No Count Change Ahead

Well if you have ever read the book, Who Moved My Cheese, you will know that it sums up life quite well. To say I am upset at the removal of No Count from Weight Watchers plans is an understatement, but I felt more upset when they change Filling & Healthy plan to No Count. I have found No Count plan harder than F&H but have stuck with it.

After a meeting at Weight Watchers HQ with Helen Haythornwaite of Loving No Count website and my fellow admin Victoria from my Face Book group No Count Friends, along with WW HQ team Zoe and Greg, we were given the update of why they are making changes, it was explained to us all that WW have found that the new plan Flex is the most successful plan ever. I asked how do they know this is the most successful plan ever by WW? Zoe said that after two years clinical trials the data showed just how successful it was. We were assured those that are present members who would like to continue with NC will be supported by their coaches and those online members via online coaches. We were assured that new coaches coming through from training with WW were also trained with the knowledge of NC so they can support present members who want to continue with the NC approach. However our access to the the WW APP will no longer include the NC function for tracking.

My only worry is that F&H and NC I believe offer a balanced representative of food groups on the zero list more than Flex does. It is human nature to try and eek out the most of what you can from a weight loss plan, whether that is right or wrong, many people do this including myself. It is the use of zero list foods that have helped me be so creative with food ideas and using real foods in a non conventional way that has helped me lose my weight.

I believe as upset as I am because I faced the change from Filling & Healthy which for me was a huge deal, I feel better equipped emotionally to cope with yet another change – change happens all the time around us in all areas of our life, it is dealing with change and keeping positive that I believe makes us stronger. What is it about Weight Watchers that keeps me a member? Well as Jean Nidetch also noticed that it was more than just food and calories it was about social interaction and support. This is why I keep going back to WW the bond, belonging, friendship, people who understand what you are going through to try and lose weight. It is a unique friendship a circle of trust like no other, this is why I stick with Weight Watchers.

We can keep digging over the change, focus on why we are upset and disgruntled but where will that get us? As a global business WW have made a decision, the plans have changed many times over the years, they will continue to be tweaked and change I suspect, only we can choose to be positive and move on or it is out choice to leave or change.

No matter what change throws at me Weight Watchers Filling & Healthy also No Count have equipped me with tools and self belief that I can live a life without constant weighing of foods and eat foods that keep me satisfied and feeling that I am not actually on a diet at all. I plan to follow the No Counting approach as it has given me the life I dreamed of.

There are many quotes out there but this one sort of sums me up accurately.

“Compulsive eating is an emotional problem, and we use an emotional approach to its solution.” Jean Nidetch

Never going back !

December 2013 size 34

July 2018 size 14

4 Year Weight Watchers Anniversary

On 9th August 4 years ago I somehow walked through the Weight Watchers door for the last time. I had been a member several times in my life previously the first time was age 14/15, and I never wanted to be on another diet again in my life.   I had been trying to lose weight for a while as I had applied for bariatric surgery so needed to show I was able to lose weight. A few stone down one morning I thought I have to do more, what if I am not able to get the op? To cut a long story short, such was my success with Weight Watchers I turned down the option of bariatric surgery.  I was desperate for a life I dreamed of, my dreams were so simple really, to walk more than 15 steps without feeling I would collapse, sit in any style chair without fear of not fitting in it or more so breaking it!

The first 2/12 years I found very easy following Filling and Healthy plan, there was something in the plan that gave me the freedom to live normally and to re establish my emotional relationship with food, learn about portions and truly listen to my inner voice of what I want or what I need to eat. Getting back to basics with F&H was crucial I was following a weight loss plan that gave me freedom, responsibility and a feeling of creativity with the ingredients that I was able to choose freely from the Filling and Healthy food list. The majority of my weight was lost following Filling and Healthy plan, and using Pro Points for the weekly extra allowance for things that were not on the F&H food list gave me enough freedom to bake, baking my own puddings and sweet foods was a pivotal point in my self control, when I ate chocolate and shop bought treats in the past it always led to a binge, but by making my own sweet foods, puddings I was getting sweet tooth satisfaction yet the ingredients were filling, so was less likely to go back for more, which I always did with a chocolate bar.

