I really should! I should be yelling from the rooftops!
Last week was amazing, for three stunnalicious reasons:
Reason 1: Our house has sold!
For pretty much the asking price, meaning we will get some money to do up the property here and finally, finally, move forward.
Reason 2: I have finally reached the 11 stone bracket! (Just! – more on that later!)
Reason 3: I employed someone who I think is going to take our business to a whole new level!
The lovely Carla started as our VA (Virtual Assistant) on Wednesday and I could not take the smile off my face! She’s just fab, and the questions she was asking made me realise that with her energy and expertise we are set to fly!
So why am I not screeching with happiness?
No particular reason, really. Except that we (Dean and I) are both just exhausted.
We’ve just spent another weekend back at our old home, clearing it out ready for the sale, which completes – hopefully – next week (it was this week but the buyers pushed it back).
It is EXHAUSTING. Two hours drive each way, we’ve removed the built-in castle beds that Dean built for his boys, we’ve cleared the loft, cleared the garage… you name it, it’s been cleared.
And then there are so many little things, the things that seem to be never ending. We moved into that house in December, 2008, as a part time family of six. And although not all of Dean’s four children lived full time with us, it was a busy house. So many people coming and going, so much going on, not to mention dogs, rescued battery hens, rabbits, guinea pigs…
We’ve literally cleared tons of stuff out of that house. Toys, computers, clothes, socks, nerf guns, nerf gun bullets, old notebooks, piles and piles of bank papers, CDs, DVDs, videos, camping equipment, remote control cars, horsey stuff (mine), rat cages, bedding (SO much bedding!) – you name it, we’ve shifted it. As much as possible to charity/recycling.
Dean is going back there tomorrow so meet the charity people who are picking up the dining table and chairs and the welsh dresser. And then later in the week I will make the final journey back to do the last clean, read the meters and catch the goldfish in the pond (to relocate in my cousin’s pond). And then, hopefully oh hopefully, it will all be over and we’ll have some money in the bank.
Here is my solemn promise: I will never, EVER have so much STUFF in my life again!
Granted, I’ll probably never have a family with young children again, but even so, I am living streamlined from now on. You read it here first! Too many possessions weigh you down, sitting heavy like a solid chain around your neck when you want to move on.
So in between trips to the other side of the country and working with Carla to help her get her head around our business and Xero, the online accounting system we use, there hasn’t been too much time for weight loss. But I did manage to stick to the wonderful Exante Diet for nearly three days – Monday, Tuesday and most of Wednesday (broke it with a meal of Quorn fillets and salad, followed by a hot chocolate). Thursday was a food day, Friday was 100% back on it and I weighed in on Saturday as I knew I wouldn’t be here on Sunday.
11 stone 13 lbs and three-quarters! Woohoo! I’ve done it, made it into the 11s!
Not the biggest loss, granted, but I think I am accepting by now that I probably won’t be losing the next 21 3/4 lbs in huge leaps – unless I find a sudden burst of willpower this one will limp along. But, even a limper can reach the finishing line, I just have to make sure I keep going!
We might just need to sleep for a month first, which actually would probably be great for weight loss 😉
(Here’s my latest vlog, I can’t believe how exhausted I look throughout most of it, my apologies!)
Diet of the Frickin CENTURY… Day 8 – January 16 2017…
I’ve done it, folks!
Seven whole days of iron willpower, tiny meals, gallons of water and a few hopes and dreams (not to mention two Sunday morning pastries, ahem*), I made it to Le Grand Exante Weigh In, Numero Uno…
Dear reader, I am delighted to report that my podgy little feet are ever sooo slightly less podgy than they were seven days ago!
Day One weight: 190.3 lbs (aka 13 stones 8.3 lbs)
Day Eight weight: 182.8 lbs (aka 13 stones 0.8lbs)
I was so very nearly out of the 13 stones! And probably, if I hadn’t eaten as I did on Sunday I would have been. But I’m happy with this result, very happy.
8 lbs is nearly 20% of my goal of losing 44 lbs! (Ok, it started out at 43 lbs – my age – but as I will be 44 in March I might as well just accept that figure**.)
Now all I have to do is keep the momentum going!
I feel soooo lucky to have found the wonderful Exante diet. The products are generally delicious, even the ones I found a little disappointing at the start my taste buds have now adapted to.
It is affordable enough to be able to buy plenty of products, which I have discovered is important to me, because if it feels like I’m going to run out I won’t eat them (weird, right?)
And I have not been hungry. Hand on heart, the only time I have craved food has been when my brain wanted it, not my stomach.
