Wednesday, 14 August 2019

'Step Away From the Cake...' - My First Week at Slimming World

I was always one of those really annoying people that ate what I liked and didn't put any weight on. I've never really had to worry about my weight, fortunately, all throughout my 20's, I was a healthy size 8-10. 

I have a huge sweet tooth too, I'm about the cake!! haha
My friends would be on diets and I'd be the one hitting the takeaways every weekend and pretty much eating crap all the time!


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When I turned 30 I had Taylor, who was a hefty 10lbs at birth! So as you can imagine I had a lot of weight to lose, and although it didn't come off quickly, with the help of some at-home lipolysis wraps and a daily superfruits drink, I was back in a size 10 and still eating as I wished. However, as soon as I hit 35, everything changed.

Maybe it was my metabolism.
Maybe it was my 'eat what I like' lifestyle finally catching up with me.
Maybe it was the fact that around this time I became full-time self-employed which meant lots of sitting around on the laptop, not much exercise and a LOT of snacking!!
Maybe it was a mixture of all them. 

Just a few months ago I started to feel bigger, I started to feel uncomfortable in my clothes. I've never been one to weigh myself, not since I was trying to lose the baby weight 5 years ago. For me, the numbers didn't matter, it was how I felt in myself, in my clothes that was important, and I was starting to feel frumpy, my clothes were getting tighter, I was struggling to dress in clothes that felt comfortable, that FIT me! So it was time to get the scales out... 


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The numbers on the scales shocked me. 
I had no idea I was that heavy. 
I had never been this heavy, other than during and post-pregnancy.

The final push for me was a photo of myself I posted on my Instagram. I didn't like the way I looked. I felt uncomfortable every time I looked at it. 

Something had to change. 
I stock some amazing diet products in my Online Shop that have always helped and I have always had great results (when I do them properly... ha) but I'm known for giving up too quickly (I fancy pizza, I have the pizza!!), having next to no willpower when it comes to sugary snacks and I tend to fail when doing these things alone. A quick fix is great if I stick to it, but I needed a lifestyle change, and I needed accountability. 

Hence why I found myself following the 'Slimming World' signs up the stairs of my local leisure centre and feeling my heart rate rise as I headed for the door. I walked in to see a few ladies wandering around, seating themselves in the semi-circle of seats around a table full of food, books, leaflets and all sorts. I'll be totally honest, when I saw the sign 'NEW MEMBERS WAIT HERE' in the corner, part of me almost turned back through the doors. But I sat myself down, flicked through the Slimming World magazine left on my seat and read through the leaflets and literature that surrounded the 'new members area' waiting to see if anyone was going to join me. I needn't have worried, I was quickly joined by 3 other newbies and the lovely consultant came over and chatted to us about what it all involved before we joined the other ladies. 

Stepping on their scales, I was even heavier than I originally thought. But strangely I didn't feel too bad as I knew I was now on the right track and knew what I needed to do to shift the weight and feel better about myself.


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Slimming World has been around for 50 years now, but for those that don't know much about it, it's a flexible, 'no-hunger' eating plan that is described as 'food optimising' rather than a rigid weightloss 'diet'. So you can enjoy delicious, satisfying, healthy meals by filling yourself up on 'Free Foods' such as meat and fish, pasta, rice and eggs, paying close attention to those described as 'Speed Foods' like fruit and veg, which will aid weight loss, ensuring you get your (measured) 'Healthy Extras' which provide a good balance of nutrients, for example, milk and cheese for calcium, and bread and cereals for fibre, and then being more mindful about your 'treats', those things that we all love the most but ain't so good for ya! These are called 'Syns' and this enables us to still have a little bit of what we fancy but count them within our daily Syns allowance to ensure we don't have too much.

My consultant, Roxanne was absolutely lovely! She explained everything in simple terms, was relatable, down to earth, supportive and made herself available for any help or advice. I think the support and accountability of a good consultant and group is definitely what I need to help me work towards my target.

I walked home from the meeting (I know right, starting off on the right track!) feeling excited about the journey and ready to get home with my pack of booklets to read through and start planning my meals for the week. I took my 'before' photos, recorded my measurements in my diary and was ready to go.


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I'm now coming towards the end of my first week. 

By the time this post goes live, it'll be weighing day. I can't tell you how nervous I am about not losing any weight. What if I don't? What if I've gained? I mean, imagine!! I'm sure many new members often feel like this but I feel like I'm eating more food than ever before, having 3 pretty substantial meals a day compared to my 2 very light meals and a big dinner as before, and that's if I had time for breakfast! But I know these meals are full of Free foods and Speed foods. And I've stuck to my 'average of 10 syns' a day goal and although there have been a few moments I've had to remind myself not to head to the kitchen to grab something sweet, I've not really missed snacking at all. I've enjoyed all my meals, I've been drinking my Detox Tea, which is botanically infused tea including ingredients such as White Tea, Puerh Tea, Oolong Tea, Green Tea, Rose Petal, Black Tea, Persimmon, Chamomile, Dandelion & Ginger which can help to boost a weightloss / detox diet, as a yummy iced tea with loads of fruit. I've stuck to plan and I've been stepping away from the laptop and going out for short walks, and overall I've been feeling really good. 

