How to invest in yourself!

So back at Radio Verulam today with the Gorgeous Danny Smith and I was inspired to chat about ‘investments’ by Curly Headed Boy.

It’s spring time, maybe you need a fresh look at your life and a bit of an overhaul?

The question is how to invest in yourself?

Money Saving.

Money Saving Tips
Money

We are quite strict that even from pocket money, our kids have to put something aside.  It’s just so that it becomes second nature to them and eventually when they start to earn money, they naturally expect to be putting a minimum of 10% away.  Otherwise, his head will be automatically working out how he can spend every penny.  Instead, he will automatically assume that some money goes into savings.

It’s not about how much money you earn.

Its about the amount of value that you get from it.

And how much money is left at the end of your month!

As he looks like he would prefer a creative career, he is going to definitely have to manage his money really well to weather the highs and lows, as it’s unlikely to be consistent.

Yes, he might be really successful, but it might not be long term, or he might get one big windfall, that he could blow through really quickly.  In fact we had an award system, where he earn’t quite a lot of money, and what inspired this post was that he agreed to put 50% of it away into savings.

Imagine if you’d put aside all that money since you were a kid?  At 45, I’d have a lot more going on!  Women need to be especially aware of the fact that we have a tendency to not prioritise our pensions ahead of the needs of our relationships or families.

If you would like to start, but can’t afford 10%, just work towards it.  £5 is enough, as it’s a step in the right direction.

Try to create 2 different savings options:

1) Savings forever (not to be touched apart from investing in houses/education)

2) Savings for fun (don’t pay for Christmas and holidays afterwards when the fun is over)

Check out the rest of my money saving tips here.  I have no doubt that they’ll help you out of a financial hole, make sure that you have more value from the money that you spend, and help you to be financially healthier.

 

Your Health

green and red healthy food

This should actually come first in my opinion.  There’s no point in saving money if you don’t have a good quality or long enough life.

I know that things happen, and we can’t plan for everything.  But there is no doubt that your quality of life will be better if you drink water, eat healthily, and exercise.

I like to focus on being HEALTHY, then FIT (no point in being fit without health), and STRONG (which means toned and tends towards slimmer).  Check out all my tips on how to get healthy without dieting or killing yourself with exercise.  It’s so easy to try to go for a quick fix, but we all know THEY DON’T WORK!

Then you need to remember that everyone needs downtime, otherwise the levels of cortisol (stress) just get higher and higher and higher.  That affects your immune system and leaves you open to illnesses and diseases, like my Fibromyalgia.  I know you will get stressed again.  But there will have been a dip, and that is what is important.

Remember, that it’s not selfish to take care of yourself!

 

Your Mind

Great books for mums
Books, books, books …

Have you heard the theory that if you spend 15mins extra a day learning something, then you will overtake your 99% of your peers within a couple of years?

That’s how I did so well in IT.  I wasn’t a natural at it, but I studied every night, and within a few years they’d forgotten my initial struggles.  Eventually I became a global guru – crazy!

You see it at school every day with kids.  The teachers nag parents to read once a night with their children, just for 5-10 mins.  It sounds like so little, that it’s easy to drop.  However, 3-4 years down the line, it’s really obvious which children did or didn’t get that time.  (I know that parents are often busy and it’s not always easy to fit in time with the kids).

However, as old readers will know, I’m not sure about the idea of pushing yourself to pay for a private education, as I’m not convinced it always pays off.  Hence we moved Curly Headed Boy from private back into the state sector.  So don’t assume that education has to cost lots.  Mind you, him being so keen on dancing is a bit of an investment!

I see it as an employer all the time.  Those in my team with a passion for learning are on Youtube and keeping up to date and improving constantly.  The others are just fine, but they don’t do as well and naturally don’t attract as many customers.

It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of time.  Just lots of little consistent bits, is what adds up eventually.

 

Your Community

Charity Shop Finds
Butterfly Sparkles!

I must admit that I believe that what you give out you get back.  If I smile at people, I tend to mainly get smiles back.  There are a few grumpy people, but the smiles I get back cheer me up.  It’s not any extra pressure on my day to make this little effort, and I get rewarded in bucket loads.

The same goes for ‘paying it forward’.  I don’t believe it’s right to be a martyr, or give so much of yourself that you damage your health and family.  But our community is important, and there are always things that you can do , however little.

Maybe it’s in helping to spread the word about a new small business on Facebook?  A simple share of one of my posts for Espiritu, is amazingly helpful.  I have lovely clients who regularly mention us whenever someone asks for a local hair/beauty salon or Spa.  I’m really lucky, so I like to help out other businesses where I can.

Perhaps you support the local charity shop where you can by buying from there and giving them things that you are finished with.  I’ve made amazing purchases in charity shops in the past, and my kids love them.  There was a really interesting post though over on a friend of mine’s blog, where she was feeling guilty about wanting to sell some more expensive items.  No you should never feel guilty – it’s not right to put yourself in trouble.

