Saturday, 26 March 2011

Weekly Weight Loss Report Week 12 - adjusting to changes in my body

It's been 4 weeks since I've been able to record a loss in weight. Some might say that that is slow progress, and maybe it is, however as I've said before, I keep the 'bigger' picture in mind and remember how far I have come so far.

I think with a weight loss journey that extends past the initial keenness of the first week, you have to be prepared for weight gains and for some weeks to stay the same. My weight loss has been achieved over 7 months. I remember that during December I stayed the same (or maybe even put weight on) and March has proved to be the same.

So from my experience, when you are eating healthily, sensibly and not on some extreme diet, you can't 'force' your body to lose weight when it doesn't want to! You just have to keep doing what you know works, and your body will react accordingly and lose some more weight when it's good and ready!

This weeks weight loss - 3.2lbs

Total weight loss - 46.4lb 9 (3 stone 4.4lbs)

I'm really glad I have kept this weight loss chart updated from the beginning. Since last August I've been making a note of (more or less) my weekly weight. As you can see, there have been numerous times where I have put on a few lbs, but I've never used those increases as an excuse to give up.

As you can see in the bmi chart comparisons from Feb and today, I'm inching closer to being in a healthy weight range for my height (which I think is 5ft 3").

25th Feb bmi chart

26th March bmi chart

And now I am 4.4lb away from the new weight loss goal that I set myself when I reached my 40lb goal. Another 4.4lbs and I will have achieved a total weight loss of FIFTY POUNDS!

Now I want to write a bit about body image and accepting my 'new' body.

It's a bit hard to explain, but I'll give it a try.

The rational part of my brain knows I have lost almost 50lbs. And I can 'see' when I look in the mirror that I am slimmer than before I lost weight. My old clothes tell me that too.

But let's use my clothes shopping experience of yesterday as a good example...

I had a brilliant day out with my fantastic Mum in Stratford Upon Avon. We had a wander around the clothes shops, but with this seasons colours I didn't see much I liked. BUT after some perseverance, we did find some items and in the right colour AND they were in the sale. I've been holding off buying too many new clothes (but I have needed to just so I had something to wear on my slimmer body), or spending too much money, as my weight loss journey hasn't finished and I don't want a wardrobe of ill fitting clothes to have to replace.

Anyway, we found some sale items in styles and colours I liked. I one shop, I had amassed 16 items to try on! *gulp*

My personal shopper - my Mum ;)

As we were selecting the clothes to try on, I had to remind myself and my Mum that I'm not a size 16/18 anymore, or even a size 14.

But this is where my mind is having trouble catching up with my body. The items I selected to buy size 12, or size 10, or small.

We have all seen the clothes that only come in Small, Medium or Large. I remember earlier this year when I was delighted to fit into a large! Normally vaguely labeled 'large' items would be too small for me.

And now....I'm getting in to a size Small?

Obviously, I didn't buy all of the 16 items. When I tried them on, some weren't the right style, a few were too tight (or too short!), and there was one 'medium' that although I got it on, it was too clingy.

But what I did buy were sized either a 12, 10 or small.

Small £9 in sale

size 10 £6.99 in sale

size 12. though I didn't try a size 10 on. I LOVE this dress. My Mum has named it my Elizabeth Taylor dress. (RIP Elizabeth - what an interesting life she had!) £27 not in sale

Small - £7 in sale

Small - £7 in sale

Small. Julian McDonald - £9 in sale

And of course I had to get some bling !

Hair bands

Presents from my Mum. Thanks Mum!

But I digress (distracted by shiney bling!)

Slim people wear 10's, 12's and small. Does that mean I am slim now? Y'see, this is where I'm getting a bit confuddled. The 'facts' are there, but some part of me is having trouble understanding it.

Another thing I've become aware of is my BONES! lol. Sounds strange doesn't it? Well mine have been hiding under a layer of fat for ages, and now they aren't. I've got a collar bone now, and hip bones. I can feel my rib bones now too. Again, a new feeling.

I don't think is an unusual situation to be in. I've read that when people lose a good amount of weight they still get a surprise when they look in the mirror at their 'new' body. And why wouldn't they? For the last 4-5 years, I've got very accustomed to seeing the 'old' me. And now a 'new' me is staring back! Hello 'new' me! :)

I guess I'm just going through a natural adjustment period and the longer I am this new weight, the more normal it will feel and look. Maybe it's similar to getting a new hairstyle. When you get home from the hairdressers you can't stop looking at your new hair, and for the next few days it's the same and a week later it doesn't feel so new. Like that, only with a longer acceptance period!

A bit more about what I'm eating. I was writing my food shopping list yesterday, so thought I would share that with you as I've had a couple of food related questions.

So this is a typical week's food shopping. Of course, that's not only what my diet will consist of this week. I have other things already in stock, but this is what I wanted to get in for this week.

