Hello

Hello. It’s me.

I just wanted to drop by and talk really honestly about something that’s really important. To me, anyway.

There was a headline in the media today, saying that studies have shown that telling kids they are fat makes them gain weight.

No shit, Sherlock.

Here’s a link for you The Guardian

I’ll say it again.

Telling kids (or their parents) that they are fat makes them more likely to gain weight.

If you’ve read Gorgeously Full Fat, you might recall that my happiest, most relaxed periods around food have been when I’ve been trying to ignore my weight and learn to eat whatever I actually want. I learned this from my time working with Sue Thomason, a very wise lady who has had a massive impact on my life.

The Food Philosophy

Her Food Philosophy makes so much sense. I’d talk about it all here but I don’t want to steal her thunder and there’s so much research – 20 years of research in fact. As soon as I saw that headline today I thought of Sue.

Sue’s website

She passionately believes that the obsession with weight, fat, obesity and body size is THE MAIN REASON for the obesity problem we have. Think about it. We’re constantly bombarded with weight loss adverts and stories, body shaming, government warnings about obesity and the NHS. we’re getting a sugar tax. It’s crap. Fat isn’t making us fat, Sugar isn’t making us fat. Obsessing over our weight is what’s fuelling our weight gain because our natural reaction to being told we’re fat is to think we’re not good enough and we need to start restricting what we eat.

As soon as we start restricting, or even thinking about it,our subconscious brain kicks in. “Oh shit, food’s in short supply, I’d better send her out looking for it.”

All you can think about is food.

You know how your pet dog scoffs all his food as soon as it’s put down, and if you’re eating something he will beg for more minutes after you’ve fed him? He’s not hungry, but his doggy brain knows that food is in short supply, He doesn’t know when he’ll next be fed, so he gets as much as he can, when he can. And when he notices that plate of scones on the kitchen counter unattended, well they’re history. I’m talking about you, Benji.

But we’re humans and not dogs!

Humans aren’t so different. We use our free will to restrict what we eat to a point and we can be quite successful for a while but that pesky subconscious will kick in eventually and it’s almost as if someone else is in your head, making you eat crap you don’t even want or enjoy. You binge on autopilot because you just want to get as much food in you as possible to relieve the stress that you’re under psychologically. You feel better for a bit, as the food is being demolished. Then…”What have I done?”

gorgeously fiull fat doughnuts weight loss

(license)

Remorse, guilt, disgust.

You ‘feel fat’. Your body image and self esteem plummet and you blame yourself for being weak willed. More news articles about fat people ruining the NHS. More celebrity fat shaming. More diet ads. You’re fat, you HAVE to lose weight. it’s your moral duty. You’re a mess. You want to be slim, your life will be so much better if you are slim. So off you go again.

Aaaaarrghhhh! I can see it, and I get it.

Is the world getting it? The media? No, I doubt it, because the media, women’s magazines in particular, NEED us to hate ourselves so that we diet. There’s a massive industry that relies on us wasting money on diet programmes, shakes and products. They also spend a lot of money advertising in magazines, so you’re not going to get many magazines refusing to run diet and weight loss adverts!

What can we do?

All we can do is make a stand. Even if you’re fat, refuse to make that your focus. Stop hating yourself, Focus on something else and refuse to waste any more money on diets. If you feel you need to lose weight for health reasons, try giving yourself s complete diet holiday for a few months and see how you feel. Focusing on weight and losing it is what’s keeping you fat. It sounds daft but it does make sense. The obsession about what you can and can’t eat, calories, fat, sugar and the rest (don’t get me started on ‘clean eating’) makes your brain think that it’s going to be going through another famine, makes you want to fill up on fatty, sugary and banned foods because it knows they are in short supply, and makes you eat crappy things you probably don’t even like.

By refusing to get dragged into it, accepting yourself as you are (yes, that’s the bit I’ve been stuck on more than once and for years at a time) and focussing on all the other good things about life, you’ll starve the weight loss industry rather than yourself, and quite possibly end up eating less because you’re only eating what you actually WANT.

Rant over. Does any of that make sense to you? I’d really love to know what you think.

 

 

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Change of direction

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You have no idea what I’ve been through to get this blog post done. But I was inspired and it seemed a shame not to run with it. 

So I’m writing from my phone, because the only way I can update this at the moment is by turning the WiFi off and using my data. Really. The web host has been having some issues with all the sites in its server and mine have all copped it. If you’re looking at the link on a Sky connection you’ll think it’s expired. Excrement. I meant to type excellent there, and it got auto corrected, but I liked it.

