Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Feeling big...

Anyone who's ever been uncomfortable with their weight can probably relate to this feeling - the niggling worry that you look big in that photo, that you're too big to do this/wear this/act a certain way. The idea that someone, or everyone, is making fun of you when you're shopping in the supermarket "ha! A trolley full of fruit - who does she think she's kidding?" or out for a meal "look at that pig, shoveling all that shit down her throat".

I've always been 'bigger', in terms of weight, height and boobs when I was at school (yay, I hit puberty earlier then everyone else, cue social awkwardness from the age of 11 - 14) and never felt feminine. I actively rejected the feminine label when I was very young - 12 and under, declaring myself a tomboy, saying I was allergic to the colour pink and refusing to wear anything other than trousers which drove my poor mum insane.

When I grew up a bit at secondary school I was more relaxed about the whole girly thing, I wore dresses and skirts but wasn't very comfortable in myself and was in a group of friends who would pick up on EVERY detail and everyone had to follow the fashion trends, wear certain things, have their hair a certain way or they'd be picked on or kicked out of the group.

I always felt like the fat one (and, in my friend group, I definitely was) and the fat insult would always be used in any argument I had with friends, although quickly retracted when we made up of course. I went through years of self-loathing and gained further weight when I left home as I had control over what I could eat and ate through a lot of guilt and more self-loathing.

Now that I've lost 60+lbs that feeling still remains, although lessened, and I am constantly looking at other women and trying to work out if that's how I look to other people - I am extremely unsure of what clothing size I am, no matter how many size 10s that I try on and fit, and even more unsure of how other people perceive me. This is partly to do with the large weight loss but it's more to do with what's going on inside my head, I don't know myself entirely and I find it incredibly difficult to see the difference between how I now look and how I looked before (one of the reasons that I post several before/after photos as when they're next to each other the difference is undeniable).

I don't really know what the answer is but all I do know is that I'm still very anxious about being the fat one and about people thinking that I'm bigger and pitying or dismissing me as a result. I guess it's confidence more than anything that I need to work on - much more difficult than the physical diet and exercise side of weight loss but still needs to be addressed.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Whole30 experience

At the start of last month I'd hit a bit of a plateau and felt a bit stuck at 160lbs so when I saw Norma talking about starting up a group of Whole30-ers I thought I'd join in, I started on the 26th of April, a bit earlier than everyone else, as I wanted to be finished well before my 5 year anniversary with my boyfriend on the 29th of March as we're more than likely to drink and eat things outside of the Whole30 rules.

Left me in January '13 around 175lbs, right me in June '12 when I'd just started losing weight around 200lbs
Up until this point I'd used Myfitnesspal as my main weight loss tool as I tracked food and exercise on there (ignoring the exercise calories) and had lost over 50lbs with the use of MFP so the idea of being able to eat anything within certain parameters without tracking was a bit scary but as I was nearing my goal of 147lbs I thought I'd go for it.

Starting stats -

160lbs (11st 6lbs)
Waist - 26 1/2"
Belly button - 32"
Hips - 40 1/2"
Thighs - 23"
Arms - 13"

Ending stats -
149.4lbs (10st 9.4lbs)
Waist - 25"
Belly button - 30"
Hips - 38"
Thighs - 22"
Arms - 12"

I've also lost 3% body fat over this period! The only reason I'm not posting the starting and ending numbers is because my scale measures them so is probably inaccurate but is consistently innacurate so I know the difference is right even if the original numbers aren't.

Left, post-Whole30 about 150lbs right start weight 210lbs

It's safe to say that I'm so pleased with the results of the Whole30! I originally planned to stick to the no scale rule but caved pretty quickly and stuck to all of the eating rules (bar 3 occasions which I'll mention) which, in my mind, were the most important. I'm a little frustrated that I'm still losing from my waist as I feel as though that area is near enough where I want it to be, especially in comparison with my legs, but the extra definition that came with eating this way is great. Although I can't really complain about that as carrying fat around your abdomen is the most dangerous health-wise, I'm just vain.

It has been difficult at times and if you're thinking of taking this on you need to be prepared, for example one day the chicken I'd got out to defrost for lunch was off and I had to rush out to get something. What I really fancied was a chicken sandwich but, obviously, that wouldn't be compliant so I dutifully looked through the cooked meats section to no avail and finally got myself a tin of tuna and an avocado and that was lunch.

