About Me

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United Kingdom
I am a hard working, full time career woman (I use that term loosely), a mum, a devoted wife, a ‘try hard’ friend and above all else a paranoid control freak who cannot believe how amazing my life turned out.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Four weeks in and still strong

I am now into week 4 of the Cambridge diet and it is going well.
I am still as committed as I was at the start. Don't get me wrong I am not a saint and have had a couple of little cheats:

  • I attended a wedding and may have indulged in a few (too many) glasses of red wine
  • On my daughters birthday I did have a (small) slice of cake
  • Last weekend we went to Thorpe park and I had a KFC 
  • Finally I had a very small roast dinner last Sunday.

Not great I know and I am sure Debbie (my weight plan consultant) will read this and tell me off next week but what I am impressed with is the things I have chosen to cheat with. I am no longer craving chocolate, crisps, cakes etc it is really only actual food that I am craving.
The thing I want the most is a slice of toast with peanut butter (this will be the first thing I have when I stop the diet). 

I have learnt that actually the small portioned meals I am allowed do fill me up and this is something I will carry on way beyond this diet. Portion sizes will be so important in keeping the weight off. Also my evening snacking has been actioned completely out of habit and not hunger. Again, this will be another take-away (not that kind of take-away lol) that I hope to continue as part of a new lifestyle.

The biggest difference is my health. I suffer from crippling psoriatic arthritis (mainly in my feet). At one point I couldn't get about without the aid of a walking stick and even took to working from home for a period of time due to the mobility issues.
This is completely gone. To the point that I no longer take the ridiculously strong drugs anymore and have even been discharged from my arthritic consultant as I am simply pain free.

This has enabled me to raise the bar with my exercise and I have even started running which is something that was virtually impossible over the last 5/6 years. I am only averaging 3 miles at a time but I feel so energised and keen to get out and run more.
I am also able to do more at the gym and just want to be active as much as I can.

The weight has not been coming off at the rate I would have hoped but it is still coming off so I am happy. This just proves to me that my metabolism is very slow which would explain why no other half hearted diets or exercise regimes have worked.

This is how my weight has moved:

Started - 13st 11.5lbs
Week 1 - 13st 8.25lbs (3.25 lbs off)
Week 2 - 13st 5.75lbs (2.5lbs off)
Week 3 - 13st 6lbs (0.25lbs on - red wine & cake)
Week 4 - 13st 3.5lbs (2.5lbs off)

Total loss in 4 weeks - 8lbs (over half a stone)

I have only started running in week 4 so I would hope in the coming weeks/ months the running will move things up a notch too.

This week I have had a number of comments telling me it's really starting to show. I can't really see this myself but it's a nice boost and if other people see it then the hard work must be paying off. 

Next week I am getting my measurements done so I will be intrigued to see what I have lost in inches. Onwards and upwards 

Monday, 5 September 2016

Cambridge or bust

Any of my regular readers will know the weight struggles I have endured over the last 9 years. I have tried a variety of ways to shift the pounds but nothing has worked. Here is a summary of some of the things I have tried and failed at:

So reaching a desperation point I came across the Cambridge weight plan. I bumped into a friend I hadn't seen for a while who had lost a fair amount of weight. She told me about this weight plan she was trying. She had lost a stone in about a month.

"Perfect" I thought, this could actually be the one that works for me as it is essentially cutting down your calories via shakes and other products and burning off your fat reserves.

I immediately searched for a consultant online and made an appointment.
I met my consultant, Deborah, last week. She explained the plan and we discussed my goals. We then chose my products for the week, I paid and away I went.

Due to some medication I take I can only start from step 2 which means I have a product (shake) for breakfast, another product (I chose another shake) for lunch, a protein type bar for a snack and then a small meal in the evenings. When I say small I really mean small, I can have about 170g of protein (slightly smaller than a chicken breast) and 80g of vegetables or salad (which is smaller than my hand). I must drink a lot of water and I can still have tea and coffee but need to have skimmed milk and sweetener instead of sugar.

Day 1:
The first day was hell and I was hungry all the time, It made me realise how much I was picking at things when I got home from work and how quickly the calories must add up. Went to bed early to get over the feeling of hunger.

Day 2:
Even harder but was enjoying the shakes. I spread them throughout the day a bit better and even held off having my breakfast shake until 10am which helped.

Day 3:
Getting easier but the cravings for bread or crisps are very powerful. I found having a cup of tea helped stave off the hunger.

Day 4:
Feeling really pleased with myself for doing so well with no cheating. This feeling is keeping me motivated. Also getting irritated at the amount I need to pee due to the water intake.

Day 5:
The weekend!! this was hard. Being at home surrounded by food is tough. So I kept busy and even cleared the cupboards out of all the junk food. I boxed up all the sweet treats and put them out of sight which has helped keep away the temptation.

