Pregnancy, engagement and loss, an update dedicated to my beautiful mum.

For those of you who have been following me for a while you may have noticed that I haven’t written in a while. Yes I share my story across Instagram and Facebook but I haven’t taken the plunge and written a blog post for some time. Today on my beautiful mum’s birthday I decided that it was finally time to fall back in love with writing, so bear with me as this is going to be a long and emotional one.

2016 was a year of tremendous highs and tremendous lows, a year that should be remembered for all the highs will forever be remembered as the year I lost my mum.

As most of you know by now I walked in to my first Slimming World meeting on May 2, 2016, and five months later as I prepared for a holiday of a life time I was six stone lighter and I couldn’t have been prouder.

Many people asked me along the way what my motivation was and I told them, “it’s finally clicked”, “I want this for me”, and whilst that wasn’t a lie, it also wasn’t the full truth. Everyone always says do it for yourself, you have to want it. I always wanted it but the truth is I never loved myself enough to really believe I could do it, to really fight for it and make the change for good. I did however love my mum enough. So from the day I walked in I did it for her.

My mum was diagnosed with the cruel illness that is Motor Neurone Disease and as her health deteriorated I didn’t want to be the burden I had always been. I wanted her full focus to be on herself to keep strong and keep fighting in spite of there being no cure. I didn’t want her final moments being spent in tears worrying whether I’d be alive to celebrate my thirtieth birthday.

Each week I climbed those scales with hope, for 22 weeks straight I lost weight, I relished leaving group and dialling my mum’s number and telling her how I’d got on. Was it easy? No. I wanted to eat my feelings most weeks, the side of the story that you didn’t see was the struggle and reality of my mum’s health and how this really impacted me and my journey.

She always was a proud woman, she barely told her own friends and our extended family the extent of her illness, she certainly didn’t want me telling the world. If she’s reading this now I hope she forgives me for finally sharing her story. From her diagnosis to her untimely death I watched my beautiful proud courageous mother become a shell of the woman she was.

She was trapped in a body that no longer wanted to work for her. Each time I visited my mum she had deteriorated. We all put on a brave face determined to be strong for her. But I wasn’t strong, she would see me smile and tell her that she had better stick around because we were going to find a cure, I would be the positive person she needed. I’d hug her as she cried and I would tell her how much I loved her. Then I would leave and go home to my partner, spend evenings crying on him only to retire to bed and cry myself to sleep, this beautiful woman that I had spent so many years loving was slowly leaving me.

I didn’t have control over my mum’s illness, I couldn’t make her walk again, I couldn’t make her speak again,  I couldn’t take away her pain or make it easier for her, but I could make her proud. So I thrived on the control I had over my weight loss and made every day count.

Then something changed, I found out I was pregnant and what a shock that was. I was overjoyed but equally so scared. How could I continue to lose weight and make my mum proud whilst safely growing a baby? How could I tell my mum that I was having a baby when none of us knew if she would still be here to see that same baby be born?

Don’t get me wrong the plan had always been to lose weight and to have children. But I wasn’t done yet. I’d finally cracked this weight loss and now a new little life was forming that was going to change everything. So many people spend so long trying to have children and I would never want to seem ungrateful, but this little one was a big surprise, albeit a very welcome one and it took a while for it to sink in. I’m 24 + 4 weeks now and I still find it hard to believe that my very own baby is growing away inside of me.

I plucked up the courage to tell my mum a few days after we found out, it was way before 12 weeks, and the time people usually wait, but I knew I wanted her to know from the start. I was so scared. I didn’t want my mum to think that I was carrying on with my life like normal when she struggled every moment of the day. My mum’s partner tells me that learning that I was pregnant gave her a new sense of fight and happiness right when she needed it, this brings me comfort even now.

So now my mum knew I could focus back on Slimming World, let’s face it I was (and still am) a long way from target so all the midwives were ecstatic that I was hoping to continue to lose weight, safely and healthily and so was my mum. She wanted me to keep going, so I did. In the first 6 weeks of my pregnancy I continued to lose weight and then I went on holiday and ever since then it’s been a struggle.

