Tub on the Run


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Whole 100: Day 90 update and weigh in

Wow! 90 days in! Just 10 more days to go. That is now three consecutive Whole 30s under my belt, and the second longest I’ve managed to stick to a particular way of eating. I think the only way of eating that I have stuck with for longer so far was the Tesco GI Diet in 2008.

Let’s talk numbers. Since January this year, I have lost 50 lbs in total, and 30.7 lbs since I started my Whole 100. This is a bit of a funny one for me. My team mates at work have asked how I am doing and are always amazed at the number that trips off my tongue, but it doesn’t feel that much. I have found myself getting a little disheartened (which I know is silly) as I know that I have probably just ticked over a third of the way to my goal. I think the sadness has come from two places – 1) that I have lost a lot of weight already now, but there is still a long way to go, and 2) that I have been so heavy for so long that I actually asked Matt the other night “when will I be a normal size?”. I’m not looking for sympathy, as these moments are always countered by the feeling that I am finally getting somewhere with it, and have lost the most I have ever lost.

Yo-yoing feelings aside, this is how my Day 1 to Day 90 compares:

Whole 100 Day 90 Update Front

I don’t think I have realised quite how tired I look first thing in the morning. Bags aside, I think it is safe to say that I have the beginnings of a waist again (hurrah!). I have to admit, I’m pleased as I can see much more of a change now, and clearly sticking at it is really beginning to pay off. One thing I have noticed in the picture above it that the drop in my right shoulder is getting more obvious as I lose weight. I came off my motorbike years ago and damaged my shoulder. I hadn’t really noticed the droop until today.

Whole 100 90 Day Update Side

From the side, I can see that I am beginning to go in now, and the double chin is slowly receding, which is always good news.

Highlights

The trousers that I bought after not being able to find a pair I liked initially, are now baggy. They’re not quite as baggy as when I last needed to move down a size, but they’re definitely on their way. I’m holding off buying a new pair until towards the end of August – firstly, I am beginning to get a little nervous about what life post-Whole 100 looks like, but secondly, I haven’t budgeted for it (I am trying to rein my spending back in with the wonderful YNAB app). In terms of tops, I’m now able to fit into more of my wardrobe too, which is really great and meaning I can have “work clothes” and “normal clothes” rather than mixing the two.

I’m also super impressed that I haven’t really ended up in a food rut at all for the last 90 days. I did look for some Whole 30 compliant new recipes that I could make recently, and this sausage and butternut squash casserole (here) was a big hit.

Another highlight for me has been not dying whilst walking up hills. Last weekend, Matt and I went to Wiscombe Park in East Devon to watch a hill climb race (in a nutshell, cars will sprint to the top of the hill). Spectators had to park at the top of the hill in a different field and walk down into the valley. That’s all well and good, but what goes down must also come up if you want to get back to your car. I can’t confess to having sauntered up the hill in a spritely manner, but I definitely didn’t die, or really stop. (I really feel that the picture hasn’t done the steepness of the hill any justice).

Wiscombe Park - Beyond the Sofa

Activity

When I write these weigh in posts, I usually take a look back at the most recent one to see what I was writing and experiencing to see what has really changed over that period of time. I note that in my 60 day update, I was hoping to start running with the Couch to 5k programme shortly after my update. It hasn’t happened, but (and I know people say this all the time), I swear the last 30 days has galloped by without my noticing. I definitely feel like I am ready to get back out there physically now, so definitely watch this space!

Otherwise, my main activities have been walking and yoga. I’ve had good days of walking, where I have done a fair bit above 10,000 steps a day, and then some others which have been pretty, well, comatose. Yoga has been good though, and I’ve made it through the ashtanga vinyasa sequence to some of the seated poses. Initially I thought that the seated poses would be fine. It’s sat down, how hard can that be?! I think I sweat more in the seated poses than I do in some of the standing ones. I am pretty sure that I have mentioned in a previous post somewhere, that my long standing pose nemesis is downward dog. I don’t know what it is about that one, but I really struggle with it – super tight in my hamstrings, very weak in my shoulders. A few weeks later, and I can hold the pose for longer and more often without having to resort to the puppy pose. Small progress, but progress nonetheless.

Concerns

I wasn’t sure whether to call this “concerns” or “nervousness” or “considerations”, but I am beginning to find myself a little nervous about coming off my Whole 100. It’s been a really good thing to do, and I have enjoyed it for the most part. I’ve eaten out less than I would have done normally, and while eating out has been a bit tricky, it hasn’t been impossible. To date, I’ve lost the most weight I ever have done from eating in a specific way. I am nervous that by coming away from my Whole 100 I will start to put the weight on again. I’m not actively worrying about it, but it’s silly things like if I have a piece of cake, will I be able to keep some sense of sanity and plough on through with my willpower, or will I revert to Steph of the past and face plant the cake and eat it all? The rock and a hard place dilemma is that I don’t want a life devoid of cake forever, but I don’t want to fall into a food based spiral back to 20+ stone again. I don’t seem to have much of a handle on moderation.

