Category: Confidence

The biggest weight loss lesson ever!

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The day I attended the most fabulous buffet, my relationship with food changed, and it has never changed back.

I was always the person who had to have the last biscuit, in fact a packet of biscuits, or a bar of chocolate never lasted more than a single setting. I wasn’t conscious that I had a problem with food.  I didn’t realise that I wasn’t comfortable around food.  Well actually food should have been uncomfortable around me – I was ready to eat it.

I have honestly probably tried most diets and eating plans before accepting that health and fitness was a better route. You can read about other parts of my weight loss journey here.

Twenty-five years ago I attended a course with a difference.  It was a psychological approach to weight loss.  We started off with some gentle group therapy talking about our relationship with food.  A couple of weeks in, we were told that the next week we would be having a party.  Each person was to bring a dish.  Everyone volunteered their favourite dishes.  I made a trifle – yum yum.

My excitement was at an all time high!  There was a buffet to beat anything you would see in a top class hotel.  Sweet, savoury, snacks, starters, chocolate, wine.  There was nothing up there that I didn’t want to eat, and nothing I was missing either.

But, the lessons were about to begin….

We were all asked to go up and choose our meals.  A starter selection, main meal, dessert, cheese and biscuits, drinks, chocolates – in fact anything we liked.  I think everyone took less than they normally would – we were conscious of our neighbours.

On returning to our seat at the table we were asked to look at our food and think about what we really wanted first.  There were no rules, so if you wanted trifle, then you had a few bites of trifle.  We then moved onto our next favourite item.  Soon the moderator asked us if we were feeling full, as it takes a good 10 minutes for your tummy to register if you are full.  Very often we don’t know when we have had enough.

With no pressure it was suggested that we walk away from the table and chat if we thought we might be full.  We could come back of course, but you know what?  I didn’t – I realised that I had eaten what I wanted and was full.  I hadn’t eaten that much at all.  The sneaky thought of course was that I might just like a bite more, just one more chocolate, or a little biscuit with a bit of brie.

Look away now, it gets icky!

We were asked to pile everything in front of us onto one plate, and mash it all together.  It was literally a small mountain on the plate!  And mixed up all together it looked disgusting.  Left to my own devices all that would have gone inside me, no question.  We then went up and binned it.  From 12 people in the room we filled a large bin bag.  We also then binned all the leftovers from the serving dishes.  Another bin bag and more.

The messages were simple:

  • Rather waste in the bin than around your waistline
  • Food doesn’t have legs – it won’t run away if you don’t eat it all in one go
  • Be comfortable around food, it is ok to eat a small bit of chocolate, just don’t eat the whole bar
  • To listen to your body and stop eating when you are no longer hungry.

I am not perfect and I continually have to remind myself of the lessons I have learnt along the way.

This was a big lesson for me and even after 25 years it is still a very strong memory, I still struggle, but the one thing I know is that I am more comfortable with food.  I am comfortable with chocolate or biscuits in the house and don’t feel the need to eat them.  Well, maybe just one square!

The programme was called Weight Winners, which I attended in South Africa.  In an effort to credit experience, that literally changed my relationship with food, I found this article.

Thank you for reading my blog, I so appreciate the feedback and comments.

Kerry xx

Postnatal Depression – My Story

I had Post Natal Depression pic

It was almost 19 years ago that I realised I had post natal depression.

I was obsessed with loosing weight (a bit of a song track to my life) and was visiting a Doctor who promised magic with a weekly weigh-in, some pills and a shot.  I am not sure that I lost any weight but I did take the first step towards getting out from under the dark cloud of postnatal depression.

I will always be grateful to the doctor who realised that uncontrollable crying due to a static scale was not normal.  She sat me down and talked to me – for far longer that the normal 10 minute session.  I walked out with a prescription for Prozac and a terrible feeling of guilt that I wasn’t a good mother.  That I couldn’t cope being a mother to my beautiful baby boy.

