Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Weight Watchers V Slimming World

I'm sure I've had this debate many times before but I'm going to have it again.

Weight Watchers V Slimming World.

I've done both - With Weight watchers I lost 6 stone, was 5 lbs from goal. Fell in love, got complacent had a sh*t year, put 4 back on. Slimming World, I've lost 6lbs in 8 weeks.

Weight watchers pros and cons

* I know the plan
* It's worked previously
* I will always love weight watchers
* Flexibility between points & filling and healthy.
* Easier to follow with random nights /meals out - weekly points

* Meetings may be more tricky now I am back at work full time
*Will I get complacent again

Slimming World pros and cons

* It's lifestyle friendly
* Jon prefers the recipes - living with him it is vital he supports the plan I follow
* Meetings are more accessible
* I like the shiney certificates & stickers

* I've only lost 6lbs in 8 weeks.
* When I go out I go completely off plan as I feel I can't stick to it


To be honest I'm really struggling so much with weight loss at the moment, I can't put my finger on it. But I know I need motivation back. I had a massive heart to heart with Jon last night and he pointed out how when we first got together I was going to the gym 3/4 times a week, running 3/4 times a week and eating healthily - even when we went out and was losing weight. Now I don't run, I go to the gym, I don't eat as well as I should. I can't completely blame my depression and what I've been through the last year - there is only so many times I can use that as an excuse. I have to remember my end goal, remember how well I feel when I am 100% on plan and lose weight, remember that motivation I had - I lost 6 stone I must have it in me some where!

I've done it before, I can do it again, I just need to find what is going to work for me at the time in my life. Give it my 100% attention and believe that I can do it.

Please if you have an advice for finding my mojo again please pass on your words of wisdom.
Motivation
xxx

Surgery.

For as long as I can remember I have whole heartedly been against gastric surgery. Why? I've always seen it as the easy way out, the quick fix. But do I think this because this is what society is "taught" to think. I've never previously done any research into gastric surgery - just quick to assume. The same with such "soup and shake" diets as I often refer to them, I have fond memories of being in university and the girls I lived with used to mute the TV when Jenny Craig or other adverts came on because I would get on my soap box about it.

My mum has always said she want gastric band, I have always bottom line said a big fat NO. So when a recent visit to the doctors started this process of gastric surgery it was all happening a bit to quick for me to come to terms with. How do you accept something that you have always, always, been against. But why am I against it? Perhaps it is jealousy that I work hard day in day out to see the scales go down when it is often portrayed that gastric surgery is the quick fix - something I now know it is not. Stigma - there is, like with everything stigma against gastric surgery - people seen as lazy, that it is there own fault - I don't want that stigma for my mum. I know how much this surgery means to her, how excited she is about it - and like she has been there for every decision I have made, I have to be there for her too.

This post was sparked by an article I read online about how a woman had lost so much weight with the quote "wants people to help lose weight the healthy way, not cheat with gastric band". Previously I would have skimmed over this article, but I read it. It angered me. In no way is a gastric band cheating. It is often the last resort, when people are at a weight that they would benefit from drastic weight loss in a short space of time - for health reasons it is the option. Often not accessible to some people on the NHS as there are certain criteria to fill such as not being able to work, not getting out of bed, and being on benefits as well as a long list of other boxes to tick. So basically if you are fat but you can get off your bum and go to work the NHS won't help you. Yes the NHS offer referral schemes to things such as slimming world and weight watchers but they don't work for everyone. The debate about gastric surgery being unhealthy is something I have learnt in the last few weeks is a load of rubbish. The team that you see make sure pre surgery you are as healthy as you can be, giving you a diet plan to follow to ensure minimal risks of complications, and post surgery you see dietitians to ensure you are still getting all the healthy stuff our bodies need you are getting.

Having done quite extensive research recently into gastric surgery I have in fact realised it is not the easy way out. There is so much more to than just having surgery and eating smaller portions afterwards. There is the psychological element. When you've been large and eating what you want all your life, to then go to having to eat liquidized food for a while & much smaller portions to never being able to eat what you want has got to be hard - mentally. I know I couldn't do it.

The surgery part scares me - but it's done through keyhole surgery, and the consultants have all said there is minimal risk so fingers crossed everything will go smoothly.

It has taken me a few weeks to get to this point, of accepting gastric surgery. But what it comes down to at the end of the day is life and death. It sounds harsh, and when someone first said that I had to accept mums decision because it was the choice of having her around for 20 years or 40 years I cried. I knew it was true. But it's so hard to come to terms with. But I have. I have to. I know that mum wants this more than anything and is so excited about it - I'm now excited for her too, for her to begin her new life after the surgery.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Side effects

My first few weeks on slimming world went really well - in my first 2 weeks I lost half a stone, my motivation was still there but I was struggling, I had an unexpected gain and for a day or two I went into self destruct mode but clawed it back with a 1lb loss.

This week I maintained, which yes I know is better than a gain but it's frustrating really frustrating. And it got me thinking. One of the side effects of my anti depressants is constipation, I'm managing that at the moment with the help of my doctor but doing some further reading last night another "very common" side effect is weight gain.

This week apart from Friday night I have been super good and actually felt like I had lost weight - I really should measure my inches as I should practise what I preach when I say take your measurements as the number on the scale isn't everything!

I'm not looking for excuses as to why I'm struggling, I'm looking more for answers and how I can combat things that are against me. But I guess the tablets could be one of them. I'm not ready to come off the tablets just yet so I've got to find a way around it. 

Have any of you struggled with side effects of tablets and have some methods that could help? I would love to have some different things I could try. 

Xx

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Bad Days - The root cause.

We all have bad days, and we have good days. The thing about these days is we cannot plan for them, when we get up each morning we don't have a crystal ball that tells us what the days events will be so we can plan accordingly - if only!

What we can do, is recognise when a day isn't going as well and put coping mechanisms into place. I find this tough. Really tough. Not the coping mechanisms bit but recognizing when a day is going down hill.

This weekend was the first weekend I had been alone since my melt down, Jon was going away Saturday afternoon to Monday. I was OK with this, I'd planned things to do, to have some me time. And the weekend started well - I didn't cry when Jon left which I was really proud of!

Monday came around a lot quicker than I thought, and first thing I was OK, I was excited to see Jon. Yes I know it had only been 2 nights but when I'm used to seeing him every day it was tough! I went to do the food shop - probably a bad idea, I'd walked there as Jon had my car - it's a mile or so there which would have been fine had it not been hammering it down with rain & the fact I brought our weekly shop and thought I was invincible and could carry it all home. I couldn't. To me that was that I'd failed, I got half way looking like a drowned rat and gave in and got a cab.

