Saturday, 7 October 2017

Conflicting Views on Complementing #Weightloss on #Connect and 10.5 pounds to #WeightlossGoal Over #150poundslost

Even as I wrote the title of this post, I had an involuntary internal cringe.  Did I just write an oxymoronic statement?  Conflicted though I may be to complement the weight loss of others, my title intimates that I seek a positive response. But, what exactly am I talking about?  Even I feel bothered by my own thought processes.  You see, and as indicated in my last few posts, my mindset has been transformed.  I have embraced the concept theoretically and in practice of a Growth Mindset (You can test yours here).  One key tenant that made the most difference in my life was that the success of others is in no way detrimental to my own.  What a relief!  For so long I wanted to celebrate in the success of others, but felt that I was clearly not good enough if it were not I that was the success.  No, this is not the issue at all.  I am so pleased to be able to celebrate the weightloss of others; and especially, when I am able to empathise with the NSV (Non-Scale Victory) posts that resonate so dearly with me: the magical moments when you slip into a dress that is a size smaller, when a well worn wedding ring needs to be resized, when the high boots fit and when the seat on the plane isn't too small...
But, oddly, today as I was viewing and then commenting on posts on Connect (Weight Watchers App, community forum), I struggled and gradually drawn into my own thoughts of self-doubt.  Big question- Who am I now that I am nearing my final, revised I might add, weight goal?   Why am I cheering on women and men that I would consider beautiful at any weight?  Am I a hypocrite?  If I was so very much, and still am, a pro-plus-size/pro-any-size, you are fabulous person, in my core...what am I doing? My comments of Awesome❣  Fabulous loss ❣ seemed to me to negate the person that started this journey; this thought gave way to self-reflection on the typical complements I received when I weighed 308 pounds.  You have such a beautiful face.  Even at your weight, you always dress so well and look after yourself.  My face is pleasant enough and I did look after myself, that is true...and even in the toughest moments, I found strength, through prayer family and friends to love the whole of me.   Besides, real beauty is within, even Alexa our Amazon Echo will tell you this when asked if she thinks you are beautiful! Part of understanding, at 308 pounds, that real beauty is within, but morbid obesity can result in certain illnesses, did lead me to take my health into my own arms. (Type 2 Diabetes runs on both the maternal and paternal sides of my family).  However, I also became more active in pro-size acceptance; because my journey was a long one of over ten years to this point and because acceptance should not be related to size.  So, now as my own size has slowly dwindled from a UK 30 to a UK 12, I feel a little lost. On a few occasions, when I have shown someone my picture at 308 pounds, they can't believe it is me. They say, It doesn't even look like you! You look like a whole different person! I know the comments are well meaning, but I am that person.  Maybe that is why I felt alarmed at negating the individual who is making different choices about their weight on Connect?  Because as I write, I recognise that it is also about me and how part of me feels discounted, discontinued. But, wait-I shouldn't feel this way, as no matter what size I am I need to accept myself. That much I know is a core belief and I also do not need to separate myself into different persons:  me at 308, at 290, at 260, at 240 at 200...  Do you think I am making it more complicated than it is?  Or, is this still a complicated issue for all of us who deal with changing weight?  Or, is it that some of us actually do feel that we are a better version of ourselves when we lose weight?  I suppose that is another blog post conversation. I do know too, that it is important to cheer each other on and how rewarding it is to feel connected with each other as we go for goal.  So,  for now, I will personally change the way I respond on Connect.  I will renegotiate for non-negate.   You are beautiful in both pictures, congratulations on your weight loss❣ Yes, you can see the difference, and beautiful in both❣  For we all are beautiful, every step of the way.