Just prior to holiday my mum had moved into a hospice, it was only ever meant to be a temporary stay in order to get her pain management under control, she didn’t want to go in, and she was so scared. I can still see the fear in her eyes now, she was convinced that she wouldn’t make it home again, we all told her that of course she would, looking back that seems cruel, but it was the truth, we truly believed she would come home again.

Before I jetted off I was filled with emotion, I felt so guilty about leaving for a holiday when my mum needed me. But ever the stubborn woman she told me not to be silly, to go and have an amazing time and that she would be waiting for my return to hear all about our adventures. It also brought her much amusement knowing that I’d lost all this weight to finally feel comfortable going on all of the rollercoasters only to discover I was pregnant so I couldn’t go on any!

The holiday was amazing and it was topped off with my handsome man proposing in front of my favourite place, Hogwarts Castle. What a lot of people don’t know is that almost every day I woke up crying, I was in this amazing place, having an incredible time, but something just didn’t feel right. I was convinced that I would arrive home and my mum would no longer be here. Things couldn’t be going this well. We’re having a baby, we’re engaged something has to happen. And then it did.

We flew back on the Sunday, and from the airport I went straight to the hospice and I didn’t leave again until Thursday. I had left my mum confident that she was in the right place and that she was well enough for me to go, nothing could have prepared me for what happened. In the week I was away, my mum contracted a chest infection, which developed into pneumonia and then began to shut her lung downs. No one could have prepared us for that, no one saw it coming. By the time I returned home on cloud nine after my proposal and eager to tell my mum all about it, she had already begun to slip away.

Four days after I returned from holiday, my beautiful mum passed away surrounded by those who loved her. One of the very first things I said was, “how am I going to do this without her?” and even now I don’t know the answer. I had gone from the happiest girl on the planet to the most desperate and sad. It doesn’t get any easier. The past few months have been a blur and my weight loss has suffered along with it.

A lot of people tell me to enjoy my pregnancy and worry about weight afterwards but I want to make my mum proud, I need to keep doing this for her. But she was my main reason, who do I call now each week? Who am I fighting for?

The answer has to be me and this innocent little boy whose due date is fast approaching.

The past few months have been filled with every emotion possible and each day is a struggle to make the right choice.

If you had asked me six months ago where I’d be by now, I would have told you confidently that I’d be approaching my target. But the reality is I’m further away from it than I was a few months ago.

People always say “sometimes life gets in the way” and if I’m honest 90 per cent of the time I just thought that was an elaborate excuse, now I see how wrong I was. Weight loss isn’t one straight line, it’s a road filled with speed bumps, sharp turns, and u turns, you go back on yourself, and you go in the wrong direction just as much as you go in the right direction. I may not be closing in on my target but I will get there, my beautiful mum will be watching over me the day I receive my shiny  target sticker, and I will have done it all with a pregnancy and baby thrown in the middle and having faced my hardest moment to date. Losing my hero. If I am half the mother she was then I will be doing alright.

This post is dedicated to my beautiful, brave and courageous mummy. Who had so much love to give and life left to live but was cruelly taken away too soon.

If anyone wishes to donate to find a cure for the horrible disease, please do so here.

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My beautiful mummy – 1962-2016

Pinch me is this real? Have I really lost over 5 stone?

Pinch me is this real? Have I really lost over 5 stone?

Throwback to a year ago and I was attending monthly appointments in preparation for weight loss surgery. Yes you read that right. I was contemplating a drastic measure in order to lose weight, I was desperate and seeking an answer.

I applaud anyone who has taken the measures I was so close to taking. Weight loss surgery IS NOT the easy way out. There is no easy way out when it comes to weight loss, yes people may lose weight at a quicker speed after surgery but that DOES NOT mean their journey is easier. Weight loss surgery changes you for life, it completely changes your relationship with food and the quantities you can eat, but it doesn’t stop you eating, it requires a massive level of commitment, determination and risk.

What stopped me from going under the knife? I wasn’t ready to commit to life long change. I was scared. I am also not ashamed to admit, that I simply was not prepared to limit my food intake for the rest of my life. I wanted to give myself one last shot ‘doing it on my own’ before I reassessed whether gastric surgery was for me.

Flashback to today and boy am I glad I gave myself one more shot. Yes it took me a few months and more than a few pounds gained before I walked into my first Slimming World meeting, but today I am lighter than I have been for years. In fact I cannot remember the last time I was in the 16 stone bracket, but today I am!!