Jon then got stuck in horrendous traffic on the M5 so a 1.5 hour journey turned into a 4 hour journey which made me anxious that we weren't going to be able to spend the afternoon together.

I bailed on my gym class, wrong I know as it would have helped me feel a bit better - one of my coping mechanisms is exercise - happy endorphin's and all that jazz! 9pm came round and I broke down. I'd been a complete b*tch to Jon since he had got home. And why? Because I'd been on my own all afternoon? Because he got stuck in traffic? Because I'd eaten crap all weekend? These are all things I blamed - the thing with depression is it is so hard to pinpoint what causes a bad day.

One thing I hate about depression, is that by not identifying the root cause of my bad days I take it out on the people I love most. Yet they still stand by me, and for that I cannot be grateful enough. If it wasn't for the love and support of my mum, Jon and my friends these last few weeks I can guarantee that I would not be where I am today.

So lying in bed reflecting, it hit me that I had never looked at a day and thought what was the root cause for that day turning bad. Subconsciously and what I finally admitted to Jon is that I was bricking it about going to work for my first 9 hour day, I had struggled so much when I did a 5 hour day! So how on earth was I going to get through a 9 hour day?!

Tuesday was a new day, I wasn't going to let the fact that Monday wasn't great ruin Tuesday. I got through the day at work -  although I am cream crackered today! But I did it.

From now on when I know a day isn't going too well I am going to take 5 minutes to sit and think of the root cause and that way I will have a better chance of turning it around.

Something I would say to you, whether it's to do with depression, weight loss is don't let one bad day ruin your week. It's not worth it and you can do it. Each day is a new day.

Lifehack - Don't try to overhaul your life overnight  #Change, #GiveUp, #Life

xx

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Finding my running mojo!

Running was something I started on my weight loss journey to help me lose weight, I began to love it and started completing races. Marathon training changed that for me, I'm not saying that you can't train for a marathon and not enjoy it but I started to hate running. I've learnt that this is most likely because I was in the depths of depression as well and wasn't getting help for it. 

Since April 13th - marathon day. I can count on one hand how many times I have run. And even then I've run because I had to, because I didn't want to let people down, because I'd run a marathon I was expected to run. I even had a half marathon entry for my birthday - something I asked for in the hope it would push me to start running again. 

Last night I had that moment, you know like a lightbulb moment. I remembered all the times I'd run, how good it made it feel, the sense of achievement, the feeling it gives you, the time it gives you to yourself. So I decided I was going to lace up my trainers and run. 

This morning I downloaded the C25K app. I thought it would be a good place to start, I know I'm not at marathon level and I'm my head I can't run a mile. So I set off with my brisk 5 minute walm up, something I never usually do on a run but I felt it was good - it gets you in the right frame of mind for a run. 

Then the running and walking intervals began, honestly - I found it easy. I ended up running when I should have been walking and vice versa as it meant I was running for slightly longer. I wasn't out of breathe when I finished, my legs didn't ache. But I had a sense of achievement - I'd run, I'd run because I wanted to, because I wanted the me time, because I chose to run. 

So although I won't be using the app again it has given me the confidence that I'm not as rubbish as I thought I was, that I can still run. 

However, with the half marathon I have a place in being 4 weeks today I am in 2 minds whether to defer. I know physically I should because just because I ran 2 miles easily today - 13 is a whole different ball game but in my heart I don't want to because it's like I'd have failed. The verdict for today is out on this one but I  will be sensible in my decision. 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Going back to work

For most of us we get up every day and go to work with no issues. And that is something I have been doing since I was 16, throughout my 3 years at university I worked. Only having time off for holidays, I am not one to go sick. In a management position, or even as a colleague as I was at university I wouldn't and don't like to go sick.

So for me having 5+ weeks off was hard, really hard. Initially I was signed off for 2 weeks. I could cope with that, my first week off was a blur. What I didn't know and what I struggled with was being so debilitated but not having anything physically wrong with me. People would say to me if you had a broken leg you wouldn't be in work and depression is the same, but there is so much stigma around depression that makes it difficult for people to accept depression and learn to live and cope with it.

As the time went on with the tablets kicking in and my counselling sessions helping I would do things with my days, at first it was just going for a walk, but slowly it would be meeting friends for coffee, doing the shopping or joining Slimming World. That was a tough day for me, I'd had a rubbish nights sleep which doesn't help and I'd planned to join on the Thursday evening but I figured a morning class would give me something to do whilst I was off and it meant I wasn't going to miss out on time with Jon once he had finished work. The consultants and the class were so welcoming and although they don't know that I suffer with depression and how nice it is to go to meetings and be surrounded with support they really have helped and motivate me.

I was then signed off for another 4 weeks, I remember going to the doctors and expecting him to tell me to go back to work and that was it; and I know there is so much talk about how easy people get signed off work, but I am truly grateful for him signing me off for that little bit longer. At the time I didn't know I needed that extra time off, but I do know and am grateful for it. Although I am going back before my sick note is up, that was my decision liaising with work and my doctor as it feels like the right decision for me.

Whilst I was starting to go out more I was also ridden with guilt, I was signed off work ill but here I was going out. What if I saw some one from work? Posting things on Facebook etc would make me concerned that people would think I wasn't actually ill. That is what I've learnt; not to care what others think, this time off has been about me, about getting myself better and having time to regroup things. Which has helped. Looking back to where I was 5 weeks ago shocks me at how bad I was, but I'm just glad I got help. And I would say to anyone that you know when you've hit rock bottom, but don't let that scare you - use it as the foundation to build yourself back up again. Build yourself back up to be a stronger person, I know I am now, and yes I still have bad days but I cope with them so much better now.

Going back to work tomorrow, even though it is a phased return still scares the sh*t out of me. Everything from how tired will work make me as I've noticed some days I'm more tired than others when I've hardly done anything, to answering questions as to why I was off. Although a few people know why not everyone - and I still haven't decided how I am going to answer that one.

Today I have done a shed load of food planning and preparation so that is one less thing I have to think about. I have a pineapple & watermelon chopped up in the fridge. A slimming world curry loaf baking in the oven as well as a ham & pea frittata which will allow easy lunches for me to grab along with a salad. Planning is going to be key not just to staying less stressed but also to remaining on plan with slimming world once I am back at work.

So fingers crossed to a good nights sleep & a good 1st day back at work. I feel like a child returning to school after the summer holidays!

x

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Monday, 11 August 2014

Yoga or Pilates

After having my melt down and being off work I have done quite a bit of reading and research into ways to help depression and day to day coping and what coping mechanisms work best for me.

When I got my half stone award with Slimming World, Jon nicely signed me back up for the gym - we have a little chart of rewards when I hit certain goals, because who doesn't love a sticker chart! Although I've been a member of Pure Gym before hand I'd only ever gone to spin and circuits.

