Does losing weight mean I am fatphobic?

This is a post that has been rattling around in my head for some time now as I think about my own weight loss. Any regular followers of my blog or Instagram will know that between in 2016 I joined Slimming World and lost almost 3 stone in weight by the middle of 2017. It wasn’t an easy task and obviously with having chronic illness and chronic pain I had to do it with food alone as I cannot conventionally exercise ( before my illness I used to go running 3 times a week). The weight had crept on over a long period of time and was a combination of my lack of being able to exercise, reaching for the sugary foods for a quick energy boost, and also my age. I have since kept that weight off for well over a year now and feel much better in myself having changed my eating habits for the better. Yes I still have the coffee and cake meet ups with friends, meals out every now and then, and also nights out drinking on occasion and I do all of these with absolutely no guilt attached. I am thankful I do not have the emotional connection to food that some others have and therefore don’t turn to food when I am stressed, or tired, or upset etc.

However, recently I have seen more and more people talking about, and living their life by, the whole ‘ body positivity’ approach and encouraging others to do so as well, and I love this mind set and approach to life and I also follow quite a few accounts that promote this on a daily level. But it has made me stop and think………….does the fact that I have actively lost weight and feel better about myself for doing so now make me fat phobic?

For me, the losing weight was a ‘self help’ approach to managing my illness. The extra weight I was carrying was making my life more difficult. I suffer with chronic musculoskeletal  pain all over my body, the extra weight was creating an abundance of extra pressure on my knee and ankle joints making it difficult to be on my feet or walk for any length of time ( I already use a walking stick most of the time when I am out of the house). On bad days when my fatigue levels where through the roof I found it almost impossible to hold my body weight up long enough to make a cup of coffee! It was making be breathless when I walked up stairs which increased my levels of dizziness tenfold.

I also had the fact that it just wasn’t a simple case of going up into the next size of clothes. I am only 5ft 1 1/2 ins tall ( I used to be 5ft2 but having recently been measured at my pain management group I seem to be bloody shrinking!) and I carry all my weight in my middle- so effectively an apple shape. Therefore, going up in the next size of trousers to accommodate my growing waist (or lack of) meant the rest of the garment was swamping me. Anything loose fitting on the top end, like a shirt, made me look like I was a kid dressing up in their mum’s clothes! Nothing was comfortable, nothing fitted well even when I bought from the petite sections of high street shops. My confidence was already on the floor as chronic illness had over the years stripped me of my job, of being active, of friends (believe me you are dropped like a hot stone if on a night out they feel as though they will be stuck with you at the table rather than enjoying themselves on the dance floor!) and of fully changing the life that I had planned.

Personally speaking, joining Slimming World ( and I know online people are very vocal about these companies preying on vulnerable people and taking their money- which I do acknowledge to a certain degree) and losing weight was a way of taking control of something when you have an invisible illness that takes all control away from you on a daily basis. I enjoyed the focus it gave me and I met lovely friends there which in turn became a sociable activity to do, I am still at my group as one of the social team helping out each week. I have been able to keep the weight I lost off for over a year and it has absolutely changed my way of looking at food. I eat more! I eat better, which in turn helps me try and manage my illness better and I now know I have done everything I can ‘self help’ wise to manage my illness on a daily level. I don’t ever feel deprived, I have a cake when I fancy one, I have a drink when I fancy one, and I have some bloody chocolate, again when I fancy it. Dare I say it, I feel much more comfortable in my own skin, not because I am a particular size, but because I took control and did something for myself to help with my illness which also raised my confidence – surely that’s a positive right?

                                       So I ask the question again………..does that make me fat phobic? 

Like I said above, I follow some fabulous body positive accounts who I chat to regularly and I love their accounts because I like them as people, I like them because of what they talk about and also because they portray real life. So here are just 2 of my fav’s…….

@sparkleandstretchmarks  

I love Hayley’s account because I think with her what you see is totally what you get , if that makes sense! her stories are always real and she shows the down sides as well as the good and will sometimes post even though she is showing her vulnerability. She talks about fatphobia and the social media implications with being self employed as a blogger, and the affect being a plus size can have on her working with brands.

@_alexandra_parker

I love Alexandra’s account because she also promotes body positivity but in a different way. She has done the slimming world thing to find it wasn’t for her. She has also given up drinking alcohol to help with her mindset and literally gets you thinking about everything…………….just everything! Again it’s a real non themed account and she will also show her vulnerabilities when things are playing on her mind.

There are lots of others I could mention such as @mollyforbes and more recently @this_girl_is_enough  (who can literally blow my mind some days on what she can talk about on stories) but these are the two main ones who got me thinking about my question.

