Fifty and Fabulous

The thoughts, loves, rants, interests & inspirations for Gen X


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Weight Loss Wednesday – Mother’s Day

Hello Everyone,

It’s another Weight Loss Wednesday post the last for March. So, how was your week?

If you are one on my lovely new followers, hello. I’d like to take a moment to explain to you what Weight Loss Wednesdays are all about. Back in August 2017 I was persuaded to join Slimming World by my mum (read my post here). I had done really well and achieved my two and a half stone lost certificate in December 2018 (that’s 35lbs for my American followers), however, over Christmas I put on half a stone (7lbs) and decided to start sharing my weight loss journey on this blog to help me keep focused. I attend my local group on Wednesday evenings to get weighed and get inspired, so when I get back home I post how I’ve got on; any tips we talked about and what my loss or gain is for the week, using the Weight Loss Wednesday tag.

So following on from last week’s maintain, I was relieved that my inconsistent eating habits hadn’t caused a huge gain but I know that my weight doesn’t always reflect what I’ve been up to for that week, sometimes it shows on the scales the following week. So coming home from last week’s Image Therapy I knew that I’d have to do better this week to see the losses that I was looking for. I can’t say that I’ve been back on plan 100% but I’ve been cutting down on the high-syn foods when I needed an emotional boost this week. When I stepped on the scales tonight I had a 0.5lbs loss which I’m happy about all things considered.

This coming week is going to be tricky for many of us in the UK as it’s Mothering Sunday this weekend. All my friends at group were talking about what their plans were but once again, Slimming World had already thought of the potential high-syn foods we could encounter and have come up with a “Slimming World Friendly” plan.

I really like the free food hamper idea and if I was a better baker, I’d certainly give the scone alternatives a go. I would love to hear from you if you’ve made any of the recipes mentioned below.


This Sunday is the perfect time to pamper that special lady in your life – your
mum. Whether she’s a Slimming World member or not, make your mother’s day
the most memorable yet with Food Optimising-friendly gifts she’ll love.

(And if you’re the mum in the house, print this page and leave it somewhere it’ll be
noticed!)

Heavenly hampers


When you know that a big box of Thorntons Continental chocolates comes in at a mammoth 150+ Syns, a Food Optimising feast becomes unbeatable as the perfect present for your mum.
Fruit and vegetables
Luxury smoked salmon
Black or green olives (1½ Syns for 8 olives)
Herbal and fruit teas
Roasted coffee
Low-Syn hot chocolate like Options and Cadbury Highlights
Exotic spices
Balsamic vinegar

Afternoon tea

An afternoon tea of mayo-laden sandwiches, a couple of scones with clotted cream and jam, and a slice of your favourite sponge cake could climb to 60+ Syns.

This year, treat your mum to a home-made afternoon tea that’s fit for a queen – and Food Optimisers, too.

Free sandwich fillings
Salmon and cucumber
Sliced lean roast beef (add English mustard for ½ Syn per level tsp)
Lean ham salad
Prawns with a dash of Tabasco and a sprinkle of paprika for extra kick (add extra-light mayonnaise for 1 Syn per level tbsp)
Chopped hard-boiled egg mixed with fresh watercress (add fat-free fromage frais for Free or extra-light mayo for 1 Syn per level tbsp)

Afternoon tea usually includes scones, and if you (or your mum) are looking for a weight loss this week, this might be a tradition to opt out of. An average scone is 12½ Syns – and that’s without cream and jam. Your Syns will go a lot further with these alternatives…

Low-Syn sweet treats

Strawberry cupcakes

Blueberry and lemon cheesecake jars

Apple Betty

Egg custard

Happy Mother’s Day x
© Copyright Slimming World 2019


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Menopause Monday – Perfect Mother’s Day Gift

Hello Lovely Followers,

Here we are again, another Menopause Monday post and the last one of March! Where did that month go?!