Yoga and Pilates are both said to be good for depression, they are relaxation exercises that allow you to switch off from the day. I'd first tried yoga about 4 years ago and spent the whole class trying not to laugh at the downward facing dog with my friend. So I was anxious about going to a new class by myself!

I went to a Pilates class first and the instructor was very welcoming & helped me throughout the class. It took me a while to work out which core muscles I was supposed to be using and also to try and breathe at the same time, which is always a challenge. But after the class I felt completely relaxed and ready to face the day. I will definitely be making this a regular date in my diary from now on.

My first trip to the Yoga class was a bit unsuccessful as most of the yoga classes at Pure Gym are £2 as the instructor is from outside of the gym, however this one didn't state that so I didn't take cash with me. As I live so close I literally just take my keys and phone usually. So along with about 7 other people, when the instructor asked for the money we didn't have it and despite saying I would get Jon to bring it over she was quite rude and said we would have to leave the class. Not phased by that I booked another class and this time made sure I had my £2 cash!

I found yoga a lot harder and not as relaxing as Pilates. But I still felt accomplished after the class at some of the poses I managed - I am by no means flexible but the instructor was great and explained all different levels of the poses we went through which made me feel less like a novice.

I've booked a lot more Pilates classes for this week, and hopefully when I go back to work I will still be able to attend at least one a week as they really have helped me relax and focus on things. I've also booked a yoga class this week as although I didn't find it very relaxing it felt like a good workout and I enjoyed the sense of achievement at the end of the class.

Do you have a preference between the two? Or any tips on how to make the most of them?










Thursday, 7 August 2014

Giving my body an MOT.

Whilst I've been off work recently I've been trying to plan my days to keep me occupied and keep me from just sitting and wallowing in my own thoughts.

So when Charlie from The Chiropractic Clinic contacted me for a consultation after being a little dubious as first I thought why not. A) It would give me something to do, - both in terms of visiting the clinic for my consultation & blogging again which I haven't done consistently for a while B) I've never done anything like this for my blog before.

The Chiropractic Clinic is relatively new to Bristol having been set up by Charlie and his business partner Matthew in 2012. Having worked on the road that it is based on I'm ashamed to say I didn't even know it was there and had to Google map the directions, shameful I know!

I got to my appointment a little early as I'd walked there as it was such a lovely day. I was greeted by a very friendly Kate in the clinics fabulously bright reception. As it was such a lovely day the door was wide open bringing in lots of fresh air and the white walls and large windows made it very inviting.

As I've never seen a Chiropractor before this was all completely new to me. I was offered a drink, and although they offered caramel latte's I'd just come from a coffee date with my friend and would have turned into a coffee bean had I drunk any more! Kate then went through a questionnaire with me and gave me a tour of the clinic.

Being in Bristol each of the treatment rooms had a Bristol Theme - I had my consultation in the Banksy room. There was also a lot of wall art about the Clinic's Charity. Cherish Uganda, just from the information on the walls and the studying I had done of the website before hand I could see that the clinic was passionate about the work the charity does and how they can help. When Charlie and Matthew opened the clinic they wanted to have a link with a charity that they could help - so from opening in 2012 they decided to donate £1 for every chiropractor or massage session in the clinic. From talking more to Charlie about Cherish Uganda it turns out that talking to one of their patients about the charity they had decided on she turned out to be the founder of the charity. Talk about three degrees of separation!

Charlie gave me my consultation, and was very friendly and made me feel comfortable even though I was sitting in a blue gown! As we both have a love for running and that is what drew Charlie to the blog that helped us have something to chat about. He explained fully what he was going to do and why. From the questionnaire I completed with Kate it had been identified that I hadn't got any back pain, nor have I had an issues with my back or hips. Luckily.

Whilst everything felt pretty normal, when feeling the nerves down my left leg I couldn't feel the pressure as much in my right and my big toe on my left I couldn't lift as much. Weird I know. So Charlie took some x rays which he would study to see what explanation there was for this, which would be discussed in a follow up consultation and what course of action he would recommend.

The outcome was I have a tilted pelvis which affects the bottom of my spine and could be affecting the nerves going down to my left leg. Once Charlie had mentioned it, the alignment of my spine made sense as when I was having my lumbar puncture in October they said they thought my spine was twisted as they had trouble getting the needle in.

After talking to Charlie about possible causes, the most likely one being running and that I run with more pressure on one side, so basically I run lopsided! Ha! I was advised what course of treatment could help re align my pelvis and although I'm not in any pain with it at the moment, it may in the future cause me some.

For a Chiropractic Consultation a session is £45, with the follow up of findings session being free of charge. The Clinic also offers free check ups for under 16's and on a Wednesday evening offer a free Health class session about how to keep well generally.

The thing I like that blogging has allowed me is to look locally for products and treatments, living in Bristol there are so many chains and it is easy to pop into one of those whether it's for a coffee, or for a chiropractic consultation, but I am defiantly keen on supporting local businesses like The Chiropractic Clinic.

You can find them on Twitter , their website or give them a call on 0117 9741 501 and speak to one of the lovely ladies in reception.

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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Rome wasn't built in a day

I ran. Yesterday I did it. I ran.

This might sound strange considering 4 months ago I ran a marathon, but being brutally honest I can probably count on 1 hand how many times I've run since then. 

Marathon training got so intense I stopped loving running and started loathing it. I hated having to drag myself out of bed for those long, or even short runs. I was probably in the depths of depression whilst training but I was still putting on a brave face as if everything was ok. But that front got me across the finish line & that's what matters! 

I needed to fall in love with running again, I wanted to run because I chose to run, not because I had to run. This time off work at the moment has made me spend time on myself, getting myself better. My daily walks I've been doing, which most of them are around the harbour where I live which is where I used to run, they've made me want to run again. I knew I couldn't push myself I had to wait for when I was ready.

That day was yesterday I laced up my trainers, then sat in them for 40 minutes telling myself this was a bad idea, that I can't run because it's been so long, that I'm not as good as I used to be. Part of that as true - yes I'm not up to marathon standard but that's what you get for not running for 4 months, but it wasn't a bad idea - getting out there was going to help me build up to that standard again. 

So after a few tweets I got out the door, iPod on, garmin on. And I ran, slowly yes but I ran. I had to stop a few times but I knew that was inevitable, but I knew I needed to focus on my breathing as that would make running a lot easier! I've missed the running spirit and community, out on my run I forgot how satisfying and warming it is to have other runners nod and wave at you. 