Or maybe it’s helping out at your kids school a couple of hours a week if you have the flexibility?

Remember, you don’t have to solve a WHOLE problem – that’s what often stops people from helping out, donating or volunteering.  Just help a little – and all the little bits add up.

 

What else?

What do you think that you should invest in?
What have I missed out?
Friendships? – I kind of fit that in with community, but many invest much more in their friendships.
Clothes? – I recently bought some clothes, as there is an expectation that I look a certain way for work, but I’ve never bought anything outrageously expensive, as I’m way too tight fisted.
Relationships? – So difficult to juggle with a family and kids, but they can last a lifetime, so worth investing in.
Houses? – With all the changes in our economy, maybe it isn’t a priority anymore to invest in bricks and mortar?
Watching TV – there is social side to this, where you can feel left out if you don’t know what’s going on!
Time to stop for a while

Meditation for stressed out beginners with little time who can’t Ohm!

Time to stop for a while
Pause

 

All cudos to those who can ’empty their minds’ or sit in a corner and ‘ohm’ for 30 minutes a day, but I just can’t do it.

I’ve tried ‘guided meditations’ too, but all that jingly jangly music irritates me, and I tend to already be swimming in the sea by the time they have stepped their first step on the sand!

Hence I didn’t do it.

 

 

Mistake on several accounts:

You don’t have to empty your mind or spend hours doing it.

It’s more like pressing [PAUSE] for a moment before you reboot your system.

Meditation is not a ‘nice to do’ thing, but a ‘have to do’ in our busy stressful worlds.

It reduces stress and saves time on packed busy days because fire fighting invariably leads to more fires.

It reduces pressure on the body and thus helps protect you from illnesses like my  Fibromyalgia.

It’s important for weight loss!

 

I’m going to give you several ideas for quickly taking a pause in your day, and you can then proudly say that you ‘meditate’ every day!

 

3 Rules For All Options

1) Breathe in through your nose (it calms you) and out through your mouth

2) Breathe into your abdomen/tummy – you want it coming out as the air goes in, and then flattening as the air goes out.

3) If a thought pops into your head, don’t worry about it, just stop thinking about it and go back to the exercise

 

A Quick Reconnect Option

Can't sleep during full moon
Nature is a great grounder

This can be from 30 seconds to 3 minutes.

Follow the rules while standing, sitting or lieing down, whatever works.

Imagine that there are roots coming out of your feet and going down into the ground.

Imagine that as you breathe in and out there is energy coming up to your from the ground and all your stress is going back down into the earth.

Imagine a string from the top of your head up into the sky.

Imagine that as you breathe in and out there is healing coming down from the ‘universe’ (or whatever you like to think as out there) and all your pains and worries are leaving as you breathe out.

Keep breathing a little longer now with energy coming into you from both the earth and the sky and your stresses and worries going out.

 

Making a Cuppa, Showering or Brushing Your Teeth Or Anything

Chance for a cuppa
Cup Of Tea and a chat is good for the soul

Make a habit of taking a pause and being really PRESENT (i.e. not worrying about what happened or what is to happen) during one of your normal daily routines.  You are going to focus on just that exercise for the next 1-3 minutes.

Follow the rules above.

Focus on the SIGHTS, SOUNDS, SMELLS, TASTE and TOUCH only.

Obviously this is tricky when the kids are in the room and it can be difficult in the early months to get any time without a child – do what you can and adapt the idea.  It can even be done with children e.g. while cuddling a child to sleep or feeding them.

For example:

Making tea – the sound of your feet moving across the kitchen, the sound of the water going in the kettle, the heaviness of the kettle as the water goes in it, the slight coldness of the water splashing, the click of the kettle going back on it’s stand, the boiling of the water, the smells wafting out of the fridge as you open it to get the milk etc etc

Showering – the feel of the water (this is great for imagining it washing away all your stress), the temperature in the room as it warms up and gets steamy, the smell of the soap, the look of the water dropping down, the shinyness of the taps, the sound of the water dropping etc etc

Brushing your teeth – the sensation of the toothpaste hitting your tongue, the sound of the brushing in your head,  the different areas of your teeth, the sound of the water, the taste of it when you swill your mouth out, the coldness of the tap etc etc.

Lieing next to a child as they fall asleep – this is a great exercise because calming yourself will calm them more quickly.  Focus on hearing their breathing, maybe the feel of their skin if they need you to stroke them, the temperature in the room and feel of the bed, then REALLY notice their hair, eyes, ears and hands.

 

During Walking Or Exercising

Running Tips
Running can be a great meditation

Anything from 5-30mins.

If you get a chance to go for a walk or a run, cycle or even a swim on your own, then you can extend the exercises above.

Start with a quick reconnect (you can do this on the move once you’ve practiced it a few times).

Use the 3 rules.

Plus be present by focussing on the SIGHTS, SOUNDS, SMELLS, TASTE and TOUCH.

If you can be out in nature that is ideal as it is grounding, but needs must and a treadmill or pool will also work.

