Life Update

Hi guys,

It’s been quite a while since I last posted on the site. I actually just checked to see what my last post was to see what I could update you on and realised the last post was also a random life update 🙂

So what’s been happening for the last two and a bit years? Well, I got a new job which has been eye opening, exhausting, frustrating and yet fulfilling at the same time. It’s part of a training contract so I’ve been spending a lot of time studying trying to qualify as a Chartered Accountant (we’re getting there slowly but surely). That has meant that my little project from my last post didn’t really take off as I was focusing on career goals.

On top of that, just before my last post, I joined the gym. I wasn’t able to swim with my wrist and it was causing me crazy amounts of pain. I ended up training with a PT around Feb 2018 and she’s become such a big part of my life. I still train with her today (though virtually at the moment as COVID-19 has the world all crazy) and I’ve found a love of leg day and doing weights.

Talking about my wrist, it’s been so much better. I got discharged from physiotherapy pretty quickly as there wasn’t much they could do and the waiting list for steroid injections was really long. Combining exercises from my PT and also getting acupuncture has really helped with the inflammation and now my wrist only twinges from time to time which is a massive plus.

On other health issues, I’ve taken massive strides. I can’t remember where I updated you last on blood pressure meds but they’ve reduced from what was at my worst, 4 different tablets to this week cutting down to a half dose – one little tablet that I hope will reduce down to zero in the next few months. In terms of my diabetes, I’ve technically been in “remission” for six months now which is crazy. Back at my check up in January my last three quarterly HBA1Cs had come back as totally normal and my medication had been slowly reducing but as of January, I haven’t been taking any medication for diabetes which is amazing. I was supposed to be having another check up a couple of months ago but obviously all routine checkups have been cancelled but I got a call last week asking me to get some urgent bloods done so hopefully I’ll be having another telephone appointment soon to discuss my progress.

So, weight wise what’s happened there? This has been quite a rollercoaster. I hit my lowest weight in 2017 which was 82.7kg – this was pre-gym and exercise I think and since then up to May 2019 I was fluctuating at around 84-86kg depending on the time of month. Since the Summer of 2019, I have been hardcore struggling. Work has been insane – I was given additional responsibilities on top of the increased workload I had from someone leaving, we had a couple of deaths in the family and then in January 2020, I had my implant put back in – which in hindsight now, was probably a mistake as this all contributed to my weight gain as by March 2020, I was back at 95.5kg which I think was around my start weight for the low carb journey a few years ago (though not at my highest which was 16.5 stone – about 104.7kg).

Luckily with lockdown and having to work from home, it’s given me perspective to really focus on my eating. Exercising was never really an issue with the gym – I loved going and working out with my PT and I’d taken to spin classes (which I never thought would appeal!) but my curse has been my comfort eating, especially in times of stress. Since lockdown started for me just after Mother’s Day in the UK, I have been at home constantly mainly due to the higher risk my health conditions pose against COVID and I felt safer exercising from home, especially as we live in an area of several blocks of flats where social distancing by my neighbours has been dubious most of the time. However, by spending the time focusing on my food and trying to find alternative ways to alleviate stress and anxiety, I’ve managed to lose just shy of 5kg in the last 3 months. I weighed in the other day at 90.8kg (14st 4lb) which I am super happy with.

I do have a short term goal. Me and OH are trying to get married again – which in itself has brought us a few headaches but fingers crossed, lockdown will be lifted enough for us to be able to elope in August. I have my dress which I to just skinny down enough to get the last inch of zip up and so I can sit whilst breathing >.< but I think if I can keep it up, it shouldn’t be a problem.