I haven’t really tried to think too much about my concerns so far, but I know I will need to address them in the imminent future.


Previous updates:


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Ultimate Coffee Date: August 2016

I completely missed July’s Ultimate Coffee Date for some reason, so I have a couple of months to get caught up on. You’ve been warned – it’s a longish one!

Over coffee, I’d tell you about the week off I had in July. My last week off was back in March, so I was definitely ready for some time off. We didn’t have anything planned as such, so we stayed at home and went out on day trips. First stop, we had a day out to Lynmouth and came back via the Doone Valley.

Lynmouth - Beyond the Sofa

It was the best day, weather wise, of the whole holiday. The sunshine was absolutely gorgeous and it really felt like summer was just coming. We walked around Lynmouth, then up the hill (which is so ridiculously steep) to look at the Cliff Railway and I was reminded that I don’t think I could have done that walk about 6 months ago because of my weight. Don’t get me wrong, I was hardly sprinting up it, but I lumbered slightly more gracefully than I would have done previously.The climb was definitely worth it for the view though!

Lynmouth Cliff - Beyond the Sofa

One of the highlights was seeing wild Exmoor ponies. I’m quite used to seeing Dartmoor ponies roaming around Dartmoor. As a family, we have spent loads of time on Dartmoor, but not much time of Exmoor.  They’re so lovely. A little further up the road, there was a mare and her foal – so adorable!

Exmoor Ponies - Beyond the Sofa

On the way home, we stopped off at the little chapel in Doone Valley. Apparently Lorna Doone was the Devonian Romeo and Juliet. I don’t remember the story at all, so Matt’s Nan dug out her copy and sent it down to me (which I still haven’t read…).

The rest of the week, we weren’t blessed with good weather, though that didn’t stop us making the most of our National Trust membership. We visited Cotehele and took Matt’s nan to Tyntesfield. That was probably one of the more rewarding days. Nan doesn’t get to go out on day trips all that often, as she isn’t so mobile these days, but we offered to take her out for the day. I never realised how hard pushing a wheelchair around all day is. I definitely got a good sweat on, going up the hills. It was totally worth it though – she enjoyed herself and we were pleased to be able to do something with her too.

Cotehele House - Beyond the Sofa

If we were having coffee, you might notice I’m a bit stiff. I’ve finished my 6 week introduction to Mysore style yoga course, and have since signed up to do one class a week. I’ve got part way through to the seated poses and it’s really challenging me. I’m enjoying it though, but I also need to make sure that I get into a better routine for some home practice.

If we were having coffee, I hope you’d see that I am quite a bit thinner than when I started the year. This is my February to July progress:

Beyond the Sofa - Feb 2016 to July 2016

My Whole 100 is going really well still. I am actually on Day 90 today, and will do a weigh in post tomorrow, but at Day 60, I was 40lbs down. I still have a long way to go, but I’m pretty pleased with how it’s going. I really thought I was going to have some food boredom but now, but I’m not feeling it at all.

If we were having coffee, we’d probably be having coffee from a paper cup at Gatcombe Horse Trials right now. As part of my birthday present, Matt bought us tickets to Gatcombe. We went a couple of years ago but I felt we didn’t make the most of it. We’d gone, not really knowing what to expect, having never been to a big horse event before. We got absolutely soaked and didn’t really get round to seeing what we wanted to.

Gatcombe 2014 - Beyond the Sofa

This year, knowing what to expect, we’re going to try and squeeze a bit more in. I’m also hoping to get to play with my camera a little bit more this time. I definitely feel like I am able to tackle the hills with relative ease now so I’m hoping to get out onto more of the cross country course.

So, that’s where I’ve been. How is life with you?


Thank you as always to Lynda, Coco and Deborah for hosting Ultimate Coffee Date.  Thanks as always to Deborah, Lynda and Coco for hosting Ultimate Coffee Date each month! I think it’s a lovely way to catch up with and discover new blogs.


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Whole 100: 70 days down – shorts and old SD cards

Seventy days in to my Whole 100, and I have a couple of highlights to add to my previous ones this week.

Firstly, I’ve found a picture of me from February, just after I’d finished my January Whole 30 and was about to start doing the Fitness Blender 8 week challenge. At the start of the Fitness Blender challenge, Kelli and Daniel recommended taking progress photos along with measurements. I am not entirely sure what I did with my measurements (they’re probably in an old notebook somewhere), and I’d forgot about the progress photos until I looked back on my smaller SD card.

