Post Christmas Weigh-In

Well I don’t know about you guys, but I just had an awesome few days of Christmas. Spent them with the fam, had an absolutely hilarious time and ate some thoroughly good on-plan food. The other half and I stayed down at my parents house where I saw some of my cousins again and got to meet my brother’s girlfriend – who is absolutely adorable. She’s the kind of person who upon meeting her for the first time, made us feel as though we’d known her for ages and was just so lovely to hang out with. And whilst my little brother certainly doesn’t need my approval, his girlfriend definitely passes the ‘big sister test’, lol.

My parents are an absolute hoot and put on a proper spread of food, drink and warm welcome for everyone who descended upon their home over Christmas, so lots of fun was had by all. Not being someone who drinks, I got to laugh at everyone else’s hangovers, but still ended up absolutely worn out by the end of it. Staying on-plan was easy as there was just so much stuff I could still eat and not feel as though I was going without (although my mum did tell me she could have made a keto cake especially for me if I’d told her in advance, so I need to remember that for next year!) We even came home with a massive doggie-bag filled with meats, cheeses, nuts and some mince pies & cake (for the other half). I definitely ate more than I would normally, but nothing that wasn’t low-carb.

It’s always weird when Christmas is over and a couple of days later you suddenly realise that it’s all done with for another year. There’s this huge, extended period of festive-feelings leading up to it, then suddenly, it’s all over and we’re back to a semi-normal way of life again, waiting for New Year to happen. After that, it feels like we’re back at the bottom of the calendar again, ready to work our way back up the next Christmas period. At least that’s how I’ve always looked at it. Winter and autumn are the times of the year I enjoy and it feels like spring and summer are just two annoying seasons that I have to endure every year, in between the blissfully cooler months. Once the winter solstice passes and the days start to get longer again, I can’t help but feel a little sad, knowing that shorter nights, hotter days and increasingly intrusive daylight, are all on the way.

But now is not the time to dwell on the inevitable annoyance of the coming warmer months. Today is a good day. It’s cold and dark and lends itself perfectly to the ideal afternoon, spent cosily curled up on the sofa with a hot cup of coffee and a good book – which is how I intend to spend the rest of the day once I’ve finished up writing this post. But first, I need to update y’all with this week’s weigh-in.

So how do you think I did?

To be fair, this week was “Shark Week” for me, so staying on-plan wasn’t ever going to be any guarantee of my losing any weight. I knew that before I hopped onto the scale; hormonal bloat being the unmitigated pain in the arse that it always is. I was hoping to maintain at the very least, but in all honesty, seeing a brief “ghost gain” of a couple of pounds wasn’t going to upset me or leave me feeling disappointed. If these past 4 months have taught me anything, it’s that the human body is a weird and wonderful machine that really loves to hold onto its fat stores and rarely likes to do what we want it to.

But…we only went and dropped another 3lb this week, didn’t we?

Like, wut? I’m as surprised as the rest of you, trust me. I really wasn’t expecting anything more than a potential maintenance week, but a 3lb loss? Hell, I’ll happily take that result ANY day, lol. I have no idea why my body decided that this week was going to be a weight-loss week (like I said, it was “Shark Week” and I definitely ate more than usual) but I’m more than happy to be able to say that I managed to stay completely on-plan and lose weight during the week of Christmas festivities, whilst never having felt as though I was depriving myself of anything worth eating. I enjoyed my Christmas, ate A LOT and even had some nice Perlege sugar free chocolate which allowed me to feel like I was having a lovely little indulgence while everyone else was eating regular chocolate.

Seriously guys, if you’re looking for a sugar-free alternative to regular chocolate you really should try this brand out. I just found them on Amazon where they were £6.99 for 3 x 42g bars – and they’re worth EVERY penny! There’s no ‘artificial sweetener taste’ to them and they melt beautifully in the mouth like a nice Belgian chocolate. Each bar is divided into 6 chunks and I kept to having 3 pieces at a time with a cup of coffee. Of course, they’re not carb-free (3 chunks – half a bar – works out at about 5g carbohydrate) so depending on your own daily allowance, you will probably have to exercise a little self-control so as not to go off-plan, but they’re absolutely perfect to have as a little treat, consumed in moderation.

But yeah, back to the update: I’m extremely happy to have lost 3lb this past week and have had a really lovely Christmas spent enjoying the company of my family. Oh…and because I have now officially moved past the halfway point (-50lb) I also got my bottle of Tom Ford from the other half! So I’m now sat here in my pyjamas, with my hair looking like a bird’s nest, but smelling exquisitely expensive, lol. It feels great to be able to say that I’ve hit my halfway point and that I’m feeling so much lighter and healthier as a result of my efforts this year. I even had 2 family members tell me that I look a lot younger and livelier as a result of my weight-loss so far.

So while millions of people the world over will be making new year’s resolutions to “go on a diet”, change their eating habits and attempt to lose weight, I will simply be carrying on eating the same way I have been doing since August 31st and enjoying the continued benefits that come from doing so. I don’t like new year’s resolutions; they’re almost always doomed to failure. But anyone can make positive changes to their life at any time of year. You’ve just got to want it enough and be prepared to put in the hard work. Understand your “why”, formulate a plan, make it something you can adhere to for the long run and never lose sight of your goal. If I can do it, anyone can.

Until next time folks

Blue

Notebook & Aroma Therapy / Weigh-In Day

I am a stationery addict.

Unlike my sugar-addiction, this is one vice I have absolutely no desire to kick and my house has upwards of 50 unused notebooks & journals stashed away in drawers, cupboards and my filing cabinet. Much like the books I read, I don’t purchase a new notebook / journal when I’m necessarily ready to use it. I buy whatever catches my eye and then squirrel it away until the exact right day when it “calls me” to read it or write in it. It all depends on my mood, the season, or whatever new interest that I’m embarking upon, so there are close to 100 unread (physical) titles and half as many virgin notebooks and journals, just waiting for the moment when they’re eventually brought out and given their time to shine. And I have everything from hardbacked to softback, spiral to Smyth-sewn bound, in dot-grid, graphed and lined, and all in a multitude of my my favourite colours. So you’d probably think me frivolous and a tad ridiculous to have set my sights on another new journal recently, when I obviously have sufficient stores of the darned things to keep me going for another 30 years. But I have. And it’s beautiful.

It’s called ‘The Gentle Giant’ and it’s part of the ‘Tsuki’ range of Bullet Journals available from notebooktherapy.com, which is an adorable Japanese & Korean online stationery store. I’d been eyeing it up for the past couple of weeks, after seeing a review of it by Elizabeth Greer Turnbull on her ‘Plant Based Bride’ YouTube Channel. Now, Elizabeth and I would disagree on a number of things (I mean, she’s really into the whole woke, box-ticking, identity politics bullshit that just makes me want to vomit, lol) but when it comes to stationery reviews, I trust her judgement and her ability to remain impartial even when gifted items for PR or sponsorship. Her video totally sold me on wanting this beautiful new journal (after I recently decided that I absolutely hate the Ottergami one I bought and set up for 2021 and really wanted something with lighter, brighter paper and a cool, blue colour-scheme) but even a stationery-obsessive like yours truly here tries to show a little restraint from time to time. So I popped it on my wish-list, thinking I’d maybe consider getting it sometime in the new year.

But then, I started chatting to the other half about it and how I really hated my current bullet journal: the pages aren’t white enough, the binding isn’t properly completed with a cloth glued all the way along the spine and the makers had tried to fake the look of it by sticking some small end tabs on – one of which came off as soon as I lay the book open flat – and that just really pissed me off. That this brand was cutting corners on a really important part of the binding structure AND trying to con the customer by making it look as though it had been bound properly, just left a bit of an unpleasant taste in my mouth. The whole thing felt sullied. And that’s on top of how different the colour looked IRL to the picture online. I thought I was buying a journal in a soft, pastel shade of baby pink, but when it arrived, it was a horrible coral shade which I never would have knowingly purchased. Urgh!

Seeing how disappointed I was with the journal I was currently using and hearing how much I really loved the ‘Gentle Giant’ one (which had been reviewed by a YouTuber whose stationery videos I trust) my lovely other half said that he’d buy it for me as a part of the gift he was going to give me, to congratulate me on having hit a couple of important weight-loss milestones! What an absolute legend! And he also told me that he had bought me a new bottle of ‘Lost Cherry’ by Tom Ford, because it’s my absolute favourite fragrance in the world right now (and he knows I’m carefully trying to ration out the remainder of the bottle I currently have).