And lastly, just a paragraph to sum up the craziness that has been the first 6 months of 2020. It has been absolutely insane. As I write this, the Black Lives Matter movement is in full swing which I fully support. Racism not only in the US but around the world is something which is ingrained in the system that governs our lives. It upsets me to read posts from my hometown which suggest that “it’s amazing how one death of a criminal has led to absolute uproar and protests in America and what about Lee Rigby?” They are two very different scenarios – Lee Rigby’s killers were arrested as soon as they were found from what I remember and we had protests in support of how horrific the murder was – despite the increase in attacks against Muslims despite the fact that the people who killed him were terrorists. George Floyd was murdered by people in power – the police – who weren’t arrested or charged for this until public pressure was apparent. And yes, he had a criminal past but does that justify being knelt on by the neck for almost ten minutes and dying? How about the run up of black murders and other racial incidents in the weeks leading up to this? How about Breonna Taylor, an EMT on the COVID frontline who was murdered in her home as she slept by plainclothes police officers who raided the wrong house and the suspects were actually in police custody? These officers are still working in the force and have not been penalised or apprehended as far as I can tell. Or what about Ahmaud Arbery who was gunned down whilst on a run in his neighbourhood? They have only just ruled that there is actually enough evidence to convict. Unfortunately, the UK although it seems better, there is still a lot of racism underfoot. Only last week did Boris Johnson condemn the increase in racial abuse towards East Asians since COVID-19 started – it’s been six months. Let’s not mention all the other racist things he’s said in the past right now but as Prime Minister, as with Trump, the electorate look up to them to lead the country and to set the tone. To those who still don’t understand why it’s such a big deal, it’s about the equality of justice, to eradicate the prejudice that is evident in positions of power. Yes, it doesn’t apply to every police officer, or every politician, but by not speaking up, we’re essentially saying that this behaviour is ok and that some races in our community are less valued than others.

So after this massive essay, if you’ve reached the end, well done! Please stay safe and please continue to read, expand and educate yourselves in the world around us. After all, we’re all part of the human race.

Until next time.. x

Update – It’s Been a While!

Hi guys,

I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I promised I wouldn’t ditch you guys and then I did. Life got a bit crazy as usual.

So what’s new? So. Big News. I decided to shake the anonymity of my blog and instagram and venture into YouTube. I uploaded my first video detailing my journey so far tonight and just pressing publish took me around ten minutes! Hopefully I will be able to post  on my blog concurrently and it’ll keep me on track. Watch my video here.

As you may or may not know if you’re following my instagram, December and January have been a bit of a write off for me. I had my epiphany at the end of January and kicked my own ass to get back on the low carb train. It’s been hard. I’ve found it difficult to not snack and indulge in the odd biscuit or chocolate that are forever loitering in the office at the minute! It’s not helping my weight or my skin. Eek.

So the week (31st Jan) started off shaky but it’s day 4 now and I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve had the weekend off (rare and such bliss!) and it’s helped to keep busy and not having bad snacks at home has curbed the sweet tooth. I’m feeling a lot brighter eyed and busy tailed. Plus, I’m filming a What I Ate this week plus a weigh in at the end so keep an eye out. AND 9 months after we moved, I’ve finally unpacked at the flat >.<

Next thing on my list is to get back to the gym. Since October, I’ve injured my wrist. I started seeing a physiotherapist at the start of January but the pain is still so great that we can’t actually do any exercises yet. I have a type of RSI called de Quervain’s syndrome which I’ve found is a million times worse than carpal tunnel. It means swimming is off the menu (which SUCKS) and I’m losing the will to live trying to get myself to run. I have booked to see an acupuncturist on recommendation from the physio. It isn’t for a couple of weeks yet but hopefully that will sort the pain. Last week it was so relentless, I barely slept all week and you can imagine how cranky I was!

That’s all my news for now. I’ll be posting a weight update soon and hopefully it won’t take too long to edit the food diary down.

Until next time.. x

8 Week Low Carb Diet Update

Hi guys,

Hope you’re all well. Sorry that I have been mostly AWOL. Work has been relentless the past couple of months and has no signs of letting up BUT I have been on plan every single day. This is going to be quite a lengthy post so grab a brew and a snack!

