Hello there!

Welcome to the confessions of this former fatty. If you’ve opened this blog expecting it to be a quick fix, answer to everything, all knowing guide to losing weight , then I think this blog will disappoint you, sorry! There is no quick fix, there is no holy grail and there is no magic to losing weight.

This blog is simply my story and the summation of the years of dieting, failing and researching that have finally got me back into shape and healthy. I have gone from amateur enthusiast to fitness professional during this journey. All advice here is my own from my own experiences, both amateur and professional, and where professional/journal/medical information is used I cite all references giving those who did the graft their due. Please feel free to have a look around and also check out the Official KrissieKirby.com blog

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

ARGH! Frustrated... and so what if they think you're mad!

Ok I seriously need to vent today.

Firstly, my apologies.  Life got in the way yet again, and I've been lax once more in my blogging.  It's silly really as I have 5 blogs, all mostly written in the draft folder of my dashboard for this blog and awaiting proof reading and pictures (well, it needs some colour otherwise it's boring old text on a page).  This is the first, I will roll them all out over the next week or two as I have some free time back.  HURRAH! But the shake up has worked and I'm now down to 12 Stone 4lbs (172lbs) and I'm aiming for another 4lbs off by Christmas :)
Secondly, this is going to have a rant section, it'll be early on and marked.  I always think it's best to forewarn people if you are going to have a bit of a rant, so here's your advanced notice.  You can skip past it if you want to, to the bit that I'll talk about where people think your mad if you keep a food diary!  I used to be one of those people but now I don't go a day without logging my food - how else can I keep myself accountable?
So, thirdly, there is a purpose to the blog, not just me going off on one about something that is frustrating the heck out of me at the moment.

There is nothing more infuriating that people who join food diary sites and ask the most basic questions that are 1, in the information on the sites front page. 2, reiterated everywhere on the same said site.  3, the answer is readily available on about 33,500,000 different web pages (Source: Google search using the question which I'll get on to in a moment) if you put the question into a search engine. And 4, has been asked a million times on the sites forum if you made the effort to look and research about the question you are wanting the answer to.

Dear great gods of Olympus people, RESEARCH!  As my great mentor Ted used to say 'read, mark, learn and inwardly digest'.

The question?  How many calories can I safetly reduce my intake to, to lose weight? Or its multitude of variations.  Everywhere on weightloss sites, in bold in most cases, the site will tell you that 1200 Kcals is the lowest you should ever take your calorie intake if you are dieting.  If you type that question into Google you get 33 milllion pages that tell you the same thing over and over.  So why are you filling up space with the same question over and over? ARGH!

The frustrating part is that the people who ask this question, are the people who you know will not succeed at their weightloss journey and will blame the site they've joined for not working the miracle they want it to work.  Why?  Because the whole thing about losing weight is having to educate yourself about how you put the weight on in the first place.  Whether it was through illness, genetic disposition, over eating and inactivity, or just a lack of understanding about the impact of the bad foods you were eating, it's all down to re-education.  And to re-educate yourself you have to research what you are eating, how food affects your diet, mood, metabolism etc. EDUCATE, EDUCATE, EDUCATE.  Please, even if it's a book from the library, research how cutting calories etc will affect everything you do.  You wouldn't try fixing your car yourself without a Hayes Manual or at least researching what mechanic is going to be your best help!  Yes I know that people ask questions in forums to get peer advice, but the answers are already there, and that means the person asking the question can't be bothered to put a search in on the forum to see if the question has been asked already.  That means they don't really want the honest answer as it's not going to fit in with the miracle cure they want.  I've done it myself and I got a short sharp response along the lines of 'come back when you've done more research as you aren't ready to lose weight seriously'. They were so very right!

It's so frustrating.  And breathe! Ok so rant over.  The basic idea of this blog, and why the rant fits in so nicely with it, is that as a society, somewhere along the way, we got bogged down in the fast fix mentality. We don’t have time to cook any longer, we grab the nearest thing and eat on the run, or we binge on sweets and chocolate whilst sat in front of the goggle box mindlessly allowing our hand to dip in the jar and push the food in our mouths without a conscious thought.  We've forgotten to ensure that we understand what our body needs to function, that we have sole control over what we put in our mouths to get this bag of bones to cart our behinds about on a daily basis.  We bury our heads so far in the sand that we mindlessly chomp away on anything and everything because 'it tastes soooo goood'.  That's where food diaries are so handy, as they force us to confront what it is we're doing, how we see our food and to reassess to achieve our goals.

Now many people I know use MyFitnessPal as their food diary, I do too, and there are many friends that I know who think us MFP lot are all barking mad and OCD about counting calories. But the utilisation of a food diary is so much more than just counting calories in and out.  It’s a guide to how we are doing nutritionally.  I have no idea one minute to the next if I’m getting enough in the way of vitamins and minerals/fibre etc in my meals and snacks (yes I snack, there is nothing wrong with snacking if you’re mindful of what it is you are eating). Most food diaries have sections where you can write your fat, salt, carb, sugar etc content and so you can see how your totals balance throughout the day/week. And that’s so important because it’s no good cutting your calorie intake to lose weight if you are still eating a lot of old rubbish that isn’t going to work for you.  It’s all about keeping yourself accountable and keeping yourself educated.

Ah there's my favourite word of this blog ;).  Somewhere in the quick fix we forgot to maintain our education on what is nutrition and what it does for us.  We got caught up in faddy diets where fat was the big evil, then carbs were one step away from Beelzebub.  Modern science has afforded us a far better understanding of what our bodies can do, but by the same token it’s made us lazy.  We are now expecting our food to be the miracle cure for our ignorance of what that same said food is actually doing for us.  For example, if I use this spread it will reduce my LDL cholesterol.... yes that may well be the case but what about those 15 biscuits you just munched full of sugar and starchy processed wheat that you ‘don’t mind’ because they are ‘low fat’?  Many of us hope that by cutting a few calories here and there or by joining that weight loss group, we’ll be able to shed the unwanted weight with relative ease.  Sorry, wrong!  It’s time to re-educate yourselves, learn about your food and what it does to your system. 

It’s all very well and good getting on the weight loss wagon but you can’t let others do the work for you.  Read your labels, learn what the nutritional guides mean, get a better understanding of what helps promote a healthy body, what foods will actually help with weight loss better than others.  And damn it, get back in the kitchen and make time to prepare your meals.  Find a time that’s best for you to prepare things for the week, snacks, lunches, etc. Klick Fresh tubs are a godsend. And I know many will say, 'But Krissie, you don't have children to contend with,' no you are very right I don't, so I do appreciate that it can be a real juggling act, but why not include the kids in preparing food?  It will aid their education in the process and hopefully stop them becoming one of the statistics that fuel the obesity epidemic that we appear to be facing.

There is always time for you, because believe me no one else is going to make time for you and you are SO worth the effort.  Take the time to learn about your food. Find out what you are putting into this amazing thing called your body.  Your body is possible the most amazing piece of evolutionary engineering that has ever existed.  Learn to love it, and feed it with love by feeding it right. Don’t get me wrong have treats.  I work on the 80 – 20% rule.  I’m not going to give myself a telling off for having a bag of chips once in a while, or a bar of Fry’s chocolate now and then. Why would I deprive myself like that? You have to find what works for you, and you have to learn what is a healthy balanced diet.  Changing the way you eat should be an education, because somewhere we’ve forgotten what it was that gave us the right energy. And more importantly we forgot how eating too much of those lovely yummy high calorie un-nutritious foods have contributed to the extra tyre that we've suddenly found on our mid drift.

And that’s why no matter how much I get ribbed by those around me who think I’m bonkers for my fastidious food logging, it’s never going to bother me and I’m not going to stop.  I owe it to this fleshy bone machine that carts my rather random brain about the place to feed it properly and to give it exercise regularly because I want it to last as long as humanly possible.

I promise not to get too ranty on the next blog, and thank you for bearing with me while I get stuff off my chest.  It's always good to vent. Remember, you can do it, you can achieve your goals but you do need to research your path to get there. And if you have a question to ask on a forum spend a few minutes utilising the search function, because chances are 100 people have already asked it and 100s others have replied.

As always, be kind to yourself.

Until the next blog, much love


                                             Created by MyFitnessPal - Nutrition Facts For Foods

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Shaking Things Up!

I know, I know.  I promise that I'll be more diligent in posting on my blog then I disappear for four weeks without so much as a bye or leave.  Sorry, it's been quite a busy time of late.  But I digress.

