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Day 52 of 100 Days Challenge

Some of you have been following my quest to lose weight on my Instagram page, link attached..

I’m sorry I haven’t posted here in such a long time…

Life has been busy.

Lots going on…

Lots to think of…

Lots to do…

My head is all over the place…

But here I am, so hello.

 I’ve continued on my 100 Days challenge and it’s been the longest in a very long time that I’ve stayed 100% on my diet.

100Days

Today is Day 52  and I’m mega proud of all the ladies that have survived so far on my Challenge. 29 ladies and one man, started the Challenge, 16 ladies remain…

Of the 14 of us, that have submitted Day 50 weights, we lost a whooping 199.5 pounds! That is, 90.7kg!14 stone, 3 lb and 15.3483 oz!

I am also very happy to report that in the last 51 days, I have lost 9.4kg, 20.7lbs, 1 stone, 6 lb and 11.5752 oz. 

Days 1 to 25 were fab on the weight loss front and I lost 6.8kg, 15lbs, 1 stone 1 lb in the first 25 Days, although the majority of my losses naturally happened in the first 10 days.

Days 25 to 50 were mega challenging. Lots of stalling and weight gain for no identifiable reason and in that quarter, I only lost a pathetic 4 pounds.

I am really hoping for better news on Days 50 to 75.

Following a frustrating 2/3 weeks, on Saturday, (Day 48), I decided to suspend the Cambridge diet and place myself on my own low carb diet, starting with a few days to a week of just protein, psyllium husk and milk, to get things moving again.

I am glad this appears to have stopped the frustrating weight gain and since Saturday, in just the last 3 days, I have lost 1.6kg; 3.5lbs.

The quest continues!

Please follow me on Instagram where I try to post every day.

 

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Day 759 – 100 Days Weight Loss WhatsApp Challenge

Sorry but no more new Challengers after Thursday night (16/3). We now need to concentrate on preparing the 28 who have signed up.

Anyone who has been following my blog knows that as my marriage unexpectedly exploded in 2015, and I saw myself facing the divorce from hell throughout 2015 and most of 2016, I continued to try to lose weight, albeit taking a very long scenic route and being on the diet on and off and off and off and off and on and off and on and off!

I’m sick of suspending life to climb on and off the diet wagon.

I’m good with weight maintaining because I actually enjoy low carbing and exercising, but I need to get to a comfortable weight first and I’m far from where I need to be.

Sadly, all the on and off and on and off and back again and off again mean that I have made little progress in the last six  months.

insanity

And so, I’ve decided to do something different…

Something I have never ever done before…

I’m going to go on a 100 Days Challenge of staying on my diet 100% with total accountability and total commitment.

100Days

This time though, I will be doing it with a bunch of other people.

And so, two days ago, I posted on Facebook and Instagram inviting friends, family and complete strangers, to join me in this challenge.

As of right now, 26 awesome people have taken up the challenge to change our lives together in 100 days.

If you would like to join us, send me your contact details on my Facebook or Instagram or email me.

Start Date: Monday 20th March, 2017

End Date: Tuesday 27th June, 2017

100 days

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Day 743: Meals for One – Instagram it.

Last night, one of my closest friends who lives in the States asked who eats all the meals I post on Instagram as she was curious whether I do that much entertaining.

I replied that I post low carb, low calorie (200 to 300 calories), healthy dinners I cook for…myself. I said that I still wanted to have lovely dinners, the sort you would cook for/with a partner, even though I am single and live on my own.

Being single and living on my own does not mean that I should resort to TV dinners or sad looking supermarket meals for one.

Following our discussions, I had time to think about this and as minor as it might sound, I am proud that I have not given up on life or gone for easy options when it comes to eating for one.

I love food…therein lies my problem with weight. And I love experimenting with food. I am proud that I have continued to do so.

But why one earth should lovely dinners be confined to only those who are coupled up? What’s next? Transform myself into the stereotypical spinster (what an ugly word) surrounded by countless cats?