If you are one of my nice new followers Hello! I would like to take a moment to explain to you what Menopause Mondays are all about. I feel that Mondays are typically quite a depressing day for a lot of people – we’re back to work after the weekend and the next weekend seems so far away – so one Monday evening back in January, I shared a post about being perimenopausal; my experiences, my symptoms and what I had found online about the causes and remedies (you can read it here). I found it quite therapeutic getting it all out there and decided to do it on a regular basis. Hey presto! Menopause Monday was born.

Here in the UK, Mothering Sunday is at the end of this week on 31st March. Is it coincidental that the clocks Spring forward an hour that weekend too? Loosing an hour of sleep doesn’t fill me with joy considering the night sweats, hot flushes, headaches and insomnia that being perimenopausal is causing. Plus it’s Mother’s Day FFS that’s just completely unfair! I want more time in bed, not less!

I don’t know if you remember my post a couple of weeks ago – Relief In A Box – I ordered a beautiful set from the lovely Karen at Wish U Well and fell in love with her products because the water spritzers and linseed eye pillow have helped with my symptoms. Well, Karen is also happy to make up custom orders too, which I thought would be perfect for a post about the menopause and Mothering Sunday; a beautiful gift box filled with goodies that would be perfect for any Mums out there plagued with menopausal (or perimenopausal) symptoms. *hint*hint*

The Menopause R&R gift box below, was a popular choice on the run up to Christmas – I wish that I’d seen it and added it to my wish list – but I thought I’d share it with you anyway to give you some inspiration for buying that perfect thank you gift for the Mum in your life as we’re all loosing an hour of sleep. A gift like the one below would go a long way to making me feel happier about the loss of sleeping time. 😉 Sorry, I just can’t let that go, can I?! Lol! Just blame it on my irrational mood swings.

Restore and Relax with this blissful Menopause kit.

Everything you need give yourself some TLC during the times you most need it.

The essential oils are carefully selected to support you through your menopausal symptoms. The Avacado Oil included is a perfect base oil for adding your favourite essential oil to use in massage.

Use the essential oils in burners, or for massage, or even add to a warm bath. The addition of infused Epsom Salts to help detox and cleanse works wonders alongside your essential oils.

This Menopause R & R kit includes a gorgeous smelling lavender heat pack to soothe aching joints and muscles, or just provide comfort in tense areas.

An eye pillow infused with Chamomile and Lemon to de-stress your eyes, meditate, or simply block out the world and melt into a blissful sleep.

Lavender and Ylang Ylang have been added to our Menopause candle to ensure the benefits of the essential oils are experienced by all your senses.

Comes beautifully packaged. A truly gorgeous gift for yourself, or to treat a friend who needs some TLC.

Contents:

1 Natural Lavender Wheat Pack.
1 Eye Pillow infused with Chamomile and Lemon.
350g 100% Pure Organic Epsom Salts infused with Lavender flowers.
I Lavender and Ylang Ylang Candle.
50ml Avacado Base Oil.
10ml Ylang Ylang Essential Oil.
10ml Lavender Essential Oil.
10ml Clary Sage Essential Oil.
10ml Orange Essential Oil.
10ml Peppermint Essential Oil.
1 Information leaflet detailing menopause symptoms and Essential Oil properties.

Some key properties of the specifically selected Essential Oils are detailed below:

Clary Sage:
Clary sage is an excellent essential oil for hormonal balancing. Its properties are known to reduce the intensity of hot flushes and night sweats, whilst aiding relaxation for better sleep. It helps to lift mood and improve mental clarity, so helping to fight the low moods caused by the menopause. The addition of improving digestion, lowering blood pressure and its estrogenic compounds make this an all round must have oil for menopause relief.

Peppermint:
Peppermint oil is a very versatile essential oil. It improves energy levels and increases concentration. It’s great for soothing aches and pains and combating headaches. Peppermint oil tops the list for easing hot flushes and night sweats due to the menthol it contains. When applied on your body the menthol kick starts your brain into telling it its cooling down.

Lavender:
Lavender is renowned for its relaxation qualities and is ideal to promote feelings of calm and uplifts mood. With its blissful aroma and the belief that it aids better sleep it is the perfect accompaniment to any bedtime routine.

