Tub on the Run


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The winds of change

I have tried for a few days to write this post, but I can’t seem to make anything sit quite right. I figured I would write a bit of an update post of what has been going on generally here.

Mum has finally had her knee replaced! Hurrah! She is doing really well on it too. Better than me in fact (I had a woozy spell when I watched the nurse take the staples out of Mum’s leg). I am currently living back in my childhood home, looking after her during the week. I am not really sure how much looking after I am actually doing, aside from washing hair and carrying things, but it is nice to keep an eye on her anyway. In exchange, Mum has repotted my cactus (“Juan”) and sewn up the hem on my work trousers. I have also had free use of the tumble drier (whoop! This is definitely something I miss not having at home). At the weekend, my sister takes over, and will be here for most of next week as it is half term.

The timing has been pretty good for living with Mum. In my Settling in to 2018 post, I mentioned that work was an area of my life destined for change this year. At the time of writing that post, I had decided that I would take redundancy from my role in light of a structure change. In some respects it was a hard decision to make – it pays well, I have been there for a long time and have many friends. The flip side was that my mental health was suffering. I couldn’t strike a good balance and I knew I needed a change. I am now fortunate enough to be on garden leave, where I can take my time to look for something that is more right for me, spend time with Mum while she gets back up on her feet, and tend to my own home which has been largely neglected.

It’s funny. I am usually a pretty change adverse person. I don’t like change for the sake of it, and with a change this big, I would normally be running in full blown panic mode. I don’t feel like that at the moment. I am sure I will do at some point, but right now, I feel okay with the decision. I have a few things I want to achieve during my garden leave and really want to make the most of this opportunity to get my life more together before embarking on my next career related adventure.

So we are definitely in the winds of change, but do you know what? Right now, that’s okay.

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The Great 2017 Declutter

I’ve had a (very well deserved) week off with Matt this week. We had nothing planned – no day trips, no nights away. I have, however, been reading a couple of decluttering books recently (It’s The Daisy Pages’ fault!), and come to the messy house, messy head conclusion. This week was therefore going to be the Great Declutter of 2017.

Confession: I have never been a neat and tidy person. I have spells of brilliance where I am 100% a domestic goddess, but these episodes are few and far between. Eventually the clutter seeps back in and I am rifling through unreasonably large amounts of junk to find my car key, or my glasses, or whatever. This makes cleaning more of a challenge too and therefore doesn’t get done as often as it should.

About a week ago, I started feeling the need to watch some old stuff that I used to enjoy watching. Stuff like How Clean Is Your House. I bloody love Kim and Aggie. And actually, watching the available episodes on YouTube made me feel a little relieved as I realised that my house wasn’t in How Clean Is Your House territory. Coupled with this, my appetite has been off this week. Wonder why?!

This week has been devoted to decluttering, as there is no point cleaning around the clutter. 10 big bags for charity later and we’ve made a dent. There is still a lot more to go, but getting some of it gone is a relief. I’ve tackled the naff tasks that I have been putting off too, like taking the duvet to the laundrette, washing skirting boards, tidying the towel cupboard, etc.

Some “highlights” of my finds?

  • 5 bottles of nail polish remover. You know, to remove all of the nail polish I don’t wear (last time I had painted nails was 2016).
  • 2 bottles of Olbas Oil. One went out of date in 2011…
  • 2 long lost pairs of sunglasses.
  • Enough plasters to be an Elastoplast mummy for Halloween.
  • Enough pens and notepads to start my own branch of Paperchase.
  • Spare leaving cards for all of my office (even though no one is leaving any time soon).
  • 4 old mobile phones. Only 1 of which I can get some money back on.
  • 4 old laptops and 1 printer which were taken to our local Currys who can recycle old electricals safely.
  • Countless leads. What do they belong to? Who knows!
  • 12 bath towels. For two people. Oddly, we seem to be short on dish towels though. The Cats Protection that we got Tank and Timo from are now the proud owners of our old towels.
  • More yarn than I feel comfortable admitting. Thankfully, the local Cats Protection and my sister’s local animal shelter will take donations of handmade blankets so I can use up the old stuff that is left over from other projects.
  • A Fitbit and a broken Jawbone Up.

