Day 36; And so we begin again (long post)

As you can see, we’re not on day 400 or some crazy number, so we’re kicking all this off again. So, for the second time, HELLO WORLD! I’m back on my blog which is both nostalgic and a tad upsetting. My blog towards the end of my SW journey became a way for me to look back and think about how far I’d come and to congratulate myself on hitting my goals. I’m trying to think back to when I last visited my blog to make a post and it must be Summer 2015 and now its the start of 2017… I can’t even begin to describe how much has happened/changed in my life in the last 18 months, but I’m going to attempt to condense it down (if I can remember!). Get ready for the dreaded W.O.T – Wall of Text:

I went back to university to start my third and final year of my studies and life was pretty good. My weight was healthy and I was throwing in a few treats here and there but on the whole was staying on track. I booked to go on the ski trip in December 2015 to Val D’Isere with other students including some close friends and my housemate James at the time. As it got closer to the Christmas holidays, though, I started to feel a bit ill. Not just a tummy bug or a headache, but a weird kind of ill. I had a really bad tremor in my hands, I had no strength especially in my legs, my heart was racing like crazy, I couldn’t sleep much and I was constantly really warm. I just put it down to me being stressed about third year and the extra work load that consisted of (I fell asleep in the lab once!) so it went to the back of my mind. On the coach trip to France for my skiing holiday I felt ill again which was partially due to my travel sickness and could’ve been a bit of altitude sickness thrown in there too. It wasn’t until I got onto the slopes on Day 1 when I realised I was not myself, I felt so nauseous and warm, I couldn’t focus on the skiing which I absolutely love, and I couldn’t keep up with everybody despite being quite a good skier. I spent the afternoon of Day 1 back at the hotel in bed – not how I wanted to spend my trip! Fast forward to the end of the trip and I went out briefly for one night and tried to drink alcohol but decided it wasn’t a good idea. I didn’t get up as early as everyone else because I was 100% drained and they must’ve thought I was the biggest party pooper ever because my mood was foul for the majority of the trip. Thankfully, the journey back was spent with most people, me included, sleeping off as many hours as we could.

Christmas quickly came around which was spent at my Aunty’s house. I had been sick on the morning but I didn’t want to be in bed on Christmas day so I put on a brave face and went over. Now, I’m not ridiculous but if I have a Christmas dinner I pile my plate as high as anyone else would, but this year I had no appetite and put a few slices of turkey, a couple of veggies and a few potatoes on my plate. Now, my aunty’s potatoes are delicious and I could barely stomach them, and not long after I finished I fell asleep on the sofa for a few hours whilst everyone else sat around the table playing Christmas games. My mom knew that this wasn’t just something I’d caught and I couldn’t just put it down to altitude sickness now that I was safely back in Birmingham, so she took me to the GP a few days later. He took about 5 seconds of feeling my neck and checking my BP & pulse to say that I had hyperthyroidism and that it was pretty darn bad. I’d only ever heard of thyroid problems when I’d studied endocrinology at university so I knew the basics of it but I hadn’t connected the dots with my symptoms. I was sent straight to A&E where they took my bloods and confirmed that I had thyrotoxicosis, my body was basically toxic due to the extremely high levels of thyroid hormones going through my system! I was put on Carbimazole to bring my levels down (which was upped again after seeing my doctor a few days later) and Propranolol to control my heart rate which was 132 bpm RESTING. Yes, resting. My 21st birthday was just another day of feeling ill, vomiting, being tired, and not what I had in mind when I was planning a big event earlier in the year. Not much later I had to go back to uni and despite being on my medication things got worse! Unbeknown to me, I was going through a very dangerous thyroid storm (google it) and I couldn’t keep any food or liquids down whatsoever so I was rushed back home by a family friend and I went back to my doctor. She gave me an injection – now this is an in-joke but it REALLY HURT! I was then put onto a ward and I had needles in just about every place you can imagine – 4 in my arms and one in each hand, and I was on a drip as well. They monitored my blood sugars and changed my medication to Propythiouracil, meaning I was taking in excess of 20 tablets a day. I suspended my course until the following January so that I could stay near my doctor and hopefully recover quickly. My levels did drop but not very quickly and it was becoming concerning how little progress I was making. I started working for my Aunty in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham City Centre for a while, followed by a few jobs in local schools to keep me busy (I wasn’t recovered by any means so I had low activity jobs to allow me to afford a car!).

I eventually agreed to Radioactive Iodine therapy treatment for August 2016 which is a little radioactive pill that releases iodine into my system to kill my thyroid cells. This leads to the opposite of hyperthyroidism over time because I don’t have the thyroid cells to control my body functions, so it was very likely I’d develop hypothyroidism after treatment. August 2016 was very memorable for me for a drastically different reason though! I met my now boyfriend Dom just a few days after my treatment and despite having to keep my distance because of the negative affects of exposure to radioactivity we spent every day together that we could when he wasn’t working. I was also offered a job working at my local M&S part time which I was happy about because it would give me money for days out with Dom and I could keep my car so that we could see each other as he lived about 30 mins away at the time. After my treatment I started to feel a lot better quite quickly. I loved going for walks around the Lickey Hills while it was still summery and warm outside, and a lot of my symptoms started to fade. However, with my new found freedom, my metabolism was getting slower and slower and my eating habits started to get worse and worse. My boyfriend is a tall man who can get away with eating a lot more than I can so I started eating bigger portions, but then I started having naughty food binges when I was at his house because I could buy my own food and control my own diet fully again.