It was a long and hot 2.4 miles but I did it. And I am so proud of myself. I ran because I chose to run, because I wanted to make myself a better runner, to get fitter and to help my mood. And I will slowly build myself back up to the standard I was at before. Like the saying goes....Rome wasn't built in a day. 



Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Self Love #1

The thing I've struggled with since being off work is having so much time to myself. I know I need it in order to get better but I am so used to going at 100 mph and putting other people first that I don't know what to do with all this time!

I think part of my melt down was due to the fact I haven't been taking care of myself, the thing with depression is that not only do I not have the energy to take care of myself, I don't feel like I deserve to treat myself well. It's a vicious circle. One that I am working on breaking.

Today I treated myself to a hair cut. I haven't had my hair cut in about 6 months, probably from the last time I visited Gavins back in February! My split ends were horrendous and my hair was disgustingly dry.

I've been to Gavin's twice before and each time he welcomes me like an old friend, I was recommended to go there by my mum as I am incredibly fussy when it comes to having my hair cut. I'm always scared a hair dresser is going to make me bald!

Today I was just in for a trim, although it was a rather large one and to have my fringe put back in. Gavin is a small independent hair dresser in Laleston, Bridgend and I am all for supporting local businesses especially when he gives me such lovely treatment.

There is something so relaxing about having someone wash your hair, massage your head and make you want to fall asleep in the chair! I was treated to a lovely hair mask that smelt divine, and quite frankly didn't want Gavin to stop massaging my head. Whilst having my hair cut I was treated to a lovely cup of coffee, although I still don't get how you are supposed to drink a cup of coffee whilst having your hair cut?! And a good old chat like I was talking to one of my best friends.

After a good few inches off my hair it now has a lot of shape to it and I feel like a new woman! It's amazing what a hair cut can do for you.
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You can find Gavin on Facebook or Twitter. If you are looking for a friendly and reasonably priced hair dresser I would defiantly pay him a visit.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

I've still got so far to go, but I'm so far from where I started, and I'm proud of that.


"We can't change the past, but we can change how it affects us"

This is so true in many aspects of my life right now. One of them being my weight.

At the age of 18 I joined weight watchers proceeded to lose 6 stone and got 5 lbs from goal. Life took an unexpected turn and I put most of that weight back on. Something I beat myself up for every single day. 

My weight is something that is adding to my bad days, I've gotten so fat again. My clothes are tight, running hurts, sometimes even walking up hills hurts. Being in control of my weight will not only help these, it will also help my depression which will make me more motivated and give me more energy. 

Today that changes, today is day 1 on my weight loss journey. I need to learn that I don't deserve to beat myself up every day. Thankfully I didn't put the whole 6 stone back on but I'm still *alot* more than 5lbs from goal. But that's ok, I've broken it down into manageable chunks. Learning to have confidence in myself that I have done it before and I can do it again.

Today I joined Slimming World. I needed a total change of plan, and after my bad experience at weight watchers a few weeks ago and a lot of research I felt this was the best way for me. The way I am at the moment I don't have the energy or inclination to be weighing and pointing; this may sound really lazy but at the moment with my depression it all needs to be about little steps. The meeting was really friendly and everyone made me feel really welcome. Although the scales nearly made me have a heart attack I know I won't see that number again.

I've been shopping, planned my meals for the week and made a little motivation chart with the help of Jon and his promise to treat me to things when I reach certain targets. Plus who doesn't like a pretty chart?! I think secretly I'm a 5 year old.

It's a perfect time for me to start my journey as being off work means I have a lot of time to research, plan and prepare yummy meals giving me a good boost for when I go back to work and continue on plan. 

So this is day 1. And the only way from here is down (in terms of my weight) everything else is on the way up 😊

Saturday, 12 July 2014

" Rock bottom became the foundation on which I rebuilt my life"

I truly love this quote!! 7 years of misery, heartache and abuse with the wrong person, finally made me strong enough to start over!!! And God led me to my husband today!! :)

I'm not to sure where to start with this post, I just know I need to write. For the last few months, well most of this year I've been living as if everything is OK, putting on a brave face, getting on with life as normal. I've been seeing a counselor about loosing the baby since January and that is helping. But bad days have got more regular, there seem to be more bad days than good recently, not just about loosing the baby but everything. It seems like loosing the baby was the tip of the iceberg for me realising I wasn't coping and I wasn't OK. I've been on anti depressants since about March, something I haven't told many people. I hate that there is so much stigma attached to depression - just because it is a mental illness doesn't give people the right to judge. If it was a broken leg or any other physical illness there wouldn't be so much judgement and so much misunderstanding of the illness. Even myself I don't fully understand depression.

This is something I am taking time to understand, it comes from me not accepting that I have depression. That I have to learn to cope with it. Learning and coping to live with depression will always be a work in progress.

Getting up in the morning has been a struggle, the fact I have to go to work is the only reason I get up. When really I should *want* to get up not getting up because I *have* to. My friends and family have been amazing, but I haven't really told them how low I've been, how bad I feel, and how much it is affecting my life. I've learnt now that I have too be honest with them in order for them to help me. And I am so grateful for all their love and support which sometimes I don't feel I deserve. 

I put so much pressure on myself that I have to carry on, after loosing the baby, coping with how much I've changed, turning my hobby into a stressful task, putting weight back on, building a career, being the perfect girlfriend, daughter, friend. I feel like I've failed and that tears me up inside. 

This week it all became too much, and I had a mini breakdown. I hit rock bottom and it scared me. I've had bad days *really* bad days but nothing like this. I didn't brush my hair or shower for days. I know people say that this happens but I never expected it to be me. I've always been so independent and being able to deal with things. I'm the person who can give excellent advice to anyone who needs it but I can't take my own advice. I hate how most days I can't see how I can get out of this, I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. As much as people tell me there is, that there is hope, I can't always see it, a little bit of me insides holds on to that little bit of hope and some days I believe that. And soon those days will build into weeks and months.

The more I've been thinking of it, having time to myself I know I need to take time for me. That the only way from here is up. "The future is never as bad as it is know" is something someone close said to me, really struck a cord. I'm not going to let this depression beat me. I have amazing family and friends around me, a great doctor and counselor and I will get better. The first step is accepting that I can't carry on at 100 mph as I have been. I need to take one day at time. Yes there will still be bad days, but I'll learn to cope with them.

I don't want to just be another number, another person with depression. Part of writing this post is to get awareness of mental illness. That it can happen to anyone. But it doesn't have to define you, you can beat it and there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

I've found some really good information on the mind website. So if you want some more information, whether you are suffering from depression or are someone supporting someone with depression I would recommend to head over there and have a read. 

xxx

Friday, 23 May 2014

4 years.