So it hasn’t been the most exciting week off, but it has been productive. There are still bits that I want to have a good sort through and donate/chuck, but my next focus is on finding a cleaning routine that really works for me.

Are you in a good cleaning/decluttering routine?  Any tips you’d care to share?


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Whole 100: My Day 100 check in

Here we are – Day 100 of my Whole 100. The end of a pretty good experiment.

Casting my mind back three and a bit months (obviously, with the help of a blog post from then too!), I wanted to give a Whole 30 a bit longer and see if I could address a longer standing problem of having a poor relationship with food. The makers of Whole 30 acknowledge that, while it shouldn’t be a 365 day way of eating, you might want a bit longer than 30 days if you’re experiencing different or more embedded issues. My previous Whole 30s have been great experiences – each time I have learnt a little more about myself. The problem for me hasn’t been in the completing the Whole 30 (I’m bloody minded enough to stick with it for that kind of time), but it is the “after” that I really struggled with. Moderation, as I have said before, is not something I am good at. I’m an all-or-nothing kinda girl. As a result, I quickly slipped back into old eating habits, putting on more weight, and then, well, several stone later and the rest is history! So, without waffling further, I wanted to see if 100 days of eating in a strict paleo way would help me battle some of the longer standing niggles.

The Grand Results Progress 

I’ve been thinking about the rhetoric that I use to describe what I’m on, and I was chatting to Mum at the weekend about a couple of things, including my recent weight loss. It got me thinking. I don’t like “results”. No, that’s a lie. I like results (as an entity) a lot. I don’t like the word as a word to describe where I’m at. Results to me imply that it is an arrival at a destination – I’ve finished. Except, I haven’t finished (not by quite a long way). So, I’m calling it progress.

Numbers wise, I’ve lost 36 lbs since I started this Whole 100, and since the beginning of the year, I’ve lost 56 lbs – 4 whole stone. That kind of blows my mind. Apparently, according to I Lost What that is the equivalent of a hang glider or 280 tomatoes!

Whole 100 Results Beyond the Sofa February to August

However, health isn’t just about weight, and there are plenty of non-scale victories to complement the decrease in my waistline. Even if I had no other highlights, I’d be pleased with the above, but actually I can also be pleased about:

  • Going down two dress sizes (okay, at the moment, it’s only officially one size, but my current trousers are too big so I know I will fit into the next size down).
  • Tackling hills. Particularly lately, I’ve done pretty well on powering up some hills at the weekends and during a week off.  I definitely think I would have struggled with this 6 months ago.

Whole 100 Hills

  • Sticking with yoga. Following in a similar theme, I have to admit that while I do struggle a little bit with it at the moment (I am absolutely nowhere near being able to do jump throughs or anything, as I am carrying too much weight), I don’t think I could have done half as much 6 months ago. Back in October last year, I went to a beginners course at the studio I go to now, and I found that hard and disheartening. I don’t feel like that now, which is great.
  • More home cooking. I find cooking generally quite relaxing, and, let’s face it, very rewarding. I have enjoyed cooking more food and eating better. I’ve also tried to make more choices to support local businesses, like buying from our local butcher (who has an amazing “meat for the week” deal), and our local greengrocers. The only thing I REALLY don’t like, is the washing up. Urgh. When will I be able to work in a tidy way? It looks like World War 3 has happened, a sea of mutilated onion peelings and crushed garlic trailing in my wake.