So this week I got on the scales and I'm finally in the bottom half of 12stone, just!  I'm currently at 12stone 6lbs and there is no room for complacency at all. No siree! If anything it's time for me to ramp up the workouts and power through for these last 24lbs. I've sat down with my online diary and had a good look at where I'm encouraging a plateau as in all honestly I should have hit my goal weight LONG before now and for the last 6 weeks I've bounced between 12stone 9lbs and 12stone 6lbs.  As it turns out, I was averaging about 250cals per day OVER what I really should have been having for someone who works a desk job 5 days a week.

So I went back to the drawing board, reassessed my Basal Metabolic Rate, calculated a rough idea of how many cals I want to save a week to give me a 1 pound loss (3500 cals roughly) and now I'm making sure I eat back my exercise calories.  I've also changed the detailing on my diary to include sugar - and as I guessed correctly I've had too much sugar.  However, most of it is coming from fruit and fruit juice, so that's not too bad.  I just need to be more mindful that I don't add extra to it by ramping up the chocs again, which I have a danger of doing when I'm facing a lot of stress in the day job.  I have to face facts, this day job is stressful. End. Of. There isn't much I can really do about that at the moment... well there is but that's another blog for next week ;)  (yeah, yeah, I know it'll probably take a month to write it. As the kids of today say, I R Rubbish)

I've found of late that I'm also being quite skittish in my thoughts and how I'm approaching things.  So I enrolled on a challenge to change how I approach things.  There is a fitness celeb (as always) in the USA called Chalene Johnson who hosts my latest at home work out addiction - TurboFire.  If you forgive the very American and schmultzy infomercial all I can say is that it's amazing.  It's Insanity and Body Combat combined into a 20 week programme.  I am so in love with this workout, it's got moments of the HIIT of Insanity with focused sections of plyometrics and also combines the choerograhy and class feel of Body Combat that I adored when I was a regular at gym classes. So if you liked the gym classes and you can't get there anymore for whatever reason, this is definately worth looking into. It's not for everyone, granted and you will need to invest in resistance bands (but why wouldn't want a portable weight training device anyway??).  But if it looks like your sort of thing, have a look around Amazon sellers as they sometimes have it in stock at half the price. Don't go outside of Beachbody UK or Amazon though as they will more than likely be hookie copies and may not work on your DVD player, also they come with the risk of having no 'money back guarantee' alas.

On top of being a trainer, Chalene is also a motivational speaker and champion of the Carefuly Crafted and Diligently Maintained To Do List - the what??? I hear you say.  Yep a to do list that takes the pressure off and doesn't set you up for failure unlike the conventional to do list, where you pile everything on and can't possibly get it done.  Here's the link to Chalene's challenge sign up.  If you like to do lists, if you want to be more organised, if you want to realise how to move forward to your goals, if you just want to stop feeling like you're getting nothing done.... SIGN UP.  You won't regret it.  It's changed how I attack each day and I have more confidence and more positivity in general with everything that I do.  As you know I champion Jillian Michael's a lot, but for me Chalene has really struck a chord and I find how she teachs her fitness as well as her life coaching skills easily accessible and they resonate with me more. Check her out, her style may not work for you but it's all worth looking at eh?

It's changed how I attack things so much in this last month, that I now have a chart with blogs to write, what ideas I want to share, weekly updates on weight and how my mindset is, little things to include that might help you dear reader in your own journey.  It's focused my own research into weightloss more. And you know what? It feels awesome to be so focused that even if topic A doesn't go anywhere and topic B and C are looking sketchy more often than not a topic D will pop through that has elements of the others tucked in. More importantly I've learned something new and something exciting in the process.

Anyhow, that's the round up of where I am so far. More positive, shaking things up a little and geting back into the habit of being more organised and more diligent in completing my diary and daily tasks. Heck I'm even scheduling my workouts to a specific time each day and that's non negotiable....!!!

So have a great week all, log your food (all of it, every last mouthful and every last treat, as Steve Miller would say 'little pickers wear big nickers' I love that man), do your workouts and give yourself a great big pat on the back for being you. Celebrate the little things, find joy in the smallest thing when the dark starts to descend.  You are amazing, remember that!

And as always, be kind to yourself.

Much love

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Small Victories…. Bigger than you think!

It’s often forgotten that we should reward ourselves along the way in this journey.  We often only keep the end goal in site, the final end figure on those scales.  Yet the important part of this journey is in the smaller victories. 

The battle of changing how we see ourselves is all in the little things that we can whack in our arsenal of feel good bits and bobs.  As fat people, and let’s face it when we start this journey we are all fat, we have a skewed version of ourselves in our noggin’.  We look in the mirror and convince ourselves that what we see is passable for the most part because if we don’t throw that glamour on the reality, then the cracks will become gaping chasms and the unhappiness that we really inhabit will seep through.  It’s all very doom and gloom yet we consistently chuck this fa├žade of everything’s fine and we’re happy being bigger.  I’m sure there are people out there who are very comfortable being in their skin and being bigger, but for the majority of us it’s painful and we sometimes cannot see a way out.  This is where the small victories are so very important and to certain extent they can be seen as more important than the end goal for many reasons.

As always I’ll use myself as an example, as really I only have me to compare all this to.  Here I am singing with the band, August 2009.  At this point I had lost about 3 stone , I was about 14stone 10 lbs (206lbs) and, though I put out the air that I looked good, I was still disappointed that I was nowhere near my goal weight and that I was still fat.  What I didn’t do was compare my photographs here with any pictures of me taken at the start of 2006 when I first decided enough was enough.  By comparing those pictures perhaps I would have started to see me as I actually was much earlier on, smaller, losing weight, getting there and not as still 17stone 12lbs wondering why, when, if, how all the weight was going to come off.  That’s the annoying and very upsetting part of all this losing weight malarkey.  You know fine well that you are losing weight and that it is visible but still when you look in that mirror all you see is the original ‘you’ that you started off with.  And no matter how much you talk to yourself in a positive voice there is still a little voice that sits in the background saying ‘you’re still fat’. 

So the other day I decided that, after getting into a pair of rather tight Next trousers that had now become the perfect fit, that I should look back through some old photographs and compare it to the one here.  

The one on the right was taken in August at the last photoshoot we did for new publicity stuffs.  I loathe having pictures taken, especially ones where I have to pose, I find that I don't hold myself well at all and I just find fault all the time. But this new set of pictures I noticed some changes.  I was holding myself better, my posture had improved, my confidence was apparent and I was more willing to pose.  These might seem like trivial little things but for a former fatty these are huge.

Now I've started to really see the massive difference in my body shape and weight.  Yes I still have days where I looking in the mirror and thing 'ugh, really?' but thankfully they are getting fewer and further apart.  Now I look in the mirror and see the 12 stone 6lbs, more toned and lithe version of me, and she's looking not half bad!  The picture here on the left was taken at the last gig at the start of this month.  Considering last Feb that vest top was so constricting I couldn't breath, now it fits perfectly. Again it's these little things I realise I need to put into a little arsenal to bring out when the hormone rage strikes with vengeance. 

The little non scale victories (as they tend to be called) are things that we can use to gee ourselves up.  So that feeling of asking for that little black dress in a medium, after trying on the large and squealing with delight as it was too big;  the feeling of putting on size 14 jeans for the first time in 12 years; putting on a small band t-shirt as opposed to a large; having to buy a new wardrobe of clothes as everything is now too big; and of course the general feeling of great health and not being out of puff doing even the smallest things, these are all the things that we should remember.  Of course having pictures that we can compare and contrast is possibly the most readily accessible and easily comparable.  It's by focussing on these little victories that when that voice creeps in and starts to try to undermine everything, we can really hit back with pride at what we've achieved so far.  

And what's most important about these NSVs is that they change our perception of how we see ourselves. And that's so vital to success in losing weight and keeping it off.  It's not a complacency in how we are doing, it's a reminder of why we are doing the journey. It's a bolster to our self esteem and gives us a warm happy feeling...bonus!

It's taken my a while to get this in my head but it's working. I feel a whole lot better about how I view myself. And yes I do have my bad days when I feel rubbish, want to pig out on chocolate and crisps but for the most part, they are few and far between and now I'm more positive about the whole process.  Pandora is a lot quieter of late.... thankfully.

So celebrate your little victories as you go along.  They will help when you hit the ultimate goal and be a source of strength when 'she' gets out of her box again.

Be kind to yourself,



Saturday, 23 July 2011

Turn and face the strain...Ch..Ch..CH..Changes!

Today's blog is about two things, taking compliments and how the changes we're making are not just superficial.

Firstly taking compliments.  It sounds obvious and it seems a bit like telling my granny to suck eggs, but it's something that has taken me a while to learn to do, and that is to take the compiments when they are given with grace.