4 years ago almost to the day I walked into my first weight watchers meeting. I was a first year university student, living away from home for the first time and was living off frozen foods. I'd always been large but had put on weight in the 7 months I'd been at university. 

17th may 2010 marks the start of my weight loss journey,I walked into that meeting and weight 16st 12.5lbs. I proceeded to lose 6 stone through a combination of meetings and online, although more successful when through meetings. Whilst studying for my degree and living the full student lifestyle. I never missed out on anything and freshens week in second year I also lost 3lbs!

The last year for me has been tough, mentally, physically and emotionally. I'm not passing the blame for my weight gain but life happens and I'm starting to accept that. For months I was in denial about my weight gain. Still squeezing into my size 12's. Feeling like a fraud when I posted comparison photos and got featured in magazines. But I'm learning that I've earnt that, I'm not the 16stone girl I used to be. 

The last year has seen me fall in love, get a promotion in work, move out from living with my best friend and move in with my boyfriend, lose a baby, be diagnosed with depression and run a marathon. And emotionally and mentally it's taken me a while to catch up. But with help I'm getting there. 

I needn't be ashamed at the weight I've put on, I've always been an emotional eater and I always will be it's learning to cope with situations as they arise and that's what I know how to now. 

As of next week (I'm currently writing this by the pool in 26degrees) I will be returning to weight watcher meetings, they work for me so why change what works? I'm excited to lose weight again, for me. To be healthy, to start running properly again and gaining PR's. 

I may not 5lbs from goal where I was this time last year, I'm more like 3 stone (I don't really know as I haven't stepped on a scales for a while and I won't until I rejoin meetings) but I've grown up, I've learnt a lot, I've accomplished a lot, not many people run a marathon but I have that shiney medal hanging on my mirror reminding me every day I did it! 

I've learnt that weight loss journeys have ups and downs. And this is my new journey, I don't need to look back and regret the weight I've put on, I haven't put the whole 6 stone back on, and if it wasn't for weightwatchers and some good decisions being in the back of my head I would have, but it's more like 3 stone I've put on. I've lost it before. I can do it again. It helped me through the last year and I've come out stronger on the other side. So here's to being back on the wagon, and being excited about it. Here's to being healthy and happy! 

As the title goes "you haven't failed until you quit trying" 

Xxx

Monday, 28 April 2014

The only person you should compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday.

I am terrible for comparing myself to others. I think to some extent we all are, we are all conditioned to, the media portrays photos of what we should be looking like, models in shops are a certain size where ever you go there is something or someone to compare yourself too. And it shouldn't be like that, we should all be proud of who we are are bodies are amazing things and we shouldn't take that for granted.

So yesterday was my first weeks weigh in, I'd had a really good week, gone to the gym for times and done 30 day shred (only once though!) I'd tracked everything that crossed my lips and still had weeklies and activity points left. But due to being time of the month I was feeling very fat and bloated. 

Stepping on the scales I had lost 1 lb. I won't lie I was GUTTED. I'd worked so hard and it wasn't being rewarded on the scales. The number on the scales shouldn't rule us, but sometimes it does. This was made worse by the fact my other half had done nothing, he'd eaten the meals I planned but he hadn't been to the gym once, went out Friday night & drank god knows how many pints & came home and ate a stuffed crust pizza. And he lost 3lbs on Sunday. How unfair is that.?!?!

Now after a rant on twitter and a spin class in which I worked my butt off I was in a better frame of mind and realised that I shouldn't compare myself to him. We have different bodies, different metabolises etc. But I should be proud of myself for having a good week and that I was 1lb closer to goal. Now even more determind to have a good week this week & get the loss I deserve! 

Xxxx

Monday, 21 April 2014

Fall down 7 times, stand back up 8.

Japanese proverbs.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_proverbs  Fall down seven times, stand up eight.

I've done this many times before, not blogged, but drawn a line when it comes to my weight loss.

I'll be brutally honest I haven't done weight watchers completely putting my heart and sole in to if for about a year. Yes I've tracked, yes I've weighed but sometimes only the things I want to track, I haven't tracked my binges.

This time last year I was 10st 5lbs and 5 lbs from goal. Then I fell in love, got comfortable and I'm back up to 12st 8lbs. Or I was when I last stood on the scales 6 weeks ago, I'm too scared to today, I will weigh in tomorrow though so I know where I'm starting. I have learnt though it's not all about the number on the scale but I'm back into size 14 clothes and that's not where I want to be! (Can't believe I' sad to be in size 14 I remember when I was chuffed to bits with getting into a 14!!)

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It's so easy to blame life, falling in love, loosing the baby, work, the marathon but you know what. My heart just wasn't in it. I always believe when you decide to embark on a weight loss journey you have to do it completely and utterly for you, or it won't work. I remember when I was about 14 going to a dietitian and hating this woman who was trying to tell me what to eat, needless to say it didn't work. I'm thankful though for the last year that I have tracked, even if it is half heartedly because it means I'm not back where I was when I was almost 17st. Yes I have a bit more than I'd like to lose again but I know what works for me, weight watchers, I know I can do it. I won't be going to classes as with working shifts it just isn't possible so I'll be using the online community to keep tabs on me! Thank god for the likes of twitter and blogging!

I go on holiday, the first abroad with my boyfriend in 4 weeks. I'd love to have lost 10lbs by then, which is about 3 lbs a week. It'll be a challenge but it's doable. I've got a gym membership which I've booked classes for the whole of this week, and as well as my usual spin classes I've booked an aerobics class on Wednesday. I've never been to one a) in this gym and b) on my own. So I'll let you know how I get on.

I've planned meals for this week, been and done a healthy shop with the boy (although we still do have Easter chocolate to eat...his not mine...but I'm eating it anyway seen as he didn't even buy me an egg!!!)

As my blog title says....."you haven't failed until you quit trying" and I certainly haven't.


Inspirational Weight Loss Quotes : NYC Single Mom | Parenting Tales from NYC :The Good, The Bad and The Funny


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Friday, 18 April 2014

It's not when you cross the finish line it's why


Wow. I have no idea where to start with this post. I'd say it's probably a good idea to grab a cuppa and get comfy. It's a long one! Even the thought of it is giving me butterflies and making me teary!

The saying that the person who starts the marathon is not the same one who finishes, is so true. 

Months of training, forcing myself to go out and run in the rain, the wind and the sun all came down to this day. These 26.2 miles. I was scared, nervous, excited. 

Training had been mixed, mainly due to being diagnosed with depression half way through training. There would be days where I would go out and smash 10 miles, I'd push myself through 18. Other days where I struggled to run 6. Convinced I couldn't do it. I knew my legs had it in them, it was my mind I had to convince. Easier said than done. But I had SO many people behind me, there was no way I couldn't not finish. Plus I'm too stubborn to give up. 

