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.

 

Radio show about stress

Are you a stress junkie or got your stress habit under control?

Radio show about stressSo last months LifeStyle feature with Radio Verulam and the lovely Dapper Danny Smith on his Drive Time show was all about stress.

Sorry for the delay in posting it, my life has been a bit stressful!!

The big question is, when should you do something about being stressed and when is it just normal every day stress that goes away?

Hope you enjoy it and find it useful.

(You can either read it, or listen to the audio at the bottom if you prefer to listen to my dulcet tones!).

 

What is Stress

Life is always going to have it’s ups and downs, and we’ll be disappointed if we think that it’s possible to remove stress or difficulties from our lives.

But what we talked about on the show was the fact that some stress can be healthy and in a weird way enjoyable, whereas long term stress can start to have a detrimental affect on us.

So how can we tell?

It’s when it gets out of hand, and you are either constantly in fight/flight with constant adrenalin or totally shut down.  

It’s an inbetween place between a difficult day and more complex problems of mental/physical health.  So from that perspective it’s a good place; because it’s like a warning sign and opportunity to put things right in your life.

I was a massive stress junkie when I worked 13hrs a day, 6 days a week in IT and could easily smoke, drink coffee, nibble my nails, eat chocolate all at the same time; which is why they sent me on a pile of personal development courses and I ended up with my fascination for it.  People think I’m pretty calm nowadays, but I do get stressed, maybe I just know more about dealing with it, or getting rid of it, that’s all (or I’m a good faker!).

So what causes stress?

Finances: at the moment is obvious!  Being out of control, sticking your head in the sand and feeling powerless with long term financial problems which will take time to resolve is very difficult.  Check out my posts about saving/managing your money, especially the last two I did for Radio Verulam on budgeting.

Physical pain or problems: This I’ve had lots of experience with for the last 6 months or so and started to understand how very stressful it can be.  Especially constant pain for older people or some physical challenge that is stopping you from doing things.  Check out my posts on Fibromyalgia for more info.  Update: Your body can also come under stress due to allergies, intolerances, over exercise i.e. anything that put’s pressure on it and makes it feel concern for it’s safety or that it is under attack.

Work: some people love the stress of work; I love the excitement or nerves of being on radio and used to find it really helpful when I was a trainer in IT.  However, you can end up overworking, or underworking or doing a job you don’t enjoy which can be constantly stressful.  It does depend on the person though; if I’m bored I’m very stressed, whereas other people would love a job that was less challenging.

People: People get everywhere don’t they and they don’t half cause a lot of trouble!  Friends, workmates, partners and kids are all potential creators of stress.  Holding onto things that have caused you pain/trauma, that will sit in your body and eat at you.  Remember, it’s worth letting go because it’s not about them, it’s about the price you pay for still being hurt or upset about something.  Doing what other people think you ‘should’ do, can make you very stressed.

The good news is that we can’t always change the world around us, but we can change how we see it; so we don’t have to stay stressed.

 

How you know whether you are stressed?

Exhausted Mums

People often ignore stress, and that can be wise if short term; I’m not recommending that you become worried about stress as it can be really healthy.  After all it’s the stress that raises our adrenalin levels that got us running away from those dinosaurs all those years ago, and now keeps me on the ball when I’m doing something scary like a radio show!

But one sign that it needs looking at is when it is long term with no let up (i.e. more than a few weeks or months).

There will be also be an obvious hint because your family/friends/body will tell you.  They’ll either be getting grumpy with you or if you’re lucky they’ll sit you down with a cuppa/glass of wine and ‘give you a good talking to’.  Your Body will either keep getting sick or ill or give you stomach cramps.  It will keep giving you warnings and when you don’t listen it keeps upping the ante so that you listen to it.  (It’s trying to be helpful, even if we don’t see it that way when we have a headache!).

As the stress kicks in we become more worried, have memory problems, become indecisive, our thoughts start to control us, we have less rest, our brain going constantly, we get moody, isolated and start to feel helpless.

So don’t ignore stress as ‘just one of those things’.  

It’s not ‘one of those things’.  

It’s a sign that a change of some sort is needed, or at least a plan for a change.

Look after yourself when you are stressed, and don’t let it turn into a full blown illness or depression.  I’m a good example of ‘cobblers shoes’; I’ve been pushing myself just a little too far, for just a little too long, because I’ve always been able to cope.  But I didn’t make the time to go to Pilates or rest and my body is well and truly telling me off about it.

When we don’t reduce the stress it becomes a cycle where we eat worse, drink more alcohol/caffiene, eat more chocolate, go to bed later, and then pull away from friends who would be able to help us and become isolated.  So we get more stressed!

 

What to do about it?

Body:

This is the great place to start because if your body is happy, your emotions will be steadier and you’ll have more energy.  From there you will be able to tackle your problems more easily.

Exercise 3 times per week even just for a brisk walk, get some fresh air, get a little out of breath even if it’s just 15 mins per day.  This isn’t about becoming a Triathlete, this is about having some fun and rejuvenation.

Eating healthily (there’s loads of information on my blog about healthy eating, even if you are a rubbish cook like me!) has an AMAZING affect on us; never underestimate the power of nutrition to make a change in our lives.

