smiled at The New Girl. Even after weeks of going I still felt uncomfortable.

You can imagine the thoughts that ran through my brain as I walked in to yet another new class this week, with another new leader. ‘Here we go again’. I wasn’t the psychological mess that I have been in the past, but I was still  ‘jangly’. I had absolutely nothing to worry about. The minute I stepped through the door of the little scout hall, everyone turned and looked and smiled. Lots of people said hello, asked if I was new, and the leader approached me straight away. I felt at ease instantly, chatting with some of the people in the weigh-in queue and after the ‘talk’ (Which, btw, involved a cooking demonstration and some dubiously acquired disposable gloves). I even left the meeting with a recommendation for a dentist!

I make no secret of the fact that I long for stability, routine, and a chance to get a good run  at my weight-loss again. Knowing that a further move is unlikely (hurray!) definitely contributed to my mindset before going to the meeting and I can see myself losing week after week on those particular scales, in that room full of people. It’s such a nice feeling.

That applies to the other areas of my life, too – I’ve coped considerably better with all the ‘new’ things I’ve had to deal with since the move. In England, I was practically a recluse. I worked from home and only ventured out to the local shop and my WWs meeting. The thought of having to go through another ‘new’ experience reduced me  to a sweating, nauseated bundle of nerves. I did the weekly food shop online. Just over a month since I’ve moved here, I’ve been out and about exploring, and actually enjoying the new experiences. The anxiety has still been there, but at a much more manageable level. It’s amazing the difference it makes being somewhere that you like and knowing it might be long term. I’m excited now to lose the half stone I’ve put on from the move to get out there, get running (again) and get some more silver sevens under my belt.

And hopefully it’s the last time I’m going to be the ‘New Girl’.

 

 

Healthy Eating, Life Journey, Weight Loss, Weight Watchers

Goodbye, 2015

‘It’s definitely a good idea to get weighed in between Christmas and New Year’

Said me, pre-Christmas. Kind of regretting that decision now. I tip-toed onto the scales like they were going to bite me. I had horrible visions of a repercussion of Christmas 2013, where I’d put on a whopping 7lbs over the festive period, and that had included me running most days. This last week, I’ve done no running. At all.

It was bad, but not as bad as expected. 5lbs on, deservedly so. But guess what? I loved every minute of those 5lbs. For the first time since my partner and I got together, I had him at home on Christmas day. It was lovely, if slightly odd. I also had the pleasure of my gran and my parents company, and what a great feeling it was to sit round the table with them.

I’ve stopped panicking about things like putting on 5lbs at Christmas. I know my weight is on a downward trend and won’t take me long to get it back off. This is a revelation for me. In previous years, I’d have spent days and days berating myself for being a pig, and regretting everything that passed my lips. So in a way, I suppose I’ve turned a corner (shame you can see my Xmas Belly before the rest of me). I do kind-of feel like I’m cheating a bit because I’ve got a weeks’ head-start. But that’s good – it gives me the opportunity to put a sizeable dent in those 5lbs before the first weigh-in of 2016.

In the tradition of tying up loose ends for the year finishing, I’ve tweaked the blog to make it a bit more user-friendly, bumping up my social media links and ‘follow’ button. Other places on the web I like have a page all to themselves and you can now find this under ‘Helpful Links’ along the top tabs.

Thank you all once again for your support over the last year, and Best Wishes to all of you for the coming year. I’ll leave you with a few of my favourite posts from the past twelve months, and see you on the other side.

Keep on Truckin’!

2015 Selection

The Apple never falls… – A lot of self-realization went on here. A post about difficult family relationships.

The Beast Has Risen… – My first post-op blog, and moving back to Scotland

Fat Girl Who Runs… – On being big and exercising

SmartPoints 3… – Okay, this is a bit of a cheat because it’s last weeks post, but it’s one of my favourites 🙂

 

Healthy Eating, Life Journey, Mental Wellbeing, Weight Loss, Weight Watchers

Smartpoints Part 3 – Smile

First of all I’d like to say hello and welcome to my newest followers *waves* – if you missed the first two sections, you can find part 1 here and part 2 here. For my regular readers, thank you for sticking in and the support you have given me in 2015 – it’s been immense, and made my brain-farts completely worthwhile. I’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2016.