New favourite products:
Lemon cheesecake shake – OMG. Just. OMG <3
Red bean chilli. Basically, it’s normal food. A bowl of normal food, imagine that!!
Very Berry porridge. Heaven in a dish.
I’m not doing very well on updating my YouTube channel, mostly because I am struggling to make enough room on my poor bulging laptop to upload the footage to edit. And now my phone is full too!***
First world problems, hey, but I promise I will keep on keeping on and update as soon as I can, especially so you can see the products.
Does 8lb weight loss feel different?
You bet it does. And that’s got to be the best thing about a vlcd diet – you lose weight so fast you can really feel the difference.
I am walking taller, my stomach is flatter and I feel so much better.
Plus, my work trousers (I was down to one last pair that fit!) were just that bit looser this morning – RESULT!
So, it’s onwards and upwards to Week Two.
My goal for this week is to lose 4 lbs, which should start to open up various wardrobe options previously un-fittable!
(Obviously more would be perfectly acceptable – don’t hold back in leaving, fat ounces)
As I write this, Dean is cooking his evening meal of chicken pie, oven chips and onion rings (and the guy weighs less than I do – but then he does move around all day) and I can’t lie, the thought of a whole week of restraint stretching out ahead is daunting.
So, it’s one day at a time, and keep focussed on the goal.
* that was not such an iron will day, but it did taste good.
** don’t even ask how I’ve got to 44. I must have blinked and misplaced a couple of decades somewhere.
*** yup, spot the vlogger who hasn’t yet invested in a decent camera…. ahemm…
Project: Life Success – changing career aged 40+, building my own business, losing weight, taking control & finally making a success of my life!
Feeling amazing this morning, full of energy and quite slim. My stomach loves being empty. My brain not so much though, and after I got back in from the dog walk I had to fight a VERY strong Saturday morning desire for carbs. Namely a couple of croissants from the village shop. Boy did I have a tense ten minutes as my inner battle raged.
Meal 1 – Very Berry Porridge
I decided to fight it with a sachet of Very berry porridge – rather nervously, after the disappointment of the apple and cinnamon. In the light of the over-boiling situation I also cut down the microwave time, from 2 minutes 30 seconds twice, to two minutes twice. The bubbling, swimming pool mess that greeted me suggested I need to reduce that further…
BUT it was sooo good! Very sweet, fruity, and even though most of it was swimming in the saucer, I am so happy to say that what I was able to eat did quell the most of the craving.
Meal 2 – Coconut shake
I am really liking the shakes, and this was one of the best yet. I luuuurve coconut, and the flavour was perfect. Yum!
I have been struggling to edit my films for my YouTube channel because my mac is so full it is literally about to slam its little mac hands down on the table yelling “Enough, fool woman! I can’t take it no more!” and refuse to work which would be DISASTROUS. I thought the answer would be cloud storage but I find icloud useless (keeps crashing) and Dropbox so confusing – do I need to sync? is it uploading? if I can’t sync can it still upload? and blah blah, far too boring to go on any further but safe to say I spent the entire afternoon trying to delete old videos and photos, with questionable results, frankly. Technology can be so confusing sometimes.
When Dean brought me a cup of coffee I had a moment of madness and reached for the bottle of Baileys I foolishly had left in my office, adding a generous slurp to the coffee. Yum! Fool! I felt it immediately, and that could lead to any food weaknesses. I kept my head down and focused until the strongest alcoholic wobbles disappeared, then headed downstairs and ate a few pieces of chicken with mayonnaise before taking the dogs out.
There was only one way, then, to finish the evening – with a red bean chilli, which was just as good as last night. Halfway through it, Dean came and sat next to me with a plateful of white toast and butter – I took one slice from him and had a bite. It was surprisingly tasteless.
I have felt great today, aside from the alcoholism, and already feeling slimmer. My pair of go-to jeans, which had recently become my leave-behind jeans as I could barely fit them on, now fit again. My stomach is flat(ish) and I can feel myself walking taller.
I seem to find it easier to drink the water this time around. I have a 1.5 litre bottle that I fill and carry with me, plus numerous cuppas (coffee, tea and herbal teas) through the day take me over 2 litres. I wonder if Exante meals are slightly saltier than Cambridge? Certainly, I do feel ready to drink and would definitely drink more if it was warmer.
It’s day 7 tomorrow, already. Whenever I start a diet I feel the pressure of the never-ending sprawl of depriving myself ahead – which is a sure way to disaster. One day at a time, folks! Somehow the days pass and suddenly you’ve been dieting for long enough to see results, and that’s amazing.