You will find that as it is probably a longer period of time that thoughts will start to pop into your head more often.  I find it particularly difficult to do with without ideas for blog posts to pop in (I ask them to come back later!).  You have 2 options on how to deal with these thoughts:

1) Notice what the thought was about, don’t beat yourself up, and move on to focussing on being present again.

2) Notice the thought and rather than ‘thinking’ about it, keep noticing it.
This is more tricky, but what you are aiming to do is to be ‘present’ with the thought or worry or stress.  So don’t try to fix it, don’t think about it and don’t worry about it.  Just notice it.  How strong is it?  Where does it affect your body?  How strong is the effect?  You are basically saying ‘yes, hello worry, you don’t need to worry, I’ve seen you’.  Over time it should lessen it’s hold on you, a bit like an insistent toddler or dog that nags and nags until it knows you’ve seen it.

 

So there you have it, 3 different ways to add ‘meditation’ into your day as easy as pie.  They follow the concepts behind Zen or Mindfulness meditations, but from the perspective of a busy mum, who hasn’t got time to study anything really complicated!

If I get a chance I’ll do a blog post soon about Shamanic meditation and the ways that you can use meditation to actually ‘answer’ questions or help you make decisions.  It’s pretty cool!

Have a go and let me know how you do – if you have any questions, just pop them below in your comments.

 

 

I’m not talking about emptying your mind

Muffin Top From Above

A ray of hope for all those excuses for being unhealthy, unfit and over-weight

Muffin Top From Above
Muffin Top

 

Yesterday I asked what I thought was a pretty innocuous question on facebook and twitter ” I’d love all the reasons / excuses why you ended up unhealthy, unfit and overweight?”.

I was just looking to finish a list for my book, and expecting a couple of reasons.  I must have had 100 answers by the end of the day!

I was so inspired by the number of answers that I decided to change what we talked about on Radio Verulam’s drive time show with Danny Smith and discuss this instead.

 

 

Whilst there were the typical ones:

Timing – basically having too much on and being unable to focus on one more thing

Lethargy  and lack of prioritising- not being able to get motivated and never putting themselves first

Circumstances – Financial problems, and lack of support at home or with childcare

There were also a HUGE number of mums with illnesses, diseases, injuries, disabilities, mental health issues, stress, exhaustion etc.

Actually this makes sense.

Giving birth is tough on the body.  It’s also tough on the stress levels and mental health.  So it makes sense that actually there might be more mums struggling with these sorts of challenges.

 

Listen here for the re-run:

 

 

Timing

I totally agree with this.  There is no point adding another stressor to life by feeling guilty when you can’t prioritise getting healthy and fit at the same time as already having an overloaded life.  It would actually be ‘unhealthy’ to add more to your plate.

As long as you know you won’t leave it too long; i.e. no longer than a year or two, I think this is a perfectly reasonable ‘excuse’.

Also it doesn’t have to be so black and white.  Rather than aiming for some image of amazing ‘health’, why not try a couple of things gradually added over a 3 month period?

I would suggest:

1) Drinking more water and being thoughtful about how many cups of coffee you drink

2) Going for a 15-30 minute walk once or twice a week

3) Eating 5 fruit and veg a day

4) Stretch for 5 mins a couple of times per week

I would like to lose half a stone at the moment.  My body is focussed on getting healthier.  I look MUCH healthier, but the weight loss as you can see from my vlogs is going at the amazingly slow pace of 1lb per month argh!  Guess it knows best ;o)

 

Lethargy and Prioritising

We get tired.  We put the family first.  We get more tired.  It’s a vicious circle.

It does seem to get easier when the kids are all at school – you can tell the school mums who’s kids are all school age and who still has little ones by the muffin tops!

Eventually it’s time to break the circle, and luckily I have loads of tips on how to get your head and heart up for losing weight.  It’s an easy mental exercise to link all the things and people you do love to getting healthier, fitter and stronger.

Remember the reason for doing this is not like it was at school; it’s not about being good at sport and winning.  It’s about having some fun, and feeling better in ourselves so that we can enjoy life more.

If you don’t want to use my exercises to sort your motivation out, then hows about trying one of the hypnotherapy apps available for phones (I like Andrew Johnson’s because of the scottish accent!).  Or EFT (tapping on the meridian points while discussing a problem) can be very helpful in breaking down barriers to weight loss.

 

Circumstances

I was surprised that not as many people as I might have expected blamed finances on not being able to afford healthy food.  But it is definitely a problem for example I saw an organic apple was 50p the other day.  So in a family of 4 it would cost £2 per day and £730 per year – that is ridiculous!

Luckily there are all sorts of blogs appearing on a daily basis with hints and tips for feeding a family on a budget (feel free to add yours in the comments).  There are also food banks and options appearing in many cities where you can buy a bowl fool of fruit or veg at massively subsidised prices.  For anyone struggling to buy food I would ask you to put aside any guilt / pride you might have and take all the options available to you.

Luckily walking is free (although if you have an injury you might want a pair of trainers).  Aim for 10,000 steps per day (check out my Fibromyalgia posts for the supplement lists that helped me to manage to walk every day).