There have been a few moments I've panicked... 'what can I eat at the carvery, I wonder what it was cooked in?', 'I wonder how many syns that slice of birthday cake had in, have I ruined everything?' and 'Just one more rice cake to feed my snack habit!!' but I think for my first week I haven't done too badly at all and I'm really hoping I've lost something and I'm on the way to a more happier, comfortable, slimmer me!!

So ladies, WISH ME LUCK!!!
I'll keep you posted!



Have you done Slimming World before?
Do you have any tips for me?



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Register as a VIP customer for 10% off your first order.
If you need any help or advice with anything within my Online Shop, give me a shout!


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Monday, 29 July 2019

Creating A Positive Mindset

If you want your life to be more enjoyable and to get the most out of it that you possibly can, it is going to be necessary at some point to think about how you are approaching things with regard to your mindset. Your mindset towards anything that happens in life really does make a profound difference to how things turn out, and it’s something that you can always work on if you want things to be a little better. As it happens, there are a number of things you can do to create a more positive mindset in no time, and in this article we are going to look at this in a little more detail. By focusing on some of these things, you will find that you can much more easily create a mindset that is going to really serve you as well as you would hope.


Being Positive Brings Good Things

First up, it’s good to be able to remind yourself just why you would want to try and be as positive as possible in life. The truth of the matter is that when you are positive, you will find that this tends to bring about more good things in your life. This can seem almost magical and impossible until you try it out and witness it for yourself, but it’s something that many people rely on quite a lot to bring about good things in their life. The more positive you are in general, the more likely it is that you will be able to find good things happening in your life, and that is definitely a good reason to try and be more positive. Whether it is a case of thinking about the law of attraction, or some other model, you will find that this is likely to be useful for you.

The Bright Side

The main way in which you need to generate positivity in your life is by focusing on the bright side as much as you can. That is something that some people might find easier than others, but as long as you are working on it you should find that you can develop it. It is very much like a muscle that will grow if you exercise it, but will disappear if you don’t. As long as you are focusing on the bright side of any situation, you will find that you can much more easily get through it with positivity, and that is an extremely powerful skill for anyone to develop in life.


Creating More Good

Finally, remember that you will find it a lot more natural to be positive if you are actually doing something to create more good in the world. That is something that you might find to be a little challenging, but the more that you practice it the more naturally it will come, and soon enough this will make a huge difference to you and your life - and all the people around you as well.







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Sunday, 28 July 2019

5 Reasons Why YOU Should Be Exfoliating

I'll hold my hands up, I didn't start truly looking after my skin properly until my late twenties. (And even then I was still using makeup wipes to remove my makeup each night!!) Nowadays I'm so passionate about skincare and working towards healthy, glowing skin, particularly now I'm in my mid-30's and starting to see signs of ageing.
One skincare step that often gets missed in many peoples routine is EXFOLIATING. 
Yet it is probably one of the most important steps! 
I wear makeup daily and although I cleanse my skin well, I know that regular exfoliation is so important!
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Five Reasons Why YOU Should Be Exfoliating

1. It Unclogs your Pores 
Imagine all that makeup, dirt, grime, dead surface cells and god knows what else on your skin. Even with a good cleansing routine, you're not always going to get squeaky clean skin. Regular exfoliation helps to clean out your pores.

2. It Prevents Acne
Acne occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. Cleaning out and unclogging the pores will prevent blemishes, whiteheads, blackheads and pimples.

3. It Evens Out Skin Tone
Exfoliating can help to remove dry and dead skin cells leaving the skin looking and feeling more smoother over time. This can help with the appearance of acne scars, dark spots, hyperpigmentation, etc.

4. It can Reduce the Appearance of Fine Lines and Wrinkles
As well as a newly exposed layer of skin reflecting the light better, meaning that lines can become visible, increased circulation and cell turnover keeps skin fresh and  regular exfoliation helps to stimulate collagen synthesis which can improve the skin's texture, integrity, and keep the skin looking plump, tight, and youthful.

5. It Prepares the Skin for Other Products
All that money you spend on those amazing serums, moisturisers and all those other magical products that help make your skin look good.. they ain't no good if they can't penetrate the skin because your pores are clogged! Dead skin becomes a barrier between your skin and your magical moisturisers and serums. By removing it you're allowing everything to work much better. Regular exfoliation helps other products penetrate deeper into the skin.