How awesome is that? I was really surprised because I hadn’t been expecting to get anything at all. We don’t do Christmas presents in our household because we’re against the notion of obligated gift-giving, preferring instead to just give each other surprise presents whenever we personally want to. Not because some societal expectation has been placed on us – that same reasoning is why we never celebrate Valentines Day either as we both think it’s jut a crass, commercial fake day when people are supposed to show love for one another; we’d much prefer to do so when the mood takes us as it’s much more genuine and never just expected of us.

So he ordered me the A5 sized version of the ‘Gentle Giant’ journal – along with a lovely little pack of stickers also on the Notebook Therapy site, which all show a selection of Japanese art prints and landscapes with a largely blue colour scheme – because blue is my favourite colour and he knows how much I love both stickers and Japanese art. They’re absolutely perfect for use in the ‘Gentle Giant’ notebook which I’m now planning on keeping to an entirely blue/blue-green colour scheme throughout!

Be gone, foul coral coloured inferior bullet journal!

Unfortunately, with the company being based on the other side of the world, it’s going to take a few weeks to get here; especially with all the backlog of Christmas post being shipped all around the globe. So I’ll probably still have to use the blasted Ottergami thing for the first month of 2021. Which, I mean…I suppose it’s not the end of the world, but I use my bullet journal for everything! I have a future log, monthly calendars that I draw up, a sleep tracker, a weight tracker, a habit tracker, pages of online orders I’m waiting on, a page for things I need to reorder regularly, a wish list, a reading tracker, a symptom tracker and daily spreads where I record everything I eat, how much water I drink and when I take my doses of medication & supplements. It has all the important medical information in the front (allergies, illnesses, meds I take regularly, my blood type, my donor card and my emergency contact details) and on top of that I create daily to-do lists, using the ‘rapid logging’ system devised by Ryder Carroll.

My bullet journal is literally my brain in a notebook. I’ve been using the Bullet Journal system to create my own planner/notebook thing for the past 5 years; ever since I learned about it. And whilst I’ve always been an obsessive planner, it was only once I’d been introduced to Ryder Carroll’s original system (along with the hundreds of different personal interpretations of it by other users who would upload images of their own BuJo’s to Pinterest or Instagram) that I finally found the perfect way to keep track of everything going on in my life, inside my head and within my own body.

It’s a system that just makes sense to my perpetually racing, somewhat chaotic brain, and using it every single day (multiple times a day) means that I really want it to be something that is sturdy, ergonomically functional and also aesthetically pleasing. If something about it just doesn’t sit right with me, it makes me less enthusiastic about utilising it. Which is also probably just another ridiculously bourgeois idiosyncrasy of mine that makes some folks’ eyes roll in disgust…but I really don’t care. I have a system that works for me and I’m not about to compromise its efficacy, just because some virtual-signalling wanker wants me to feel guilty for all the starving children in Africa who would love to eat my barely-filled notebooks…or something equally as bloody ridiculous.

So, I shall have to remain at the mercy of our seasonally-unpredictable postal service and struggle on with this inferior version for a little longer. I’ve already drawn up the trackers and calendars and a bunch of other spreads, so it’s basically ready to go, but I just know that when my new one arrives, I’m going to want to migrate everything across into it, and start using it straight-away. I just have no idea when that day will be.

Likewise, I’ve also ordered so much stuff off of Amazon recently that doesn’t look like it’s going to arrive before Christmas Day either. I’m literally waiting on: 2 boxes x 12 ‘Battle Bites’ protein bars, 2 boxes x 12 Protein Brownie cookies, 1 x box of 15 Fulfil Salt Caramel Protein bars, 2 packs x 5 ‘FattBar Keto Super Fats’ Almond & Butter Cookies and 3 x Perlege Sugar-Free bars of chocolate. All stuff that I’d hoped to have here by Christmas so I could have the option of a few days eating a little less rigidly during the festivities (without actually exceeding my daily 20g carb allowance) whilst then having a nice little stash of goodies on hand as we move into 2021. But alas, nothing has arrived. Not even my ‘Pip & Nut’ almond butter squeezies, my chia seeds or any of the 20+ washi tapes I’ve been really wanting to get to use.

And as for my perfume, well I’ve been told by himself that I don’t actually get it until I hit my 50lb weight-loss milestone, when I’ll officially have hit the halfway point. Last week I weighed in at 15 stone 12lb (222lb) so I was 2lb away from reaching that mini-goal. I’d predicted that this week would probably be another maintenance week where I don’t show any loss at all (based on the pattern that these weigh-ins seem to be taking) but as you may have noticed from the date, today is actually a Tuesday, not a Monday. And why is that? Well, believe it or not I actually forgot to weigh myself yesterday. I’d forgotten that another weigh-in day was upon us already! Not because I’ve lost interest or motivation in my mission, but because it’s just that time of year again: the week leading up to Christmas where every day is like Sunday.

So, I apologise for this weigh-in being a day late, but it really does seem rather fitting in the week where I haven’t received my congratulatory gifts from my other half and absolutely nothing I ordered from Amazon has arrived either. Tardiness it would appear, is very much the order of the day. But what of that errant weigh-in? What exactly do the scales say this week? Will they manage to deliver when nothing else did over the past 7 (I mean 8) days?

Well…I just hopped on a few minutes ago and…I lost 1lb!

I did better than I thought (this weight loss shit is so hard to predict!) but that’s almost worse than not losing at all, because now I’m so tantalisingly close to the halfway point of having lost 50lb! And it means I don’t get my new perfume either yet, lol. I’m pretty sure that next week is ‘Shark Week’ (as much as I can be sure of anything day/date related right now) so that will probably mean a gain is on the cards. And that REALLY annoys me because I’m not going to be eating off-plan at all over Christmas. I really wanted to be able to just breeze through Christmas week not gaining anything and possibly even losing. But if the previous months are anything to go by, I can probably expect anywhere up to a 3lb of hormonal “ghost-gain” during the next 7 days. Urgh. So unfair!

But it is what it is. And this week, we’re another pound down – and another pound of fat loss is never something to be sniffed at. The scale is moving in the right direction and I am, as always, fully dedicated to my goals. I doubt I’ll post again before next week’s weigh-in, so I shall just take the opportunity now to wish you all a Merry Christmas and thank everyone who has been following along with my little weight-loss project this year. It’s been a ton of fun so far…bring on the next milestone!

Take care folks

Blue

Another Little NSV…And A Message To The Chattering Karens

“Gossip girls they always seem to
Talk the talk about you
Gossip girls they always seem to
Talk the talk but never say the truth…”

Last night me and the other half did something we hadn’t done few a few months – we went out and had dinner in a restaurant. It was actually a Christmas present from his mother because we’d mentioned wanting to try it out sometime and she remembered hearing us talk about it. (It was especially convenient because it’s on the road where we live, so it was a 5 minute walk there and back, max.) I’d been a little worried that there might not be much on the menu that I could have and remain on-plan, but a quick check online showed that they were doing a Christmas menu in which most of the meals were meat based with plenty of vegetables, and they included a note at the bottom of the page which said that anyone with any special dietary requirements should just ask a member of staff who will be more than happy to accommodate. Awesome.

I can’t remember what all the different items on the menu were, but I eventually settled on the “Roast Sirloin” with vegetables, but no potatoes or gravy. (I almost went with the “Venison Medallions”, but I’m pretty sure that they were finished in the pan with some mixture of wine & berries in a jus – and I haven’t started to include those things into my diet yet). For my starter I opted for the “Duck Confit Rillette” – but instead of having the “Toasted Sourdough & Orange, Juniper & Brandy Jam” accompaniments with it, I had mine on a bed of salad leaves. (The desserts all sounded great but I didn’t have any.)

