Day 140- REVIEW: Age & Beauty

For just over 100 days I was truly on my path to perfection. There were blips here and there but they never stopped me from continuing forward and making progress. Since my return from a 4 day holiday and a subsequent week long illness, I have found it very challenging to stay on the path. The habits are slipping away and it’s getting increasingly harder to return to them. A weekend sabotaged my calorie counting, an illness destroyed the gym and a holiday disrupted my routine. Day after day, I plan to return to my habits but half way through, my plans fall to the wayside.

Compounding this, I have become increasingly ashamed of my appearance. I can see I’m losing the little good looks I once had. I’ve gained weight over the last four years but now I can see the bad food choices affecting my skin and face. I have sunken eyes, acne on my chin, back, arms and behind my neck and my already saggy jowls are increasing in size and looking ugly. It’s affected my confidence at work and my relationship and my sex life. I’m missing out on so much joy found in clothes and dressing up. Something I always thought would be a delightful hobby for me if I had the opportunity.

I feel desperate to change all this and think that my low self-esteem is part of why I can’t maintain my habits. I feel that if I felt better about myself, a lot of the other things would fall into place. After this contemplation, I think I must hyperfocus making myself prettier, slimmer, fitter and healthier and blog about it. I have a lot of habits in place for other things if I choose for it but for now I need to create the habits that will help my appearance and health improve.

I have spent the last couple of days thinking about what I need to do to reverse the ageing process and make myself feel attractive again. I’m going to take a look at each thing and decide what I have to do and when I can start. I really want to turn things around and show you how I managed it by publishing my transition on the blog.

Sleep

I don’t need to explain how important sleep is for so many reasons and overall health. Even with all my efforts, I rarely manage to exceed a daily average of 6.5 hours yet I know I need 8-9 hours a night to start benefitting. I think the problem is I struggle to go to bed early enough because of the temptation to watch TV or mess about on my laptop and phone. My ‘go to bed’ instruction is usually ignored so any evening habits get abandoned and I end up idling on devices until sleep prevails. In order to get the 8 hours beauty sleep I so desperately need, I need to enforce my going to bed habit. I need to prepare for sleep with an evening ritual and put away all my devices. If I turn out the light and put my head on my pillow my 10pm, I have a very good chance of getting 8 hours. I think I need to head to bed at 8:45pm to give me enough time to be ready for sleep by 10pm. This habit can start tomorrow. I will use Fitbit to monitor my progress.

Hydration

I had made some progress with my hydration. I had found the opportunity for 3 litres of water a day. A litre at gym, a litre at work and a litre in the evening. It is just a matter of reminding myself to drink it. This habit can start tomorrow. I will use Fitbit to monitor my progress.

Diet

Oh boy! This challenge is the biggest I have. I have never really sustained a healthy diet for the long term. When I have followed a healthy diet, I feel amazing and the transformation is always incredible. It’s just been a really long time since I’ve sustained anything. I’m always conflicted about which diet is best but I have settled on one for my beauty challenge. I’m going to follow a diet free of wheat, gluten, refined sugar, cow’s dairy, caffeine, alcohol and meat. I will include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, rice, potatoes, eggs, sheep & goat’s dairy and fish. This keeps my beauty and appearance as a priority. I’m hoping these rules will naturally help me lose weight. The only way I can succeed, is if I meal plan and shop for it. If I don’t do these two things I will fail because when I don’t know what I’m eating, I will reach for the wrong things. I can’t strictly follow the rules until Monday 1st April but until then I can slowly reduce certain foods and prepare myself for the change. I can already make better choices from tomorrow. I will keep a food diary to track what I eat.

Beauty Regimen

Since I started back on my path to perfection I have introduced many beauty habits, both morning and night. I find it much easier to follow the morning habits than the evening ones. And now it has been weeks since I followed my evening beauty regimen at all. I want to make sure I’m doing everything again to reduce the acne I’m getting and plump up my skin to reduce fine lines, sagging and dehydration. I can start these habits again tomorrow. I have to return to my bath nights on Wednesday and Sunday too so I can incorporate exfoliation, face masks, foot scrubs etc… I must have some regular professional facials also but I must wait until I get my pay increase first. I will start growing my nails and painting them too. My hands look so nice when I do this. I will take daily photographs to see if my face and skin improve.