Day 6:
Took the kids out and stopped at Costa, the kids were hungry and wanted a sandwich. I cannot believe I was strong enough to only get a black coffee and watch the kids eat in front of me with no temptation, not even when my daughter couldn't finish hers. I simply put it straight in the bin whereas usually I would have just eaten the leftovers.

Day 7:
That is today. Still going strong even with cookies sat next to me at work. I am looking but not touching. I am getting weighed tonight so will be the moment of truth. I am really nervous about this. If I have worked this hard and only lost a pound or two that will be hard to swallow !?! and will be difficult to keep motivated.

A couple of extra things to mention is how bloody great I feel. I suffer from psoriatic arthritis and usually have swollen feet, I cannot walk too far without them hurting. However right now my feet are not even remotely swollen and my feet are pain free which is unheard of especially after a busy weekend.
I am sleeping better and my head feels clearer and sharper. I have not taken an anti-depression tablet for over a week now and still feel great.
Finally, I think the reason this works for me is due to the support from my consultant. She has been incredibly supportive and I know she is there if I start to struggle.

Anyway, enough babbling. Fingers crossed for the weight in tonight. Will updated tomorrow.

So I lost 3.25 lbs. This is slower than both myself and the consultant were expecting but its still a bigger loss in a week than I have achieved doing anything else. Deborah has advised that I may be a slow starter and may see bigger losses over time.

I am still happy with this loss though because if I did the same for the next 4 weeks that is almost 1st in a month and the health improvements are amazing and very unexpected.

Friday, 30 January 2015

A clumsy farewell

In my current workplace situation there are a number of people leaving before my final departure which fills me with dread.
Yes, I will miss most of them and yes, I have enjoyed their company and yes, I wish them well in their next move. The dread actually surrounds the ALWAYS clumsy and awkward farewell.

The easiest goodbye's come after a number of drinks at the leaving party in the local pub. There are hugs and platitudes galore - promises to stay in touch and meet up regularly which, most of the time, just translates to adding each other on facebook.

The goodbye's that I dread are the ones in the office. Maybe they are leaving mid-week, maybe they are not having leaving drinks or maybe I can't attend the leaving drinks, whatever the reason this is by far the worst of all.

I will spend all day reminding myself to ensure I make the gesture before I leave the office. I have, on a few occasions, got so wrapped up in myself that I forgot and just left the office normally only realising the following work day that I neglected to wish them well - these are the people that don't add me on facebook!
I also try to come up with a witty goodbye gesture ahead of time so that I am prepared. The worst part is that your awkwardness is witnessed by all your colleagues which just magnifies how uncomfortable you are as you hug this departing colleague even though you have probably never even touched before this day.

Since the relocation announcement of my company there are 7 of us now leaving. Unfortunately I will be the very last out of the door so have to endure 6 awkward goodbye's!

We are two down now and the first wasn't too bad, we had drinks the previous Friday but it was a following mid-week leaving. So at my leaving time I scuttled over, clammy hands and all, wished him well and had the obligatory hug. This one wasn't too bad as the colleague in question really has been one of my favourites and I was genuinely sad to see him go so no faking needed to come into play - facebook added.

The next was one of my favourite routes of goodbye's - the disappearing act. This colleague hasn't been here very long but sits across from me so have got to know him pretty well in a short space of time. I was thinking of what I may say when I popped out to get my lunch and when I returned there was an empty chair. He scarpered, went home sick. He didn't even leave an email to say goodbye, just ran off in the night (lunchtime actually but that doesn't have the same ring). So I am sad in some respects as he didn't say goodbye to me, the face he has had to stare at for the last eight months, but grateful in another as he has saved me from an awkward rambling of goodbye's and "we must meet up" (which is my go to in situations like this).

So four more to go before the worst of all which will be mine when I will have to endure the awkwardness 15 - 20 times over as I say goodbye to all those that will make the effort. I like the disappearing act option. The dread is rising just thinking about it.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Time for a career change

I have worked at my company for almost 15 years... yes that's right 15 years.
When I began at the very young age of 18 it was just a job, something to provide me with money and perhaps an extended set of friends but nothing more.

The company itself specialises in reputation (or media) analysis which usually leaves people staring blankly at me uttering the now famous words "oh, ok that sounds...interesting". In a nutshell (and in no way doing this industry justice) we track and measure the effectiveness of communication activity and what impact it really makes to the company - so is your PR/ Marketing actually doing what it should be. In a recent job interview the MD of a marketing agency said "wow, it's amazing what these companies will pay for" which I smiled politely to as I wanted the job but in all honesty I was a little hurt.

Over time I began to see this more as a career and became quite ambitious to great effect. Several promotions later I became the youngest Account Manager in the history of the company and went on to win a platinum industry award (first platinum the company had ever won).