Beyond the Sofa - Feb 2016 to July 2016

Much better! I popped over to see Mum on Friday as it would be the last time I saw her before she left for her holiday in Canada with my sister, and we got talking about my weight and how I was doing. Long time readers will know that I have been overweight for a very long time now, and Mum and I got talking about Christmas 2014. I blogged that the walk had taken place, but I didn’t tell the full story. Mum said to me on Friday that it had been so sad to see me at that time. I’d turned into a lumberer. There was no spring in my step and I walked like a very heavy person. I remember getting home from that walk, barely having kept it together, and sobbing as I sat back on the sofa having abandoned the walk early. What I hadn’t really considered was that other people felt sadness for me. I have to admit, I’d never really thought that other people would see my weight as a problem that they would experience. It was an interesting conversation, and one from an angle that I’d never really considered.

On a happier note, when I last went to buy some new jeans (in my original hunt for some work trousers), I also bought some shorts in the next size down, mainly because they were £10. When I bought them at the end of May, I couldn’t fit into them at all. The button wouldn’t meet. Today, I thought “I’ll just see”, and lo and behold, they did up! They’re totally wearable – my circulation isn’t being cut off and I’m not deluding myself into thinking that I can fit into them as I have done so many times in the past. Nope, these fit!

Beyond the Sofa - Summer shorts

Please excuse the white glare coming from my legs! They literally never see the sun.

In other news, I also finished my 6 Weeks into Mysore classes at my local yoga studio. I think I’ll be keeping it up once a week though I’ll skip this week as I have a couple of things going on. I can’t say as I have noticed a load of progress, but it is a good way to escape and do something active for a bit.

Life is going pretty well actually, and it’s kind of strange to think that I have the equivalent of one Whole 30 left now. As I mentioned in my 60 day post, I think this would be quite a sustainable way to continue eating for me and I don’t anticipate changing much from Day 100. That being said, I might find that in the next month, I suddenly get a huge hankering for something I don’t currently eat. I would be surprised though. Even if I did, I feel like I would be able to have a better, more honest conversation with myself about why I wanted it (whatever “it” is).

The only thing that isn’t improving is my scalp. I bought some stuff from Neal’s Yard today in the hope of sorting my skin out. Given that I am not eating any wheat or dairy and haven’t done for over two months, I don’t think that I can lay my awful skin at the door of my diet. The culprit, as perhaps I’ve always known, is stress. My poor scalp is red raw and has been for ages now. It got a bit better when we had a week off a couple of weeks ago, but now it’s pretty awful. I kind of refuse to go to the doctors as it just seems a bit of a stupid thing to go for. Plus, the root cause of it is, I am quite certain, stress, so I don’t just want to mask the symptoms, I want to tackle the cause but soothe the irritation in the meantime. So that’s my focus for the next 30 days, to effectively stop bleeding from my hairline. Gross.

Apparently it is National Ice Cream Day today. What’s your favourite ice cream? Obviously ice cream isn’t on the Whole 30 “approved food” list, so instead I had an iced coffee today.


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Whole 100: 60 days in

I’m now effectively two Whole 30s in to my Whole 100. Day 60 seems to have come around without much ceremony, probably not helped by the fact that I ran out of time to blog at my Day 40 and Day 50 updates. By the time I’d managed to string a sentence together, it was a bit too late. Such is life!  Visually, this is where I am at:

Whole 100 Day 60 Front

Unlike in my Day 30 weigh in, I can definitely see more of a difference this time in my front profile. My face is much less puffy for a start. Random weight loss NSV? I have to use slightly less foundation when I’m putting my make up on now.

Whole 100 Day 60 Side

Side on, I can definitely see the difference. Mum commented on my last weigh in post, saying that I seem to have grown. The only thing I can think is that it is the weight coming off which is stopping my body being weighed down. Very strange.

That is a total of 40 lbs down since 1st January this year, and 20.7 lbs down since I started my Whole 100. I’m pleased with the numbers, though I feel that the loss has slowed down quite a bit lately, having lost just 8lbs since my 30 day weigh in. Being a bit more objective about it, a loss of 2lbs a week is perfectly fine. I guess it’s just that as I know how much I have to lose, 2lbs a week doesn’t really dent it much. Must think bigger picture!

Highlights

In my last weigh in post, I mentioned that I needed to find a pair of trousers for work, which was proving a bit difficult. I found a pair in Debenhams, and while they’re not a different size than my old ones, but there is a big difference in the sizing. It’s actually really frustrating – why can’t there be a uniform approach to sizing? It has made me more aware though not to trust in the number on the tag – it doesn’t mean much right now. Being totally honest, it’s been such a long time since I fitted in to non-plus-sized clothes, I don’t remember if “normal” sizing has the same problem to the same degree.

