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Life is for Living! My best is yet to come…

I have not written in my diary since May.

I’m not entirely sure why as I have a lot to report and yet, I’m just quietly getting on with life.

Thank you to those of you who have been in touch privately and to all of you who continue to follow me, even with months of silence. xx

And thank you for all your support of my Instagram page. Please feel free to keep sharing.

http://www.instagram.com/belleslowcarbworld/

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Last week, a friend contacted me saying that she wanted to speak to someone who has been through a difficult divorce. My first thought reading her message was that this divorce thing has become an epidemic. I had only seen her two months ago at my party (see below). It looks like no one is immune from marriage breakdown or worse still, difficult ones.

I want to use this post to say to anyone who is going through a difficult relationship or marriage breakdown, bereavement or any sort of loss; this will hurt like nothing has ever hurt you.

You may feel the sort of emotional and even physical pain you have never felt before.

But the one thing that I can absolutely, hand on heart promise you, is that it will definitely get easier.

The end of my marriage was the most devastating thing that has ever happened to me. I felt debilitating emotional and physical pain, I did not even know were humanly possible to feel, let alone possible to survive.

Last year, June 5th, 2016, on what would have been my 12th wedding anniversary, I wrote my darkest post. That post caused a lot of upset, and reading it now, it still feels sad, but I felt the sort of somewhat detached sadness you feel reading about something that has happened to someone else. That is a massive growth.

Warning: may cause upset. For completion, you can read that post here, and its follow-up written just three days later.

This brings me to the main point that I would like to make. No matter how dark things may seem, even when you reach rock bottom like I did, things will definitely get better.

Last wedding anniversary, June 5th 2016, I wanted to die. I couldn’t see a way out from the emotional pain of my divorce, or the physical pain I was feeling.

A year later, June 5th, 2017, I genuinely did not even realise what day it was until I needed to check the date on some chicken, to put in the freezer. And even after I realised what day it was, I continued with my mundane tasks unperturbed.

Life feels like it has moved on and what better way to do so than to have a party?! 🙂

And so, in July, I had a belated birthday and divorce celebration party, putting an end to the whole sorry saga of the end of my marriage.

It was a truly magical night of music, food, cake, champagne, drinks, laughter and dancing into the early mornings in a marquee erected in the garden, complete with dancing floor, lights and smoke machine…why the hell not…:-)

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I was surrounded by good friends and wonderful family, my mum, my sisters, niece and nephews.

On the afternoon of my party, I had the surprise of my life when my little sister flew in from where she lives overseas to attend my party. All my family, including my 7 year old nephew, knew she was coming to my party, and they all managed to completely hide it from me.

I sobbed like a baby when I saw her, but they were tears of joy.

After the party, my home was filled with flowers from friends.

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The next day, I had the enviable task of opening a mountain of presents.

What a lucky girl I am.

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I guess the whole night can be summed up by one song…

I will Survive, which followed my speech. There was a frenzy defiance of loud singing, dancing, and me, singing along with a microphone…as you do. I have watched the video of this part of the night countless times – the powerful feat of survival.

I will survive.

I have survived.

I am surviving.

I’m not saying that my life is now a bed of roses or that there are not challenges, even sometimes on a daily basis.

I’m not saying that I don’t get moments when I feel waves of sadness, not only that my marriage ended but that it ended in a way that I cannot even cherish the thoughts of the years with my ex given that by his own words, he was online dating and looking “for a way out” throughout our 14.5 years relationship.

Of course I’m sad that the way my marriage ended means that there has been zero contact between my ex and I since November 2016, when we concluded the withdrawal of his ridiculous case for the Mac computer, we used to share.

Of course I feel sadness that my marriage ended as no one gets married intending it to fail.

I feel sadness that I invested 14.5 years of my short life on a man I cannot even text in an emergency, and yet, I have somehow managed to stay friendly with all other significant exes, including a violent, abusive ex, who had the grace to apologise sincerely for his actions.

Of course I feel sad that the last time I saw my ex, he excused all his bad behaviour as acting under “legal advisement” and blatantly did not recognise just how badly he had behaved, let alone deem it fit to render an apology for his actions.

But I am well adjusted, positive and I am not bitter about the past.

I do not need an apology from my ex to continue to rebuild my life nor do I need an explanation for why he really behaved like he did.

I’m not the first woman lied to, betrayed, hurt or devastated by a man she trusted implicitly, and I won’t be the last.

I am most definitely a better and stronger person than I was during my marriage. I recognise strengths and growths in my life that certainly were not there before.