Ylang Ylang:
For its uplifting smell Ylang Ylang deserves to be in every women’s wellness regime. The properties of Ylang Ylang help to relieve depressive moods, reduce stress, lift mood, induce feelings of joy and activates sensual emotions and so benefits women experiencing loss of libido. An impressive range of benfits from one oil.

Orange:
Alongside Ylang Ylang, Orange has mild aphrodisiac properties and is grouped within the citrus oils which benefit mood and muscle aches. Its smell evokes happiness and its mood lifting qualities make this an ideal oil for menopausal relief.

All Essential Oils are 100% pure unless otherwise stated.

 

If you have the time, click on any of the links above to check out Wish U Well for yourself, I’m sure that you’ll be able to find something to show the Mum in your life how much you appreciate her or be tempted to get a little something for yourself as a much needed treat!

As I’ve already said, although this amazing Menopause R&R set is no longer available – having sold out far too quickly – Karen is happy to accept custom orders. I found her really lovely and only too happy to help.

I hope you have a wonderful week and find some time for yourself in the chaos around you. 😉


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Weight Loss Wednesday – The Importance of Cervical Screening

Hello everyone,

It’s another Weight Loss Wednesday post and we’re well into March. So, how was your week?

If you are one on my lovely new followers, hello. I’d like to take a moment to explain to you what Weight Loss Wednesdays are all about. Back in August 2017 I was persuaded to join Slimming World by my mum (read my post here). I had done really well and achieved my two and a half stone lost certificate in December 2018 (that’s 35lbs for my American followers), however, over Christmas I put on half a stone (7lbs) and decided to start sharing my weight loss journey on this blog to help me keep focused. I attend my local group on Wednesday evenings to get weighed and get inspired, so when I get back home I post how I’ve got on; any tips we talked about and what my loss or gain is for the week, using the Weight Loss Wednesday tag.

So following on from last week’s 1.5lbs gain, I was determined to shift the weight I’d put on last week to get closer to my target weight but this week has been emotionally tricky for me, and I’ve found myself eating when I shouldn’t; when I stepped on the scales tonight I had maintained my weight from last week.

My health has been in the forefront of my mind this week and as it was International Women’s Day earlier this month , I thought that I’d share the follow article I found on the Slimming World website reminding women how important it is to look after our health and get checked out on a regular basis. Of course the same applies to men; regular checks for prostrate and testicular cancer is key. The sooner cancerous cells are found, the easier they are to treat.

Recent research shows that more than half of women (54%) put off going to the doctors unless they absolutely have to due to feeling nervous ahead of a health check.

The survey of 2,051 people conducted by Censuswide, and commissioned by weight-loss organisation Slimming World, found that more than a third (34%) of women feel nervous ahead of visiting their doctor due to being overweight.

Slimming World is supporting Public Health England’s Cervical Screening Saves Lives campaign, which will encourage women to respond to their cervical screening invitation letter, and if they missed their last screening, to book an appointment at their GP practice. Cervical screening can stop cancer before it starts by preventing harmful cells from developing.

Jenny Caven, Director of External Affairs at Slimming World, says: ““Our research and feedback from members shows that people who struggle with their weight do put off having health checks.

“However, the shocking fact is that two women die from cervical cancer every day in England and we are joining PHE in urging them not to ignore their screening invitations. The majority of our members are women and they have already made the decision to improve their health by losing weight; we want to remind them that attending screening is a vital part of a healthy life too.

“Rebecca and Claire, two Slimming World members, who have survived cervical cancer, are passionate about the importance of women going for the screening. It saved their lives.”

Rebecca Rushbrook, attends a Slimming World group in Gravesend, and frequently reminds her friends and family about the importance of attending cervical screenings.

I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2003. I now never miss my screening appointment as I know first-hand the risks of cancer. Cervical screening saves lives by finding cells early, before they develop into cervical cancer.

“If I’m ever told by someone that they don’t want to go because they are scared that it will hurt, or they’ll be embarrassed, I remind them that screening only takes a few minutes and it’s important to talk through any worries with their doctor or nurse who can help.