I know it does sound rather daft but how many of us (particularly us girls) just say 'thank you' when we receive a compliment and actually mean it?  More often than not we'll say, 'It's hard work, I'm in the gym four days a week' or 'I bought it at such and such for such a bargin'.  We never just say 'Thank you' and smile and accept the fact that someone out there has noticed the cut of the dress is flattering, or that the hard work in the gym is paying off or just that for that moment we are exuding an inner happiness that is shining through... I know that sounds all hippy and 'hug a tree' like but seriously.  Have you ever noticed on those days where you feel REALLY good is usually the day when most people will say 'wow you look great!'?  Take the compliment, smile, mean it when you say thank you, and absorb the good feeling.  You can use that good feeling when tomorrow feels a bit of a struggle and the negative voice tries to beat you down from all the good work you're doing.  You are worth the compliment.

The last time I was in the gym changing room, someone I have never seen before paid me a wonderful compliment.  This lady, someone who was just starting her weightloss journey, commented that I have a lovely figure.  Before I'd have said, 'Oh ummm thanks, I'm in the gym 6-10 hours a week and it's taking a lot of hard work but I'm getting there'.  Not this time, this time I smiled and simply said 'Thank you' and I meant it.  And what resulted was an interesting 20 minute conversation about how hard losing weight really is. Thinking back on the conversation last night, I empathised with the girl a lot.  I recall saying to someone at my first gym (who is now a very close friend) that I thought they had an amazing figure. I remember thinking that I'll never be that person with the figure people comment on. And that can be quite disheartening because you suddenly realise how long it's going to take and how much work it really is.

Which leads me on nicely to the next thing today's blog is about: Change!

Taking the first steps into the gym, and taking the decision to change your life in such a profound way, because let's face it it's a HUGE decision, it's down right scary.  It's not easy to get your head around how hard this change is.  And you're not only changing your body, you're changing everything about you inside and out.  That first step in to an area where you perceive everyone to be body beautiful, an area where you think everyone is going to be looking at you and judging you, is intimidating.  BUT, and this is the big but, everyone in that gym (and in many cases this includes the instructors) has been in the same boat at some point.  Even the most lithe and beautiful of those gym bunnies has thought 'oh god they're all going to judge me because I have no co-ordination' or an plethora of other inadequacies they feel they have that will be abundantly apparent.  And guess what?  No one notices, because everyone else is far to involved in their own insecurities to worry about the overweight girl who's just walked in to take part in Body Combat/ Fitball etc.

You are not just tackling your weight when you enter the fitness arena, you are tackling those things that normally would have you running scared. You're having to face up to you're shyness, or the amount of hiding you have done in the past that has got you to this point.  You've probably shied away from crowds, or even exposing your body in fitness attire for a very long time.  It's daunting but it's a step to a new and improved you and a step you HAVE to take.  You can work out at home, granted, but at some point you have to realise that you're not hiding from the bigger world, you're hiding from you and from the potential you have to be the best you that you can be.  It's not just that you're fighting the scales, you are fighting the scared you that doesn't want to admit that you're frustrated, unhappy or whatever emotion it is that you're clinging to because it justifies the outer you.

This all probably sounds like self help tosh, but it's something I'm slowly realising.  For a long time I hid behind a wall of fake confidence because if I was louder than everyone else, and exuded this image of  someone who could stick up for themselves, people wouldn't confront me about being a big girl. In reality I was scared in my own skin that I would be found out to be this fake and that I was in truth so desperately unhappy with myself, my bark was definitely bigger than my bite.  It takes guts to suck up the feeling of 'they'll all be looking at me' and don training leggings and top to enter that fitness studio and work up a sweat.  But trust me after that first class you'll wonder what all the fuss was about, be so full of endorphins that you'll want that feeling everyday and soon, as the pounds start to melt away, you'll find it all so much easier and a new found confidence that isn't false emerges.  You'll also find a whole new social network that will help and support you.

I'm still working all this inner change stuff out myself and I don't have all the answers but I'm looking and I'm finding there are parts of me, mentally, I don't like.  I take too much to heart, I over analyse everything and I'm hyper sensitive so when something is said about something I've done, I go immediately on the defensive and perceive what's being said (and in most cases quite wrongly) as an attack.  I'm also terrible for being of the 'don't rock the boat' mindset even when it's something I believe strongly in.  I also struggle in verbalising my opinion in such a way so that it doesn't offend - but sometimes I think honesty is offensive and you can't really get away from that.  These are all things that will change as my weightloss journey goes on, because no matter how much people think they aren't related, they are.  My emotional attachment to food is based on inner insecurities and hang ups I have about myself that for many years I didn't want to admit.  So I'm changing them.  I owe it to me.

I'm currently re-reading Jillian Michaels' Unlimited: How to Build and Exceptional Life.  Again she's a lady who understands that it's not just the weight and losing weight that is important but that the whole mindset and inner demons have to be dealt with.  It's a fascinating read and I heartily recommend it and take the time to do the tasks and quizzes, they throw up a lot of things you didn't really want to deal with but to be honest you're going to have to at some point so why not now?  Remember, no excuses ;)

Something I thought of today - Past actions only dictate where you are at present, not where or who you will be in the future. Make changes for a positive, healthy you!

Thanks to David Bowie, for the lyric that makes up the header for the blog.  It sums it all up nicely, there is strain so face it, deal with it, learn from it and move on.  And accept those compliments. Be kind to yourself, always.

Much love


Jillian Michaels website and book
Change4Life initiative from the NHS

      Created by MyFitnessPal - Nutrition Facts For Foods
Feel  free to add me on MyFitnessPal Krissie_Triaxis

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Getting it off your chest and a declaration of WAR!

Hello, I've been lax again in blogging. It's been a stressful couple of months with almost 3 weeks of 13 hour days and lots of weekend work, which is unusual for a university quality administrator. And I've entered a funk again.... It's getting to the point that I'm fed up of my own whinging so can only imagine how frustrated it makes my nearest and dearest. But I digress... so...on with my weightless journey.

Well Insanity is exactly what it says on the tin.  It's nuts!  I sweat a lot when I work out but Insanity is bonkers crazy and is on a par with doing BodyCombat in 40 mins and getting the same burn..... it's awesome!  I have fallen utterly in love with it.  And as work has continued to go nuts (well it is silly season as anyone who works in Higher Education will attest) it means I've not made the gym at all in the last 6 weeks.  So the working out at home has paid dividends.  It's also paid on the scale.  I'm back down to 12stone 8 lbs.   I did the Day 15 fit test last week and surprised myself.  My cardio fitness has increased by 41.6%.... BLIMEY!  The bit I'm most impressed with is that for someone who freely admits a lack of upper body strength, I increased my jack push ups from 10 to 18, considering they are the last but one test movement!

Something that has been narking me a little this week though, are those people who are keeping a food diary (online and viewable by the public - just as I am doing) and after eating nought but sugary rubbish all day, complain about why the weight isn't coming off even though they are under their calorie alotment for the day.  I shake my head in despair.

 It's not just how much you eat but WHAT you eat that is so important.  The amount of sugar we throw in our faces through fast food, crisps, sweets and chocolates on a daily basis is astonishing, I do it myself. Yet people will still praise the person who freely admits to eating crap all day with no vegetables in sight.  And why were these people praising this diary? Because they were 30cals under their 1700 or whatever a day target. The mind boggles.

If you eat it, even if it is the smallest thing like a stick of chewing gum, write it in your diary especially when you are first starting to lose weight.  The most important part of this journey is being brutally honest with yourself and if you aren't prepared to do that then you may as well quit.  Half of the problem with gaining weight is that we aren't mindful of what we are eating.  We think we are able to eat whatever it is we want and that it will have no effect on ourselves whatsoever.  Unfortunately that's not the case.  I scoffed for years at the idea of keeping a food diary now I get anxious if I miss a day of entering what I've eaten.  And yes it's ok to miss a day just go back and add it in.  It's like everything else in life, it's a habit and for those few minutes of updating your diary your fingers aren't wandering to the sweet tin.

Sorry needed to get that off my chest.  I think what narked me about it the post most is that they had asked for advice from lots of people on the site and it had been given, yet two months later they were asking the same question. But I suppose it's the old adage of you can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink and doing something is better than doing nothing.

For those who haven't gone back through previous blog posts, I heartily recommend My Fitness Pal as an online diary.  It has applications that are available on all smart phones and is easily accessible online.  The community pages are also superb and inspirational to read when you feel like packing it all in. I have many friends on MyFitnessPal who are all going great guns, even CJ has joined and is doing fabulously well having dropped half a stone already, which is awesome. She looks fantastic anyway but I know only too well it's not what other people think, it's about how the person feels about themselves.