I have learnt so much about the media, communications and business strategies. For example I could tell you which countries have the most censored press or which messages McDonald's are trying to get you (the public) to believe in.
The biggest part of my job that I have loved is the exposure to some really quite impressive clients and people, it's not everyday you are told that your report was shown to the Home Secretary for example. Our CEO was also an incredibly remarkable woman who had such gravitas in the communications world and I had the absolute fortune to learn from her first hand. She was one of those women that you instantly respected and wanted to please. She climbed the ladder in a period where this was really a mans world and showed everyone that women could do just as well if not better.

Anyway I digress, this all underpins the reason my latest decision has been an incredibly difficult one. We were told in November that our Godalming office will be closing down and that we will be relocating to the head office in Moorgate, London. This wouldn't happen until February this year so we had some time to think about our options. Voluntary redundancy was dangled in front of me and two weeks ago, after spending Christmas flipping from one decision to another, I decided it was time to leave.

My leaving has been met with a really flattering response - some in denial that it's happening, others hysterically trying to compute who will take on my extensive workloads, some are really happy for me and one or two haven't even acknowledged the fact. I agreed to stay until the end of February so there has been plenty of time to think and regret but something has changed in me. I am suddenly thriving on the idea of a new challenge, learning new skills, really getting my teeth into a new role and carving out a new version of me - a more mature me.

I am really keen to move into the Digital Marketing world and am taking steps to make this happen. Getting back up to speed with social media being a first start ie blogging again :)
I am also looking at enrolling to complete a Marketing diploma which is so exciting.

I have a rush of so many emotions on a daily basis, nervous and sad to be leaving behind a huge part of my life but this is by far outweighed by the excitement I feel for the endless possibilities ahead of me. I know I can achieve anything I put my mind to and that I am the only person stopping me so onward and upward... either that or I will be penniless by the end of the year and begging to come back to my current role ;)

Wish me luck!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Painted Woman

Love them or loathe them most people have an opinion on tattoos.

I have always loved them and actually think I have an addiction.

I had my first tattoo when I was 18, it is a hummingbird on my right shoulder blade. I didn't tell anyone I was having it and didn't even go prepared. I just knew I really wanted one and that inspiration would hit me in the shop. I wasn't even nervous, just very excited.
So in I went with my passport at hand (for ID) and little did I know I had been lucky enough to get an appointment with someone who was renowned for his talent in this field. It was in Trollspeil in Guildford.

It came out really well and in my opinion didn't hurt at all. At the pub that night no one believed it was real and someone even tried to scratch it off - now that did hurt.

I wanted another straight away but decided to wait otherwise where would it stop...

So after I got married I treated myself to the next tattoo which was of a beautifully detailed rose at the base of my spine. Again, it didn't hurt and came out really well. This was done in Tattooland in Woking and was actually very expensive in comparison to other places but there was no waiting list so that was enough for me.

The next one I had was on my wrist of a big blazing sun (in black ink) and my daughters date of birth. Her name is Summer so it seemed fitting. This one was not the best experience and I later found out why. It was at a place in Reading and was a complete impulse buy. About two weeks after having my baby my husband and I were visiting his work colleagues in Reading to have a coo over the baby. On our way we passed the tattoo parlor and I decided at that moment to get it done. What I wasn't aware of is that you shouldn't have a tattoo so soon after having a baby as your hormones etc can affect the ink.
It scabbed over quite badly and when the scab cleared up the tattoo was patchy and the ink clearly hadn't taken on patches of my skin. It just looks quite blurry. I do intent to have this corrected at some point but not yet got around to it.

The next was after I had my son a couple of years ago. I waited about a year after the birth and had his name 'Dexter' written very delicately on my other wrist. This one was done by a lovely young guy at Sins n Needles in Aldershot (http://sinsnneedles.co.uk/). It was quick, painless and very well priced. which is why I went back a year later to get the biggy done.
I have always wanted a big tattoo or half a sleeve done but was not quite brave enough until I came across a gorgeous lace piece that flowed across the back. I found it on a google image search and was compelled to book in as soon as I could. Emma Thorne was the girl for the job and what a job she did. It is like patches of lace stitched together draped from my left shoulder all the way across to my lower right side. The detail is incredible and it was three hours of freehand work.
I was nervous about the freehand aspect but I needn't have been. She truly is skilled in her art. I would recommend her to anyone. (https://www.facebook.com/emmathornetattoo)

On later reflection I decided that I would like some additions to the lace which I have not sorted out yet. I suffer from psoriasis and at the moment I have a few patches on my back which makes me too self conscious to go and have it worked on at the moment. Once it starts to calm down again i will go back in.

So that is my tattoo history so far...