So, a change of direction?  I’ve been a bit lost taking about the plus size and health stuff lately. I’m just not as  bothered as I was. I’m bored with all the outrage and pointless spats about the use of the term plus size. Or who is really fat and who is playing at it.

I don’t want to go on about my life either. It’s not that exciting. I write stuff. I eat stuff. Sometimes I exercise. You know about Dad. I miss him, we all do, but you guys don’t want to hear about that every time I write a post.

I can’t tell you about the job I just left. Maybe  because I signed the official secrets act and I don’t fancy being thumb screwed by the men in grey at HMRC if I spill the beans on the highly classified work I was doing there. Or maybe because I’ve filed the whole experience under “WTF was I thinking?“ and subdivision “never speak of this again”

So I’m just going to talk about  everyday stuff that I think about. I’m getting my mojo back, found my sparkle under the sofa and I’m on a massive creative roll at the moment. Right now the things occupying my mind include my sleep statistics (I’ve got  a Jawbone), and a lack of sleep, according to said gadget.

Turning 45 and not wanting to look or feel it is up there, along with the perennial “Why do people watch Jeremy Kyle and even worse, why do they appear on it? “

I might even share a bit of politics if I’m feeling ranty. I’m a lefty, liberal, feminist Europhile so that could make for interesting comments.

It’s getting late so right now all I’ll say is:

1. I wish my laptop would bloody well finish its updates. It’s been on 34 of 36 since I started this post and I want to go to bed now.

2. I really want my blog fixed so people on Sky Broadband can see it and not think this is a spam site.

3. I wonder if I’ll get eight hours sleep tonight. My Jawbone app twinkles at me if I do.

Night all.

Still on update 34….

Red umbrella in storm

The One Where I Really Should Have Listened

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I think you can probably call it a life lesson.

You might have wondered why there’s been nothing from Gorgeously Full Fat since September? Where do I start? Obviously losing Dad was MASSIVE. I watched him deteriorate slowly and spent more hours than I care to count up sobbing on my dear Moley’s shoulder. It’s not nice seeing someone you love going through that.

It’s just as bad not knowing how to help – my Mum was looking after him right up to about a week before he died and we were all worried about her almost as much as we were worried about him. I thought I’d done most of my grieving before he went; I was way off the mark!

Distraction

While I was processing everything, I was distracted by the promise of a new job that was going to take me away from it all. I liked the idea of a new start. I’d let freelance work slip, lost a few clients that hadn’t been replaced and in all honesty I was ready to chuck it all in and go back to office world again. I was feeling bereft; I wasn’t useful to Mum any more, Dad was gone.

Moley was having issues of his own that I couldn’t help with and I wanted to run away. I started fantasising about getting my old Ipswich life back, a new job,a  new home perhaps, social life and a chance to be near to Mum again. We saw a flat we loved, and put everything in motion to buy it.

I was excited about the thought of a new job and totally ignored the nagging feeling that I might not be doing the right thing. (sign #1) I put it down to nerves as it was years since I’d worked in an office. I couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling but it was too late, I’d committed myself, everyone was so pleased I’d got a ‘proper’ job. I even bought proper work clothes!

Grey November

I started the job in November. I was determined to make a good impression and to really make a go of it. We were going through the mortgage process, it was all going to plan although the fees seemed to be escalating and I was putting every spare penny into the house buying fund. We were both really excited about the move, it felt like a new start, and after the year we’d had, we bloody well needed one. So I ignored the sinking feeling when I walked into the basement of my new office building and started my two week induction (sign #2), I was going to damn well make the best of it.

The other newbies were really nice, which was a bonus. On the second day we all got taken to the area of the office we’d be working in…I was hit by a sense of OHMYGOD when I looked across at banks of desks, monitors and people in headsets. The phones were ringing continuously and the heating was up so high I felt a bit faint. I was going to be working in the civil service version of a call centre. And everything was grey (sign #3)

Then the flat fell through (sign #4) taking a whole lot of upfront fees with it.

Red umbrella in storm

Not such a Gorgeously Full Fat Christmas

Still determined to make the best of it, I headed up to where I was going to be based and got put with a ‘buddy’ responsible for training me. I was really lucky, he was very laid back, and I liked him, We spent more time than we probably should have done between calls talking about food, especially when we were on a late lunch break.