I keep having to pinch myself and tell myself that yes I have really lost 5 stone, I have really done it this time. I have spent my whole life wishing I was smaller, picturing all the clothes I wanted to wear, but couldn’t, fantasising over all the things I would do if only I lost weight. I spent far too many lost minutes and hours staring at my reflection loathing the person I saw in front of me. I was angry, how had I let myself get this big? Why didn’t I have the strength and will power to change. It was a viscous circle, the more I hated my size the more I sought comfort in food and thus the more pounds I piled on.

I could spend my whole life wondering ‘why now’, ‘why didn’t I do this years ago’ but that would get me no where. I wasn’t ready then, I wasn’t prepared and I certainly wasn’t committed to the lifestyle change. I am now and there is no stopping me, yes there may be hiccups on the way (I am yet to have my first ‘gain’) but this is it. I am looking forward to working my way through my ‘Fat List’, a list of all the things I want to do but won’t due to my weight.

I look back at pictures of myself and feel sad, not at my weight or just the fact that I clearly didn’t photograph as well when I was younger, but at the lost girl staring back at me. I spent far too many years trying to find the answer, when it was right in front of me, I’ve had all the answers I just needed the tools to help me.

More blog posts coming soon but for now feel free to laugh at the amazing photo gallery I have included below.

 

 

 

Focus on your journey and not the journey of others.

Okay I get it, there is nothing more annoying than walking into group feeling confident after a good week on plan only to mount the scales and not see the loss you felt you deserved. To make it worse and really add salt to the wound you then overhear others discuss the takeaways and wine they’ve had this week, and wait for it… they’ve lost more than you. It’s annoying, but does their weight loss really impact YOUR journey? No! Not unless you let it.

Everyone is different, everyone’s body is different, everyone’s metabolism is different, you simply cannot compare and the sooner we all accept this the better! Stop focusing on how well other people are doing and start focusing on how well you are doing, and if you aren’t doing as well as you would like address why this may be.

Everyone embarking on a weight loss journey has different reasons and different amounts to lose, we all have different food demons to face and reasons why we turn to food. Draw inspiration, tips and tools from others but don’t compare. Comparing will lead to resentment and disappointment. It could also lead to unhealthy techniques that we all know so well, the vicious circle of binge eating and starvation.

You couldn’t compare the journey of someone starting out at 23 stone to that of someone ten stone smaller, of course they would lose weight at different speeds. You may even be envious of their big weight losses but ask yourself are you envious of the long journey they have ahead of them? I bet if you asked them they would give anything to be your current or ‘start’ weight.

I have had consistent ‘good’ losses (FYI all losses are good even those cheeky half pounds!) but I also have in excess of eight stone to lose. I am lucky that my group is very supportive, but I have to admit sometimes I hang my head in shame when I’ve had a good loss, I don’t want to see the disappointment in peoples faces when they haven’t lost as much as me. When I see the occasional look I want to remind everyone that even though I’ve lost nearly four and a half stone, I still have another four and a half stone to lose before I reach my interim target, let alone my end target! I have a long road ahead of me.

Now I am not saying this to make ANYONE feel bad, it’s a natural feeling and we all feel a little envious now and again, me included. But this week as I mounted the scales to see a loss of 4.5 lbs I was met with a comment: “God are you even eating.” And do you know what it made me feel really sad. Just to reiterate I LOVE my Slimming World group and am a member of the social team so this is in no way meant to be detrimental to anyone at my group, again I LOVE my group!! But I wanted to use this as an example.

I left group this week feeling a little disheartened and sad at that comment and one other comment I overheard when I received Slimmer of The Week. When I got home it took a lot for me not to take that sadness and bury it in my friend food, or my best friend chocolate. I found myself right back at the start of my journey feeling a little lost and seeking comfort.

But I realised that I don’t want to do that anymore. I want the best life for me, this is my journey and I am proud of all I have achieved. As we all should be. Everyday I decide what to fuel my body with, it is me that is making the right choices for MY body. We need to be accountable for ourselves, own your journey and focus on you.

