8 years on……and I am still not finished

8 years ago today I woke up, fed up with the way I looked.  Fed up with the way I felt, fed up with the way people treated me in social environments, fed up with being on the same medication as my parents, fed up to the back teeth with my life that I was determined to change.  This feeling was based on a picture that was taken of me at a New Years Eve party I attending in 2010.  I had bought a new outfit, had my hair styled and make up done, but the picture did not show me the person I thought I looked like in my mind and at that point, I knew I wanted to do something about it and I wanted to change myself.

8 years later and I still can not believe that I made it!  I lost just under 8 stone (50.8kg) and kept it off and actually, I feel and look fabulous…….if I don’t say so myself LOL.

Believe me, starting at 18 stone (114.3kg) and getting to 10 stone 3lbs (64.9kg) in 8 years has not been easy.  There have been so many moments when I wanted to stop, eat and drink everything in sight through one thing or another and I am so so glad that I did not let those moments control me and stop me getting where I am today.

What I have learnt over the years is that losing weight can be done over night but if you want to stay healthy and keep your weight off the slower the pounds comes off the better.  Over the past 30 odd years I have been on and off many fad diets.  As soon as I stopped these various diet programmes I gained the weight all back on and more.  With the regular yoyo dieting I expected to have excess skin and seeing it on my body, reminds me of how far I have come and what I have achieved.  Don’t get me wrong, I would love not to have excess skin as I hate having to tuck them into my clothes LOL, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.  I would rather have the excess skin and be healthy and in shape than being out of shape, living an unhealthy lifestyle and taking various cocktails of medications.

The only thing that has worked for me was eating healthy and doing regular exercise……boring I know, but my food also changed.   Over the 8 years my eating habits changed from eating take aways such as chinese and pizza, eating ready meals and processed foods to cooking with fresh ingredients, to being dairy, gluten and wheat free, becoming vegan and now a plant based clean eater…..I am feeling the best I have ever felt.

What’s next for me?…..Running a half marathon!!  Well over the past year I started running more and have become a bit of a medal junkie.  I completed a number of 10k runs in 2018 and I have bitten the bullet and booked a half marathon in February 2019.  I am not looking at losing any more weight but as I train for these runs I am struggling to hold onto my weight…..something I never thought I would ever say LOL.

2019 is the I stay ‘Slim Lou’!!

 

I love to eat….-1kg (2lbs)

oh I really do love to eat…..pizza, burger, chinese, thai, cakes, sweets, chocolate……everything really and I don’t deny myself any of the above.  So how am I able to do this and still lose weight?  Mainly because I make a lot of my meals at home.  Eating out is very rare for me as I do have a lot of intoreances like gluten, dairy, starch and wheat so my kitchen is my takeaway.

I know, I know companies are doing a lot of vegan and gluten free options these days, however starch is a large ingredient that is practically in everything you buy!!

You may not think this is a big deal but potato starch, corn starch, maize starch, are common ingredients that are in a lot of pre prepared meals.  Meals that contain white potato, rice, pastry etc.  Too much starch makes me feel really ill, headaches, fatigue, flatulence as well as feeling really drunk….sugar rush lol.

What do I do to avoid these ingredients?  Change the flour.  I used gram flour (chickpea flour), buckwheat flour, coconut flour when I bake which is easier for my digestion.  Avoiding crisps and other snacks was really difficult to do in the beginning, but now I don’t stress about it as I know what happens to me when I do comsume them.

I mainly eat bulgur wheat, buckwheat, quinoa, sweet potato, chickpea pasta, lentil pasta…..the list can go on. There are lots of new alternatives to eating your typical white potato, rice, bread, and I mainly prepare them at home rather than buy them already prepared.

For example I made this Thai Green Butternut Squash Curry with soy chunks from Oumph and buglur wheat.  Trust me this was absolutely dislishous. I swapped the curry paste for a vegan alternative and added the vegetables I love to eat.