As I said, there were three times when I deviated from the Whole30 plan (other than eating green peas which I didn't realise weren't Whole30!) one was eating chorizo with a meal which had added sugar and nitrates which my stomach really didn't like, the second was drinking some hazelnut milk I'd bought which I assumed was unsweetened but it had added sugars and soy lecithin but my stomach was ok with that and lastly was a 9bar I ate while sitting in A&E because I managed to cut through my thumb (the picture is of it 2 days afterwards, I cut right through the nail as well as the back of my thumb which is the white bit that's started to heal)

The most difficulty I had was getting enough fats into my meals so I made my own mayonnaise which was seriously delicious and I also bought some almond butter which was incredibly good but so expensive so decided to make my own, much cheaper and just as good. I think I'll be sticking with almond butter after Whole30 with occasional peanut butter as I've never been a huge fan of PB anyway.

Benefits other than weight loss that I've noticed through the process have been -
1) GREAT sleep! - this one I wasn't expecting as I've not really had trouble sleeping but I found it so much easier to get to sleep and stay asleep.

2) More awake in the mornings - rather than the huge energy bursts others have spoken about which I didn't experience (which I think may be down due to the lack of fats in my meals) I experienced less grogginess in the mornings and I found it easier to convince myself to get out of bed.

3) Skin improvements - for the past two years I've suffered quite badly with acne and scarring although in recent months it's started to improve but on the Whole30 it's been so much better than any time in the past two years, I even went out twice without any foundation on and felt ok about it. I've got a feeling this is a result of being dairy free so I will definitely be experimenting with that and probably massively restricting my dairy intake.

Both photos without make-up left post-Whole30, right pre-Whole30

4) Hungry in the mornings - this isn't necessarily a benefit but I've always been one of those people who can't face food in the morning (but needs to because if I don't eat it I get hugely hungry by mid morning when I can't eat and consequently overeat at lunch) so feeling hungry in the morning has forced me to eat, although I think in future I'll be having oats alongside my banana and nut butter to up the calories.

5) Less stress - through my weight loss I've been tracking with myfitnesspal which I will definitely still continue to do once I'm off Whole30 as I think it's important for me but it was really good to have a brief break and not to have to sit there and type everything I eat in.

6) Few cravings - although towards the beginning I was feeling a bit sorry for myself for being unable to eat xyz, by probably two weeks into the Whole30 I wasn't too fussed and was, instead, genuinely enjoying my meals.

7) Muscle definition - this is obviously a combination of the great eating I've been doing due to Whole30 restrictions and lifting weights but seriously, I  have shoulders and the beginning of abs!!

During the Whole30 I also went shopping (well, window shopping, I had no intention of buying anything regardless of how much I may have wanted to - money is TIGHT) to find out my true size. I was ecstatic that most of what I tried on was a UK 10 (US 6) and I even fitted into a UK 6 dress! (US 2) It was a complete fluke as it was stretchy, but still it was such a confidence boost to look at clothes thinking they'd be way too small and trying them on to see a perfect/slightly big fit.

Moving on from Whole30, as I've said I'm planning to continue to limit dairy (I've already been drinking homemade hazelnut milk - delicious) but I will be reintroducing grains like rice and bread into my meals but will probably have a smaller serving alongside a larger serving of vegetables as this has really helped me to stay full.


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Catch up

We have finally been able to get ourselves a new computer so I can finally let you all know how I'm doing instead of simply commenting/lurking on your blogs!

I weighed in today and....

I've now reached the 50lb mark! I'm aiming to lose 10 - 15lbs more (I've got a thing for multiples of five, just makes it sound cleaner!) But I'm not quite sure where exactly I want to be, it's more about how I look than what I weigh so I'll just have to wait and see where I get to.

I weighed in at 160.8 lbs and am now firmly in the healthy BMI category, I never believed that I would actually get here but I have and I think I need to focus on smaller goals rather than 'Oh, you need to lose 65lbs, get on with it' because you can sometimes end up getting bogged down in the enormity of the task ahead of you.

My eating has been pretty on track recently but think I need to get my vegetable count up - I find it difficult because there are so few that I enjoy but I've just got to suck it up and sort it out. I've been getting a decent amount of water in and drinking several fruit teas a day which always helps. Exercise has been ACE, I've adapted a body weight routine posted by Norma (she posted it with the tagline - you'll never do this, I've always been someone who is more set on doing something I want to if someone tells me I won't/can't, sucker for punishment, clearly). It includes sets of push ups (which I SUCK at and seriously need to work on),squats, lunges, mountain climbers, planks, abs (reverse crunches, crunches etc - I don't know the names of the others), bicep curls, hammer curls and squat jumps. Just got to stick at it and find a way to get some decent cardio in.

Also I've been looking at some of my stats compared to the 6th January (when I weighed in after the Christmas period) at which point my body fat % was an abysmal 31% whereas now it's at an okay-ish 26% which I'm quite pleased with but definitely want to improve. I've taken some comparison pictures to compare with the post I wrote for a competition at the end of January to show the change 2 months on.