I have a good and consistent level of energy, and I’m definitely noticing that I don’t seem to be suffering too much with energy dips during the day. We had the week off last week and did quite a lot of walking about, which I think I would have struggled to do, partly because of my weight and also because of my peaks and troughs in energy levels.

I’m not getting much in the way of cravings. I actually feel like I could eat this way for the vast majority of the time going forward and beyond a Whole 30 or Whole 100. The fact that it has got to Day 60 without much in the way of hiccups I think just confirms that this isn’t too difficult for me at the moment. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t think that some flexibility would be nice. Doing this has definitely given me an appreciation for those who have something that means they have to be gluten and/or dairy free, or choose to be a vegan. It’s really hard to just find something to eat on the go.

I donated my 12th pint of blood at Blood Donors this week. Ask any blood donor what they look forward to, and it’s the chocolate biscuits and cup of tea at the end. I count myself amongst them! Not yesterday though. Yesterday I drank enough water to sink a ship and stopped at Marks and Spencers to get an undressed salad and prawns. I should have been more prepared and taken a Nakd bar or something with me, but it was a bit of a last minute decision to book an appointment. Anyway, another non-scale victory (I think) is that they got into my vein much easier. It could well be that I had a great nurse who has the knack, or it could be that they’re easier to feel (the veins for blood donors are always quite deep and usually hard to find).

Also, this week, I have cooked some new cuts of meat – brisket and shin. So far, so good! I made a rosemary and garlic pulled beef, and a casserole. We’re very lucky to have a great butcher in town, who also do an amazing “meat for the week” deal, which I took up to batch cook last week.

Activity

I’m still enjoying my yoga classes, though I missed last week, and it’s the last session this week. I’m unsure what I am going to do after this week in terms of continuing at a studio or class. I really need to clear the spare room of stuff again so I can carve out a workout space. I’ve really noticed that I am quite sedentary in my normal day to day life though so I need to make more of an effort to move more.

My thoughts have turned back to running again. I am trying to work out the best time to start back on Couch to 5k. Watch this space!

In summary then…

Things are going well, and I am still enjoying the process. I could definitely see that this is something I could keep going with, but with some flexibility in the future, as even the creators of Whole 30 are clear that it shouldn’t ever be a Whole 365. And who wants a birthday without cake and Christmas without pudding anyway?


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Blogtacular 2016: My weekend in London

You go to a blogging conference, come away with a load of ideas and things you’d like to try, and… You don’t blog for over a week. Well done me! Being totally honest, I think I have suffered a little bit from overwhelm and analysis paralysis. It was a lot to take in! Anyway, after just over a week, I thought I’d just run through the day. I’ll do another post on my thoughts if I go next year as this post if already a long one.

I was lucky enough to gain a place on the much coveted Blogtacular photowalk which was taking place on the Friday before the main conference on the Saturday, so I travelled to London by train on the Friday morning. Matt very kindly dropped me off at the station.

Train Station

I arrived in Waterloo around lunchtime. I hopped onto the Jubilee Line to Canada Water and then made my way up to the Overground to catch the train to Shoreditch High Street, where the Blogtacular Photowalk East started from.

Blogtacular 2016 Photowalk Image Courtesy of Mollie Makes © Kat Molesworth-14

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

It really wasn’t hard to spot the Blogtacular crowd – I think we may have been the brightest dressed people on a slightly grey day in east London. I was pretty nervous and probably didn’t come across all that brilliantly, but I got chatting to the lovely Julia from Just Creative Julia, and not long after 2pm, we were all heading off the main drag and around the streets of Shoreditch.

Shoreditch Photowalk

By the time we arrived at Old Street station, I was beginning to flag. I hadn’t eaten much and think the nervous energy was beginning to wear off. After stopping for a peppermint tea at Eat and chatting some more with Julia and Rachel from Sew Happy Sew Healthy, we parted ways and I headed to my hotel via Pret a Manger for a tuna salad dinner. I’d booked the Hub by Premier Inn at Tower Bridge. It was a great choice! Don’t get me wrong, there was hardly enough room to swing a cat, but I knew that in advance and was actually really impressed with the room. The bed was super comfy, there were movies on the TV (some good choices too – I opted for 13 Hours and started, but didn’t finish, Everest). I managed some yoga too in a bid to calm my brain down a bit.

Blogtacular were holding a party at West Elm on Tottenham Court Road, but a combination of social overwhelm and distance saw me opt for a walk along the Thames with my camera.

Tower Bridge

On Saturday morning, having slept pretty well (thanks air-con!), I struggled out of bed, packed myself up and headed up to 200 Aldersgate, which may be the most amazing venue I have ever been to for a conference. The space is so lovely and light.

