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.

Listening to your inner voice

I’ve spent the last few weeks paying real close attention to myself and my anxiety. I started back with the counsellor 2 weeks ago and we’ve been working on ‘inner voices’, what mine is saying and making note of it to reflect and work on.

It’s worked really well and I’ve learnt quite a bit about myself and generally been able to discuss it and start working on letting it go. Up until yesterday my anxiety has been low and I’ve felt quite happy with my progress.

Yesterday my anxiety levels started going up and I couldn’t quite work out at first why. There didn’t seem to be a particular trigger. So I’ve been listening to my inner voice. (I really should name her)

And what my voice is telling me is I’m tired.

On Monday (it’s Thursday now) I travelled to London for an all day meeting on Tuesday. I didn’t get check into my hotel until 7 and I never sleep well in hotels. It also meant I couldn’t eat as well as I’d like. As much as I’d like to once you’ve checked into a hotel and it’s getting close to 8pm you just want to go to the first restaurant you find to eat rather than spend an hour walking around to find the best fit. My colleague will only eat in a Nando’s when she works away. I never seem to have the energy to go searching.

All of this means my diet went out of the window. It’s not the calories and weight loss but rather I’ve been eating quite cleanly and with low carbs and you just don’t know half the time what is going into the cooking. I ended up with chicken and chips and some sauce. It was a restaurant based sauce (not ketchup!) so I don’t know the ingredients and I didn’t have the energy to ask.

Tuesdays meeting was eventful as there’s been a terror related car crash that morning which was on my route to work. Then we were evacuated for over 30 minutes because of a bomb threat (I’m a civil servant and my office when in London houses many senior leaders). While I was anxious about that it does mean you have a higher level of alertness and are less likely to stroll around enjoying your day.

Two days on and I’m still feeling over-tired, my diet hasn’t righted itself quite (I’ve gained a pound as well) and despite having completed my 10k steps a day I don’t feel like I’ve moved around and exercised enough and I’m anxious. So the anxiety this week is the inner voice coming out telling me I need to exercise, get out at lunchtime (I haven’t all week) and go for a walk and to eat better.

I’ve started this morning by making sure I’ve brought my own lunch. Originally I had back to back conference calls from 9 until 3pm (not healthy) but as the 12pm one has been cancelled I’m going to go outside and get some fresh air (even if it is raining on and off) and hopefully the anxious feelings will start to settle.

Eat well, move about more and sleep well. Simple things but sometimes we just don’t do these enough.

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

World Cup Fever

First you may have noticed the daily post challenge stopped. I woke up one day and thought ‘no’ I don’t want to do it anymore. I felt like I was repeating myself a lot. I’m a big believer that if something isn’t making you happy or giving you what you want to stop it so I did.

I haven’t missed it and up until now I haven;t really thought about anything to write. And now I have 2 things! I’ll write the other one in a few days as I want to give it more thought.

So World Cup! I’ve been reading whilst the Russia v Egypt game is on and having a  bit of a think. It’s also my birthday today which always gives me a day of reflection. As a young girl I loved football. I supported my home team (Leeds) and one I thought at the time was glamorous (Spurs) and then the national side England. I only ever went to one or two games but I went to a few championship ceremonies – the ones where teams get to ride the bus through the streets. I could even explain the offside rule! (sort of)

Then as with so many things once  developed depression it all disappeared. This happened with so many things and I always thought they’d never come back. Some things did, some are obviously taking a lot of time 🙂

I watched the odd game but then along comes 2018 world cup. So far I’m on my 4th game. That’s probably 4 more than the last 4 years in total. Quite often I’ve found it makes for good background noise while I read but I have enjoyed it being on. Plus it’s been quite fun to see what I remember.

Another nice side effect are the conversations with my son. He’s autistic and until he was around 5 was non-verbal. Even now he’s not big on conversation but he works in football as an analyst so this is his world. We’ve had some lovely little football related chats.

Actually while typing this I got distracted by a post about trampolining – something else I excelled at as a youth that I then forgot about as an adult but would love to start doing again (I swear I can’t wait for this debt plan to be over, there are so many things I want to do)

It’s nice when you can bond with people. I’ve had the chats with my son which were more technical and the chats with a few people online that were more aesthetic. It’s all fun whichever way you look at it.

So come on England (but also come on Iran as I have them in the office sweepstake!)