Live a Voluptuous Life❣


Sunday, 1 October 2017

The Law of Averages, 2 Pounds Lost This Week, Setting My Final Weight Goal

308 Pounds 
My goal weight 145 Pounds
I have never been one to want to be just average, just an average Josephine, not me.  I have always wanted to be different, not exactly above average, but just not like everyone else.  I have to admit, when I weighed over 300 pounds, I still felt beautiful; sure there were the moments that challenged my own self image and beliefs, the times when being morbidly obese was a barrier and there were bonuses for being just average.  The average one size fits all, the average seat-belt size, the average chair width, the average distance between the table and cushion in the booth seats at a restaurant...the list goes on.  So this week, a crazy busy week (with more to come before a holiday at the end of October), has been all about averages.  As a teacher I am responsible for the progress of my students. I have always pushed them to aim higher than the average of their calculated targets.  I have been teaching now for 22 years and every year there seems to be change, including changes in technology that at times confound me. In fact, I am going to be working on the averages of my current students scores and putting into place clear interventions to support them meeting these, at the very least, and hopefully smashing them.  It is important that I know each of them inside and out to design lessons based on their individual and collective needs.   It got me to I put in all this effort for myself?
On average, it is recommended that we lose one to two pounds a week.    This recommendation is also based on the average weightloss of individuals who lose weight and keep it off for the long term.  I would have to say that for me, when I was in the weightloss phase, I too had an average of one to two pounds per week.  One pound is definitely something to rejoice about!  Admittedly, when I first began losing weight, I was frustrated when my loss slowed down; but then again, when you visualise it, a pound is something to celebrate (new lipstick)!  Within a year at this rate, that is 52 pounds that have a greater chance of never returning from whence they came!  I'd have to agree as I seemed to waver on my way down about every three stones.  I'd get a little stuck, go up a few pounds and down again.  Once I had reached 16 Stone from 22 Stone, I hung out here for a few years before tackling it again.  I'd say on average, I have lost a Stone a year.  I am fine with that.  
So back to this idea of self-intervention.  I had made an original goal of 168 pounds, or 12 Stones.  In all honesty, that was the weight equivalent to my students average target.  It was a comfortable place to aim for and based on my starting point-a nice rounded ten stone loss. I could have hung out there and tried to maintain this weight without creeping back into the 170's. So, I researched the average size, weight and height for women in the UK:  Size 16, 11 Stones (154 lbs.) and 5 ft. 5 inches.  The average for American women: Size 16-18, 165 lbs. (11 stones 11 pounds) and 5 ft. 5 inches tall.  The average model, just for info is: 5 ft. 10 inches and 107 lbs. A lot has changed for us, as women, on average over the last 60 years!  Taking all of this into account, I have readjusted my target with a great focus on my health and how I feel.  I need to approach my final goal with the same level of understanding of myself as I give to my students.  I have also looked at the BMI chart, though one can question its accuracy, and I am now aiming to maintain my weight at 10 Stones 5 pounds or 145 pounds.  My weigh in yesterday put me at 157.5 pounds.  My height will hopefully remain at 5 ft. 7 inches.  I know that we shrink with age, on average a few inches between the ages of 40 to 70, I just need to get into some weight bearing exercises!  As for stating a size, that is a whole other blog post because as you are most assuredly aware-sizes are not averaged, nor consistent across labels. 
I now draw this post to a close.  I have a lot of calculations ahead of me this evening.  I do hope that you know and hold in your heart how above average you are!  Let's face it, nothing about any of us can be easily rounded off to represent a certain middle of the range person. We are all far too unique and far too amazing for that.  What we do have in common is our need to take care of ourselves and be happy and healthy.

Live a Voluptuous Life,

Saturday, 23 September 2017

My Crown is Back in Place after Getting Back on Plan with Weight Watchers Six Pounds Lost and Ready to Reign