No way.

Self love is about being kind to myself and doing those things that give me joy, which include cooking, and having delicious, sometimes elaborate and interesting home cooked meals…for one.

In other news, following my latest restart on my diet, as of this morning’s weigh-in, I have lost just over a stone in 8 days; 6.6 kg. Now, if I can lose 3 more stones, I will probably be done with this diet quest…

Please follow me on Instagram, belleslowcarbworld  where I post photos and recipes of of my low carb, low calories and healthy dinners.

Below are photos of some of the meals from the last week. Click on the photos for recipes.

instagram1

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Day 737 – Men Who Kill Their Wives

I haven’t written in a while.

I’m not entirely sure why.

Perhaps because I haven’t felt the need to lay bare all my innermost thoughts.

Perhaps because life has just been ticking on.

I don’t know why.

Today however, I feel compelled to write by the news that the partner of the writer Helen Bailey has been found guilty of her murder. This news has shocked me to the core and it is so very sad that this lady, who thought she had found her happy ending, after the 2011 death of her husband while they were on holiday in Barbados, will be so tragically killed by the widower she had met through her grief, for what seems to be for financial gain.

I read Helen’s story thinking, there but for the grace of God go I…

there-goes-i

Last week, I finally watched a TV drama I had recorded last year, called the Secret.

This is based on the true story of the deeply religious Irish dentist, Colin Howell, who in 1991, together with the married woman he was having an affair with, Hazel Stewart, another church member, conspired to kill both of their spouses, his wife Lesley, and mother of his four children, including a nine month old baby, and Trevor, the father of his lover’s two children, a boy and a girl.

They believed killing their spouses would allow them to live happily ever after.

They were wrong.

Colin and Hazel literally got away with murder as the police and coroners bought into their faked joint suicides for their spouses. Their sordid affair lasted a couple more years, before being ended by his lover. Such was her guilt after the deaths, that they would even have consensual sex with her gassed on his dentist’s chair, so that he could have his way with her, without her being consumed with guilt.

10 years after the murders, this dentist, confessed to his second wife, a mother of two, with whom he went on to have five more children, about the murders. She chose to keep quiet and went on to have four more children with this murderer, to add to the one child they had together at the time.

Nearly 20 years after the murders, Colin voluntarily confessed to the police after believing that God was punishing him following the death of his first son Matt, and being swindled out of around £350,000. He had previously had “signs” that had convinced him that God had forgiven him for the murders.

He had admitted being haunted by his wife calling the name of 5 year old Matt as he strangled her.

He also voluntarily confessed to sexually assaulting several patients while they were under anaesthetics.

He was sentenced to 21 years in prison after pleading guilty to the murders.

But for his confessions, these murders would never have been discovered.

His lover Hazel who pleaded not guilty, was later found guilty of both murders and sentenced to 18 years.

His second wife who had chosen to keep quiet about her murderous husband, escaped prosecution. She moved back to the US, where she was originally from.

Some men kill.

Some men kill their wives. 

Women kill too.

And while I admit that this post might seem like possibly the biggest admission that I have made in this blog, I firmly believe that I could easily have joined the statistics of the many women (and men) who have been killed by their supposedly loving spouses or partners, who found the idea of murder, more palatable than divorce or merely ending a relationship.

As my marriage disintegrated in 2015, my ex husband would make countless comments about killing me.

I was distressed by these comments and he would say he was merely “joking”.

He said on three occasions that it was a shame I was on a diet as he was no longer cooking for me and therefore, could not poison me.

At the last minute, he changed travel plans on our last holiday over Easter 2015 to Milan, supposedly to work on our marriage when unbeknown to me, he was sending his lover £70 flowers and expensive chocolates. He chose to drive to the airport, instead of taking a taxi, and when I queried why, given as we would always take taxis to airports, he referred to a story about a man who had killed his wife by carefully crashing their car, having removed her seatbelt, just beforehand. He insisted he was joking.