Playing with the kids is also free – mine will play tag every day if I offer.

If you have no child care, then it might be that you need to explain to your kids that you are going to exercise for 30 minutes a couple of times a week and they either join you or play on their own for a bit.  You can always steal the kids xBox or Wii and do an exercise game!

 

Illness/Disease/Injury/Disability/Stress/Exhaustion

When the body is stressed it releases sugar into the body – not helpful for weight loss.  It also shuts down all non-neccessary functions e.g. digestion and focusses on what it needs for ‘fight or flight’.  If this goes on for too long, then it can definitely make healthy weight loss more difficult.

So I don’t want to add extra stress by making you feel guilty heh!

But I also don’t want you to stay a ‘victim’ of the problem for the rest of your life.  I totally understand how difficult it can be – I whined about having PCOS for 10yrs before losing the weight, and have certainly been upset about the chronic pain from Fibromyalgia.

So let’s look at it this way:

It may be more difficult.

It may mean working our way around limitations and challenges.

But if we don’t do it, things will only get worse.

So it’s worth the effort?

Loads can be done purely with nutrition and hydration if you are physically challenged.  You can definitely get to a healthier weight purely using them.

It might be also be worth focussing on the problems causing the exhaustion and stress first, and putting in things to reduce them first.

There are also professionals who can help you with tips on supplements and exercise e.g. health food shops, nutritionists, naturopaths, physiotherapists etc.  This is especially important if you have an illness or medications which actually affect your weight and hunger levels.  But it’s always important to check with your doctor, especially if you are already on medication.  For instance I take 5-htp for my sleep, but it can’t be mixed with certain anti-depressants, and things like epilepsy meds are extremely vulnerable to supplements.

Always listen to your intuition as well.  For instance, my body is NOT the kind that enjoys fasting, in fact ‘boom and bust’ is a bad habit of people with Fibromyalgia.  However one of my best friends felt at her fittest when doing a diet that meant eating less for a couple of days per week.  There is also the concept that come of us are more suited to certain foods, and I think that there maybe something in that: my husband is definitely better with more protein for instance.  Never ignore that small voice inside, but question it if it is suggesting something extreme, fadish or ‘quick fix’.

 

A note:

I am not a nutritionist.  I’m not a personal trainer.  I’m just someone who has struggled with health, fitness and weight for years, and happened to learn the ‘secrets’.

My aim is to help the mums who are ‘under average’ healthy to improve their health; not to make them the healthiest in the world.

Someone rightly mentioned that there are many versions of what is considered ‘healthy’.  My version of what is ‘healthy’ is a well balanced meal, including all food types.  I’m a fan of moderation and balance.  There are MUCH ‘healthier’ options out there.  I just don’t think that they are practical for everyone.  But I’m hoping that some people will learn the basics from me and then go on to learn even more.  Meanwhile the rest of us will be much healthier than the average person on the street, with enough energy and vigour to enjoy being mums.

We have all used excuses/reasons to avoid getting healthier and fitter (apart from a few!) – but we don’t have to do it forever!

Progress

My progress 6 months on from Diagnosis with Fibromyalgia: NEWS!

Progress
Progress

 

I have NEWS – there have been big changes.

Initially it was all rather slow, frustrating and two steps forward and one step back.  My last post was very up and down.

However, it looks like it all accumulates into one big sudden improvement, once you have ticked off a large enough percentage of the changes needed.  (I’m not fooling myself btw, I know there is still lots of work to do).

 

Here are some of the improvements:

I HAVE WALKED the dog every day for a fortnight.  This is amazing.  I tried before to gradually increase my walking and failed.  I can’t tell you what a difference it makes to be able to do it.

I am no longer in constant chronic pain.  I have constant pain, but it’s not unbearable or depressing.

Happy dog
Happy dog

I don’t feel like an 80 year old any more when bending down to putting the washing in the machine or walk down the stairs.

My TMJ (jaw pain) is much reduced.

I seem to have moved on to just get 1 flare per month, rather than 2; which is much more manageable.

Neither of my arms hurt.

I can pick up Little Dimples – what a relief, it was so awful not to be able to carry her when she needed me.

I’ve had some sleep.

I’ve adapted to no longer being competent – heh, who cares if I’m unreliable, ditzy and dis-organised from now on?

I’m beyond fighting it, not identifying myself as the victim of the story of it, and now more in a place where it is a guide for a while until I get the changes really sorted in my life.

I have no doubt that I will have it totally managed in the next 6 months.

I have hope that it’s possible to be free of it.

 

What have I done?

Supplements
Supplements

I was found to be very low on VITAMIN D, despite taking it in a multi-fit (I was 42, it should be 72).  They put me on a big dose of Vit D3 (gell capsules are best).  I now buy my own and take a pill if there is no sunshine on a day.  I’m going to ask to get my levels checked.  This reduced my pain DRAMATICALLY (along with a big dose of sunshine in Lanzarote in the February half-term).