I think you can tell that my stomach's flattened out and my arms have slimmed a bit but the biggest difference is probably my hips/bum which remain much bigger than the rest of me but look a fair bit smaller than the pictures from January! (Excuse the typical arm tensed picture, I just had to haha!)

So, yeah, that's about it from me! I'm still sticking at it and improving myself as much as possible, looking back at the way I used to eat it's hard to believe I wasn't physically sick as a result of all the crap but hey ho, I've learned from it and moved on to better things! Hope you're all well.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Hello! Sorry for my absence, my laptop has finally given up on me so I thought I'd update you all whilst I'm visiting my parents and have access to a computer. If you've ever tried to write a post on your phone you'll understand why! Weight loss is still going well, I'm officially in the 11 stones now and am feeling really good about myself for a change. I'm off shopping with my mum at some point this week and am so looking forward to getting some clothes that fit me! Anyway, just a quick update, hope everyone's well!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

"Get Fit, Feel Epic"

So, onto the post, how have I changed in an effort to "Get Fit, Feel Epic" and what caused me to change?

After battling with my doctor in January 2012 to be issued with another set of birth control pills I realised that it was time that I started to do something about my weight (if your BMI is within the obese zone you're not supposed to be issued the pills I take as it can increase your risk of blood clots which is considerably worse if you're obese). At that time I weighed 14 stone 10 lbs and, at the height of 5'8", I was firmly placed into the obese category with a BMI of 31.32, as I sit here today I'm now 12 stone 2 lbs (I imagine +2lbs if I were weighed at the doctors due to wearing clothes haha!) with a BMI of 25.85, putting me just into the overweight category.

Throughout my years at school I was self-abusive in a number of ways, I won't go into details but one of the ways I abused myself was to restrict food. I was within a group of friends who were extremely concerned about looks and, to be frank, I was the biggest one within my friend group and was made to feel as though/felt as though I wasn't worthy of being friends with them. This led to extreme restriction of food - I normally wouldn't eat anything other than my main meal at home (so that my parents wouldn't realise) and anything other than that which I ate tended to be junk. This also caused me to binge massively when I couldn't cope with the feelings of hunger any longer and, again, would inevitably be junk like crisps, chocolate and sweets.

After leaving home at 16 similar feelings of not being worthy combined with guilt meant that I revisited this behaviour, particularly as I had complete control over my food for the first time, meaning that I went extremely overboard and put weight on, on top of what I wanted to lose. I never weighed myself whilst at school but I'd guess that I was around 13 stone then so put on nearly 2 stone through my periods of extreme binging.

I quickly came to realise a few months after my appointment in January when questioning how I got to be so heavy (after the initial period of denial) that there were many mental issues which I needed to address - I needed to learn to cope with the guilt associated with leaving home, begin to value myself as a person and do more things which made me happy as these would all be part of the process towards better health and, ultimately, a better body.

So, how have I acheived my weight loss so far? As I mentioned above I essentially learned how to be selfish and make more time for myself in order to improve my mental state - I started taking care of my appearance more by introducing something which resembles a skin care routine which helped, alongside a better diet, to clear up acne which had developed and had really got me down. I made time to read books, watch films and I began to get involved in the blogging community as a means of keeping myself accountable and to create an outlet for my thoughts.

I rid my apartment of all of my typical binge foods (big packs of sweets like Maltesers, biscuits, ice cream, 'sharing' bags of crisps) - I have only eaten ice cream once (on my birthday) since July 2012 at least - got myself an exercise mat and some hand weights, as well as Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred and Davina's Ultimate Target as I don't have enough money for a gym membership, nor is there anywhere suitable for me to run as I live in the middle of a city. Initially I found it extremely difficult to motivate myself to exercise but I've found that getting up an hour earlier in the morning and just getting it done works best for me, once I get home from college I just want to relax or have numerous other errands to run!

I've cleaned up my diet substantially and always eat three meals a day, I cannot stress enough how important this is - even if you just have a banana for breakfast because that's all you can manage have it. You won't get the same cravings for sugary/salty foods when you have a full stomach. That's one of the main things I've learned - food isn't the enemy - bad food is. This isn't to say that I never have any foods which aren't healthy, I often have dark chocolate and occasionally crisps, but I don't have all of the foods I enjoy every week (or every day!) any more and I still feel as though I couldn't trust myself with ice cream in the freezer. I can, however, trust myself with a packet of biscuits in the cupboard - so I've learned how to discipline myself and, in doing so, eat in a much healthier way.