My official journey began at 308 pounds.  I wish that I had been more with it, more tech savoy and more organised to have blogged, YouTube'd, Instagram-ed, Tweeted and Snap Chatted along route.  Funnily enough, most of these platforms were yet to be created or in their infancy when I started 12 years ago.  So when I think about it that way, I feel more positive about arriving today at 159.5 pounds, having only dipped into sharing at times and then back out, and finally being in a place to keep up with myself.  I might not be making sense; but, the conditions that I live with, Lupus and Fibromyalgia have a huge impact on my energy, my mood and my brain.  So, I guess, I am right where I should be and some of what I write will have to be retrospectively and that is okay.
Last week I made a pact with myself to start slowly and just blog once a week; when I first began using social media, I wanted to do everything, right away.  I joined every group forum, channel, site and AP I could.  I gave it my all, including buying all of the  necessary equipment to get rolling (cue YouTube:lights, camera, tripod, non-SPF makeup, halo ring thing). Actually, I attacked it all in the same way that I prepare to exercise.  I get the membership, buy all the right clothing, shoes, bags, towels and locks-I go all out, dedicate myself to a daily hour before the birds even sing or just as the dusk creeps in.  I stay with it, learn a few names of the instructors and fellow gym-goers... then I miss a class, another one, then soon I am too embarrassed to show my face; so, I decide to hike and buy the boots, the walking stick, the butt bag for your water...does this resonate? The beauty of living includes all of this wonderful humanness; and I have to believe that the moment of recognising and owning your weakness will be the first step to finding and owning your strength.
With this in mind,  as well as a daily dose of Thyroxine and Hydroxychloroquine, I am happy to go at my pace and set SMART targets with a view to increase my contribution to encouraging others and keeping me motivated!
Writing of SMART targets, in my Gung-ho beginning, when my determination was come hell or high water, I set out to achieve 15,000 + steps a day.  I did become addicted and my friend, OCD started taunting me!  If you don't hit that number, something bad will happen!  Thankfully, I came across a brilliant Ted Talk by Zoe Chance about addiction to, I stopped for awhile, and then I reintroduced myself to an Alta by FitBit. My daily targets are reasonable and inline with FitBit's recommendations where they average your weekly steps and set challenges.  I like this.  I look forward to building on this, sensibly for the long term.  Another target I am working on is being more organised. I have started making lists on Google Keep and in a planner. The sense of achievement when I tick things off, is wonderful.  I never, ever thought I would be able to say that!  My strength is renewing as I embrace and gently replace old habits with new-especially going from organised chaos to just being creative and organised. Now, enough musing, on with this week.
My weigh in day is a Saturday and the weekends are usually easier for me and on my first day back on plan, I made time to get caught up on back copies of Weight Watchers magazines that I had hidden to keep from guilt feelings!  During the week and despite being absolutely busy during every day (and evening) as a teacher (which I love), I felt that tracking what I ate gave me a sense of being in control. I could feel my insides saying, Finally, good food!  I managed to practice two days with Intermittent Fasting -no matter what plan I am on, and even on holiday, I feel so much better when I IF. I had gone virtually two months without fasting and I noticed immediately the result of not doing so as my psoriasis became inflamed.  After this week, combined with WW, it is beginning to calm down.  I know it's not for everyone, but as I bio-hacked my way to finding what works for me-IF, is a winner.
During the week, I use prepackaged meals as a base.  It may sound nuts, but my husband doesn't eat ANY vegetables or fruit-or nuts.  We cook together, but don't eat the same thing-especially as I generally eat a vegetable based meal. I love to cook and experiment; but, when cooking for one, it is more cost effective and less time consuming to pop in a low fat counted meal and bulk it up with vegetables and salads.  On Wednesday, I left for work just after 6:00 am and was out all day until 9:00 pm.  I bought unicorn carrots, baby cucumbers, celery sticks and a tub of low fat humus from Lidl.  I grazed on that all day for 15 smart points; plus at work, I made some Cinnamon Oatmeal for mid-morning.  It kept me going all day, with enough SP left over for a Ben & Jerry's 'sanwich'-my new love for well worth 10 SP. What joy to feel and see my bloated belly flatten a little!
 I have learned over the years as I make a downward trajectory on the scale, that if I don't let a long time pass before getting on track again after a gain, I can lose the weight faster.  It is not so much refraining from enjoying myself when away, it is more about refraining from waiting too long or feeling too upset with myself for gaining that makes all the difference.  I tell myself that no matter what, I am the Queen of my life and I choose how to respond; and I chose be kind to me and not off with my head!
Next week I am delivering assemblies to all our students on Well being.  I feel it is important to practice whatever it is that you preach and not only do you speak about your passions, but you model them in your life as well.  Of course, as I stand in front of them modelling, I had to rethink my wardrobe, naturally!  Actually, it is also a happy byproduct of implementing ways to be more organised- I looked at my clothes to plan ahead for next week and realised that at this same time last year, I was two sizes bigger, so last night I went shopping!  I am all set with outfits ranging in size from 14 to 10-now that is a blog post in the making-what is up with sizes?!  I have set up a challenge to snap each day's outfit for my sisters-I'll write about how that went next weekend-with images.  Monday is a fabulous jade green dress from Zara...
So I start this new week a little more organised, with new clothes and 6 pounds lighter.   It feels great. I know I have 8.5 pounds until I am back at my pre-summer holiday weight. I'll get there and then on to the final goal.  I just think that maybe I need to allow myself to keep my crown on at all times-after all there is so much more to everyone than just a number on the scale.