Found 5-htp and magnesium (must take the malate version – it’s gentler on the stomach) to improve my sleep.

CBT from the NHS (cognitive Behavioural therapy) – I need to blog about this some more, it’s helped, but I wonder whether it is a little shallow and only helped because I have a therapy background and could do a lot of homework.  It was very helpful though in highlighting for me what causes a flare (e.g. freezing cold in a motorhome in Brighton will do it, or visitors who don’t help out!).

I’ve also tried EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) for the discomfort in my back (almost itches and hurts from the inside) from the Adrenals and reduced the pain from 8/10 to 2/10.  I can start to learn EFT myself and use it at home, so it’s a great find. (If you are local, try the lovely Mel at TherapHealing for EFT)

I’ve turned the tide on my weight and am at last working back downwards, if VERY slowly (I had just tipped over into an unhealthy weight).

Come off the drugs – I CONFESS – I realised on the friday of the bank holiday that I had awful Edema, so bad that my legs were ripping.  I knew there was no chance of a Dr’s appointment, so I stopped taking the Amiltriptyline.  That is wrong.  I know.  But I was only on 10mg.  I probably should have cut the pills in half instead.  I had a couple of bad days with headaches and insomnia.  But I’m glad now.

I’ve dropped sugar in my tea, I have the odd cake, but no more biscuits, and found a natural alternative to sugar for my tea.  The horrible, hot burning pain in my hips is dramatically improved from this – if I make a mistake I know it immediately.

The MOST AMAZING change has come from taking Cherry Active concentrated sour cherry juice morning and evening.  This is the reason that I can walk the dog.

Curly Headed Boy says I seem happier and look healthier than I did before I was ill.

 

Continuing with Previous Things:

Continuing with the Pilates – to strengthen my muscles means I don’t have to use as much of them, hence have less pain.

Still taking Omega 3, 6 & 9 (for brain fog), Optibac Probiotics (for IBS) and a good multi-vit.

Stopped taking Floradix – I feel I’m taking enough!

I’m going to a womans group monthly.  We meditate, do something personal-developmenty, chat, drink tea and eat biscuits; it’s perfect!  (If you fancy a supportive, fun, monthly group for women check out Actually Mummy’s review of our ‘Vision Boarding’ get-together),

Still meditating weekly, and a shamanism group monthly, which are great for support.

Warm showers every morning.  Cold if the pain is burning (brrrr, but it works).  Hot flannel for the muscles in my face to relax and if I’m tired, plus a big splash of cold water.

Hot bath with a couple of cup fulls of Epsom Salts and some aromatherapy oil once a week for at least 20 mins.

Aloe Vera Gell for the ‘hip burn’ (it itches and burns from the inside).

 

My Work

6 Steps To A Sparkling You
6 Steps To A Sparkling You

I have a PUBLISHING DEAL!!

This means that edition 2 of “Six Steps To A Sparkling You and Enjoying Being a Mum” will be out in September along with a NEW paperback version.

Plus the first edition of “Get Healthy, Fit and Strong without Diets and Bootcamps” with a paperback version straight away.

How exciting!

And book 3 “Who On Earth Am I?” is brewing nicely – look out for new posts along those lines soon.

I’ve also decided that I will definitely not return to teaching the Demartini Method, when I’m healthier, but instead go back to what I did 13yrs ago doing a mixture of healing and coaching.  It’s a lot easier to fit into life with 2 children, and although less lucrative, it’s less tough on me as well.

This is a HUGE decision as I worked blinking hard, spent many years and a lot of money to get my senior certification, but it’s the right one.  I’ll still use all the philosophies with my coaching.

If you have Fibromyalgia check out my page about my Fibro journey and all the things I have changed or tried.  I’d love to know if there is anything you have tried that has worked?

If you have a relative or friend with Fibromyalgia, please let them know about my page as it’s often very difficult for people to get information about it.

 

Weight Loss Diary: Week 7: How Life Gets In The Way Of The Best Laid Plans

Those of you who can add up can probably see that there was a Week 1, Week2, Hangout in week3, and then week 4, 5 and 6 are missing!

Yep, life totally got in the way!

Check out my video and my small amount of progress weight wise, but lots health wise:

 

I mention in there the progress I have made on my pain levels with Fibromyalgia by cutting out sugar and the research I did into sugar, sweeteners and the natural alternatives.  I was only having 3 teaspoonfuls of sugar a day in a cup of tea, no biscuits, but maybe some chocolate and cake.  The sugar is all gone, and the chocolate is now 1 piece of dark chocolate a day, and the cake just an unusual treat.  I can actually feel the difference if I have a day when I eat too much sugar, which is great because it is proving how much it affects my body.  I really recommend you think about it.

Thank you!

By the way a BIG THANK YOU to whoever nominated me in the Brilliance in Blogging awards 2013 in the video section – I was a bit surprised, but I’m assuming it is because of the stuff I’ve been doing about weight, unless it is because of David Tennant?  I would love some votes, as to be a finalist would be fantastic!