Exercise

I joined the gym over a month ago and in the first month I attended a lot of classes and did many morning sessions. Since my holiday and illness I’ve struggled to stay committed but I’m very aware how exercise is going to be so important for my health and improving my appearance. I concluded that I need to do 5 different kinds of exercise to reap the most benefits. I need to include yoga for flexibility, cardio for heart health, weights for strength, HIIT for burning calories and swimming for all over toning. I think two sessions of each a week and once for swimming is enough to see health and beauty improvements and I already have a good idea which days to do these. I must start doing what I can from tomorrow and will start with a gym session tomorrow morning. I will use my Fitbit statistics and photographs to track my progress.

Lose Weight

Needless to say, I want to lose about 30 lbs to start feeling healthy and attractive again. Hopefully the improved diet and exercise will allow that to happen but of course if I don’t see it working, I may have to tweak things or get advice. I will use my Fitbit scales and body measurements to track my progress.

Attitude

This is so important. From the moment I wake up tomorrow I can think like a person who is slim, healthy and beautiful. I can make choices throughout the day that serve this purpose. I don’t need to wait for anything. It may start immediately and dictate all my decisions.

Blog My Progress

Finally, I will blog my progress once a week on a Saturday. This will reduce the expectation to blog everyday which I have been finding a challenge recently. Tomorrow, I will start with taking all my measurements and photos as I am now and review my current health. Every week I will publish the results of my habits and track my progress.

 

 

 

Day 120- FITBIT UPDATE

Last Week

This Week

End Goal

Steps

83,088

76,419

140,000-175,000

Steps Daily Average

11,870

10,917

20,000 -25,000

Calories Burned

17,406

16,100

25,000

Active Minutes

317

301

Sleep

6h 28m

7h 7m

8h

Water Consumption

821 ml

143 ml

3000ml a day

So all my stats are down because I spent most of last week in Amsterdam on holiday. They are not too bad considering I was not that active. Funnily, sleep is up because I finally got to wake up when I want to and not when the alarm dictates. This week finds me trying to return to my yoga and pilates classes, gym three times a week in the morning and attempting a 5k weekly. The stats should soar.

In a desperate attempt to lose weight still, and the plant-based diet book failing to captivate me, I have abandoned all dogma and returned to simply counting calories. I watched a great Google Talk which said ‘forget everything until you can master your calorie consumption’. The fact that I haven’t lost any weight regardless of the diets and cleanses I’ve attempted suggests that whatever I’m doing I’m finding a way to consume too many calories. Instead I’m using my Fitbit app to monitor my calories in vs calories out. If I follow a restricted 1000 calories a day, I could lose up to 2 lbs a week and reach my target weight of 130 lbs by June.

My weight is really all that is holding me back from turning to the next chapter on my path to perfection.

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Day 107- NEW HABITS: Menu Plan 2

NEW HABIT: Create a 12 week menu plan & recipe flashcards. 

Two days ago I wrote about my frustrations with my menu plan or lack there of and the disappointment in those I’ve tried. I have had 48 hours to think about what it is I need to successfully overcome all my disorganisation and confusion about what to eat, to be healthy and lose weight.

This is my plan broken down into manageable tasks:

  1. Use up or throw out unwanted food
  2. Clean and organise kitchen cupboards
  3. Create a 12 week meal plan with recipes that are mostly healthy, enjoyable and easy to prepare using my favourite food diary
  4. Create recipe cards so creating shopping lists is easy
  5. Have a list of staple foods used regularly and keep replenished
  6. Follow the 12 week menu plan and at the second cycle, improve the recipes or meals if I am not losing weight or they are too challenging to execute

I am taking this approach because my world of food is just the same as all the other areas of my life I’m trying to improve. It just takes the creation of good habits to sustain success.