I went out with the team for pre Christmas drinks and most of them didn’t seem to like the job much, although everyone was really lovely and friendly, the impression I got was that most people would be off at the first opportunity. A lot of them had been transferred from another office and felt like they’d almost been tricked into it (sign #5)

Flexitime that wasn’t

I was really hacked off because not only had the move fallen through, but now I was going to be travelling to Ipswich every day, I realised that the flexitime was actually a rosta and the only shift I could realistically get in for was the 10-6.  (sign #6) It was OK, though, the managers said they’d let me get in a bit late for the 9-5 and I could make up for it when I was doing the 10-6 shifts. Then they scrapped the 9-5 shift altogether and I was stuck on the late shift, every night (sign #7)

Then from January, the powers that be shut the waiting rooms on Bury St Edmunds Station for at least six weeks. It might not seem like much but when you’re waiting there for 30 minutes or more every day, and it’s bloody freezing, a waiting room is an essential. (sign #8)

 

The silent scream

Moley’s hero, David Bowie, died on 10 January. I was sad; I actually shed a few years, something I haven’t done for many celebrity demises, Then we lost Alan Rickman. That was a depressing week. Ashes to Ashes was the soundtrack of the entire week – not a happy song in itself.

Strung out in heaven’s high, hitting an all time low” reverberated around my head. It was there every morning when I woke up, taunting me.

At this point, every part of my psyche was screaming at me to go back to the job I loved. But I had too many voices in my head telling me to do different things. And none of them were mine! I knew my family were relieved I had a full time job. Mum was happy I was back in the civil service and working in Ipswich, even though the 30 minute lunch break meant I never got to see her. Moley was pleased there was regular money coming in. Mum in law never really understood freelancing and was always keen for me to get a job in an office or a shop.

But my heart wasn’t in it. And I had Dad’s words on my side; he told me not to let other people tell me what to do. He asked me – OK made me promise – to sort myself out. And in the book he left me, he also said that his advice to me was to decide what I wanted – and go for it. I felt almost as if he was the only one on my side as I got more and more flattened by the job, the travel and the hours.

Numbing out

I would be in tears on a Monday morning sometimes. I couldn’t get out of bed; I couldn’t sleep either. Moley knew how miserable and tired I was; I didn’t want to go out or do anything at the weekend, the cleaning wasn’t getting done, only the bare minimum, and he was getting sandwiches for dinner. I didn’t do any food shopping any more. I wasn’t in for a Tesco delivery and I couldn’t face going to the supermarket  (sign #9)

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I’d sit on the sofa playing on my phone night in, night out, numbing my brain and trying to escape. I filled my days at work with endless cups of coffee and shit food to keep my energy up, I forgot what vegetables and fruit looked like but got to know the relative merits of every coffee shop and sandwich shop in Ipswich!

Happy Pills

The doctor increased my happy pills dose. Did I mention I was on those? Never thought it would happen to me but a week and a half before I started the job I was still crying all the time and in no fit state to start a new career. The pills didn’t seem to help a lot but a couple of weeks into January I gave in and upped the dose (sign #10).

I went into work, afterwards by this point I was hating every day. I was so exhausted I was struggling to stay awake after about 3pm. I was up at 6.30 (usually awake about 5) out of the house at 7.30, waiting in the cold for a bus to the station, waiting in the cold for half an hour at the station for the train, getting into Ipswich at 9, at work about 9.30 with a take away coffee in my hand. I’d work on the phones until about 1.30, grab a half hour lunch (walk to the shop, grab a sandwich, walk back and eat it) then work through till 6. It wasn’t unusual to be there after six – my record was 6.30 as I was stuck on a 40 minute call. I’d walk to meet Moley who would drive me home and by the time we were out of Ipswich and I was home it would be 7.15 ish,  I felt guilty because I couldn’t keep up with the little bit of freelance work I’d kept on so financially we were worse off with my train and bus fares!

I was often in bed by 9, tossing and turning. Four hours sleep was about average, six was a treat!

Tipping point – the last sign

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vfMj1Fae0s

So what tipped me over the edge? What sign did I actually listen to? Well, I was talking to Moley about having to go to work the next day and I felt physically sick, I blurted out “I just want to go back to freelancing”

I’d been wanting to say that for so long I thought I was going to burst. It was like a pressure building up inside me, I was being told so unequivocally that I should be writing. I’d had a day off and done some freelance stuff for a client and enjoyed being creative so much I was almost aching to get my old life back again. I missed being able to write and come up with ideas. I missed feeling useful.

Moley amazed me. He said he’d support me whatever I decided and I said I’d think about it for a week or so. Inside I was doing cartwheels. I forced myself in for another week and as I got out of the car on the Friday evening I said, “I think I’m getting a sore throat”

And some.