Which leads me to my next rant of sorts.

I get frustrated when people continuously say I have nothing more to lose weightwise, or I look fine etc. If you remember in my 'My Fat Story' blog I was quite rude about the whole 'it doesn't matter what you think about the person who is trying to lose the weight' issue and I'm still very sorry to be so blunt about it but really it doesn't.  Unfortunately if you've never been fat (and I don't mean a stone overweight here, I'm talking fat as in clinically obese) you really won't really understand it.  You'll understand to a point, which is your point of how you felt if you were/have been/are slightly overweight and uncomfortable in your own skin for a little while.  But unless you can multiply that feeling of being a stone overweight by 5,6 or in my case 7 times and unless you have been 250lbs at five foot eight at the age of 30, then you won't get it...and that's fine but please stop saying I don't need to lose anymore.  It's counter productive and it's actually quite negative.

The only thing that matters to those of us going through the whole process is how I/WE/THEY feel.  I see videos of myself that fans have taken at our gigs and I get upset (with myself) that right in the middle of the screen is this very overweight (because believe it or not I am still almost 2 and half stone overweight and according to the medical profession seriously overweight, although no longer clinically obese), this very overweight girl with a tyre around her mid drift that bounces around in time with her boobs...although it can be quite hypnotic.  You the viewer probably don't see it, but I do and THAT'S what matters.  It's my image of me that I have to deal with, and Pandora will have me believe that I am going to be that person for life.  I refuse to believe that and that's why I'm also declaring war on my own fat. I have got back into the rut of giving in to my sweet tooth too often.  A little chocolate is good for you but 'a little' are the important words here.
So I've thought that a change of attack with the old sweet tooth is called for.  Instead of caving in with chocolate all the time and forcing my blood sugar to spike, adding insulin into my system that I don't need and then giving me one heck of a sugar headace a few hours later, I've opted for the fruit option.  Amazingly 100grams of Strawberries only contains 28 calories and are rich in Vitamin C and Flavonoids so it's an all round good fruit. I've gone back to my carrot, celery and pepper sticks with hummous for snacks and the soya mousses are not finding their way into the basket anymore.  15grams of sugar in one pot of those delicious things, and yes I could eat the whole four pack in one sitting.  That's actually quite disgusting when you think of it... eww!

It is all out war on this midrift fat.  The reason it's upsetting is that feeling of 'how could I do this to myself?'  We are a self destructive species on times, and overly self critical.  Tied in with this is that I still haven't got my head around the 'it's only me that makes me feel how I feel'.  Instead of worrying about what others think of me, I should only really concern myself with what I think of myself.  And so what if there are times it feels like no one cares, these people have their own worries and lives to live.  Can you tell I've given myself a stern talking to today?

Just reading back through this post I'm noticing that it's not you I'm trying to convince here, it's me.

So with the declaration of war has come the new tactic of ensuring I feel good at all times.  I've got a game plan, you see:
  • I've had a hair cut - this in itself has lifted the ole spirit no end.  A new 'do' has tidied up the dry split ends, addition of a fringe and 'tada' I feel like a new person. The new fringe also means that I have to take a little time to do the new 'do' in the mornings.
  • I've contacted a seamstress to take in my jeans.  Now I have a massive bugbear in that I can't find any jeans I like and though in trousers I am now back in a 14 (for the first time in 12 years - yes I am very happy about that), with jeans I appear to still be just a little too big to be comfortable. Never really satisfied are we? ;)
  • I will be getting up earlier to get the face on.  As vain as it seems, just the 10 mins of putting a little eyeshadow on on the morning, is a little me time and gives me a moment to just concentrate on getting my headspace right.  It's not just a 'I want to look pretty' mechanism, the act of painting the old face gives me 10 minutes to centre, calm and put Pandora back in her box.
  • Smiling before getting out of bed.  I am going to concentrate on finding something from the day before that made me laugh/smile/feel positive.  Once I find that one thing (and it needs to be different each day), I try to remember the feeling and smile.  Then I"ll allow myself to get up. 
If these things help me face every day with a more positive frame of mind, then the voice that matters should start to be positive and then my hangups with my weight/inadequacies/failings should disipate and the focus return to just maintaining the amazing shape that it will be in.

Anyway, enough of me wibbling on today.  I'm off to do my Plyometric Cardio Circuit and start the final week of month one of Insanity.  And Great Gods of Olympus is it amazing.

As always be kind to yourself, give yourself a huge hug, a stern talking to if needed, and get back on track.  You are awesome and deserve to feel that way always.

Much love

My weightloss tracker.
 Feel free to add me on MyFitnessPal  - Krissie_Triaxis
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Weight Loss Tools

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Let the Madness Begin!

Well the parcel arrived on my desk on Monday of this week.... the Insanity has arrived it would seem.  *gulp*

In an effort to lose these last 31lbs in weight (yes I have put back on 3lbs in the last 3 weeks. Thankfully I'm still under 13 stone so I'm not too worried and I think it will come back off quicker than it went on.....*fingers crossed*) I've decided to bite the bullet and take up the challenge of 'possibly the hardest workout ever put on DVD'.  I like to think that I'm fairly fit for someone who is still classed as overweight, I think I proved it to myself after running a 5k with cramp in 30 mins.  But I'm told this Insanity Workout is tougher than tough.  If the blurb is anything to go by I'm going to have to 'dig deep'.

Doing INSANITY is like conquering your own Mount Everest. It's not for everyone.  But if you're willing to dig deep, you can take yourself to a level you never knew existed, a level your mind will tell you not to pursue. It happens every time. (from the leaflet included in the set)
I'm curious, very curious. So will this also help me in quelling Pandora on the side of 'you're fat, you're too old'?  I damn well hope so as I'm getting fed up of hearing myself whine all the time.  Anyhoo, I digress. I noted in my last blog that I found the complete package on Amazon for £45. So what do you get for your money?

From a packaging perspective, it's been well thought out. Encased in an unassuming brown cardboard box that is stamped plainly with INSANITY, and has some blurb on the underside, you open it to find a book of DVDs, a nutrition guide that focuses on complex carbs (brown rice, wholewheat pasta etc) and high protein.  Pleasantly the high protein is all sorts of meats and not just fish upon fish. you have a calendar and progress area for your fortnightly fit test.  It's well thought out, and if it delivers what it promises then I will be a very happy camper.

So after having watched the fit test I'm about to go and give it a shot.  I'm going to have to work the workout days out around the nightmare that is work this month and gig days but I hope by the end of August I'll be reporting that the results are indeed INSANE.

Right, best go get my before pic taken.... and let's do this! Will keep you updated as I go.

Be kind to yourself

Much love


Thursday, 2 June 2011

She rears her ugly head again....and other musings.

I've been a bit quiet on here, forgive me.  But Pandora got out of her box and it's been a bit of a job to shut her up of late.  I had a moment of 'oooh actually I'm doing really well, the band's going great, I feel the happiest I've felt in AGES and life is good'.  Then I woke up one morning with a bit of a low feeling and it's spiralled from there.

It's horrible knowing fine well that it's only you that makes you feel this low and rubbish and yet you'll shout rant and rave about everyone else and how they are affecting you, when in reality they have no idea what they'v supposedly done to bruise your very fragile ego.  And you carry on listening to that voice that tells you 'you're not worthy' and it snowballs. It's so very frustrating and so very difficult to shut that annoying, whiney bitch up!

I had a phone call from someone who I love dearly this morning, and she cheered me up no end just by being a voice at the other end of the phone and we chatted about business stuffs and then chatted about inane everyday stuff and instantly the world was brighter.  Amazing how hearing someone's voice can do that. Earlier in the week another of my nearest and dearest sent me a simple message that only this morning I thought 'actually...yes'.  All it said was, 'just remember how awesome you are'.  And we are all utterly awesome in our own unique way.  I think that when she, Pandora, rears her ugly head again and again, I lose sight of all the things that I've achieved and that are important to me.  So last night I put the little black number on and paraded around my heals to remind myself of that feeling I had in the changing room when I dropped another size.  Silly I know, but it worked a treat.

Little things like that are important.  This losing weight and being the best that you can be malarky is hard work.  It takes a lot of time and effort, both physically and mentally, and we often get so bogged down in the end goal that we lose sight of the little victories that we achieve along the way.  I've been very lax with weighing myself this past fortnight. I've hit the gym once in that time and I've used the excuse that 'I'm too busy' to keep up with my blogging, writing, and anything else really.  I've allowed myself to wallow in self pity again and I've beaten myself up over it.  In that wonderful moment of realisation that hindsight brings with it, I've not practiced my own advice and I've not been kind to myself at all.  But then, we are always our own worst critics.