“I always remind my friends and family to go for their screenings. I don’t ever want to be in the position where I have to watch one of them go through what I did as they failed to go for their screening.

Claire Garbutt, a Slimming World member from Kingston Upon Hull, believes the thought of screenings is worse than the reality.

It’s so vital that women attend their cervical screening – I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2005 and had to have a radical hysterectomy, but I was lucky.

“Women die from cervical cancer every day but going for a simple screening can prevent potentially harmful cells developing. To me the thought of going for a screening is always worse than the reality of having one. The nurses who perform them do this day in, day out, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about, and nothing they haven’t seen before.

“Now, because of my experience, I’m a great advocate of screenings and ensure all my loved ones get themselves checked.

Public Health England is urging women to not ignore their cervical screening invitation, as screening can stop cancer before it starts.

And, as part of its support, Slimming World is urging all members – more than 90% of Slimming World members are women – to talk to their mothers, sisters, daughters and female friends about the importance of taking up their cervical screening invitation.

For more information on cervical screening, visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening/


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Menopause Monday – Time To See The Doctor

Hello Lovely Followers,

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that my hours at work were changing and that I would be having Mondays and Tuesdays off school. As you can imagine, although the financial implications of this are somewhat straining on the family purse-strings, it does now give me more options to see friends, visit my Mum more regularly and it’s definitely easier to make appointments without the time constraints of “school holidays only“. Not a week has gone by when I haven’t had somewhere to be or someone to see since starting my new hours!

My Mum told me recently, that she started going through The Change in her 40’s, it was tough and her migraines were off the scale during that decade but by the time she was 52 it was all done. Thinking about it now, I do remember that she seemed to always be in bed with a migraine at the weekends during my middle teenage years. Well, following advice from Mum, other family members and friends, I used my medical practice’s online system a couple of weeks ago to pre-book an appointment with my GP.  Today, I want to tell you how I got on; I think Mum and my friends were right and I’m glad I bit the bullet and saw him – I feel as though a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

So before I went to my appointment, I had to write down all the symptoms that were bothering me otherwise I knew I’d forget to tell him one (or more of them). I felt really stupid and pathetic but apparently he told me that it’s actually really helpful when patients come in with lists like that. That made me feel better straight away. So what did I have on my list of laments?

Headaches – I can’t remember a day when I haven’t had one. Especially over the last few months. I’ve taken Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Co-codamol (codeine/paracetamol), Migraine Relief from my local supermarket (ibuprofen/lysine). They dull the pain for a couple of hours but the pressure is back when it wears off.

Sight – white lights/flashing spots/fractured/tunnel vision. Sometimes leads to numb face. None of the above painkillers stop it or reduce the symptoms.

Heart flutters – don’t happen every day but they’re happening more frequently than they used to. Had a funny five walking back from doctors to my car.

Bleeding – even with IUD I’m spotting or light bleeding most months. In Feb it was a full period! I haven’t had one of those since before the kids were born.

Trouble getting a good night sleep – 5hrs max. Wake up frequently. Even when I took “drowsy” cough medicine I woke up feeling tired.

Temperature – keep getting high spikes. Had one when I was with the Dr so he witnessed that.

Memory – forgetful and easily distracted.

Emotional – I cry at the drop of a hat. My personality isn’t ‘happy, glass half full‘ these days.

Do any of you suffer with these too? All these health “niggles” started while I was still at my previous job, so I’ve been putting up with them for a good few years now but they’ve definitely getting more frequent over the last year. The trouble is, I always feel like such a fraud going to the doctors and moaning about anything. In the grand scheme of things I could name half a dozen friends plus my mother-in-law who are living with worse health complaints than I’m moaning about. I told him how I felt and he reassured me that pain was relative, that I shouldn’t compare myself to others and it’s his job to help me with my health issues.

During my appointment, my GP took my blood pressure – it’s low but within range – and listened to my heart while taking my pulse. Again very low resting heart rate at 52bpm; apparently I’ve got an athlete’s heart rate! Miracles can happen right, just need the athlete’s body to go with it?!