Blogtacular 2016

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

Over breakfast, I chatted to some really friendly people, and then wandered over to Mollie Makes, where the lovely ladies tried to get me to do their flat lay challenge (which I didn’t accept at the time) and waited for the opening key-note speech.

Blogtacular 2016

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

Lisa Congdon was the opening key-note, and I don’t think I could have heard anything so well-timed in my life. She talked about not doing all the things, being vulnerable and genuine, and not wearing your busy-ness as a medal. After working 50 to 60 hour weeks for the last two months, this was just what I needed to hear. I will write another post on this one, as I definitely have more thoughts on this.

Blogtacular 2016

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

After a quick tea break, it was workshop time. It was quite hard to choose which workshops to attend, but I decided to go to the writing workshop being led by Kirsty Smith from Eeh Bah Mum who was absolutely brilliant! The key message? Don’t be afraid to be a little bit shit – it gives you something to work on! I took a lot of notes in this workshop, and definitely picked up some great tips for defeating writer’s block.

Blogtacular 2016

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

After the workshop was lunch. I was on my best Whole 100 behaviour, so I didn’t get to sample a huge amount, but the salmon and salad that I did eat was very tasty, and the rest of it looked delicious. During lunch, I also accepted the Mollie Makes flat lay challenge. Given this was the first time I’d ever attempted a flat lay, I think the ladies were a little more generous with their time than two minutes (and also kindly lent me their iPhone as my phone went on strike).

Mollie Makes Flat Lay Challenge

Unfortunately, a last-minute loo stop meant that the next workshop I wanted to go to (Phoneography with Sara Tasker from Me and Orla) was full so I ended up in the Microsoft talk. Another well deserved tea break and then it was time for the last workshop. Photography is something I really would like to get better at, so I chose Laura La Monaca’s food styling and photography workshop.

Blogtacular 2016

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

I swear I learnt more in those 90 minutes with Laura than I have from reading all the stuff on my Pinterest board. The way she explained things like aperture and ISO just made sense (finally!). I really enjoyed this session and took pages of notes. It’s really inspired me to put my camera into manual and properly learn it. If you ever get the chance to listen to Laura speak about photography, go! She’s so passionate about it and with her beautiful Sicilian accent, she’s wonderful to listen to.

The closing speech was given by Enid Hwang – Pinterest’s Community Manager and employee #6. Enid’s speech was funny, humbling and engaging, and I think most attendees are trying to incorporate the phrase “utter bilge” into their everyday lives. She was the perfect “up” to the end of the day.

Blogtacular 2016

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

Once the final photo had been taken and the goody bags handed out, I hotfooted it back to Waterloo to catch my train home. The goody bags are brilliant, and definitely inspire me to get my craft game on again.

I was very glad to see my bed that night!


A big thank you to Mollie Makes and Blogtacular for the professional photos – knowing we’d have these definitely took the pressure off of trying to listen, note take and photograph everything.


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Non Weigh in Wednesday 19: Baggy trousers

Non-Weigh In Wednesday

 

I really must get better at putting together my Weigh In Wednesday posts, as it has been another couple of weeks since I last posted one.

It’s been a good couple of weeks for non-scale victories.

Loose trousers

So we all know about my work trouser saga, and I haven’t resolved it yet. As a result, my bum has got properly baggy, but I hadn’t really noticed how much until I caught sight of myself in the mirror at a conference today during a loo break.

Mirror selfie

It’s all well and good, but the bottom of my trousers are really scuffed up now. I need to make it my mission in my week off to find a new pair of work trousers. I’m not really complaining. I think it’s actually kinda cool (though doesn’t look great, so yeah… Need to get it sorted!).

People noticing

Mum, Dad and me travelled to Hampshire on Sunday to see my sister to go out for lunch for her birthday. It was really lovely to see her (as it always is), especially as I haven’t seen her since Easter. She was very complimentary and said she could see a real difference. I was a bit concerned about what I was going to eat, as we were going to a pub. I picked a salad, and I swear it was one of the best salads I have had in ages. I’m now looking for roquito peppers, as they were in the salad and they may be my new favourite thing.

Our catering account manager has also said she can see a massive difference every time she sees me. I swear she is my favourite person at work sometimes!

Yoga

I went to my Moving into Mysore class again on Monday, and really enjoyed it. I think mentally, I’m feeling in a bit of a better place. I have always struggled with downward dog and normally revert to puppy pose instead. This week, I actually managed some downward dog. I was pretty pleased! I am feeling it in my hamstrings today though.

In other yoga news, I went to a wellbeing conference for work today and was introduced to laughter yoga. It is probably the most bizarre thing I have ever experienced, but it was really fun. I hadn’t heard of it before today. Very sadly, apparently while children smile in excessive of something crazy like 400 times a day, adults are lagging way behind. It’s the same for laughter, so the idea of laughter yoga is to get back in touch with your inner (smiley, giggly) child – going around and clapping and saying “ho ho ho, he he he”, greeting people like you’re really excited to see them and are long lost friends, and all sorts. It was completely random, but good fun.