 

Slimming World reignited my love for cooking.  When I signed up to Slimming World in 2011 I bought their books and magazines and started making their recipes from scratch.  To be honest I found my meals started to taste so much better and fresher when I made them, instead of buying them.  I can tastes all the flavours of the ingredients more, plus I am able to swap out certain ingredients for the ones I prefer to eat.

Don’t get me wrong if I fancy something like a pizza, I will go out and have it.  I just won’t have it every weekend because I know how it affects me.

Like I said, I love to eat…..the more on my plate the better, so I make my meals from home.  This for me is how I am able to continue to lose and maintain my weight.

Why not give it a try and google a recipe you love to eat?

 

Back on track……-4lbs

One week off the antibotics and I have a lost 2kg (4.4lbs).   How??  For one, not eating late at night and also drinking warm lemon water in the mornings.

Drinking warm lemon water in the mornings has a number of health benefits, one being reducing weight as well as increasing your metabolic rate.  Drinking lemon water also is a good way to make water taste better especially for those that struggle to drink water.  I know it sounds obvious but putting the juice of a lemon or lime changes the taste of water and is also a better alternative to fizzy drinks.  So why not give it a try?

Losing 2kg this week is a great achievement and I am feeling more like myself and getting back on track, but there are people out there that don’t always agree.  Over the last 8 years I have lost around 6.5 stone (41kg) and during my journey there has always been someone that has said ‘you are looking too thin’, ‘you don’t want to lose too much that you look ill’, ‘I can see your bones’, ‘when are you going to stop’.  Although these people may be right in what they are saying or seeing and have your best interest at heart, in there opinion, we have to remind ourselves why we are losing weight?

It has taken me the last 8 years to have an answer to that question and it is because ‘I’ want to.

We have to remind ourselves that we are not losing weight or changing the way we eat to please someone else, we are doing it to make ourselves feel happy……and yes I am feeling happy!

There’s always going to be someone that doesn’t like what you are doing.  If I wanted to get a tattoo, new hair style, piercing, something to change my appearance, there’s always someone that wouldn’t like it and will want you not to change.

I remember before I started losing weight I ran for a train and when I got onboard I was so out of breath, it took me about 2 stops to calm my breathing down and the sweating….well it wasn’t pretty.  After I lost about 2 stone (12.7kg) I ran for the train and this time when I got onboard it took me about two breaths and my breathing back to normal.  This was such a clear memory for me, as at that moment, I realised I was getting healthier and began grinning like a cheshire cat on the train haha.

No one but you knows how these little moments make you feel and for me it was what made me continue to lose weight.

My journey is not yet over as I still have a number of areas in my body that I would like to tone up…..and if you are attending my Zumba and Pilates classes you will see we are all working on those areas together hahaha.   At this moment being 74.3kg (11stone 7lbs) makes ‘me’ feel happy and determine to reach ‘my’ goal.

So if you too, are trying to lose weight and want to feel great, just ask yourself…..who you are doing this for?….and hopefully the answer will be ‘You’ and start feeling happy……..because I am!!

Happier now than 8 years ago 🙂

Sickness isn’t getting me down……+ 1.5kg

This week I had a tooth infection and was given antibiotics to take for 5 days.  This meant I had to take these tablets with very large meals, 4 times a day.   For most people this wouldn’t sound like a bad thing but for me it was.  For the past 8 months I have been working hard on balancing my food and decided that I had to stop eating late at night to achieve my weight loss goals, which is why I like doing ‘Intermittent fasting’  (I will explain more about this in another blog).

Teaching classes in the evenings meant I was coming home and munching on anything I could lay my hands on in the kitchen……or from wondering around the supermarket LOL

Eating in the evenings and during the night to enable me to get rid of this infection wasn’t what I wanted but I had to do it.  I thought to myself……I could let this ‘infection’ get me down and stay in bed and moan or I could put a positive spin on it and get up and continue my fitness regime.  It was hard as I had headaches, fatigue, dizziness and nausea while taking the tablets, but I got up and still completed my runs and workouts on top of teaching classes and I am very happy to see that I only gained 1.5kg (3lbs ish).