 

More help

If you are a little further along with your weight loss journey, remember that there are more tips here:

On weight loss

On Nutrition

And Exercise.

Or if you realise that you aren’t quite ready because you are too tired and too stressed, then check out my book ‘6 Steps To a Sparkling You And Enjoying Being a Mum‘.

Any questions, pop them in the comments.

 

Join Me Next Time Or Get More Direct Help!

I’m going to do a two more of Google+ hangouts about getting Healthy, Fit and Strong:

My next will be on understanding ourselves, because that is important in order to link our goals to what is important to ourselves.

Then I will do a hangout on the linking exercise to get us (AND ME!!!) motivated!

Fancy joining me?  You can either join in, or watch live and chat us questions, or watch afterwards.

Join my FB page and contact me in my FB group.  You will need a Google account too (here is my profile and page).  I need to know your current weight, goal, and what methods you are using at the moment if you have already started.

Don’t worry I will record the hangouts and put them on my Youtube page and post them here on my blog.

 

Sugar and Sweeteners are they bad for you? What’s the alternative?

This week’s chat with the lovely Danny Smith on his drive time show over at Radio Verulam was about nutrition and a few things that people might not know about SUGAR and SWEETENERS.

The problem is they are HIDDEN in lots of things that we eat and people don’t know.

Plus there are BIG health problems attached to them.

But don’t worry, you know me, I’m not into extremes, so I do have some ideas for alternatives.

If you fancy listening to us, then it’s about 15 minutes including music.  Otherwise, I’ve written it up below with some extra information I found afterwards:

 

 

Sweeteners?

Did you know that sweeteners are bad for you?

They are full of chemicals, that build up in your body and do it no good whatsoever.  There are tonnes of people talking in much more technical terms about this on the internet, so I’m not going to go into lots of biology about it, but basically they are toxins that build up in your body.

They are ironically NOT good for long term balanced weight as the body gets confused by eating something sweet that then has no calories.  Plus as you get more and more of these in the body, they will make weight loss more difficult as the body can’t work as well.

So DO NOT drink diet drinks.  Never ever ever.  Go for full sugar if you have to have a fizzy drink, or find something else or a different alcoholic drink that needs a different mixer.  Water is of course a great alternative!  I also talk about being careful of how much caffeine you drink later on in the day.

Watch out for low fat or low sugar foods.  In fact ANYTHING that LOOKS HEALTHY is probably packed with sweeteners and therefore bad for you!

Watch out for SQUASH because it often has sneaky sweeteners in it.  Instead look for a good fruit juice from concentrate (water it down if you like) or a squash with sugar.

So if you need sweetness I would actually advise sugar, just less of it so that it doesn’t affect your weight, insulin levels or health!

 

Sugar?

Problem is that sugar isn’t too good for you either.

Too much of it (like too much fat) affects the glyceamic index and insulin levels in the body that can aggravate or cause illnesses like Polycystic ovarian syndrome, IBS and Diabetes.

But most of all it is TERRIBLE for the immune system.  Us mums already have the bio weapons of mass destruction bringing every bug known to mankind back from school, and waking us up at night.  We don’t need something else that will literally inflame the insides of our bodies.

So if you need sugar use brown sugar, because that is marginally better for you than the white stuff and CUT out daily sugary treats, instead having a weekly one.

Now earlier on I said don’t drink diet drinks, so what about the others?  Well, be warned, often the healthy ones are packed with sugar especially those ‘water with a hint of something’ drinks that make you feel so self-righteous!

Plus if like Danny you like a can of coke you are looking at about the equivalent of 10 teaspoonfuls of sugar, which is 40g of sugar.  That is A LOT OF SUGAR. Added to that is the caffeine. So if you have any problems with your weight, sleep, emotional/mental health definitely don’t drink any after 4pm and consider finding something else that you like but which is a lot lower.

The NHS recommend the following: 70g for men and 50g for women depending on your height.  That means that 1 can of coke leaves you with very little leeway to have ANYTHING else in the day.  E.g. There could be another 4-5gs in one slice of bread, so if you have a sandwich you are done for the day and can’t add ketchup to your evening meal!

Remember that it is hidden in all sorts of things; always check the INGREDIENTS list.  I was over at Nanny Bets house the other day, helping her look through her cupboards.  The healthy cereal she had picked had added sugar.  The porridge was the ground up easy to put in a microwave stuff with none of the benefits of real porridge.

If you check the labels, the NHS recommends that:

  • more than 15g of total sugars per 100g is high
  • 5g of total sugars or less per 100g is low

 

Alternatives?

I am not saying give up sweet!  Phew, you say!

If you have an immune system disease like me, then I would say that ALL sugar and ALL sweeteners have to go from your diet.

If you tend to be very up and down emotionally or are dealing with depression, then I would warn you to make sure that you always include something that is low in the Glyceamic Index when you have something that is high sugar or high fat, as it will only make things worse.

For the rest of you, it’s about cutting it down the sugar, cake and biscuits instead.