Days ahead

It’s going to be a busy few days ahead. My meal prep has been okay this week, and I just need to make sure that it continues for the next few days. I have made a couple of really good salads, eggy muffins for breakfast, and pulled stuff out of the freezer for tea. It definitely takes the stress out of it all.

It’s Blogtacular on Friday, and I got my photowalk instructions this morning (woohoo!). There was a link to making the best of a photowalk on that email, and one piece of advice was to be prepared to be involved in the actual photos. Normally I would have though “urgh” as I really felt uncomfortable in front of the camera. At the moment, the thought of this doesn’t bother me at all. This is quite a revelation for me!

There’s a few more non-scale victories to add to the list! It’s all good!

Have you ever heard of laughter yoga? Would you ever give it a go?


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Off to Blogtacular I go!

It’s now five more sleeps until I set off on my own to London. I’ve always gone with other people in the past, so I’m quite looking forward to attempting to navigate my way around the City. Why am I going to London?

Going-to-Blogtacular-2016

I am going to Blogtacular! Back when I was still blogging at Tub on the Run, I promised myself a couple of things – the first was that one day I would get my own domain name and go self hosted (tick!). The second was that I would go to a blogging conference. A couple of years ago, I had planned to go to an event called Cybher. I read everything and anything I could get my hands on about this conference, and after doing my research, I bought a ticket. Sadly, it wasn’t to be as the conference was cancelled. I think (from bad memory) that Blogtacular was born that same year (2014).

Why didn’t I go to Blogtacular instead? I think it was because I wanted to read reviews of it first. It isn’t the cheapest activity when you add in the travel, hotel, food and tickets, so I wanted to know that I was going to be getting my money’s worth. I did go to the South West Blog Social that year, which was organised by Jodie from a la Jode, and enjoyed myself, even if there wasn’t anyone from my niche at the time. I didn’t book up last year, as we were moving house and any extra funds were spent on that.

This year though, I decided to bite the bullet and booked my Blogtacular ticket, having read as much as I could. The verdict, according to the research I’d done? Absolutely, unquestioningly good value for money.

Since I bought my ticket, I’ve been joining in on the weekly Twitter chats as and when I can, and if the topic is relevant to me. I’ve learned a lot already. As this will be my first “big” blogging conference, I thought I’d best introduce myself!

Beyond the Sofa goes to Blogtacular

 

I am Steph, office bod by day, crazy cat lady and blogger by night. I live in Devon with my husband Matt and two rescue cats (Tank and Timo). I’ve been blogging since 2013, initially to document my running and weight loss efforts, though eventually got a bit lost with it when I a) started to put weight on again, and b) stopped running.

What do I want to get out of Blogtacular? Well, I’d like to learn about how to improve my writing and will also be trying to pick up any and all tips about how not to hit the awful writer’s block (or crack through it if I find myself there!). Aesthetically, I would like to improve my photography and site design, so I am going to be keeping my ears open for any tips I can take away on these points too. Other than that, I am just looking forward to meeting some new people.

What am I doing at Blogtacular? I’m very lucky to have gained a place in the photowalk lottery, so I’m heading up to London on Friday to take part in the photowalk with Laura and Jess. I am down to go to the West Elm party too, but I might leave that a little early so I can get an early night for what promises to be a long and interesting day on the Saturday (I’ll play it by ear). On the Saturday, I am (at the moment) planning on going to the Developing Content Ideas with Kirsty Smith from Eeh Bah Mum, then either Why Content is King is Modern Media with Ella Williamson and Andrew Trotman, or Phoneography with Sara Tasker from Me and Orla. For the last workshop, I’m hoping to do either the Writing Workshop with Laura Jane Williams or the Food and Travel Photography workshop with Laura La Monaca.

Anything I’m nervous about? I get a touch of anxiety about travelling to timetables (it’s the “will I get there on time? Will I get lost?”). I’m coming up by train from Exeter to Waterloo. I know I’ll be fine once I’m on the Tube and have found the photowalk location (google maps at the ready!). I’m also a bit nervous about meeting new people. I’ll be absolutely fine, I have no doubt, it’s just the thought of not knowing anyone. My last thing is to do with being able to eat in line with my Whole 100. I’m not too concerned though, as I understand that there are lots of options when it comes to the catering (plus unlimited tea and coffee! Woo!). Worst case scenario is that I nip out to Pret around the corner as they’ll definitely have things I can eat. That will be my plan for dinner on the Friday and Saturday.