My motivation or drive was telling myself that these tablets were only for 5 days.  After 5 days they will no longer be here and I can get back to doing what I am doing.

Trust me this wasn’t my first thought…..it was, ‘I’m going to get fat again….eat late again…..ruin all the hard work I have already made’.   Then I thought, No….no I am not going to let this ‘one’ infection define me and stop me from looking and feeling good.

All my life I have let ‘whatever’ be an excuse to stop me from doing what I am doing and binge on food and/or drink.  You know, an arguement, not getting a job, failing an test, being overdrawwn in your bank account LOL……you know where I am coming from right, LOL   I thought no, this infection WILL go away and I WILL be better, healthier and stronger and I WILL get back on regime.

I am very glad that I have got to a point in my life that I can change my mindset and be positive about my future as it paid off with a small weight gain.

To keep me even more motivated I made a blackberry and mango crumble….yes you read correctly, blackberry and mango.  You may not think they go together but they were in my fruit basket, I like eating them both so I thougth put them together in a dish and make a crumble and it was delishious LOL

As I have a wheat and gluten intolerance I made the crumble with walnuts, pecans, tiger nut flour, vanilla essence and maple suyrup, blend and placed it on top of the fruit.

So next week is a brand new week and I will be antibiotic free!!!  This means no more late night eating, start drinking lemon water in the mornings again, eating lighter meals…….oh boy I can’t wait LOL.

Keep staying positive and don’t give up on your dreams!!

 

No Alcohol, Pizza, Biscuits, Cakes…….I’m a LOSER!!

Oh wow…..trust me, I was not expecting a loss of 5.5kg (12lbs) in a week. It must be the rubber bands in my hair LOL    So what did I do???

Drinks
No alcohol – My holiday consisted of approx 10 – 12 cocktail berverages per day.  Don’t judge me….I was on an all inclusive holiday LOL!!  Since being back home I have not had a glass but I have been drinking green tea, a glass of warm lemon water every moning, plus about 2 litres of water a day.

Food
Pizza!! – On top of my meals, I had about 4-6 slices of pizza per day.  Whenever I am abroad, the food is much more fresher and better for my digestion and of course I indulged.  Now that I am back home I am staying away from pizza and got myself back in the kitchen.  My Kitchen is my happy place and this week I made a roasted aubergine curry with quinoa thanks to BBC GoodFood recipe.

Sweets, Cake and Biscuits – I have a huge sweet tooth and of course when I see something I like, vegan blueberry cake, vegan ice cream I dive right in.  Eveyday I had a plate of the sweet stuff after lunch and dinner.  I am planning on making a vegan berry crumble this weekend….a girls got to get her sweet fix LOL.

Exercise
Being on holiday for me does not include doing any form of exercise except for walking around the city centres and surrounding areas.  Fitness is my full time job and being on holiday is a time to escape the norm, however on this holiday I couldn’t resist doing a 30 minute stretch class for 6 out of the 13 days of my holiday.

As soon a I returned home I couldn’t wait to put my trainers back on.  This week I went out jogging 3 times at a distance of 6km (3.7miles) each time.  Each time my body felt alive again.  Cardiovascular or areobic exercise has many health benefits, improved heart health, lower cholesterol and psychological benefits, improves mood and better sleep.  These are some of the reasons why I love running and teaching Zumba classes.  They are both great forms of cardiovascular and areobic exercise and during each I make sure I play the music I enjoy which makes it all the more fun.

A holiday is just a holiday, when you return home going back to the norm shouldn’t be hard or difficult to do.  We all know alcoholic drinks are high in calories especially beer, wine and cocktails so why do most of us have a glass or two in the evenings?  Reducing the amout you drink can significally reduce your calorie intake.  If I can lose 5kg in a week……what can you acheive??