I arrived in London on the Friday afternoon and headed over to the Excel centre for the expo with my other half. Registered and collected my number. I think this is when it sunk in, I had my number in hand, I was going to run the London marathon. 43016 has so much more meaning now. 

We had a wander around the expo, which is ironic, Jon and I came here on a date last year, I was playing hard to get & he was trying to win me over. I was planning on coming anyway as I wanted some running advice and inspiration and he tagged along with me. A year later here we are! 

Anyway I've moved off topic. Friday evening we met a friend for dinner, pizza was on the menu - carbs. Conversation was all about the marathon. How was I feeling? Was I ready? Rach was more concerned about the jelly baby etiquette "do I throw them at you or give them to you" Can always count on my friends to make me chuckle! 

Saturday the plan was to do not a lot, in the afternoon all of my uni friends were arriving so we were meeting them for lunch. After breakfast, where my other half are 8!!! Pain au chocolates! We headed to Covent Garden for a coffee with my parents, we then walked to Trafalguar Square for yes another coffee. We basically did the tour of coffee shops. 

We met my friends and it was the first time we had all been together since uni! So glad they'd all made it to London to support me. We went to a little pub for a drink - I was rock and roll on the squash - very jealous of the bottle of Rose the girls ordered! 

My parents and I had decided to eat in the hotel that evening - there was an Italian and an Indian menu. Perfect I could have pasta and they could have whatever they wanted. Until the bar staff had informed us that the Italian chef was off and the Indian chef could only do limited dishes. I'd agreed lasagne was fine - until we saw 4 bowls of pasta and chicken go past. Jon drew the short straw and went to complain, needless to say I got my bowl of pasta and chicken!

Saturday night I slept surprisingly well. I woke up with excitement, my tummy was doing somersaults. I was actually going to run a marathon! We left the hotel at about 7.30 so we could get to the starting pens for 9. We got there about 8.30 and the atmosphere was already buzzing. The train was rammed full of runners - we all had that one thing in common - we were going to run 26.2 miles. Whether it be our first or our fifth everyone was so friendly and chatty which really put my nerves at ease. We stopped outside the starts so I could eat my oats, the sun was already shining - it was gonna be a scorcher! 

Walking over to the red pen with Jon, I was walking so slow. Him dropping me off there meant this was starting - the next time I'd seem him was at the finish! He dropped me off, I had everything with me, my gels, my belt and my trusty black bag to keep me warm! I went straight for a wee as it was relatively early and there wasn't any queues yet! I walked around, chatted to a few people, drank a bit of water and then queued up for a wee again. I didn't need to go but like my mum always told me it's better to try! 

I then made my way over to the pens - it is basically like hearding cattle! The atmosphere was buzzing - so much excitement, and nerves. I was stood by a few people that this was also their first marathon - it put me at ease. It is SO easy to think you are the only one running this for the first time & convince yourself the sweep car is going to overtake you - thankfully this wasn't the case!

Before we knew it we were off - I was expecting a long wait to cross the start line but we turned a corner and there it was. Before I knew it we'd run half a mile and I hadn't turned my iPod on, the atmosphere was electric. I checked my garmin as it felt like I was running so slow. But I wasn't, I was running too fast in fact. I read somewhere before hand "if you think your running slow, run slower" this is so true and advice I would give to anyone. It's so easy to get caught up in the moment and run to fast and not have any energy for later. At 4 miles - wow I know they flew by - I needed a wee. I knew if I stopped know there was a good chance I wouldn't need to stop again. The queues for the portaloos weren't too long - 2 ladies in front of me - we all said the same thing that we hadn't wanted to stop so early - but needs must. Enough about my bladder - I checked my phone - a text off the boyfriend saying my first 5k was fast but good, text from my dad - reminding me to drink water, a text from Mel - whose little girl was stuck to the TV watching out for me! The support was overwhelming!

I'm not entirely sure where the next few miles went - it must have been about mile 10 I saw my friends Rach screaming my name - it put such a smile on my face and kept me going for the next few miles - the crowd really do make it - especially when you know them! Next I know we are approaching tower bridge - the half way mark - and me being me got my phone out and took a selfie on Tower Bridge. As you do. I didn't know till afterwards but my friends saw me here - I missed them - GUTTED! Kirsty my friend from twitter also saw me around here. I'm just so glad they saw me - even if I didn't see them knowing they had come out to support me is overwhelming. 

I started to flag here - it was hot, really hot. I got a stitch, I knew what to do. Stop. Breathe. Focus. That didn't work - I text Jon & my dad. A few words of encouragement I was off. After half way it became less of the next mile marker but the next spot I would see someone I knew. I knew Sue, my friend from twitter was at around mile 14 at the Anthony Nolan cheer spot. I came round the corner and saw them on both sides - my eyes were peeled for her. And then she as screaming my name, I ran over for a hug. Amazing - mainly because I'd never met Sue before hand and here she was screaming my name willing to give my sweaty self a massive hug. That kept me going for the next few miles. 

It was at this point the course goes out and comes back - the other side of the road had the mile 22 marker. I was at mile 14. That made me want to cry. But I pushed through, there was no way I wasn't going to finish. It was getting so hot by this point, every water station I was making sure to take on water - my dad was still texting me reminding me it was warm & I needed to drink! Bless him. 

Then I hit my wall. Massively. Mile 15, like absolute clock work. I knew I just had to run past here, get to mile 16/17 and I'd be over it. I stopped and walked for a little bit, rang Jon, his words of encouragement "come on babe you can't stop, quitting isn't an option" well I bloody knew that! I carried on though. Mile 17 came round and I was struggling. I was hot, I needed a wee and my legs bloody hurt. The queue for the toilets wasn't too long, so I stopped, the marshal handed me some loo roll thankfully. I sat on that portaloo and cried. I was in pain, I didn't think I could do it, I was hot. But the pain I was in is nothing compared to what others have to go through. The reason I was running this, not just for my self but for The Menignitis Research Foundation. So I got up and carried on. A message from Mel "come on everyone is behind you show them what your made of" I also had an answer phone message - something I wish I'd listened to at the time - Skye, mels 7 year old daughter saying how proud she was of me, as it turns out I didn't listen to this until Monday night, when I cried. 

It was around here when I was walking for a little bit, playing mind games with myself, run to the next mile marker see how you feel, it because a massive battle with your head, something I face in a daily basis with my depression, something that I am pleased to say I won the battle in one 26.2 miles. It was here when a gentlemen saw my MRF shirt - asked why I was running, I explained my story and he said how it was also his first marathon - unfortunately I can't remember what charity he was running for but he was also running for a cause close to his heart and he said to me "it's not when you cross the finish line, it's why" yes a little tear ran down my face. How true that statement is.