So now we’ve covered the eating and the moving part, I’m delighted to talk about a completely NEW part of the Weightwatchers plan. It’s laid out in a third booklet called, simply, ‘smile’.

I am ecstatic. I am satisfied. After a short discussion with my leader, I am now also convinced that the plan developers stalked the two of us before coming up with the third part to the new approach. For regular readers of this blog, you’ll know that I have anxiety problems and have fought hard over the years to not let it ruin my life after a nervous breakdown nearly did. I’ve talked long and weary time and time again about the importance of not just physical health, but mental health too. I’ve banged on endlessly about how the two go hand-in-hand and being healthy ‘upstairs’ is just as, if not more important than the physical part. It affects weight. It affects our attitude and habits towards food. By bringing out this little booklet, Weightwatchers have told me I’m right. I’m not going to lie, I like being right.

The idea behind the ‘smile’ booklet is to focus on the mental wellbeing side of your weight loss journey. I’d like to mention that this is entirely new territory for a weight-loss company and therefore very brave indeed. It’s perfect. Every single thing they mention in this third booklet I have talked about in blog posts, so WWs, you’ve done right.

So what does it actually entail?

The idea here is to put yourself first. Take some time to look after your brain and reap the benefits in your weight loss journey. Suggestions for a generally more positive outlook on life, self appreciation, relaxation and accepting flaws are all mentioned. Tips and ideas to help empower and ultimately make better choices because you don’t feel like a bag of crap all the time. To me, this is far more valuable than anything else WWs has to offer. I hope members take this part seriously and actively pursue this aspect of the plan. I’m convinced it will pave the way to success.

What has creeped me out is the uncanny resemblance to things both my leader and I have been doing long before the plan came into being.

My leader has always talked a lot about being ‘thankful’ or ‘grateful’ for things, and you see a lot of it even in her

Week 25 of the Gratitude Challenge from my journal
Week 25 of the Gratitude Challenge from my journal

personal social media posts. In the ‘smile’ booklet, there’s a page on gratitude and how it affects our outlook. Weird, eh? Because I do a lot of writing (fiction as well as blog posts), every year I take up a writing challenge. In December of 2014, I decided this year I was going to do “52 weeks of gratitude” – a challenge which gives you a weekly prompt on what to write about being thankful for. It’s been thought-provoking, and made me a much nicer, more tolerant person. And I’ve completed it. So what the ‘smile’ booklet wants me to do, I’ve already been doing for the last year. If you fancy taking the challenge yourself, just Google the phrase. I dare you. It doesn’t have to be a literary masterpiece, even bullet points once a week will do if you’re not the creative type.

I’m a firm believer in harnessing creativity and I think everyone has some, you just need to dig about to find it. One of the things the booklet mentions is inspiring that creativity through Pinterest – a virtual pinboard (I call it virtual hoarding) to collect ideas, concepts and stuff you like. Surprise, surprise, I’ve been using it for years. If you’d like to take a look at my Pinterest boards, you can find them here. I have over 12,000 pins on various subjects including running, writing, computer games and boxes (yes, you heard me). If you decide to use the site, you can find oodles of Weightwatchers-inspired boards with recipes, tips and giggles.

The other odd thing that really got to me about the ‘smile’ booklet was the ‘relaxation’ partIMG_1026 – Adult colouring has become quite popular again recently, and in the back of the booklet is an abstract rabbit for that purpose. I’m not much of a fan of colouring in, but a week before the plan was unveiled I drew the picture on the right-hand side in my journal. Creepy.

Although I am 100% weirded out, I know that I’m doing all the right things to keep myself on track, and doing the best I can to combat those dark days and my inevitable periods of lockdown. I’m just so, so glad that Weightwatchers have recognised this – I know I’m not alone on this one, and by writing this blog I wanted to share my experiences to help others if I can. Thank you Weightwatchers for making my private whispers loud enough for everyone to hear.