So, one more day before my first weigh-in – hoping I smash it tomorrow!
Project: Life Success – changing career aged 40+, building my own business, taking control & making a success of my life!
Please excuse the horrible feet folks – not that the number on the screen is much better!
Yup. 190 pounds. Point 3. Wowzers!
Or as we say in the UK, 13 stones and 8 pounds. Wowzers!
Actually, I thought I might have crept over 14 stone, at 196 lbs (one stone = 14 lbs), so I guess it could have been worse. But, overall, a combination of sitting down almost every day working on our businesses, eating wayyyyy too much and not doing any serious exercise. Work I can’t change – yet. Exercise I am hoping will increase as the nights get lighter. So time to tackle the eating.
My goal of losing 43 pounds (actually 44, assuming I go into March, my birthday, which I no doubt will) means an end target of 146 lbs. In Brit-speak, that will be 10 stone 6 lbs – actually a good weight for me and one I remember being very happy at many years ago. (The key three words here being ‘many years ago’).
Will I get back there? Who knows! But, I am pleased to report it has started well, comrades!
The Diet I am Following:
I’m on the VLCD (very low calorie diet) Exante Diet, which is an affordable, HUGE range of meal replacement products. All high in protein and all around 200 calories.
If you want you can do just three products a day, so a total of 600 calories, with such high protein that you are almost certainly going to go into ketosis, which means you don’t feel hungry AND have loads of energy.
Or, you can add additional foods in varying amounts. I am doing the Total Solution, three products a day plan, and also allowing what could be best described as some nibble room.
So far, so good., but I’m realistic:
In 2015 I lost a big chunk of weight on the very similar Cambridge diet, from 187 lbs (13 stone 5) down to 150 lbs (10 stone 10). Here is how I did it.
I felt great at that size and since then have (very enjoyably) put it all back on, plus more., but despite trying to get back on the dieting wagon several times I have really struggled to stick at anything.
My last attempt back in October 2016 using my leftover Cambridge products failed at day 4. So, I know the odds are against me.
Cutting out normal food is a challenge, even if you are in ketosis and not actually hungry. So much of food consumption is based on rituals, habits and for our individual emotional reasons, not purely on hunger at all. Mine definitely is.
But, if you want to lose weight, if you are tired of being overweight but know you will fail at a traditional diet, I really do recommend giving a fast, intensive VLCD a shot. If you are wondering how to lose weight fast, this is the best way I have found.
Advantages of following Exante Diet:
If you stick reasonably to the plan you should see a big weight loss in the first week which is very inspiring.
After that you could lose 2-3 lbs per week, probably double the weight loss of a more traditional diet. Fast weight loss has to be the biggest motivator!
The diet products distance you from normal meals. The amounts are set so it is hard to overeat.
If you go into ketosis you burn fat but are not hungry. Actually, you can feel amazing, so much energy!
All the products contain 1/3rd of the recommended vitamins and minerals so even on 3 small products a day you are getting everything your body needs.
Exante is affordable – from approximately £1.50 – £2.50 per meal.
Exante products are delivered to your door – so convenient!
There is so much choice! Meals, shakes, bars and desserts.
Disadvantages to the Exante Diet (my findings so far):
It’s a diet. Nuff said 🙁
If you need support, the Cambridge diet works though you finding a local consultant, you then buy the products off the consultant. This worked ok for me 2 years ago but I now like the freedom of being able to buy what I want. Also, it irritated me slightly having to be weighed in front of someone else, then explain myself.
You MUST drink a minimum of 2 litres of water every day (this is the case with ANY vlcd diet). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but be prepared to visit the bathroom more often!
Ok, not too many disadvantages so far… I will update with any as I go along.
So here we go, folks: I’m giving it my best shot and this blog PLUS my Youtube channel is going to be great for accountability! If THIS doesn’t keep me on the straight and narrow, I don’t know what will!
Diet Day 1 – January 8th 2017
I bought a set of bathroom scales yesterday and so this morning should have been a day of setting them up, taking my day one weight and measurements, etc.
Instead I was called on a rescue mission to help Dean whose van had broken down on his way to work! After pouring a few bottles of water into the radiator we realised it was not shifting and suddenly had to get the van to the garage. My day was thrown into turmoil and I didn’t even get chance to weigh myself until about 3 pm.
It’s amazing how life can overthrow even your best-laid plans.
