Embrace what makes you unique.

So apparently one in four British adults is obese, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, prompting fears that the UK has become the “fat man of Europe”.The UK has the highest level of obesity in Western Europe, ahead of countries such as France, Germany, Spain and Sweden, the report says.

Obesity levels in the UK have more than trebled in the last 30 years and, on current estimates, more than half the population could be obese by 2050.

Source: The State of Food and Agriculture 2013 (PDF, 2.44Mb), United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization.

I am that one in four person, I hold my hands up to it, I’m Kirsty and I’m obese, most of my adult years I have been overweight and struggled, though I have been fitter and healthier and happy with how I looked, how I felt, and naturally I long to get back to those days, I wasn’t a size 10 or anything but I was happy, I was a bit more body confident , throughout my adult years my body shape has changed frequently, and my husband has not once commented negatively, he loves me unconditionally, love handles and all.

Back then though it was a really dedicated journey to get to where I wanted to be, Most days  I was up and out of bed to the gym at 5.30am before Kev went to work, I had the best personal trainer you could ever ask for (thank you SB), she did my meal plans on a 6 weekly rota and she beasted me, but you know what I loved it!  The photo on the left was at Kevs 40th and on the right before I got ill in 2015 😏 I was strong not skinny lol. 

My personal weight issues go right back to secondary school, when you see this photo what do you see?

Hopefully like me you see a group of healthy and happy teenage girls? (I am back second from left) However people – ok boys at school didn’t see me like that, more often than not I would walk round with something stuck to my back saying ‘wide load’ or I would have derogatory comments from said boys. So from a young age I assumed I was “fat”, it didn’t matter how much my parents told me I was a normal healthy weight my brain was implanted with the fact I was overweight, I think this is so sad because looking back, I wasn’t I was “normal”.

I think there is such pressure in this day and age to achieve perfection, I have yet to meet one person (apologies if I have) who says to me – oh yes I’m so happy with my body image, it seems we are not,  we always wish for a change of something, I know I have said to friends who are tall, slender and stunning, how amazing they look, how I wish I had a figure like that.. to be told that they too are unhappy with their body, it would seem most of us have body insecurities, and it’s so sad but I totally understand, I have two daughters, and I tell them they are both beautiful and I encourage them to embrace their bodies, I try my best not to say I’m on a diet, I try to say that I’m healthy eating to help my head,  Sometimes one of them asks me what I think about her body shape, I have and always will tell her it’s just perfect like her. It’s a struggle enough for our children to grow up in this day and age with all that occurs plus threats of what society says we should look like via social media, all I wish is for all of our children to be happy with themselves, to love what they have, not too worry about body image, like I did.

I ask myself why do we feel so insecure  about our bodies, why do we wish we had bigger breasts, smaller bottom, or if we could be a stone lighter/ or even heavier and we all want that washboard stomach?
Historically, the ideal female body was strong and full-figured, (god I love this) as seen in icons such as Marilyn Monroe. But we have to remember every body shape is different, yet even as early as the 1800s, when painful, health-impairing corsets were used to accentuate the breasts, hips and buttocks, women were expected to strive for a specific ideal of beauty.

Below is taken from an article in the Daily Mail

Only 3% of women in the UK are totally happy with their body and 73% think about their size or shape every single day, a new survey has found. The survey of 5,000 women, commissioned by REAL magazine, found that 91% of women were unhappy with their hips and thighs, 77% were dissatisfied with their waist and 78% said they had cellulite. Three-quarters of British women were unhappy with their shape, 71% with their weight and six out of 10 said their body image made them feel depressed. Some 65% of those surveyed felt their life would improve considerably if they were happy with their body. 

Word has it, that we culminated our body image worries from catwalk models, tv, and the fad diets, that have seemed so appealing at the time because we too could lose 5 stone in 3 months if we drink a milkshake, (then you have the hard work of keeping it off) but the actual point here is that trying to create the ideal body shape shouldn’t be our ultimate aim anyway – we need to stop judging people by their looks in the first place.

Can we just take a second to remember that every single person is beautiful in their own way, if you think someone looks good tell them – think how you would feel from a positive comment, go on make someone’s day, they may look lovely, have a lovely smile,amazing make up, smell good or my personal fav – amazing shoes lol – tell them,  my Mum will be reading this thinking that I should practice what I write as her shoulder has been wet many a time from tears due to my own body insecurities.