The Weight Watchers plan changed again, it changed to No Count and Smart Points, there was little real change to the F&H food list however with the changes brought in with Smart Points this affected how many weekly points I had to use and also many of the things I baked with had doubled in points as the drive seemed to be for us to reduce our sugar intake. However I stuck with No Count but can honestly say due to my sweet tooth I found NC and SP much harder, my success seemed to be stalled due to the change. However over 3 1/2 years I lost 225 lbs and being part of my fantastic Weight Watchers group has been vital, my wonderful WW coach Helen who is by far the best coach I have ever met, she is personable, real and genuinely cares, she is a friend too she has been by my side through the last 4 years.

Last year I was so close to the goal that had been set, then I went on my first holiday abroad for many years, I had intended to be sensible anyhow when I got back I had gained 24lbs quite a shock! Since last June I have struggled to lose that weight, have felt upset about it for a while, and this negative emotion only made it harder, I always say to people draw a line, forget it and move on, yet although I was taking my own advice I feel I was just giving it lip service and not really practicing it. So here I am a year later, I guess with that year I have maintained, I am still a stone heavier than my lightest but thats ok, I am in a really good place at the moment because I choose to be.

The recent news that Weight Watchers are getting rid of No Count, phasing it out and not giving that option to new members I feel is very sad, I felt very frustrated about it because I know this sort of eating, re setting how you view food gave me my own personal freedom. I know for some people counting and structure is key, but for me who started my first diet when I was 9 years old, I could not cope with another diet ever again. Hence really embracing the F&H and NC lifestyles. Anyhow change happens, NC is going and I have to go forward, I am not leaving my Weight Watchers class, but I will continue the way I live, I have learned a lot from F&H and NC and can not see any better replacement, even if I tracked my points the food I eat is still F&H and NC, this is vital to me, basic foods as unprocessed as possible, means I eat better, feel fuller and less likely to go off the rails.

A little list below with for more than 3 years I adhered to so I could keep a clear mind, these red flags are brutal to me emotionally and would always end in binges and huge weight gains.  Along with abstaining from certain foods and alcohol I had to abstain from self hate, loathing, negativity, replace them with ‘I can’ , ‘ I am able’, ‘ I want to do this’. Weight Watchers will always look to improve and tweak their plans, for me the most important part of Weight Watchers is staying to class, the bond and support you have there is priceless, it will help me through any changes that may lay ahead.

Foods I had to abstain from:

  • alchohol
  • crisps
  • sweets/chocolate
  • take aways

I have taken the pressure off myself to get to the goal set for me, I am so grateful for every day of my journey over the last 4 years, change happens and I made it happen to me!

Self love, take a day at a time, don’t dwell on negative things, focus on the now and what you can do to make things better this very moment.

Never going back!

“You are what you believe you are”

Post Holiday Update

Just over a week ago I arrived back after a holiday with my Mom and Step Dad, my Pops I call him. Two weeks in  Calis Beach Turkey, now before I even packed my case I had decided this was going to be a healthy holiday, no alcohol, or ice creams or cakes or any rubbish, I had not even lost the weight I had gained last holiday some 24 lbs, that was a lesson learned, which is why I have not repeated it this year. Since that large gain last June I have struggled to get a grip, have had lots of ups and downs, but somehow have been losing the same 14 lbs in the last year. Every line drawn was a win, every effort made to pull it back was a triumph, I have come to accept it will always be this way for me and I am ok with that.