For years I wasn’t accountable for myself, I wasn’t in denial I knew it was me who had eaten myself into the ‘morbidly obese’ category, but at every opportunity the blame shifted to someone or something else.  Here are just some of the reasons why it wasn’t my fault; I’d been fat my entire life and doomed with the ‘fat gene’. I was a big child and my parents fed me! When in reality I didn’t help myself. I would have a healthy meal and then hoard chocolate penguins in my room, eating in secret. I would be packed off to school with a healthy packed lunch only to buy an iced bun or a slice of pizza from the school canteen.

But for the first time in a long time I am accountable and I am focused.

I am focused on ME. I am not comparing my journey and getting side tracked. When other people are doing well, I am not trying to match their weight losses, I am seeking inspiration and applauding their efforts. When I don’t do as well as I would like, I look back at my food diary and OWN where I may have gone wrong.

This has begun to sound like a rant which in no means was it meant to! So I’ll round up before I’m renamed Diary of an Angry Fat English Girl.

The only person who can lose your excess weight is you, so stop focusing on other people, stop comparing, start feeling proud of your achievements and start owning this journey. We are all in this together but ultimately only you have the power to make a real change in your own life.

p.s On an entirely different note and just in case anyone missed the memo… I am officially a graduate!!

©Sarah Woodside

©Sarah Woodside

Finding my motivation

© Sarah Woodside

For years people told me that in order to succeed at weight loss I had to really want it and I used to get so upset and defensive, taking everyone’s comments as a personal attack. How did they know how much I wanted it? I was working hard and it felt like every comment was undermining my weight loss efforts. But in reality it is only this time around that I really understand what they truly meant.

My motivation is me. Now that may sound egotistical to some, but it’s true. I have spent years looking at other peoples weight loss and transformation pictures wishing it was me, but this time it will be. Of course I still take massive inspiration from everyone I come across, every Instagram account I stumble on and every blog I read, but the only person who can lose this weight is me.

Is it easy this time around? Of course not as I’ve said countless times before weight loss is hard work, if it was easy everyone would be the perfect weight. But this time I know I want to see the change. I want to feel comfortable in a sleeveless top more than I want a takeaway. I want to be healthy to start a family more than I want chocolate. I want to wake up feeling good about myself and not hating myself, more than I want full fat coca-cola.

Every day is difficult for me, I am 27-years-old and have spent a lifetime shovelling in food and damaging my body.  A lifetime of bad habits are hard to break, especially when you live with a man that is tall, skinny and can eat anything and everything he wants. Everyday I fight with myself to make the right choice, it’s a never ending battle, but one I am happily winning so far.

It isn’t easy sitting on the sofa next to the man, as he eats all the bad food I crave non-stop. I can smell the chocolate, practically taste the crisps and cakes and it’s safe to say I want it all! My hearing must perk up whenever he has something I want but can’t have, every chomp and slurp makes it harder. He’ll be the first to tell you that on occasion he has been at the receiving end of a torrent of abuse for chewing loudly or eating too much, he’s also been at the receiving end of, “it’s not fair, why am I fat and you’re skinny, you eat more than me,” but that’s the luck of the drawer, he can’t lose my weight for me.

Only I can motivate myself to make good choices, work hard, and push for the healthier life I so desperately want. So how do I do it?

Every day I look back at my Slimming World journey so far, looking at my progress inspires me to keep on going. I stay on plan, and when confronted with temptation I make a decision. Is this tempting item worth the guilt and my sadness when I step on the scales or shall I find an alternative and feel amazing on the scales. Nothing is more liberating than standing on those scales feeling confident and being rewarded with a loss. Of course weight loss isn’t all about the numbers on the scale, inches and non scale victories also play a massive part. But nothing compares to seeing numbers I haven’t seen in years flash up in front of me.

I am a competitive person at the best of times, I was the child who kicked the monopoly board, stormed off and slammed doors, I thrive on competition, but I don’t want to compare to others and push myself to compete, that sets me up for disappointment. I want to compete with myself so I write monthly goals.

Monthly goals allow me to push for something, to use my success so far as a tool to motivate myself to continue doing well or dare I say it, do better. It has helped me maintain the belief and  knowledge that I can do it because I already have. Mini goals may not work for everyone and if you are the type of person that makes themselves feel like a failure if you don’t meet your goals than I implore you to find something else to motivate you.