My GP sent me for blood tests on Friday; they needed to drain four vials of the red stuff to include thyroid screening and menopause screening. At the end of the month, I’m also booked in at my surgery for an ECG to check out my heart; I don’t know what to expect as I haven’t had one of those before. Feel free to leave a comment if you’ve had an ECG, I’d welcome any information or experiences that you don’t mind sharing. I didn’t come away from my appointment with any prescriptions for pain relief for my headaches, but he wanted me to complete a headache diary; which I’m doing.

My GP also talked about HRT and gave me some informational print outs to read. I don’t know how I feel about that; I wanted to keep to nature remedies but the couple of things I’ve tried – black cohosh and evening primrose oil –  didn’t magically erase any of my symptoms, in fact, I swear that while I was taking the black cohosh to reduce my hot flashes and night sweats, my high libido took a hit instead. Not the desired effects at all!!

I’ll keep you all posted in a couple of weeks after I’ve had all my results back and have discussed my options with my doctor. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your experiences; I’ve recently joined a Facebook group for women going through the menopause and it certainly helps to talk to others in the same boat or to just vent.

Hope you have a good week.


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Weight Loss Wednesday – Smart Body Mass Index

Hello everyone,

Welcome to this week’s Weight Loss Wednesday post. So, how was your week?

If you are one of my lovely new followers, hello. I’d like to take a moment to explain to you what Weight Loss Wednesdays are all about. Back in August 2017, I was persuaded to join Slimming World by my mum (read my post here). By December 2018, I had done really well and achieved my two and a half stone lost certificate (that’s 35lbs for my American followers), however, over Christmas I put on half a stone (7lbs). I was gutted and decided to start sharing my weight loss journey on a regular basis to help me keep focused. I attend my local group on Wednesday evenings to get weighed and get inspired, and when I get back home I post how I’ve got on; any tips we talked about and what my loss or gain is for the week, using the Weight Loss Wednesday tag.

Following on from last week’s 1.5lbs loss, I was determined to keep the momentum going and shift another pound to get closer to my target weight. However, when I stepped on the scales tonight they confirmed that I’d gained 1.5lbs not unexpected, as I’ve been doing a lot of emotional snacking this week, but it’s still depressing how tricky it is to take off but incredibly simple to put on. 😦

Getting rid of excess weight becomes increasingly challenging as you get older. Back in December I wrote about using a healthy BMI or body shape rather than a “weight” as my goal (read the post here). One of my friends shared a link on Facebook to a Smart BMI calculator that takes into consideration gender and age as well as the obligatory height and weight. Aparently, this method has been around since 2014 but it’s news to me!

I’ve copied my results for you to read yourself.

The Smart BMI Calculator then goes on to explain further;

Health aspects

Your weight is at a marginally elevated level; in our view, it should still be fine for your health. By classification of the WHO (World Heath Organisation), you are “overweight”.

With a good balance of body fat and muscle mass, your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar values should still remain at more or less moderate levels. You would then be quite well protected against a heart attack, stroke or diabetes. This might be less so if your body fat is higher with a lower muscle mass, if you consume tobacco, other drugs or too much alcohol, lack physical activity or sleep, eat unhealthy food, or suffer from stress and other unhealthy life factors.

So, as far as SBMI is concerned my health isn’t as at risk as I had thought. That’s good.

SBMI = 40/70

This assessment is based on the newly developed Smart Body Mass Index. Its ideal range is between 30/70 and 39/70.

Your Smart Body Mass Index (SBMI) is calculated as 40/70 or “40 points out of 70”.

OK, yes, I’m one point outside the top range but it’s still only numbers – what does it all actually mean?

Weight stability

At this weight level, you have a marginal risk of gaining weight.

Your SBMI will decrease by about one point within ten years if you manage to keep your 73 kilograms stable. This is due to the fact that the optimal, i.e. the “healthiest” BMI range increases with age, thus reaching higher BMI values.

Oh come on. With my will-power and love of food I think I have more than a marginal risk of gaining weight; I think it’s a certainty! Lol! But seriously, what they’re saying is that in 10 years if I stay the same weight, I’ll naturally be in the green zone anyway? There are advantages t getting older after all! 😉

Weight management

The best you can do is eat healthy food and increase your fitness. This will boost your health, whatever the case. If you lose weight in the process, all the better.