so holiday in Turkey with my parents was truly memory making, I ate large healthy breakfasts consisting of lots of fruit, eggs, sometimes wholemeal toast no butter or jam. Milk was hard to control as had no idea what it was, but I was not going without my morning coffee!! We spent leisurely days around the pool or should I say in the pool as it was so very hot, at times quite hard to deal with, hence I became a water baby for two weeks, playing ball with my Mom in the pool brought back childhood memories and my Pops got in the water first time in 30 years as a non swimmer I was very proud of him. I tackled getting onto an air bed, it was like a scene from a movie, Lisa Tames The Raging Inflatable Alligator, such joy I had spending quite some time determined to get on it without help and I did.  It was amazing to be able to pick fresh figs from the tree next to the pool, maybe that is where my weight gain came from ?  Other eventful moments were have a Turkish bath and a body massage, things I would have never have done at my biggest. Wearing pretty dresses and heels, feeling comfortable in my own body and very happy to have my flabby legs and arms on display, they are part of my story of who I am.

During the day it was too hot to eat, so while everyone else tucked into ice cream my treat was a cold glass bottle of diet coke, never once did I feel left out, my joy was sitting in the middle of the pool on the ledge sunning myself, being able to lift myself up onto the ledge and feeling comfortable for the world to see me, was worth more than any ice cream. Evening meals were taken at an array of restaurants, the one thing about eating in Turkey is you can eat traditional food or very easily choose to eat the basics which is what I did, chicken, steak, fish, salad and jacket potatoes, fruit salads on occasion a little home made bread, it was so hard to resist! Drinks at the table were ice cold bottled soda water which I would sometimes flavour with my own squash drops I took with me or diet coke and I was so drunk on life I was content.

When I weighed in post holiday I was pretty shocked to have gained weight, I felt smaller but who knows, my body has proven over the last 4 years it has a mind of its own when concerning the scales, none the less I have taken it in my stride and continued to eat on plan and healthy, most of all I have a healthy mind set at the moment, which I feel is key to making good choices, being positive even with set backs is my own little miracle.

Much of the holiday I saw many street dogs and just wanted to take them all home, just loved Bandit and Teddy so much, was hard to leave them behind, there is a great team in Calis Beach that runs a care fund raising group which supports the street dogs, such wonderful group of people, if you are interested you can find out more here.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1683660251711612/

Soon I am going on holiday with my husband for two weeks – I plan to live much the same on that holiday, but may let myself have the odd ice cream, we shall see, the one thing I am sure of is that one can never say never, thats the biggest mistake I used to make, because when I broke that promise to myself I hated myself so much and would go off the rails! So patience and persistence and self love is all you need to make changes in life, that is what I try and do daily.

 

 

Keep smiling and just take a day at a time

The Hunger Question

So if like me you often find yourself feeling hungry and worry the food I have prepared is enough you may relate to some of my thoughts.

There are so many reasons why I eat :

joy

sadness

bordom

stress

social

lonely

self harm

I can add a whole long list defining them into finer categories, but I am sure you can add your own.

When I first started to lose weight some 4 years ago I did have some help via my local hospital and their psychologist, he opened my mind to a few things which was a springboard into releasing negative thoughts and to be able to be honest about what state my hunger truly is. The hardest part of this is to be truthful to myself – sometimes I just do not want to listen and charge forwards in self destruct mode.

The Hunger Scale:

This was something I had never heard of, basically it is a practice than did become second nature to me, just tuning into myself and assessing where I am on my own hunger scale, zero – starving, 10 is full to being sick. It did take a while to get into the swing of answering myself honestly and acting on that self estimation, then making a decision. Whether I ate or not no matter where I assessed my hunger, at least I was doing it mindfully!

Some of my issues of eating and continue to eat is because it is so nice I just want more, so greed? Addiction, salt or sugar? Alcohol? Some things I just can not seem to control is small amounts. By finding substitutes for these triggers has been pivotal part of my weight loss journey. Such as baking puddings rather than eating shop bought chocolate and treats.  I am not saying I always get it right, far from it, hence this post, the thing is I had been complacent and stopped using my tricks that helped me.