Am I insulting people when I post about my weight loss?

Can I not take pride in the fact that I set a goal personal to me and I achieved it? 

Am I wrong in being happy that I have lost the weight even though it helps massively with my illness?

 Is it wrong to say that my confidence has improved now I feel better about myself after my weight loss?

I think these are valid questions and I would love to know your thoughts? I feel that maybe it’s something I can’t be proud of online as I would hate to upset anyone, yet for me I feel as though I have achieved something personal to me in my life.

Please let me know what you think?

My Sk:n Treatment- a Glycolic Peel

I had the pleasure of attending the Dartford branch opening of the Sk:n clinic a while back which you can read about here

A week or so afterwards I had the opportunity to try one of their treatments that they offered called a Glycolic Peel. This isn’t a normal ‘fluffy style’ facial that you could get elsewhere, this is a treatment. It is the one most suitable for sensitive skin before heading down the microdermabrasion route. The treatment itself lasts about 25 minutes in total and overall is a very pleasurable experience. If you wear make up there they will remove it but leave any eye make up alone. There is several stages to it and you will probably feel a tingling or a bit of ‘heat’ when they apply the actual product that is used.

Ok not an attractive shot but this is me having the treatment and you can see the darkness around my eyes in this picture
Ok not an attractive shot but this is me having the treatment and you can see the darkness around my eyes in this picture

Afterwards they use a coolant that instantly takes any of the tingling away and then your face is fully moisturised and covered in SPF sunscreen which I didn’t really think about before but obviously if they are deep cleansing your skin and using products for the peel itself then it does make sense to protect your skin when you go outside in the sun.

Now I really suffer with large dark circles under my eyes due to my sleep problems associated with my ME/CFS. It doesn’t matter how much I try and keep hydrated and I really do try they are always there, and if I am having a really bad day there will be bags under there too…………..I know I have ALL the luck!

It was actually my teenage sons that remarked a day or two after that I didn’t have the dark circles under my eyes which I myself hadn’t taken much notice of but I was pleased that someone else did think it made a difference. My skin itself felt soft and fully moisturised for a few days after and I was surprised and very pleased that I didn’t break out in any spots ( which I would be prone to with a normal facial).

Top is me normally and generally looks as though under my eyes are bruised- especially on a bad day. Bottom is me 1 or 2 days after my peel and you can see that without any make up most of the darkness under my eyes has disappeared
Top is me normally and generally looks as though under my eyes are bruised- especially on a bad day.
Bottom is me 1 or 2 days after my peel and you can see that without any make up most of the darkness under my eyes has disappeared apart from the left side which is always the worst!

Now because this is a ‘treatment’ rather than just a facial it is reflected in the price with this Glycolic Peel coming in at £80. I know myself, with only one wage coming into the house and two teenage boys to feed and clothe etc then I think I would probably not be able to justify the money to have this as a regular occurrence. However, with that said, as a treat I do think this is worth the money as I was certainly pleased with the results and to have others notice the dark circles were gone is definitely worth it!

So if you are in a position to pay out this sort of money I would certainly recommend this treatment over a normal facial- as it was great not to break out in spots afterwards. I would certainly think about having one of these if I had a ‘big’ occasion to go to, such as a family wedding or party etc. They also do Gift Vouchers so if you wanted to treat someone for say a birthday or ask others for vouchers to treat yourself that option is available. With the festive season coming up and Christmas knocking on our door this would be a lovely present.

** DISCLOSURE- this treatment was offered free to everyone who attended the opening of the clinic, I have decided to review it to show exactly what to expect from the treatment- all views are my own.

sk:n – launches in Dartford

Last week I was invited to the opening launch of the Dartford branch of sk:n which happens to be inside the David Lloyd health and fitness club.

Now I don’t know about you but I sometimes feel slightly intimidated by these sorts of places  (anything beauty related really) as I expect everyone in there to be young, beautiful with perfect make up and hair and therefore, I feel uncomfortable walking in with my walking stick for a start, my wild curly hair that has a mind of it’s own and the minimum of make up applied ( sound familiar anyone?) I have come to the conclusion I would make a rubbish footballer’s wife!

This couldn’t have been more different. Yes, I know it was a launch and so people will be welcoming, however there were all sorts of age groups and types of women there to see what was on offer, which instantly made me feel more at ease.