That was it. I had chills, a fever, aches, my skin hurt to touch and then I got tonsillitis and a cough. I’ve still got a sore throat two weeks later. I resigned last week, then this week after going in for a few days and feeling like absolute death, waking up at 4 in the morning and not sleeping again, taking far too many painkillers and wanting to sleep all the time, I saw the doctor. So I’m now signed off for two more weeks and when I go back I have a few days and I’m done.

Listening to my inner gut feeling would have saved me all this stress, When will I learn?

I have to say, the people I worked with were all lovely. Even the managers. I can’t fault any of them…it just wasn’t me, it felt wrong, and as if I was being forced to rethink from the word go. I also need to say that my darling husband has been amazing. He’s been 100% supportive and understanding. I was so happy when he agreed that it was for the best that I gave the job up, despite the fact he works all hours at the moment. I love him to bits, I suppose I never thought anyone would care enough to be so supportive. I’ll make him proud! I’m so lucky to have such a lovely husband.

So as of 26 February I get to start again. How lucky am I?

Anyway…that’s what’s been going on. Sit tight for the fun part!

 

 

 

 

Healthy breakfast with muesli in glass, fresh berries and yogurt

New Beginnings

Getting healthy with gorgeously full fat

So the dust has settled, the boys have gone back to Australia and there’s really no excuse for me not to get down to doing what I promised Dad I would do a few months before he died. Sort my life out. Especially my health.

Before you all groan at the fact I’m supposed to be anti-diet and hate weight loss, Dad knew me better than most and he knew for a long time that I wasn’t happy about my body and health. I’m not going to make apologies for wanting to sort my body out – it’s been seriously neglected of late and it’s protesting very much. Moley also had a bit of a health scare recently; thankfully there’s nothing serious going on but he’s just as out of condition as I am and it’s about time we started to make the most of ourselves, look after ourselves and enjoy our life a bit more than we have been recently.

I’ve made a HUGE decision. I’m going to lose five stone in weight. I’m being sponsored by my family to raise a large amount of money for St Elizabeth’s Hospice, in Ipswich,  and I’m giving myself until the end of 2016 to get there.

PS: If you’d like to sponsor me too, please do, the hospice is a very deserving cause…

I love my social life and eating/drinking with friends way too much to eat rabbit food for months on end and with everything I know about food, weight and diets, telling myself I was going on a strict regime would just scare the pants off me and make everyone else laugh.

All I’m going to do is stop eating the crap I don’t really even want, just because I’m bored, stressed or fed up. Working at home and being less than 20 feet from the fridge at all times means that whenever I run out of words or ideas, I hot foot it into the kitchen and end up eating crisps or junk food – a lot of the time, I don’t even really enjoy them.

Nothing is banned. I can still drink wine and go out for dinner. If I desperately want a slice of cake I can have one and enjoy it but I’m really starting to want to look after my health now. And even when I lose all that weight, I’ll still be plus size. Just fitter & healthier.

I’m really looking forward to starting my new job soon, and I want to be on top form, not battling with IBS and reflux all the time. I just want to feel like me again, and not like I’m lugging around extra bits of me that someone stuck on when I wasn’t looking.

I’m not going wheat-free, dairy-free or sugar free. I’m not doing high fat low carb or Paleo. I won’t be going anywhere near a slimming class and I’m not cutting out anything. I’m getting a grip on my eating habits, upping my fitness and taking care of myself, that’s all. But just for the hell of it, I did bake a banana cake today and it tasted so good I had to take a picture and show off a bit.

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(I’m not usually much good at baking…AND I did it with Stevia so I wasn’t convinced it would work….)

Here’s me at the start of the quest. Not exactly looking great but I’m the world’s worst at taking pics.

Starting pic

I took this yesterday in the hotel we stayed at in Brighton, which will be getting a blog post all of its own later. I was just out of the shower and the naff hotel didn’t have a hairdryer…

I’m going to be posting on Instagram as well, I’m SarahClark1971 over there if you want to keep up with me.

Dad….this is for you.

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Dad

140416 Dad

So my last post was almost two months ago…I guess you can probably tell that there’s been a lot going on, and in all honesty I haven’t had the time, energy or inclination to sit and write blog posts because I’ve just not been in the mood for it.

Dad died on 11 August.

Yes, we had well over two years to prepare for it, but you never think it’s going to happen. Especially if your dad fought like mine did to stay around. I still think he’s going to surprise us all by having another miraculous recovery, that yesterday’s funeral was all a bad dream and he’ll be back in that chair dispensing anecdotes and words of wisdom again one day.

Only, he won’t.