As all of you know there is no magic secret to weight loss, no matter how many wishes you make you won’t wake up ten stone lighter, but you can wake up half a pound lighter (or more!) Find the reason you are doing this, remember it and use it.

If you are slimming for a wedding think about how amazing you want to look in your dress, is that worth the family galaxy size bar of chocolate?

If you are losing weight for your children, think about them, think of how proud you are making them, think of all the good habits they are picking up from your weight loss, maybe that will stop them entering a life of yo yo dieting and sadness related to their weight, is that worth jeopardising for a takeaway and a bottle or two of wine?

I’m not saying deprive yourself but make good choices for you. Only you can lose the extra weight. If you want the wine have it, but count the syns and stay in control, if you want chocolate have it, but in moderation, do you really want the sharing bar more than a loss on weigh day?

The last thing I want is for this post to sound cruel, or even preaching, as you all know my history of weight loss and it certainly hasn’t been a smooth ride. But I want you to realise your self worth, you are worth more than binge eating because you didn’t do as well as you wanted, or stress eating because everything is on top of you and food is your comfort, you can do this. Every time I choose not too have something I shouldn’t it gets easier, I don’t feel like i’m missing out and it’s a win for my will power, this can happen for you to, you just have to believe that you can do it.

You can be your biggest motivation if only you let yourself.

Look at that fat girl eating

Maybe I am alone in this but have you ever eaten something in public and convinced yourself that people are judging you?Taunting yourself that people are watching the ‘fat girl’ shovel in food.

For years it stopped me eating in public, more so if it was a crowded place. I couldn’t just grab something quickly from the shop and eat it walking down the road, I didn’t like sitting in restaurants in full view or near a window, and if the worst happened and I was placed near a window I had to have my back to it. I was ashamed and convinced that everyone was either watching me or laughing at me.

My first holiday away with the man was last year, we spontaneously booked a last minute trip away to Amsterdam, literally booking it then leaving a few days later. The trip was fantastic from start to finish and filled with some amazing memories, but I can’t tell you much about the Dutch food because to be honest I barely ate.

Holidays are times for creating memories, having fun, letting your hair down and relaxing, but here I was too concerned that people would be laughing at me eating. Maybe that sounds ridiculous to some people but it was a genuine fear and still to a certain extent is. I have spent years feeling so ashamed of myself, catching sight of my reflection and thinking, “how did I let myself get this big”, convinced that everyone else must look at me and think the same thing.

Over the course of the 3 day break, the man ate constantly, I however did not. The first night we grabbed a slice of pizza near the Red Light District (casual) we sat down and the entire front of the restaurant was made of glass, the streets were so busy and I felt awful. Everyone that walked past looked in and I felt all their eyes burn into me as I tried to eat my pizza.

Of course I realise now that the chances of all of them staring into the restaurant for the sole purpose of watching me eat like an animal in a zoo is unlikely and the reality is they were probably looking at the amazing pizza in the window. But that doesn’t change the way I felt that night. It shaped how I ate on the holiday and apart from breakfast in a cafe I didn’t eat unless I was in the hotel.

People often assume that overweight people stuff their faces non stop, but this wasn’t the case for me. I have always had a love hate relationship with food. I used it as a treat and as punishment, switching from binge eating to starving myself. This is no way to live. I would spend days not eating partly because I was out and didn’t want people to see me eat, only to spend those evenings surrounded by food making up for lost time and missed meals.

Something had to change. I didn’t and don’t want to be ruled by food.
I can’t avoid it, you need food to survive so something had to happen!!

Then the prospect of another holiday came up, I was a mix of emotions pure excitement, then fear all at once. I didn’t want another holiday ruled by my insecurities, ruled by food, embarrassed and feeling that I was the entertainment for everyone nearby.  So I made a change.

For the people that have followed me from the beginning you’ll know all about my on again, off again ride on the diet wagon but this time I’m in it for the long haul, this time I am determined it will be different.  I don’t want it to be like every other time I’ve told people “I’m going to do it this time, I really want it for me,” only to end up heavier then before. I got myself to this size and only I can lose the weight.