His several “jokes” about killing me and how my death would be easier than divorce, were such that before travelling to Milan, I had written a long email to my sister referencing all his comments and the dates they were made, and giving her our travel details, something I had never done before. I wrote that if anything happened to me in Milan, she should hand my email over to the police.

I had felt very unsafe with this man and I was resolved, like I said in that email, that after Milan, I would have to decide whether my marriage was worth saving given all the “jokes” about my death.

The seriousness of my email to my sister was such that she expected me to be checking in with my family frequently, during that trip. On one occasion when she hadn’t heard from me for a few hours, because I was out and about and didn’t have internet or whatsapp access, she had been worried enough to have rung my hotel several times, leaving messages for me to make urgent contact, as well as shared her concerns with another sister.

In Milan, my ex husband would “joke” about pushing me from the top of the Duomo Cathedral. He refused to climb to the top on his own, when I was unable to explore with him which was unusual as he wouldn’t normally object to exploring on his own.

Perhaps more telling was the one night in Milan, when I was violently sick all night, throwing up and with serious diarrhoea, while my ex husband slept very peacefully beside me. This happened the only time I had eaten or drunk anything bought solely by my ex in my absence. That night, he had brought some latte back to the hotel for both of us and yet, I was the only one who had been so violently ill.

I have no doubt whatsoever that my ex had tried to poison me on that day.

As our marriage crumbled during that holiday, my ex insisted on taking me out shopping, going from street to street, all very carefully mapped out by him.

It was a most bizarre day when he insisted on buying anything I as much as looked at. Several handbags including an expensive Prada bag, several sandals and shoes including Jimmy Choo shoes, expensive Jo Malone perfumes, expensive Acqua di Parma toiletries and all sorts of unneeded vulgar spending.

I have no doubt whatsoever as I took photos of the ridiculous shopping bags through my tears, that these were my ex’s defence of how could I have killed my wife? I love my wife. Can’t you see all the things that I bought her?

Four days after our return from Milan, on a Sunday, my ex insisted that Sunday morning on visiting the seaside, instead of a hike he had planned. He “joked” several times about pushing me from the pier into the sea to drown given that I can’t really swim.

After he left our former home, I would find a knife inside my ex husband’s drawer on his side of the beside table, of the bed we slept together.

When I asked him what a knife was doing inside his bedside table, and sent him a picture of the knife, he lied and insisted that he had never had a knife in the drawer that he used exclusively at the time.

This is a long post with all sorts of serious comments but my aim isn’t to depress myself and all my readers.

I describe my ex husband as “evil”. That ugly word is not a word I use lightly.

I do not believe that this man has always been “evil”.

I still believe that he went through and might still be going through, some sort of mental breakdown.

But the person who I strongly believed wanted to kill me and who did all the heartbreaking things during our divorce is an “evil” man capable of anything, including cold blooded murder.

I am not without blame as I should have gotten him out of my life the very first time he “joked” about killing me, let alone the countless references and the seemingly well thought out scenariors he painted, as to how he might have killed me.

I should have reported his comments immediately to the police.

I should have immediately gone to the police and been tested on return to the UK or even in Milan, on the night I firmly believe he tried to poison me.

But to be fair to myself, at the time, I was not aware of the lengths this man could go through, or just how evil, he truly is/was.

When I read these stories of men and women, who haven’t survived being murdered by their nearest, closest and most trusted spouses, I thank God that I came out of my marriage with my life.

I thank God that my mum and siblings do not have to spend their lives mourning me and wondering whether my death was really an accident, as described, or murder.

I thank God for the gift of life.

May Helen and all the men and women like her, murdered by their spouses and partners, rest in perfect peace.

This is still a diet blog, and as such, I should really write about my diet.

This year has been full of ups and downs on the diet front but right now, I am on it. I’m not stressing about the fact that I wasn’t on it last week.

I fail, I restart and I keep going.