I thought I’d feel better once the funeral was over as I’d been dreading that day so much. It was the saddest I have ever felt. His funeral was in two parts; the crematorium which was absolutely hideous but mercifully very short, and the service at his old church where friends and family all came to celebrate his life rather than mourn his death. The church was full, he had so many friends and people who wanted to say goodbye. He would have been pretty chuffed to see the turn out, and hear the lovely things people said about him.

My brother and I both wrote eulogies for him, and we tried to keep it light-hearted because he said he didn’t want misery, he wanted people to have a laugh, and remember him with a smile. I hope I did him proud. I wasn’t sure I’d manage it – thought I might make a show of myself and not be able to say it all, but luckily I did.

The thing is, I feel even sadder today. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the thought of my brother and his husband flying back to Australia tomorrow and knowing I won’t see them for possibly two years. Maybe it’s the finality of everything – we’ve all been so focused on Dad for so long, how he is, whether he’s up or down, whether he’s in or out of the hospice, what the doctors are saying, then the funeral…it’s left a big space in more ways than one. I miss him so much. I never thought it was possible to feel emotions I did in his last days at the hospice, on the one hand just wishing he would let go and be at peace, on the other hand selfishly just wanting him to stay around a little bit longer because I wasn’t ready to lose him quite yet.

The last time I spoke to him properly was three days before he died. He was telling us to pray for him to go peacefully, and talking to me and my sister about the book he’d left for me with his life story questions in it. He was even being cheeky about the nurses and having a bit of a laugh. That’s how I wanted to remember him, and it’s how I will remember him. He passed away peacefully, with Mum by his side, in the St Elizabeth’s Hospice in Ipswich. He wasn’t in pain, and had been asleep for a couple of days, but we had all been sitting with him, talking to and about him, laughing and joking about the good times and silly things we’d done together. I know I saw his eyebrows go up a few times and I swear he almost smiled at one point.

His last wish for me was that I would sort out my health. So I promised him that I would. Right now, I’m still getting my head around everything, but once I’m back to myself again, I’ll be doing that, for you, Dad.

So…RIP my lovely Dad. You were there for all of us when we needed you, I love you, and I hope I was there for you when you needed me too. Gone, but never forgotten…

PS: I’m going to be raising money however I can for the hospice – it’s such an amazing place. If you feel moved to make a donation, if you knew Dad or just know a good cause when you see it, you can donate here:

http://peter.clark.muchloved.com/

Broken into Tiny Pieces

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Baby steps.

That’s how you’re supposed to do it, right?

You know when you get to that point in your life where you reach complete overwhelm? That might or might not be right about now. But I’m OK – this is a cheerful post, despite the title. I’m on this, I’m breaking it down, I’m dealing.

So you know when you have one of those days where you wake up with so many things on your mind that you know you need to address, but you really don’t know where the freaking hell to start?

I had one of those dreams last night that makes you sit up and think about what life could have been like if I’d taken a few different turns in the road, and although it wasn’t a particularly pleasant dream, I woke up with a sense of “I can do this.”

I think when you know there’s so much in your life that you’re not entirely happy about, some of it which you feel completely powerless over and other parts which you think you could probably make a start on but are going to take A LONG TIME, the temptation is to think “Ah, sod that” and just have another biscuit. Or is that just me?

So I’m taking stock of what I’m already doing to upgrade my life and what really does need sweeping out from under the carpet.

I CAN take control of the niggly little health issues that bother me. I have the power to make a start on that and so I have. I’m self-employed and I’m proud of the fact I’ve never had a day off sick in almost eight years but I do need to look after myself.

SELF CARE BABY!

(I’m not good at self-care. Everyone who knows me, knows that.)

I’m making the most of technology and have linked my Fitbit with Map My Walk and My Fitness Pal so that I can cheer myself on in tech. I am SO proud of myself for actually getting off the sofa at 8pm yesterday and going for a walk. That time of day is usually reserved for getting acquainted with the sofa…

I’m going to be really, really brave and look at my money situation as well. This year has been a complete and utter bitch financially, and I’m sorting that at so many different levels. I’m working on my money blocks using techniques from Denise Duffield Thomas’ amazing books, I’m tapping away at all the emotional baggage I have around money and not feeling I deserve it; and in practical terms I’m investing time into Pick Yourself Up at the moment, I’m applying for regular jobs to take the OMIGOD out of looking at my bank account and I’m also going to write a book to go with Pick Yourself Up about how I’m doing all this.

I haven’t decided whether to make it a self-help book or embellish the story a little and make it read like a novel – it’s not started yet!

