Gym and year so far weight loss review

We did the gym measurements check in early as we didn’t want to skew the stats as I’ll be spending most of next week eating hotel food so after 11 weeks (or technically 10 as I had a week off) and bearing in mind I’ve eaten cake or wagon wheels every day this week I have lost since I joined 2.2 kgs and 5 3/4 inches which I’m pretty chuffed about.
Looking at my nerdy spreadsheet I didn’t start noting inches until I’d lost a stone but in 2018 I’ve lost 26 1/2 pounds (the half’s important) and a minimum of 18 1/2 inches (they included abs and arms which I didn’t). Who knows what it should be but I’m chuffed enough with these figures anyway. So next time I tell myself I’m a rubbish dieter I should probably look back at this post!

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Action for Happiness Optimistic October Days 1-4

I haven’t done any daily blog posts for a while and was planning to do one this month as the Action for happiness calendar is Optimistic October however life has been a bit busy and so the first 4 days are going to have to be crammed into the first blog.

Day 1 was to write down your most important goals for the month. I have the usual; to work on my weight loss and health journey and to start and not get behind on my Open Uni course as this years module starts at the weekend. I also wanted to write something about work. Now I’m in the middle of a big restructure and as I’ve been frustrated in my current role for a while I’ve been doing my usual of wanting to run away and get a new job. Which is a bit daft when you think about it as I’m about to start a new job under the restructure. So my goal then is to do nothing (hard sometimes) and sit and wait to see what happens next. However I have a meeting with my mentor at the end of the month to look at my competencies as while I need to give the changes a chance I don’t want to miss out should an opportunity arise and it’s something I’ve put off for quite a while.

Day 2 was to do something constructive to improve a difficult situation. I started the day off in a bit of a bad mood (again due to work). My response was to simply get my head down and learn what is needed to do to deliver a training course next week. I also made sure that the volunteering and job shadowing opportunities I needed to book were up to date so I ended the day feeling much more positive

Day 3 – think of 3 things that give you hope for the future: I met up with one of my peer group friends from my development course and we talked about development, career opportunities and ways to save money. Plus all the usual catching up over coffee chat. I also know that I now have about 15 months left before I’m debt free. And I’ve been building on all the questioning and talking I’ve done over the year to build new friendships.

So today is Day 4 – Set a goal that links to your sense of purpose in life. This morning I had no idea how to do this one but then I spent the morning in a focus group about women’s networks in my part of the civil service and getting a group of women on board in helping me set one up for my office and it reminded me how much I enjoy moving people forward in life and giving them ways to feel empowered. I have some action points to do which kind of fit in with setting a goal as the goal is to ultimately have a successful network in my office (which holds 2000 people so a big ask).

It’s been quite fun doing it so far. I’ve not enjoyed work much this week, mostly because it’s the first one back after 2 weeks annual leave and I’ve been quite tired plus I’ve had quite a bit of learning to do. I’m ending my working week feeling quite inspired because using these optimistic goals has helped me focus on what really matters and take actions to take my own life forward

September – three quarters review

So we’re three quarters of the way into the year and it’s been quite the rollercoaster. I started it by continuing the daily blog challenge and my resolutions as such were that I wanted to work on my physical health and visibility (although I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted that visibility to be).

Physically – I am amazed by what I have achieved. Currently 26lbs down and walking 10,000 steps most days with 3 half hourly gym sessions per week. As someone essentially idle that’s an amazing achievement and I’m so happy with it. I’ve definitely got the gym bug too. There was a possibility to work away for 3 weeks where there wasn’t a gym franchise and I really worried about what I’d do instead. Even at the beginning of the year I would never have thought this would be my life.

Visibility – if you scroll through the daily posts you’ll see I read a few books on flirting. This, at the time wasn’t with any view to fixing my love life but rather to get back into the habit of conversing with people and making myself well…visible. I’ve found my social anxiety decrease. I don’t place value on a continuing conversation but rather am I getting answers to my questions. I started with that and then built on it. Now I feel like I can chat to most people.