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Week Two, Day 558: Let Them Eat…Salad

It’s been a frustrating week on the weight front.

I have done my bit by staying on my diet 100% and my body has simply refused to play ball. I was 89.8 kg on Saturday, and since then, it’s been ups and downs, mostly ups and today, I am 90.6 kg. 

The weather in London has been very hot all week, and my consultant Mandy thinks it could be water retention which would of course make sense even though I’m very good with water, drinking around 3600ml or more of water daily.

It could also be hormonal. For the first time in years, my period is over 10 days later.

And no, there is zero per cent chance of me being pregnant.

On the Cambridge diet, I am allowed 80g in total of specific vegetables daily. This week, I have been craving big bowls of salad, the sort of salad I used to have when I was low carbing. A big bowl full of goodness. A bowl of mixed green salads (allowed on Cambridge diet as part of 80g daily allowance), black olives (not allowed), cucumber (allowed), salad onions (allowed), sweetcorn (not allowed), carrots (not allowed), assorted peppers (only green pepper allowed), chick peas (allowed as part of daily protein allowance)

A voice in my head is constantly asking what sort of stupid diet means that I cannot have a big bowl of salad if I fancy one?

C’mon, no one has ever gained weight by eating just salad.

I tell that voice that this is the smallest I’ve been in years.

chopped salad

OK, screw all that. 

If I still don’t lose any weight tomorrow, I’m having roast lamb, sweet potatoes and a big bowl of salad this weekend.

There are worst crimes against dieting.

It’s not like I’m planning to eat pizzas and cakes…

And who knows, a departure from the norm might shock my body and kickstart weight loss once again.

Week Two, Day 558’s Verdict: today’s weight 90.6 kg, week’s weight loss 0.1 kg gain (0.22 pounds); total weight loss;  33.2 kg; 73.04 pounds; 5 stones 3 pounds

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Week One, Day 550: Make the Rest of My Life…the Best of My Life

I haven’t posted for over a month even though I have a hell of a lot to report.

I’m not exactly sure why, other than perhaps I have been a little overwhelmed by the last few weeks and the reality that this is it, the rest of my life.

Let me explain…

Five weeks ago, my ex and I spent a very very very long day in court, as in went into court at 10 am and we were in and out to see the judge several times until we were finally thrown out just after 5 pm.

For anyone who has been following my diary, I am super thrilled to announce that the end result, is that I got the only thing that I had told my ex from Day 1 of the nightmare was non-negotiable; I get to live in my beautiful home where I have lived for over 12 years, and lovingly extended and refurbished in a 9 months from hell, which only ended a month before I found out about my ex ‘s affair.

No-Place-Like-Home-750x330

I am enormously relieved that I will not be forced out of my home or be forced to sell, something my ex had been pushing for even, in that second court hearing, including once giving me a 5 day ultimatum at some point, to agree to immediately sell my home.

My home will not be sold.

I can stay here for the rest of my life, should I choose to do so and in exactly 5 weeks time, my ex will transfer his share of the equity to my sole name.

I had not realised that I had psychologically stopped myself from enjoying my lovely home because of the uncertainties of whether or not I could stay here.

For the first time in 16 months, I can exhale.

I still find myself going around various rooms in my four bedroom home and my garden, enjoying various things, as if seeing them for the first time.

These roses and the rosemary bushes under the umbrella (in the pictures below) had been planted at a time when my fate seemed so uncertain; there is something to be said about the power of positive thinking.

garden august 2016garden roses august 2016

The saddest part of the settlement is the fact that in return for his share of his house, I will pay my ex, a figure that is exactly what I had instructed my lawyers to offer him in September 2015.

Instead of making a counter-offer and entering negotiations for settlement, my ex had refused the offer, refused to counter-offer and instead, we got heartbreaking crap like him asking for proof of serious illnesses he had witnessed first hand for 14.5 years and comments saying my desire to stay in my home of over 12 years was “aspirational.