Whole 100 meals

  • Eating out. In my previous Whole 30s, I have actively avoided social interaction and eating out. That’s doable for one month, but for three, not going out just wasn’t going to be a workable solution. It took some effort and pre-planning (no, Italian could never be on the list of places I could go, and Chinese was out for the soy they put in everything), but I did manage it. I keep thinking I’ll do another post on eating out on paleo, but suffice to say for now, I’ve maintained some sort of social life. Also, bonus non-scale victory? Realising that soda water with ice and a slice at the pub is free. Yes, I stood there with my purse for about 5 minutes, waiting for the bartender to come back and charge me, before he realised that I didn’t know it was free. Winning!
  • Better handle on my binge triggers. I have always know that when I feel low, my willpower slips and I end up eating ALL the things. Typically all the sweet things, though I am non-discriminatory in that sense – savoury is equally as game. While I’ve always known this, it has nearly always been a surprise when the urge to eat anything and everything in sight hits. For the large part of my Whole 100, I haven’t felt the need to do this, until recently (maybe the last 4 or so weeks). I’m not surprised I haven’t really noticed it before, but there are tell-tale signs that this kind of behaviour is imminent, but when it really hits, it’s like someone has flicked a switch and nothing would satiate that feeling. It’s hard to describe, and I am probably not making a load of sense. My point is, that I have now experienced that feeling, paid close attention to it, and then promptly got on with a distraction to help the time (and the urge) pass. Hence why I have gone through several balls of wool and crocheted a lot of granny squares.
  • Enjoying summer. I won’t lie, my parting is very much not enjoying summer and practically sizzles like a hot plate when I get in the shower (I really do need to remember a hat), but generally, I am really enjoying this summer, for the first time in literally years. I’m not sure if I can attribute this to just the Whole 100, feeling better in my skin, or living in a different town, but I am definitely doing a better job of living beyond my sofa so far this summer.

Summer 2016

I think I have gone on for quite long enough today. I am still feeling a little nervous about coming off of the Whole 100, but I have given it a lot of thought over the last couple of weeks, and think I have a plan in place – more on this another day!


My other Whole 100 posts are all here:


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Whole 100: 20 Days In – Attack of the Grumps

I am now 22 days in to my Whole 100, and things have definitely changed a bit since my first 10 days.

Stomachly speaking

Since my Non-Weigh In Wednesday this week just gone, where I waffled on about how my digestive system is happy, about 12 hours after posting that post, Armageddon hit my tummy.  I had probably 4 days of being completely unsettled, and I seem to be a bit better again now. I vaguely remember something like this happening during my January Whole 30, and Whole 30’s timeline predicts that it’ll happen about two weeks in, so I seem to be running a little later.

Swing Low…

If the tummy issues weren’t enough, my mood swings hit full pelt over the last couple of days too. Matt had wanted to go to Castle Combe yesterday, and originally, I was quite happy to go. It sounds like a nice day out, spectating instead of mashalling as we would usually do. By the time yesterday morning arrived, I was trying to think of every reason not to go and started getting really (stupidly) grumpy about it. Of course, when we were on the road and nearly there, I was absolutely fine. The sunshine definitely does wonders for grumpiness!

Castle Combe - June 2016

Food

The food is all okay, though I should probably be more organised with it again. I have slipped a bit in terms of meal preparation these last couple of weeks. Knowing that this was the case, and also knowing that my batch cooked meals from a few weeks ago were beginning to run low, I had scoured through my Pinterest board and Bloglovin’ feed for inspiration. I’ve actually eaten out a couple of times too, which I don’t think I’ve ever really done on a Whole 30 before. The go-to meal is always steak (which currently suits me fine!). I am due to go out with work for a Thai this week, so I am not sure what I’ll be having then.

I have probably had a bit of grumping around food envy too. Matt is kind of following me with the paleo thing, but he is also eating other stuff. I have felt myself saying “I can’t have that because of xyz” a lot over the last week or so, which is getting a bit grating. The plus side? I am definitely getting good at label reading again.

Victory!

I have had a great non-scale victory though – I’m in my next jeans size down! I bought some new jeans this weekend, and I’m really pleased to be in a smaller size. Unfortunately the work trousers that I had ordered didn’t fit, so rather than hang on to them “for when they fit”, I decided to return them (which may be the first time I have ever returned something!). I liked the fabric but I wasn’t keen on the fastening – just a zip on the hip – no button or hook and eye or anything. I figured I would sit down too quickly or something and split the zip. The search continues!