So it’s been 8 weeks exactly since I decided (on a whim) to go on a low carb diet. On the whole, I’m feeling fantastic! My insomnia has become less frequent and I’m getting a good 7-8 solid hours of sleep a night. Unfortunately my ability to wake up in the morning has yet to catch up – I would love to be a morning person! Maybe there’s time for me yet…

I had a dietician appointment at the beginning of the month. I left the appointment feeling very conflicted. On one note, the dietician was happy that after three appointments and 9 months, I had finally started to shift some weight. However, when she asked me what I had changed and I mentioned that I had gone low carb, she seemed particularly concerned, especially when I said I was aiming for around 80-90g a day. Even more so when she asked what my sources of carbs were and I replied mainly fruits and vegetables. According to her, they don’t count as having carbohydrates and I should have 30g per meal of starchier items such as bread, pasta, rice, etc as well as 10g carbs worth of fruit and 10g carbs worth of dairy. PER DAY.

I did mention that my bloods were really good and my blood pressure had gotten so much better that I could cut back on a tablet but she gave me a good telling off. I admit I felt really confused. I had done my research beforehand from various sources including the diabetes.co.uk website and the advice she was giving me conflicted all of this. On consulting the diabetes.co.uk forum, it turns out that a number of people have experienced the same thing. On talking to my family, I have decided to see how it goes as I am now and if I begin experiencing any bad side effects, I can always introduce more carbs into my diet. I am including one or two sources of starchier carbs in my diet a week – for example, a small portion of potatoes or a slice or two (depending on how I’ve eaten!) of the Weightwatchers malted bread as I LOVE avocado toast!

Despite the ups and downs of the dietician appointment, she did manage to get the nurse to fit me in for a HBA1C test and my result was really good! This time last year, I was at 98. I have managed to get it down to 43 – even the nurse congratulated me as she gave my result to me.

So, in 8 weeks, my total weight loss stands at 9.5kg or 1.5 stone. The last month I’ve lost 9lbs so around 2-2.5lbs a week which is at a nice safe rate according to the NHS. I had started a couple of DietBets last month to boost my motivation and as my final weigh ins are this week, I think I’ll be happy with a bit of extra pocket money too! I’ve also been regularly swimming three times a week and walking to work and back at least once a week. My feet no longer hurt walking 2-3 miles and being on my feet at work so it’s a massive bonus!

However, one thing I have not enjoyed one bit (and if it’s too TMI, don’t scroll down any more!) is that my periods have come back with a vengeance. I have had the implant in since 2009 (replaced every 3 years) and haven’t really had one since then. I’ve had spotting every now and then but that’s about it. The beginning of September started with one of the heaviest and crampiest periods I have ever had and turns out my cycle has decided to become regular straight away. Damn. I’m not sure if my implant has run out early (as it has around 6 months before my scheduled removal date the last two times) or if the weight loss has kick started my cycles. Either way, it’s the one thing that’s very much not welcome! My doctor said I have to see if they become really regular before they will consider changing the implant early as this time round it’s only two years in so I guess I’ll have to put up with it until then!

Well, that’s all I have to update you guys on for now – until next time.. x

Low Carb – One Month Update

Hi guys,

Hope you are all well! I’m sorry for going AWOL once again. Work has been majorly short staffed so I have been working without a day off since mid-August. It has been hard but I was so determined to stick to my diet change that I decided to prioritise my food prep/planning/shopping over time to blog (I’m sorry!).

Today, you find me off work due to a massive stinking head cold. I feel absolutely horrible with a fever, sore throat and endless runny nose. It started on Monday and I’ve already gone through a box of Kleenex. The dizziness has at least worn off, so it’s something.

So, as I’ve been so used to working non stop and my days being chockablock, I am totally restless so this is clearly the ideal time to give you guys an update. It’s officially been just over a month since I’ve been low carbing – yay! I’ve managed to stick to it which for me is amazing. By updating my instagram (profile: yzzy.bella) every day, it has really helped me keep on track.

I have been updating my weight on Instagram every two weeks but I did a cheeky weigh in this morning as I knew I wanted to update on here. So officially one month and four days (five official weeks) I have lost 1st 0.5lb (or 6.6kg).