Start by changing one thing……what would you choose?

Next week it’s all about adding strength to my workouts.  Time to get the weights out!!!  Zumba Toning starts back at Goodmayes Baptist Church on Tuesday 11th September 7pm.

Time to tone the body for the festive party season……Watch this space!!

I can’t count to 50…..

When I was 5 years old I had a 110 IQ of maths and today…..well…..it seems I am unable to count up to 50.

I signed up to a challenge to run/walk 50 miles in the month of January and although I was sick for 5 days and we have 2 days left in this month, I have so far clocked up 61 miles!!! Yep I smashed it LOL!

To be totally honest I have loved and hated the challenge.  I hated getting up early, especially when it was really cold outside in the morning, as I LOVE to sleep in.  Taking those first few steps on the road to get a rhythm of my running/jogging pace was also hard, but when I got going those negative thoughts went away.  I loved how much my mind would drift off and I would think about my day ahead.  I would also get into the music on my iphone and sometimes start singing along LOL.  I would get excited everytime my Garmin watch would vibrate telling me my pace per km.  If my pace had gotten faster than the time before I would get excited and set myself another goal for the next km.  Also seeing other fellow runners on the road would keep me motivated as I would make me feel less alone in my passion for running.

Finally seeing the skyline as it changed from dark to light or in night runs watching the moon and stars was so beautiful to see, it would make me realise that there is much more to see outside and around the area I live in than sitting on the sofa watching TV or scrolling through Facebook LOL.

So all in all, I have really enjoyed the Race At Your Pace Virtual challenge and I am tempted to do it again for March but sign up for 75miles.  What do you think?  Fancy joining me?

Can’t wait to get my t-shirt and medal 🙂

 

Stop Making Excuses and get moving!!!……

….is what I told myself on Saturday morning, and I finally got on those scales and weighed myself.

Disappointment was not the word I screammed when I saw my weight, but it made me stand up and look.  Gaining nearly 2 stone in 8 months did not please me.  For the first time since my original weight loss in 2011, I decided to measure myself. Waist, hips, bust, thighs and arms, as although we all focus on the numbers on the scales I wanted to get a better idea of how I am doing and this time by also watching my measurments.

So I put on my trainers, running clothes and finally went out and moved.  I thought do a quick run around the park to the shops and walk back home.  I can’t lie I struggled big time.  Only managed one lap of the park (about 2.5k) and stopped about 5 times, but I came home with 2 bags of fresh vegetables which also doubles as a bit of strength training LOL.

As the New Year is fast approaching I looked back on 2017 and feel really grateful to the events of 2017.  I met some lovely people within my Pilates and Zumba classes, collaborated with some great fitness companies, teaching Pilates to young children, got involved in another car accident and met another great physiotherapist.

Shockingly I know, I am grateful to the car accident. Not because I couldn’t work for 3 weeks, gained weight, but because it showed me how much I appreciate my body and my mind.   Going through a trauma can have some big sideaffects on your mental health.  For me teaching my classes kept me going as it gave me a focus on how much my fitness classes help people and how the people in the class help me. With the choices of music to the movements I use, fitness plays a massive role in supporting mental health.

So, 2018, I am really looking forward in what you have in store for me as I am ready to be stronger, mentally and physically, and get my body moving again.

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

Why am I Vegan??

Many people have asked me why I am Vegan.  Is it because of animal cruelty? Is it to save the environment?  Is it because I heard or read about the long term health benefits of a plant-based diet?  My answer to all these questions is No.  One of the reasons was due to my client pestering me for days to try having meals that were animal free.  At that time I was lactose intolerant so I wasn’t eating any dairy products, intolerant to gluten, wheat so no breads or pasta, intolerant to white potato and white rice and I was only eating turkey, chicken and fish oh and eggs of course.  So I thought why not…..why not try it for a day, one day turned into two, two turn into only eating meat at weekends, weekends turned into once a month and suddenly I didn’t feel the need to eat meat anymore.