Here are some natural alternatives:

Honey – high GI, but natural and Manuka honey can be great for the immunity

Maple Syrup – comes from trees, rather than our traditional golden syrup, again high GI but natural

Stevia – is a natural sweetener, but I’m not keen because it doesn’t have ANY calories and I think that it will confuse the body

Xylitol – is the one I’m using at the moment for my 3 cups of tea a day.

There are definitely others: always worth a check at your local health food shop and by googling to see if anything new has arrived on the scene.

 

Quitting Sweetness Altogether?

You will find a LOT of stuff on the internet about how sugar, fructose, glucose, sucrose, carbohydrates and anything sweet, starchy or down right yummy is bad for you.

I totally DISAGREE!  What would life be like without a little sweetness?  Why on earth were bees created if not to bring a little pleasure into our lives?

Long term I’m convinced that those low carbohydrate diets are positively unhealthy and damage the body.

Check out this book called ‘I didn’t Quit Sugar‘, it gives some really good advice, lots of technical information and they are about to bring out a recipe book too.

 

So what do you think about sugars and sweeteners?

Have you ever tried to those low carb diets?

Have I given you enough of a kick to try cutting back on your sugar and adding a few other alternatives?

Weight Loss Tips For Mums

Weight Loss Hang Out No1! Problems, Goals and Plans

Weight Loss Tips For Mums
Weight Loss Tips For Mums

Phew, that was a little scary!

Due to some technical problems and diary issues we just had Liska one very brave Mum (and her gorgeous 2yo son!) on the hangout and then 3 others watching live.

But that meant that we got through A LOT!!

 

Starting your new regime right

 

Starting right makes such a difference to wether you get going at all, and keep going.

Listen to the hangout for tips on:

 

1) NEVER mentioning DIETS or WEIGHT or WEIGHT LOSS …. only getting Healthy, Fit and Strong

2) Why Healthy, Fit and Strong are so important for Mums

3) Why it’s important to be clear on ‘the problem‘ and how we got there

4) Some questions about what is important in our lives; this is so that we can be sure the goals are really suited to us and so that later on we can do the mind set exercise.

5) Why it’s important to measure ourselves in SO MANY ways

6) Setting goals, with mini goals in between

7) Not expecting to do it all at once, but why a gradual ramp up every 6 weeks is ideal

8) Creating a plan of action

9) Making sure your plan includes rewards for your body (even 15 minute baths are good), and for yourself (e.g. new knickers).

10) Tips for snacks, and increasing water

 

Watch the hangout here to give your health kick a boost:

 

If you are a little further along, remember that there are more tips here:

On weight loss

On Nutrition

And Exercise.

 

Or if you realise that you aren’t quite ready because you are too tired and too stressed, then check out my book ‘6 Steps To a Sparkling You And Enjoying Being a Mum‘.

 

Any questions, pop them in the comments.

 

Join Me Next Time Or Get More Direct Help!

I’m going to do a more of Google+ hangouts about getting Healthy, Fit and Strong.

My next will be on TBA.

Fancy joining me?  You can either join in, or watch live and chat us questions, or watch afterwards.

Join my FB page and contact me in my FB group.  You will need a Google account too (here is my profile and page).  I need to know your current weight, goal, and what methods you are using at the moment if you have already started.

Don’t worry I will record the hangouts and put them on my Youtube page and post them here on my blog.

 

 

Muffin Top From Side

Weight Loss Diary: Week 2: successes and plans

In this post you can listen to my lifestyle feature on a radio show, see my weekly vlog and get details for my google hangouts on getting Healthy, Fit and Strong; it’s a packed post!

Firstly, thank you everyone for all your lovely comments cheering me on here, twitter and Facebook!

 

An Overview of How to Lose Weight

This month’s lifestyle feature for Radio Verulam’s Drive time show with Danny Smith this week talking about weight loss if you would like a quick 20 min overview of what makes Weight Loss Success.

It’s worth reading through this previous post of mine on why weight loss appears so difficult sometime.

 

 

My Progress This Week

Here is this week’s Vlog where I talk about how I did last week, what I did to achieve it, and my challenge this week.

 

 

I have picked an obvious target for the end of June; the BritmumsLive conference, which means an average weight loss of just under 1lb per week, which is practical at this level.

My focus was on comfort, and how losing weight can really help us to feel more comfortable, so I thought I’d show you this photo to show why I’m uncomfortable.  It’s all very well standing up, but sitting down is another matter!

Muffin Top From Side
Muffin Top From Side

 

Muffin Top From Above
Muffin Top From Above

 

Join Me!

I’m going to do a series of Google+ hangouts about getting Healthy, Fit and Strong.

My first will be on Wed 27th at 10.30am.

Fancy joining me?  You can either join in, or watch live and chat us questions, or watch afterwards.

Five keen Mums have already signed up for this hangout.  There is space for only TWO more.

Join my FB page and contact me in my FB group.  You will need a Google account too (here is my profile and page).  I need to know your current weight, goal, and what methods you are using at the moment if you have already started.