“I will use up or throw away unwanted food. I will clean and organise the kitchen. I will create a 12 week meal plan. For each recipe I will create a flashcard with the ingredients.  I will use these to quickly write my shopping list”

 

 

 

Day 105- REVIEW: Menu Plan

Just over a week ago I decided to join the gym and follow the vegan diet from the book, “The 28-Day Vegan Plan: Kickstart a plant-based lifestyle in just one month” by Kim-Julie Hansen. I was very excited because I hate making shopping lists and menu plans but this book had it all laid out for me. My youngest son and I have just managed the first week but I have to express how very disappointed I am in the book. Firstly, the ingredients in the shopping list don’t match the actual ingredients needed in the recipes, so I had too much of a lot of things. Secondly, some of the portions are over the top and excessively large. On one of the prep days it asked me to cook 200g of brown rice but it made sooooo much rice there was no way we would get through it. Thirdly, the meals are just not that great. Either tasteless or not tasting great. I can’t believe the kale salad recipe doesn’t request you rub anything into the kale to break it down first. Lastly, the prep is a nightmare. If the food tasted good, it may be worth it but a lot of the meals are just boring, dry or a bit rank. This is not a good book to endorse Veganism. I know there are plenty of delicious plant-based meals out there.

I have joined the gym for over a week and have been really embracing almost daily activity. The diet has also proved very awkward to follow now I’m busy with the gym. I’m spending way to much time faffing in the kitchen and making a big mess for quite nasty meals. Today was the first day I felt all my habits were getting on top of me. I never quite got all the housework done at the weekend, I still had 3 more chairs to build for my dining set and then there is all the pressure to prep lunches, meals and breakfasts.

It’s really important I feel back in control of my habits so tomorrow I am prioritising finishing the weekend chores, bringing the house back in order and completing all my habits, especially my evening beauty regimen which keeps being abandoned due to time restraints.

After that, I’ll enforce a new diet plan. I want to create my own personal 12-week plan, based on the things we like and the recipes I know are easy. I should also mention that after a week of gym and a vegan diet I gained 1lb. I just couldn’t believe it. It may be I have to count calories to lose this stubborn weight.

I want to print out a 12-week food diary and fill it with all the meals we know and love. Making meals regular just like my habits. I want to return to my recipe flashcards too. Write out my favourite recipes on them a long with the needed ingredients.

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Day 103- ETHICAL HAUL: Packet Food

Today was my fourth trip to the True Food Cooperative. On my previous trips I have started buying Personal Care, Kitchen Household Items and Cleaning Products. This week I bought any of these items I’ve started using (because I always want back up) and started looking at the Packet Foods I need in my diet. The loose foods like grains and nuts I will probably save for my next visit on 16th March.

Here’s what I bought based on what I will be needing on my plant-based diet:

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So I need all these foods for my plant-based diet followed in the book above but the products shown in these pictures are all from a food cooperative who only stock the most ethical brands and are a non-profit organisation. This is the future of grocery shopping if we are to sustain a growing population. I’m gradually moving all my shopping over from the big 5 supermarkets to the local cooperative. I’ll only be left with fresh food that I need to get from the supermarket because that will take more hard work to transition from. I even topped up my toilet roll for the third time and replenished the cleaning products I’ve started to use. Now I have two bottles of everything I can take one empty bottle back to use at the filling station.

 

MY EXPERIENCE: The Mircobiome Purifying Programme by Synergy

This is the account of my experience completing the Microbiome Purifying Programme by Synergy.

I currently weigh around 165 lbs. I’m often tired and suffer regularly from sinus pain. I’m prone to acne breakouts especially at the back of my neck.

Day 1: For the next 5 days I am required to start taking the magnesium tablets, 2 a day,  and cut down on sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy and processed foods. The diet I have planned for these five days is very healthy. I’ve planned a plant-based protein shake, or porridge, made with fruits and hemp milk for breakfast. Salad and protein like fish or chicken for lunch. Protein, vegetables and brown rice or potatoes for dinner. I also have almonds, apple and satsuma for snacks.

I’m having an okay day, eating the foods I’ve planned to. But I’m having trouble with cravings. I’ve eaten 2 biscuits, a few crisps, a cream cake and a cup of tea. I’ve got 5 days to wind it down and prime myself for shake week. I’m hoping the magnesium tablets will conquer the anxiety and cravings it promises to. Tomorrow, I will try and have at least half the amount of crap I ate today. I might even go to bed early tomorrow to help avoid temptations.