After eating if I had a cup of tea I never went back for seconds! My fave drink after evening meal is camomile and honey tea, I know that once I have had this drink it leaves my mind and pallet satisfied. Also washing up straight after dinner helps, because I am busy and less likely to let my thoughts wonder back to going in for a second pudding!

All we can do is know ourselves, no one else knows you like you – so give it some real thought what makes you tick, what makes you feel satisfied? For me every time hot food makes me feel fuller longer, also spicy food especially chilli and garlic, these flavours linger and stop my cravings even after I have finished my food.

There are always time I have ‘a fancy’ I sit and deny it but the though nags at me – it is ok to distract yourself or make the choice to go with the craving, but do it honestly.

One of the most important things I have found is to acknowledge I like to feel full, I hate feel hungry, I realise I have emotional connection with eating, I go through every emotion of life with food. I would say at my age now of 54 I am the most happy than I have ever been, I am older, joints ache, I have lots of excess skin, yet I am happy in my own skin and content with who I am. I do believe I stopped chasing the unrealistic expectation of being the perfect me, or comparing myself and criticising my own standing in life and achievements. So much energy is wasted in this way, I believe we can channel it into positive thoughts, it is not easy to think fondly of yourself and self respect when you have spent years hating oneself, but like anything change takes time and practice.

My top foods that I find filling:

protein

oats/oat bran

vegetables

fat free yogurt

whole meal bread also crumpets

water

herbal tea

skinny coffee

spices

When you make a diary or keep track of your menu, do take note of which foods you found most filling and satisfying, this may help you adapt your menu to make the week easier.

Remember always be kind to yourself and give yourself space to grow and take the steps you desire to live the life you dream of – if you are in an impossibly low mood, try out a mood shifter. A song, call a friend, have a good cry at a soppy film, helps the tears get out. We all have that one song that lifts up, one of mine is David Grey, Babylon.

 

 

Fresh Air – lets talk the other side of weight loss success

Wow it has been a while since my air smelt fresh and hopeful and truly positive, what an amazing feeling to fall asleep to last night and wake up to again this morning.

So here I am with a clear mind after a succession of binges, I thought I had cracked my old habits and changed my life forever with Filling & Healthy, I saw some foods as poison, I envisaged the power of eating healthy and knew it was healing me like a medicine. Abstained from triggers which I knew would always trip me up. I had for once understood me and what I was capable of and could make myself stronger and powerful in my own truth, some 16 stone later with Weight Watchers I found myself living a life I could only of ever dreamed of.  In the beginning all I wanted was to be able to care for myself and be mobile, fitting into size 12 was not part of that end vision, my dream to save my own life. Yet I did achieve that, size 12, I can barely believe that number even though I know it is fact.

So when did the binges return? When did I become complacent? What happened to knowing my own truth? Did my own truth change? The binges never went away, I had replaced with healthier options of foods, whole tubs of fat free yogurt, punnet of grapes, I was still and still am a binger. The complacency crept upon me, I knew it was there but thought I could handle it, it will be ok tomorrow! Sound familiar? My inner truth has never changed, I just turned down the volume and chose to not listen.

I guess like any abuser, in my case it is food, the emotional reasons will always be there, also the habit of turning to that comfort will always be there, the answer is in mindfulness, not feeling guilt and acknowledging these things that are my make up. It is ok to be who I am and have frailty, it is not ok for me to give up on myself. Even during my binge days I knew I would get back to it, but in those moments that is what I had numbly chose to do.

How do I turn up my inner voice, how do I listen more to that voice than the negative words that can over power my positivity?  It is not easy, but by keep being persistent and breaking down into very small goals I was able to clear a pathway from the fogy path of the binge eater. It goes back to realising my triggers, which are for me as below:

stress

parties

holidays

change of routine

The outcome is consumption of alcohol which leads to eating snacks and rubbish processed foods, which leads to more alcohol and so the cycle begins, next day I get up thinking I will forget yesterday, start again, some times the line I draw the following day I am able to cope other days I may last an hour before the next binge.