Live a Voluptuous Life!


Saturday, 16 September 2017

Weightloss Re-Boot, Really? The Dread of Stepping on the Scale-Again.

I have been secretly dreading this moment since August 1st.  How can I admit to feeling anxious when my own core belief is to live life enjoying it robustly with Voluptuous ferocity?  But, I am about to get on the scale for the first time in well over six weeks.  My last post ended with my excitement about an upcoming Women's Wellness event in Monterey where I gave a talk, How to Live a Voluptuous Life No Matter Where You Are On Your Weightloss Journey; it was a magical, awe inspiring, humbling a joyous day of sisterhood.  Then, I went on vacation to Vietnam.  With a wild abandon I soaked up the local lifestyle and cuisine.  I felt my jeans tighten... I responded with a happy sigh and another Vietnamese bowl of piping hot and delicious Pho.  I wasn't worried, I was  at peace, knowing that once I return to the North West of England, I will re-boot and reclaim my control.  
It didn't happen.  Instead, I became consumed with new responsibilities at work, opportunities that I had willingly and ecstatically embraced.  As my desire rose to make more of an impact in my life at work, so too, did my old friend.  My OCD.  Obsessively and Compulsively, I threw all of my efforts and time the past several weeks focusing on fear of failure.  In doing so, my eating as gone out the window-so much so, that my stomach has finally revolted-in both senses of the word: rebellious and with nausea.  It (my stomach) has been growling angrily for over a week.  It is actually punctuating every key stroke with a cacophony of gurgles, grunts, tuts.  This past week at least, has included some vegetable matter; and, last night, I had a birthday meal of a healthy Lebanese mezza.  I think it knows something is about to finally happen.  It is.  In the words of Cher from Moonstruck, I am ready to Snap Out Of It!
My OCD and I had a talk.  I reminded it that I am okay if I am not perfect.  I don't need to ruminate hours into the night, keeping me from the precious sleep that I need to function at my best.  I used my pal, Mindful Beditation.  As for my fixed minded fear of failure, I reminded it about Dr. Carol Dweck, and that failure is an opportunity to learn and grow. Rarely is there success without failure and I am not defined by my failure.  Whatever the weight.  I am still okay.  Whatever our weight.  We are all still okay.
Just a reminder from my last post:
I suppose it is time to wrap up this post-just to finish by saying that my current weight is 155 pounds-or, 11 Stone 1 pound.  
Bear in mind, I didn't beat myself up after I didn't lose the extra seven pounds; but, I did weigh 151 pounds before I left for the summer. 
I will be right back with my weight.  Big breath. 
165.5 pounds.  11 Stone 11.5
Okay, I am fine.  I own it.  
I have a plan.  I have Weight Watchers.
Until next week.
I am Voluptuous.
Volup Vavoom

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Where Have I Been All My Life? Losing 151 Pounds and A #WomensWellness Seminar