We’ve almost come full circle, don’t worry! He moved flat to be nearer to work (just kidding, it was to be closer to me!!) and my naughty eating habits just continued. I stay with him to be closer to work and I just got 100% comfortable in his company so quickly that I lost sight of my health and maintaining my weight. At my lowest weight I was about 12 stone 2lbs, but that was because of my hyperthyroidism eating at my muscle mass and massively increasing my metabolism. So I consider the last time I was at a healthy weight NATURALLY it was 12 stone 7lbs. That was when I stopped Slimming World in the summer of 2015.

I made the decision to weigh myself towards the end of January this year and I was weighing in at 15 stone 2 – meaning I’d put on around 2 stone and 9lbs since I last dieted. I was absolutely gutted and ashamed, but at least I’d stopped myself before getting back into the 240lb/17 stone region! My boyfriend also made the decision to lose a bit of weight himself because he’d not been hitting the gym as hard as before he met me and he’d probably picked up some of my bad habits! I’m not going back on Slimming World – it worked the first time around but I have the support of my family and more importantly the support of my boyfriend to do this with. So I’m home cooking pretty much every meal I eat except on Friday nights where we go for a pub meal (but a healthy one!!) and Sunday mornings. I go back home on Sunday mornings and have breakfast with my family and Dom and I weigh myself each week on that day. We’ve been tracking what we eat using the MyFitnessPal app and trying to keep our macros (carb/protein/fat) in good proportions. We also try to go to the gym at least 3 times a week and I do a bit of cardio but mostly I lift weights and do other weight based exercises. My cooking skills have vastly improved since the last time I blogged so I’m cooking so much more variety and I have to admit it all tastes so good. And good news, I’ve been losing weight! On a side note, I’ve officially been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and I have been scheduled to start thyroxine tablets very soon, which should help me deal with the few little niggly symptoms I’ve noticed and hopefully get my weight under control a bit easier.

But anyway, back to the weigh ins. I started at 15 stone 2lbs or 212lbs (gasp), and the last few weeks have gone as follows!

22/01: 15 stone 2lbs/212lbs
29/01: 14 stone 8lbs/204lbs
05/02: 14 stone 5lbs/201lbs
12/02: 14 stone 2lbs/198lbs
19/02: 14 stone 0lbs/196lbs
26/02: 13 stone 12lbs/194lbs

So I’ve already lost 1 stone 4lbs in 5 weeks! I’m over the moon to have firmly left the 15 stone region well back and I’m aiming for 12 stone 7lbs again by summer time – but with more muscle this time! Not in a body building style but I want toned legs/bum/arms/back etc. Dream body, come on! I have progress pictures but unfortunately they are NSFW because I wanted to see the difference without clothes making me look larger or smaller so you won’t be able to see the change visually but I can and let me assure you it’s coming along nicely. Dom’s away on a work trip at the moment so I’m only cooking for myself which isn’t as fun because I love making him happy with his dinner. I miss him so much as well which makes me want icecream!!

To keep me busy I’m going to have a play around with my blog to update it with my new information so watch this space!

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Day 192; Some interesting news…

The last week has been a bit odd if I’m honest. Since getting back from holiday I’ve been much better with my eating and I have lost 3lbs! Just goes to show that you can get back onto healthy eating despite eating copious amounts of ice-cream and cake the week before. Mom has been experimenting with some ideas on recipes to try, so I’m having heaps of veg and lovely meat in new and interesting ways. As always, delicious. Here are a few of my meals from this week; an egg salad (lettuce, cucumber, mushrooms, ham, carrots, peppers…), an egg and butterbean stew with loads of veg (courgettes, broccoli etc) and then my favourite of them all; pepper and ham salad with chickpeas and a garlic and basil dressing. Continue to be jealous, go on.

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Plus, I am a happy bunny because the tennis is on! Who doesn’t love Wimbledon? I went about 6 years ago and had the best day, so watching it on TV isn’t quite as spectacular but I do love watching it nonetheless. As always, I’ll be cheering on Federer and Murray – I can’t STAND Djokovic. Not sure why, maybe it’s because he comes off arrogant but I just can’t bring myself to support the guy.

I went to Snobs [nightclub in Birmingham, FYI] last weekend with my friends from school. We used the first letters of our names (well, L for me because nobody actually calls me Olivia unless I’m being told off!) so we refer to our little group as LAMA. We made it up a few years ago and it just stuck. We also invited our friend Nishith who is moving to Melbourne today to study abroad for a year! So it was nice to see him before he disappeared to the other side of the world for a while. An odd coincidence too was that we saw some people who went to our school/sixth form in Snobs, one of which is an old best friend of mine. I haven’t seen him for about 2 years other than the occasional snapchat which really doesn’t count, so it was great to see him too. I went to my local gym on Sunday but I didn’t work out, I had a nice swim instead. I did about 25 lengths in the end, and the pool was reasonably quiet so I nabbed the ‘quick lane’ for some proper swimming. I didn’t have to dodge around the slow people that way, or splash anyone in the face.