So I'm getting back in the driving seat.  I'm writing a timetable for things I HAVE to get done, and putting in the the things I WANT to do inbetween each one so that the victories have joy in them.  Well what's the point in making everything seem like a chore when in reality there is joy to be had in everything you do?  By adding in the fun bits around those things that are a necessity, I think they won't seem so much of a burden and more of a shift in focus, letting the old grey matter concentrate on something else for a little while.

As part of this refocusing and getting back to it, I've signed up to do Shaun T's Insanity Workout.... *GULP*.  If that doesn't kick my butt back into shape then nothing will.  I need to let my stubborn streak take over again. Besides I have gigs at the end of the month and a night out with my dear Lindilou... I need to look my best ;)

I'll be recording my efforts with the Insanity Workout here, and I'll add in the before and after pics and might even do a video to show you how NUTS it really is.  I managed to get a legitimate copy from an Amazon seller for £45.  If it does what it claims to do I might even quit the gym and just do homebased workouts.....ooer!  that last thought is a little scary, thankfully my Personal Trainer does sessions away from the gym too.

So, yes.  Here we go again.  Time to rediscover my motivation, get organised and get myself back in the saddle as it were.  I've a list of blogs I want to write and that I have been researching so first on the timetable, an hour aside to get on with some writing, blog and music me thinks.

Anyhoo, be kind to yourself and have a corker of a weekend.


Thursday, 19 May 2011

Race for life update

A massive thank you to everyone who sponsored me in the Race For Life in Swansea yesterday.  I'm £5 off my target of £250 and there is still time for people to add sponsorship to the page  -Krissie's Sponsor page

The course was run in Singlton Park, which is a beautiful place that sprawls behind the hosptial of the same name and Swansea University.  At least 2K of the race was uphill and the path was uneven in many places and also across grassy parts - so it was more of a cross country race which was great as I loved cross country as a kid.

The wining time for the race was 22 minutes and I came in on 30 minutes and 30 seconds - a new personal best.  I am really very pleased with that time as on Monday I suffered cramp in both quadriceps which rendered me in a fair amount of pain for much of Tuesday and yesterday.  But I'd be damned if I was going to let something as simple as cramp get the better of me. There's that stubborn mule again.  My left leg is in all sorts of pain today but I've booked in with a physiotherapist to get a full sports massage and have my bones realigned, so hopefully that will solve that.

As a rule, I don't really like running but I really enjoyed yesterday and it proved that I am so much fitter than I realised. I'm thinking cross country is the better option for me, it's more interesting than road running. So I think had I not had cramp i'd hae come in in under 30mins.  Well there's the target for next year.

Thanks again to everyone who's supported me via sponsorship and through messages.  It means a lot as the cause is so very dear to me.

You Rock


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

I Race for Life For...

Yep it's that time of year again where I come cap in hand to family and friends and run/walk a 5K course in my beloved neighbouring city, Swansea, with the hope that the few pounds I raise will be the vital few extra that find a cure for cancer.

This year is my fifth Race for Life and while I tend to grin like a cheshire cat when on the course, I also take the time before the race to reflect on those who I Race for Life for and in memory of. The sad fact is I race in memory for more than I do for those still with us, but I suppose that's part and parcel of getting older.

This year the pink back patch (I'll add a picture here later) has a list too long for my liking. I'd like to reflect here on a few of the names - not all or I'll start crying - but a few that are important to me. There are two on the list who I never met but the had a great influence on my life. Ronnie James Dio being the one who had an impact on my music and who we lost a year ago on Monday. Needless to say Rainbow and Dio make up a lot of the playlist I'll be running to tonight. His voice is possibly the greatest metal voice the world has and will ever know (no offence Bruce). For such a small man, his voice was enormous and his vocal has been a huge influence on my own style. Thank you Ronnie.

And Gwen, who had a profund impact on me through her work, and through that work I met some of the most amazing people and have made some lifelong friends. Thank you Gwen.

Rhian, I knew this woman as a teenager. We attended Air Cadets together and we formed a close friendship that like so many we didn't continue through to adulthood and that makes me sad. However, she was a a genuinly lovely person and we shared a love of musical theatre and dance. Alas ovarian cancer took her at the very young age of 31. She was too young.

Jane. Jane passed in August 2010. And for the short period that I knew her she was a warm and wonderful person with a free spirit and a heart as big as an ocean. She was a big fan of the band (slightly biased too being Giles' mum) but her support was immense. I am sad that I didn't get to have more time with her but I am so grateful that I did know her.

Uncle Alan. We didn't know until after the investigation into his passing what had caused it. He passed in December 2010. As a child my sister and I were close to Auntie 'Lizbeth' and Uncle Al. They lived not far from us and we would often go to their house for tea and cake and just to escape Mum and Dad if we'd got in trouble for anything (the benefit of a LARGE family when you argue with your parents is that you have lots of places you can escape to in safety). He and my Grandfather were close friends - well they had married sisters so it was inevitable. His ashes were scattered with my Grampa's.

Grampa. Seven years and I still miss him every day. I idolised my Grandfather, he taught me to play piano, always new what buttons to press to wind me up to the point that I would have to prove him wrong (I know now that he wound me up because he knew I could do whatever I put my mind to but sometimes I lacked motivation. He was a skilled carpenter. I hope he and Alan are up to mischeif where ever they are.

I missed two names off the list this year - Dad Phillips (my Great Grandfather) and Gareth Jones (my former boss when I worked at UWIC). They are also in my thoughts.

Something I mused on the other day was how grief affects us in different ways. By no means what I'm about write is meant to belittle the person who is going through the horror of suffereing cancer but I can only write from my perspective as someone who's been on the support side of the fence.  More often than not grief is usually those left behind being damned angry at the person who has passed for leaving them, and then that anger disapates to sadness tinged with anger. Grief is also a very selfish emotion. But it's also made more prominent by feelings of hope. And that's why cancer is such a horrible disease. Treatments can force the cancer to go into remission and give those of us who care for that person hope that that they will live a long and full life. But sometimes that hope is short lived and that's the crushing reality of cancer for those of us left behind. We, the support network and onlookers, are (just as the patient is) fed hope for a year or two that the treatment will work and that the person we love, who is going through the horror of cancer, will come out the otherside. That's why the grief of losing a loved one through cancer is so hard to come to terms with and why the anger stays for a long time, because we dared to hope. And damn it I'm going to keep on hoping.

I also Race for Life for two people who are still with us. Uncle Robin, who has been in the clear for ten years. And Sue, a work colleague who I admire and respect greatly, who was also in remission but alas we've had the very sad news that it's returned with vengeance. Sue will be in my thoughts very much as I do the course.

So, with my quads screaming at me due to cramp, even if I have to hobble around the course tonight I'll still be doing it.  It's too damned important to me for me to say I 'm not!

I Race for Life.... I race for us.

Please sponsor me if you can - http://raceforlifesponosorme.org/KrissieKirby2011

Thank you


Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Happiness, oh happiness.....

So I've been a bit lax in updating my blog these last few weeks and I've not got much to report today.  But I thought I should check in and have a bit of a wibble about the last month etc.  I'm currently researching a blog about tricks to combat and trick the old sweet tooth but damn that chocolate and it's fantastic taste is all I can say!  I had been a little in the doldrums too, but then who doesn't get days like that eh? I suppose it's because I've been mentally preparing for the onslaught in work of long working days through June.  But it keeps the roof over my head, good healthy food in the stores my gym membership going, and affords me the ability to do the stuff I really enjoy, like the band etc. Silver lining on everything ;)

During the bliss that has been 2 consecutive double bank holiday weekends, I have been away at my cross country pantomime hobby and had a thoroughly good time, and the band have had a number of gigs as well as continuing to write the second album, so it has been all go.  But that has been no excuse to slack off from maintaining my food diary... but that's what I've done!  I've been rubbish with it for over a month but I have maintained my weigh ins and my weight has fluctuated a little between 12 stone 12 pounds and 12 stone 10 pounds (the latter being where I am now). So I've not done too badly, although in retrospect I could be closer to 12 stone 0 but hey ho, life does get in the way.

I had a moment of 'GET IN' when out shopping with my dear friend Liz on the weekend.  We decided a girly day was in order and that a trip in to Cardiff was needed for food, coffee, retail therapy and gossip. Imagine my delight when in H&M I tired on a little black dress only to find that the Large (and girls we know H&M aren't very generous with their sizing) was too big!! I can't begin to say how elated I felt. So dropping to the medium I now have a rather lovely little black number ready for a night out with girls from the gym next month.  It's rare these moments happen but I think by keeping this blog when I have a low day I can read this entry and remember that feeling.  I am not ashamed to admit that I squealed and jumped up and down in the changing room... very, very happy!