Baby potatoes







Butternut Squash

Pak Choi



Sesame Snaps - a fast energy boost before or after a run

Dark Chocolate

After Eights




Bacon - streaky



Spray cooking oil - Olive

Sweet and Sour Sauce

Diet Coke

Diet Lemonade

Orange Squash

Sports Drinks

I think that's it!

Time to get my trainers on for a run. I've managed to fit in some more exercise in the last week after my schedule getting too packed the previous week or two. I can't tell you how great it feels to exercising again. I missed it! And, I'll tell you what, I never thought I'd say that! :)

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Weekly weight loss report week 11 - What am I eating to lose weight?

I've stayed the same this week. In fact, apart from the quick 3lbs on/off a couple of weeks ago, I'm the same weight as 3 weeks ago.

So still 43lbs down

Still 7 more to go, which I've just realised, when I reach that, will make a total loss of FIFTY pounds (3st 8lbs)!

I'm pretty much ok with not having a loss this week. Yes, I would have been pleased to see a loss, but I also remind myself how far I've come, and how delighted I was when the scales registered a 43lb loss.

Also, and I'm very annoyed with myself about this, I've only been for one run this week and NO HULA HOOPING! :( The last week has been full on work wise. I have got SO much done, and after being really run down a couple of weeks ago my energy levels have shot back up, so I've been making hay whilst the sun shines and managed to do 13 hour days this week!

However, I'm aware of falling into the same routine that got me piling on the pounds over the last few years.... work, work, work (which I absolutely love!) and no exercise (which I am now also loving).

Eating wise, I'm right on track. I'm still doing the things that helped me lose weight. A balanced diet that includes lots of fruit and vegetables.

This is my fruit and veg 'haul' from my shop last Saturday.

A week later, this is what I have left.

And I've just stocked up again today with this little lot...

I've had lots of questions about what I'm eating to lose weight, and I do plan to dedicate a blog post to that at some point (I promise!).

But don't let the photos bring you to the wrong conclusion, I do eat more than just fruit and veg!

As I have been asked: Yes, I do eat carbs. This week for instance, I've had potatoes, rice and rice noodles.

And I eat meat: this week, tuna, bacon, chicken, lamb, duck (3 times!) and pork.

And I do have 'treats' such as crisps, chocolate and cookies! Oh, and alcohol!

I'm eating more seasonally. During the cold winter months I had a lot more stews and soups ( I LOVE my slow cooker ) and hot and hearty Sunday roast type dinners.

Now spring is starting to appear I'm in the mood for stir fries and less 'heavy' food.

And in preparation for the blazing summer we are bound to have (ha) I treated myself to a book for some salad inspiration.

I've eaten out a couple of times this week and had a Chinese take away. I'm getting less and less pleasure from eating out, what with also avoiding gluten/dairy until I get the chance to figure out my allergy. Anyway, in the take away I asked for boiled rice. Simple enough right? Oh noooooooo! Not simple at all. When I got home I found the rice to be covered in OIL!

Fuming? Yep! It wasn't like I was given fried rice by mistake. This was literally boiled white rice with some sort of oil on it.

Now it seems I'm going to have to ask if food is gluten/dairy and OIL free! *sigh*. I'm not adverse to oil or fat. I use oil (olive, vegetable, sesame) when cooking, but use it sparingly. I don't mind eating something with fat in it, WHEN I CHOSE TO, but don't force it upon me when I only want boiled rice. *rant over*

To sum up, I'm eating mostly natural, unprocessed food around 80-90% of the time, and out of that I'd estimate that fruit and veg make up 50-60%.

A roughly typical dinner plate might look like this...

But that's only a rough estimate. Sometimes there'll be much more veg, sometimes less protein or more carbs. I really don't get hung about this type of thing, nor do I want to. I just try and eat instinctively and have the freedom to have what I want. As I have mentioned before, my taste buds have changed so much, and I rarely will want something highly processed very often.

Anyway, the sun is shining and I've promised myself a run today!

Get in touch if you have any questions! Have a great weekend :)

Friday, 18 March 2011

Late Night Tales in Photo Professional Magazine

Yay! My copy of Photo Professional magazine arrived in the post today!

I did an interview about the 4am Project and it's in this months issue. It's great to have the paper copy!

Photo Professional April 2011 4am Project interview with Karen Strunks

Talking of the 4am Project...I've just announced the next global date for 24th April and along with Project Brutal I've got a VERY SPECIAL event lined up for Birmingham!

Busy and exciting times!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Prague Press Trip - Day 1

Multiple alarms where needed for my early start to Day 1 of my press trip to Prague!

