Joseph and Joseph in the Kitchen with Suppose.com

Recently the fab people at Suppose.com got in touch and offered me a chance to try out the Joseph and Joseph Elevate Kitchen utensil kit, which I jumped at the chance to try as there stuff is always super well designed and thought through.

 

They are designed to keep mess of the work surfaces and brighten up the kitchen and the best thing about suppose is that it gets it all too you at the best price! Suppose helps you keep track of all the best prices across loads of products.

I’ve been using the products all week, I cook from scratch several times a day and they really are great, hardy, solid, and they really do keep your surfaces clean and tidy, I hate having to scrub sauce off of worktops when its dried on after a prep session! They are great value, very sturdy and I can see that they are going to last some time. They brighten my kitchen up beautifully too. The rubber grips certainly help when you are working with different boiling pots, easy to hold and easy chunky grips mean you can work with them well.

I’d say a great purchase for anyone and a lovely gift from suppose for me. Obviously even though they were a gift, I wasn’t paid for my positive opinion I am always honest.

 

Being Beautiful

I’ve been pretty disgusted by some of the stuff I’ve read, on twitter particularly, about Renee Zellweger this week so I posted a few pictures of my own, here’s one of me 10 years apart


So I thought I would redress the balance a little. Heres a few of my favourite quotes about beauty, bodies, aging and women. Enjoy.

 

Why I’m A Success

This whole year I’ve not felt anywhere close to a success and you know what? I’m so sick and tired of it. I’ll be completely honest. As things stand, at time of writing, this whole 10 months of this year I’ve lost 2 lbs. 2. I’m a “weight loss blogger” and I’ve lost 2 lbs in nearly a year and here I am declaring myself a success. I’m sure a few eyebrows will raise and I’m sure a few people who love to throw stones will crawl out of the wood work but I’m going to tell you, those stones will miss me, even if they hit me they aren’t going to hurt. I really don’t care what you think because you know what? I’m not just a weight loss blogger. At my lowest weight this year I’d lost 8lbs.

I’ve cried. I’ve been angry. I’ve been disgusted at myself. I’ve felt a failure. All over those numbers. I’ve felt so much about myself because of those numbers. I’ve felt that I’m useless, that I’m an actual waste of space, because of  those numbers but lets just think about that for a second. A waste of space. IF I wasn’t here at all, because I wasn’t taking up that space, would the world lose anything, thankfully I came to the conclusion that it would.

It made me think about the kind of pressure we put on ourselves in society and as bloggers to be the example, to lose weight consistently, to be amazing, I always think of the lovely Fit and Free with Emily (who if you aren’t reading you should be) who is totally awesome but has such similar struggles to me, but her smile still radiates from her page.

Over the past year I’ve built a lasting relationship with a man, it’s taken work, time and commitment, its taken personal development and understanding and reflection, its taken facing up to ghosts of relationships past in order to really understand how to make a relationship work well.

I’ve built a career path that I’m disgustingly and boringly excited for and dedicated too. It takes significant time and it will take precedence over weight loss any day of the week because when I get to my grave I want to be able to say I was compassionate and I made a difference, not that I was a size 12. I’m a 16 now. It still feels massive even though I’m the national average, I get hit on, I am not “abnormal” I don’t think my brains caught up.

I’ve supported my son through some of the  toughest days of his little life, which has been emotionally exhausting in itself, he’s emotionally intelligent, smart and compassionate and I’ve built him to be that way by pouring my soul into him.

I have taken control over my money and improved my credit score massively. I’ve managed to move on from mistakes made in the past and gain control over something which I’ve always found very difficult to manage successfully even when sent challenge after challenge.

Over the next year I’ve got more challenges coming my way, I want ot make a name for myself in my career, I want to live, I want to continue to lose weight but without the pressure and without weight loss being the focus, I want to be healthy (that old cliche) and I am probably likely to relocate to another part of the country which is going to throw a whole load of new challenges at me!

There is a thing of discontent brewing here though and I have a plan for that. And that I will talk about very soon.