I am also very excited and a little daunted about a new project that I start in exactly two weeks. Perhaps one day, when I can, I will write more about it. If it works, it will certainly be life changing. But however it pans out, I am very proud of myself for being brave enough to embark on a journey that would take me through uncharted and uncertain territories.

I am proud of myself for making things happen.

I am proud of myself for not allowing the end of my marriage to be the end of my dreams.

I am proud of myself…and it’s OK to remind myself of that fact.

And like my fabulous cake says, Life is For Living! The best is yet to come…

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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.

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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 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.

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Week One, Day 572 – My Journey…Is Right on Time

A planned day off my diet, ended up being a week off my diet.

And so, on Saturday, I had yet another restart and so far, I’ve been 100% on my diet.

I am beginning to worry whether I will fail in this diet quest.

I obviously do not want to fail.

I am currently at a weight that is comfortable for me and I have never really managed to get below this sort of weight in any diet that I have been on.

Ever.

I have been on a quest to lose weight since age 9. I am 43 years old. 34 years of excessive fat is a long history to overcome. Even if I think of my weight struggles as an adult, since the age of 18, that means 25 years old of history. That’s a lot of years.

It is easy to give up.

It is easy to say that I have failed at every attempt to get to a healthy weight all my life and why should this time and this diet be any different.

It is easy to say that my history is very much against me.

It is easy to accept that maybe I’m just not meant to ever be a size 6.

It is easy to let the negativity get to me.

But self-love is about telling yourself the truth and being brutally honest with yourself.

Self-love is about admitting that there are all sorts of plans I have for my future that will never happen if I remain obese.

Self-love is about being the best version of myself that I can be.

Self-love is about reminding myself that I have survived 17 months of pure hell. That girl that thought that she didn’t want to live because her marriage ended, that girl who would cry herself to sleep over the heartbreak of the end of her marriage, survived that pure hell.

If I can survive 17 months of pure hell, surely I can control what goes from my hands to my mouth and therefore whether I remain obese forever or have a better life at a healthy weight.

I am channelling the me that  achieved ambitions way beyond all limitations even when I’m told by those who should know better to lower my expectations and ambitions.

I am channelling the me that achieved first class honours degree, distinction in post graduate studies, who won every single academic prize available and ended up  working in one of the top companies in the world in my professional field, before illness caused me to stop work.

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I am channelling the me that has a can do attitude that means that no is never the answer and who uses intelligence and creativity to create solutions for every problem that presents itself.

I am channelling the me that may have been dealt with a few bad hands by fate but is still standing and still finds reasons to smile.

I know the me above is still very much around, because that person is the only reason I could have survived my 17 months of hell.

That person can get to the end of this weight loss quest.

And so, I pledge that I do not care how often I fall down on this quest to break a weight problem of a lifetime, I will get up whenever I fail and I will carry on.

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I do not care that every body else on the internet is losing all their excess weight in a few short months and my journey is taking forever. We are all different and we all have our own lives and quests to overcome.

This is my journey and it will take as long as it takes.

I do not care that my body doesn’t lose as much weight as everyone seem to do on the Cambridge diet, I will keep going.

I do not care that my body frustrates the hell out of me by often ceasing to lose weight when I am doing everything right, I will keep going until I reach my destination.

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And so, here I am again, promising myself and everyone who has followed my weight loss quest that I will keep going until I hit a healthy weight or at least a weight that I have never achieved before given that I have no idea whether an NHS prescribed BMI friendly weight would look good on this 43 year old who has never been a healthy weight.

I am on yet another self-imposed 28 days challenge to lose a stone. The plan is to stay strictly on my diet except for one meal when a very good friend is taking me out to a very fancy restaurant for lunch. Yes, there is something like a free lunch…

And yes, it will be one lunch that will not be 100% on plan, but this time, it will stop at only one meal and not one week.

Week One, Day 572’s Verdict: today’s weight 90.1 kg, week’s weight loss 3.6 kg (7.9 pounds); total weight loss;  33.7 kg; 74.1 pounds; 5 stones 4 pounds

 

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Day 478 – Changing the Narratives

My last post upset a lot of people, I am very sorry about that, but that’s life, with it’s ups and downs and this blog is my space to be honest about my feelings.

I’m definitely on the UP from Sunday night.

I spent much of Monday still very teary but also actively trying to lift my mood.

I ate well, kept to my diet, had fish (whole sea bream) for supper as I believe Omega 3 is a natural anti-depressant and when I needed a snack, I made some yummy crispy kale, recipe coming up.

Even through the tears, I listened to my I Will Survive playlist on a loop. I wrote about some of the songs in that playlist in a blog on the link above.