I feel as though I should also mention the fact that I've done this on an extremely tight budget - myself and my partner are currently supporting ourselves through benefits and a portion of the money that the government deems you require to live is going towards our rent as housing benefit doesn't cover it entirely (even though we live in a one bedroom flat in one of the cheapest cities to live in). I can't stress enough that losing weight is possible, even with a limited budget - if you've got a computer there are plenty of sites you can access which can help you to know what is truly healthy and what isn't, as well as several good exercise routines which require nothing more than yourself on YouTube. It is important, however, if you're on a limited budget to shop around. My partner and I set ourselves a budget of £50 a week to be spent on food and other household essentials which we take out in cash at the start of the week and don't go over unless it's a complete emergency, clearly this means that we have to be careful where we shop. Generally we shop in Aldi for general essentials, including fruit and veg and often meat now that we've discovered their prices are fairly reasonable but we always check the reduced section in Tesco where there are some really good deals too!

As a result of these changes I feel so much more confident in myself, I still have weight to lose as my goal is 10 stone 7 lbs (although I'm more focused on how I look than my actual weight), but rather than noticing all of the things I want to change I often find myself looking at certain parts of myself and thinking - do you know what, well done. It has improved my relationship with my partner, my family and my friends and although I'm aware that there are still some parts of my mentality which need working on, I am a much healthier person all round than I was at this point last year. Although I may not be 'there' yet I'm still so pleased with the progress because at the end of the day this (which I'm extremely nervous about posting - and yes I am sweaty from working out - but, here we go)...

Is a lot better than this...


Monday, 21 January 2013

Workout done

First day of my new routine went well, I had to adjust it more than I would've liked as I don't own a bench which I would've needed for incline presses and flys. I lifted just over 6kg for the main moves but lowered to about 3.5kg for tricep kickbacks and dumbbell extensions.

My workout ended up looking like this -
dumbell floor press 4 sets (12,10,10,8), dumbbell skullcrusher 3 sets of 12, dumbbell tricep kickback 3 sets of 12, one arm seated dumbbell extensions 3 sets (10,8,8), squats with bicep curls 3 sets of 6.

It took me around an hour but I think it went quite well, I pushed myself and managed to also get some leg work in so all in all a good workout, now to shower and then get myself something to eat and on with the rest of the day which will inevitably involve a trip to Tesco (boo). 

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Change of plan

So far I've stayed pretty much the same weight wise this week, however, I feel like I need a change of routine - my diet is pretty good at the moment but I sometimes find myself struggling to reach my 1400 calorie goal right now and have been feeling quite heavy and bloated. I'm not quite sure why but I know that I definitely need to up my exercise and am going to be beginning this plan tomorrow (with some modifications/replacements for movements that need a bench), doing my DVD workout on the rest days and leaving my weekend free. I found the plan on this site if anyone's interested, there seem to be a few good forums on there too so I'd say it's worth a look.

Monday - Chest and Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 12,10,10,8
Dumbbell Bench Press 4 12,10,10,8
Dumbbell Flys 3 12
Dumbbell Skullcrusher 3 12
Dumbbell Tricep Kickback 3 12
One Arm Seated Dumbbell Extension 3 12
Tuesday - Rest Day
Wednesday - Back and Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
One Arm Dumbbell Row 5 12,10,10,8,6
Bent Over Dumbbell Row 5 12,10,10,8,6
Dumbbell Pullover 2 12,10
Incline Dumbbell Curl 3 10
Standing Dumbbell Curl 3 10
Cross Body Hammer Curl 2 10
Thursday - Rest Day
Friday - Legs and Shoulders
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Lunge 4 12,10,10,8
Dumbbell Step Up 3 12
Dumbbell Squat 4 12,10,10,8
Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 4 12,10,10,8
Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise 2 15,12
Dumbbell Standing Calf Raise 2 12,10
Standing Dumbbell Press 4 12,10,10,8
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 12,10,10
Bent Over Dumbbell Reverse Fly 3 12,10,10
Dumbbell Shrug 4 12,10,10,8

What I'm wondering is whether I should try upping my calories as a result of this? I'm already struggling to reach them but I'm sure I could add in a protein shake/bar as well as adding some more elements to my meals in order to achieve this. Any advice would be really appreciated, I'm going to stick to this exercise routine for 4 weeks and document the results - fortunately I have dumbbells already so that's not an issue as this workout can be modified so that they're all this workout requires. I'm going to begin on 9kg (around 20lb) and increase or lower the weights accordingly.

So, a bit of a disappointing week but an action plan ready and waiting! Any advice on my calorie intake would be great as I'm quite unsure of what to do.