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Simply put, exfoliation is the removal of dead surface skin cells from the outermost layer of the skin and although there are a few different types of exfoliation, it's important to use something suitable for your skin. 


So what can you use?

A Chemical Exfoliant
Chemical exfoliation includes things like acids or enzymes that help dissolve surface skin cells. This can be done in a salon by a professional or there are products on the market that include ingredients such as Retinol, Glycolic Acid (AHA's), Salicylic Acid (BHA's) and Enzymes. These can create irritation so it is recommended to use no more than 1-2 times a week.

A Physical Exfoliant
These usually come in the form of a scrub including large and small granules such as seeds or crushed nuts, jojoba beads, pumice and other substances, which essentially when rubbed over the skin can physically remove the dead skin cells. Again, this can cause irritation with excessive use and it's important to find one that suits your skin. 


My favourite exfoliator is a cream exfoliant that unveils cleaner, brighter skin using natural AHA's found in crushed fruit enzymes. Radiance Exfoliating Cream gently, but effectively removes dead and damaged skin cells, clean congested pores and blackheads without harsh abrasives that can damage and scratch the delicate new skin cells. I really do notice the difference when I use it even just once a week. I can't stop touching my skin! (which I don't recommend of course... keep the hands away from the face!! haha!!)

I love that it's powered with anti-oxidants and toning properties; containing ACB Fruit Mix, natural AHA's from sugar cane, bilberries, sugar maple, orange, and lemon which helps to improve exfoliation and enhance cellular proliferation while adding moisture to the skin. 


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Daily, as part of my evening skincare routine, I use a really gentle and natural facial exfoliator in the form of a Konjac Sponge. Konjac sponges are an ancient beauty tool, used for centuries in Japan as a facial cleanser and herbal remedy. Konjac root, with its unique medicinal properties and net-like structure, is gentle on the skin, yet powerfully cleansing. They're super easy to use too, just soak them in warm water for a few minutes, then massage over the face and neck.




Do you exfoliate regularly?




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Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Helping your Closest Plan their Special Day

It’s no secret that the work which goes into planning a wedding can often be exhaustive. You will have to work extremely hard to plan everything, and the months will tick by faster than you’d ever imagined, making it difficult to keep up with everything. For this post, though, it’s time to think about other people’s weddings. Those closest to you will have to go through the same pain to organise their own special day, but you have a lot to offer when it comes to helping them. To give you some ideas to support you through this, this post will be exploring some of the best ways to make your friend’s weddings easier for them.



Research

One of the biggest parts of the wedding planning process comes down to research. Not only do you need to organise a lot of different services to work together, but you also need to figure out which companies are likely to do the best job. As a friend of the bride or groom, you should know the happy couple very well. This will make it easy for you to find ideas and options which they might like. Of course, when you offer suggestions to people in this position, it’s worth keeping in mind that they will probably have a clear vision of what they want, and you can’t be offended if they do something different.

Booking & Calling Around

Once venues, businesses, and other features of the wedding have been chosen, the work will turn to get in contact with a host of different people to iron the plans out. They don’t need to talk to the couple themselves to do this, as long as you know the date and rough times of the wedding day. This can give the couple a chance to work on other parts of the wedding, like figuring out who will be on the guest list. You just need to make sure that you’re all communicating properly.

Picking Clothing

Tradition often dictates that a groom shouldn’t see the bride’s dress before the big day. Likewise, it’s also nice to create some mystery around the groom’s attire, too. To help in stoking this, you can go with each of the partners to try on their clothing, giving them the chance to break away from one another during the process. This is also another area which you can research for them, making it easier for them to visit businesses which they know have options which will fit their theme. There are countless wedding clothing companies out there, and you should be able to use one which is fairly local.

Invitations

Making a guest list for a wedding is always a challenge, with limited spaces at the big event and loads of people who will want to attend. Once it comes to sending out invites to all of these people, the happy couple will be tired of thinking about it. Sorting out the physical invites for a wedding is far easier than a lot of people think. Options like Pure Invitation wedding invites give you the opportunity to have all of these pieces made by a professional company. Once you’ve got the invites themselves sorted out, you will only have to get them posted before the job is done. Of course, you can also help to ensure that all of the RSVPs are collected.

Stag/Hen Nights

It’s common for both brides and grooms to have parties shortly before their wedding day. This will usually be done with their closest friends, and this means that you’ll only be able to go with one side on this one. Planning this event is something which should be easy to take on, with all of the work you do along the way benefiting you, too. In most cases, this will involve a night on the town, some activities to keep it fun, and plenty of time to relax before the big day.



Have you helped a friend plan a Wedding before?






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