Category Archives: body

No more Skinny Minny

It’s happened.  I should have seen it coming.  I’ve seen it creeping up since I was 36 but I just didn’t believe it.

How can I go from being underweight for nearly 30 years to actually having a bad BMI?

From being called some pretty bad names for being so incredibly skinny in high school, to being unable to fit in post pregnancy jeans.  I’m tall, I was never been an 8 by the way.  I’m not being melodramatic.

The jean thing was my tipping point.  It wasn’t just the top of them (my tummy does stick out more than my boobs), it was the thighs as well. I can’t deny it anymore. I watched my mother (one of the skinniest teenagers I’ve ever seen — she used to try to be photographed squishing her thigh on something so she looked bigger FGS) who was a size smaller than me become a 16.  16 is a fine size by the way, if you are built to be a size 16, if you’ve always been a size 16.  It wasn’t my mum’s size and it isn’t mine.  I can’t start sliding down that slope.

So this morning I asked what people do.  Those people who diet. I should have seen it coming. I am no longer that super eater, super-metaboliser woman. My metabolism is now hand cranked, it aint super anymore.scales

I’ve downloaded myfitnesspal and started recording my eating habits and exercise.  I’ve only done one day and it’s been quite an eye opener.

The critical thing for me was to find a way to diet without my children knowing. I don’t want to talk about it, I don’t want to eat differently and I don’t want to suggest that I need to diet because of society constraints.

The truth is, I’m tired and unfit and my escalating weight is merely a symptom of all of that. I need to focus on what I’m putting in my body and get my act together.  If I can lose some weight and change my lifestyle I can take my foot off the pedal every so often and practice what I currently preach my daughter, everything in moderation.

Wish me luck.




No, it’s not Flu

It’s that time of year again when friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter and my colleagues at work are all claiming to have flu.  Influenza.Bird flu virus

It would seem that the minute anyone has anything other than a runny nose they immediately claim they have flu.

If you are putting up a Facebook Status, it’s not flu.

If you are eating breakfast, it’s not flu.

If you fancy a cup of tea. It’s not flu.

If you are watching tv, it’s not flu.

Here’s a really good rule of thumb that someone told me a couple of years ago:

If someone told you that there was gold buried in your back garden and you can’t be bothered to get up and go and dig it up, then you’ve probably got flu.

It is entirely possible that if you are too unwell to go to work or do the school run and you just feel like lying in bed or perhaps having some more sleep, that you have a severe cold virus.  Cold viruses can be very mild or very severe and I have been off work for a couple of days with a severe cold virus.

If you are fannying about on social media. YOU DON’T HAVE FLU.


Me the Nutritionist

I am not the wellest 40-year-old around.  In fact, you could argue I am probably the unwellest 40-year-old you know.  If a virus is to be got, I will get it.  Despite dilligent hand washing, shielding my face if someone sneezes in the vicinity and using my knuckle to push lift buttons or opening a door at an unusual point on the handle, I still seem to get all and sundry.

I think my genetic makeup just makes me very susceptible, although my parents weren’t particularly ill.  I also remember reading somewhere that the appendix was thought to be linked to immunity and as I lost that at 11 years old, so that might be my problem.  I know I spent a lot of my 18th, 19th and 20th year with various illnesses until a doctor eventually suggested I should whip out my tonsils to prevent infections. It worked, I didn’t get another ear, nose and throat infection.  Unfortunately I still get cold viruses.

I’m also on a mild immune suppressant for my Ankylosing Spondylitis. This could be lowering my already awful immune system further.  Either way, it’s pretty miserable getting all these illnesses.

Whilst I am considered at risk and can therefore get the flu jab, I was hoping to get on top of it all this year by improving my diet (and inadvertently, that of my family) to see if I can improve it.  I have a friend who is a bit evangelistical about getting enough protein (he’s a meat eater) and he says he has never felt better since he increased his intake and is fairly confident I don’t get enough.  Which is a bit annoying to hear, but for all I knew, he could be right.

Now, I’ve done a lot of research as a vegetarian (and whilst weaning my daughter as a veggie) and I know that us humans often eat too much protein. I did a rough calculation when Pickle was about 3 and discovered she was getting enough, but things have moved on now and we have a much more complicated set up in our house.

Hubby and daughter are NOT veggie. Daughter doesn’t eat red meat.  I’m a veggie and so is The Monster, but he’s also a toddler that doesn’t eat vegetables and only appears to be interested in beige food!  Hubby does the weekly shop and the majority of the cooking, but he’s often in a rush and doesn’t have the same dietary concerns I have.  I’m constantly tired (and ill) and it’s just easier to let him get on with it.  However, I decided I needed to take some action and stop being a passenger, so I asked a friend for details of their nutritionist. Nothing could be simpler, I’ll get someone else to do all the thinking, tell me what I’m lacking, plan my meals.