Supplements are a great way to support your body; probiotics for your digestion, Omega oils for concentration,  Vitamin D if you miss the sunshine.

Drink water, have a habit like drinking a glass whenever you brush your teeth or come back in the house. Remember your body is like a car which won’t work without oil; we don’t work without water.

Sleep; start following a regular repeatable sleep pattern and stick to it!

 

Head:

Is it possible to have romance and kids?Now it’s time to calm those brains down.  (We’ll come back to ways of letting go of your problems, pains and hurts another time when we have more time).

Each night Count 3 blessings a night; it’s a great way to go to sleep and I promise you that you will have 3, even if it’s just a good cup of coffee or a sunny day.

Go on a complaining diet and stop talking about the stuff you don’t want or like in your life.  Seriously, no talking about the horrid stuff, no thinking about it, you are totally banned unless you are sitting down with someone to make a plan to change it.

Write down your problem; either just once to find a solution to your issue or every morning as recommended by Julia Cameron in her book ‘The Artists Way’.

Check out my favourite books that can help when you are overwhelmed or depressed.

 

Fancy Listening to me say all this with the added bonus of Danny?  Check out the audio here:

 

There are so many more things that you can do to reduce the stress, that we are going to have to come back to this subject at some point in time!  But I hope that this gives you a good starting point.

If you’re a Mum (or Dad) then you might like to check out my Kindle book (you don’t need a kindle to read it) for just 99p as well.

In the meantime remember that ‘this too shall pass’.

 

 

How to easily build a family budget that works and reduces your stress!

Money Saving TipsNow stay awake!

Remember I told you in my previous post about why budgeting is fab, that having a budget will reduce your stress, improve your relationships and give you a better sex life?

So now I’m going to give you some tips on how to build a budget, because it’s not always that obvious.

Plus you can listen to my dulcet tones again (lucky, lucky, lucky!) because I talked about this for Radio Verulam’s Drive Time show with Danny smith as part of my ‘Lifestyle correspondent’ role for them?  (Sorry it’s such a posh title that I just HAVE to keep dropping it in the conversation!).

There are three steps.

1) Build a budget

2) Fiddle/Analyse the budget monthly

3) Create a fun plan for the future

1) Build A Budget

Ok, so this bit might not be the most exciting bit, but once it’s done, it’s done!

You basically go through your Direct Debits, bank statements, credit card bills, and other bills to get a view on what you spent last year.

MoneySavingexpert has a great spreadsheet if you want one that will make sure you don’t miss anything out.

Here’s a picture of how we build ours up:

Once you have Regular spends, average spends, debt and food and house sorted: i.e what you pretty much have to spend (although you might find that you decide to cut back on some of it or remove it once you see it written down), then the rest goes into:

Savings for Fun: holidays, gadgets, gifts etc

Savings Forever: rainy day, pensions etc

Pots: For you, your hubby and the kids

The Pots are where the ‘magic’ happens!  You decide what a fair split is between you all, and then that is your limit.

But it’s no one else’s business what you spend there, so it can be spent without guilt or judgement.  If he wants to spend it in the pub or on a gadget then fair enough.  If you love shoes or handbags fine. It’s yours fair and square.

 

2) Budget Analysis

Each month (probably with a treat to encourage you, like a cuppa and a cake!), you go through how much you spent and compare it to the budget.

I’m telling you now IT WILL NEED REJIGGING!  So don’t feel guilty or judge yourself for that; you are bound to have been a bit keen and optimistic!

Then look to see if you got value for money from the spends that you have a ‘choice’ over:

Look for where you overspent, where you could have cut down, and what didn’t give you the value for money.

Little costs: Check out the little costs like coffees and multiply them by how many times a week/month/year they happen.  Are they really worth it?

Medium costs: Work out if they are worth the number of days it takes to earn them by taking your salary after tax/232 (full time working days) and seeing how many days it took to pay for them.

Costs that save money: If they save money, like our cars have done it might be worth it.

Debt: my rule of thumb is that it’s not worth going into debt for more than a season for pretty much anything.

 

3) Fun For The Future

 

After a while the budgeting will pay off and you will be able to look further ahead.

Sit down with a bottle of wine and DREAM!

What would you love to have done, seen or achieved by the time that you ‘kick the bucket’?

Maybe it’s a holiday, kids going to univercity, an extension on your house, or learning to drive?

This list is then great to compare to things you think of buying in between to see if they are really worth it, and to make sure that you have stuff to plan for and work for.

With debt you need to chunk it down to smaller units so that it seems more achievable e.g. £400pm is £100pw, which could be 2hrs of cleaning 5 days per week.  Plus remember to be upfront and tell organisations, debtors etc that you are struggling and make the payments manageable.  There are also organisations out there that can help you like the citizens advice bureau (I’m going to do some research and write a whole blog post about who can help you with debt problems in the next couple of weeks).

 

Here is my section on Radio Verulam with the lovely Danny smith (it’s 18mins):

 

 

So there it is, three easy steps, that might take you a little while to put fully into place, but will INSTANTLY make your life easier.

I really hope I’ve inspired you to have a go?

Let me know what you think?  Any questions or any problems with it, I’m here, so you just have to ask!