I went on holiday and unfortunately the restaurants didn’t cater for vegans, especially with my fussy requirements.   So I reverted back to eating meat, only if I was unable to choose a meal that supported my current intolerances.  By the end of my holiday I was feeling so slugglish and heavy that I couldn’t wait to get back home and cook.  It felt like as soon as I stepped off the plane I was in the supermarket buying loads of vegetables and in my kitchen making plant-based meals again.  In the first few weeks I lost 10lbs and after a few months lost over a stone in weight.

Now most people would be really happy for this amount weight loss because this is why we go on or change our diet right???  Of course I was over the moon, who wouldn’t be,  I want down to a size 10-12…..yay.  However I also wanted to find out why my body kept reacting to certain foods in such embarrassing way such as stomach cramps, bloating, flatulence, nausea and diarrhea.  When I am at work or out with friends it gets really embarrassing having to go into the toilets every 5 mins or leaving the party early to go home and relieve myself.

The first 12 months going Vegan wasn’t easy, I did have meat now and again…..mainly on special occasions like my birthday, Christmas and Easter, but like I said before, the effects of eating meat weren’t pretty.  Making and eating plant-based meals is getting easier and easier, especially now that there are so many recipes online.  It has however highlighted other intolerances that I hadn’t considered.  But I won’t go into all that today but the journey never ends.  Whether it be losing weight, changing old habits, whatever it is, there is always a better way and the end result will always make it all worth it LOLOLOL

New Wednesday Morning Pilates class

We are launching a new morning Pilates Mat class at Parkside Community Centre, 176 Goodmayes Lane, Ilford, Essex, IG3 9PP.  This class will start on Wednesday 14th June 2017 at 10.30am.

To help with this launch we are hosting a free taster session on Wednesday 7th June at 1.30pm at Parkside Community Centre.  This is an opportunity to find out more information about Pilates and discuss any concerns or issues you may have about Pilates.

If you are new to Pilates, coming back to fitness after illness or injury or want to have a good stretch, this class is for you.  Pilates is a low impact workout that focuses on improving  your balance, posture, flexibility, strength and co-ordination.  Spaces are limited so contact me to book your space

If you are looking for a class at the weekend, we are also running a Pilates MAT class on Saturday morning class, 11am at St Chad’s Church Hall, Eric road, Chadwell Heath, RM6 6JB.

Find an activity YOU enjoy…….73kg

Finding an activity or exercise regime shouldn’t be a hard or strenuous task for us to complete. It should be something that you enjoy doing and look forward to doing. When I first started my weight loss journey I absolutely loved salsa dancing and I used to dance 4 nights a week.  Learning new steps, new routines and wearing those glamorous shoes was an addiction that all women should have lol.  Getting a man to spin you around on the dance floor to the latin vibes, got me in shape and I also formed a new circle of friends.  Now I am addicted to the sound of my feet hitting the road when I go jogging and I am now planning to do a half marrathon in 2017.

73-4kg

Ok, I know I am a fitness instructor and I teach most days, however, when you do the same activity everyday, every week, every month you need to do something different or up your activity level to continue to lose weight.  For me, going out for a jog one morning a week and increasing my distances has definitely helpd me reach 73.4kg (11stone 8lbs).

As the seasons are changing and the nights are getting darker I am starting to make some winter vegetable soups to keep me going at night.  This week I made a roasted parsnip soup, as parsnips are in season the made a great changed to my weekly meals.  I also love this time of year as my fravorite fruit is now in season, Sharon Fruit or Persimmon fruit.

sharon-fruitThis fruit has a high level of dietry fibre and magenisum.  It can be eaten like an apple in bite size slices with it skin on or off and the flesh has a sweet taste if ripe.  Another thing to add to your diet if you haven’t tried it already.

I hope you enjoyed this blog, let me know what you think?