Prague Roof Top Bar May 2017
I have been on a self imposed hiatus since my last post as I focused on both my career and health. For some time now, I have been trialing a new medicine, not new to those with Lupus, but new to me of hydroxychloroquine.  With gratitude, I am able to say that it has had a positive impact on reducing my symptoms; and, as a result, I have more energy.*    My last post was also when I had hit a plateau in my weightloss journey and I just had decided to challenge myself career wise and apply for a secondment as a senior leader in my school.  So, with all these balls in my hyper-extending hands, I needed to push the pause button!  I do firmly believe that this is okay. Making ourselves a priority at times when we feel overwhelmed is a gift that we alone are able to offer and accept. Many with chronic illness' often find it difficult to give ourselves this permission unconditionally and without guilt; and I vowed to myself, never again will I apologize in any manner for taking care of me.  I know that in doing so, I am more able to give of myself to others. Finally, at 51, I am asking myself, 'Where have I been all my life?'  Meaning, 'What took you so long to understand this most important formula for a rich, fulfilling life?'  Well, actually, I think deep down I got it in half truths, but now-watch out world.
As part of my focus over the last half year, I have been working on reaching my goal weight.  Again, as a voluptuous woman of 22 stone (308 pounds), I rarely let my weight affect my self-esteem.  I would speaking without authenticity if I said my weight NEVER affected me; but, in terms of my sense of feeling beautiful, it rarely did.  In fact, it was due to limits culturally  and practically (seat-belt extensions!) that I struggled.  Admittedly, I have always been into fashion ever since my babysitting jobs at 11 gave me cash to buy my own clothes-as well as a make-up, shoes and accessories mag pie!  And (I say this with possible retaliation), I never wanted to be labelled by my sense of style as a 'Secondary School Teacher'!   My weightloss has been for my health-mostly.  Diabetes runs in my family and I could not discount the research (one example) into the positive effects of losing just 5% of your body weight.  In fact, initially, my goal weight was 12 Stone or 168 pounds at the top end of a 'normal weight' range.  I am aiming for 10 Stone 8 pounds (148 pounds)-I like even numbers!  
 April, 2010, Hawaii. April, 2017, Vietnam
As always, I continue to Bio-hack for my weightloss.  I have found that  intermittent fasting is a key to my personal success, and I make sure I do this at least three days a week in combination with an eating plan.  After Slimming World, and in March, I moved over to Weight Watchers-at first it was because I was at a stand still with weight-but, now-I have to say, the Weight Watcher's App is AWESOME!  I can recommend it 100% if you are looking for a new plan to restart your own journey.  Since I began my weightloss journey with Weight Watchers, I have been on again/off again; but, they have clearly taken into account the benefits of technology and connection via social media.  I love it!  Definitely much more to blog about on how this App is supporting members of my family to achieve their own health goals.  
Since my last post, my husband and I have traveled a great deal with every school break already planned up until the summer of 2018.  TravellingVolup is my user name on TripAdvisor and I regularly review the places we have visited-another App, I have grown to appreciate.  Especially the ability to plan trips and save your things to do and restaurant options-it made our recent Prague trip that much better.  
This July my sister, Soraya Knight Doherty at Raqisa and I will be hosting our first annual Women's Wellness Event at the Asilomar in Monterey, California.  Soraya has developed a highly effective, results driven and fun Belly Barre Workout .  Her Raqisa Lifestyle brand is the sponsor of our event and I promise you will feel like a Phoenician Queen during the day and long after! 
I will facilitate a workshop in development and the working title is:
How to Live a Voluptuous Life No Matter Where You Are On Your Weightloss Journey.   I am very excited about this upcoming event!  I am the eldest of five siblings, one handsome brother and three stunning sisters.  My sister Sidonia is a  Perfectly Posh Consultant (her link) and she will be on hand with a table of samples and a raffle basket full of products.  Our overall hope is to honor our own Phoenician Queen, our mom.  
I suppose it is time to wrap up this post-just to finish by saying that my current weight is 155 pounds-or, 11 Stone 1 pound.  I'd like to have the final half stone-7 pounds off before my trip to California on the 21st of July-but, I won't beat myself up if I don't reach that goal. I have a lot of weekend events between now and then-I just know that I am here know in my life and it feels good.

Volup Vavoom.



* A disclaimer and reminder that I am not a doctor or health provider of any kind. I am not providing medical advice and the views are my own.   Please consult the appropriate professional when making your own health decisions.