Vitamin D and exercise are natural anti-depressants and I therefore spent some time outside in the sunshine attending to my herb garden with the fragrance emitted from 5 newly planted rosemary bushes, three types of thymes, mint, chives, another more established rosemary bush etc.

I also attended to some newly planted evergreen clematis that are already climbing through my pergola even though they were only planted in April.

I watered and fed the newly planted red bush hedges and newly planted red roses and climbing pink roses which have already magically produced a lot of flowers even though they were also only planted this April. My gardener swears a specific plant food he made me purchase have resulted in the buds. I’m inclined to believe him as I don’t understand how else roses planted in April will already produce so many flowers.

Roses June 2016

As an aside, last year, I had refused to plant anything new in the garden because of the uncertainties with settling our finances. This year, I decided that I would no longer suspend my life waiting for a protracted divorce process to conclude.

I need to tap into that defiance and that refusal to let anyone steal my joie de vivre.

I also ordered myself some flowers with a card for myself that included the words of one of my very kind readers (thanks J), who had written privately yesterday. She reminded me to just breath, take it one day at a time and that this too shall pass.

I figured flowers were definitely a better option than greasy takeaways.

Flowers June 2016

Today, I am eating well and given as it was raining, I worked out in the gym instead. I have decided to restart working out regularly, regardless of whether it slows down the weight loss, because it will help my mental health going forward. However, nothing too crazy, just gentle exercises because I’m on a low calorie diet. I will also slightly increase my food intake from 800 calories, perhaps having an extra protein bar or egg after working out.

Yesterday, the friend who had spent Friday night at mine continued to call me endlessly and she said she was about to call the police, when she hadn’t heard from me in over 36 hours. We usually talk and text countless times daily. When I finally replied to say that I was OK and was just dealing with the headfuck of the anniversary, she reminded me of my WhatsApp Status:

Change the Narratives

Flip Your story

Turn your negatives to positives

Dream, believe, achieve

And so, I am changing the narratives.

I am dragging myself out from the low moods.

I am a survivor.

I have the strength to see this nightmare divorce through to its conclusion.

I am a warrior.

I am a winner.

I won’t let the bastard or “douche lord” (thanks J) grind me down.

 

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Day 363: Be My Valentine?

I am nearly one full year from the day that I started the low calorie, low carb, Cambridge diet Step 2, eating 810 calories.

I have now lost nearly 6 stones.

I will forever be proud of the fact that when humongous shit hit the proverbial fan, instead of drowning in food like I have done all my life, I elected to change the narrative and stayed on a diet that I had only started a week before my life as I knew it, changed forever.

It hasn’t been a perfect weight loss story, far from it.

I have succumbed to stress and food various times throughout the year, but no one said it would be an easy journey especially going through an unexpected, volatile and toxic divorce.

The important thing is that I have persevered. I promise myself and everyone that follows this diary that I will not quit trying until I get to goal weight.

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This last year has shown me parts of myself that I didn’t even know existed.

I have grown in ways I didn’t know were possible. I have achieved things I didn’t know I could.

I have found strength mentally, that I didn’t know I had.

I can’t claim that I have ever been one for self loathing, quite the opposite. But this last, year, modesty apart, has shown me that I am quite an extraordinary person.

I am worthy of great things.

I am a good person.

I can look at myself in the mirror and be happy with the person that looks back at me.

I can look at myself, ditch modesty and say, you know what, you are a beautiful woman inside and outside. You deserve the best and your best is yet to come.

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This will be the first Valentine’s Day since 1994, yes, 22 consecutive years that I haven’t had a significant other who would send me cards, flowers and presents, professing love.

But I am good with that.

It is very OK.

For the first time in my life, I realise that my long held view that I don’t do single life, that I am one of those women who can’t be on my own, that I need a man in my life to complete me, is a fallacy.

Right now, I cannot see myself ever doing the whole relationship and love thing.

I have been hurt beyond my worst nightmares.

If my marriage and my unshakeable belief in the solidness of that relationship could end like it has, or the person that I had loved more than I had ever loved any man in my entire life, could end like this, I do not trust my own judgment nor do I trust any man.

Nor would I ever want to give anyone that much power ever again to hurt me.

But forever is a long time.

I am perfectly happy with my single life and whilst I haven’t given up on sex (far from it) there are ways of having safe, healthy and respectful sex without inviting a man into my heart.

It does not mean that I no longer believe in love or happily ever after or that I don’t wish those in relationships the very best of luck. It’s just not a fairytale I see for myself.

I am still the die hard romantic that I have always been. 

I still watched the end of War and Peace with the biggest smile ever. I’m not ashamed to say that on Sunday night, I rewound that last scene three times with that smile firmly on my face.