However, as good as some of this was, I forgot to look after my mental health and actually went backwards on this. I was struggling with money & health issues (despite the lifestyle changes) and most of my friends either had moved elsewhere or were not in a position to go out and about and do things. I ended up isolating myself and cutting myself off from people. I found my anxiety increase at the thought of spending time with certain groups of friends. Everything came to a head with a series of panic attacks after getting an all clear for my health and I started a 6 week counselling programme.

This was quite interesting in that as well as tackling what caused the issues in 2018 we looked back my childhood, and a breakdown in 1994 where I didn’t get the support. We looked at how I have a tendency to dwell on negative comments and viewpoints from a long time ago and ignore the positives that I get now. This is something that will probably be an on-going thing to work on.

It did me the world of good and over the last few weeks I’ve really started to feel my old self again. This is something else we worked on; who is my ‘old self’. I’ve talked in other blogs about the breakdowns. In 1994, having no support I stopped being myself and started being the person others thought I should be or reacting to their comments on such a thing. After 2010 I went back to being the person I wanted to be, full of wonderment and the desire to explore and not afraid to have opinions. I could be nice but I could be bitchy now and again. I wasn’t perfect but I had balance.

After the 2015 one I lost that balance. I was spending a lot of time with a spiritual crowd and did what I’d done before; I lost myself and became what I thought others expected of me, pushing away anything about me that may be negative. It’s very exhausting being good and nice all the time! You need that balance.

I think I’ve got my balance right and I’ve stopped caring if people don’t like me or my opinions. I like me and that’s the most important thing.

I’ve even embraced the idea of dating again. I joined a couple of apps. So far no dates (my choice).  I’ve been chatting and putting that conversational and flirting experience into use and I’m sure I’ll find someone that I connect with soon. I’m actually quite happy making connections and seeing where life leads me. I’m not looking for the next big romance so there’s no pressures. Whatever happens will happen. I read a Susan Jeffers book recently that said instead of thinking ‘I hope’ change it to ‘I wonder’. So instead of ‘I hope some guy likes me’, it’s ‘I wonder what will happen if we make a match’. It’s quite a liberating way to look at things.

Like I said at the beginning; life’s been a rollercoaster but it seems to have stopped doing the loop-de-loops and dives. I wonder what the rest of the year will bring.

Budgeting Success

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll know I have debt issues and am trying to work out the best way to budget for myself.  I have a debt repayment plan and my household bills and food budget is always covered but I rarely make it from one month to the next without having to borrow  or swap money around.

I tried keeping all my spare cash in a tub and just taking as i needed it – didn’t work.

I tried dividing into weeks and only using a weekly allowance – didn’t work.

So this month I tried in days. I had so much per day and that had to cover treats like a cafe drink plus the usual bread and milk. Anything left at the end of the day went in the tub. If needed I could use the tub money and mostly I did. It went on food.

And yesterday at the end of the month I had £1 left over. One whole pound. If you’ve never had money problems you may not understand how proud I am of that little pound. I’d had 2 birthdays (mine and my sons) I’d had a week off work and a trip to NOrth Yorkshire. I even went to the cinema. And I never had to borrow. I didn’t have to juggle money at the end of the month.

I made conscious decisions every day. On my week off I rounded the money into the whole week with the thought that I’d need more on the day trip but less whilst at home. The rest of the time I asked myself constantly if I needed to spend. That £1 is now in a savings tin. I have one of those where the only way to open it is with a can opener.

It stops me taking cash out and overspending. This is what I used to do when I had depressive days and how I ended up in trouble. I tried it last year with just loose change and the result was £90 saved in 2017. However because I was still struggling with the budgeting it didn’t last long. I intend to leave as long as possible this time and either use it for Xmas gifts or if I can avoid that save for something nice.