So how did I lose so much weight to begin with? By accepting my triggers I knew to save my own life I had to abstain from certain situations and foods, which I did for 3 years. I found by abstaining I was able to remove temptation to a large degree, also I wanted so much to be mobile, so the reason to lose weight was so great much greater than wanting to eat cake, crisps and drink wine!

Is abstaining an option for life? As I have become more socialble, engaging in social situations, enjoying holidays, enjoying dressing up to go out, I felt I could take my own foods with me on many occasions and only drink diet coke, but the past year had seen me believe I can control these triggers on occasional basis, sometimes I did other times I could not.  Which has led to weight gain, I am enjoying a healthy and positive focus on life at the moment binge free – but do I want to go the rest of my life abstaining from my triggers?

I can’t imagine never enjoying a meal out and have a glass of wine, or a cream tea on holiday, or the odd fish and chip treat. But how do I control these treats? How do I stop the binge happening, because once I taste these foods I want more, more and more.

This is for life, which I have known for a long time and have accepted it, but truthfully when in a binge phase it certainly feels terrible because I have lost so much weight I felt ashamed to still be a binger as I had so much knowledge and expertise. Yet I am still fragile.

I will keep going one meal at a time, one day, invest in positive mind building and self esteem.

So many weight loss stories are about success then and now, but what happens when the successful weight loss turns out to be hard to maintain, what happens when you never get to goal? It is time to talk about the other side of weight loss, the person like me who has lost much weight and re gained some of it. Lost control, the weight loss journey is not just about losing weight, it is about facing the struggles, the times when it does not work because we do not use the plan we follow because of emotional distress or our lives being out of routine.

The Lisa below is the Lisa I enjoy being, this is the body and positive mind that is a joy to live with, I will never quit!

 

  • Top tip! Forget the scales, focus on mental well being, on eating well, one meal at a time, if you go to Weight Watchers like I do, go to class, even after a binge, perhaps don’t weigh in, but go, during these tough times is when we need support the most, this is then not about losing weight, it is about building yourself up emotionally in a positive way, with people who understand and care.

 

“I am a binge eater, I suffer with depression, I am not perfect, I am broken and fragile, I am open and honest, a woman who struggles and cares, I will never stop trying to live the life I dream of”

Never Ending Journey

Recently I have found myself being able to admit to myself and out loud to others that I have been having problems with binge eating, which usually happens on a weekend after a couple of drinks, then that leads onto feeling hungry, eating snacks, then another drink, then crazy tipsy cooking when I get home! Then the old homage to “I will start again on Monday’ I am sure many of you know that feeling?

Well I would say I am approx 21 lbs up on my happy place. I feel as though this last year and a half I have been living hanging onto the tail of a huge storm, holding tight and being whipped around not being able to breath, then catch my breath, then the swirling around out of emotional control which felt physical too, I was in the eye of my storm trying to  hold on, yet around and around in cycles I went.  The fighter in me kept believing I could sort this, yet I kept having great weeks in control then a few weeks out of control with the binging.

It has taken me a while, I stepped back from social media a little and just tried to focus on the why? Why do I want this? Today I was shopping and at the shopping centre I saw a very large man, tummy hanging to the floor passed his knees, hardly holding himself up and I recognised that figure, I wanted to cry and go and talk to him, but how could I? I listened to no one when I was in a similar physical position. This made me aware of many people around me today, looking on and so many people are over weight, and struggling to walk, it filled me with great sadness as I remember my own physical discomfort – I am not saying those people felt like me at all, they may be happy with their life. I was not and all I wanted was to be mobile, really mobile to enjoy life. So this really brought it home to me today, to remember why I want to eat healthier and control my eating and weight. My why is – I want to remain mobile.