And you know what? The food was lovely, the service was wonderfully helpful and choosing not to eat off-plan, wasn’t actually that big of a deal! (I actually feel kinda silly even referring to it as a NSV) When I told our server that I couldn’t eat anything with sugars / grains, she completely understood, went out of her way to make sure that on the ticket for the kitchen, it stipulated what I couldn’t have – very clearly – and the chef made sure to compensate for the items I wasn’t eating by adding extra meat to my plate (and the meat really was cooked exactly the way I like it too, so this was very much appreciated). Nobody made me feel like a pariah, I wasn’t given a measly, half-empty plate that had simply removed the unwanted items and left it at that; the food was lovely, we both had a nice evening and we left the server a big tip before we left, to thank her for being so attentive.

I’m not sure why, but I thought it was going to be a much more difficult situation than it turned out to be. I thought I might have to keep explaining myself to various members of staff; or that getting food the way I wanted it might be too complicated. I also wondered how I’d feel with everyone else around me eating all the potatoes, sauces, desserts etc, but none of it ended up bothering me whatsoever. Maybe it’s because I’ve still been preparing and making regular meals with carbohydrates in them for my other half, throughout my time eating low-carb; or maybe it’s because the food was just really lovely, well cooked and was able to shine on its own without any of the extras I had declined.

But either way, there really wasn’t much temptation for me to eat off-plan. I might have eyed the “Chocolate Yule Log” on the menu, with a hint of wistfulness, but even as the other half enjoyed his “Pear Belle Hélène” I simply sat back in my chair, sipped my black coffee and relaxed after my own 2 courses. To hear people say that it’s too difficult to stay on-plan when out at a restaurant, or that they shouldn’t be expected to “deny” themselves “treats” on special occasions, just makes me laugh. If people want to find an excuse to eat sugar then they will; their weakness is their business. But I decided a month or so ago that I wasn’t going to use the Christmas festivities as an excuse to go off-plan when I still have so far to go and so much to achieve. And last night showed me just how easy it was to keep to that decision, thus racking up another mini-NSV.

When I think about how I’d be feeling right now if I’d just decided to give into old habits and eaten ALL the carbs last night…well, I’d be a real bad tempered, headachy grump, whose sugar-cravings were back up to maximum levels of annoyance, as I tried desperately to assuage them by chowing down on fistfuls of ham, loads of cheese and a gallon of Pepsi Max to try and fool myself into believing that I’d consumed something sugary. I’d be bad company for the other half, I’d feel like shit and the symptoms of withdrawal would be overshadowing any of the positive experiences I’d had from eating out in the first place. Totally not worth it. But I didn’t and it feels pretty damn good.

Some people have remarked (in places that aren’t quite as private as they like to believe, lol) that I’m headed for an inevitable crash, as I keep on being so strict with myself. Conversations murmured in the allegedly sacred corners of DMs & PMs, genuinely believe that by not having “cheat days” or “days off”, I’m definitely setting myself up to fail, because that level of commitment is apparently completely unsustainable. Well, for those people I have a few things to say:

  1. That you “care” so much about me and what I do, is hilarious. I know I’m far more interesting than the majority of people you find discussing their weight-loss methods online, but let’s be honest: this says more about how you feel about yourself and your own inability to stay on-plan, than it does about me. I know you want me to fail, but again, that’s just so you can feel better about yourself too isn’t it? Yeah, schadenfreude is a terrible thing to have, Karen.
  2. Unlike many people, it was my health that ultimately spurred me on to do something about my weight, not vanity or how much I disliked how my body looked. Health problems can be very motivating (if you’re not a complete moron, who’d rather stick their head in the sand and just have another cake) and they motivate me to not just do well, but to do the best I can, every single day. And to those who say “but this is supposed to be a WOE for life…there HAS to be SOME allowance for days-off or else, what kind of a life is that?” I say, stop making excuses. Yes, this is supposed to be something I can do for the rest of my life and yes I will inevitably have days in the future when I do choose to eat a load of carbs. But I have no idea what could happen to me today, tomorrow or at any point in my life. What if I have an accident next week? A stroke? A heart attack? How would I be supposed to continue to put all my efforts into losing the extra weight, when I had other health issues to deal with too?

    Y’all love saying “life happens” or “life gets in the way” but I don’t think you really realise what that actually means. If you think that shit is always going to happen – so you might as well eat crap and fail to lose any weight – then whatever; you do you, boo. But don’t expect anyone else to truly care whenever you do your next annual “Back again” or “Ready to make a fresh start” post in the new year…because sooner or later people realise that you’re nothing more than the boy / girl who cried wolf.

    The reality is that yes, life DOES happen whilst you’re busy making plans. Things WILL come out of left-field and try to derail you, at various points in your life. But that is exactly why you SHOULD be making more of an effort RIGHT NOW, whilst you’re still able to do so, by using every good, healthy day you have to eat better, make the right choices and reduce that excess weight, whilst you’re still in a position to do so. None of us have any idea what will happen next week / fortnight / month. So why waste all these days right now (where you DO have control over what you eat) when god only knows what could happen in the future to take that decision and agency away from you? How are you doing to feel when 6 months down the line, you’ve still not bothered to make any real effort to lose the extra weight and then you end up breaking a leg and have to spend weeks in hospital, having surgery, recovering with physiotherapy and basically losing your independence? Are you suddenly going to be focusing all your efforts on losing weight THEN, when you weren’t able to do so back when you didn’t have any extra injuries or health problems to deal with?

    Like shite, you will. The time to take action is NOW. Stop making excuses about how “festive treats are just too tempting”, or how you shouldn’t be expected to stay on-plan when everyone else is eating your mum’s delicious Christmas spread. It’s just food, for fuck’s sake. It really shouldn’t be the focal point of your life – and if it is, then you really need to get yourself a hobby, because spending your life vacillating between gormandising without restraint, or pining for the foods you’ve decided you can’t eat, is a depressing way to live. Get a life. Seriously. And actually do your best to live it as healthily as possible, for as long as possible. By all means have Christmas off, have Thanksgiving off, have your birthday off – it’s your body, your life – but just remember that every day you choose to eat off-plan, is another 24hr opportunity to improve your health, utterly wasted.

    THAT is why I work so hard at staying on-plan and don’t allow myself to get caught up in the never-ending cycle of “cheat days”, “days off” and the resulting 3-5 day periods of adjustment as I have to work hard to get back into ketosis. It’s not because I’m trying to appear saint-like in my approach to losing weight & improving my health, it’s because I know just how quickly and easily “life happens” so I’m going to make the most of every day I have, and work hard while I’m still able to. Because if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we should all be prepared for the worst. Don’t be one of those people who suddenly find themselves in a crisis situation, wishing they’d made more of a prior effort to be in the best physical condition possible. Do it now, while you still can.

  3. And finally, don’t ever think that the things you say about me in “private”, won’t ever get back to me. You’d be amazed at just how many people are willing to spill the tea AND provide me with the receipts. So yeah, be careful what you share online and with whom you’re sharing it. You never know who’s at the end of that username! #WelcomeToTheInternet

But yeah, eating out was a total breeze, the food was lovely and nobody died. I made the choice to stay on-plan and it turned out not to be at all difficult. I enjoyed my evening with the other half (who very much enjoyed all his food too) and I woke up today without so much as shred of concern as to how I might otherwise have derailed my progress, and I’m still happily in ketosis. Tonight I’m going to have some steak (because ya girl really can’t get enough red meat) with asparagus & mushrooms, but right now I think I’ll make myself a coffee with some cream and check in with my favourite YT channels.

It’s only 6 days until Christmas Day, when me and the other half will be spending 2 days at my parents house and I’m super excited to be seeing my little brother again (for the first time in a year) as well as getting to meet his girlfriend for the first time too. I spoke to my mum a couple of days ago to let her know what my eating habits now comprise (so as not to leave it until last minute when she’s already laying a plate of food in front of me) and she completely understands my need to eat this way. There will be plenty of other people there on both Christmas and Boxing Day, who will all be more than happy to eat all the goodies she’ll have rustled up; so none of it will go to waste. And I’ll be more than happy to stuff myself with an assortment of meats, vegetables and cheeses and nuts throughout the days. Food might be a cultural staple which we use to gather around, but there really is no need to indulge in food that isn’t going to do you any favours health-wise, just so you can get together with friends and family.

Naturally, everyone will make their own choices about how they’re going to eat over the festive period and I’ve already made my choice. Just be sure that when you’re making your choices, you know what the corollary of those decisions will actually be. Don’t just make excuses for your choices. Own them and enjoy them.

