Monday, 26 March 2018

2018 Health Mission - Week 2

This week has definitely been a week of two halves - weekdays when I have been really good and made positive, healthy choices, and then the weekend when I completely self sabotaged and went back to my previous poor habits. It has highlighted to me some of my triggers around emotional eating , like when I ate nearly a whole packet of chocolate chips out of my baking cupboard after a fairly minor argument with The Man... and to take some positives from the negatives it has helped me to focus on the areas I need to put the most effort in to changing. I am going to swap my weigh and measure day to Friday as I think a good result may motivate me to remain positive through the weekend. 

Things That Went Well
  • During the week I limited my snacks to only one a day at around 3pm.
  • I also managed to stop eating by 8pm every weekday night.
  • I read a lot of information on the Action On Sugar website which has motivated me to reduce my own, and my children's sugar intake.
Things To Improve On
  • I still weighed myself nearly everyday, and most nights too.
  • All my good work went out the window at the weekend.
  • I only need a small emotional upset for me to start snacking. 
Weight Lost : 
Week: 2lb
Total: 2lb

Goals For This Week
  • Only weigh myself on Friday morning.
  • Read about emotional eating and techniques to combat it.
  • Aim to get out for a walk everyday.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

2018 Health Mission - Week 1.

I really struggled with the title for this post - I am once again putting my energy and focus into reducing my weight, but I am really trying to do it differently this time. I want to avoid the negative cycles which I have got stuck in throughout my life (I started dieting when I was around 10, after being told I was fat at 5 years old). I want to avoid the word 'diet' as it puts me in to a specific mindset and immediately I feel deprived and restricted. So, I am going to set myself achievable goals to improve my nutritional intake and fitness levels with the overall aim to lose 9 stone.

I am classed as morbidly obese, although thankfully this has not impacted on my health -yet - I am very aware that I am getting older and the risks of being as heavy as I am are increasing. My eldest son starts school in September and I am acutely aware of how embarrassing I will be for him in my current state!  But, I need to move away from the negative commentary in my head as I believe that if I can feel like I deserve to treat myself well it will lead to a huge improvement in my motivation to lose weight for the long term.

So, this weeks goals are to:

1. Decrease the amount of snacks I consume between meals. I particularly love sweet snacks - biscuits, chocolate, cake...and will happily graze on them all day; so by trying to only have one snack a day I will greatly reduce my overall calorie intake but also by refined sugar consumption.

2. Not eat after my evening meal. I have got into the habit of eating a pudding, or picking at snack food after the kids are in bed. I will try to stop eating by 8pm, unless it is a special occasion. This hopefully simple step will also greatly reduce the calories and refined sugar I consume.

3. Make an effort to educate myself about a topic related to nutrition/weight loss. I figure that this will help to motivate me to stick to my goals by increasing my knowledge about good nutrition.

4. Not weigh myself everyday! This is a bad habit I have slipped into and can set me up for a bad day before I've even brushed my teeth. Monday will be weigh day, and I will use a tape measure to record reductions in inches as well.

I plan to do one post a week related to my 'Health Mission', so I will be back for an update next week - send positive thoughts my way please!!

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Center Parcs Review.

In January we went to Center Parcs Longleat for a midweek holiday. I have been many times before when I was a child and we went as a family about 3 years ago so I have many good memories of Center Parcs, but also high expectations. I was not disappointed! Check in was smooth and fast,  accommodation was clean and comfortable, and the staff were all lovely and clearly loved their jobs - we did not meet any member of staff that was anything but happy, helpful and efficient.


We were allocated one of the newly renovated villas in the 'Fir' area of the village. As we went with friends we had a 3 bedroom villa, the living area was open plan and it was spacious yet felt cosy at the same time. The open fire, which definitely upped the cosy factor,  was well used as we went in January, but the villa was lovely and warm with the central heating alone. Between the two families we had 4 children, including a baby each, which meant we had A LOT of stuff - 2 prams, 2 cots, toys, changing bags, car seats, baby carriers... but they was more than enough storage space in the bedrooms and in the entrance porch, we never felt cramped. My only issues were that we were a long way from the main plaza, but the land train stops were near by and it runs regularly all day so it wasn't as much of a problem as I expected. Also, they are rather stingy with what is provided in the villa - there was only one loo roll in each bathroom and 2 bin bags, so next time we will be more prepared and take more with us. But the villa was spotless, the blackboard was a big hit with the older children and the beds were comfy, so overall we were very happy with the accommodation.