We all had the chance to have a ‘skin scan‘ in a very odd looking contraption that shows up every blemish and trouble area of your facial skin. I can tell you now it’s not for the faint hearted as you think you are looking OK that day, then you pop your head into the scanner for a lovely young assistant to tell you that the scary face looking back at you in the mirror is actually a normal representation of what our skin looks like under the light. For me I had huge dark circles under my eyes ( that to be honest I thought I had done a great job of covering with concealer beforehand) which indicated dehydration- something I suffer badly with due to my ME/CFS however much I try to keep hydrated. This just shows that even when you think you are drinking enough fluids you probably need to drink more. I was glad to be told that I had some bright spots on my cheeks and forehead that were in good condition too so it wasn’t all bad news. Having never done anything like that before I was actually quite surprised at how informative it was.

Told you it was a weird looking thing!
Told you it was a weird looking thing!

Next we had the option of watching a lady  have her Botox treatment. I personally have only seen bad press about Botox so I was definitely going in to watch this demonstration. I was pleasantly surprised at firstly, how quick this treatment was ( our volunteer was having it applied to the side of her face around her eyes to combat her so called crows feet) and secondly how small the needle actually was!

Having watched the procedure it was more clear that the tiny needle was going in at such an angle it was literally going just under the skin, our volunteer assured us all that it wasn’t painfull at all although this wasn’t her first experience. The practitioner made 4-5 insertions on each side and told us that you would be able to see a difference within a few days but by 2 weeks it should have fully taken effect and they offer a free filler session if it wasn’t enough, which I though was more reassuring than just having it all put in and maybe go overboard unnecessarily.

botox_shots[1]

Next was a demonstration of the Glycolic Peel treatment that they had offered free to everyone that attended the evening, so not having had many facials I was interested to see what I could expect  when I came back for mine. We were talked through the whole thing showing us what exactly what would be done, the application and how long it would take ( just 20-30 minutes) and seeing that it looked quite a relaxing experienced I booked my free treatment before leaving and I am looking forward to that next week.

glycolic_peel_treatment[1]

This isn’t a ‘fluffy facial’ kind of place but rather somewhere that offers treatments for conditions that include, skin peels, microdermabrasions, acne issues, thread veins, skin tag removal, liver spots and even tattoo removal to name but a few. So as you can imagine these treatments do not come cheaply however, on looking through the products on sale  on site and the treatment prices they seem competitive with this market. Most of these have a single treatment or a test treatment price starting at £50 with savings of up to 20% on a 3 treatment course for some things. The products themselves are very competitively priced which I was quite surprised at with vitamin rich cleansers priced at under £17 and Aloe Vera gels at £12 and cold cream lip balms at just £5, although obviously there are more products in the higher price range depending on your needs.

skin_launch_dartford[1]

All in all I was so pleased I attended as I think it did help to change my overall perception of how I expected these sort of clinics to be like. The staff were friendly but also very informative and I learned quite a lot about how things can affect your skin but also that there are treatments that can help, I was especially interested in the acne treatment for my teenage sun who seems to suffer quite badly now he has started shaving too. I was also treated to a goody bag with some products to try at home so I will let you know how I get on with them too.

So I will keep you updated with how my glycolic peel goes next week- watch this space……….

 

It’s been ages!

I haven’t been around much as I made the decision to invest some money and get some super tech person to upgrade and overhaul my tired little blog.

I had no idea what I was after to be honest but I wanted a more professional, clean cut look rather than something I had thrown together myself. It was time to get someone on the case who actually knew what they were doing! This is where Geek Fairy comes in. She was absolutely fab, gave me links to look at colour schemes and sorted out the header etc. As we emailed back and forth the idea evolved where I wanted muted, almost vintage style colours. Then when I saw it I had the idea of the knitted stitches which fitted in with my craft side of things as well.

She was incredibly helpful, changed anything I wanted as we went along, was prompt and unbelievably easy to work with and to top it all off I was able to pay in 2 instalments- so that really helped me out.

Over all I am really chuffed with it. I think it is easy on the eye, not too busy, simple and clear. It also pushed me into joining instagram which for some reason I have been putting off for ages ( not sure why!) and wanted everything put on there while she was in charge.

So what do you think?
I know it wont be everyone’s cup of tea but it really does suit me, and lets face it we cant all be the same otherwise the world would be a very boring place.

Teaching your children through Apps

Teaching your children through Apps

So what do you think? A good or bad idea? Unfortunately we are in a technical age where this is becoming second nature! In fact I have to ask my boys how to do some bits on the laptop occasionally. But it doesn’t all have to be Play stations and Xbox’s and kids zoning out to mindless shoot ’em up games. With I phones, tablets and I pads children from a very early age can get in on the act for educational stuff and learn to be comfortable with technology at the same time.