It was around here dad text - "mums at Big Ben with an extra gel for you" I replied "where's Big Ben" his reply "mile 25" I just thought OH MY GOD that's ages away. But it kept me going knowing they were there. 

So I was off, I was under the double figures to go, and after this point I knew I had people around the course, it became looking for them. The best was when I saw my friend Rach again at Canary Warf, thankfully she handed me the jelly babies rather than threw them at me! It's amazing how seeing your friends can keep you going for a little while longer!

Mile 19- it was freaking warm now! My calves were burning, I stopped and the lovely lady from St. John's ambulance worked wonders and gave me a mini massage on them. I can safely say if she hadn't I would still be finishing the marathon now! My friends were at mile 22. It wasn't that far, and once I saw them it was the count down to my parents at mile 25 and then I was done! It was also here that someone shouted was shouting my name, I just thought it was another person from the crowds cheering me on. But it was Matt from twitter. And if your reading this Matt I'm so sorry I had no idea who you were at that point!

I passed the 22 marker, by know I don't think you could have called my form running, I don't know what it was but it defiantly wasn't running. I had my phone out whilst 'running' I didn't want to miss the girls, I passed the big lorry with a band on then I heard my name being screamed. The relief. I so needed to see them, they gave me a hug, and some water and reminded me I was nearly finished. The photo of me and Rhian is SO emotional, it gives me butterflies.

Now the countdown to my parents and the finish. At mile 24 I'd stopped and was stretching my legs, an old lady came over, asked me if I was ok, gave me a hug and told me how incredible I was. She reminded me if my gran, which made me slightly emotional. Right mile 25. I was determined to run this last bit completely - plus I didn't want to be walking when I saw my parents!! That's the competitive streak in me! I passed the mile 25 marker I saw Big Ben, where the heck were my parents. My eyes were scouring the crowds for them, I so needed to see them. I hoped they hadn't thought they'd missed me and gone to the MRF stand to meet me. Thankfully as I turned the corner I could hear my mum screaming my name from a good 300yards away! I had a massive hug, I cried, mum cried, I had my gel and I was off. I was so close to the finish line, I was going to be a marathon runner. The emotion was overwhelming. 

The sign for 800m to go I heard my name again, it's amazing the ability you have to differentiate someone you know shouting your name to the general crowd. Emily a friend from uni another hug another well done. I needed it. 

Running towards Buckingham palace, the guy with the fridge on his back, I figured if I crossed the line with him then I had chance of making it on TV and my niece and Skye who had sat watching it all day would see me. Unfortunately, he somehow made a sprint finish, with a bloody fridge on his back!! But I'd done it I crossed the line. I didn't cry, I thought I would have, I felt a bit numb, so emotional yet unable to express them. Everyone around was congratulating me, for a little bit I forgot about the pain. Not for long walking up the ramp to have my chip cut off hurt like hell!

I finished in 5:29. I wanted 4:45 but given the weather was 18 degrees I'll take it. Hell I don't care about the time I've just run a bloody marathon!


The first person I spoke to was my lovely little niece - she'd called to say shed sat and watched all day but hadn't seen me but said well done. I still didn't cry - was I supposed to? I collected my medal, and goody bag and made the way to the big 'M' where I was meeting everyone. Rach, Jon and Becky were by the exit for the runners. Apologise for the sweaty hugs guys! I swear the M was the furthest place away, I just wanted to sit down. 

I got over there, Dad was there along with the lovely Sue (who gave me another sweaty hug) and Kirsty. I've been talking to these ladies for ages on twitter and text. There such good friends to me despite never having met them before but now I finally had! 

So many hugs, so many congratulations, so many photos. All for me, it was such an overwhelming feeling. Chocolate cake was calling my name, I needed food! Within half an hour of finishing I'd eaten a chocolate cake, toffee crisp, protein bar, protein shake and a bottle of lucozade. But you know what I burnt 3422 calories I was gonna eat what I wanted!! 

The walk to the tube hurt, a lot. But not as much as the ice bath when I got back - the poor people in the room next to me must have wondered what the hell was going on!

Despite the pain it was so worth it. Not just the shiney medal, or the marathon runner statues but the fact I've fundraised so far £4000 for The Meningitis Research Foundation. That's what the amazing thing is. And you can still donate if you want to, here is my just giving link. http://www.justgiving.com/Elinor-Gibbs-Murray4

I still get butterflies thinking about the experience, it was amazing, random people you don't know shouting your name, driving you that extra half a mile or mile. It was tough I won't lie, I wanted to quit the pain was incredible but not as incredible as the sense of achievement, the amount of pride I have, and the emotions that brought with it. It's worth it to see those you love proud of you. I didn't just run a marathon, I'd lost 5 stone to get there and I was raising awareness of Meningitis. The pain I experienced at mile 17 when I wanted to throw it all in is nothing to what my parents suffered losing my brother, and what others who have experience this cruel disease have felt. That's what makes you dig deep and carry on. 

I learnt that I can do things I never thought possible, that I am a strong person and can overcome things despite the circumstances and what the little voice in my head tells me. 

I saw a friend yesterday for the first time since the marathon, she said I looked content and happy. It's so true, I was stressing myself out incredibly with the anticipation of the marathon, thankfully my body has waited until now to make me feel like I've been run over by a bus! The marathon for me as well as the fundraising and the personal achievement, was like closing a door. The day I found out I had secured a charity place in the marathon, was also the day I booked my termination. It's like the two went hand in hand together. And although I am incredibly luckily to have run my first marathon I can't say I wish it had been under different circumstances. But I did it. And I'll do it again. 

Like people say - if it was easy everyone would do it. But I'm so proud to say that I am in the 1% of the population who have run a marathon. And yes I've already applied for a charity place for next year and will be entering the ballot on Tuesday. 

I'd just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who helped me get across the finish line, the donation, the time, the effort, the good luck messages, the words of encouragement, those around the course. I couldn't have done it without you. So thank you. 


Xxxx



Sunday, 2 March 2014

Is it all in my head?

With the marathon just 6 weeks away I'm struggling with training. The furthest I've run so far is 13.5 miles, half way basically. That was the run where my knee pain came back. Since then I've been stretching, foam rollering, icing and gotten new trainers.

I haven't been out for a "long" run since, I've blamed it on working nights, but really it's because I'm scared of the pain. I've been out for a few shorter runs around 7 miles and the knee has been OK, not much niggling and certainly no tear worthy pain.

My heads in a mental battle with myself now though, it's telling me I can't do this, and it's impacting my training, getting out for a run is becoming a battle, and like this morning involving tears. My plan said 12 miles, I knew I could do it & mentally I wanted 15 - perfectly doable. I need to cross the mental block of being over half way.