And let me carry on being me.

Keep it real folks,

Blue

Non-Scale Victories

Today I decided to put together a list of a few of the other benefits I’ve gained from switching over to my low-carb WOE and losing a bunch of weight. Aside from getting to see those numbers go down week-by-week, this whole new way of life has brought about a tonne of other awesome changes that I wanted to share with y’all. So here goes:

  • I’m not plagued with sugar-cravings that would previously see me chow down 3 bars of chocolate, an entire packet of biscuits or a whole bag of dairy cream fudge in one sitting.
  • I no longer eat maHOOsive plates of junk from the take-away, piled high, scarfed down and then followed up with a second plateful. I now feel completely in control of what I’m eating to the point where it’s just not an issue anymore.
  • I’m LOVING what I’m eating, feeing truly nourished by home-cooked meals made from high-quality, locally sourced, fresh produce. And the thought of eating this way for life is great! I’ve truly found my foodie groove!
  • I have befriended my local butcher! I grew up eating very high quality food (especially the best cuts of meat and the freshest fish) but when I made my own way out into the adult world, I would just hit the supermarket for everything. And when the supermarket I frequent stopped stocking all-locally-sourced meats, I found myself becoming more and more disappointed with the meats on sale there; so I found myself consuming less and less meat over time. But when I went low-carb I knew I’d have to incorporate some good quality proteins and I wandered into butcher’s shop, not really knowing what I was doing. But thankfully, the butcher himself really took the time to find out what I was after, to the point where I told him about my dietary restrictions and he now always knows what things he can safely recommend to me (sausages and burger patties with no hidden carbs – yay!) and he also reserves anything I want (like my regular 4 porterhouse steaks!) to ensure I don’t have to go without; which is pretty important when meat plays such a large part in my diet. He’s just a really lovely, friendly, helpful guy who makes obtaining high quality, locally sourced, ethically raised/slaughtered meats so much easier. And I love that I’m actually getting to support a local small business.
  • I’ve found some really good protein bars & shakes that I can incorporate into my plan, without kicking me out of ketosis. Both are great for my diminished appetite and really help me out when I’m too tired or sore to cook anything substantial. I fully anticipate this being the way I eat for the rest of my life and knowing that I can have a choc-chip protein brownie cookie every day, as well as a shake that tastes like vanilla ice-cream…yeah that sounds MORE than okay with me! These products will help to keep my WOE sustainable and enjoyable.
  • My sleeping is still crazy (I can still pull a good 22hr sleep a couple of times a week) BUT my terrible snoring is no more! My other half is especially pleased with this as some of those snorting sounds would wake him up from time to time. I am now however, talking loads more in my sleep now, lol. It’s not bad enough to wake him up, but he’s heard me babbling a load of excitable nonsense when he’s in the bathroom or kitchen. (I keep meaning to record myself overnight so I can listen to myself, because I bet it’s really funny!)
  • I can walk up the flights of stairs to our apartment no problem now (unless the fibro is flaring up…THEN I hobble everywhere like some haggard old hunchbacked crone…but that’s just how fibro is and I’ve accepted that). But the stairs are no longer my enemy, lol.
  • I have more mental clarity too! (Again, this is during times when the fibro isn’t causing me ‘Fibro Brain Fog’ which is always annoying AF). Getting rid of sugar has made me feel more alert, improved my long-term memory recall and helped to make understanding my more heavy-going books, much quicker and easier. I feel much more “in the moment” and less dumb.
  • My skin looks brighter, clearer and as though it were glowing from within. I know I’ve always taken good care of my skin, but only so much an be achieved with expensive skin-care products. Getting rid of sugar has SO many benefits!
  • My engagement ring fits again! (This is a bit of a running joke between me & the other half, because I have never really been particularly into the idea of marriage (if we’re not having kids then the state has no business in “validating” our relationship, and I absolutely detest weddings!) but being “engaged” adds a level of seriousness to things, whilst getting around the weirdness of us having to call each other “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” when we’re in our 40’s!
  • I’ve dropped down from a UK size 26 to a UK size 20 and can fit into a really cute fur-trimmed, fitted, denim jacket that I last wore (literally once before it got too tight, small and restrictive) 18 years ago!
  • I can walk into town much more easily and whereas I would always have previously opted to take the bus, now I actually enjoy the walk (fibro flare days notwithstanding, naturally.) Just going out for a walk by myself has become a pleasant way to burn off some excess energy, get some fresh sea air and clear my head. I stick on my headphones and just take in the beautiful scenery. I even started to pay attention to some of the people out jogging with a voice in my head telling me “I could do that. Maybe not today, but soon.” I can’t believe that little old me is now looking at going for a run as something I a/ want to try out and b/ really think I’ll be able to do. I’m getting there, slowly but surely; but for now I’m just happy to be able to get in a good walk. UPHILL too, lol!
  • Shoes! My feet and my legs have shrunk a good bit already! The upshot of this is that I can once more fit into my New Rock Boots:

As well as my Iron Fist platform ‘n heels combo:

And I’ve also bought a new pair of DC Skate Shoes in a smaller size to celebrate:

(As you can see, my style is a hot-mess mixture of tough, scruff and slightly slutty, lol. #aesthetic )

So, I doubt that many of these are things that anyone else would find particularly exciting or interesting, but they’re nice little noticeable NSV’s that have brought a wee smile to MY face anyway.

I hope y’all are noticing a bunch of NSV’s of your own on your mission to shed some of those extra pounds. Got any good ones? Leave me a comment below and lets celebrate our little ‘wins’ together!

Stay victorious y’all,

Blue

Weigh-In Day / Down, Down, Down

It’s that time of the week again folks…WEIGH IN DAY! Technically it’s only been 6 days since the last one, but last week I weighed in a day late because I wanted to sync up the results with my 100 days milestone. I’m kinda wedded to the idea of Monday being the official weigh-in day each week on here though, so this week we’re just going to go with whatever I’ve lost in the last 6 days and get these weigh-in Monday’s back on track.

It’s been a good week for me overall. No fibro flare-ups, just a little bit of joint stiffness along with the usual pain levels (I’m always in pain…but some days / weeks / months are worse than others.) I’ve had 2 epic snooze-a-thons this week that both came in at just under 24hrs a piece, but that’s just the norm for me. I get real exhausted real easily and I probably got a little too cocky strolling around town listening to all the Christmas music.

I absolutely love the Christmas season because (tacky lights and music included) things feel a bit…magical! Not in the vile Disney way that seems to permeate a lot of sentiments, but just in the way that everyone is looking for things to bring joy to other people. Be it food, presents, office parties, arranging transport for Christmas Day, or just meeting up with a friend they rarely see for a quick cup of cocoa in a cute little café, there is a definite sense of Christmas spirit in the air as we all get closer to the 25th. Add to that the gorgeous frostiness in the air and I’m completely in my element. I just have to remind myself sometimes that the extra spring in my step will actually come at a price if I don’t reign it in a little bit, lol.

So anyway, the weigh-in. Well, I’m more than happy to announce that today’s scale reading showed me currently weighing in at 15 stone 12lbs (222lbs). Which is….*insert drum roll*… a 4lb loss! Whoop! I’m now in the 15 stone and some change bracket! That’s ANOTHER milestone! In my last weigh-in-day post which can be found here, I mentioned that I was 3lb away from getting under the 16 stone mark; a weight I hadn’t seen or even been anywhere near, since my early 20’s. Well, this week I’ve smashed through that milestone with a 4lb loss, which now also means that I am 2lb away from hitting the half-way point of 50lb (100lb loss being my first goal weight – subsequent further targets may be added at a later date; watch this space!)

I have to admit: as much as I have always had faith in my ability to do this, I’m still pleasantly surprised every time the scale moves down closer to my goal; every time I hit a milestone it makes me feel incredibly proud of myself. I’m really doing this. Of course, things are going to slow down a lot more, the closer I get to my goal, but I’m still hugely motivated. And I plan to keep on topping up those reserves of motivation, through dedication, focus, intent, self discipline and with the help of all the positive elements of good food, healthy snacks, motivational reading material and the kind of good feeling that only comes from continuous improvements to ones health.