The trouble was she was bloody expensive!!  The deluxe option was £149 per session. I’m presuming I’d need around 5 sessions.  The basic session was £99 per session.  That’s still £500 pounds for a decent number of sessions and reviews.  I just couldn’t justify that at all!  Bearing in mind that judging by my friend’s diet I was going to have to fork out a tonne of money-making smoothies, sprinkling expensive seeds on things, drinking ten tonne of coconut water and generally smashing our budget, all in the aid of improving my diet.

So I decided to chip away at the problem myself.  Not to focus on the my overall goal (improve my diet immediately), but to break it down slowly.  So I kept a food diary for a week to monitor my protein intake only.  At the same time, I had just started visiting my local health food shop and bought 3 bags of dried fruits and nuts to create little snack pots for work.  Not every day. Just 2 or 3 days a week.  So I used various resources to find out the nutritional content of things. I found this one the best (and I used this a few years back to find foods that were anti inflammatory) but it’s American, so it’s a little hit and miss.  I find just googling the food and putting in the nutrient I want to find and something pops up.

So, I’m just looking at protein and guess what. I’m getting enough. More than enough. I found a site that calculated how much protein I should be having (46g per day) and I’m hitting or exceeding this in general.  There is protein in lots of things and provided it is varied, then as a veggie I’m combining them to create complete proteins all the time.  Also, we have our own chickens so one of my complete proteins is good old eggs. I’m trying to eat a few more of those.

Eggs from our chickens

Eggs from our chickens

This bit of news has made me so much better. I think I’ll keep tracking things, just to keep an eye on it, but I now need to focus on things like iron, zinc and Vit C now.  So that’ll be my task in the next few weeks, no hurry.

I’m also hoping to pick a new recipe for the family to try. The incentive is improving everyone’s diet, but the thing that puts me off is the fact the kids turn their nose up at things they’ve not seen before all the time, so I could spend hours making something that only I eat.  I need to get over that and accept it will happen.  The bottom line is that I can’t move forward with improving things if I don’t take the plunge, so I need to just bloody get on with it.

So there you go. I’m my own nutritionist at the moment. Not trained, not an expert, but I’m fairly comfortable it’s just basics and if I crack this, I may be in a position to improve my immunity without having to fork out £500.

What do you do to keep a track on your diet?  Do you bother?  Are you confident you get everything you need?

PS: Did you know that Pret’s choc bar has 3g of Protein?  Nope, me either. RESULT!

The Big Chop

I have had long hair FOOOOREVER!  Well, for a very long time.  I started growing my hair in 1992 as I had  a perm for some time (I know, I know, but it was cool, man).  Over the years I have had a few minor haircuts, bringing the hair to up a bit, but generally it’s been long.

More recently it’s been VERY long. It’s probably been this long for about 5 years and I did like it.  I liked it on the Saturday, just after I’d washed it (30 min), combed it (30 min), blow dried it (45 min) and straightened it (10 min).  You see the problem there.  Nearly 2 hours had to be put aside to make it look nice.  That was just one day though.  Due to the level of care I needed to put into it, I only did that once a week.  It was alrightish on Sunday, acceptable on Monday, Ok on Tuesday but pretty much after that it looked a mess.  If it wasn’t messy it was requiring constant brushing or dry shampoo.  I was having to be inventive with hair styles (side plait, plait, side bun, bun, low pony tail).  I’m a busy working mum and frankly it was driving me to distraction. I’d had enough of it.

I blogged about it here in October and I’ve been counting down the days until my hairdresser returned from maternity leave to do it.  Between that time I have swung wildly between wanted to have it done and thinking I’m a complete idiot!  On a Saturday, I love my hair, but I had to focus on the other 6 days when I really didn’t like it.  As well as remember the length of time it took to look after it on that Saturday.

So, here is my Saturday hair.

Long hairApologies for my goofy face.  Not my best look.  Look at my hair though………my lovely flowing loooooong hair.

So, then I booked D day.  It was 2 Saturdays ago now, but as you may remember I was languishing on a hospital camp bed on the Friday as my daughter was going to be wheeled into surgery, so I texted the hairdresser and said I was unlikely to make the appointment, but I didn’t want to cancel it just yet.

On Saturday morning hubby came up to the hospital with The Monster and I headed home with TM for a bit of rest, some house tidying and for him to have a lunch time nap.  I had forgotten about the appointment.  However, thankfully my hairdresser didn’t and she rang the doorbell and there she was, ready to do the big chop! Was I ready.