Over the years I have tried to reason out why I got postnatal depression.  Was it because I went back to work full time too early.  Was it because my baby had colic, and was honestly quite an awful sleeper.  I know now that there is no reason why anyone gets post natal depression.  It is simply something that happens.

I am writing this post to share my experience, and to let anyone out there who is suffering from post natal depression know that the key is recognising it and getting help.  Help comes in many forms.  For me it was through medicine, and meditation and the support of friends. Many years later I did quite a bit of counselling, and wished that had been an option 19 years ago.

I am not an expert at postnatal depression, merely a woman who has not forgotten the desolate loneliness and sense of helplessness.

The main thing for me was to admit I had it.  And then accept the help that was offered.

For me, and I think many other people, when I am in a bad place I tend to look inwards.  So many times people have said to me – why didn’t you call?  I just didn’t.  I should have though.

As I said medication did help me, but what helped even more was the support of my friends.  I remember weekends when I had help with David so I could go out for a little me time.  And then the many Sunday’s that I spent with my friend who not only cheered me up, but helped me to realise that what I was ok and normal.  May fabulous days where spent simply being together.

Depression is a funny thing.  It creeps up on you sometimes and by the time you realise you need help it has been a constant companion for a while.  Once I started to come out of the fog, I gave myself a few laughs.  I opened my bedside locker one day and honestly a whole pile of chocolate papers jumped out.  The scary part was that I didn’t even remember eating them. Imagine crunching on calorific chocolate to make yourself feel better and then never even remembering the moment.  It takes me a good while to eat a bar of chocolate these days – normally square by square.  Now I find folded down bars of chocolate I have forgotten in the freezer, the fridge and the cupboard.

Each person’s experience is going to be different.  I coped during the day at work and simply melted into a puddle of helplessness in the evenings and on weekends. I cried when my baby cried.  I slept a lot. And of course I ate – which contributed to a cycle of feeling bad about myself.

It does get better.  I know this now.  But  honestly believe that most people with post natal depression could do with some sort of intervention be it medical or counselling.

Happy to correspond with anyone privately, or respond to comments.

It is funny that there are things that you never forget.  I will never forget the joy of being a mother, or the time I suffered from postnatal depression.  Very proud of a talented young man now.

Thanks for reading

Kerry x.

Today I will focus on my dreams

focus

Too often I get bogged down with the setting goals and tasks.  I am very goal orientated and I am constantly setting myself short term goals and organising (and sometimes over organising) my life.  Short terms goals are good and it means that things get done, but sometimes I feel I just want to stop and dream.

So today I will focus on my dreams – those things that seem so far out of reach.  Since I was a little girl I have wanted to write a book.  That is a dream that I would love to become reality.

I am sure there are other dreams too, so today I will let my mind soar and believe that anything at all is possible.

Today a dream, tomorrow a goal and then ……

Thanks for stopping by, and if you are inspired, please feel to share

Kerry x

Why trainers are hotter than high heels

trainers for fitness

I grew up thinking that girly girls don’t wear trainers.    I have had about 3 pairs of trainers in my life and I can promise you I didn’t wear the treads of any of them (until three years ago)

Anyone who has contemplated exercising will know that you might need trainers and you keep telling yourself that you can’t start exercising until you have all the right gear.  Delay, procrastinate, put off, any other words suitable?

I picked a mighty silly day to buy trainers  and it turned out really funny.  I had a hospital appointment about my hand, and didn’t realise they were going to numb it and inject steroids into it …

So picture this ….

Somehow I got myself into my car and got myself strapped in and drove around the corner to the sports store.  Didn’t realise that it is quite hard to fit a shoe on your foot with one numb hand (imagine post dentist numbness but in your hand instead of your jaw).  Added to the fact that I fairly unfit and coudln’t exactly touch my toes.

I wanted pretty trainers, the pink sparkly type ones worn by a 5 year old.  I have size 8 feet!  Not a great start.

The young man who helped me needs a medal – he had to literally put my feet into trainer after trainer all the while trying very hard to steer me towards a practical pair.  I think I tried them all on.