(This quote was actually shared with me by my friend Jeff who has his own blog where he cooks up some amazing low-carb meals that are perfect to serve to everyone, regardless of whether or not they’re following a low-carb WOE. Check out ‘Dinner Time With Jeff’ get some awesome recipe ideas and leave him a comment if you try any of them out. I thought it was just the perfect motivational quote to include here today.)

Next week we’ll probably see me maintain again, which is fine by me. The 4lb loss of this week will even out to a 2lb loss each week for the fortnight, meaning I’m exactly here I should be at this point in time. The week after that is possibly “Shark Week” again? I’m not sure, I gotta go check the dates for that, but if it is then I won’t be at all surprised to see a brief “ghost-gain” as “Aunt Flo” does her worst. But that’s just the way the female body works. Success at weight loss is never linear, with pauses, fits, starts, ups and downs along the way. But as long as the trend tends to be downwards overall, I am a happy woman.

So have a wonderful week y’all.

May the scales be forever in your favour.

Blue

Nobody Just “Falls Off The Wagon”

I don’t know what it is about the process of attempting to lose weight, but it sure does bring out some really annoying attitudes, pathetic excuses and dumb ways of phrasing shit in a lot of folk. Otherwise rational, reasonable people start to talk about this pretty straight-forward process like they suddenly lost their inner BS-detector. One phrase in particular that really annoys me is:

“I fell off the wagon!”

AAARRRGGGHHH! Even just typing it out sets my teeth on edge! It’s a phrase borrowed from other addiction recovery programs, but all it really means is:

“I chose to fuck up.”

Saying you “fell off the wagon” is nothing more than a cutesy attempt to shift the onus of blame away from yourself and make it sound like you’re just a passive victim of an unfortunate accident. Which is bullshit. You didn’t just slip, trip, land face-first into that Big Mac & French Fries, you made the choice to purposely go purchase, procure and proceed to eat that stuff. And unless you have a legitimate medical condition that causes you to get up and do weird shit in your sleep, that pint of Ben & Jerry’s you inhaled at 3am wasn’t accidental; you WANTED to eat it and you DID eat it. #NoSuchThingAsSnaccidents

It’s infuriating, listening to people who would otherwise be totally candid about their goal-oriented behaviours, suddenly go all coy and refuse to own their shit. People who would normally be perfectly okay at admitting to their not having made a deadline on a project, or having to confess to not learning a new language or skill as soon as they’d hoped, go completely bat-shit crazy when it comes to being honest about what they’ve been eating. It’s as if there’s some extra-special kid gloves we’re all supposed to handle each other with, just because we’re trying to shift a bit of flab. Why is that? Why are people who are trying to lose weight, so terminally reluctant to just fess up and tell it like it really is?

I sat and tried to figure it out earlier today and the closest I could get to what felt like a real reason, has its roots in the notion of sin. In the Christian tradition, the seven deadly sins refer to seven vices relating to our core human passions or desires. These vices speak to our most instinctive drives, hence their relevance to understanding human behaviour and motivation. Regardless of whether or not one considers themselves to be Christian in the religious sense, those of us who grew up in western nations are still what you’d call “culturally Christian”, having been exposed to multiple Christian traditions, celebrations, teachings and ways of thinking throughout our lives. Sin might not be something that you necessarily think holds any sway with you, but if you grew up in a society that still recognisess ‘Gluttony’ as one of the ‘7 Deadly Sins’, there’s a chance you may have internalised both the concept itself, and the way in which said ‘sin’ is played out in all media.

Gluttony (Latin: gula, derived from the Latin gluttire meaning “to gulp down or swallow”) means over-indulgence and over-consumption of food, drink, or wealth items, particularly as status symbols. In Christianity, it is considered a sin if the excessive desire for food causes it to be withheld from the needy.

And make no mistake, gluttony is very much considered to be seriously sinful behaviour in the bible:

Gluttony in the Bible:

  • Gluttony plunged the whole human race into a state of sin and misery with the first transgression (Genesis 3:6).
  • Gluttony, or “excess of food,” led to a curse of utter destruction upon Sodom, the standard example of God’s wrath and judgment (Ezekiel 16:49).
  • In Moses’ day, when Israel craved meat in the wilderness, the Lord sent quail. “While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck down the people with a very great plague” Interestingly, the name of the place was called “Kibroth-hattaavah” which means “Graves of Craving” (Number 11:18-34Psalm 78:26-31).

(The above bullet points were taken from Christianity.com)

Now without getting into the ecumenical differences between the Roman Catholic interpretation of Mortal or Venial sins, and the Protestant way of grading certain degrees of sin, it’s still obvious that gluttony has been viewed as a very ‘sinful’ behavioural trait throughout all of Christendom. Which probably goes some way to explaining why we view fat people as being disgusting. It’s not just that obesity is unhealthy and can make the overweight individual appear noticeably short of breath, sweaty and uncomfortable; it’s also something that goes to the very core of what we as a civilised society, believe to be in direct opposition of that which is good and honourable and righteous. And unlike other sinners, who commit various other moral transgressions, fat people wear their sins on the outside for all the world to see. There is no hiding the evidence of gluttony – from God OR anyone else.

It goes without saying then that to embark upon a concerted effort to lose weight – to renounce gluttony – is therefore a righteous act of contrition. It shows that the individual in question has sufficient moral rectitude to make themselves right with their maker…or at least begin to respect their mortal selves. (There is also a wealth of studies which found anorectics – mostly women suffering from self-induced anorexia nervosa – often associate their abstaining from food, to be considered by the sufferer as making them ‘pure’ and ‘clean’ and unsullied by the giving in to mortal temptation. There’s actually a really good book that those of you who are interested in the history of disordered eating and religion, should definitely check out. It’s called “Fasting Girls: The History of Anorexia Nervosa” (Vintage) by Joan Jacobs Brumberg and it’s a fascinating read. The overlap between religious practices and eating habits goes far deeper than many of us actually realise; but it sure does explain a lot of the stuff I’d tried to summarise here, in my sinfully, heretical, atheistic way!)

Perhaps that’s why the successful seem so full of zeal as they claw their way back to salvation…and in turn, why those who fail feel so utterly condemned to damnation. At least on a somewhat subconscious level. I’m not suggesting that everyone who tries to lose a bit of weight is literally enduring the agonies and the ecstasies of a religious transformation. But there is a lot to be said for the notable parallels we can draw from the origins of gluttony as a sin, and they ways in which we regard fatness, obesity and weight-loss as a society.

Those who claim to have “fallen off the wagon” are actually internalising the notion of having “fallen from grace” (which makes sense when you bear in mind that the phrase gained popularity by members of Alcoholics Anonymous – an organisation structured upon its roots in Christian fellowship and the concept of giving oneself over to a “higher power”.) But to have “fallen from God’s grace” doesn’t mean that you accidentally sinned, it is very much because of your intended actions that you have “fallen from his grace”. Your sinful ways have caused you to lose your seat with Christ at the right-hand of the throne of God. So too then must you accept, that when you choose to “stray from the path of righteousness” when following a weight-loss plan, you are not accidentally “falling off the wagon”, but choosing to jump off it, of your own (God given) free will.

Because (to labour the biblical reference a little more – bear with me!) the Roman Catholic church instituted the sacrament of reconciliation (penance, confession) precisely for the possibility of the forgiveness of our sins. (It is vitally important that Roman Catholics’ confess sins on a regular basis, especially if one is in “a state of Mortal sin”. A person who dies in Mortal sin cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, and is doomed to eternal suffering in hell. So, what happens if you do not complete all the penance, or don’t confess all the Venial sins – the not hell-worthy ones – in your life before you die ? You go to purgatory. The Final Penance. The penance you do at the end of your life on the way up to heaven, if you even make it after a million years of purging.)

Now recent uses of the term “purging” aside (yeah, I ain’t touching THAT issue with a barge-pole right now – even if there’s lot to be said for the emotive associations that can also be found within both the sacred and the profane) the basic idea is that only by the truth can you truly be set free. And I think that’s a very real, idea that we could – and should – try to take on board when talking about how we’ve been doing on our current weight-loss journey or new way of eating.

Basically, if you fuck up, just admit that you fucked up. Take ownership for both the conscious decision you make to abandon your plan AND the subsequent actions that you CHOSE to carry out. Couching your behaviour in terminology designed entirely to modify their impact is dishonest. You are doing both yourself and the person you are relaying this to, a disservice as you treat them like someone too stupid to know what you really got up to. Do not insult the intelligence of someone by playing down your choices or making them sound like the inevitable yet unintended consequences of your utterly innocent actions. We know what you did; please don’t patronise us.