But you know what. So what if I’ve lost 2lbs this year. I am happy. Happier than I’ve been in so many years. I’m able to see a future for myself and my family that is bright and exciting. I’m able to see what I want to see and feel I have some control over it. I’m not happy right now with my work life balance or the direction that some elements of this journey are taking so some changes are coming. Very soon. One thing I am happy with is you. You people have lifted me through some of the worst and best times of this journey and I am eternally greatful and I’ve met some of the best people I’ve ever met here.

Healthy Criticism? Wheres the empathy in the Healthy Living Community?

I am sure you have seen this picture doing the rounds on a lot of facebook pages and websites all over the web recently, its taken from an article in the Daily Mail about a woman in the UK currently morbidly obese and blaming this fact on her benefits being too low, not enough income therefore she can only afford to live on junk food.

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I’m vastly vastly disappointed by the things I’ve read, not only by commenters on the posts but by healthy living bloggers themselves. It leads me to struggle to see compassion exists and I’ve unfollowed a fair few because I cannot be part of something, or give my approval via “like” which is so poorly thought out and misunderstood but purports to be a “healthy” place for people. Snarky place, Shaming place, Superior place are rarely words used in descriptions of facebook groups. Healthy is more than the gym and the apple, its an attitude towards other human beings – in the public eye or not – and an attitude to the genuine struggle that some people face.

When I look at that woman, see her talk about how healthy is unattainable for her, I see myself a few years ago. Not full of excuses as the people of those pages have judged her as but full of fear and envy. Full of the belief that there are quick fixes to a weigh problem that goes far far deeper than understanding budgeting. I’m going to attack this 2 fold.

First Point.

This was initially in a gossip mag but then it went viral after being picked up by the Daily Mail. The daily fail mail for those who don’t know is one of the most read online newspapers, it’s also considerably right wing, backed by shady corps and generally likes to put stories in it to a) prompt a reaction from ignorant people – “Muslamics are stealing our thoughts” style, it will dig into peoples life and selectively pick as many details as they can to make the person seem stupid or give you reasons on a platter to judge them without a second thought. In short they like to cause outrage and discontent. They are supporters of UKIP and the Tory Party. They hate Europe almost as much as they hate women.

What I particularly *love* about this paper is how they love to shout about what deadbeats single parents are, how they are failing their children. How the women who raise their children alone are failing them. Let that sink in for a minute. They attack the women who stay and raise their kids rather than the men who leave them. Single dads however are some kind of messiahs to be worshiped and the mothers who left devil women with only sex and drugs on the brain.  There are inequalities between women and men you could say.

They love to bash the overweight too, its easy fodder for creating discord and prompting people who love to gloat and express the kind of views which make me despair for humanity.

Benefit claimants are probably their favourite fish in barrels to shoot. They get too much, they don’t spend it “properly”, its not restrictive enough, they should be shot in the street. You get the picture. Again they miss out actual facts, figures and real things to let people make their own minds up.

So women – Check, single parent – check, benefit claimant – check, and overweight – check.

So is the Daily Mail is good source for real debate and conversation. Er. Nope.

Second Point

There are reasons that peoples weight creeps up or shoots up, there are reasons why it becomes out of control, it isn’t just budgetary complaints and most reasonable people realise that. They realise that whatever the excuse the person is coming up with at the time is largely because they’ve been put on the spot to make one. I had loads. I’m busy, I just had a baby, I’m ill, I’ve got bad joints, I’m not bothered, etc etc etc. There are a number of  reasons used but all of them added up to one thing. I was really really scared of failing and I didn’t really think I should treat my body well. I didn’t know what I deserved.

Thats what worries me about all the “lazy” comments and the judgemental comments about her intelligence. Hearing, even well meaning, criticism of my lifestyle, weight or anything in that ballpark just sent me further in to that mindset that I didn’t deserve anything. This woman is now well known across the western world and people are judging her.

What disappoints me is that I’ve seen fitness trainers calling out her “excuses” without any further thought to the barriers that might be there, barriers they must come across in their work, and possibly barriers that mean that they don’t keep clients for long. When will people learn that belittling and demanding change are the LEAST successful change mechanisms?! Its hardly complex thinking.