My weigh ins were as follows from 16th August 2017:
Start Weight: 96.4kg or 15st 2lb
Week 2: 92.7kg or 14st 8lb (-3.7kg/-8lb)
Week 4: 91kg or 14st 4.5lb (-1.7kg/-3.5lb)
Week 5: 89.8kg or 14st 2lb (-1.2kg/-2.5lb)

I’m so happy! Also I’m so freaking close to my lowest ever weight in the past 6 years. I have been using MyFitnessPal on and off since 2011 when I weighed 102.1kg (16st 1.5lb), which wasn’t my highest of 104.75kg (16st 7lb) during my second year of university which was just before my first weigh in on MFP. My lowest ever weight since using MFP was 89.4kg (14st 1lb) on 27th September 2014. It’s been almost three years so I think I would like to match that by the end of the month and be the lightest I’ve been in 6 years. How crazy would that be?

In other news, I have been exercising regularly since the start of August. I’ve been doing hourly swims with my youngest sister three times a week, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. Wanting to do yoga at home is next on my list and then perhaps restarting at the gym. We will see! I have big plans haha.

One thing I have found particularly hard (which I mentioned in my last post) is consuming fats. Everything I’ve read, what the NHS have promoted, are about low fat diets. I’m so used to looking for low fat foods. Yet, by consuming more fat, I’m less hungry, my moods are more even and I’m actually managing to stay within my calorie limit. It’s crazy! Obviously, this is working for me and I have struggled on higher carb diets in the past few years but everyone is different, don’t forget.

My macros at the moment: I have tweaked them slightly. I have averaged 68g of carbs daily for the past month so I have lowered my carb and protein targets slightly and raised my fats. Daily target: protein – 110g (28%), fat – 90g (52%), carbs – 80g (20%).

Health update wise, my blood sugars have been really good. The past month I have averaged 5.2mmol/L. My blood pressure has been a bit low so that my doctor has actually stopped one of my tablets. I was a bit worried when she stopped the indapamide as it’s a water tablet and I thought it might possibly have an effect on my weight loss so far but I’ve still managed to lose so I’m OK. I’ve been getting a few more normal results but still on the lower end so I think I’ll review with the doctor when I see her in a couple of weeks.

Overall, if it wasn’t for this horrible cold, I’ve been feeling really good about life and myself. I can’t wait to get over this cold and see where this journey takes me now that I’ve found what is working really well for me.

Until next time.. x

Diet Change

Hi guys,

I have to apologise for me leaving you guys again. After my second job finished, I’ve been trying to put as many hours as I can at my first job so I have a bit of money coming in! Next week I’m working 8 days in a row >.<

But anyhow, I wanted to update you on how I’m doing. The past month has been quite stressful with worrying about money and family. I’d fallen off the wagon a bit and generally feeling quite crappy and sorry for myself. The thing is, I wasn’t bothered enough to do anything about it. Then, I just happened to want to go to Costco as I hadn’t been in over a year/two years and I saw a diabetes cookbook. Don’t ask me what drew me to it, especially as it focussed on the story of the author’s type 1 diabetic child (I’m type 2), but it really resonated with me.

I decided I was going to go low carb. I’m on day 3 so far and I’m feeling generally OK. Yesterday was the “new diet blues” where you’re constantly ravenous despite eating (I blame my body craving sugar) but I’m already seeing results which is nice. My blood pressure is down a bit, my blood sugars have fallen slightly and I’ve lost a kilo (though I did put 3 on in a month and I know that weight fluctuates daily but it’s just nice to see the scales go down!).

One thing that has confused me though, is what macros to actually use. I know I wanted to go low carb, but not enough to go into ketosis (I struggled really badly on the Cambridge Weight Plan which focussed on staying in this) so I knew I wanted to start on about 90g carbs. The hardest part after was trying to figure how much protein and fat to eat. A lot of advice leads to having higher fat consumption, which I have really struggled to get my head around. I’ve used a couple of macro calculators and some were telling me to eat 100g of fat! Personally, I would prefer to focus more on protein but there are warnings not to go too high or you won’t lose weight. What’s a girl to do?

