I Am A Deeply Feeling Person

I wear my heart on my sleeve is what people would say if they described me. There’s no hiding how I feel. And I feel a lot.

I have always seen this as a weakness. I empathise so deeply that I am emotional. There is no hiding this – so I just roll with it and carry plenty of tissues 😂

I can and do cry a lot which is not always great and can make me feel less than capable of dealing with life but – I also laugh a lot and feel joy often.

My life is full and I appreciate every emotion – it has taken a long time to realise that actually feeling so deeply and empathising so much is a gift.

This empathy – this connection I feel to others is not a weakness it’s a strength. It’s the reason I do well in my job (which is in social care), because I feel so deeply. I care – not because it’s my job but because it’s built in to me.

I don’t always enjoy it- it’s draining and sometimes I’d like not to care. I’d like to be able to walk away and forget about something that may keep me awake for hours or make my tummy feel a little uneasy. BUT I am who I am and I was most definitely born with an empathy towards others.

Realising and accepting ourselves takes time and is hard. We maybe even only really start thinking about it when time has passed and the real need for understanding has long gone but nevertheless acceptance brings peace.

Love Helen x

Mindfulness Meditation update…

It has been awhile since I set myself a challenge to get involved with mindful meditation. Its been interesting and frustrating in equal measure and i’m pretty sure I get why so many people try meditation and then give up after a few trys.

I downloaded the audio book – The little book of mindfulness by Dr Patrizia Collard who promised me that by meditating for just 10 minutes each I would feel less stress and more peace. So i have dutifully worked through the exercises in the book and despite some funny looks from my neighbours (i have meditated outside when I could), interruptions from my children, a very busy and wandering mind who does not like being tamed, I think Dr Collard is right. I do feel calmer and more at peace.

I have a few favourite meditations from the book and if you get a chance to buy the book in whatever format you can I would recommend it. My main piece of advice is persevere!

I will give you an example of my typical meditation routine. I usually meditate on an evening – I am less busy and I can sneak in 10 minutes after dinner is done and before the kids need anything.

The best place for me is either in my bedroom or stood outside on my patio – hence the neighbour’s now thinking I have serious issues as I will happily stand outside in my coat wrapped in blanket for 10 minutes in the freezing cold!!!

It takes me a few minutes for my mind to get what I am trying to do. At first it was all over the place…did i turn the cooker off?…did i turn the dishwasher on?…..I wonder what is on TV tonight?… It would then settle into whichever exercise I had chosen for 1 second and then return to the busy over thinking that causes me so much stress…did I do my job ok today?….why didn’t I think of this or that?…What should I have done differently?…

Honestly meditation at first was exhausting and I was so frustrated that my mind wandered ALL the time. I spent most of the 10 minutes refocusing my mind. It didn’t feel very peaceful I can tell you!!!

After the first week I did find it easier – It is very normal to feel this way but I can understand why people give up. Meditation is a skill, something that requires practice. That practice isn’t always fun but the only way to get better at meditating is to keep doing it!

The second week I tried to get too technical – I tried to include yoga poses. I can honestly say if i’d videoed this I would be full on trending on youtube, twitter and facebook but for all the wrong reasons!!!! Oh dear – an overweight, unflexible 40 year old woman who has very little experience in yoga should not try to run before she can walk when it comes to combining meditation and yoga.

So in my head I wanted to look something like this:

I can definitely say i what i achieved was more akin to this:


I couldn’t reach my ankle let alone my foot and lift it up more than 2 inches of the ground? – you have got to be joking!!

So my combined yoga, mediation experiment ended and I settled with standing or sitting – even I could manage that.

Week 3 was more successful. I didn’t always manage the 10 minutes of meditation and had to ‘make do’ with 5 minutes some nights as quite honestly I would get into bed and think – Crap!! I havent meditated! What I have found is that whilst I am in the moment I can now relax, I can free my mind without it wandering too far…if it does I can bring it back without stressing out too much. It still happens, I still get annoyed but there is definite improvement.