So today is day 4 back in control of my eating, I have not gone hungry at all, I have made the most of vegetables, fruit and protein, made some kind of pudding that satisfies my sweet tooth, I dug deep and just focused on one day at a time, like I used to. This method has worked really well for me, so I decided to focus on just one day, getting to bed with that day in the bag and not worry about tomorrow.

As to planning, I buy a good stock of food in my cupboards, fridge and freezer that allow me to plan as I fancy, so it is a sort of lose planning, this has always worked for me. So I plan to continue to shop wisely, I am going on holiday in a caravan soon, I plan to take my own foods with me and make oat bran or oat cakes for treats while away. The biggest challenge really is not to have a beer or glass of wine, which I enjoy the taste of, I am trying to remind myself why I did not drink for 3 years – because I knew it was a trigger for me to go off the rails with eating, I do not want to be in the position for the rest of my life that I can not have a glass of wine or beer, but for now whilst I am recovering from binging I need to set it aside.

I am also reading positive quotes daily and listening to uplifting music, looking for new music. Planning a few dreams, I often dream of owning a coffee shop thats dog friendly, by the coast or river. I used to have a set of drums and enjoyed trying to learn to play them, I dream of starting that again too! I dream of a home near the ocean where I can hear the sea, I dream of my grand children coming to stay and we play and walk on the beach with Beau my dog running beside us. Dreaming is good it helps me feel positive and aim, find a way to make those dreams a reality. I am capable I made my dream of being mobile a reality now didn’t I?

Never going back  to this!

With the love of my husband, my family, my dog Beau and my friends at Weight Watchers I turned my life into one of hope and removed the word despair. Life is for living and appreciating the now and those in it, do not look back with regret it will rob you of hope and dreams of tomorrow. Love yourself and those around you

 

Thank you to my husband the love of my life

It’s not always a clear open road

So many weight loss success stories focus on the before and after, whilst I have turned my own life around by losing a significant amount of weight, I have yet to get to ‘goal’ as dictated by BMI, Weight Watchers guidelines, or even in my case as agreed by my Dr.

It is quite strange as I type my WW coach just called me to see how I am, Helen is a friend more than a coach and WW are very lucky to have such a genuine woman heading up her class in Swindon. She has just helped me realise a few things and that I am beating myself up for no good reason. She asked me to write a list of the positive things I have achieved since losing weight. I will do this at the end of my blog post. Which after a positive talk from Helen, has somewhat taken a more upbeat wording.

Back to my first paragraph, I have been feeling the last year a bit of a failure as I have not managed to get to goal, not managed to get to that perfect number! I guess one of my own personal problems is that I often see things in a very black and white perspective and this can lead to self criticism, it leads to self disappointment and feelings that I can and should do better.

Taking a step back can be quite tricky at times of self criticism, sometimes must putting your feelings down into words or talk to a friend or loved one, does really help put some clarity and more than that reasoning.

Weight loss journey for me is more than just losing weight, it has been about self belief, self love, patience, understanding, compassion, building vision of an outcome, a life that would be an ideal. However along the way it is so vital to keep focus on the steps you are taking now, enjoy the life of today, build a happier life by believing in oneself and add as much joy into it as you can. Simple things, the small things in a day can be overlooked. I try to live a mindful life, I guess writing my feelings down as I am now, is living mindfully. These words flow from my thoughts they are not orchestrated, they area as if I was talking to you in the same room.

Regaining focus, how shall I do that today? There is no end to self development, there is a technical goal post win when you get to your weight loss goal, but it is not over, it never will be. Today I will show myself some compassion and set a realistic vision of who I am and what I have achieved, there is no need to reach a perfection that I consider I should achieve. I have achieved my own goal, I am happy and mobile, also yes I have shown self compassion, even when I do not think I have, I practice it daily, because I keep trying to move onwards and evolve who I am.