Today's running conditions weren't perfect - cold, rainy and windy. And I decided to do my usual route backwards- rookie mistake. Someone said to me on twitter that there would be hills in places that I didn't realise and I said no because there was only one big hill and the rest was relatively flat. Oh how wrong I was!! 1 mile in and there was a constant hill for the next 4! Nevertheless I pushed through, although my head wasn't in it and the time on my Garmin wasn't great I just wanted the miles in the legs. With only 6 weeks to go I'm scared.

Around mile 4 my knee started to niggle, I stopped stretched it and carried on, I still had lots of miles to do. I then got to the section of my run (at the top of a hill) that is completely open, and the wind and rain just hit me. And whether its because I'm extremely emotional today or what I cried. I ran till 5 the pain in my knee was getting worse, was it getting worse because there is actually pain there or was it getting worse because I was telling myself I can't run and by having pain its an excuse to stop? At 6 miles I phoned my boyfriend to come and get me.

In my head I've failed at today's run, and I'm having to many runs like that at the moment. I'm petrified that I'm going to fail at the marathon, whether I'm putting to much pressure on myself for a good time or what I don't know. But it's really becoming a mental game; one that I' currently loosing. In my head I'm still the 17st girl who can't run..

I'm home stretched and iced my knee which is feeling better, I just need it to hold out for 6 more weeks. And now it's feeling OK it's making me think that all the pain is psychological?

Do you have any tips/advice for the mental challenge of running a marathon?

xx

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Frank

Whilst working nights last week, I didn't really manage the whole "sleep"thing, so would spend the day very unproductively on pinterest, twitter and Facebook; as you do!

As I was trawling through my news feed a number of people had tweeted about Frank Bars, so I thought I'd try my luck and tweet them to as for some to review. And hey presto a package turned up in my post box a few days later. (Another thing about night; or just in general - getting post makes my day!)

If you don't know about Frank Bars they are snack bars with 100% natural ingredients.

They'd kindly sent me all 5 flavors to try - strawberry & chocolate, orange & chocolate, blueberry & chocolate, oats & chocolate and double chocolate.
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Being the fatty that I am I instantly wanted to try the orange and chocolate one hoping it would resemble the delicious flavors of good old Terry's chocolate orange. So I packed it in my lunch bag for work.
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At 2 am in the morning with a cup of coffee it was delicious and certainly tasted pretty close to a chocolate orange but a whole lot healthier!
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Throughout the week at varies times of the day and night I worked my way through all 5 flavors, especially throughout the night they kept me going, and especially after a run they were just what I needed to instantly refuel as I often find myself shoveling down a mars bar these are a perfect replacement and will defiantly be featuring more in my diet.

The oats and chocolate bar I broke up into a muller light yogurt as a quick and filling breakfast and it hit the spot! So delicious and easy to whip up if your in a rush.
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They were perfect to cure that awful sugar craving without the guilt attached to feeding yourself chocolate. My favorite flavour was definatley the blueberry and chocolate, which is quite surprising as I'm not normally a fan of fruit based bars but it was the right amount of fruit versus chocolate.

You can buy them online which I think will have to be my option as there aren't many stockist here in the South West but if you head over to their website they have a list of all their stockists across the country.

Thanks Frank for the bars to review!
xx

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Fuelling with 9 Bar.

Since starting marathon training, although I'm still following weight watchers I've tried to encorporate more "goodness" foods, foods that are going to fuel my runs, refuel me afterwards, making healthier snack choices.

These last few weeks have been tough to do this as I've been working nights, but reading on twitter and have previously heard good things about 9 Bars I thought I'd give them a go. 

I popped to my local tesco express and was pleased to see that the bars were on offer at 2 boxes for £2.80 and at £2.00 each what a bargain, although they did only have the original flavour - I'd quite like to try some of the other ones! 


My first experience of the bars was for breakfast - fuelling for a run - broken up with a muller light yogurt. The bars work out about 6propoints each; which may seem quite high but in terms of a snack it's the same as a chocolate bar! 

The bar with yogurt tasted yummy - but slightly overpowering nutty flavour - I'm not a massive fan of nuts (with the exception of almonds; I could eat them until the cows come home!) but I soon got used to it and found it very yummy. In terms of fuelling for my run I found that it sustained my energy - probably because it's so full of goodness!

I also tried these bars post run - when I want to devour everything in sight! It was only a 5 mile run so wasn't that ravenous but the bar satisfied all cravings I had.


Trying to stay healthy whilst working nights is a balance I'm yet to find! But wanted to try my best to eat healthier snacks, so armed with a 9 bar I embarked on my first night shift of the week. Usually I eat some over night oats and snacks throughout a nightshift. Whether it's because I  was so rushed off my feet or because the 9 Bar is so full of goodness it filled me up & was the only thing I ate! I didn't feel hungry, but it gave me plenty of energy for the night and kept me satisfied till morning! I will definitely be taking them to work from now on instead of being tempted by the vending machine. 


Do you have any other ideas of what to do with a 9 bar, I'd love to hear them - or any flavours to try out! 

But overall I will absolutely be including 9 bars in my weekly shop from now on! 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Chickpea, Chorizo & Spinach soup/stew

I have an undying love for Chorizo, although it is quite high in points in terms of Weight Watchers, you don't actually need that much as it has such a strong flavour.

I'm back working nights this weekend and really wanted to make something I could take that would warm me up, give me energy and not break the bank in terms of points (I'm currently on -10 for the week, need to go to the gym!)

So although I called this a soup I guess it's actually more of a stew as I didn't blend it as I thought that would be a bit rank!

Ingredients (for about 6 portions)

100g Chorizo - sliced, but not too thinly!
200g Chickpeas - drained
400g Chopped Tomatoes
1 red onion - finely sliced
2 red peppers - chopped
3 garlic cloves - crushed
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp chilies - I cheated and used dried crushed ones.
3 large handfuls of spinach

Method

1) Spray a saucepan with frylight (make sure you use one big enough to hold all the ingredients, I made this mistake!!) Add the onions, pepper and garlic & cook for 4-5 minutes until the onions have browned.

2) Add the sliced Chorizo and cook for a further 2-3 minutes to let the flavour of the Chorizo out.

3) Add in the drained chickpeas and cook again for a further 2-3 minutes

4) Add in the chopped tomatoes, chilies, bay leaf and about half a cup of water. Cover & simmer for 20 minutes.

5) Add in the spinach until wilted & serve.

I've worked it out if it serves 6 then it's 2 ProPoints per serving! Winning!

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Hope you enjoy this if you give it a go and please let me know how you like it:)

xx