I would spend hours scrolling through Instagram looking at all the amazing transformation pictures and I always started well and with good intentions but they soon spiralled and I ended putting the weight back on again! But now I take as many pictures as I can because I know one day I will have amazing transformation pictures and I cannot wait to share them with everyone!

My relationship with food is a work in progress and since joining Slimming World I cannot say that my fear of public eating is gone, but what I can say is that it’s improved!! Not only that but with every pound I lose I feel so much healthier, literally. Seeing the numbers creep down on the scales to numbers I haven’t seen for years is an amazing feeling and hearing people say they can see I’ve lost weight will never get old (no matter how embarrassed I get!)

I can’t pin point why it seems to have clicked this time I’m just happy that it has! It isn’t without difficulty and I work hard every day to stay on track and on plan but this time it doesn’t feel like a chore it feels like the start of something great (pure cheese but true.)

 

 

 

Why now? What’s my secret?

As you all know by now I am a converted Slimming World lover. I always knew the plan worked, having previously tried it in my teens, however as I got older the excuses just got bigger.

Two main reasons kept me from joining sooner, the first was time. I convinced myself that I didn’t have the time to go to group. A full-time student with a part time job, plus just spending time with my family and the man left not a lot of free time! But in reality this was just an excuse.

There are so many Slimming World groups out there, morning, evening, mid week, weekend, you name it there is a group nearby. I was also naive to assume there wasn’t an online option, of course there is! So if you really don’t have free time this may be the route for you.

A work in progress, size 26 dress on the left and size 20/18 on the right. © Sarah Woodside

A work in progress, size 26 dress on the left and size 20/18 on the right. © Sarah Woodside

I chose the Monday morning group near my home, firstly because it was nearby, I knew I’d be more likely to attend if it was close to my house! Secondly because one of my downfalls with eating is the weekend, having group on Monday morning is an incentive to stay on plan, I don’t want to let my hard work all week go to waste by being ‘off plan’ at the weekend. If I weighed in on a Saturday morning I know I would be more likely to have a ‘treat’!!

The second was money, I couldn’t justify the weekly fee as a poor student, even working a part time job alongside my studies I didn’t have the disposable income to pay weekly.  I still don’t have the spare money but it’s worth the weekly fee. If we can afford Sky TV then I can afford the money spent on bettering my quality of life and health!!

So after convincing myself for so long that I didn’t have time or money to attend group, I gave myself some home truths, stopped making excuses and mustered up the courage to join a group and I have not looked back since.

I joined on the 2nd May this year, and now 14 weeks later I am 3 stone 6.5 pounds lighter. There are no tricks or secrets to my weight loss, I have simply worked hard and stayed on plan.

Naturally with a start weight of nearly 22 stone I expected the weight losses to be fairly substantial at the beginning of my journey, but they have stayed that way because I am determined and motivated and I work bloody hard. Apart from a few treats for my birthday I have spent every single day since walking into my first meeting on plan. I have spent so long being unhappy in my own skin [blog post about finding my motivation coming soon] and I don’t want that any more so I am determined to work hard and see results. Every pound that comes off is a pound I never want to see again!

The benefit of Slimming World is it really is a plan that can work for anyone, you just have to find your rhythm and find what works best for you.

© Sarah Woodside

Mini Smarties 3.5 syns, Beef Puft 3.5 syns, 50g of my favourite sweets 8 syns © Sarah Woodside

Prior to joining my food choices were always 99% good during the day, the evening has always been my downfall, I could eat a perfectly healthy and balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner and then ruin the day by consuming in excess of 1500 calories on sweets, chocolate and crisps in the space of a few hours before bed.

With Slimming World I can still be that little piggy in the evening, I simply save my syns.

 

I know my sweet tooth is my downfall, some people avoid them completely, one bite of a curly wurly and they are reaching for the family size dairy milk bar, if I avoid all the naughtiness I love I simply crave it more, making me more likely to binge.

By having a little of what I fancy within my syns each day I don’t feel like i’m missing out, I can still eat the things I want but this time I am in control. I spend my syns wisely and make every syn count and this helps me stay on plan. I don’t feel the need to binge because I get to enjoy the naughty food I love (hello chocolate) and still lose weight! Since starting I have always used 15 syns and most days I use all of them, it’s worked for me so far, further on down the line I may reduce them, but for now they are there to be spent and this girl is spending them!!