If you’re going to Blogtacular, please say hi! If you’re not, have you been to a blogging conference? Any tips to share for making the most out of the experience?


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Whole 100 Day 30 – Progress Update

Here it is! The sun has nearly set on Day 30, which I guess makes this my fourth Whole 30, and (you guessed it) 30 days into my Whole 100. I thought I’d just run through where I am right now.

Highlights

I’ve had a couple of really good highlights so far. Firstly, I am in the next size down in jeans and really do need to replace my work trousers sooner rather than later. I’ve actually lost 15lbs since Day -1, which takes my weight loss since the beginning of the year to 31.5lbs lost which I am really pleased with. I’m just trying to see if I have any pictures of me at Christmas for a better comparison (if I find any, I’ll post them at some point). Frustratingly, while I feel different, I don’t think you can see a massive difference in my progress pictures, though it is slightly more evident front on (I think, maybe).

Whole 100 Day 30 side comparison

On the plus side, I look a bit chirpier than I did in the Day minus 1. When I’ve spoken to Mum, she said I sound happier too and I guess I feel more like that in myself despite some extra challenges and stress at work.

Whole 100 Day 30 front comparison

When I talked about my Day minus 1, I said that my skin, hair and nails weren’t great. I was suffering with some pretty gross dandruff, my nails were super brittle and flaky and my skin was spotty and patchy. This is definitely a work in progress, but I’m really pleased to say that my dandruff has mostly cleared up and my nails are growing well and are much stronger (despite catching my thumb nail in the grater when I was grating carrot a week and a bit ago! Ouch!).

Another highlight has been eating out. In my previous Whole 30 escapades, I have actively avoided going out to eat. This time, I’ve eaten out twice and haven’t found it too bad an experience (and hopefully, I haven’t been too difficult to eat out with!).

Food

I thought I’d just mention food that I am really enjoying right now.

Whole 30 Meals

Sweet potatoes are everything. I eat something sweet potato related most days, and I am nowhere near bored of them (which is quite unusual for me). I’ve also really enjoyed my salads lately, along with some deli tuna from Well Fed 2. For dinners, I was glad to welcome some spicy food back into my life in the form of curry. From having eaten quite a lot of red meat over the last month, I’ve batch cooked a load of chicken dishes, so it’s going to be a bit more varied this month.

The next 30 days

Over the next 30 days, I had a couple of things I’d like to work on. Firstly, I want to make sure that I’m actually eating enough. There have been a good few days where I forgot to eat breakfast, and then meetings roll on or I get caught up in something at work and before I know it, I haven’t had any lunch either. I’ve tried to make sure my portion sizes aren’t too big, but that’s not much use if I am not eating until tea time. I’ve guessed that might be why my moods are a little all over the place at the moment. Poor Matt – he’s dealt with a lot of my hangry moods lately.

Secondly, I want to add some activity in. Last night, I started a Moving into Mysore class at the yoga studio I went to last October. It’s a six week course, and I’d like to think that it will set the foundation and structure for a better commitment on my part. I’ve been comparatively more active in terms of just getting out and about over the last month or so too so I would like to keep that up.

In summary

Despite a couple of rocky patches so far, it all seems to be going okay. I’m not at the stage of feeling all out amazing, but that has just confirmed that I need to stick at this way of eating for longer to see if I can really break out of some bad habits. I do remember thinking that 100 days was an awfully long time, but now that I am 30 days in, it doesn’t feel too bad. I think Jo had exactly the right advice which was to just treat it like 100 single days, instead of one massive block of 100 days. Thanks Jo!


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Ultimate Coffee Date: June

Coffee at the ready, it’s Ultimate Coffee Date time! It’s time for a catch up! I cannot remember the last time I blogged so much. I’m not sure whether it’s the Blogtacular effect and my brain is coming up with new post ideas because of that, or whether I’m just doing a bit more that I can write about lately. Who knows!

Coffee in a teapot

If we were having coffee, you’d notice that I’ve caught the sun a little bit. I’m genuinely hopeful of a tan this year instead of going red then back to porcelain white. When we lived in the flat, we didn’t get out a huge amount as we didn’t have anywhere to sit in the sunshine unless we trekked a load of furniture with us, and even then, it’s not the same as being sat in the garden. Now that we have a house with a garden, we’ve really been enjoying getting out in it and tackling the lawn and will very shortly start weeding. Our acer has also gone from having very little in the way of leaves, to suddenly being the most beautiful colour. In terms of working in the garden, I seem to be the person who gets to do the mowing, while Matt rotivates the flower beds (which is fine by me – my weakling muscles can’t cope with rotivating manually for very long!). I think we have been outdoors a bit more lately too, which has helped, and it is amazing what a bit of vitamin D can do for your mood!