It was a bit like Cinderella in reverse.  One prince one ‘princess’ and hundreds of pairs of shoes.

I left the store with a great pair of shoes, notsparkly, but they have pink stripes.

My trainers first day out – complete with nice pink socks.  Apparantly my son did tell me that you have to wear a new pair of trainers in.  But I wasn’t listening or maybe it wasn’t said at all.

Now before this I had already started walking and built up some stamina – simply working in my normal shoes and boots.  So off I went on a nice circuit – the kind of walk that once you have done half there is no turning back.  Just after half way the blisters started. And continued and grew and spread.  I am quite determined, so I carried on and swung by the pharmacy to buy blister plasters on the way back.

So they don’t make blister plasters big enough for the blisters I had created. By now the exercise bug and hit and I needed another form of exercise that didn’t involve walking in trainers.

I decided the answer was a trampoline.  Don’t panic, just a mini one.

Years ago I heard that if you exercise on a mini trampoline the value of what you do is multiplied by some unbelievable factor.  I wanted one so bad, and a friend kindly gifted me one,  second hand.  I found it so useful. For about 5 years it served as a clothes hanger, laundry basket, Christmas wrapping station, and general depository for stuff.  It also tripped me up a few times on the way to the loo in the dark.

My first exercise was to unearth the trampoline and then to start jumping.  Now the exercise you do on it isn’t exactly jumping in the air, more like bouncing and dancing and generally having a laugh while watching TV or listening to music.

One small piece of advice for fabulous ladies taking up this exercise – get a good bra!!

This all happened 3 years ago.  My trainers are still in use and so is my trampoline.  I am not perfect and I don’t get exercise in every day.  I do try though and I definitely know I am fitter than I have been for many many years.

Thanks for reading, and thank you for all the comments and support.

Kerry xx

How giving up dieting changed a fat girl’s life

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I grew up thinking I was fat.  From day one really.  I don’t know why because when I look at those old faded photos with the white borders, I wasn’t.  But, I thought I was and that’s what counts.

I started dieting radically when I was 13.  I attended a slimming clinic where I was put onto a high protein diet and spent two hours a week a bit like a mental patient bandaged up with electrodes placed around my body to help burn fat.

To cut a very long story very short – I believe that crash dieting makes you fat.  I have through my life probably lost my entire body weight (not a small amount) at least twice.  I have mastered almost every diet known to man and woman.  I am an expert dieter.  I have got gold stars, stickers and even spoken as a motivator for a diet.  And yet as I crept into my forties I was fatter and unfitter than I had ever been.

Now, I know that it isn’t all’ dieting’s’ fault.  I have quite a few medical conditions including depression. Medication doesn’t help either.  I have also suffered from depression for a long time A couple of years ago I started changing my life and this is part of my journey.

Today, I am a little thinner, but a lot fitter – and fit feels good

After a three or four year period where I had just given up dieting (and surprisingly stayed the same large size rather than gaining weight), I made a decision that the time had come to ‘deal’ with it.

What made me so determined.  Are you ready? I wanted to feel sexy and feminine.  Each person will find their own motivator, but this was it for me.

My first step was to make up a mantra.

‘Nothing tastes as good as sexy feels.’

Everytime I looked at a chocolate or eyed up seconds I would repeat it in my head. I shared it with a few people and got varying responses. There were some who said they would go for the chocolate, and there were days I would agree. (and then I ate chocolate, and still do)

The next step was to get an appointment with a dietician.  The tiny lady who saved my life

Seriously!  Both that she is tiny and that she saved my life. Blood tests unearthed two very scary diseases – diabetes and pernicious anaemia.

I have always had this idea that dieticians shouldn’t be too skinny otherwise they might make the fatties feel uncomfortable.  Well my dietician is seriously skinny – but healthy.  You can see it on her face so after my first misgivings I started to listen.

I remember 3 things from that first consultation.