Skin, Hair and Nails

I would say that everything is going well on this front, but it’s not quite there. My scalp is still sore (though not as bad), my skin is still a bit rubbish (but better), and my nails are doing pretty well! I’m having a manicure in a couple of weeks, ahead of Blogtacular, so I am hoping for nice long nails at that point. They’re growing pretty well, so I doubt that’ll be a problem.

Sleep and concentration

Sleep has dropped off a bit for me, and I definitely am not feeling overly rested. Getting up has returned to being a struggle again. My bed has just been too inviting to get up from. Concentration? What’s that? I’m quite sure that this is all work-related fugginess so I’m not too surprised.

Our Bedroom

All in all, I’m doing okay, but my inner chant at the moment is “this too shall pass”. I think the sunshine and non-scale victory of the jeans is helping to mitigate the worst of my mood.


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Non-Weigh In Wednesday 18: Checking in

Non-Weigh In Wednesday

Non-weigh in Wednesday is here again! I still haven’t stepped on the scales yet, and think I am going to leave it until a Whole 30 has been completed before I do so. What’s been going on this week?

Steps

Well, I think I did my most steps this year on Saturday just passed, when Matt and I went to the Devon County Show for the day. I’ve got a post to write up about it, but I tipped over my goal at 10:30am on Saturday, which I don’t think I have ever done before. I feel like I am more active generally too.

Devon County Show 2016

Sleep and Concentration

I am definitely finding it much easier to get up in the morning still, though I am struggling to shut my brain off in the evening. I feel like I have so many ideas (work, blog, life) and so little time. Plus my note book is never near me when I need it, and I’m just not a digital enough kind of person to pop it on my phone. So this isn’t really a non-scale victory for me this week. My concentration levels aren’t brilliant, but I think it is because I am stretching myself quite thin (jack of all trades, master of none right now!). That will get better over the next few weeks (hopefully).

Clothing

My clothes are definitely getting baggier, which is brilliant news. While it is good news, frustratingly, Next don’t have any immediately available trousers in my size so I have been forced elsewhere. I’ve taken a bit of a gamble on what size I am in a different shop, but I think it’ll be officially the same size as I currently wear for work trousers. I need to buy some new jeans too, which I am hoping will match the size of my work trousers (they’re currently a size bigger). I also wish I had taken a selfie or something before I started my Whole 100 as I am sure my face looks a bit thinner (or perhaps I have found better lighting!).

Skin

This is a bit of an odd non-scale victory. My skin has broken out horribly. I’ve decided that this is a good thing. I have no idea whether this is actually the case, but I’ve decided that the crap from everything I was eating before my Whole 100 is on its way out and of course, being acne prone (still), it is my skin that suffers. If I am completely honest, my stress levels are quite high again, and that probably isn’t helping.

Digestively

This is a big thing for me. While I am generally pretty good, digestively speaking, this has got better over the last couple of weeks and it’s great! I don’t think I am eating as much, and life is just settled in this respect.

So that’s me this week. How is your week going?


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Non-Weigh In Wednesday 16: Non-scale victories already?

With my whole not-weighing-in during my Whole 100 (at least for 30 days anyway), I thought it might be nice to share some non-scale victories I have had so far.  Are you ready?

I’m alive. Functioning, just. I have had a headache for the last two days that just won’t shift (damn it Whole 30 people – you were right when you said that the amount of suck experienced in this phase is directly proportionate to how much crap you ate before starting). I am genuinely considering being alive and not having murdered anyone for a shortcake millionaire thing as a remarkable success. Where did the little chocolatey treats come from? My manager – she bought them for the office (normally a very lovely gesture that I would completely appreciate). I had to sniff them. It was the closest I could get. Thankfully I don’t think I dribbled in the tub… Nope. My colleagues just think I’m a weirdo.

Whole 100 Day 3 Beyond the Sofa

(Source)

To be fair, I am considering the not eating sweet things as a genuine non-scale victory for my first week, as resisting those buggers was tough! Who doesn’t love the Marks and Spencer tub of treats?! I am assured by Matt that this does count as a victory.