I’ll blog it as I go along anyway.

I have to look at my overdrafts and accounts today and start small on setting up a savings account and a ‘pay shit off’ account. Starting small is going to be the way to go. My income is dropping by another third next month and I’m slightly worried to say the least!

I want to upgrade my life TOTALLY. There’s so much I need to sort out and so I’m looking at the little things, breaking it into baby steps, using my new EFT Tapping training to help me work on emotional baggage and looking after myself at the same time.

I just had a massive wake up call this weekend and it’s made me think a LOT about where my future lies, what I’m aiming for, my goals, my values and stopping coasting along when I could be doing so much more.

So, yeah. Tiny pieces…

Moley Farty Pants

Very strange naked man farts by fire

My name is Sarah and I have a problem.

OK, so technically, my husband has the problem, but he shares it with me. He’s a chronic farter.

Before anyone tuts and thinks that I might be in all sorts of trouble for sharing this little issue with the world, it’s OK. He’s actually quite proud of it. When he left his last job, there were references to his delightful smell in his leaving card, and most people give him fart-related jokey gifts for Christmas.

I’m just putting out a request for any help that anyone might have in stopping this atrocious habit before he spends more nights on the sofa that he does in bed! Many a night just lately he’s been banished to sleep in the living room in disgrace, after a night (or two) of not only waking me up with a jump with a particularly violent sleep trump, but the aftermath that makes me choke – then have to leave the bedroom in search of air freshener. If you hear a news story about a woman who snaps and smothers her husband with a pillow in the middle of the night, I plead extreme provocation and quite possibly a bit of fart poisoning.

You see, Moley’s emissions are not just amusing little toots that come along every now and again and do no harm. He didn’t earn himself the nickname ‘Rancid Mole’ from a few noisy trumps that made everyone giggle. He can clear a room. A house, even. If you get stuck in a car and he has to let one go it’s all you can do to restrain your gag reflex. It’s vile.

Secrecy, reluctance, talkativeness concept. Woman closed her mou

These farts can strip wallpaper. They make your eyes water. It doesn’t matter what he eats, either. Beans obviously set him off as does cheap Iceland jalapeno pizza but it really doesn’t matter what he eats, he will still fart. I beat him around the head with cushions, I shout, I swear, I make him take charcoal tablets, I threaten him with a room full of scented candles. I even spray him with perfume (although I’ll have to stop that, I’m getting low).

Other than that, he’s really quite lovely. He’s kind, he’s caring, he’s funny. He gives good cuddles, he puts the bins out, washes up and hoovers when I ask him to and he brings me home wine and flowers to cheer me up if I’m having a bad time. So, apart from the smell, I can’t really complain.

If anyone knows a surefire cure for flatulence, please let me know….

Beautiful young woman jumping on a giant flower

Picked up by my Bra Straps and dropped on my head!

Beautiful young woman jumping on a giant flower

 

It’s been a very eventful few weeks, that’s for sure!

But I’m in a better place than I have been, with a renewed sense of determination and purpose, and it’s FRIDAY so it’s all good.

The ‘Bra Straps’ project came to a halt two weeks ago when we went our separate ways. I’m not prepared to slag my ex-business partner off here, but in all honesty I rushed in too quickly, beguiled by a strong personality and a bit of flattery, and the promise of a 50/50 partnership in an idea I really thought could work.

In reality I found out that I was dangerously close to letting myself get steamrollered in a direction that made me feel uncomfortable, My vision for Bra Straps was totally different when I approached her at the start – but in my efforts to try and keep her happy I changed direction a bit and  I started feeling more and more uncomfortable with what we were doing.

Yeah, I’m all for positivity, self improvement and the Law of Attraction. I love me a bit of The Secret and Reiki/EFT – but I wanted to give women practical ideas and support, not empty promises and ideas they couldn’t put into practice. I can tell you to love yourself  until the sun comes down but if you really DON’T then the words are empty without a way of learning HOW, and giving you some support while you do it,

When I tried to put the brakes on the legal side of things until we’d established what we were actually going to be able to offer people, and how we were going to help anyone, it didn’t go down very well, and within a week, I was going it alone. I was OK about it at first, it meant I could go back to my original idea, even if I’d agreed to drop the Bra Straps part of the name. I hadn’t bargained on the financial repercussions of asking my accountant for advice on the partnership, the still unpaid for website or the fact I’d have to rewrite practically EVERYTHING I’d done.