Today I also aim to try and re focus on why I wanted to lose weight. Keep the big picture too

  1. To be mobile
  2. Independant
  3. self care, no longer a burden
  4. Be a better wife, parent, friend
  5. Travel
  6. Feel alive

Below 10 things I have achieved:

  1. Mobility
  2. Be a better grandmother and parent due to being mobile
  3. Travelled, plane, hot air ballon, bike, boat, bus, train
  4. Positive minded
  5. Helped other people
  6. Buy clothes from any almost any shop
  7. Creative with cookery
  8. Sit in any chair
  9. Had a massage, make over
  10. Able to dream and plan a future

No matter where you are on your journey of self development, just keep going, one step after another, some steps will feel light and effortless, others like walking through sludge, just keep moving!

Lisa x

 

 

Compare and Despair

Compare and despair.  Sound familiar?

Having spent many years going around in circles of needing to feel worthy next to the next person. Why was my self esteem so very low? Trying to understand all of my past experiences and self berating and belittling, self hate and feelings of failure, seems these days somewhat futile energy. However it is something that needs to be shared and accepted by myself too.

I do have memories of childhood where I had some family members often saying’ she is so clumsy, she can’t walk down the road without falling over, don’t let Lisa do it she will break it. It must have been said often as it is something I remember with hurt.  It just goes to show we must always be positive with children, well everyone in our lives! It was never my parents, my parents always thought I was the bees knees, it was wider family really who looked down on me, well that is how it felt. Perhaps I wanted to have approval, that is why those comments as a child hurt and stuck with me?

As a child I carried lots of stress baggage and took those coping mechanisms into adult hood – i.e. emotional eating!  It also led me to think I had to be perfect in everything I do and if I did not achieve perfection, even in the simplest of tasks I felt I had failed, I was useless, compared to other people, other family members, other friends and neighbours.

Here I am at 54 years of age and for the first time in my life I feel I am getting to grips with this feeling, well in fact it was some 4 years ago really, when I met a physiologist who helped me to move on, not from the memories, but from how I felt about me. His help was invaluable. I explained to him how I felt about myself, in detail, I cried, I poured my heart out, he sat and listened and when my ramblings subsided and tears and sobs turned into soft sniffs and gentle tears, he started to speak. His words so mind altering. He said to me, ‘Lisa how would you feel listening to someone who had just said all those things to you about themselves?’ ‘Would you feel badly about them and think yes they are useless and ugly?’ ‘Would you join in a add to the hurt?’ I can remember looking at him and said ‘ no of course not, I would naturally want to hug them, console them, help them see the beauty and positive in who sat before me’ I rambled on some more about what and how I would try and help them. He then said something to me that helped me, to help me! ‘Well then Lisa, if you can show that kindness to others, why can you not show the same compassion to yourself?’ Wow for me that was a revelation!

He helped me put those negative words into the sky and let them float away, sounds a little silly, but it was not, it helped so much, acknowledge the thoughts, appreciate they do not define us or how we live or want to live and just let them float away.

Still today the feeling of not being quite as good as piers around me rears its head, it takes skill of knowing myself well to quieten it and let it go, the sky above is littered with many feelings I let free. Comparing ourselves to others is ridiculous yet for many of us natural to look at the person next to you and think they are better, look better, achieve more, nicer, kinder, cleverer, successful, lucky, all round amazing person, yet in fact those people may look at you standing beside them in just the same way – humans are so funny!

Don’t let comparison be the theif of your own happiness!

Until the next time

Lisa x

Goal Setting

A couple of days this week I have helped out a friend who is a dog professional dog walker, it really is quite amazing how far my physical capabilities have progressed, today I walked down very steep muddy banks, climbed back up them, felt the wind in my face and loved the mud on my jeans, I felt so alive in the elements! Just 3 1/2 years ago I struggled to stand and wash dishes, here I am today taking new things in my stride – it is thrilling! Beyond my original hopes and desires for the life I wanted for myself.

In the beginning I just wanted to feel well and not feel like I was fading away, which is how I felt. How did I face this huge mountain ahead of me?