Garden 2016

Over coffee, I’d tell you that my Whole 100 is going okay. I’m near the end of a normal Whole 30 now (30 days are up on Tuesday I think). I’ve gotten into a bit a funk lately, which doesn’t seem to have any reason behind it, so I can only assume that it is the junk still leaving my body and it’s just kind of throwing me out of sorts. I know it’ll pass, and I know that I need to invest some time in getting it right too. I haven’t been great at my meal prep outside of dinner. Yesterday, because I hadn’t prepared anything and I was doing some training at work and time got away from me, I didn’t have breakfast or lunch. Not ideal. So today, I suspect is going to be a hungry day. On the plus side, it is a good kind of strange to recognise what hungry is for me. I’m trying to make a conscious effort to only eat when I am hungry, rather than “oh look, it’s 1pm, it’s lunch time”.

Whole 100 breakfast

Over coffee, I would tell you that I am going to be attending a yoga class on Monday. It’s a 6 week class which is meant as an introduction to Mysore style classes. Thankfully it is designed for the complete beginner, though while I am not a complete beginner, it’s been a while since I last practiced. My thoughts have started turning towards the last yoga course that I did in October, and I’ve been quite aware of how shallow my breathing is. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll ache and be a bit stiff for the first couple of times, but I’m really looking forward to it.

Exeter Yoga 2

Over coffee, I would probably still be singing the praises of the Devon County Show. I haven’t been for about three years, but Matt bought us tickets to go this year. I really do need to finish the blog post I’ve started for it, but I enjoyed myself a lot, despite getting up at the crack of dawn (at least it felt like it!). Normally, Mum and I go on a Friday as there are less children around, but Matt didn’t have enough holiday to do that so we went on Saturday instead. Also, with Mum, usually we try loads of different foods, from cheeses to honey to seeds to whatever sounds interesting in the beer and cider tent. This time, my Whole 100 scuppered my plans and I couldn’t eat much at all which was a shame. I actually didn’t buy too much – just a HUGE steak, some sausages and a potted rose for Mum. I would have sneaked an alpaca and/or horse out as they are one of my favourite animals, but I think someone would have noticed!

Devon County Show 2016 Collage

So that’s me this month.

What’s happening in your world?


Thank you as always to Lynda, Coco and Deborah for hosting Ultimate Coffee Date.  Thanks as always to Deborah, Lynda and Coco for hosting Ultimate Coffee Date each month! I think it’s a lovely way to catch up with and discover new blogs.


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Slimming World Friendly Lasagne

When Matt and I used to do Slimming World, one of our favourite meals was Slimming World friendly lasagne. While I am not eating pasta or dairy right now, Matt is, and he asked if I could make a lasagne for him. I had written up the recipe on my old blog, so I thought it would be a good chance to refresh it (and put some pictures with it! The last post had a picture of the cat in it… As you do).

We always used the parmesan as our Healthy Extra A (30g is your HEA), but other than that, I am pretty sure this is a syn free recipe (I only say “pretty sure” as it has been a while since I did Slimming World).

Slimming World Lasagne - Beyond the Sofa

Ingredients

  • 500g extra lean mince beef
  • 1 onion, diced (red or white – doesn’t matter)
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 4 grated carrots (squeeze the extra juice out)
  • 1 carton of passata (390g)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 4 gloves of garlic, minced
  • Splash of Worcester sauce
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • Lasagne sheets
  • 500g tub of fat free cottage cheese
  • 3 or 4 tbsp fat free natural yogurt
  • 120g parmesan cheese (grated)

Lasagne Ingredients

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°c, then get chopping/grating.
  2. In a large saucepan, fry off the mince beef (you don’t need to add any oil) and add the onions in (I love that smell!).
  3. Once browned, add in the veg. You can add whatever you like to get your superfree in, but I would suggest grating it so you don’t end up munching through whole pieces of carrot. Cook the veggies until they’ve softened a little.
  4. Add the passata and chopped tomatoes.  Mix well, and add any seasonings (paprika, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce). Taste for seasoning, and adjust to suit your tastes.
  5. Depending on how many layers you like, spoon some mixture into the lasagne dish, and layer the lasagne sheets.
  6. Add roughly half the pot of cottage cheese (sounds weird I know, but it works!), then layer up with the lasagne then mince again.
  7. When you’ve added the last layer of lasagne sheet, spread the rest of the cottage cheese over the top. Pad out the cottage cheese on top with a couple of dollops of yogurt, before sprinking the parmesan over.
  8. Pop the lasagne on the middle shelf in the oven, and about half an hour later, hey presto, there’s your lasagne!

This makes 4 very generous portions if you’re super hungry. For this one, I’ve actually cut it in half again so it’s a better sized portion. The leftover portions have now been popped into the freezer – instant ready meals!

Bon appetit!