For me it’s thought that my IIH will improve if I continue to lose weight, so far this month I’ve been back in hospital twice, I thought perhaps it was because I must of put on a lot of weight, as I hadn’t had weigh day for a while – no I had put on a pound from the last weigh day, I can honestly say I’m not happy with my appearance so yes my weight loss journey is for me to feel better mentally and physically.  As I’m sure most women (or men) can relate to this, I’m one of these people who gives it my all at the beginning – I’ve done slimming world, Gillian McKeith, Dukan, Herbalife, Cabbage soup,Slim fast, ADF,  you name it I’ve done it – I dedicate a few months too it then I remember just how much I love food,  cake, chocolate, fish and chips – the list is endless, my willpower sucks, I want to give massive shout out to people who do stick at it, I have one old school friend who has lost 10 stone and she totally has my upmost respect such willpower and determination!

But I’m saying it loud and clear I need to refocus make my body healthier and my mind positive, I have to do this for myself, Kev and my children, I almost feel selfish by not trying harder to lose weight as if its my fault my IIH is not improving because of it.  But it’s so hard when I can’t excercise like I did, I’ve tried HIIT, Kettlebells and classes during one of these times my  intercranial pressure raised so quickly I wasn’t sure how I was going to get home,  without droning and whinging too much (sorry) even walking at the moment is an effort with my new Diamox dosage so I am literally just taking each day as it comes.

So my weight loss journey continues – for a healthier and stronger me, I can dwell on the past Kirsty who was fit and healthier or I can focus on the future to a healthier Kirsty by busting IIHs arse and to everyone out there dieting, excercising, having surgery, those who are comfortable in their own skin or fighting an illness  – you are all amazing each and everyone of you,  may you too feel gorgeous and banish any insecurities, instill the positivity to our children also because we will stop worrying about our looks when society stops telling us that they’re all we’re worth. Let’s all of us focus on that first!

Have a lovely week

ASIBTAF 💖

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Wife and Mum first, IIH warrior second. 

You know those weeks where you doubt yourself in everything, it’s been one of those, I have been told many times by various people you are never given more than you can handle , but who actually knows what we can all handle? How do ‘they’ know our limits? 

Sometimes living with IIH pales into insignificance when you have a role as a mother and a wife, you can’t just think about yourself (selfishly) , you have to be that supportive figure to them, offering reassurance, kindness, love and nurturing them best you can.

It’s been a hard week for varying reasons, and my illness hasn’t actually been one of them, so this is postitive in itself. I am still continuing with my acupuncture sessions which are going really well, this week we progressed to 15 needles so I somewhat resembled hell raiser lol, but I think it is having a positive effect as the pain at the moment is not so intense, which for me is amazing.  Also this week I have had an appointment at the Doctors, for a blood pressure check, as there was some concern about how high it was, and whether it needed treating, (my blood pressure will be high if my brain pressure is high) BUT even with the stresses of the week, which I will go into later, my blood pressure gave a really good reading which we are hoping is due to the weightloss and healthy eating regime! So more positivity right there.

Now as with so many of us, money is the cause of such stress and worry, money is the root of all evil so they say!  As I’m not able to work at the moment I feel there is extra stress on my husband Kev, working hard six days a week to provide for us all, which he does barely grumbling, Kev is a builder, he has his own business, working closely with another builder, together and individually they have produced some amazing houses from scratch  with varying price ranges, houses I could only dream of living in…. so unfair lol, but after Christmas they started on a new job,  where they had been recommended to the client.

I can’t say too much for the fear of slander etc etc, but after doing extensive work, the client has taken it upon himself not to pay,  not pay – do people actually have any idea of the recupussions when they decide I’m not going to pay – the stress it causes, the anger, then the self doubt, all of this I have witnessed from Kev, hearing him toss and turn in bed worrying about the money we havent had, then turning the light on to discuss it again because he just can’t understand it, he has done this job since leaving School (he is now 45) and never has he not been paid, never ever, he and the other Builder are in disbelief, as the client has now changed locks etc so they can’t get on site, so it has been a week of reassuring him that I think he does a brilliant job, and that this client is a giant knobhead, that no one should make people doubt themselves, and we might have to put this one in the fuck bucket and move on.