Week 4 and I am a convert. I am even thinking about doing some ‘proper’ meditation courses. I am actually getting grumpy if I don’t have my meditation time. I have stopped meditating every night, I personally find that fewer but longer sessions is helping me focus more. I now schedule me time in 4 days a week, a bit like i would a meeting at work. I put it in my diary as ‘M Time’. I am doing 20 minute sessions as for me the first 5 minutes is still a bit of a fight. It takes awhile before I settle into whatever exercise I have chosen and yes sometimes I fall asleep 😂

Who would have thought I could sit in silence for 20 minutes (certainly not my husband :)) letting my mind free itself to go into what I can only describe as a peaceful lull. I definitely feel less stressed but more than that I feel more focused on who I am. It sounds so corny. I feel more confident in myself and more able to deal with what life throws at me.

I am not stopping my meditation journey – I am going to build on it, but I’m also realistic. People practice meditation for years before becoming a ‘master’ at it. I’m happy to do it my own way to help me and my own life. However you practice mindfulness or meditation – your way is perfect for you. Whether that’s a peaceful walk, sitting in the garden, laying in a darkened room or just having 5 minutes locked in the bathroom!!!

Keep on practising – love Helen

Exante Diet day 12!

I really can’t believe I am on day 12 already. It’s been hard work in some respects but then in another way the time has flown.

I have struggled some days. I have been hungry or had issues with the loo!! I know TMI!! 😂 But each stumbling block has been overcome by drinking water or a cup of Bovril.

Bovril is amazing!!! I discovered it on Saturday when I went to watch a football match with my hubby. Up until then I had improvised with stock cubes. On Exante, as well as your water intake and 100ml of skimmed milk you can have 1 cup of stock per day.

Bovril is a beef extract drink. It has some magic ingredients because it sorted me out on Saturday as I was feeling weak and shaky. It is good for replacing some salts in your body which can be depleted by drinking too much water…I think that’s the science behind it anyway!!

The other thing that is helping is peppermint tea. It is said to have appetite suppressing qualities. I’m not sure about that but it certainly helps getting your water intake up in a more interesting way!!

I am a bit worried about weighing in. I know week 2 is common for rubbish losses as your body adjusts to the plan. I know there is no way on 800 – 1000 cals a day I can put weight on though so I just need to accept it for what it will be. Check back on Thursday and go to the Exante page on my blog for the weigh in result!

Mindfulness Monday Activity

To start our week in the right way I am going to add a mindfulness/ meditation activity each Monday. Some will be longer than others – today we will start with a short exercise focussing on something we do all day everyday but hardly ever notice…

Breathing!!

Today’s activity:

Find a quiet place. Sit in a comfortable position or stand nice and tall with your shoulders back.

You don’t need to close your eyes but you might want to if you find your concentration wanders easily.

Take a deep breath in. Notice how your lungs fill with air and you chest expands. Focus on the air entering your body. The way your stomach rises with the breath. Hold for a second.

Exhale. Let the air leave your body slowly and in a controlled way. Notice how everything is reversed as the air is released. Completely release the breath. Hold for a second.

Repeat this up to 20 times. Focus only on the breath. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the present. If you find it too difficult to concentrate start with 5 breaths. Then the next day try 10.

This activity is super simple but super powerful. It connects us to our bodies, gives our minds a break from active stresses and allows us to focus on the present. It relieves tensions, provides a grounding for all mindfulness and meditation and can be done anywhere!!!


Beautiful Things….

One of the reasons I love Pinterest so much is that there are loads of beautiful things on there that I can drool over!! It’s not only there that I love to browse, online shopping is amazing for that!!

I love all sorts of pretty things plants, vases, pictures, jewelry and the list goes on!!!!

Having things in our home that we not only love but that we find beautiful is really important. These things don’t have to be expensive – or we could save for something that is a bit pricey but give us so much joy it is worth every penny!!

I’m going to make everything around me beautfiul – that will be my life.

Elsie de Wolfe.

I have recently found the most gorgeous ring! It is from Hersey&son who are an amazing silversmith company. They have some absolutely gorgeous pieces and prices start from £15!!

I have given my hubby the list of things I want for valentines day… it’s the only way I will get what I want 🙂 He is very good but why risk it lol!

If you would like to buy anything from Hersey&son please click on my links either on here on my homepage. I am an affiliate but only get the recognition if you click through my site. They are worth the visit as they have over 600 beautiful pieces – something for everyone!

Thanks Helen xx

Today’s lunch!!