I can’t say it’s a perfect plan as it’s only been one month. I’m going to try it again and see what successes I can achieve in July

Loving yourself in style

I’ve just finished a book called Loving Yourself in Style by Shabana Feroze. It’s made me think yet again how depression, anxiety and debt have taken away a lot of what used to make me…me and leave a bit of a shell in it’s place.

There’s quite a bit of information despite being a small book. One section in there is about style. I used to have quite defined style; as a teenager it was all about the bands that I loved and being a rock chick with a bit of 1950’s thrown in. Then as I aged it became a mix of rock chick with 1940’s and 50’s. I love those eras; the music and the styles.

I lost a lot of this when I had my breakdown in 2010. I put on loads of weight and didn’t feel the confidence to wear the clothes I loved. Instead I ended up wearing smart work clothes and jeans/Tee’s day wear. Casual, comfortable and reeking of invisibility.

When reading the book my first thoughts were to shout ‘But I can’t afford it’, my life is on hold until 2020 when the debts are cleared and my money is my own again.

Are you tired of seeing posts where I say this? I’m annoying myself with it. A later chapter though talks about money and starting small. Ok I can’t go out and buy a whole new wardrobe or pay for events to meet like minded people. However I can try and put a few pounds away each month to be able to afford something form ebay or a vintage shop. I can still listen to the music which I have been doing all weekend). I also found a cafe nearby that is based around 50’s rock n’roll that put on special nights for £3. These are things I can do while I work towards my debt free goal.

I was speaking to a friend about restarting her life this week as a series of baby steps and it’s something I need to take on board myself. We discovered one cinema has halved it’s ticket prices and with a 2 for 1 offer on Wednesdays we can see movies for £2.50 each. Another way to have a little bit of a life for little costs.

The answers are out there if you fight the negative brain talk and look around to see what is out there. So I’m going to try and embrace life (within it’s financial constraints) and remember how to have  little fun and rediscover a style that makes my heart sing

365 Day Blog challenge Day 185 Let’s Do This #365daychallenge

Let’s Do This…..

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve said that this month.

‘I need to reduce my sugar intake again; Let’s do this’

‘I need to walk more; Let’s do this’

‘I need to restart my moisturising regime; Let’s do this’

And yet I haven’t done any of it. I really seem, after the brilliant start I had to this year to have lost motivation. I think about what I need to do then I’m not actually doing it.

I’m definitely at that self sabotage stage. I’m 2lbs off my next target and I know from past behaviour that when I get to significant targets I end up unconsciously putting up barriers to achieving this. I wrote some posts at the beginning of the year about the need to be invisible and that some of the sabotage was linked to this but I’ve taken lots of steps since then to combat that. I definitely think more about achieving goals than ever before.

One positive point this time is I am aware that I’m doing it. I’ve managed my inner battles with anxiety and self esteem to the point where my weight has stayed steady at the lower end rather than me gaining all over again so that is a huge plus point for this year. And another one; despite an increase in sugar I still haven’t had any chocolate so that is definitely one battle won.

I just need to work out that trigger to get me moving again.

I’ve had very little sugar this week but I have overcompensated with bread so I need to look at alternatives for boredom eating. Toast is not the answer J

I’m shopping at the weekend so will stock up on fruit and sugar-free jelly.

It’s a bank holiday and I have some walking plans. I still have those 5 minute exercise routines saved on my sky+ box but I have a tendency to forget they are there. I may have to set a reminder on my phone until it becomes habit to do it.

I’ve developed some good habits this year and got rid of some bad ones so I know it’s possible to do this. I also know from experience now that for all the messing about once I achieve the mini-targets the motivation comes back to go further and get at least ¾ of the way to the next one. I just need to find my missing mojo.

I will keep pushing on through and congratulating myself on achievements – being stuck now doesn’t negate the hard work and success that I already have

So again – Let’s Do This 🙂