Check out the web show below for tomorrow:

Log onto our live and interactive show where Jon Bentley discusses how to make sure your children are getting the most educational benefits from technology

Show date: Tuesday 29th January 2013

Show time: 12.30pm

There’s no denying that smart phones and tablets have become an essential part of life for millions of us, changing the way we work, socialise and communicate. Whilst they use to be solely the domain of businesspeople and the most technologically advanced, now they’re popular throughout the generations and even amongst pre-schooles.

Research from Vodafone shows that savvy toddlers first start using smart phones or tablets at a tender 2 years 4 months and that many parents are using Apps to help their children learn to read, write and count.

But how can parents make sure their little ones are benefitting from the technology and aren’t accessing inappropriate material?

Log onto our live and interactive show with Jon Bentley, former Gadget Show presenter and Libby Pritchard from Vodafone, who will discuss how children can benefit from smart phones and tablets and how parents can make sure their children are using these devices safely.

Jon Bentley and Libby Pritchard join us live online at www.studiotalk.tv on Tuesday 29th January at 12.30pm

Click here to submit questions before the show

 

 

Trouble with the Curve

That’s the title of a newly released (this weekend) film that I had the chance of going to see.

It stars the legendary Clint Eastwood, Justin Timberlake and Amy Adams, and follows the estranged relationship between a father and daughter and loosely based around the sport of baseball.

Have a look at the down loadable link below:

Trouble with the Curve

This is a character based story and is a slow burner that simmers throughout enticing you to want to know what has made these characters how they are!

I like these sorts of films, you are not detracted from the story by loud, unnecessary stunts and noise. Clint Eastwood plays a fantastic ‘grumpy old man’ and actually you can almost feel his frustration as his general demeanor has changed so much from the ‘Dirty Harry’ suave days. Although he is cranky you want to slap and cuddle him at the same time. Amy Adams is a great counterpart to the dad. Successful but lonely striving for success in other parts of her life in order not to deal with the ‘father’ issue. Justin Timberlake, an acceptable eye candy, was a great fun, forward but like able character.

I’ve got to say the dads ‘old cronies’ club that seem to be at every game to are a fab bunch, showing that your sense of humour does not diminish as you get older.

Like I say, sometimes these stories are my favourites. The father/ daughter relationship keeps you captivated and it was nice that when the truth was out the relationship did not magically fix itself, but still kept you guessing if they would ever see ‘eye to eye’.

This is a heartwarming, enjoyable film great for a lovely quiet Sunday afternoon.

Here are some pics from the movie to get you wondering:

Trouble with the Curve

In cinemas now

Live Interactive tech-IQ Test!

Go on admit it would you know what tablet does what, and I’m not talking about the kind you get at the chemist!!

I for one struggle with new technology, I am a true ‘technophobe’, always thinking that if I try something new I will probably break it! In fact it is sad to admit that I rely on my OH and my 14yr old to get me through anything I need for the blog………….ssssshhhhhhh don’t tell anyone.

So here is your chance to find out all about the latest gadgets and which one does what!

Log onto our live and interactive Tech-IQ test, with Pollyanna Woodward where she will be testing the nation’s tech savviness and advising us on the latest ‘must have’ gadgets in the run up to… Christmas!

 

Show date: Friday 16th November 

Show time: 2.30pm

Do you know what Wifi means? Or how to Tweet? Can you download music, upload photos and use an app?  Do you know the difference between a tablet and a laptop? And is it true that the younger you are the more attuned to technology you are?

The internet, smart phones, tablets and social media are now categorised as essential to millions of us, but just how much do you really know about gadgets and the big World Wide Web we orbit? Moreover, have you ever tested your Tech-IQ to figure out whether the products you buy and use are actually suited to your technical ability and lifestyle?

With gadgets such as tablets continuing to dominate our Christmas wish list this year, how many of us actually know our Nabi from our Nexus or will match the tablet with the task?

And should we be taking into account our technical ability when we are buying new products or putting them on our Christmas list? Luckily for us, one of the UK’s largest technology retailers Argos, has teamed up with Pollyanna Woodward to help match up which tablets suit what Tech IQ.

To find out how her own family compare, Pollyanna will be joined by her mother for a family tech-off.

 So how good are you?

Log onto our live and interactive Tech-IQ test with Pollyanna Woodward, where we will be testing how tech-savvy you actually are and what tablets and gadgets will suit you and your family

 

 Pollyanna Woodward joins us live online at http://www.studiotalk.tv/show/live-techiq-test on Friday 16th November at 2.30pm

Click here to submit questions before the show http://www.studiotalk.tv/show/live-techiq-test

FOR MORE INFO CHECK THE WEBSITE

argos.co.uk