Anyway, I kicked off with Exante Apple and Cinnamon porridge. I loved this on Cambridge, but it was a little disappointing. The microwave instructions were way over so the whole thing boiled over and spilled everywhere, then it tasted a little synthetic.
Later I followed with a Thai Green Curry. Ugh. Tasted like soap, seriously. Two products in and both were disappointing, I started to worry this whole thing might be a disaster…
The Spiced Apple Shake saved the day! It was super yummy, not too flavoursome but creamy and delicious. What a relief, at last something I liked.
I decided to allow myself an additional product and added a Peanut bar to the day’s total. Again, this was a nice surprise. Quite filling and really good. Thank goodness. 1 day in, 4 products down and 2 big thumbs up!
The day went really well. Being busy definitely helps. I had several coffees, and every time I felt hungry I had a product which then satisfied. There is a LONG way to go, but it was a good start.
Diet Day 2 – January 9th 2017
OMG. 3.5lbs down on the scale in the morning! OBVIOUSLY it’s all water, but, wowzers! Imagine if that weight loss happened every day! I tasted the familiar sweetness of ketosis in my mouth from early morning which means yesterday must have meant more to my system than I had realised!
Today was the first of my two days at work, so I popped a couple of shakes in my bag in the morning. Only to realise at work I had no blender to shake them! Luckily I had my last Cambridge spaghetti bolognaise in my drawer, which can easily be made with water and the office’s 150-year-old microwave. Yum. That was one of my favourite Cambridge products and still tastes so good.
At home at 6pm I ate a second peanut bar which was as good as yesterday’s.
Later I had a Gingerbread Latte shake. I love gingerbread lattes so I was nervous of trying this, but it did not disappoint. Really good and such a relief!
In addition, I ate a couple of avocadoes to avoid them going to waste (they’re calorific but so good for you!) and a chicken drumstick (Dean had cooked a few the night before) and that was day two done.
Diet Day 3: January 10th 2017
It is sooooo helpful to be busy! A crazy morning trying to get through our own business paperwork, then I went into work – I agreed to split my second day over two half days for a few weeks to see if we can get more done.
I didn’t eat until leaving at 6pm when I had my first chocolate coconut shake – OMG soooooo good!
Then my evening meal was the Beef and Black Bean pot. I don’t think I soaked it for long enough and it certainly doesn’t taste of beef, but it was good, warm and filling and satisfying.
The Chocolate shake ended the day – really good, reasonably chocolatey and very pleasant. Phew. I am loving the shakes!
In addition, I had a chicken drumstick. Probably the worst thing to eat as it had the skin on, but hey, at least it wasn’t bread.
Diet Day 4: January 11th 2017
So traditionally this is my toughest day. All my restarts have pretty much ended up on the rocks on day 4, and true to form the day started with me feeling amazing.
I swept into work on a ketosis high and thundered though my duties until 2 pm. At home I tried the moussaka – a (veggie) meaty dish which you add water to then microwave. Hmmmmm, there was a strange taste that I couldn’t quite work out at first, but I decided I liked it and finished the bowl. It was satisfying and filling, pretty much a bowl of mince beef and I ended up adding about a spoonful of Caesar dressing for a fresh flavour. It would be good with vegetables added.
Later I sat down with a cup of tea and the Chocolate Mint cookie – squeeeeee! One of life’s treats! I shall definitely be ordering a large pack of them – chunky, chewy, satisfying and more of a cake than a cookie.
As expected, I felt myself wavering later that day. Amazing how you can switch from the crazed “I have so got this” and “I never need to eat again” high of keto-induced energy to sudden, killer cravings of “I must have bread and carbs” – all within such a short space of time.
Previously, I have given in, but somehow I found an extra strength on this day. I did cheat – but I made myself a huge salad with some (slightly out of date but ok) mackerel I found in the fridge. I don’t usually eat fish but this was bought and there is no way Dean would eat it if the date was out. It was soooo good to eat!
I figured a huge salad was better than 8 slices of toast, which it could easily have been!
From now on I will endeavour to always keep salad in the fridge so if I am tempted to eat I will make a salad and then see how the cravings are later.
It was a relief, an achievement and a triumph to get to the end of day 4. Already past a huge milestone. To celebrate, I tried a pair of jeans on that were just too tight to be comfortable last week. What a delight to be able to get them on without crushing my insides!
So, last year I got thin. I lost 34 lbs – 2 and a half stones – on the Cambridge diet.
Seriously, I’d been trying to lose weight for years. And then one day I opened a copy of a newspaper and there was a story about a woman who had lost 140 lbs on this diet, also known as the Cambridge Weight Plan.