So given the title of this post you can guess that this week has been more eventful than just watching TV, eating, swimming and going out. Well, a woman from the Slimming World press office got in contact with me about my application for my story to feature on their website. Unfortunately, it didn’t get picked to go on their official website but she did refer me to the major student online newspaper called The Tab. It’s a pretty big deal, a lot of students read it! They ran my story which you can read here:

http://tab.co.uk/2015/07/03/i-put-on-five-stone-at-uni-by-going-out-and-eating-in-secret/

Yes, I know. Not the catchiest headline. He did make some exaggerations about my story, but I’ve just accepted that it’s just journalism! Oh, and I didn’t gain 5 stone in one term (IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE!?), it was one year + one term. So about 16-17 months.

At first I was really upset about the article, given that he’d twisted my words and made some pretty big exaggerations in the name of entertainment. But I realised that my story is out there now, and I’d heard back that a lot of other people had got the courage to tell their stories too! That made me feel a lot better about it all, and I haven’t had any negativity towards my story either. Not long after the story got published, I got offers from TWO other NATIONAL MAGAZINES wanting to run my story as well! Who’d have thought I’d be sought after? I am still considering it rather than jumping at it because, although it’s all out there now, I don’t want to feel like I’m selling my soul or something! Haha, now who’s exaggerating?

That’s not even the best bit – I got some flowers delivered to my house. I didn’t think that they were for me originally, I thought maybe my sister’s boyfriend had been adorable and sent them but noooooo, they were for me from the Slimming World Press Office! They were sent in congratulations about my weight loss and my article in The Tab. I was so happy when I got them, all my worries/nervousness about the story being in the public eye went away and it felt like I’d got recognition for my achievements. I didn’t think I’d get this much attention whatsoever. Oh, here’s me posing awkwardly (makeup free too) with my flowers.

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I may be going shopping to Merry Hill later on today if all goes to plan. I was meant to be going to a pub quiz but it was later than I originally thought, so I may struggle to get home. The joys of living somewhere with no public transport within a reasonable walking distance!

Day 163; There’s no shame in a gain

Bella will be arriving in a few hours! I just crashed last night after staying up and chatting with my housemates so my room is in a bit of a state. I will have to run around now and tidy it up and get myself sorted for when she’s here. If you read yesterday’s blog you are probably aware that I was very nervous about weighing in today. I have a very guilty conscience which I am trying to shake; once you’ve made a mistake involving a choice in food there is generally not much you can do about it other than get back on track and try to not do it again. My problem is that I get very hung up on any mistake I make – I want to be perfect and make no mistakes!

I think my issue stems from when I lost a bit of weight a few years ago. I probably lost about 2 stone going from low 13s into the low 11s. Looking back at pictures , I had gotten SO slim. Like, so slim that I wouldn’t even want to get to that point again. But I didn’t see a slim girl in the mirror, I saw every flaw and blemish. I dwelled on every problem area rather than praising myself for my achievements. However, I lost weight that time by a very calorie-restricted diet (notice how I said restricted and not ‘controlled’, as I denied myself food and weighed absolutely everything to eat about 1,200 cals a day maximum). I also religiously went to the gym for hours at a time. So to be going through weight loss all over again I want to be better so to make mistakes that I didn’t make back then gives me those feelings of failure.

For me to actually weigh in this morning took a bit stern words with myself! Last week I was at home for weigh in on different scales and so a part of me doesn’t rely on what the scales said. But I hit target and I entered the weight onto SW so I made the decision to use it as my weight! So last week I weighed 12st 6lbs. This week I weigh….

12st 7lbs!

Now I bet you’ll be confused as to why I would celebrate a gain of 1lb. Crazy isn’t it? Well, I thought it would be a much bigger gain than that! Plus, it still puts me at my original SW target and I am still happy with my physical appearance so what is there not to celebrate. Sometimes, to take steps forward you may have to take one step back. If I’d had this gain a few weeks ago I probably would have thrown in the towel and given up. My self esteem wasn’t quite where it is now and I wouldn’t have been able to handle it! And whilst my graph may not be ‘kinkless’ and my legs remain a bit wobblier than I want, I will complete my journey at the pace that me (and my body) wants!

I’d also like to point out that I have still lost 65lbs overall, which is 4 stone 9 lbs! 

Last night I made the diet coke chicken AGAIN like I planned to. It was slightly different than the first batch – but certainly not  worse! It was slightly less liquidy so my plate wasn’t swimming. Flavour-wise it tasted great again too. I did brown rice with it again.

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I think I got the portion size a bit better this time too! I always try to get several colours on my chopping board but focus on green veg. I added the sweetcorn once it was in the pan but all the other veg are speed foods (mushrooms, mangetout, courgettes, green beans, peppers, broccoli, onions, garlic….)

Now to get my room spick and span in less than 2 hours…. wish me luck!!! 🙂