  1. Change only your lunch – nothing else.
  2. Small changes
  3. Have blood tests (including an iron test)

Blood tests unearthed two very scary diseases – diabetes and pernicious anaemia as well as a very low iron count.

I told her my mantra – still not sure what she thought.

The journey towards health started with small changes, primarily my lunch.

She had also said that I couldn’t eat lunch with my work mate.  We had got into a routine of taking turns making a nice lunch.  Which of course normally turned into a silent competition of who can put together the nicest  spread.  Speaking honestly we also rewarded each other with food.

Bad Day = Croissant or a danish

Good Day =  Curley Wurley (a dieters chocolate)

Boring Day = Long lunch with a pudding

You get the picture…..

The first month wasn’t hard.  I changed my lunch and made sure I was eating a protein at every lunch (not the easiest thing for a vegetarian who lived on cheese), and simply kept the goodies for the evening.

When I weighed in a month later I was 9 pounds lighter!!!!!!!!!!!

This was the first step in a long journey which as led to a complete overhaul of my eating habits and of course my path to fitness.

An extra message before I sign off from this post.  Compliment your children and give them a positive body image – I don’t know why I thought I was fat as a child, but after a long while I can look at these childhood pictures and realise that I was pretty and perfect!

Thanks for reading.

Kerry xx

A recipe for friendship

friendship

I am rich!  In friendship.  Over my life I have made some really special friends and what really makes me rich is that I have kept these friends.

Through the teenage years, the turbulent twenties, marriages, separations, children, careers and a move halfway across the world my friendships have survived.  I am really blessed because I am still making friends.

A big shout out and a thank you to communication platforms like Skype and Facebook which make it easy to bridge the gap.

All this got me thinking about what ingredients make a good friendship

Ingredients: (in no particular order)

Positivity

We can’t always be positive, but it does help.  In a friendship this is really important especially when you are listening and being supportive.  We all go through hard times, and when your friend is having a tough time, this is your chance to balance out with some positive vibes, thoughts and actions

Being a giver

This is really big.  Give of yourself, give of your time, and give from your heart.  On my birthday I received a crazy parcel from South Africa.  Lots and lots of little goodies, each with a memory or thought.  It isn’t about value, but it is about thought.  Looking around me now, my friends are reflected in little goodies all around my siting room.

One of my special friends often brings me a tiny gift from a day out, and I do the same in return.  It isn’t about money, it is about thought and making your friend feel special.

Communication

Best case scenario, sitting face to face sharing a cup of tea and a piece of cake.  This isn’t always possible, but in today’s world we have so many extra options open to us.  Facebook, Skype, Email.  Even the old fashioned letter or parcel.  Keep in touch!

Meaningful communication is soul food.

Listening

In every friendship there is a time to talk and a time to listen.  Listening is so very important.  Sometimes all a friend needs is someone to listen, I know I do.  Thoughts jumble around my brain and fall out.  Knowing that they are falling onto ears that care means a huge amount.

Empathy

The first time I heard about the concept of empathy, the whole world made sense to me.  The Greater Good defines empathy like this.  The term “empathy” is used to describe a wide range of experiences. Emotion researchers generally define empathy as the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling.

Loyalty and respect

Loyalty in friendship is essential.  Listen, but don’t speak.  and respect our friends feelings.  Imagine yourself back on the playground and ‘stick-up’ for your friend.  My friends that have stood by me, especially in the last couple of years have made a huge difference in how I have coped with live’s little curve balls.

Honesty – sometimes

Really honesty is good all the time.  You need to have people in your life who will tell you the truth, but with empathy and understanding.  I rely on my friends to tell me if I am badly dressed or not seeing things straight.  It isn’t always easy to hear, but if you are going to hear it let it be from a good friend.

Be there

Such an important one.  True friends are simply there, and especially when it counts.  As you know i have some health issues, and I am so grateful to the friends who have simply been there for me.  Listen to your friend cry.  Be there to celebrate the good times with a sparkling glass of prosecco.  Be there, to enourage them when they are climbing mountains.  I can think of so many occassions when friends of mine have been there for me – those are moments that are treasures.

