We never know where life is going to take us or what challenges it brings. In January 2010 I was happy, so happy I wanted to stay that way for as long as I could. I realised that if Ali and I wanted a long and healthy life together, we had to change. I was clinically obese, had a bad back and my knees were feeling the strain. I had various health problems and I was ageing faster than my years. I looked ahead to a life I did not want. It was time to change. By the end of the year I had lost 4 stone - 56lbs. My confidence rocketed - I had taken control and it had worked. I was exercising, enjoying buying clothes, speaking up for myself.

I began to believe in myself again, I began to dream. For years I had watched marathons with admiration and a lump in my throat. In April 2013, I ran my first marathon.

This blog is about living life as a slim person, staying slim and fulfilling my dreams. Come and join me, support me, advise me!

Take care, Sue

Thursday, 21 April 2011

How to stay slim after weight loss - keeping motivated

I hit my target weight loss autumn, it was a great moment, standing on those scales and seeing that finally, I'd made it after almost a year of hard work and self discipline. Those weekly weigh ins, friendly words from the mentors and the loosening waistline had really kept me motivated, kept me well and truly on track, gave me something to aim for.

Now I'd got there, all I had to do was stay slim! Why oh why did I think that this would be the easy part?  I was fine for a few months but gradually my weight started creeping up - not helped by a minor op, Christmas and lots and lots of snow. I knew all I had to do was get back on that diet for a week or two, but I couldn't face it, I wanted to try and manage my weight normally, I'd had enough dieting, but there was nothing round to help me. I began to get de moralised and I did think about just giving in and getting fat again (Thanks Carol for giving me a talking to!).

It was quite a struggle and now it was all up to me. I was training for my big run so needed to eat healthily, work was really busy and Mum would now only eat if I ate something with her (miming didn't cut it, it's only her memory that's fused!).  The scales - my big friend during the diet didn't work any more.  My clothes fitted fine which reassured me that things hadn't got out of hand, I was fit as a fiddle and was looking good for the run, but I needed more of a push, I needed something to keep me motivated.

I got some real inspiration from other weight loss success stories who set themselves a goal for after reaching their target.  For some it was looking good on the beach, or a big occassion; one was to blog every day about food (see Foodie Fisher!) but the one that caught my eye was running. Two of my weight loss sheros had set themselves a running goal for a few months after the end of their diets. I needed my goal.

I'd always had a secret dream to run a marathon but never ever thought I would. As I lost weight that dream began to become possible, I decided to take some tentative steps. I signed up for a half marathon. I signed up for Race for Life.  I'm currently working out when - yes when - I should dare to go for that marathon dream, then I'll work back from that. Suddenly, I'm looking ahead, I have my goal and I'm going to go for it. It's a bit bonkers, but it's definitely not boring!  To get there my weight will have to go up and down, I will have to eat well and eat healthy, I'll have to be disciplined and not get too heavy or my knees won't stand the strain! But I have the scales and my trousers to help me keep on track and my dream to keep me going.

We all need a dream or a wish or a hope to keep us going whatever challenge we set for ourselves. For some people it's to make money or get promoted or win the lottery. My first challenge was to lose weight, as I did that I rediscovered my dream to run 26.2 miles with loads of other people. I will run that marathon and I'm already thinking about what happens after that - good to plan ahead.  Watch this space!!!

I'd be really interested to hear how you keep motivated to lose weight or keep the weight off? What keeps you going? 

Happy dreaming!


Sunday, 17 April 2011

Piling on the pounds: the perils of the caring crunch

When I look back I can see that things began to go awry with my health a few years ago. I put some serious weight on when I started caring for my elderly Mum and Dad. Gradually, caring took up more and more of the time I'd had for me and I spent less time with friends and keeping myself fit and healthy. I got seriously trapped in the caring crunch and my health suffered.

So much of caring is about food that it can become an obsession. Mum wasn't eating properly as Alzheimer's took hold, Dad was in a care home, battling Parkinson's. I'd  come from 200 miles away every month with a shopping bag full of the finest foods Marks and Spencer could provide. I wanted to brighten their days, whet their appetities, make them happy.  A double choc muffin was Dad's idea of heaven and not even Parkinson's took that from him. For the three of us, sharing a cup of tea and a cake was being a family again, and we had some happy times.  I could head  back north a couple of days later knowing that they had an apple pie or a scone to look forward to. An obvious way to show love, and a language we all understand.

Over those years, my weight ballooned and I got a serious unhealthy eating habit with no exercise.  You give your all when you're caring for others and this can make it hard to find the time and energy to care for ourselves.  I don't like the phrase 'comfort eating', but that's what I did.  I cared for Mum and Dad with food and I cared for me with food, it was an easy and quick fix, it filled the void.  I'm not sure it did give me comfort, but it did make me fat and gave me gallstones.

But life moves on, Mum and Dad moved closer to us, and eventually Dad died. Caring now took up less of my time than it did and Ali and I had a future to think of. I will never criticise myself for getting by and coping using food. Sometimes that's all you can do. But it takes its toll. When Dad died I was 4 stones overweight and morbidly obese. I was not far off being less fit and less active than my parents, I needed to start caring properly and stop killing us all with my chocolate covered kindness.

I'm still caring for my Mum and as her memory worsens, I can feel the crunch building up. I still use food as a shorthand for love more than I should, but I make sure Mum gets lots of fruit now.  But I am not using food as my comfort and reward. I am caring for me by keeping a little bit of precious time for myself to spend with Ali, make time for a walk, to go for a run, to train for that marathon one day. I won't deny myself the simple joys of a good fruit loaf, but I will savour it and taste it. Sounds like progress eh? Fingers crossed!

Here's a photo of Mum and Dad on their last Valentine's Day together - 52 years together. Don't be fooled by Dad looking asleep, that's the Parkinson's or the Lewy body dementia - he knows exactly what's going on!

Take care