So I’m going to experiment. I’m using MyFitnessPal to log my foods and macros (username is YzzyBella if you want to be friends). My current macros are: protein 30% (115g), fat 47% (82g) and carbs 23% (90g) with my calorie goal at 1558. It might be all wrong, any dietician looking at it might think I’m crazy but I’m going to see how I go for the next week and adjust if necessary. Obviously if my blood sugars, weight and blood pressure are rising, then it’s not working for my body and I’m going to have to look again at my macro distribution. Luckily I’ve got the equipment to monitor it daily so also if it falls too rapidly, I know to visit my doctor and look at my medication too. I have to admit that I haven’t done an insane amount of research on macros and this diet. I previously have dabbled low carb before about 4 years ago and I think it worked well for me but then I went to start Slimming World and forgot all about it. If you have any advice, please leave me a comment as knowledge is key, right?

Until next time.. x

I’m back! Update

Hi everyone,

It’s been a long time. A really long time. I apologise! My life has been quite the rollercoaster with work going a bit insane, moving & just being crazy disorganised.

So what’s new? Well, I’m very nearly discharged from the hospital for my diabetes. With work, I was just grabbing food whenever I could, binge eating as I had no idea when I would have time to eat next and drinking an awful lot of sugary drinks to give me energy, which was then followed by massive sugar crashes. I know I was burning myself out but when you’re working with family, sometimes you don’t know how to say no. So the result of this was at my yearly check up in June 2016, the nurse was really worried about my HBA1C (blood sugar level over the past few months) as it had increased rather than decreased. I was given gliclazide, a blood sugar monitor for the first time and a referral to the diabetes clinic. My blood sugars were ranging from 4.2 to 15 and I was all over the place. Though my blood sugars came down, I was a bit of a mess to be honest!

When I visited the clinic in January 2017, the nurse I was with suggested that maybe I try the newest diabetes drug (SGLT2 inhibitors) Farxiga, which prevents the kidneys from reabsorbing the sugar and instead is passed through urine. I recently posted on my instagram that this medication has suited me so much better. Instead of my blood sugars jumping all over the place, I’m now usually around 5-7mmol/L and my energy levels are so much better.

To give you an indicator of how bad it is, the target for HBA1C is 48. In September last year, my result was 98, which is scarily high and more than double the target figure. The gliclazide lowered me to 78 and in May, I hit 60. I have also lost around 4kg (all my doctors now weigh in kilograms opposed to stones and pounds so I’m trying to make the conversion!) which is around 9lbs. My total weight loss from my original start weight is currently at 1st 5lb which is about 8.5kg. It’s been really slow progress but this scare has given me a huge kick up the backside.

I saw my diabetes nurse at the GP the other week and as my blood pressure is now at around 102/77 (before it could hit 147/112 – 120/80 is ideal I think) so she said we’ll monitor my blood pressure as I lose more weight as my medication will need to be adjusted. I literally can’t wait as at the minute I’m taking around 7 tablets for my diabetes and blood pressure, 1 for my hayfever and 2 supplements for hair and energy (I have had quite a lot of hair loss recently due to stress) so less tablets would be more than welcomed.

Current stats:

CW: 93.4kg or 14st 9lb
BMI: 35
Body Fat: 43.4%

Alongside that, in a couple of weeks I will be down a job. I’m now preparing myself for the drop in income by tightening my belt and so I’m getting full swing into meal prepping and researching my shopping list first – so these will be back! I will be looking at weight loss on a budget and keeping tabs back on here to keep me accountable.

So, until next time.. x

Meal Plan : 22nd – 27th August 2016

Hi guys,

Just a quick meal plan for next week. It’s a bit loose-y goose-y as I’ll be visiting a friend Thursday/Friday and on the weekend I just eat at work as I work 12+ hour shifts. On another random note, I have decided not to follow a certain diet plan and try and eat healthy without the counting. Not sure how it’s going to turn out, but we’ll see!

Breakfasts:

  • Cereal, semi skimmed milk & bacon sandwich
  • Spinach and mushroom omelette
  • Porridge with blueberries, chia seeds & agave syrup

Lunch/Dinners:

  • Chinese pork belly stew with mooli, carrots and yam with brown rice
  • Baked salmon and roasted vegetables

Snacks:

  • Fruit: donut peaches, nectarines, clementines & strawberries
  • Crudities and hummus
  • Ham & cucumber roll ups

Those who have been following my blogs for a while know that when I have a strict meal plan, my mind loves to rebel and I never feel like eating what’s on the menu! So I like to have a few meals planned and prepped so I can eat it if I fancy – less waste that way. If I have time on the Monday when I’m meal prepping, I’ll see if I can photograph the process of the pork belly stew. It’s so delicious and reminds me of my Grandma 🙂

Until next time.. x

Goals for August 2016

Hi guys,

Yep, I know there’s just about 3 weeks of August left! I’m a bit slow on the blogging side as I had a heavy work week but that’s no excuse, right?