Just own your shit. Stop wrapping it all up in some cutesy aphorism that you hope will absolve you of your sins. Confessing what’s in your heart is what will bring you the absolution you really need.

So the next time you make the choice to eat a bunch of crap, don’t just try to play it down as a minor “slip-up”. Be honest, to yourself and anyone else you share your weight-loss journey with. Confess, take responsibility and start to think a little on why exactly you felt the need to make the choice you did. Because it was a choice and if you want to stop making that same choice, then you need to figure out what it is that keeps making it so easy for you to make those bad choices. What you DON’T need is a bunch of molly-coddling enablers, rushing to smother you with their own empty platitudes…which are really just their way of justifying their own bad choices, without having to take any personal responsibility either.

The more you lie to yourself, or to others, the less likely you are to truly get a handle on your weight, or other issues with food. And the more you try to couch your actions in cutesy little terms like “I fell off the wagon”, the longer it’s gonna take you to conquer your demons.

We owe it to ourselves to be as brutally honest with ourselves as we can. As painful and uncomfortable as it may be to have to admit that our “flesh is weak“, in the long run it will benefit us so much more. We are only ever as sick as our secrets, so learn to walk with honesty & integrity and the truth will inevitably set you free.

Choose life. Choose whether to eat that cake or eat the whole buffet. But own your choices and grow to understand what prompts you to make those choices. And choose the words you use to talk about those choices too. Allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to show why you chose to act the way you did in that moment. When you do all of this, there are no deep dark corners anymore for which you need feel ashamed.

Stay honest folks – especially with yourselves,

Blue

Weekly Weigh In / Crunching Numbers

I’m fucking awesome.

I mean I’ll explain in a minute (not that my awesomeness really ever needs explaining) but first lets just get the weekly weigh-in out of the way first. This week has been utterly uneventful and as a result I have lost precisely nothing, merely maintained. This seems to be a kind of pattern for me now: I lose nothing one week, then do really well the week after. So I’m losing something everything every fortnight and I’m perfectly happy with that; long may it continue!

BUT!!!! Today, is a pretty special day for me, because I have been following my new low-carb way of eating for 100 DAYS! Yes, you read that correctly, I have been sugar-free and loving it, for 100 days! How awesome is that? I haven’t had a single cheat day or eaten anything off-plan that entire time and I’m so insanely happy to have to made that decision to change, 100 days ago. It just sounds like such a big number – because it IS! and I’m really proud of myself; as I should be. Eating this way has made me feel good, lose weight and improve my overall health, so I have absolutely no intention of changing ANYTHING right now.

But hitting this awesome milestone got me to thinking about other numbers and milestones I can look forward to hitting in the (hopefully) not too distant future.

Let’s crunch some more numbers so I can see where I am right now.

  • I have lost 44lb so far. That means that I have only 6lbs to go until I reach the halfway point of my 100lbs goal.
  • I am 3lb away from being under the 16 stone mark (15 stone 13lb) which I think I last saw in my very early 20’s.
  • I am 17lbs away from being under the 15 stone mark (14 stone 13lb = 209lb) which isn’t a weight I can remember being since I was about 14/15 years old.
  • I am 27lbs away from weighing 199lb and getting into the magical world called ‘onederland’.
  • Being 5ft small, I will move from the description of being ‘very obese’ (according to the NHS BMI chart below) to being just ‘obese’ when I get to 14 stone 7lb (203lb). I am now just 23lb from hitting that new BMI marker.
  • And, according to that chart I will be merely ‘overweight’ once I hit 11 stone (151lb), which means I’ll need to go beyond my initial goal of just losing 100lb, to losing 119lb (that’s only a further 19lb which I can totally do if I decide to extend my goal after hitting the 100lb loss). In order to reach THAT marker, I need to lose another 75lbs. Will I decide to go down that far? Maybe? Possibly. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves yet, lol! (As for the ‘healthy weight’ BMI category…yeah, naw…that ain’t gonna happen!)
  • I have just tried on some older clothes (items that never really fitted me, but were too nice to give away – I guess I must’ve just known on a subconscious level that I was going to eventually lose the weight at some point in the not-too-distant future!) that are a UK size 20…and they fit! When I started out on this new WOE I was a UK size 26. So I’ve dropped 3 dress sizes! WTF? I’ve also gone down a shoe size from a UK 7-8, to a UK 6-7. Thanks to my dad (from whom I also inherited my sexy monobrow – yay genetics!) I will never have small, dainty feet. But I’ve just bought some new DC’s in a smaller size to celebrate, because I LOVE a nice, chunky, skate shoe as much as I adore a fierce high heel/platform combo (short chicks: y’all know where I’m coming from here!) It’s just really cool to see the weight coming off from my feet as well.
  • And I’m a few months away from turning 41, so I’d really like to get to that 14 stone 7lb (203lb) milestone and into the ‘obese’ category (YAY FOR BEING ‘JUST’ OBESE! Ha ha…) and maybe into ‘onederland’ by then? That would be a pretty awesome present to give myself. By that point I should also have been over 150 days “on-plan”…and that just sounds like even more of a big frickin’ amazing achievement!

So yeah, that’s a few numbers I’ve been playing around with because, why the feck not? I don’t care if it sounds egotistical or overly self-congratulatory…I’m doing brilliantly and I’m real proud of myself. As well I should be! Effort + consistency = results.

So let the results speak for themselves!

Blue

Lovely Stuff

Today I thought I’d share some of the products I’ve started using and have been loving lately. In order for me to be sure that this WOE is going to be sustainable, it has to be enjoyable; and to be honest, I’m really loving getting to eat so much meat and big portions of cruciferous vegetables, I’m really not missing the potatoes, rice, pizza, pasta, bread, cereals and grains and it’s really satisfying to just open the fridge and see a whole array of locally sourced, healthy, fresh produce stacked up in there. But, whilst I really only eat one proper meal a day, I also like to have smaller things on hand that I can take my meds with or get some extra nutritional benefits from, whilst still tasting nice.

I’ve really been enjoying having a shake instead of lunch. I’m rarely hungry enough to want an actual meal around that time, so a quick protein shake keeps me going from morning to my evening meal. I posted a picture of the shake I had been using when I first switched over to low-carb (you can find that post here) but I’ve since change up the entire combo. I now use this totally different shake mix, which is a vanilla flavour and tastes so much nicer (I don’t know what it is about ‘chocolate’ flavoured shakes – and other stuff – rarely tasting anything like chocolate…but whatever!). Anyway, the new one is Premium Body Nutrition’s Whey Protein Powder:

Each 30g serving (1 scoop) comes in at 2g of carbs and it’s sweetened with sucralose. It cost me £15 for 1kg and you can find it on Amazon here. But I don’t drink it on its own; I add another shake mix thing to it, which is a keto collagen powder from GoKeto:

Also vanilla flavoured, it has 0g of carbs per 20g serving (1 scoop) and I got it for £27 from Amazon. You can find it here.

So I put a scoop of each powder into my BULK POWDERS Large, 600 ml Shaker Bottle:

And I love the little wire ball that these come with now; it really helps to mix up protein powders so they don’t don’t have any lumps in them. I got mine from Amazon for £3 (total bargain!) and you can find them here.

With my previous shake mix I was just blending it with water, but I’ve changed over to using a completely sugar-free almond milk now instead and it just makes the whole thing taste richer and more palatable. My current favourite is this one:

It’s by Alpro and is specifically their ‘Almond NO Sugars’ version (their regular one and their unsweetened one both have carbs in them) and this one has 0g of carbs per 100ml. Looking at the ingredients, I’m pretty happy to multiply that up by 3 and assume that 300ml also has 0g of carbs (which is the amount I add to the mixture of PBN Protein Whey Powder and GoKeto Collagen Protein Powder.) I just get mine from the local Sainsbury’s supermarket and I don’t actually know how much it costs (because yeah, I’m that bougie person who could never tell you how much a pint of milk costs, lol) but if you want to check it out there’s a bunch of info about it, along with all their other products on Alpro’s website here.