Don’t worry I will record the hangouts and put them on my Youtube page and post them here on my blog.

Don’t forget to check out all my other Vlogs and Tips on weight loss for busy mums.

 

Weight Loss Diary Muffin Top Photo

Weight Loss Diary: Week1: The problem and the goal

Vlog

I’m starting a weight loss diary – bet you never guessed that from the title heh!

I also thought I’d vlog it; you know, try something new!

So in this vlog I talk about the extent of my weight gain problem, why I gained it, and what my goals are.

 

 

Previous Posts

It’s important when you start to be clear on the problem and what you would like to set as a goal, I wrote about all this previously:

Starting: the rules of weight loss

How to measure the starting position: important to have several measurements

Setting goals: if your goals are pants, it will make it difficult to get into smaller pants

The Photo’s

And Just to make it really embarrassing I’m doing photos.

I’m sorry (not!) that I don’t have photos of previous times I had to lose weight, but if you are heavier than me, bear in mind that the first time I used my method I lost 3.5stone (pre-children), and the second time I lost (2.5 stone) (post children).

Why did I put it back on?  You’ll have to listen to my vlog for that!

Also, if I had taken these photo’s when I was last at this weight they would have been a LOT worse, as I’ve been doing Pilates for 5 months now.

These photo’s show the problem; being short, and having a muffin top, which I find physically and emotionally uncomfortable.  Apart from the fact that I’m also now overweight, which isn’t going to help my Fibromyalgia at all.

Weight Loss Diary Front Photo
The view from the front
Weight Loss Diary Back Photo
The view from the back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Loss Diary Side Photo
The view from the side
Weight Loss Diary Muffin Top Photo
The problem muffin top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Loss Diary Dumpy Photo
Dumpy in flats
Weight Loss Diary Boots Photo
Looks OK in high heeled boots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join Me!

I’m going to do a series of Google+ hangouts about getting Healthy, Fit and Slim.

Fancy joining me?

Two keen Mums have already signed up.  There is space for only SEVEN more.

Join my FB page and contact me in my FB group.  Sorry you will need a Google account too (here is my profile and page).  I need to know your current weight, goal, and what methods you are using at the moment if you have already started.

Don’t worry I will record the hangouts and put them on my Youtube page

 

Don’t forget to check out all my other Vlogs and Tips on weight loss for busy mums.

 

Weight Loss Tips For Mums

I’m in the Top 100 Weight Loss Blogs: and need a kick up the butt

Weight Loss Tips For Mums
Weight Loss Tips For Mums

I was shocked and chuffed to find that I’m No32 in the Top 100 Weight Loss Blogs!

That’s a list including people like Jenny Craig and ‘proper’ weight loss organisations, so it’s pretty good going.  I’ve even given all my weight loss blog posts a jolly good polish to celebrate.

BUT.

There is a problem.

I’m feeling a bit of a fraud.

Despite everything I said in my weight loss tips and the fact that I’m writing a blinking book about it.

In the last month or so I’ve tipped back officially into the ‘overweight’ range.

Again.

I know how it happened.

I spent much of 2011 thinking I had a bad back, frustrated that I could no longer run (despite being a rubbish runner) or do much exercise and not managing to fix it; add 4 lbs.

After several months with an Osteopath and Physiotherapist I decided to try an Acupuncturist.  Despite knowing that I know about nutrition (heh, I’m listed as one of the Top 100 Food Blogs by Woman and home!), I had lost confidence and listened to him when he said that I wasn’t eating enough; add another 3lbs.

Then I got my diagnosis with Fibromyalgia (pain all over the body), which meant I could no longer run to lose weight, which was my cheat as I’m a rubbish runner.  Plus, I get tired from doing about 1/4 the exercise I used to be able to do.  And I’m now on drugs that help brilliantly with the pain and sleep, but have the side effect of weight gain; add the final 8lbs.

*Hangs Head In Shame* after all I’m meant to know how to do it aren’t I?

Or maybe you will like me a little more to know that I’m not perfect *Looks hopeful*?

 

Anyway, it’s spring (I’m not keen on New Year), which is a great time for a fresh start ready for the summer.  So I’ve decided it’s time to kick my own rapidly expanding butt.

I may have Fibromyalgia.

It may be difficult.

But I know that my stuff works.

So I’m going to prove it.

I’m going to lose 1 stone 1lb: get back to a healthy weight and lose the muffin top.

It doesn’t matter that I’m doing it AGAIN.

Just that I do it!

 

I’d love your help?

I’m going to write a weekly diary of my progress; read my blog posts and keep me going because I may need some encouragement when I get Fibro flares and feel depressed and in pain.

Or join in and lose weight too? I’ve got a facebook group for ‘Easy Healthy weight loss’ and a facebook page.

Or tell me your story of how you lost weight against all the odds?

 

Fancy seeing who else is in the list?

Top 100 Weight loss blogs to follow

 

An infographic by the team at CouponAudit

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