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And if some day, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years time, I wake up and decide that I wanted to share my life with another man again, I would not fight it or allow the toxicity of 2015 to stop me from loving again or doing whatever I wanted.

So, tomorrow, there will be no romantic cards professing undying love.

There will be no heart shaped expensive chocolates to stuff my face with.

There will be no three course dinners with champagne to celebrate love.

There will be no man looking at me and declaring undying love.

But that is perfectly fine.

My tomorrow will still be filled with love.

It will be filled with the love for myself that makes me strive to be the best that I can be.

It will be filled with love that means that I will stay firmly on my diet and keep striving to lose my excess weight.

And more importantly, it will be filled with the unwavering and unconditional love of my family.

My weight has been the same for the last two weeks. This morning, my body gave me an early Valentine’s Day present by losing 1.3 kg (2.86lbs) in one day.

As of today wearing my PJ and not the official weigh-in day outfit, I am 86.4 kg. I do not remember the last time I was 86.4 kg. 

If I lose two more pounds, I will be a weight that I haven’t been since I was a teenager.

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone who reads this diary. May you have love, peace and every happiness.

82 pounds

 

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Day 325 – Care to Lose a Stone in 10 Weeks?

I had CBT therapy today and my therapist was very surprised when I told her how much weight I’ve lost so far. I guess it is difficult for someone who sees you regularly to realise that you’ve grown smaller. Either that or I am just huge…and still huge!

I’m energised with my weight loss quest and highly motivated to keep going and get to goal without messing around…too much.

So this year, I have set myself two mini targets to aim for, as well as a revised final target to reach goal weight, all with realistic and achievable timeframes – if I stick to the plan.

No messing.

lets fucking do this

All weights are based on my upstairs weight, wearing my nightie and not the official Cambridge Diet weight downstairs wearing the now tattered clothes I’ve won for every single official weigh-in.

Given that I have never been anywhere near the weight that takes my BMI into a healthy range (63.8kg; 10 stones) there is a chance that I might hit a weight that is more realistic for my body long before then and feel comfortable enough to start maintenance. For example, Dukan Diet, a diet that I have done with some success in the past, has calculated my realistic ideal weight based on my weight history, to be around 74kg; 11 stone 9. I suspect my real ideal weight might be more the Dukan weight than BMI but that’s a decision I would be very happy and extremely lucky to get to.

I am not doing New Year resolutions this year – it’s just a recipe for setting oneself up for failure. Instead, I choose to just get on with things and to try my utmost best to ensure that whatever crap (or joy) is going on in my life does not affect my weight loss journey.

I’ve got to do this one thing for myself. Lose weight.

Mini-Target One – Lose a Stone in 10 Weeks

By any weight-loss programme, losing a stone in 10 weeks is a realistic goal and I will be kicking myself if I don’t make this weight loss target.

If I hit this mini goal, I will be just another stone from my BMI becoming “overweight”. I have not been anywhere near overweight since I was 18 years old.

Starting Weight: 89.6kg; 14 stone 1

Starting Date: Tuesday 5th January, 2016

Goal Weight: 83.2kg; 13 stone 1

Goal Date: Tuesday 15th March, 2016

Total Weight-loss: 6.4 kg; 1 stone

Weeks to Target: 10 weeks

Weekly Weight Loss to Hit Goal: 0.64kg; 1.4lbs

Mini-Target Two – Best Birthday Present Ever: Become Overweight!

Starting Weight: 89.9kg; 14 stone 2

Starting Date: Monday 4th January, 2016

Goal Weight: 76.6kg; 12 stone

Goal Date: Monday 23rd May, 2016 (two weeks after my 43rd birthday)

Total Weight-loss: 13.3kg; 2 stone 1

Weeks to Target: 20 weeks

Weekly Weight Loss to Hit Goal: 0.67kg; 1.5lbs

Goal Weight Target – Hit Healthy BMI and Be Slim by End of Summer!

Starting weight: 90.6kg; 14 stone 3

Starting Date: Sunday 3rd January, 2016

Goal Weight: 63.8kg; 10 stone

Goal Date: Friday 30th September

Total Weight-loss: 26.8kg; 4 stone 3 pounds

Weeks to Target: 38 weeks and 5 days

Weekly Weight Loss to Hit Goal: 0.69kg; 1.5lbs

Would you like to join me in losing 1 stone in 10 weeks?

If so, please drop a comment here or check out the contact page and send me a private email. We can keep each other motivated and more importantly, accountable regardless of what weight loss or healthy regime you are on.

You can visualise what you might look at your idea weight like I have done in this post using Model My Diet.

Good luck to all of us.

Let’s kick some (fat) arse.