Had my ex chosen to negotiate, this matter would have easily ended last year without the need for two court hearings, unbearable stress or both of us spending well in excess of £50,000 on legal fees.

litigation-only-makes-lawyers-fat-quote-1

The settlement reached by my ex and I was a clean break which means that any maintenance payments were consolidated into me having the lion share of the capital in my home, something I am very happy with as I am certain if there had been a maintenance order, my ex would have done anything to wiggle out of paying, including moving to another country, which he could easily do with his current bank job.

My lawyers had been opposed to a clean break which my ex had insisted upon.

In the end, following a very long day where my ex and his lawyers had behaved so badly, my solicitor and barrister had declared they had never dealt with such pettiness and unpleasantness.

In what was a most difficult day, I saw my lawyers transform from young, highly intelligent professionals, to human observers, giving me hugs, back and shoulder rubs, a few loud out loud explicit descriptions of the other side that most certainly helped to ease the tension, plus laughter and humour from the three of us on a very difficult day.

One of them summed up the day by saying.

“I am so happy you got your clean break and won’t have anything to do with this unpleasant man who would have wiggled out of any maintenance anyway. No amount of money would have compensated for having this nasty, little man in your life.”

I am extremely grateful to God for the deal reached at this second court hearing, which was massively better than what I would have gotten on a final hearing, especially when my barrister indicated that I would have had a 10% chance of keeping my beautiful home, if we had gone to a final hearing. 

i-have-so-much-to-be-thankful-for

Three weeks ago, my ex came to my home to collect the remainder of his things. I got the chance to ask him a few questions including why he asked for evidence of my illnesses or why his lawyer, who is in the same law firm as the sister of the woman he had an affair with, chose to email me on our wedding anniversary to say he wanted a divorce.

His answers to all were that he was “acting under legal advice.”

It’s called legal ADVICE for a reason.

Someone advises, and you, a thinking, intelligent, human being with free will, who isn’t a brainless, dead, zombie, will choose which advice to accept or/and modify, like any decent human being would do.

Asking for evidence of genuine illnesses you experienced first hand over 14.5 years and even attended various hospital appointments with me, or coming late by over 2 and a half hours without a mail, a text, a WhatsApp or anything to indicate your lateness but instead, bring along a locksmith to break into my home, is the act of a callous, heartless cad.

I also asked my ex why he has been so angry with me and what had caused him to behave as badly as he’s done. He said he wasn’t angry with me. He insisted he hadn’t behaved badly at all and all he had done was under “legal advisement

I do not need an apology from my ex to move on with my life but perhaps one day, if his madness ever clears, he might realise the devastation his behaviour has caused not just me, but my family, who did nothing but love him.

But what’s done is done and I have moved on.

The last few weeks have been full of activities, including raising a mortgage to pay for my ex’s share of my home. I have also managed to revert to my maiden name in most of my documents even though the decree absolute is still pending.

I have had a week of horrible back pains and the joys of the olympics, staying awake two nights to watch the incredible Usain Bolt win 100m and 200m gold medals.

I am very happy that this nightmare is finally over except for the extraordinary matter of my ex taking me to a very busy family court to fight over a 3 year old Mac Computer we shared when we lived together and which I have been using alone for the last 16 months that I have been on my own, even though he bought himself a new mac last year and is very much aware of the fact that I have continued to use this mac.

But that is a pathetic story for another day! Sadly, for him, one that shows that my ex remains mentally unstable, still in the middle of his mid-life crisis and completely disengaged from the real world.

I am a little overwhelmed that I now have the rest of my life to lead and it is down to me, no one else but me to make a success of it and to make it a fulfilled and happy life.

It is down to me to make the rest of my life, the best of my life

responsible for my own happiness

This is still primarily, a weight loss diary. So I must talk about that.

I have had weeks, months of ups and downs on the Cambridge diet. Lose weight, gain weight, lose weight, gain weight but it is finally time to concentrate, focus and stick with the diet. I worry whether I will ever get to the finish line but that will never happen, if I keep messing around.