Well, yes I was!  It was hot, I had had a bit of a time with my daughter and hospital and my hair was annoying me.  After my colour was put on we went through my Pinterest board of hairstyles (Can’t believe I ever said I didn’t “get” Pinterest) and we worked out what she was going to do.


Here it is.

Long Bob

Now, I only took the photos on last Saturday, so this is not hairdresser completed hair (it was a week old by then). None the less, I achieved this wash, blow dry and straighten in under 30 minutes and quite frankly I LOVE IT.  It was so liberating.  The front is longer than the back as requested and as soon as I saw it I said “I love it, but next time, let’s go shorter on the back”.  I really want it to look more angular.  So there you have it. I did it.  For a hundred reasons, this cut is so much nicer and easier.

I have had a lot of compliments about it and people have said it is very flattering.  Hubby was surprised that he liked it so much, although he did add that he though it was a “grown up” hair style.  Well I’m 40 now, about time I took a moment to have a grown up look.

So what do you think?

Rating your friends on their Appearance

We all do it, don’t we?  We rate our friends on their appearance.  Obviously that’s the most important thing about them surely.  Their ability to look good!  After we’ve rated them, we do a video reading out their names and telling them whether we think they’re “hot” or “not”.

No.  No, we don’t.  Well, I don’t.  However, you’ll be moritified to hear that THIS my friends, is pretty normal practice when you’re 13 years old.  Oh yes.

2of5star  This morning I had the misfortune to read some random 13 year olds Facebook status in my timeline because she is friends with my 13 year old niece and she had been tagged in the video.  In it the 2 girls on camera say “This is our ‘hot or not’ video”.  then they launch into all of their friends names, both boys and girls.  I should point out that nobody is marked badly, they are either “quite pretty”, “So pretty”, “pretty”, “fit”, “quite fit” or “hot”.  The girls have taken some care in compiling their list and I appreciate it could be a WHOLE lot worse.  We are probably only about 20 videos away from someone somewhere just getting to the nitty gritty and being deadly honest!

It’s the fact these girls have jumped on the bandwagon (or so I’ve been told….this is not an uncommon practice. Along with my nephew who often does a “like for a rating” on his Facebook page – I should really like it, shouldn’t I? See what he does with “them apples”).  At what point did this all become so bloody normal.  That our view of ourselves and that of others is based on how good looking we are.  I’m not stupid, I appreciate that some people are visually more appealling than others, I can see that, but to outwardly project that in such a blatant way makes me incredibly sad.

It’s the whole practice of it that I have the biggest problem with. The fact it’s ok to do this. The fact that there is a focus on your outward appearance, especially for women.  We are only as good as our parts. Boobs, legs, hair, face.  We are not whole. We all dealt with our fair share of bullying (well I did) and a nasty comment here, and a rude comment there, in the playground, in the classroom, it’s sad, it’s upsetting but the moment goes very quickly.  A permanent record on the internet on how people viewed you though, tagging a whole class, maybe more, that’s not right. Let’s all focus on what we look like. That’s a bit scary.

Where does it go from here then?  These girls are playing “their part” in a ghastly viscous circle that seems endemic in this day and age.  I was reading this article on the weekend and it sent shivers down my spine.  A 17 year old girl started a feminist society at her at her “all girls” school and things went from name calling by the boys in her peer circle and generally putting down the society, to some quite serious verbal attacks.  The words are truly horrendous and I don’t want to write them here, but if you have the stomach, read the article.

It always reminds me of someone on twitter who said “the comments on articles about feminism is the reason we need Feminsm” and the same can be said for those girls in the article.  The teacher wanted them to back down, yet the very reason for starting it all was to try and change the way boys and mens perceived them and how they viewed themselves.  The very fact the boys were so intimidated by them trying to unshackle themselves from the leering posts they had been put on, tells you an awful lot about how far we have yet to go.

In Australia there has been some publicity about the female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, being subjected to some pretty awful Misogyny.  It seems for previous Prime Ministers, they can be kicked about for their policies or their lack of guts but if you’re a woman, the focus is on what you look like.  A party conference held by the opposition party a few weeks ago had on their menu “Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail – Small Breasts, Huge Thighs & A Big Red Box”.  She’s a red head by the way.  They saw this as perfectly acceptable code of conduct.

We owe it to our daughters and our daughter’s daughters to turn this on it’s head.  THIS is our suffragette movement.  Anybody that suggests FOR A MINUTE that we live in an equal society clearly has their head buried in the sand.  Until we drive forward, raise awereness, create the discourse for questioning this behaviour, women will forever be locked into a pathway where it is acceptable to apply merit to the way we look and behave. Be a good girl and look good and you’ll go far. That’s bullshit.  If you don’t fight back you’ll go as far as the mysogny tether around your neck will let you.