I hadn't quite finished my packing from the night before, 6 pairs of shoes, 6 outfits, and the rest of my haul needed for 48 hours in Prague! I wonder if I will ever learn to travel light? ;)

Birmingham Airport had kindly allocated an airport parking space for me. This is the first time I have parked at an airport, normally relying on lifts or taxi's to and fro. However, getting myself to the airport and not having to worry whether a taxi would turn up on time (taxi's have failed me before on airport trips!) made it for a much more relaxing start to the weekend.

I found a nice space for Bumble (yes, that's my car's name!), said my goodbye's to her and headed for the bmibaby desk to meet my fellow press trippers. I made it there spot on the meeting time of 8am with only one traveller there before me!

Ten minutes later and the whole group had arrived, about 28 of us altogether! It was quite an impressive mix of people from the world of newspapers, tv, radio, pr. Introductions were made and lots of "good mornings".

I was asked quite a few times.... "And who are you writing for?"


We were also greet by Naomi Bustin from bmibaby and Rick Wheeldon from Mere PR who were looking after the group for the weekend and making sure everything ran to plan.

Justine Hunt from Birmingham Airport came and greeted us too, and within minutes a bmibaby desk had opened up just for us!

Did I tell you this was a VIP weekend? Oh yes!

With our luggage smoothly checked in, Justine escorted us through airport security. I forgot myself and was just about to take a photo, when an attentive security guard stopped me just in time!

Birmingham Airport is having a make over right now. Not only have they done away with Terminal 2, and just made it one terminal now (which does make it easier for travellers), they have really improved the security check in area.

I'm sure they won't mind me saying that the previous security area was a bit cramped and a bit hard on the eye, lit by artificial light. Now, however, it's been opened right up, with a wall of windows letting in tons of natural light along the length of approx 15 security check in points. It's much roomier too, so even if there are queues, you won't feel squashed in the area.

Not only that, but there is going to be a big brand new duty free shopping area too!

Justine took us through to the Executive Area. This is a much more comfortable waiting area which free drinks on offer (including alcohol!), sweet and savoury snacks, and a wide range of newspapers and magazines.

After a few minutes relaxing I soon remembered that the duty free shops were near by!

Prada baby!

It wasn't long before the group was gathered up and taken to our bmibaby plane. As VIP-ers we were the last to board.

Our bmibaby pilots Alex and Mike obliged my photo request!

Just over two hours later and we had landed safely in Prague Airport.

We were then escorted into the VIP area of Prague airport and given a short presentation, and provided with a lunch time buffet.

I then took the opportunity to explore the VIP area!
It was very nice. Quite sophisticated.

We were also given a press pack with facts and figures about the airport, and it included this lovely compass! I've given it to my step dad as a gift as he appreciates a really nice compass.

Czech Tourism provided a lovely big coach to take us to our hotel on Wenceslas Square. I took a seat at the front as I wanted to take all the scenery in en route.
John Morris, who is Birmingham Airport's Head of Government & Industry Affairs took to the mic and welcomed us to our weekend in Prague.

I captured some of the journey through the countryside, suburbs and Prague city centre and made a short video.

At around 4pm we arrived at our hotel for the next 2 nights. The Jalta Hotel is a 4*boutique hotel right in the middle of Wenceslas Square in the heart of Prague city.
I was really impressed with the check in. When nearly 30 of us arrived, I took a seat in the reception area and settled down for about a 30 minute wait to check myself in. But there was no time to get comfy, within about 10 minutes we all had our room keys!

When I checked in the first thing I question I asked was about the wifi. Was it free? Was it fast? Yes and yes. I have to say, this was the best free wifi I have experienced in a hotel. What a refreshing change!

And so with that, I checked in, and before I even opened my suitcase I recorded a video tour of my hotel room, with a balcony view over Wenceslas Square!

I had time to sit down and chill out, and get online and tweet of course. Then I took a walk to Charles Bridge with John Morris and his wife.

It was a bright and crisp in the early evening with the sun getting ready to set. We wandered along the cobbled streets (not great for high heels ladies!), got a little lost on the way, and took in what Prague had to offer.

I stopped to take a few photos when we got to Charles Bridge and said goodbye to John and his wife and meandered back in the direction of the hotel, and promptly got lost! But in a city like Prague it's nice to get lost....

I sourced a nice dinner, and then picked up a treat....

...and settled into my hotel room for the night in readiness for my first full day in Prague :)

Thank you to...

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Weekly weight loss report - week 10 - easy on, easy off

I didn't blog my weight loss report last weekend as I was away in Prague on a press trip. It was a great weekend with lots of VIP treatment (which I have quickly become accustomed to!), and I'll blog about that weekend soon.

So since I last blogged two weeks ago about setting my new weight loss goal, my weight is the same, BUT not without having put on 3lbs after my Prague trip!

3lbs after 2 days away. That's pretty good going haha.