So that’s my shake mix combo which I probably have one of, every other day. Ideally I’d really like to be having one every day (to get the benefits from the collagen) but I don’t always feel like it. Some days my appetite is way lower than others and I can’t face eating until late in the evening; at which point I’m probably more inclined to go for something hot – during the winter months anyway. But that shake-mix combo tastes REALLY nice! It tastes like vanilla ice-cream or milkshake…it actually reminds me of the McDonalds thick shake flavour and the way I make it is nicely rich and not insipidly thin. It’s a great combo and really helps to assuage the odd craving for sweet stuff that still rear their ugly little head, from time to time. If you’re eating low-carb and you crave ice-cream, you should totally try this out.

And speaking of sweet stuff, we’re now onto the protein bars! I’ve probably tried about a dozen different brands since I moved over to low-carb – some are far better than others (some of them are pure minging, lol) and I currently have 2 different brands that I’ve incorporated into my WOE. This first one is my ‘everyday’ go-to snack. I’ll eat a piece of it with my meds after I wake up and if I don’t eat the remainder of it along with other doses of my meds throughout the day (which is usually what happens during the first day or so of ‘Shark Week’ when I’m completely wiped out with nausea) then I eat the other two-thirds of it in the evening with a cup of coffee. It’s a nice little sweet treat to look forward to and really feels like I’m eating a brownie. The product in question? It’s this little beauty!

They are the SCI-MX Nutrition Choc-Chip High Protein Brownies. I buy these in a box of 12 from Amazon, for £12 (that’s £1 per brownie-cookie – great price-point!) and you can find them here. So, what do I like about them? Well, everything lol. First off, they taste great. A rich, deep chocolate flavour that really satisfies choco-cravings. Second, they’re really dense and substantial, so you really feel satisfied after eating one. Third, the pricing is great. Protein bars and protein cookie products can be a bit costly and whilst I’m more than willing to pay for a good product that I can incorporate nicely into my low-carb WOE, I’m also always really happy to find a bargain (that’ll be the Scottish part of my heritage!). These brownie-cookies are 65g each (about the average weight for a protein bar / cookie / product) and any time I eat one I feel really satiated. In fact, I’m no longer really that bothered about trying to make any of my own keto-brownies to help with the old desire to revisit something reminiscent of a chocolate cake, because these brownie-cookies meet that need and I can eat one, safe in the knowledge that I have the nutritional value already calculated and individually wrapped – which removes the temptation to eat ‘just one more’ from a multipack. I love them, what else can I say?

Another bar that I’ve been enjoying is this one:

These are the FULFIL Vitamin and Protein Bars in Chocolate Salted Caramel Flavour. I buy the 55g bars in a box of 15 for £21 (they’re also available in a smaller 30g size, so be sure to check what you’re buying) from Amazon and you can find them here.

These bars aren’t for everyday consumption – not for me anyway – I like to keep these on hand for ‘Shark Week’, or the couple of days prior to it, when the desire to eat something sweet & chocolatey reaches another level of intense. The bars are very squishy/chewy and have a sort of a fudgy taste to them. They’re sweet, but the salt-caramel flavour cuts through that to stop it from being too sickly and they have a load of soy-crispies on the outside, to break up the overall squishy texture. And boy do they taste good! Too good in a way, because whilst they’re packed with 20g of protein and a bunch of vitamins, I don’t find that they physically fill me up like other bars do and it’s very easy to eat more than one of them in one sitting (something I did once, a couple of months ago during ‘Shark Week’). I think it’s might be because the ingredients state that they contain oligosaccharide which is a source of glucose. The overall carb amount is still under 2g per bar, but I do wonder if they still manage to cause a bit too much of a spike to blood glucose, to be something you’d want to consume regularly on a very low-carb WOE. I keep to under 20g of carbs a day and whilst – numbers wise – I could legitimately incorporate one of these yummy bars into my daily allowance, I still feel that they’re better off being kept for those moments when you really want to eat something that tastes a lot more sinful than it really is.

And that’s it for my little product update today. Being such a tiny blog it’s probably completely obvious that none of these reviews were sponsored in any way, but I figured I should just take a moment to state on the record that I am in no way affiliated with any of the products feature here and everything mentioned was purchased by me, for me. All reviews are my own, and I include them here as honest opinions of products I enjoy.

And on that note I shall bid y’all adieu.

Have a lovely weekend folks,

Blue

Stimulus Chick

And you want to call your mother and say
“Mother, I can never come home again
‘Cause I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere
Somewhere in a field in Hampshire.”

I have never been one of those people who can just “be”. I’ve never been able to meditate, or just empty my mind, and I cannot just sit and do nothing for extended periods of time. Sitting is fine, but unless I’m occupying my mind with something, I get incredibly bored, very easily. Now I don’t bore easily – yes that might sound like an immediate contradiction, but bear with me – because I always have something I can be doing, reading, watching, learning about…even if I can’t get up and about to go anywhere. I’m incredibly good at keeping myself occupied and even as a child I could often be found just sat reading as I devoured everything I could get my proto-bibliophile little hands on. So yeah, I never struggle to find things to occupy myself with, but I simply cannot just sit and do nothing.

My mind races all the time, jumping from one project to another as soon as I’ve finished, constantly making notes about the next 100 things to research or the next 10 books I “have” to buy. I read 2-3 different books at any one time, watch university lectures from around the world in order to learn more about…well…everything, and I have to check out/aggregate numerous news sources every day, to find out what the “bullshit du jour” is. (I’ve had it suggested on multiple occasions that I might have undiagnosed ADHD or even Asperger’s, because of the way my brain is always looking to keep itself stimulated, in a very logical, fact-oriented way. I have no idea if that’s true and I’ve never been tested for it, because what we be the point? I’m hardly suffering as a result of it and I certainly don’t require any more medication to add to my already vast prescription.)

But I know that whatever it is that causes me to be perpetually in need of stimulation is probably something that ties into my issues with sugar addiction, or food in general. When I think about what it was that really made me overconsume so many carbs, I’m perfectly ready to admit that it was an addiction. However, I also think that one of the reasons I did eat so much, was because of the experience of having different flavours in my mouth. Being so cued into stimulation at every level, I believe that food was also a way of doing something that felt interesting at the time. I love really sour things, spicy things, herbs, regional cuisines, different textures, different temperatures and of course…all things sweet. Food it seems, has been as much about the fun way flavours hit my taste receptors as it was a response to craving another hit of sugar. Addiction being the multi-layered disorder that it is, can have more than one contributory factor. Maybe I’ve been addicted to the sensory experiences involved in eating, almost as much a I’ve been addicted to the actual sugars involved? I mean, they’re probably two sides of the same coin, but it makes perfect sense when I think about it.

The weird thing is, throughout my life I’ve tried just about everything a person can become addicted to. And I don’t just mean “tried it once, didn’t inhale (I did not have sexual relations with that woman)”, lol. No, I’ve imbibed, indulged and partaken in just about every substance out there on the streets…and have done so on many, many, occasions. During my 20’s I was a complete party animal. I believed that you should work hard and then reward yourself by partying equally as hard on your time off. And I really went for it. I could list the things I’ve done, but it’s quicker and easier to just list the stuff I’ve never done. I’ve never done crystal meth (c’mon we all have to have SOME standards!), I’ve never done PCP and I’ve never used that weird khat stuff that people from Africa like to chew (that shit makes your teeth really gross and TBH you get far more bang for your buck with regular speed). Oh and I’ve never injected anything. But other than that, if it could be snorted, swallowed, smoked or absorbed through a ‘tab’, I’ve done it. A lot of it.

And I’m not saying any of that to try and make myself sound wildly interesting (trust me, most people who are completely off their face on drugs aren’t even interesting to other people currently off their face on drugs) I’m just trying to reveal a pattern in my past behaviours that I believe still exist within me today, despite me being far too old to party anymore. (I don’t even drink alcohol!). The reason I took so many drugs was partly curiosity, but mostly just because I loved the way in which different substances stimulated my mind and body in so many different ways. Up, down, sideways (thanks, Ketamine!) or completely tripping my tits off…whatever it was that I wanted to feel, I knew I could get just by ordering up whatever substance I wanted at that specific moment in time.