And so, this Monday, after a crap week and a weekend where I purposely ate crap in other to effect a whoosh for a restart, I have once again, for the million times, restarted the Cambridge Diet.

I am on a personal challenge to lose 1 stone (6.4kg) in 28 days.

It is only Day 5 and I have already lost 5.1kg (11 pounds) and I am already 79.7% to the target of losing a stone by 12th September. 

I pledge to revert to reporting my weight every week. Perhaps that will help keep me on the diet.

73 loss

Week One, Day 550’s Verdict: today’s weight 90.5 kg, week’s weight loss 5.1 kg (11.22 pounds); total weight loss;  33.3 kg; 73.3 pounds; 5 stones 3 pounds

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Day 484 -My Dinners Rock: Lentil & Chicken Curry with Cauliflower Mash

Day 8 of staying 100% on my diet. Last week, I worked out 3 days, aiming for the same this week.

My workout today was basically 10 minutes easy ride on a recliner bike, 10 mins easy cycle on TechnoGym’s Top XT which is basically like cycling with your arms, and using 2.5lbs dumbbell and yoga band, I did three exercises that work the biceps and triceps, doing 30 repetitions of each exercise.

At the end of my work out, I had an egg. Given that I am on a low calorie diet, I am not going mad in the gym.

Another magnificent low carb, low fat and low calorie dinner suitable for Step 2 of the Cambridge Diet or any diet or just healthy eating.

This time lentil and chicken curry with cauliflower mash. This tasted like restaurant quality food and I couldn’t believe I can eat food this amazing on a diet.

Yep, I made chicken and lentil curry without typical ingredients like yogurt, tomatoes and oil and it still tasted amazingly fabulous.

Curry 3 June 2016

The cauliflower mash came about from a disastrous blending of cauliflower – I couldn’t be bothered to grate into rice size and used the wrong blender which required water. I got a milky consistency which I added a little garlic salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper and decided to experiment – the result was sumptuous.

Not the best picture of the cauliflower but it hopefully shows the milky consistency I started with…

Note to self: check photos on your crappy phone!

Cauliflower June 2016

For the Cauliflower mash

Blend 80g of cauliflower with water to get a milky consistency.

Season with a little garlic salt, black pepper and cayenne chilli or whatever you like

Spray pan with coconut one calorie spray and simmer for about 10 minutes

Transfer the pan to oven pre-heated to 220C and cook for another 10 minutes or until slightly brown.

Serve with fresh basil

Curry 1 June 2016

For the lentil and chicken curry.

Ingredients

40g red lentil – dried weight

125g of chicken

Tumeric

Cumin

Ground corriander

Paprika

Curry powder

Garam masala

Garlic salt

Fresh garlic

Fresh ginger

A little low salt vegetable stock

Two teaspoons of milk

Coconut light spray

Method

  1. Boil red lentil briskly for 10 minutes and then simmer for another 10 minutes. Set aside
  2. Combine the turmeric, cumin, ground coriander, paprika, garlic salt, curry powder, garam masala with tea spoons of milk to make a curry paste. Set aside.
  3. Cube the chicken, chop garlic, ginger and using a little bit of the curry paste, marinate the chicken with garlic, ginger and a little paste. Leave in the fridge for an hour or until you want to cook.
  4. Pan fry the chicken with the garlic, ginger, and remaining paste turning once browned.I made sure my chicken is cooked before starting the next step. You can’t be too careful with chicken.
  5. Dissolve a little low salt stock in warm water and add the stock to the chicken, simmer for 10 minutes, checking and adding more water if required.

 

Curry 2 June 2016

6. Add the cooked lentil to the chicken mix. Combine properly and simmer for another 10 minutes adding water if required.

7. Serve with fresh basil.

Verdict: I cannot begin to explain how super yummy this was. Smacks lips.

Curry 4 June 2016