Last night in the gym I had another  'oh hang on I'm not doing too badly at all' moment when I caught sight of myself in the studio mirror.  I have to say I impressed myself with how I noticed the difference in how I look and that's probably due to me hitting the gym every other day since last Tuesday last week.  I think I've shocked my system (after a fortnight off the gym) into going - ooh we best be toning up then.  The other thing I've done is found that My Fitness Pal have an app for the Blackberry.  This is made of win (if you forgive the expression), mainly as I am waiting for the next food diary that I am road testing and the current one is too big to fit in my handbag.  My mobile is surgically welded to my hand (or at least it must appear that way to most people), and I have the My Fitness Pal app on my iPod but often forget to take the ipod out; plus it's not 3G capable so I can't get the database of foods unless in a Wi-Fi area.  Having this on my beloved Blackberry now means that it's all to hand and I don't have to worry about a seperate book.  The only down side to the app is that it doesn't have a mood area so now I keep a mood journal by using an A6 jotter pad that I bought for about £2 in Sainsbury's. That fits in the handbag nicely.

The sweet tooth being back with vengeance is annoying me as I really thought I had that one sorted.  But I suppose it just takes a lapse over one or two days and BOOM back it comes.  So I will continue to read the mountain of articles I've got from various sources and hope to come up with a blog that has lots of ideas and suggestions (hopefully realistic and simple) that will help curb the old sweet tooth and I'll be testing lots of them out on myself.  Why suggest these things if you aren't prepared to try them yourself eh?

Anyhoo.  This week I've had my PT session with Peter. And as usual he's handed me my butt on a platter.  He's really pushing me and I'm learning lots of new excerise ideas and tips which is great.  I'm finding my gym workouts are exceptionally varied and that the cardio machines can do so much more than we first think.  I've also started back to my cardio classes twice a week.  I dropped a lot of my classes when I took on a personal trainer.  And though the break and shake up in my fitness plan has done me the world of good, I think I need to get back in and restart my cardio classes only not so many as I once did.

So after a great weekend, a fab PT session and a very good BodyCombat class last night, I'm walking on a cushion of air today and feel tall and toned. Oh and Pandora hasn't reared her head in a quite number of days. To be honest for the first time in a very long time I'm feeling very happy with myself.  Now I just need to learn to take compliments with a 'Thank you' instead of going off on how much hard work this can be ;)

Until next time, be kind to yourself

Much love


Friday, 8 April 2011

On Trial

So as I often talk about food diaries and I have come to the end of my 3rd one, I thought perhaps I should look at what else is out there in the world of ready printed food diaries and do a consumer test.

So that's what I'm in the process of doing, I normally use the Diet and Fitness Journal from the Little Black Journal series, but sat in front of my in all it's large brightly coloured glory is one that states 'Not Your Usual food Diary'. Apparently this one lasts half a year and you can colour sections in.... I know I'm intrigued too!

So after I've done a little bit of work on a dress I'm currently sewing together and have prepared my bits and pieces for the jaunt to Leicester for a gig tomorrow, I shall take a seat and read this book further.

I'll probably get another next month and will do a blog on the plus and negatives of each in a few months time - when I've had a look at a few more and trailed them all. It is only fair that I give a few of them a go, after all.

Be kind to yourself, always


Wednesday, 6 April 2011

It is a long, hard, emotional slog.

Anyone who ever says that it is really simple to lose weight is lying. It's not easy, the basic formula of calories in to calories out and exercising is simple but the emotional and psychological journey is bloody difficult.

This week I've been reminded how hard it is to start and maintain this journey. I know that in writing these blogs I come across as confident and positive about the whole thing but in reality I sit here, typing away on my slowly failing iMac (I'm awaiting a shiny new macbook if Apple Sales sort themselves out), nervous that people will realise I'm a big old scaredy cat who is still very much learning all this stuff for herself, and is in fact an emotional wreck a fair chunk of the time.

It's a hard journey that involves a LOT of soul searching and realising why you have such an emotional attachment to food. Why do we listen to the negative voice in our head that one minute tells us things are ok only to shoot us down with feelings of worthlessness and failure the next? I don't think anyone will ever really know the answer to that. There are dark places within our minds that even angels fear to tread but in embarking on this journey we really do have to wander in there and confront our inner demons.

This last week I've been rather low and the feelings of worthlessness have crept in once more. Pandora is well and truly out of her box, I've had to personify that negative voice. In doing so I've made her something other, so that I learn to disassociate that voice from my positive voice, the one that encourages me. The positive voice has my name, she is me and I am her and that's the voice I want to hear, always. She is the voice that says 'I can do this, I am worth everything the world has to offer, I am sexy, attractive, etc etc'. It is her voice that I need to listen to, but Pandora shouts over her on times and drowns Krissie out completely.

It's not a split personality or anything as extreme as that but giving that voice an idenity has been a valued sorce of strength in overcoming those days when I really do want to just give everything up and hide away in the hope that some overnight miracle will turn me into a young Liz Taylor. Yeah yeah, I know silly isn't it?

Pandora is the voice that for years I listened to, thinking that my parents would never be proud of me, that I was a continuous disappointment to them and to myself, that I would never amount to anything as that boat had long sailed. I rebelled as all teenagers do, but in doing so did things that I am not proud of and things that brought my parents a lot of hurt. I was never the popular kid at school, I was bullied and I was geeky and scholarly. I guess Pandora appeared then, because I don't recall being a negative child but an eternal optimist. Thankfully after a very long conversation with my Dad when I was about 21, he told me that he was indeed proud of me. I think it's what every child (whether they are eleven, twenty-one or Fifty) needs to hear every once in while from their parents. Positive affirmations from without aid those that come from within (oh gods that's deep from me..... eek!). I know my parents are very proud so that is one hurdle that I have overcome and have accepted that even though they might not always vocalise it, they do feel that way. I am thankful for them and my big sister, though I might not always say that to them either.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is that my own feelings of being the failure of a daughter coupled with always striving to gain approval from those around me, ended up with me listening to Pandora and not listening to my positive self. Pandora says that I am worthless, that I am never destined to be anything other than a fat, lazy failure that cannot do anything worthwile or of note. She is the voice that says 'they don't like you, they just humour you'. It is her whose voice screams at me when I read something that I think is being directed at me and a criticism. She is the voice I strive to extinguish.

She reared her ugly head this week because a reviewer remarked that on stage I was cutting a 'warm motherly figure'. I was devestated. I know for many people they will read this and think, 'oh come on, is that it? That's nothing' but from the former fatty perspective it is huge. I am a frontwoman in a band, the last thing I want to be seen as is motherly when singing about insanity etc (no offence meant to any mother, including my own). For many years Pandora chipped away at me, making me feel the least attractive person on the planet. The daft thing is, when that negative voice starts in the background that 'oh god they don't think I should be on the stage' soon builds to the point that you are second guessing everyone's compliments. You start to use phrases like 'you're biased because you're my Husband/friend/sister etc'. Then the feelings of what's the point creep in and you start to doubt why you are losing weight, why you are a performer, do you dress approriately for your age/size, whether it's worth it or not etc. Sounds daft I know, but I bet it sounds familiar?

That's when you need to really dig deep. Oh man do you have to dig deep.

That's when you have to remind yourself of the reasons why you are doing it and solely focus on those. You have to be so single minded, that it can be scary on times. I made a list three years ago about why I wanted to lose weight and on the top of that list was the reason that I wanted to be proud of myself. It was a good idea to make that list as it gives me focus, I've been writing a new one of late. All these years trying to gain approval from those around me when the one person whose viewpoint mattered most was the one that was being the most derogatory and dissmissive... me. As I said in the previous blog, I had to take full responsibility that they only person who could change how I feel about myself and how things affect me, was me. That was when I named Pandora.

By making her something other, something outside of what I wanted to feel, hear and think, I have had a lot more control over the negative voice. Yes there are days where I say 'to Hades with it all' and walk up the shop to get a bar of chocolate but instead of 4 or 5 bars as I would have done once, now I only buy one. And then I tell myself in my positive voice that a little chocolate is good for me now and then. I could link to reams of research on why a little dark chocolate is good for you and why not depriving yourself is also good for you, mentally because healthy eating/living isn't about deprivation. It's about understanding, and that's also part of losing weight.