Caramel Freddo 4.5 syns, Buttons 4.5 syns, Milkybar 6 syns. © Sarah Woodside

Caramel Freddo 4.5 syns, Buttons 4.5 syns, Milkybar 6 syns. © Sarah Woodside

So what do I eat? I post ALL my main meals on my Instagram page – diaryofafatenglishgirl – so if you’re on Instagram head over for visual updates and meal ideas.

Brunch, I don’t tend to eat breakfast, if I have breakfast I am starving by lunchtime, if I have a big brunch then it keeps my nice and full until dinner. My go to is poached eggs, I love them!!! With ham and spinach or baked beans and mushrooms. I always follow them with a piece of fruit.

Snacks, I snack wisely I use my hifi’s if i’m feeling stressed or emotional and want to eat my feelings other than that I snack on fruit and veg.

Dinner, I cannot stress enough, variety is the spice of life. This is a lifestyle plan, you aren’t going to eat the same seven meals in rotation for the rest of your life, get experimenting and spice it up. We have some firm favourites in this house I admit; spaghetti bolognese, cottage pie, curry, but we also try new things weekly!

I don’t cook two meals either, the man has what I have I just tweak the meal for him if I need to. For example, if I’m doing a speed day then he’ll still have potatoes and if we have mash then we mash in separate bowls so he can add as much rubbish as he feels is necessary (which is usually far too much).

Attached below are some pictures of my daily entries from my food diary to give you an idea of what I eat on an average day, like I said earlier I post all my main meals on my Instagram page. Now I have finished university I am going to build up my recipe section on my blog with my favourite Slimming World friendly meals. If you are struggling talk to others, stalk some Instagram pages and read the books. Diets aren’t fun but a lifestyle change like Slimming World doesn’t have to feel as restrictive as a diet, have fun with it and enjoy the journey. Think of why you are doing it and remind yourself of how well you’ve done so far, I have said this time and time again but weight loss is hard work so be proud of your journey.

What would you like to see next on my blog? As always let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Slimming World Week 1: How did I find it and will it work for you?

On my last post be prepared it’s a long one, I briefly explained why I finally took the plunge and rejoined Slimming World after years of avoiding it. I knew I needed the support, but the additional support wasn’t the only reason, in fact there were many factors which led to me walking into my first meeting.

So what were they, how are they working for me and will they work for you?

  1. The weekly weigh in.
  2. FOOD!!
  3. The stickers and certificates.

The weekly weigh in. I needed the regime of a weekly weigh in, of course I could do this at home, however for me weighing yourself and having someone weigh you are two very different things.

I can become a little very obsessed with the sad step, morning weigh ins, mid day weigh ins, after the toilet weigh ins (<— sometimes a toilet stop could be a 2lb difference hahaha, always go before weigh in!!) Basically If I was in the bathroom I was on the scales!! I don’t want to live my life determined by the scales, the number does not reflect me as a person or define my self worth, but by weighing every day and at every possible moment it was becoming a big factor of my journey. It would encourage unhealthy habits, if I didn’t see the number going down as fast as I would like for example I would restrict my food intake, fast and guzzle down litres upon litres of water until I was satisfied I was making good progress. Equally if I saw the numbers go down quickly I would find it easier to let myself have a ‘treat’ after all I’d already lost a good amount!!! I also discovered that by moving my scales around my bathroom floor my weight could vary by 8lbs!!

For some people having scales at home and weighing daily keeps them on track and motivated. I am not one of those people.

So why is the weekly weigh in working for me? It has allowed me to stop putting so much focus on the scales, it has also given me a consistent account of my weight, with my home scales the numbers can vary which doesn’t always give me a true reading.  At group the same scales are used, I weigh at the same time and the same place every week thus satisfying me with a true reading. Once a week is enough for me, it lets me go through my journey week by week and seeing the end results and my achievement. This journey is about applauding yourself every step of the way, by weighing once a week I can confidently keep track of my journey and success.