And I LOVED taking drugs. I’m not ashamed of that fact…I had so much fun with them and got to experience so many different sensations and levels of excitement / euphoria / relaxation / fascination / introspection, every weekend. I mixed them up, experimented with combining acid & ecstasy, ketamine & ecstasy, ketamine & heroin…all kinds of mad combinations. And looking back, yeah, I probably was pushing my luck and sailing a little too close to the wind with some of my more extreme weekends. At one point I got the nickname “munch” because when it came to taking ecstasy tablets (and this was many years ago when ecstasy tablets actually had a decent amount of MDMA in them) I would start of with just 1, then double drop a couple an hour later, then triple drop later still and by the end of the session had probably forked out about £150 for 20 pills and subsequently “munched” my way through them (and I use the term “munched” there in inverted commas, because ain’t no one in their right mind gonna chance a whitey by chewing one of those bad boys up in their mouth….bleugh!)

But you know what? No matter how many drugs I took or how often, I never became addicted to any of them. Maybe it was because I only ever did them on weekends because of the weekday work ethic. Maybe it’s because I was doing so many different things all the time, that I never became actually addicted to any one recreational drug in particular. I don’t know. But it’s the same with alcohol. When I was younger (15+) I would drink enormous amounts on the weekend. Binge drinking. But it never became something that I got addicted to. I never felt the urge to drink on weekdays, or drink alone. It was something I was able to walk away from as easily as I did the drug-fuelled party life. I did it while it was fun and then when I’d had enough, I just stopped. Inevitably, my reasons for giving up those crazy days of drug-taking were just the usual mundane reasons: 1/ the comedowns get a lot harder to get over (like hangovers) the older you get and 2/ I ended up working a job that required me to work a lot of overtime on the weekends, so it just wasn’t feasible anymore.

Do I miss it? Kind of. But not enough to want to go back to it. I’m now content with getting my stimulation from a vast array of intellectual pursuits….along with getting to enjoy the company of my other half. But it was all the talk of sugar-addiction recently that just got me to thinking about addiction in general and whether or not I’ve got what you’d call an “addictive personality”. And I don’t think that I do. As I’ve just explained, I’ve put myself in the path of potential substance addiction, just by the sheer amount of things that I’ve taken over the years. Why does one person become a disease ridden crack-whore, when the next person merely dabbles and walks away completely unscathed? What makes person ‘A’ become an intravenous smack addict, when person ‘B’ just finds it something they can enjoy here and there and not become dependent upon?

And the only reason I can think of, as to why I might have never gotten addicted to any drugs I’ve ever used…yet still somehow became a sugar-addict, is because everyone knows about the dangers of drug addiction. I grew up bombarded with the “Just Say No” campaigns of the 80s/90s (not that they stopped this curious little miscreant from wanting to find out for herself what these drug things were all about, lol) and there was no shortage of films or television shows that charted the terrible demise of some wretched junkie. The potential dangers of drugs were embedded in our consciousness from a very early age. So even though I was having fun taking everything from A-Z, I think there still must have been some part of my subconscious keeping an eye on me and stopping me from stepping over the threshold from user to addict.

But sugar? It’s in pretty much every kind of processed food on the planet. And grain based carbohydrates have been touted as “good” and “healthful” for as long as I can remember. Sure, we were warned that if we didn’t clean our teeth properly then the sugar would give us cavities; but no one was going around thinking:

“I really ought to be careful dabbling in these Mars Bars and cans of Coca Cola…I don’t want to get addicted and have to go turn tricks on the streets of crime to pay for my dirty, candy habit.”

There just hasn’t been the intensive campaigning out there in schools, youth groups, churches an from within the police, telling us to “Just Say No… To Sugar”. It’s really only in the past 15 years that we’ve seen the notion of carbs being the problem with triggering metabolic disorders (Gary Taubes has really done wonders for getting this message out there to the general public, but Dr Atkins had been waxing lyrical about the low-carb diets for years, before he very sadly passed away. Taubes just really refocused energy and attention on a low-carb WOE, and continues to publish books on the subject to this day) but not many of us grew up in the knowledge that carrots & sweetcorn, or cornflakes and crusty bread could be more problems than they’re worth.

I just say all this because I think our sugar-addictions crept us on us when we weren’t necessarily clued up about the effect carbs were having us. I’m not trying to pass the buck here…none of us got fat behind our own back; but it definitely helps to make sense of how I never became addicted to the various classes of “controlled substances” consumed over the years, but I definitely became addicted to sugar from an early age. And when it’s injected into everything from dressings, to freshly baked 100% chicken breasts in the supermarket, which have also been “fortified” with HFCS…well, what chance did we really stand? *GAH*!

I never wanted to admit that I was a ‘sugar addict’ (I mean, it sounds pretty fucking lame, right?) but going through those first 3 days of withdrawal taught me what it meant to feel infuriatingly dependent on a substance for pleasure, satiety and sanity. I’ve committed those 72hrs to memory, because I, in no way ever, want to have to go back to that place, admit to a relapse and put myself through the sugar withdrawal process again. That shit sucked.

But when I also think back to the withdrawal process and how amazing I felt afterwards, I was a little surprised to see how easy it was to just get on with my new low-carb WOE. Maybe I’m just lucky because I’m not a particularly addictive personality. Hence why I also never became a recreational drug addict, no matter how many substances I used. Do I have an especially good brain that doesn’t “catch” onto addictions all that easily? Am I just mentally stronger and better able to discipline myself, or is it a genetic predisposition to avoiding addiction?

Well, in full disclosure, I’ve actually been surrounded by addicts at various points in my life. My dad (now passed) was an alcoholic, my older half-brother was a heroin addict for over a decade, my step-brother was a heroin & crack addict, one ex-boyfriend was a paranoid schizophrenic heroin addict, another boyfriend was a gambling addict and a couple of friends ended up with one of them in jail and the other dying in the apartment downstairs after a heroin/cocaine speedball overdose. One would think me more likely to develop addictions myself with all those associations & relationships, but I think if anything those people all acted more as real-life examples of what not to end up like. I’ve had front row seats to the very real fuck-ups and failures of all those individuals. There was simply no way I was going to end up going to let myself end up like them.

But nobody was skulking around with a diagnosis of sugar-addiction, for me to use as an example of what not to do. Even if many of them were as addicted to the sweet stuff as me, it simply wasn’t a thing that anyone had really heard of or talked about, 25 years ago; at least it wasn’t in my social circle and I wasn’t clued into any nutritional concepts surrounding it online for a long time in the future. So yes, I WAS a sugar addict, but I wasn’t aware of it…ergo I wasn’t in a position to do much about it. Sure I was fat, but I’m really glad I never joined WW with all their low-fat/high-carb, sugary “points system” foods that would’ve merely been allowing me to stoke those inner fires with MORE unnecessary carbohydrates.

But today is a different story. I have that information, that knowledge, that power. And it has allowed me to re-evaluate my life choices, my diet, and all the behaviours I’ve needed to change in order to get a handle on it. My mind is focused, my goals are set in stone and I have multiple tools at my disposal to assist me in getting to where I really want to be. Some might think that it’s a lot harder to deal with a sugar addiction, when we live in a world that constantly surrounds us with sweet stuff, sugar fortified foods and no way of simply abstaining from all food, forever. We still need to eat and the temptations are all around us.

But I think it’s the opposite. Once you decide “oh I just don’t eat that stuff anymore” and don’t go down the slippery-slope of “just one cheat day won’t hurt!” then it’s a very simple WOE to follow. No complicated systems of sins/points/rewards, no wrecking one’s metabolism by massively restricting calories, no going hungry and no negotiating with oneself any time you’re presented with the opportunity to binge on something, telling yourself that you can make up for it with better behaviour, tomorrow. Just stick to the plan and work it – until it stops working for you. Then you can look at alterations, tinkering, eliminations, rethinking goal weight in relation to muscle mass etc…but don’t worry about any of that in the short term.

Sugar addiction is a real thing, but it also comes with a very simple solution. It just takes the individual to want to make the decision to “get clean” and stay that way. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy…some days will suck more than others. But it’s up to each of us, and us alone, whether we want to continue behaving like junkies, or get our shit together and work toward a happier, healthier future.

Because I’ve seen what that kind of addicted lifestyle has done to way too many people.

And I refuse point blank to end up like them.

Stay sensibly stimulated, y’all

Blue