It's about understanding how you became 17 stone 12 pounds, what were the factors that brought a once healthy, athletic child to become an obese, lazy, lard arse weighing almost twice her healthy weight. Yes sitting on the sofa eating 5000+ calories for dinner on a Friday night was the reality of weight going on, but why did I allow that to happen? What was I hiding from emotionally? And why was I allowing that negative voice to continue to rule my head?

I'm still discovering half of this out for myself. It's been tough writing this entry because I'm slowly realising that there are many insecurities that I have that I don't want to admit to. I was giving a form to those insecurities because now I had something tangable to blame it on instead of a thought process. I was so desperately trying to fit in with everyone that I was always there supporting friends (not always family, probably because I thought I was viewed as a disappointment - I know better now of course). I know my husband and a number friends tried to support me through the years but I think I got so used to shutting down and allowing Pandora to eat away at me that I refused to accept their help and support. I was seen as strong, because I was the one my friends could turn to in their hour of need. Instead of asking them for help, I turned to food as it asked nothing in return. Instead of saying, I'm sorry I cannot be this person for you right now, I supported them and hit the cookie jar to eliviate whatever it was I was feeling. I would then promptly berate myself for eating to the point of being sick and make myself feel more worse than I was already feeling. I was failing at life, or so I thought. I wasn't failing I was hiding and I didn't want to be found. It's taken me a long time to voice that. In fact my husband hasn't heard half of this before and is probably in a state of shock as I read this to him before posting it.

It's been a long, hard emotional slog and it's far from over. I know there are many hurdles I have still to face. I know that there will be times when I will curl up in ball and wallow in self pity because she's knocking on the inside of my skull again telling me I'm useless/worthless/pathetic/ and so on an so forth. But because I know that she's there, because I can visualise her and I've given her a name, I can fight back and she's got one hell of a battle on her hands. I'm going to take it one step at a time, and some days will be tougher than others but I'll get there. And when I'm there, let that reviewer call me motherly ;)

I'm not writing this entry for you to think that I am looking for sympathy etc, far from it. The whole reason for starting this blog was to put how the whole journey out there in the small chance that it might help someone else from turning 30 and realising they'd pretty much had eaten their way through their 20s and missed out on so much. If anything this blog is helping me realise a lot about myself and sharing it, whilst positively scaring the bejesus out of me, is also really making me feel very proud that I've come this far already. The interesting part about writing this entry is that I've managed to gag Pandora again and have put her back in her box. I hope she stays there a bit longer this time.

Thank you to everyone who has messaged me and commented. I am deepy grateful that you have taken the time to read these ramblings and appreciate all your feedback.

As always, be kind to yourself.

Much love


Friday, 1 April 2011

Never say never, say goodbye to negative excuses – part 2!

So according to my last weight in I’ve dropped a pound and you know I’m actually rather please with that, considering I’ve been munching cough sweets as though they were going out of fashion for the best part of two weeks. I must confess, dear reader, that I have been ever so lax in recording my calorie intake for the last week. I’ve been very remiss but, as I noted in the last blog, I’m picking up it again in the morning as I’ve got a new book (I had got to the last week in my 3rd dairy). So I’ve been back in the gym, switching to morning workouts where I can so I give myself more time in the evenings to work on material with the band for album number two, do some bits and pieces for my hobby of LRP and to also spend time with my long suffering other half. And so far it appears to be working.

Anyhoo, onwards and inwards, one pound off is one pound off so it’ll be interesting to see how I fare next Monday.
So in part one of this themed set of two, I admitted to going off the rails and that I’m not kicking myself about it. Well what’s the point? Think about it for a moment. Why do we beat ourselves up so much? Isn’t it about time you cut yourself a little slack and said, no I’m not doing that anymore how can I make this negative a positive? Well that’s exactly what I have done with the excuses that I used for years, the same excuses that I’ve listed below, and the same excuses that got me to becoming and staying fat.

For those of you who know me, you know I’m a stubborn old mule at the best of times, so what made weight loss so very different. Why did I never stick to anything to get the weight off? Mainly it’s because I allowed the little voice in my head to wear me down over and over. She’s still there, quiet in the background, gagged for the moment. There are days I let her out and she gets the better of me, then I shake myself awake and gag her again and put her back in her box. I’ve nicknamed her Pandora, yeah i know obvious eh? What made it all so different and the stubborn mule side of me hide is that I listened too intently to that voice in my head that said ‘go on one more won’t hurt’, the same voice that then said ‘you fat cow look at the state of you’. We’ve all been there. We’ve all seen ourselves as unattractive, fat, whatever. And because we don’t want to listen to anything in case it’s that voice again we close off and retreat inward behind a wall of negative excuses.

So to the negative excuses that I’ve used. It is important to stress that some of these excuses are also very positive. Some, however, are a little more tricky to put a positive slant on, but you change the wording of the excuse and, hey presto, positive affirmations.

Let me start with the one that I opened the whole blog with:

‘But it’s not my fault’

I covered this in the opening blog, briefly. For years I used this excuse to alleviate all feelings of guilt over what I was doing to myself. I hid behind it as a security blanket, as in my own head I had made myself believe that it couldn’t possibly be me that was at fault. Denial can be a terrible thing. It forces us to back away from facing up to the reality of a situation. By backing away from that reality I compounded the problem. The more I denied taking responsibility for my own health the fatter I became. I still hid behind this blanket even as the weight started to come off. As far as I was concerned I had joined a gym and given up smoking, therefore I was taking responsibility. Had I really? I had taken the first steps, yes. But responsibility and openly admitting that it was me that was making me fat? No, that came a lot later on. I carried on for years stating it was this excuse and that excuse, (all excuses lead to this one, which is why I’ve started with it), every single day believing that it couldn’t possibly be my fault. After a conversation with a dear friend in September 2010, I realised that I hadn’t admitted to myself that it was indeed my own fault. He had been on a course through his work that looked at the habits of effective people and the first thing was to take responsibility for yourself.

It was an enlightening conversation and one that resonated with me. So once I had got over the initial shock realisation of, yes I am doing this to myself and that needs to change I started to look at ways I could now make it my asset, how do I make this a positive. By changing the way I looked at food, learning the no so mystical formula to losing weight, I now made what I was doing to myself an asset. As I noted in the opening bog, I was my own worst enemy. I had lost my way with food and nutrition. Once I had admitted that this was MY fault, I started to research all the ways that I could now assist myself in ensuring what I did from then on in was only an asset. So now when I lose weight, then yes, that is my fault just the same as if I put a pound back on.

Admitting that you are responsible for how you feel about yourself and how your actions are impacting on your body is hard, and it’s emotionally draining but it is a worthwhile experience. It’s not something you’ll forget in a hurry. But also cut yourself a little slack, it won’t happen overnight. It does take some time to get your head around, but as with everything else you take it one step at a time.

Of course there are instances where weight gain isn’t your fault to begin with, but don’t ignore the gain if it’s making you miserable. If something has happened and you can’t do any activity etc, then chat to your GP about a programme that will at least help you maintaining weight until whatever ailment has passed. That way you won’t fall into hiding behind the excuse later on and you won’t have to go through years getting off the pounds that it took only a few months to pile on.

‘I have a medical condition’

Oh I used this too. I blamed my lack of weight loss on PCOS if you recall. What a shocking state of affairs. But after being diagnosed with PCOS I clung to the excuse that I had a ‘condition’ with both hands and I was damned if I was letting go (again denying it was my fault). I was under the illusion that this condition which made losing weight difficult was also making me fat no matter what diet I did. Laughable when you think about it, but how many of us have clutched at such things?

If anything having PCOS was more of a reason to research ways to get my weight under control. The PCOS wasn’t making me fat, the sugar, fat and rubbish foods in my every day eating were making me fat. The hormonal imbalance that PCOS brings with it was making it harder to lose the weight I was piling on as your hormones are your metabolism. My whole system was out of whack and I kept compounding the problem. I was given the micro pill to aid in restoring hormone balance. It turns out that perhaps this wasn’t the wisest move as I was piling in more hormones without really knowing what battle my body was fighting. In the last year I’ve moved away from all processed foods, only eating them now and again, and have gone to organic produce as much as possible. I never thought I would enjoy scrubbing potatoes to get all the dirt off them, but I do as nothing beats the taste of home made wedges. Some might say that with all the pesticides in farming and goodness knows what that has been added to animal feed over the years, that it’s a fruitless exercise going to organic, but every little helps in my eyes and if I can reduce the amount of chemicals I add into my system then that's a bonus. Now the hormonal rage as I call it is nowhere near as severe and the weight is slowly but surely coming off. It’s all going in the right direction, and the effects of my ‘condition’ appear to be stabilising.