Share

From a simple meal shared to sharing of your thoughts and moments.  Sharing is a true basic ingredient of friendship.  Like sharing your cookie on the playground, for me it is all about giving of yourself.  Now if you have two people sharing, you have such a cool friendship.

Method:

Listen to your heart, be consistent and yes, you have to work at it.  Schedule calls, send emails, set up tea dates.  Our lives get so busy it is easy enough to let things slip.  A true friend will always be there, even after ages of no communication, but it is so much better to be a good friend, and keep in touch.

This blog post goes out to all my friends. Fabulous Woman who are so special to me.  You know who you are xx

Friendship is so important so please feel free to share!

Kerry xx

My Word of the Year Idea – Balance!

Balance (2)I have always been the type of person to make new year resolutions, and to keep them as much as I can.  At th end of 2011 I decided to upgrade this and choose a word for the year.  A word to change my life, step at a time.  I am proud to say that not only have I kept this up, but I have inspired many people to choose a word a year.  This is going to be a series on my blog as I share my ups and downs and how this little idea has helped shape my life.

Four year’s ago my life was in a dark place, and a little self reflection made me realise that my life was completely out of balance.  Work consumed me,  it even defined my friendships and leisure time.  I realise now that I worked because it was easier to do this than think about the other areas of my life that were not  under my control.

My health was not good.  I knew that I needed to improve my fitness levels, and yet didn’t have sufficient motivation to do anything about it.

This was my first year with a ‘word’ and I had no idea how much it would change my life.

Before I continue, I want to ask you to close your eyes and imagine me at the end of the year, in my walking gear, having returned from a walk and having a staring competition while standing on one leg with my son.  I can’t remember who won, but it lasted for a significant amount of time.  No matter what you read below, and in the rest of the series, I have dealt with it and worked to overcome and be positive in everything.  And yes, there have been bad days and tears, but this is a positive story.

The impact of the word ‘balance’  wasn’t anything dramatic to start with, I simply thought about my word, meditated on in and started to contemplate how I could incorporate more balance into my life.  I was contemplating balance not in the physical way, but more in respect of priorities and emotions.  However, be careful what word you choose.

The first six months there were no huge changes, although I consciously started to put aside time for leisure related activities that were not work related.  I explored new friendships and rekindled old ones.  I stepped up my reading and looked for new interests and started an ongoing fascination with psychology.

My world started to rock when I started marriage counselling early in the year.  It was never really couples counselling as the counsellor quickly realised that the situation required individual counselling.  There is a lot more to tell about that, but I digress.

My doctor at the time always invited me for my birthday blood tests.  An annual reminder to check up a few things.  I have had an underactive thyroid for years and years, as well as some hormone issues, that needed monitoring.  A week later I received a call asking me to come into the surgery urgently.  I had pernicious anaemia.  I had to google the word pernicious – I hadn’t a clue what it meant.  (Not going to go into detail now, but it wasn’t good).  Two weeks later I was told that I had Diabetes.  A month after that I got Shingles in my eye.

All this added to the emotional turmoil set me more off balance than I was to start with.  I was really in a place where I felt as though I had no choices at all.  I couldn’t see a way forward, and I felt myself sinking backwards.

The doctor mentioned walking. I didn’t even own a pair of trainers!  The first day I walked, it was on Spiddal beachfront and I walked with a kind friend who encouraged me and said how well I had done – I think that this was what would now be a 5 minute walk or less!  Looking back it was the start for me.  The start of change and getting balance in my life, in all aspects of my life, including physical.

I have found writing this first post both positive and negative.  I am proud to look back and look at my journey.  I am also excited to consider what lies ahead.  To follow my story, come back and visit my blog.  I hope to put up at least three posts a month about my words.  More on balance, and then change, discipline and create.

Thank you so much for reading.

Kerry x

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