So! August goals. I have a few meals out & a visit to Newcastle to see one of my school friends I haven’t seen in around a decade as well as our usual family meal out on the bank holiday Monday at the end of the month. I’m not expecting miracles but I’m hoping to lose at least 4lbs. I’ve been sitting pretty at 14st 12lb since the beginning of August which I’m happy with as I’ve eaten so bad recently but we need to get a shimmy on now!

Goals

  • Lose 4lbs by 31st August
  • No juice, no fizzy drinks – just 2-3L of pure H20
  • Try walking home at least once a week (will be a struggle with hayfever and heavy work bags but we’ll try!)
  • Draw up a monthly budget for September and update bank totals
  • Start planning my next adventure away

I’ll give you a goal update at the end of the month. Hopefully I’ll hit them all 🙂

Until next time.. x

Back to the Blogging World

Hi everyone,

It’s been quite a while since I last posted – hope you’re all well and well on the way in your weight loss journey.

Quite a few things have been happening in my life at the moment. As my last post mentioned, me and OH broke up and I have since helped a family friend start up a company so it’s been quite hectic on the life front. I’m also back in therapy as OH is leaving the country early December and there’s still stuff that needs to be resolved on that front.

So, the reason I’ve made an appearance is that I decided that I don’t want to end 2015 at the same weight I began so I am kicking myself back into gear. As you may know when I last posted I was on WeightWatchers and kind of getting there when I felt like it. Due to my schedule over the next few months, I decided to give the Cambridge Weight Plan a try after watching Elaine Jones on YouTube.

I know the plan can seem quite controversial and I will explain the plan in a little more depth once I’ve finished my first week. The reason I chose it was because I’ve had many days where I’m working 9-midnight and not had time to prep meaning I’m just eating whatever is around me (in other words – junk!) so I’m hoping that because most of the meal replacements are just there and waiting, I’m less likely to throw my hard work away because I’m tired.

I met up with my Cambridge consultant today and she is really lovely. She went through all the plan with me and she seemed to have every single product in stock so win win. Had one and a half products so far today consisting of the mushroom soup (so-so) and half the malt toffee chewy bar which is OK. I think I just need to get used to the products. I’m on step 2 so along with 3 products a day I’ll also have a meal consisting of protein and green veg which will pacify my need to chew!

I will update with further information in the next few days but I’ll have a few days settling in and see how I am 🙂

Until next time.. x

Weigh In Tuesday – 16.06.15 – 2.75lb off! – 5% lost

Hi guys,

Super excited to update you this time round. I hit another loss this morning weighing in at 15 stone 2.75lb – a 2.75lb loss 🙂 I was a little worried I was going to lose less or stay the same this week as I was indulging a lot outside of meals (but within points) and had KFC and nachos yesterday as well as not exercising at all. I’ve definitely been in a bit of a funk this week with some anxieties which have been stopping me from sleeping. BUT it’s now given me a big boost to try and make the most of this week despite the meals out as I’ve hit 5% of my body weight in about 4 weeks. How mad is that. Usually I can’t stick to anything properly for a solid month so to consistently lose each week is remarkable to me as I usually have at least one gain a month. My daily ProPoints have dropped to 33 so my meal plan won’t be 100% correct but I’ll be sticking to 33pp when actually tracking my food.

I think one big difference between SW and WW is that it focuses more on portion control and means I have more flexibilty to eat what I want. I know I shouldn’t be eating junk but sometimes you just crave it and to still lose is just gobsmacking to me. Obviously if my weight loss slows down, I will definitely know where to start cutting out but I’m enjoying having the flexibility at the moment.

Until next time.. x