pick1

I’d been wrestling with the fact I promised my Dad I’d sort my health out, and the combination of this and the fact that before we went our separate ways, I was being led down the road of  potentially getting seen in the media, photo shoots and being a public figure meant I also found myself at Weight Watchers for the first time in almost 15 years! It lasted a week. I lost two pounds, went home and binged for two days and realised “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”

I wasn’t sure how to deal with everything so I parked it for a while and focussed on building up the community of fantastic women on the free page for  Pick Yourself Up, and deciding on the way forward for the business. In all honesty, I’m going to have to get a full time job to pay for it all. BUT I’m still working on it and loving it. Instead of focussing just on one person’s experiences, and metaphysical ideas that not everyone can connect with, Pick Yourself Up is going to be about community, support and inspiration. I’m mixing positivity with practicality, writing ebooks and worksheets, setting up webinars (all in good time) and opening up a paid membership site to anyone who has something they want to share and promote. ANYTHING.

PYU

 

So if you are a business owner, you will be able to join for a small fee, and then promote what you do, on the understanding you also get involved and help other people. The same applies to anyone with a charity or interest they want to share, a fundraising project, a book….anything.

It’s open to people who just want to be part of a fun, upbeat and positive community of women, too. You don’t have to have anything to promote. I want it to be somewhere people can go for help, if they feel low, need a bit of a confidence boost or just advice.

I have ALWAYS wanted to be able to make a difference, to help people. This is how I’m going to do it. Why am I charging? Because websites are expensive, I have to pay for images, SEO, MailChimp and everything else, and it takes time to write ebooks. That’s all :)

As I was working on it this week, I decided to offer something I wrote ages ago to members as a freebie – my 35 Things to do before you go on a diet e-book. Of course, I re-read it. I read about the Chill Pod, Fitness Pod and more and remembered – they bloody work, Why the hell had I stopped using them? Pods are from ‘Thinking Slimmer‘ and are MP3′s you can listen to anywhere, dealing with boosting your confidence levels, inspiring you to enjoy fitness, relaxation, and helping you make choices effortlessly that put you back in control of your eating. They worked for me before and I stopped them because I couldn’t be arsed to listen to them.

They are all about 10 minutes long. Really?

Guess what I’m doing now?

Yep. Back listening to them again. I’m worth it, right?

It’s been a roller coaster. Isn’t my life ALWAYS? But I’m still sorting it all out. I’m still determined to get healthy for my Dad, who’s still with us. I promised, and I stick to my promises. I just might take a bit longer but weirdly after a couple of listens I REALLY want to get to the gym and I feel like looking after myself again.

So, you can pick me up, drop me on my head, even point and stare at me while I’m down there. But I don’t stay down for long! Have a fab weekend, lovelies. And if you fancy joining the page, here’s the link: Pick Yourself Up

Picking myself up by my bra straps

pick yourself up by your bra straps

The weirdest thing has happened.

In the last week, maybe it’s the spring sunshine, maybe it’s the fact that any help with my ‘depression’ is on hold until the end of April, or maybe it’s something else, but I am in a freaking awesome mood!

I have to confess, food wise, I’m looking after myself a bit more. I don’t think my default setting of ‘nose first in a family size bag of Kettle Chips’ was doing much for my mood, and after THAT conversation with my dad I did give myself a big telling off. He’s fighting to make the most of whatever time he’s got left, and I owe him a bit of effort too. The doctor said this week she’d never known anyone live as long as Dad has with his condition. I think he’s going for the record…good for you, Dad.

I woke up at silly o’clock one morning this week and all I could think about was that I wanted to think of a way to help people while helping myself. I’ve got a zillion self improvement, NLP, confidence. positive thinking and law of attraction books and I still don’t ‘get it’. Some of the techniques are brilliant but why can’t I do anything with them? Why don’t I have the motivation?

There must be more women like me.

I thought about it a lot, mulling over the idea of setting up a group, writing a course with a support system, but like most of the ideas I’ve had, I parked it, it felt too much like hard work.

A couple of days later, I was at my Damsels in Success meeting and when we got to the part where we do a bit of an intro to ourselves and our businesses, Sophie stood up and told a group full of women her ‘suicide to self love’ story. Something just clicked…she’d been there and come out the other side. We needed to work together.

That afternoon, we spent about six hours in Wetherspoons with food and wine, plotting and scheming. We decided we both wanted to be able to help people, use the knowledge we have and the experiences we’ve had, and bring them to as many people as possible. It was so exciting! I felt a massive buzz when I was talking about how we’re going to create a private group, workbooks, videos and even a full sized book for women who buy self-improvement books but never do the work, who invest in online courses they don’t finish, who follow all the positivity experts on Twitter but think they will never have the life they want.