 With two 4 year olds to entertain we sampled quite a few of the activities! The swimming pool was the most popular by far, we were there at least once a day, but often twice. They have recently upgraded the pool to include two new water rides and some impressive children's areas which the older boys and the babies both enjoyed. Casper is a very confident swimmer so was absolutely in his element, he especially loved the waves which start every half an hour after what is supposed to be a Tarzan call, but sounds a lot like a call to prayer! The water slides were also a big hit, although he was only tall enough for two of them, and the ones in the children's pool, there was so much to do that he didn't have time to get bored. We also took him to use the mini jet skis one morning, it was very early which was difficult to herd the children too, but Casper loved it and talked about it for ages after. The staff at the pool were all great, really enthusiastic and interactive with the children but you also felt they were safety focused and were monitoring all areas well.

At the Jardin de Sport we did archery and used the maze. The archery was well organised and very age appropriate, again the staff were wonderful and kept everyone safe, but also entertained. The maze was a new addition which was free to use and well received by Casper and his friend. It is great for kids because it has been built so the walls are low enough so you can see them at all times, Centre Parcs have obviously put a lot of thought in to making it a useful, fun and functional activity. There was a very wide range of activities here, definitely something for everyone; the facilities looked modern and well looked after and the pricing was very reasonable.

We hired bikes for the duration of our stay, well the Dads did as the babies were too small for any of the trailers so I opted to walk instead of bike to make things easier. The older boys were also at a strange age which was kind of in between the different options for kids that aren't riding independently yet - too big for trailers, too small for the bike that clips to the back of the parent bike, so we decided to use bike seats instead, which I hear was fun when going up the fairly impressive hills with a solid 4 year old as well! The helmet which was hired for our friend's little boy wasn't the best quality so I would advise taking your own if possible. The bikes themselves were well maintained and easy to use. If you are looking for ways to keep costs down I would definitely suggest taking your own bikes as it can be quite pricey for the whole family to hire them for the week, but is so much more convenient if you are happy to budget that in to your plans.


One of the biggest added expenses at Centre Parcs is eating out or using the supermarket, but the villas are well equipped for you to cook there as long as you are organised and take all food with you; it is possible to keep costs down and have a really good value family holiday but also, if you are happy to spend the pennies there are plenty of options for eating out as well. We decided to cook for two nights and eat out for the other two, our favourite restaurant was the classic Pancake House, the kids loved it, the menu was varied, good value, and filling, and the staff were great, it really felt like a personalised service. We also ate at the American themed restaurant, Hucks, and a burger bar type diner called Dexter's Kitchen and the Sports Cafe, all had good menu choices but were on the expensive side. The food was always tasty, and the kids had good choices too. The supermarket was well stocked, but more pricey than your average supermarket, more convenience store prices, not ridiculously excessive but you could definitely save money by bringing as much with you as you can fit in the car! There is lots of options for getting food and drink in all the main areas of the village, including bars, Starbucks and sweet shops. Most of the restaurants are chain brands, so not the most exciting choices for 'foodies' but definitely enough to keep all the family happy for the week.


We had a great time and will be looking to book again next year, I will probably be less tight and pay a bit extra to be more central though! We could not fault the cleanliness or maintenance of any of the facilities but the best thing about the village was the staff, as I have said repeatedly, they were all fantastic, you could tell that they all enjoyed their jobs and it showed in the standard of their work - the domestic staff, the lifeguards, the check-in people, the waiters... they were all enthusiastic and helpful! I have highlighted a few ways to keep costs down if you are on a budget so it really is up to you how much or little you want to spend, the initial booking is good value, as long as you can go in term time. There are plenty of ways to splash the cash if you are looking for a bit of luxury, but also you can have a great time without breaking the bank.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

A Good Birth Story #2!

So, lets start at the beginning... I think it is important to document positive birth stories. When you are pregnant you are bombarded by horror stories; from well meaning family, friends, complete strangers etc. as well as on social media and the numerous parenting forums. As a person who is classed as high risk due to a raised BMI there is also the added pressure and guilt of the extra risks you are putting on you and your baby. Before my first son was born I was convinced that I was too fat to have a good birth, I was definitely going to have my own horror story to tell. But if you would like to revisit my previous post 'A Good Birth Story!' you will see that I had an almost textbook labour and birth, with only gas and air, which lasted around 8 hours.