‘I don’t have time’

This is possibly the most annoying of the excuses I used because, now when I look back at it, it was an out and out lie. When I worked as a professional singer, I worked 4-6 nights a week in the pubs and clubs all around the country. During the day I didn’t work, but did I do anything constructive with my time? No I sat around and watched TV, did a spot of cleaning and then sat down again, lighting cigarette after cigarette eating unconsciously and usually it was handfuls of crisps and chocolate. It’s no wonder I was the size I was. And yes all the time saying it wasn’t my fault. I had lots of time on my hands and chose to ignore that by not being proactive I was causing myself harm. In those 5 years I could have dropped any weight gain and maintained a healthy body, a healthy weight and learned all that I know then, I was so lazy! I guess I just wasn’t ready to face the truth of what I was doing even though I was becoming more miserable and depressed with myself.

When I went back to University at the age of 25, the weight continued to pile on and I still did nothing about it, this time using studying as the excuse as to why I didn’t have time. Silly really, as my university had a free gym so there was nothing stopping me getting in early in the mornings to get in the gym. During this time I also lost my grandfather to cancer, and even that still didn’t make me sit up and take notice what I was doing to myself. If anything I had the frame of mind that life was too sort and it was pointless worrying about these things as it could all be taken away in an instant so why not do what I wanted, smoke, eat, drink and be merry (was I really merry, no not really). I was really in a bad way looking back.

When I had my breakdown day in 2006 I was working full time and doing a masters degree. So if anything it was at this point that the ‘I don’t have time excuse’ would have actually made more sense, but now I rearranged what I was doing and made damn sure I had time for me. I stopped watching any old rubbish on the TV, I got in the gym and I stated taking those first tentative steps to sorting my life and body out. That’s part of the battle I think, making time for yourself. We are so wrapped around everyone else that we need to ‘take care’ of that we forget about taking care of us. So after you’ve read this go for a brisk walk, run yourself a bath and have some you time, you deserve it!

‘I’m big boned’

Yes I’ve used this one as well. I shake my head now, as no one is big boned to the degree that they should be overweight by the 7 stone that I was. Again, it was looking for a way of saying ‘well it’s not my fault that I’m a ‘large’ lady, I’m genetically predisposed to being this way’, knowing full well that both my parents were slender creatures in their 20s and 30s. I despair at myself on times. Alas there is no positive slant that I can put on this, at the end of the day I was fat, I just didn't want to admit it.

‘I’ve tried all the diets and nothing works’

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Going religiously to our weight loss club, paying our subs and not losing an ounce. We come away feeling utterly de-motivated and worthless. I joined anything and everything in my community centre that was associated with weight loss, when I first started this journey. The daft thing is I had tried half of these weight loss clubs in previous years, and they had failed then so why on earth I thought they were going to work at this point, the gods only know! Again even with weight loss clubs you have to burn more than you consume.

Another thing I came to notice was that I was dependant on their processed food, ready meals etc. I wasn't learning about nutrition. Instead of making informed choices about the nutritional value of the food that I was consuming by joining these clubs I was letting the club do it all for me via their premade foods. The reason these diets didn’t work was because I was still passing the buck to someone or something else to do the work for me. I now realise it’s important to do the work for yourself. It’s also very rewarding when that 2 pound comes off on the scale to know it’s your hard work and efforts in absolutely everything that has paid off. And you’ll be more inclined to keep the weight off as you will have a better understanding of the food you are consuming.

Here’s a little trick that I’ve started to use to maintain motivation, for those days when it flies out the window (as they do still crop up, I’d be lying if I said they didn’t). Day one, take a deep breath and take a picture of yourself, front on full length, side on full length and a close up of your face. Do your food diary and any activities/exercise for about 6-10 weeks. Take a similar set of photos again at the end of the timescale you’ve set yourself and compare them on the computer side by side. And then repeat in another 6-10 weeks and so on and so on. Note the difference in the pictures. You won’t always register the changes in your shape or face because you see yourself every day in the mirror so your brain just replaces the old image with a new one on a continual basis. The pictures also help to reinforce a positive mental image of yourself, so allow yourself to say well done and be proud.

‘Fresh vegetables and fruit are so expensive’

Oddly it’s not the produce that are expensive, it’s how we shop when we embark on a new regime that pushes the weekly shopping bill up. I’ve done the same, started a new healthy eating regime and have gone gung-ho to the supermarket, filling my trolley with lots of leafy greens and weird and wonderful veg I had never tried before. And then I would still go to the processed food in the chiller/freezer and the crisps and chocolate lanes and filled my trolley with those too. It was an expensive shop!

So I did an experiment, and this is something you can do too if you fancy it, it’s quite fascinating:

I did the household standard weekly shop in week one, and bought all the stuff I would normally buy and lots of healthy food on top as I had previously done every time I started a new diet. The shock at the checkout was amazing, over £160 for a weekly shop.... I know, ridiculous. But there were 6 bottles of ‘low cal’ wine in there. The following week, I sat down and pre-planned all the meals and made my shopping list from that. I added in fresh salsa and fresh humus with some celery, bell peppers and carrots to replace snacks. Most importantly I cut out all the crap that I was still buying – no snacks, no crisps, no chocolate, no savouries, no cakes, no biscuits, no fizzy drinks, no alcohol – I left them on the shelf and walked away (it was tough but it had to be done). I spent around £90 on the weekly shopping that week and still had healthy alternative snacks in the trolley, but they were nuts and fruit. Yep I could spend £70+ on crap.... frightening really.

‘I can’t afford to join the gym’

This one my husband used and he’s asked me to include it. When I started at the gym I asked him to join the gym with me and he refused on the grounds that we couldn’t afford membership for both of us. I recall having many a discussion late at night that it would do us both good to get in the gym, as I was very conscious that here I was on this health kick and I could see him doing what I had been doing. Still he refused saying, “I can’t afford it’. In the end I had to use a very hard tactic and it hurt to have this conversation with him. For those of you who read my other blog, you will know that my father-in-law passed away this January after a severe stroke. He had been battling various ailments over a number of years all brought on by that horrid disease, diabetes. I had had the horrible talk with my doctor of possibly developing diabetes by the time I was 40 and that had shaken me knowing how ill my father-in-law had been. Peter had undergone a kidney transplant not long after Gav and I married, he had lost sight in one eye, could barely see in the other, and a few years ago had had his right leg amputated below the knee. It was hard to see such a strong man wither slowly before our eyes. It was hard on Gav who is very much like his Dad. In the end I used his Dad as an example of why he HAD to reassess his lifestyle.

In essence Gav could afford to go to the gym because he ran the risk of following his father and developing diabetes if he didn’t do something about his excess weight that was continuing to increase. It was a very hard conversation to have and one that lead to many tears and some hard things that needed to be said, and these were all the things I had said to myself the day I had my wake up call. As I said this journey is not easy. Your health is the most precious thing you have. Afford yourself, even if it’s a brisk walk/run around the block three times a week, some time to exercise and join a gym if you can. You wouldn’t drive a car if it ran the risk of breaking down on you, would you? Thankfully it was the shake up that he needed to reassess what was happening to him and he joined the gym with me. Instead of saying ‘I can’t afford to join the gym’, he started to say ‘I can’t afford not to join the gym’. And gym membership doesn't mean going to one of the expensive clubs, the YMCA etc all have gyms and fitness classes at reasonable rates.

I don’t know if any of the excuses ring a bell, I’m guessing one or two do. Something that I have noticed about all the excuses I used is that they were all so negative. They were either ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I can’t afford that’. That negative demon in my head was winning all the time. I’ve started to say, ‘I can do this’. You can be quite stubborn in this too, well we’ve already established I’m a stubborn mule.

There are times when some of the excuses will be reasons, but when those times come, look for ways to not let them hinder you and seek advice from you GP/trainer at the gym etc. Being the best you that you can be does require effort, and it’s not easy as I’m sure you know only too well. But with some simple positive affirmations that you can give yourself, you can make it easier. And yes there will be days when the negative will cloud the positive, and you will say something on the lines of ‘oh I can’t be bothered I’m having a day off’ and that’s fine. Have the day off, pamper yourself a little, give yourself a break, you’ve earned it. Then the next day start a fresh and carry on again. Sometimes we need to have those days where we think ‘oh sod it’. I’ve had that this week, I hit a little low point mid week and I’ve taken the time out to brush myself off and get back up again. Tomorrow I get back to carrying the little black book and noting everything down again, oh and we’re off to the gym. Onwards and inwards…onwards and inwards!

As always, be kind to yourself, and go run that bath and give yourself some papering. You deserve it.

Much love