Warning boring food pic ALERT…

Spanish chicken and salad

Recipe…

4 chicken breast – tin of chopped tomatoes – 12 baby tomatoes – 1 red and 1 green sweet pepper – 1 red onion – 1 small courgette

1 tsp paprika – 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika – 1tsp oregano – 1/2 teaspoon of chilli flakes – chicken stick cube

Method – dissolve stock cube in boiling water. Place chicken in oven proof dish, chop and add vegetables to the dish. Add tomatoes to the stock then add spices. Pour over the chicken and vegetables.

Bake for 20 – 25 mins at 180C

5 Tips to Stay on Track!

Being on any diet is hard – no matter how simple the plan is. I hope that makes sense 🙂 Here are 5 tips I have found help me stick to it….

  • BUILD a support network NOW. Join a community or the social media group for your chosen plan.  Don’t wait until you are struggling to stick at things, build relationships now so that you have got support from those who know exactly what you are going through. Any kind of diet plan is hard, it may even be the toughest journey of your life but having people to call on when you need it is a must.
  • CREATE an inspiration page – either in a journal if you like something physical to stick pictures in (we crafters love a bit of gluing and sticking) or on the internet. Make it private so only you can see it and put photos on of you now. Then add quotes, pictures, ideas, rewards – whatever it takes to get you determined and your motivation pumped. This is a private thing – its personal to you. This allows you to really explore your reasons why – and to keep those in the front of your mind if you are having a bad day.
  • CHART IT – Get a weight loss chart and FILL IT IN!! You can make your own or use one from the internet. I have made one for myself that I fill in – here is a link to see what I mean. https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vSEzq-VzHiCHNyVYbGb07nzj9ir50LWhnCZIkfdW2NCuNU4-S1YRtyuisS45Pcg4qwX-QJVRF2NyBqf/pub
  • ENJOY your diet – if it isn’t bringing you happiness. STOP. You absolutely do not have to do something that you are not enjoying and that doesn’t suit you. The great thing about Exante is that there are a variety of plans and ways to use the products. I can replace all of my meals so I don’t have to think about anything – its all done for me.  Or I can mix and match it with my life, using the plan to fit around me and not the other way around, Its a personal thing but believe me I have tried A LOT of diets. Choose the plan that is sustainable for you. I am currently using 3 packs and making a 200 cal meal. 
  • Understand this will be a life long Journey. I have been on some kind of diet for years and haven’t always been successful. I have lost weight, maintained, put weight on, lost weight, put it on and so the journey continues. For those of us who struggle with our weight we will probably always have to think about our diet and have it as a managed aspect of our lives. The goal for many of us is to be at our ideal weight. The thing is even when we get there we still have to keep an eye on things therefore the journey continues. Whether you are just starting out, are at a weight you don’t want to be at – and that can be both under weight or over weight, or you are happy with your weight its all a journey. Accept its a journey and a lifelong commitment. In my opinion only when we accept this can we forgive ourselves if we have a bad day. 1 bad day, 1 bad month, 1 bad year doesn’t make a lifetime, we can restart, retry and renew our commitment to ourselves and the journey.

Diet Day 5 – 5lbs off!!

Breakfast!

I am super chuffed to bits!!! I have had a couple of Ropey days when things haven’t been great. I have felt really bloated so I was sure I hadn’t lost anything. I’m not supposed to be weighing until Thursday but I had a sneaky look and I have lost 5 lbs!!!!

I suffer with IBS and my stomach has been in knots for the last couple of days. Nothing too bad but not comfortable either. I have stuck to plan but couldn’t weigh my food yesterday as I ate out. I chose wisely and ordered a veg stir fry with chicken. It said it came with rice but I though I’d just leave that as extra carbs are a no go thing just yet.

Everything was fine and then my meal came. It literally had everything mixed together on the plate, more like a risotto!!! I was gutted!! Now bearing in mind this is still better than the usual hot beef and onion sandwich and chips that I have – I was disappointed with myself.

I picked out the chicken and veggies as best I could and then left about half. I was actually really full so leaving some was easy. I drank peppermint tea and a glass of tap water.

By the evening I couldn’t stomach anymore water….and I hadn’t actually had enough that day. I drank diluted no sugar added squash instead and although not ideal I’m looking at the positive that it was fluids and anything is better than being dehydrated!!!!