And move on we will, together we have got through so much, yes money makes life easier, but we are all alive and still together, we have now learnt he has done this to several other builders, let them do the work then kick them off, the sad thing is I doubt he is led in his bed worrying about how to pay his tax bill or his household bills, he is probably led there smug that he has pulled off yet another scam, I am a massive massive believer in Karma, and I say what goes around comes around.  Kev has moved onto a new job, money will catch up, and I said to him, you have a home, two daughters who adore you, a loving family,food in the cupboard, thankfully bills are paid and you have good health, don’t give men like that a second thought. 

Whilst all this has been going on, this week we have also had the roller coaster ride of parenting thrown into the mix, definitely a journey that we as parents all have to go through, a journey of highs and of lows, happiness, tears, anger -actually every emotion going is probably the best way to explain Motherhood.

Kev and I go through this journey together to bring our two gorgeous girls up but along the way, we have the best family and amazing friends by our sides offering their help and love, who could ask for more? Oh and so I’m told hahaha wine and gin help! 

I would not change it for the world 
I hope you have all had a happy and heathy week.
For me this week I have definately used my mantra -A smile is better than a frown 

Lots of love ❤

ASIBTAF 

Weigh day happiness


As some of you may already know, I have been under quite a lot of pressure from many medical professionals to lose weight, as there are various theories that weight loss in patients like my self with idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) reduces intracranial pressure (ICP), eases headaches, and improves papilledema.

Naturally I would want to improve all of these symptoms, I wouldn’t wish the pain I get in my head on my worst enemy, so of course I want to lose weight.

Before I was diagnosed with IIH, I loved nothing better than going  to the gym, working out, lifting weights, sessions with my PT, and cycling.  I would cycle miles for charity, my  long suffering friend Lucy wholeheartedly would support whatever venture I presented her with, many a route we would take and get lost but always find our way home!

For me excercise was the key to my weightloss, I followed a healthy eating plan and did some form of exercise 5 times a week, it helped me mentally and physically. I loved it, previously I had done every diet you can think of , Slimming world, Atkins diet, Dukan diet, Slim fast, but I had finally found something that worked for me, I was happy.

Being diagnosed changed this for me, I found that any strenuous excercise just exacerbated my symptoms, my head would pound,  I would become dizzy and weak. Not an ideal situation to be in, and thus becoming a viscous circle of eating, maybe even at points comfort eating then not burning off what I was eating as I previously had been.

I love food, I love cooking, but best of all I love my Mums cooking, she is known for making amazing cake, cake that I felt made me feel better when I ate it!! When you feel really ill, you don’t think about diets or healthy eating, you think about how dreadful you feel, take your meds to try and get through each day, not about when you can next get to the gym.

So my weight went up, along with that came the various medical professionals advice on losing weight, so off I would go and try to lose weight with no avail, I tried shake diets in desperation of shifting weight before the next Neurology weigh in/appointment, which worked but even losing nearly two stone I had no recognition for my efforts. Though it was a healthy shake diet where I could snack and eat a main meal, it was decided that it was too high in certain ingredients therefore not helping my head pain and I was back to square one.

So as mentioned in my previous blog I unwittingly went to a Dietitian who has put me on a healthy eating plan from the British heart foundation , before this visit I was very much like :-

“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.” – Erma Bombeck

Now I am literally sobbing at the cake counter, waving at chocolate like it’s my long lost friend, dreaming that the peppermint tea I’m drinking for the fourteenth time that day is actually a full fat Latte.
However I am eating well every day, healthier, eating plenty, initially feeling guilty at how I could eat all I was eating and seriously lose weight, but two weeks in, today was weigh day AND

I’m 6.5 pounds down…

For someone who really struggles to lose weight I was so pleased, I’m hoping this continues, I KNOW my motivation for this won’t change, I want to see if it helps to alleviate my symptoms.  In my research there are mixed stories, some people have lost weight and slightly better, some are significantly better and others have lost half their body weight whom are still the same – really poorly.  In idiopathic cases, weight loss can bring about a remission and therefore should be encouraged. But in other idiopathic cases, weight reduction does not make a difference. If I don’t try I will never know!

I am dedicated enough to do this, and #thisgirlcan!  I have amazing support from family and friends,

Excercise wise – studies show laughter actually is a form of exercise. Taking a moment to relax and have a laugh about those inevitable slip-ups helps the body release endorphins, or natural opiates. Studies show they both play a role in management of pain and induce a feeling of euphoric calm. So I am going to keep laughing adding in some swimming too maybe!!

Off to find a lovely apple…..

Have a lovely evening

Lots of love ASIBTAF ❤