I signed up faster than the speed of sound. It took less than 3 months to lose the weight and I felt fabulously thin, even though the lowest weight I got to was 10 stone 10lbs (150lbs), still overweight for my height of 5 feet 3 ins, but definitely no longer obese.
The Cambridge Diet is protein-based, mostly meal-replacements. You can get shakes, meals, soups and bars. It IS really challenging, but it’s also quite easy – yes I know that totally contradicts itself! I felt fantastic much of the time, and rarely truly hungry. And I have to say I found most of the products delicious.
I did cheat, unlike some amazing people on some of the Facebook groups I joined, who are clearly stronger than I am. Generally though, I cheated with sensible, protein-based food choices, and had about 40% rate of being 100% (ie just the 3 products in a day). So I guess I could have lost more, but I just needed to eat sometimes, and my weight did go the right way.
It had its ups and downs. Weakness, tiredness, constipation like you can not believe (I recommend Dulcolax – aaahhhh!!!)
But also high-energy, no sugar lows/highs and the fabulousness of having a flat stomach.
It was also an interesting ride – it’s in times like the Cambridge diet that you discover how much food rules us emotionally and how we reward ourselves with it.
Sadly, a super-stressful job threw me off the wagon (ok, I probably didn’t fight it very hard) and since then, spending hour after hour at the computer and eating mostly toast and butter, I’m pretty much back up where I started.
So, I’m starting again, in January (2017). Fancy joining me? I could use a few weight loss buddies!
(And if it feels like I’m going off topic here, Life Success means the whole package – including health AND feeling good!)
Sign up here or subscribe to the Project: Life Success YouTube channel here – I’m going to let the temptations of Christmas clear out of the way and who knows, we could all be much thinner by Easter!
Just in case I haven’t humiliated myself enough recently, here’s a pictorial record of my weight loss journey (be warned, some of it is not pretty!)
Project: Life Success – changing career aged 40+, building my own business & making a success of my life!
For some reason, I have a problem with setting goals.
Maybe it’s because I don’t feel like I’m far enough along my own journey to even have goals in sight.
Which is silly, and actually it is probably more a case of me not taking the time to sit down and set some goals.
Oh, so, I’m just being lazy! Unlike this lady, who has clearly goalled herself into total world domination:
Ok, so, I just blog-shamed myself into action.
I WILL set myself some goals. In fact, my goal is to set myself some goals before the end of this week.
Up until now, I have preferred not to set myself goals, but I have definitely recognised and celebrated when I have hit milestones.
(I can see clearly how short-sighted this is. Milestones are great, but you have to set yourself goals to work towards them. AND set a time deadline to achieve them. Ok, I have SERIOUSLY talked myself into setting goals!)
Anyway, back to Milestones. Because, last week, I hit three:
The reasons I started out in business and began this journey was to improve my own life. Coming a close second was my desire to improve the lives of others.
On the Foxy Loves Amazon page, we share some love by donating to the ASPCA every time a customer leaves a review on our Amazon product pages, such as our denim dog harnesses.
Last week we made our first donation of $100! I hope it’s the first of many, and I hope the amounts will increase as Foxy Loves grows. And I guess, although I never wrote it into a list, making the decision to donate was a goal.
It sure feels good to have achieved it!
Our SECOND product finally reached our Amazon store!!
I can’t tell you how excited I am! Honestly, it has been so hard to move forward, I have felt like I’ve been stuck for months. But we’ve finally got there.
The cute, paw-print fleece pet blanket is just perfect for winter. We have loved the samples we’ve been testing. They have so many uses and are a really useful addition to any pet lover’s wardrobe, so hopefully we will sell a few as gifts also.
Our next product is also on its way from China, these are truly exciting times!
MILESTONE THREE … EEEEEEeeeeekkkk!!!
I have started vlogging! Like, proper vlogging! Like, making a commitment to a vlog!
Project Life Success now has a YouTube channel. And the plan is that this blog and my YouTube vlog will go alongside each other.
Going public has been really scary and it was a big decision but at the same time something just feels right about it. If I am to share my journey in making a success of my life, changing my career and becoming my own boss, then I might as well do it properly.
So, I’m out there. Albeit in a very small way. Which is fine, because I have to say I’m not very good – yet!
But hopefully things will get better, and I might even get some YouTube followers.
I suppose I should set goals for that, too. But right now I just feel like I’m hurtling forwards on this great unknown train and literally anything could happen – and it’s hard to set goals when you’re clinging on for dear life!
ps – if you like it, please hit Subscribe and the thumbs up button!