Anyway, I again headed towards my due date drowning in horror stories and guilt; although maybe with a little more faith that I could have an easy labour - if conditions were favourable. Baby was due on 9th September, I had my final consultant review on the 7th. I saw a very thorough and efficient Middle Grade who surprised me with the offer of a sweep that very day. I was slightly horrified as I had not prepared the old vag for public display, I didn't even have a wet wipe with me!! I did however have a wild 3 year old and no responsible adult! So, Casper sat by my head, held my hand and asked appropriate questions ("Where are your pants Mummy?"), the news was good though, my cervix was looking "...very favourable...". Thank goodness for nursing keeping me on my feet and working that cervix hard!

That evening and night I thought I was having stronger Braxton Hicks that normal, but essentially ignored them. They did, however, become stronger and more regular, and at around 2am I got up for a wee and the lovely mucous plug evacuated the building, swiftly followed by some spurts of amniotic fluid. Contractions were still very mild and irregular so I attempted to sleep until I couldn't ignore them, at around 4am I rang the labour ward to inform them about the events of the night and warn them of my previous quick labour. They advised to come in when contractions were regularly 5 mins apart - the usual advice. At 6am I decided we should start to make a move to avoid the morning traffic so I woke the Man, rang my mother to come to sit with Casper.

On arrival at the hospital labour had slowed right down so I felt like a fraud, but they hooked me up to their contraction monitor, took some swabs to check if my waters had really broken (they had!!), established that I was only 3cm dilated,  and brought in every passing doctor they could find - the night doc, the day doc, the consultant and his herd of juniors and a lovely anaesthetist who I used to work with. I had a lovely, and very thorough midwife who was concerned about some mild deceleration of the babies heartbeat around my contraction. No one else was concerned, and it turned out not to be an issue but the consultant wanted me kept on the monitor just in case. This was rather fortuitous because they had been muttering about sending me home, I advised against this due to the speed of arrival of Baby #1. Jokes were made that maybe Baby would be here before the lunch trolley...

At about 10am I asked to be allowed to walk around to try and get things moving. I was granted one hour off the machine as baby seemed to be behaving! So I paced, rocked, lunged and moaned my way through stronger contractions until I had to get back on the bed so I could use the gas and air - it makes me feel like I will fall over so I voluntarily got back on the bed. At 11am the midwife returned and looked pleased that I now appeared to be in active labour she hooked me back up the monitor and suggested another to internal exam to assess how dilated I was. She went to get a senior midwife to assist and to look at the monitor as a fresh pair of eyes (standard practice in midwifery I gather), when she returned at 11.30, she gasped and exclaimed "You're going to have a baby!". I was under the impression that that was what I was there for, so wasn't too shocked. Various trolleys were brought in and a very useless cannula was inserted, and promptly fell out again. The instruction to "...push when I felt I needed to..." was called and I pushed as I had been trying not to for a while due to being on my own! 

At 11.45 (just before lunch at 12!) beautiful Baby Felix was born weighing a healthy 8lb 8.5oz (thank goodness he wasn't late), with everyone looking a bit shocked. I can not describe that feeling when you do that final push and the baby slides out, the relief is like nothing on earth, I'm sure it's why some people get addicted to having babies! And with that, the world's hungriest baby was placed on my chest already sucking his hand to tell me how starving he was, unlike his brother who had to be woken for his first feed. We managed to 'wait for white' (delayed cord clamping) to allow the blood in the cord to flow back into the babies circulation before I had the syntocinon injection to deliver the placenta. Due to my raised BMI and a previous very minor post-partum haemorrhage I was worried they would say I was too high risk to delay getting the placenta out, but both the midwives were really positive and enabled us to see how it went - obviously I had said that if it looked like there was issues then just do what ever needed to be done. I fed Felix while an efficient but obviously non-vagina owning doctor stitched me up, and we waited for our first visitors - Nanny (my Mum) and a very proud Casper!

Compared to my first labour I felt much more in control, and
the pushing stage wasn't such a rush - Casper flew out AT SPEED! Because I got to the hospital earlier I was able to communicate my wishes much better, and the journey in was much more pleasant. It just seemed like the second birth wasn't such a shock to the system; I was up at about by the time Mum arrived (much to her surprise) and we were discharged that evening with feeding already well established. Both labours were a similar length, and I used the same pain relief, but the second one seemed much more gentle and I felt more present and involved in the whole process. Bring on #3 hey??!

