Day 37; 6am start

For my job at M&S I work in the Food Hall, which means that we all get in at 6am (yes…. it’s still dark outside at that time!) to get the shop ready for when we open at 8am. You’d be surprised at how many people come in first thing in the morning because who wouldn’t want to wake up early and get their shopping in? EVERYBODY. These people are lunatics! Some people who come in just buy all the food we’ve reduced as it’s today’s date so they end up with a really random assortment of food, but oh well, each to their own. It wasn’t fun waking up at 5am today, and although I’d got a fair amount of sleep in for a work day I always feel a bit groggy when I’m throwing my uniform on and simultaneously brushing my knotty hair. Plus, the added bonus today was leaving the flat and being presented with a car that resembled a block of ice. Yippee, looks like the weather is taking a downward turn again. I can’t be one to complain though, I’ve booked a few days off so I’m not in work for a while and I get a 3 day weekend with Dom!

The one benefit of my job though is being on my feet for relatively long periods of time. You may be thinking… hang on? You consider that a benefit? Well by midday I’d already clocked about 8,500 steps and I’m almost at 12,500 now. Given that I’d planned to go to the gym and completely flaked because of the rubbish weather I don’t feel quite as guilty any more for getting my steps in. I do a fair amount of lifting and pushing at work too which means I can consider it a workout, right? I also do a bit of dancing around the living room at home to old-school Justin Timberlake like any ‘normal’ 22 year old does…. Not too sure I’ll lose much weight this week if at all given the lack of gym and I’ve actually been eating a few hundred more calories than usual. I put it down to loneliness. Woe is me.

On the days I work I can either eat breakfast at about 5:30am before I leave the flat or I have to wait until my break which can be anywhere from 9am to 11am depending on how busy it is on the shop floor. I opt for the 5am breakfast, I’m one of these weirdos who cannot function without a little bit of food in my tummy. I don’t eat heavily though, just a Skyr Protein Pot yoghurt thing, which is about 20g of protein per 150g! And surprisingly it fills me up until my break-time. They aren’t cheap though, only 3 pots for ¬£3.00. I pack my own lunch for work nowadays as it makes me drink more water and eat a bit better. The canteen does a really nice fry up of sausages, bacon, poached eggs, beans etc and I used to have it every day but now I opt for a few homemade chicken wraps with veggies. It helps me feel more in control of what I’m eating, and I save time given that I only get 15 mins to get to the breakroom, eat, pee, tidy up and get back downstairs to work!

Dom is still in the Netherlands and I’m missing him like mad. He’s been having a rough time of it from what he’s been telling me in our brief evening phone calls, everything that they’d planned to get done seems to be going wrong and his colleagues have to stay for an extra two nights. Not him, thankfully! So he should be back in a few days which I am very excited for. He’s been sending me photos of the food he’s been eating, and it looks so delicious. Here’s last nights contribution from him. Is he trying to make me jealous?

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Today he had a pizza and I just got an update that he ‘demolished it in 5 minutes’. How I want to be him right now! I treated myself to a chicken korma last night, but it was homemade so not as naughty as a takeaway. With the rice included it came in at around 700 calories which is quite hefty for me. It tasted nicer than it looks, FYI.

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I nipped to the shops to get some food to keep me going for the next few days and, guess what, I forget to take my shopping list and my bags. Typical. Also, I still haven’t eaten dinner yet and the more I’ve been typing the more hungry I’ve been getting so I’m wrapping it up here. I’m either having chicken fajitas (but I guess that’s yet more wraps for today… so maybe not?) or chicken with pesto sauce and veg. Pesto it is then.

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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!

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!