Today is a better day. Maple and pecan bar for brekkie. Butternut squash soup for lunch. Chicken and salad for tea with a 3rd pack later on. So far so good!!

Water, water and a bit more water!!!

I am drowning!

Ok not really and actually that is a risk if you drink too much water but we will talk about that in a minute!!

I am aiming to drink up to 3 litres of water a day. It’s really important when dieting to flush the toxins out of your body.

It also helps to fill my belly so I think I’m full. (my brain is not easily fooled though and is still telling me to eat cake!!! 🍰🧁- I am resisting!)

I actually have been feeling more thirsty since starting Exante. I am not sure if it’s the protein level in the packs as I felt similar when drinking protein shakes years ago when I was fit 😊

Anyhow I am being a good girl and even though I don’t like it I am drinking water. It has to be cold and it has to be sipped otherwise I literally gag! There are flavourings that are available which I might try… Exante do 3 different flavours. Cranberry, orange and pineapple, lemon and lime. They are only £2.99 each so I may splash out – ha splash out – water, splash….anyway

So seriously I have found out you can drink too much. I found the following on metro.co.uk

With thanks to http://www.metro.co.uk

Please be careful – if you start to feel sick, shaky, light headed or crampy after drinking loads of water too quickly stop and seek help. It could be that your electrolyte levels have been diluted and this can lead to serious issues!

For me 3 litres through the day is doable and I am sure the trips to the loo will settle down soon! I hope anyway!!

Grey day happiness – how to be cheerful when the weather sucks!!

I live in the UK where our weather is often variable. We don’t really have cold snowy winters and hot sun filled summers. We tend to have weather that is changeable. It is often grey, cloudy and wet. The only thing that changes is the temperature. It’s either cold or a bit warmer lol – we have maybe 3 weeks hot weather a year but even that is split into odd days!

Dull days can make you feel dull 😦

It’s sometimes hard to be positive and feel excited about life when outside is dull and grey, especially if like me you are a sun worshipper who lives outside in the summer.

Dull days especially in the winter time can be difficult. It’s harder to be positive and proactive when all you want to do is curl up by a fire and sleep. I actually admire bears to be honest. Hibernating in winter is an awesome idea!!!

So how do we find joy in days like these? How can we be cheerful when even the weather is sad.

Did you ever have wet playtimes at school? These were days where the weather was so bad outside that we couldn’t play out but had to stay in the classroom. Do you remember these? I do and I loved them. I never felt fed up or annoyed – the reason for this was because on days like this we had ‘special’ toys that we could only play with on wet playtimes. We could write on the blackboard and play board games.

This got me thinking what if we kept something special for dull days where we felt fed up. What if we reserved a hobby or an activity for days where the weather stopped us doing what we had planned? Or was just getting us down?

I have a dull day playlist on my phone. These are uplifting sing along pop songs that make me happy. If I’m feeling fed up I can put this on and by song 5 I’m singing at the top of my voice, feeling much better!

Getting outside even when the weather is bad can be good. I love gardening and if I waited for a sunny day I could be waiting awhile. Making myself wrap up and go out does help me feel like I’ve accomplished something. This does take a lot of discipline though and I have to be honest if it’s raining then I’m definitely staying in!

I suppose what I’m saying is have a plan. Don’t wait for dull, miserable days to decide what you are going to do.

Have something in reserve – something special that you either do or somewhere you go when the dull days have got to you.

Below is a few ideas you might want give a try:

Plan a holiday. It doesn’t have to be real. You don’t have to go. The idea is you decide where you want to go and everything that it entails. It could e all inclusive 5 star escape or a cruise – or a trekking trip in Nepal!! The escapism this brings is fabulous!!! This is one of my favourite things to do.

Start writing a book- it could be your autobiography, a book based on your career, a horror novel or even a murder mystery! Harness you inner Roald Dhal, J K Rowling or E L James – whatever takes your fancy!!

If you don’t feel like writing a book then read one or listen to one on audio books – try something different to your normal reads. Try something new.

Watch funny you tube videos – I love watching carpool karaoke or ladbaby if I’m feeling fed up. There’s always funny pet videos too!!

People watch in a cafe – go to your nearest cafe, grab a drink and a piece of cake and watch the world go by.

I hope this gives you a little inspiration… let me know what works for you!!

Good luck!

Helen xx