I love my tattoos and, contrary to what my dad said when he saw my first one at age 18, I will never regret them as they are part of me and tell stories from parts of my life. It is like artwork on my skin that I am always proud to show off.

I plan to have more but it is finding the right pieces/ ideas that have meaning to me. I am still not ruling out a half sleeve too.

What are your opinions on tattoos? Turn on or turn off?

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Stuck In The Middle With Kat

Someone recently said to me "you always seem to be caught in the middle of situations, not sure how you cope" and quite honestly it hadn't occurred to me until that moment, my friend was completely right.

It got me thinking about how that happens as the situations all differ and the relationships I have with those people all differ; some are close friends, some acquaintances, some are friends of friends, some are family, some are colleagues and on occasion it is people I barely know at all. On a night out I have been known to go out for a cigarette and end up staying there for an hour while I try to help some random stranger in need of advice.

Which leads me to my point, why is this the case?
Do I have a kind face, do I give good advice, is it my calm un-phased demeanor and ability to not judge people and remain unbiased, or is it simply that I put myself in that position by being nosy and assuming I can solve all the worlds problems?

Or is it for a completely different reason altogether. I like to help people and particularly like the buzz I get from making people happy so perhaps I seek out problems to fix. On further thinking it is not a completely selfless trait as there is a part of me that wants to be needed and I want to feel that people rely on me. Perhaps even a call for help that no one ever answers.

In previous blogs I have described my depression and how I have bouts of despair and unhappiness. I think it is this part of me that enables me to see despair in other people. I can recognise the false smiles and am never fooled by the "I'm fine" responses which leads me to push deeper. When I am at my lowest I am always left disappointed at the lack of support from other people. I am longing for someone to see through my fake smile and force me to accept a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen without having to actually ask for help.
Of all the people I have ever known there are only two people that recognise this in me and see that I am starting to fall and that is my dad and a work colleague. Funnily enough those two people also suffer from depression so perhaps it is a secret code that only we see.
That is not to say my husband, family and friends are not supportive as that really isn't the case. I have some amazing people around me but unfortunately they don't see it until I have fallen deep into a slump.

So I have come to the conclusion that I get myself in the middle of people and their problems for three reasons:
1 - I genuinely want to help people and make everyone around me happy.
2 - Hoping that one day I will do this for someone who will do the same for me - searching for a like-minded person that I could use as a crutch in the future.
3 - I quite often have this feeling inside me of loneliness and if left with my thoughts for too long I will over-think and over-analyse stuff so getting involved in other peoples problems is a great distraction.

I don't think this is unhealthy and hopefully I have helped people along the way so perhaps this is one of those win win situations.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Pushy Parent

My daughter is 6 years old and, in my completely biased view, is quite talented.
I know a lot of people think that about their kids but she genuinely does have a sparkle.

Since she could talk she has sang and since she could walk she has danced. I thought this was quite normal and took no notice but promised that when she started school I would enroll her in some classes of her choice which ended up being ballet.

During her first term at the dance school they were putting on an inaugural show which she was delighted to be a part of. There were plenty of rehearsals and extended dance classes in preparation and when show night came I was amazed at the scale of it. They performed Cinderella with a cast of varying levels and ages and it took my breath away.
Summer, my daughter, only had a small part but I was so proud of her for getting up on the stage so fearlessly while hundreds of eyes watched on. She looked so tiny but I could see the exhilaration on her face. After the show she was beside herself with excitement saying that she loved the stage and wanted to be on there every night.

It has been a year since that show and she still attends the dance classes and has really come a long way in her ballet technique. She will dance around the house and in the supermarket and up the street (basically anywhere she can find the space) and it makes my heart melt every time.

Along with the dancing is her singing which has really crept up on me. After watching the new Disney film 'Frozen' she bought the soundtrack and spent the recent half term holidays acting out the film alongside the soundtrack. I am still amazed at how quickly she learns the words to songs and the passion she will sing with and all at the age of 6!

People often comment on her lovely voice and suggest she should be on the stage but I am not sure if I should push her or wait until she is older and more mature to take it seriously.
I looked into stagecoach which does the singing, dancing and acting but it is a bit out of my price range. There are other possibilities to get her more involved in this area but as always it is an investment so I will only let her do it if she is serious.

She watches the voice and Britain's Got Talent and tells me that she would love to go on that one day. She has even asked if it would be ok to make up and sing her own songs!

I am very careful to not be a pushy parent and blindly persuade my daughter she has real talent but there is no denying that she has got something and with the right training could go far. This is not a phase or something that she will lose interest in. From the age of 2 she was begging to be on stage with the performers during our annual Haven holidays.

I think I will investigate some local drama groups and see how she gets on. The minute she stops having fun we will stop. Watch this space as I think a star has been born.