I know that when things click for you and weight starts coming off you can see your own excuses but it seems that a lot of people who’ve lost weight forget what a challenge it was to live at a high weight, what a challenge trying to walk in to a gym is when gym clothes are difficult to get in your size and your the biggest person in the room, forget what it is to run that first 60 seconds and feel like your lungs are going to explode, and they forget what it is to fight through everyday facing the problems that got you there without resorting to food. Its a challenge every day in that phase and if you’re battling cripplingly low self esteem and a massive fear of failing too. You’re almost set up to fail from the word go and if you’re already scared of that then double whammy.

Compassion will always win out in these situations. Understanding, patience, a boost in self esteem. All things I struggled to get but when I started to I started to fly.

I can’t imagine if my life had stayed the same whether I could have made it even as far as I have. I very much doubt that I could of, there were too many things weighing me down to allow me to move forward. I had to let go of a lot of grief, I still am letting go with the help of a lovely woman, but it had to go to allow me to live and be me again. I lost my whole self underneath all that weight. The weight represented fear, loathing (but not las vegas!).

So what I ask of the healthy living community, if you’ve lost a lot of weight, remember what it was to be that size and what a battle is was not to be, if you haven’t please learn to listen to those of us who have with some empathy and compassion. Everyone in life has challenges but not everyone wears them for the world to see and judge.

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Sleep

I’m pretty sure everyone in the western world has seen something telling them that sleep is important in weight loss and general wellbeing. I’ve seen it a million times. This weeks challenge on the Whole Life Challenge was no surprise. Get 7 hours of sleep a day. So from 00:00 – 23.59 you should be clocking up 7 hours.

I know when I’m tired I eat more, I don’t function nearly as well and I’m generally not a happy bunny, plus I look like crap, its not a look I can pull off at all! I’m an 8-9 hours sleep girl ideally but with a child, a full time job, a lovely boyfriend and study to do it’s hardly surprising that that doesn’t always happen.

I loved this infographic about the perils of little sleep :

 

 Sleep is so key for me, when I don’t sleep well I don’t function properly, I am irritable, I’m tearful, I’m shockingly bad at thinking, I crave sugar, crave that pick me up and crave the feeling I get when I’m well rested.

So when the challenge came around I embraced it I love the sleepy times!

 

Sleep hygiene is something that I think is super important. Shutting down your laptop and switching off your tv an hour before bed really does help you sleep. Not using electronics in bed really helps not only with getting to sleep but staying asleep. My trouble is that any stresses in my life, even if I cope with them fine in the day time come out in my sleep, broken sleep, bad dreams and sucky sleep patterns become apparent really quickly and I have to tackle my stresses to correct my sleep or everything gets worse!

Cutting caffeine out of my diet has very definitely helped things along too. The only caffeine I have now is from the occasional caffeinated tea and the very occasional diet coke. I try not to drink them less than an hour before bed.

Other things I’ve noticed is the more hours I get before midnight the better I feel. No matter how many hours I get in total. So even if I slept 1am to 10am I’d not feel as good as 9pm to 6am. I weird thing which generally makes my friday nights less raving and more snoring!

 

Sleep is good for every single bit of your health from blood pressure to weight loss to mental health! It’s vitally important so make sure you get your sleep tonight!

What’s your best sleep tip? Do you have a routine? 

What I’ve been eating lately

Recently my best friends have been pinterest (when isn’t it?) and Well Fed 2 and I thought I’d share with you what I’ve been eating with my family.

First up, by far my fav has been the BBQ beef, and sweet potato hash (I don’t have a waffle maker but I want one!) from Well Fed 2 (the link takes you to Michelle Tam on Nom Nom Paleo cooking it)

Source: Nom Nom Paleo

 

Another simple recipe which we love full of veggies on our meat free day of the week and is super tasty

My obsession with all things salted caramel and overnight oats totally continues and when I stumbled across this and it has spawned a million shakes and overnight oats in our house. Its amazing.

I absolutely loved this snack recipe, I managed to bust up my blender making it and have my eyes on an awesome new one now, but will have to wait till after Christmas!

I amended these to fit the WLC but they are amazing and I think will be even more amazing with honey or maple syrup in. I highly recommend them!