Monday, 4 September 2017

Blog Motivation!

I have just noticed that it has been a year since I last wrote a blog post - how blooming awful of me! I do have a tendency to start things and not follow them through, please refer to my thousands of failed diets, countless money making schemes and my son's baby book. But I want to keep this blog alive and so have decided to restart it at a point in my life when I have some big changes happening.

The first and biggest is that I am currently on maternity leave, awaiting (not very patiently) the arrival of our second child. I will use this to inspire posts related to the challenges of increasing our family size and the changing dynamics of becoming a 2 child family - I don't think Casper has any idea of the impact that Hurricane Baby will cause!

Secondly, I have just turned 30. It doesn't seem so bad when I say it quickly! This has made me feel more motivated than ever to sort my life out in regards to my weight. I can not waste another 15 years feeling miserable about my body. I am going to avoid 'dieting' - it is a vicious cycle which inevitably leads to failure for me. I will be focusing on healthy eating, and living a moderate life style. I plan to purchase a fitness tracker with my birthday money and will aim to get moving everyday once the baby is here. I do not expect this to be a quick process, but I will be using the public forum of this blog to document my progress and motivate me to keep going.

Thirdly, I want to make a dent in our household debt with the aim to make us a mortgage-able as possible, and potentially start saving for a wedding... This may not be entirely possible while on mat. leave, but I shall certainly be making an effort! Watch out for some more, rather boring posts regarding this!!

So, let's do this! I hope that at least some of what I write about will be interesting to you, please comment, like, share etc. I will crave human interaction while I'm not working!!! xxx

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

The Body Cofidence Program - Week 8 & Beyond!

Many apologies for the delay in writing this final post - what can I say? My old laptop died and I had to buy a new one, but here we are all sorted and ready to go!

It has now been a few weeks since I completed The Body Confidence Program and I have had a chance to reflect on how it all went and the changes I have made to my life since finishing it. I reduced by over 30 inches which was so much more than I ever imagined that I would have done so that feels amazing and is a huge motivator to continue the healthy habits that the program teaches you.

I now limit my snacking between meals, and tend to opt for a protein based snack with some fruit/veg. I don't crave sweet things so much, especially after my evening meal as I had been in the habit of eating something sweet every night after dinner; but now I stop eating after my last meal of the day - I could never quite manage to have my last meal at 7pm though! I blame shift work!

I am currently working through a couch to 5K program and feel like I have much more energy and motivation. Before starting the program I had been very lethargic - napping almost everyday that I didn't work when Casper did. Now, unless I am working nights I rarely feel
that I need a nap in the day. I continue to struggle with early nights, but I am working on it...

I dropped a dress size and definitely feel more confident in my own skin - I don't feel like I need to apologise so much for taking up space in the world. I feel less self-destructive and like I deserve to eat well and look after myself properly which are huge mind shifts for me!

Ru-Tee is a force of nature! I am so thankful to her and the time she gave to me. I continue to be inspired be her advice and passion - she has helped me so much to get out of a rut that was ruining my life, relationships and mental health. There is still much to work on both physically and mentally but I feel like I have broken through the barrier that was holding me back.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

The Body Confidence Program - Week 6 & 7!

Apologies for missing a week - what can I say? My organisational skills are below par! I have had two good weeks though and this post is all about positivity to balance out last weeks miserableness; I reduced by 3 inches in week 5 and 4.25 inches in week 6 which gives me a total reduction so far of 29.5 inches!!! This is absolutely incredible and here are the good things I have noticed and positive changes I have made while on the program:

  • Clothes that were previously tight and uncomfortable are now looser and much more comfortable.
  • I have voluntarily exercised at last once a week, sometimes two, for the last few weeks. I aim to increase to three sessions a week but this is already such an improvement on before and highlights the increase in my energy levels.
  • I rarely crave sweet things and often pick nuts and fruit as a snack even on treat days!
  • I am now happy to eat the last meal of the day and then not eat again until the morning - I had got in the habit of always having something sweet after dinner and then picking at snack food until bedtime.
I have two weeks left on the program so I need to stay focused and keep going all the way to the end. I plan to get back to using the meal planner as I have been making up my own meals from the food list, My main goal now though is to actually be nice to myself and be proud of what I have achieved without letting my negative internal dialogue win and set me on my usual self destructive dieting cycle!