Day 2: Today was much better for the most part. I had a chronic headache half way through the day which felt like a combination of sinus pain and caffeine withdrawal. But my food cravings were much more tolerable than yesterday. It didn’t stop me pigging out on some Emmental on toast and a few chocolate cookies but on the whole it was more manageable. Tomorrow I am aiming for no caffeine and no giving in to cravings. I’m aiming for 100% the right food. These 5 days are about cutting down and priming the body so continuing to include these bad foods is not beneficial to the cleanse.

Day 3: Today has been the easiest so far. I got a grip on my cravings and went the whole day without a deviation. I slept terribly the night before possibly due to Synergy’s caffeine alternative, E9. I just couldn’t fall asleep to past 3am. Now I’m over half way through the priming phase I can’t wait to start the shakes and find out what everyone is raving on about.

Day 4: Getting a bit fed up with this part of the plan and my boring dinners. I’m excited to start the shake week because I’m dying to find out what I will experience. I had another bad headache today but hard to tell if it was caffeine withdrawal or sinuses. On the whole, a good day with very little temptation.

Day 5: I’m so happy to have reached the end of this part of the journey. I battled some temptations and withdrawal headaches but now I’m just eager to start the next stage. From tomorrow I will be taking several supplements; probiotics, pre-biotics and a protein shake for breakfast and lunch. All of this should flood my body with good bacteria and vitamins and I should start feeling the promised benefits. I’ll be having a healthy protein dinner and the shakes for 7 days. At the end of that I plan to follow a plant-based vegan diet.

Day 6: Today was the first day of shake week. That means I have taken lots of probiotics and supplements today. They don’t taste as bad as people say. I expected to experience some digestion sensations but really I haven’t. In fact, if anything, I think I may be constipated even though I’m drinking lots of water. I’m not adhering completely to the diet and allowing some naughty things but I’m comfortable with my choices and still think I’ll see results.

Day 7: Day 2 of the shakes and I’m not noticing much happening. I have constipation, probably from the protein shakes. I’ve done many strict diets and I usually can feel the health entering and manipulating my body but with this regimen I feel nothing. I’m still getting cravings and finding it really hard to adhere to the rules.

Day 8: The cleanse is going really well although I’m not being a saint and still craving chocolate and crisps and indulging a little. My meals are healthy though. I had my first interesting ‘elimination’. I could really tell I’d consumed a lot of greenery!

Day 9: So far, apart from decent eliminations, I can’t feel anything interesting happening for me. I know it’s early days and I have consumed the odd inappropriate food, but I did expect an experience. I’ve done so many diets and cleanses and this one has had the least impact or interest. The shakes just replace my meals and the supplements appear to improve elimination but nothing else of interest is happening. I will probably keep using the shakes for more than 7 days because of all the cheating I’ve done and the fact I have a visit to Amsterdam coming up.

Day 21: This marks the end of my 21 day microbiome cleanse. If it has done me any good, I’m oblivious to it because I’ve experienced nothing remarkable whatsoever. No improved sleep, no renewed energy, no clearer skin. I did eat the odd microbiome unfriendly food but not enough to outweigh the amount of supplements I was consuming. In fact, I’ve been eating vegan for 4 days and already I can see the benefits from that. I’m really not sure if I would do it again unless I had £200 floating around and I’d been eating clean for a while.

I currently weigh 165.5 lbs so not even any weight loss. Thumbs down.

 

 

 

Day 96- NEW HABIT: Plant-Based Diet

NEW HABIT: Start eating a plant-based diet

Monday will mark the end of my microbiome cleanse and then I will publish my results. I had always intended to move on to a plant-based diet after it so today marks the start of a two-week trial. I bought a great book in Waitrose after Christmas which has the shopping lists and menu plans all laid out and that makes success for me far more likely.

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Yesterday I had all the food delivered and oh boy, it’s a lot of fruit and veg! The daily plans are about 2,000 calories a day. Today I organised my food around the kitchen to make preparation that bit easier for me.

Today I weigh 165.5 lbs and I am 39.1% body fat.

“I will follow the plant-based diet in this book for two weeks”

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