Well it was not by looking in the distance at that mountain! It was looking at one step alone before the next, dug deep and just focused on each and every little effort I made, the goals were so small and realistic in the beginning, I mean I knew I had to change portions and food types – so I devised to focus on just one meal at a time, get to bed time, feel great I had got those 3 goals in the bag, fall asleep with hope and woke the next day with positive mind and belief I could attempt the one meal a day strategy the next day. I would fall asleep visualising my success the next morning, I started to build a blind belief that this would work.  Meal by meal, day by day, those days turned into weeks, then turned into months, then into years…. no matter what you are facing, break those things into small goals, those steps one by one will get you to where you want to be – no matter how slow or fast they may be.

Set realistic goals, small bite size ones and don’t overwhelm yourself with too high expectations of oneself, hold tight to the thought we do not need to be perfect just persistent in our efforts.

Lisa x

The Golden Penny

The golden penny? What is that then?

There were a few occasions I saw the golden penny on the floor and I chose to walk on by.

When the moment of reality hits home a clear reason that tempts you to get started to change, it is more at that moment a desire to change ones life, not so much I want to lose weight! It is an overwhelming feeling of a need to feel well, a need to not live in the dark any longer.

During my journey I have had beautiful friends that had fought to live whilst fighting cancer, these ladies inspired me beyond measure, but my own self critic hated me, loathed me, I was weak, I was nothing in comparision to my amazing friends. This could have been a moment I could looked to those ladies and used the inspiration I saw in them to lift my own journey. This did not happen that inner critic took me deeper into depression, yes I attempted change but my emotional eating was so engrained I could not believe in myself to overcome the situation I was in. The light dimmed on those golden pennies, I heard the drop but I did not pick them up.

In July 2011 I attempted to cover a music festival in Stevenage, Sonnisphere, it was a huge struggle, day one meant I just covered one stage which meant a short walk from the press arena, some times it was hard to even hold my camera, my hand would shake as it was heavy with the long lens on it. But the photography side of my life is another post to talk about later. At this festival on the second day I arrived and walking back stage to the press arena, I felt really unwell, so odd, I felt sick, dizzy, not the heart holding heart attack we often envisage, I did not have in particular severe pain, but I just knew I had to stop walking, I knew something was really wrong. The upshot was I was taken to hospital, a blood test revealed I had had a heart attack, they carried out an angioplasty the following day, whilst in theatre, they discovered I had a severe blockage of LAD artery some 90 odd percent quite dangerous! They carried out a stent procedure there and then. After a few days in hospital I vowed to get healthy and was thankful for the team treating me. This mindset did not last long as depression moved in a few weeks later. The dreaded D word seems to play a huge roll in my developing life. So a golden opportunity to turn my life around was once again left on the roadside and that golden penny was lost.

When my father in law was terminally ill with cancer we visited him and I can remember walking to his room and it really hurt, I was in so much physical distress, but I had to do this. Sadly my father in law passed away such a sudden and fast moving cancer none of us had time to take it all in. The day of his funeral well perhaps that was his parting gift to me, the final golden penny I would eventually pick up! I can remember walking well hobbling to the crematorium from the car, I was struggling to stand at this point I was well over 30stone approx 32 stone.  Walking into the crematorium for his service I was the almost the last one through the door, I can remember feeling embarrassed, scared, upset for this day of my father in laws funeral, the pain on my husbands face as we saw his coffin stand before us all. The service seemed to go on for ever, it was as though time stood still, I stood somehow to try and sing and robotically do what people do at such affairs. Then my husband, children and myself took our turn to go to his coffin and lay roses on it, as we stood there, I felt this tremendous moment of clarity, the final golden penny, I saw it and picked it up, this was the moment I knew I could change and wanted to change. I did not want to die of my own hand prematurely from over eating, I could do this, it was a few weeks later that I walked into my Doctors begging for help….

Lisa x