Right now, I’ve ended up in a bit of a funk. It’s a temporary food funk. I have also apologised to Matt in advance of the impending storm that will be my toddler style temper tantrum that will strike without warning (and almost undoubtedly for no good reason) over the next 5 or so days. I should probably apologise to him again, now, as I think I’m being needy and difficult. All of this over sugar. How ridiculous.

I think my mantra at the moment is very much “this too shall pass”.

This too shall pass

(Photo credit: Marlis Borger on Flickr)


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Soapbox time: Habit forming

The habits that took years to build, do not take a day to change

It’s soapbox time.

One thing that I have found really grinds my gears in the world of health related articles, including all the New Year’s Resolutions articles masquerading as help, is the “it takes 21 days to form a habit”. That’s right, 21 days and I will be an early morning riser, super productive, healthy eating, good wife/sister/daughter/friend, yoga guru, gym bunny.

This might seem a really small and trivial thing to get wound up about, but let me explain. I have three reasons for this being a soapbox rant target.  I call bullpoop on 21 days.

First up…

Where is the science?! I studied psychology at uni, and while that makes me so far from an actual psychologist, it did give me the desire to see things back up by, y’know, science. Ask most people how long it will take to form a habit, and the stock answer is probably going to be 21 days. Where has this mythical 21 days come from? Interestingly, from what I have read, it actually started off being an observation of a surgeon called Maxwell Maltz in the 1960s who said that he noticed his patients adjusted to a physical change from 21 days onwards (it is the “onwards” bit that is often missed off). In 2010, a health psychologist called Philippa Lally published a study which suggests that it is more likely to take 66 days to start forming a habit. A bit of a difference in timescales there! Importantly, she also said that it depends on the type of person and the habit they’re trying to form. It’s going to be much easier to form a quick and pleasurable habit (eat a piece of cake a day) versus remembering to wash the car on a weekly basis.

Secondly…

Maybe this is just me, but habits do require some maintenance. Suggesting that your habit will be formed after 21 days and will then be forever ingrained is just daft. Okay, brushing your teeth may not require as much thought, but trying to adjust your eating habits, or exercising habits, speaking from experience, can be hard work. Not physically hard, but mentally tough. I find myself having to be in a constant state of vigilance, lest I find myself falling into my own personal danger zone of apathy because I have decided I have failed at whatever I am working on.

Lastly…

I think it can be damaging to bandy around the idea that in three weeks, you’re cured! Your bad habit has been broken and replaced by a good habit.  Congratulations! You’ve succeeded in three whole weeks, and no more do you need to think about it! Again, if it’s a nice habit (like eating cake every day – that would be lovely right now), it’s not going to take much effort to get into that kind of routine. This is where it gets personal for me. Telling me that it will take me 21 days of healthy eating to reform my habits psychologically doesn’t do me any favours. Have I failed to form a habit successfully if it takes longer than 21 days? Yes, according to the unreasonable and illogical part of my head, I have. Forty-one days later into a different way of eating and I can’t understand why this doesn’t feel any easier. That’s lie. I can understand it. I said before that it’s a constant state of awareness, and questions, and reasoning, and logic. I went to a workshop for work this week, and there were pastries. I cannot tell you how amazing they smelled. Little pastry slices of sweet and buttery heaven. Before the workshop started, my internal dialogue was “Do I feel hungry?”… Yes. “Okay, are you thirsty?”… Yes. “Have you tried having a drink first?”… No, okay, glass at the ready. “Is there an alternative?”… Yes, there’s fruit. “You’ve done really well, will the pastry set off a binge type response?”… Probably. “Is it a good idea to have a pastry?”… No. All of this over a pastry. And right now, I don’t see that changing any time soon.

So, at the end of all that? I think it really depends on who you are and what you’re trying to do, and of course, how much it really means to you and your motivation and engagement in following it all through. Just please, no more “21 days to make a habit” rubbish.