We want to show them that they WILL…they CAN and it’s all possible.

When we came up with “Pick Yourself Up By Your Bra Straps” we actually did a high five in the middle of Wetherspoons!

Just talking about this, setting up the Facebook and Twitter accounts, buying the domain name and getting the project started has fired me up and the weird thing is I honestly don’t feel like I’m depressed at all any more. Was I ever? Was it just a bad bout of S.A.D (winter blues) mixed in with money woes and a poorly Dad?

I feel like a bit of a fraud, in a weird way. I honestly felt so low a couple of weeks ago that I would have taken pills to feel better. Now I feel enthusiastic and optimistic, and I’m enjoying talking to the gorgeous women on the PYUBYBS Facebook page a LOT.

Life’s weird, isn’t it?

Fat Rant

badass

 

Batten down the hatches, this is going to be an epic rant I’m afraid. It’s good for me, apparently, getting it all out there….

You know how I said I was amazed at all the free help there is for people suffering with depression? Well, yes, there is. But mention you have any issues with eating and those ‘closed’ signs go up.

You would think, that considering the way fat people are vilified, abused and generally treated as something a bit sub-human by a large section of society, people who get up off of their large arses, put their hands up in the air and meekly confess they are really damn well struggling to cope with overeating, binge eating and being fat, would get a bit of support.

Apparently No. Not only are we sub-human greedy, stupid, lazy, ugly pigs who spend all our lives hanging around Greggs, we’re also not entitled to any help. If we’re depressed we may be able to get in the back door by asking for help with that and THEN talking about having issues with eating caused by being depressed. But I was advised today to keep that a bit quiet to start with at least, because otherwise I might be sent away and told “Sorry, we don’t deal with eating disorders”.

In the town where I live, I have two choices. Pay for a therapist at £55 a session, or wait until the end of the month for a four-week support group with B-Eat. That’s it. I’m currently pulling my hair out because Dad’s really unwell and I’m stressing about that at the same time as beating myself up for not losing any weight or feeling like I’m making in-roads into my eating problems (which is what I promised him I would do.)

cookie

I don’t want to go to Overeaters Anonymous. The thought of making a list of people I need to make amends to over my addictive behaviour (sorry I ate your Christmas chocolates, Moley) or who I’ve done bad things to in the past…or a list of people who’ve hurt me that I need to forgive…it fills me with dread.

I hate that sort of thing, I also really don’t want to give control of my eating up to a ‘higher power’ (it seems to have been hijacked by a lower power as it is) and I don’t know how you can possibly abstain from eating. I don’t binge eat in the stereotypical ‘eat everything in sight and feel sick afterwards’ way, so I can’t exactly abstain from binging – I just eat all day long on a bad day, a bit of this, a bag of that….I don’t see how I could do it. Some days I don’t, really. Some days I eat like everyone else, but I’m just still fat and depressed.

Also, they advise you to stick to a plan – some people do Slimming World or Weight Watchers, avoid trigger foods (I don’t really have them) and check in daily with a ‘sponsor’ to make sure you do everything. OK I like the one day at a time principle but the whole approach to food issues just doesn’t fit me. And it seems like a step backwards to go to Slimming World and call someone every day to tell them whether I stuck to my Syns. It’s bad enough doing that every week!

abstinence

So I have got to wait for a month and then go to the B-Eat sessions. If they get back to me to confirm I’m booked on them. And after four weeks, what do I do then? There’s a support message board but it’s not the same. I feel like I want someone to just say “OK Sarah, try this,” and help me out a bit with actual strategies and tools to help me manage my eating and moods. The woman I saw today suggested I take the tools from the Managing Depression four week course, which doesn’t start until May (and there may be a waiting list so I don’t even get in for May) use them to help get a grip on feeling low, manage moods and stress, and then try to get a one to one CBT referral from there. I think I’ll do that but all the time I’m worrying about having promised Dad I’ll get a grip and thinking “But I’m not actually doing anything….I can’t!”

I’ll keep plugging on with the book. It’s based on CBT techniques and I like the idea of fixing myself. So far I’ve realised I overeat when I’m anxious or feeling fed up. Also when I’m bored and my mind won’t shut up, I eat to distract myself. And when I am faced with something I need to write but I have absolutely no inspiration, I wander into the kitchen to see if that helps. It’s clearly a distraction technique for me, from feelings, stresses, boredom…

I also started the online ‘Managing Depression’ course with The Big White Wall. So maybe I’m doing something. Just not what I want to be doing.

I will beat this. I will…