However, I have lost that 3lbs this week by getting back on track. It didn't come as a shock really, but have come to conclusion if weight goes on quickly, it can come off quickly too. So there was no need to panic, or feel down about it. I knew what I had to do to, and have had over 7 months doing that since I started losing weight.

weight loss chart for 2011

I didn't see going away to Prague as a chance to let loose and go mad with food and treats, and tried to make the best choices I could given what was on offer.

Some of you may know that I am (and have been for about 6 months) trying to figure out if I have a wheat/gluten/diary allergy. Naturally this does restrict what I can eat to some degree ie processed foods and obvious foods like milk/butter/cheese etc. As part of my weight loss I have cut out a lot of processed foods anyway, so it's not a hardship, and I'd guess that my diet consists of about 80-90% unprocessed food anyway.

But eating out whilst avoiding wheat/gluten/diary is quite frankly a pain in the ass! Even in a city like Birmingham, my options are restricted in restaurants and cafes. The only place I can praise for making it easy to make allergy free and healthy choices is New York. I had discovered these potential allergy triggers just before I left for NYC, but luckily there seems to be a deli on every block with lots of healthy, wholesome and unprocessed choices, so eating out there, which I did a lot, was fantastic! Yes, of course there was a lot of fast food, but in equal amount was a wide selection of non fast food too.

And when I'm at home, of course it easy to control what I eat. I buy the food I want to eat and have it at hand, but usually when I'm eating out in Birmingham I'm left with either a boring unimaginative salad, or baked potato, or I face having to feel like I'm making a fuss by asking the waiter what is allergy free on the menu. It's always such a palaver!
So, back to Prague and those 3lbs!

I can see how it happened. Breakfast was provided by the hotel. Not knowing where or when I would be eating later in the day, I 'stocked up' at breakfast time and ate more than I normally would. I had fruit, but also had bacon and eggs as protein is meant to keep you feeling fuller for longer. I carried around some dark chocolate with me to provide some energy bursts when I needed it and grabbed some fruit when I could, but I really don't want to have to always carry around fruit with me.

At Prague airport, I couldn't find anything unprocessed to eat. With hindsight, I may have been able to find a fruit juice drink or a bottled smoothie, but when I get hungry and my blood sugar levels drop too much I can't think straight, and I ended up eating some chips just for the sake of having some calories in me to keep me going.

So, I made the best choices I could as I went along.

A healthier choice! It wasn't a big salad, but I really enjoyed every bite. And it was a creative salad with with lots of flavours with seared tuna, seaweed, mango, tomato and avocado.

And I did have a few drinks and particularly enjoyed this cocktail. A Cosmopolitan! Soooo delicious!

Charles Bridge, Prague. A sunny but chilly day.

As soon as I got back home I got back on track again, and it's worked and the 3lbs have now gone, and I've still got my new goal in mind which is to lose another 7lbs.

I went to a 'black tie' do the other night. It was the Midlands Media Awards so I took a look in my wardrobe for something suitable to wear and found a forgotten dress. I have had this dress for a long time and guess I've held onto it, even though it was too small for a few years, as it's so nice. I thought I would try it on and see what happened, and I got that baby zipped right up! Another size 12 moment, so that's a YAY.

I hadn't seen some of my friends for quite a while so it was the first time that some had seen me post losing 3 stone. One of them asked, "Do you feel better?"

"Yeah I do. I thought I felt ok before, but I do feel different now"

And I DID feel ok before, when I was heavier. As I've said, the extra weight never affected my self esteem, I still saw myself as attractive, and thought being heavier wasn't a bad swap for eating whatever I liked! I used to get annoyed when shopping for clothes, but would ignore suggestions from my well meaning mum and best friend who were brave enough to suggest it might be healthier to lose a few pounds.

The observant may have noticed a lack of running update. I've been a bit rubbish with that and only managed 3 shorts runs in the last two weeks and one hula hoop class!

The week before I packed my diary so tight I left little time for activity. This will now result in me making sure that doesn't happen again.

And this week I have been feeling run down and not 100%. I've got a horrible cold sore (on my nose!!) and only get a cold sore when I am run down. It's just a non specific general tiredness that has been with me all week. My lymph glands around my neck are up, so there's something going on. I've been addressing this by nutrient packing (tons of veg and fruit) and resting. This has all been particularly annoying as I've got lots to do and am now behind schedule on a few things.

Though, at the same time, it's made me stop and think about how much I try and pack into my days and weeks. As much as I don't like to admit it, I can't do everything. There is only one of me and I need to pace myself a bit more.

I have started keeping a google diary, which is really useful, but I've just simply tried to schedule in so much in every hour of the day. So I'll be spacing things out a bit more and putting in more rest time. Hopefully by doing this I will avoid pushing myself to hard and feeling ill like I have this week. Balance! I'm trying! :)
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