When I weighed at home it could often be an anti-climax, especially if the scales didn’t say what I was hoping for. I could commiserate with a big bowl of my favourite sugary cereal if needed (<– it was never needed!!!) Whereas the weekly weigh ins offer the support I need, they give you a pat on the back when you’ve done well and pick you up when you are disappointed with your results. On top of that the fear of being the only one in group who has put weight on definitely keeps me on track, keeps me motivated and keeps me determined to try my best!!

FOOD!! I didn’t get to this size by hating food, I love food, I’ve tried endless diets that restrict or eliminate certain foods, and yes I lost weight, but I couldn’t sustain the plan, I was too damn hungry, angry and unhappy!! I need food. We can all stop drinking alcohol, or smoking or taking drugs, but we can’t stop eating food, we need it to survive and food is my drug of choice.

Slimming World lets me eat, and not just eat rabbit food as my dad used to call it, it lets me eat real food and big portions! In my first week I ate; stews, chips, pasta, rice, potatoes and chocolate! The plan is simple and easy to follow, it doesn’t restrict what you can and can’t have it puts you in control. This is your journey so you find the path that works for you.

For me I need sweet things, I have a massive sweet teeth, yes I love other ‘naughty’ things like pizza, takeaways and pies!! But I love chocolate and anything sweet!! With Slimming World I can still have them!! The plan is so simple to follow!! Broken down into sections, Free Food (including Speed), Health Extras A and B and then 5-15 syns per day to spend on slightly unhealthier things!!

The syns are a massive part of why I’m 7 weeks in without slipping once! Some people choose to spend their syns on things like, oil, spread on their toast, jam etc. I like to cook as syn free as possible so then in the evenings – my worst time for hunger and eating – I can satisfy my sweet tooth and little piggy self with some treats. My favourites are, mini twister lollies 2syns, curly wurlys 6 syns and snow rolls 2 syns.

And just to prove that with this plan you can eat real food and big portions and still lose weight I have included a photo gallery at the bottom of this post of just SOME of the food I ate in week one, all of which was on plan and helped me lose 8.5lb come weigh in.

The stickers and certificates. I’m not ashamed to admit it I am one of those people that needs an occasional pat on the back and will always appreciate a well done! It helps keep me on the right path, I have a long journey ahead of me*, my weight loss journey will not be a quick one, at the beginning I was facing losing the weight of another person!! That will not happen overnight! I need to celebrate my achievements and milestones along the way, losing weight is hard work and we deserve to feel smug when we’ve done well. Believe me it’s not easy watching the man eat EVERYTHING I want!! Syns keep me satisfied but it’s still torture watching him eat pizza, packets of haribo and bars of chocolate! So feeling proud of my progress when I get a new certificate or sticker definitely reminds me of how well I’m doing and that not giving in to temptation was and is certainly worth it to feel this good!!!

*Look out for a future post about setting a target!!!


So how was my first week and what are my tips to anyone looking to join?

I loved loved loved my first week as you’ll see from the pictures below I didn’t miss out on food! I also didn’t feel like I was on a diet, switching out things like oil for frylite was easy in this household and I still cooked home made, hearty meals I just adapted them to the plan. The food was a hit with the man also which is always a bonus!! By the latter part of the week I was counting down the days until the next weigh in, feeling determined and confident with how I’d done.

For me variety is the spice of life, I made sure I switched up my breakfasts, lunches and tried not to eat the same dinner in the week, getting bored on plans is one of the main reasons I slip off the wagon. So get in the kitchen, get creating and have some variety!

Stalk stalk stalk. I love Instagram and sooooo many lovely men and women are sharing their journies and food diaries. This inspiration helped give me ideas and motivate me from week one. I like a lot of people start most days with a quick flick through my newsfeed whilst still wiping sleep from me eyes, seeing my Instagram feed full of healthy breakfast choices and ideas I would never have thought of meant I instantly started my day positively in regards to the plan.

I also share all my food on my Instagram account, it helps keep me on track and accountable of what i’ve eaten!! Drop your username in the comments for me to have a nose please!

To anyone looking to join GO FOR IT, what’s the worst that could happen! Weight loss is a personal journey and to anyone on a different plan or ‘diet’ good luck, well done and tell me all about it in the comments!! I applaud anyone who is on this hard journey, no matter the healthy path you are taking, but for me right now I am officially loving Slimming World!!!!