The Slimming World Food Optimising plan and Parkrun are keeping me on the straight and narrow with the management aspect. Check.

Your target weight of 69 kilograms

Losing weight is fine, but there is good news: 1 kilogram will be sufficient to reach a target weight of 72 kilograms in your optimal weight range.

Well this is better news that I had anticipated. It certainly takes the pressure off knowing how achievable being healthy is. I want to stick to my 69kg target as that keeps me below the 11 stone mark (154lbs) and well in the healthy green zone.

Nutrition

Never diet again. Eat a variety of foods that you like, optimally including five servings of fruit and/or vegetables a day. Avoid eating too sweet, too fat and too much.

Well that advice isn’t rocket science but my journey with Slimming World has this covered anyway!

Your recent diet

Would you like to specify the diet type? A good diet supplies the body with a well-balanced, mainly plant-based mix of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, vitamins and with enough, but not too much energy.

In the past I’ve tried Slim-Fast and Atkins but they aren’t sustainable. Thank heavens for the Slimming World way!

Physical activity

Do physical exercise at least for half an hour daily at moderate to vigorous intensity.

No. I run (Ok, lightly jog) three times a week now and park my car away from school and walk to work.

Important to know

This feedback can only be based on the inevitably limited extent of the data that you have entered here. This data has been evaluated by comparing it with the results of the most comprehensive study published so far on the BMI and its associated health risks.

The results and comments above can only give you an estimate that applies to all women at 47 years of age with a body mass index of 28, as a statistical group. They are non-personal. They should never replace medical advice.

Of course, it’s like reading your horoscope in the paper or completing a Cosmo quiz about relationships but I’m happy with all of that. It sort of already confirmed my idea of where my healthy body weight lays.

If you’d like to get your Smart BMI just click here.

I hope you have a good week, I’m feeling positive and ready for the week ahead. Stay healthy and good luck on your journey. I’m off to eat my dinner – I’m starving!


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Menopause Monday – Relief In A Box

Hello Lovely Followers,

Here we are again, another Menopause Monday post.

If you are one of my nice new followers, (hello) I would like to take a moment to explain what Menopause Mondays are all about. I feel that Mondays are typically quite a depressing day for a lot of people – back to work after the weekend and the next weekend seems so far away – so one Monday evening back in January, I shared a post about being perimenopausal – my experiences, my symptoms and what I had found online about the causes and remedies (you can read it here). I found it quite therapeutic getting it all out there and decided to do it on a regular basis. Hey presto! Menopause Monday was born.

This week, rather than ranting or complaining about being perimenopausal, I wanted to share with you a wonderful little set that I bought from EtsyUK. It’s it a beautiful little Menopause set, sold by Wish U Well – a Southampton based company owned by wellness consultant, Karen Debra Lendon – that is supposed to help relieve those most common menopause symptoms; Hot Flushes and Mood Swings.

I have certainly been enjoying the benefits of using the sprays and oils that came in my box. The sprays give me an instant cool down that I need during a hot flush and the aromas help to keep my mood calm and relaxed; I keep the Peppermint Water Spritz next to my bed while the Camomile Water Spritz comes with me to work in my handbag and then sits next to me each evening in the lounge while I watch telly.

The beautifully scented linseed eye pillow not only helps to calm my mood as soon as I place it over my eyes but when I put it in the freezer and then use it, it’s coolness also works miracles at easing my headaches too.

Karen’s philosophy of looking at the whole picture rather than just the symptoms is something close to my heart which is what drew me to her Etsy shop in the first place. This is how Karen explains what Wellness means to her on her website;

Wellness is the positive union of mind, body and soul.

Hi and welcome to Wish U Well.

I am Karen, a wellness coach, teacher, mentor and founder of Wish U Well.

Wellbeing is at the heart of my personal and professional life and I believe that physical and mental wellness go hand in hand.

Through workshops and seminars I began sharing my knowledge and expertise with others. Realising that there is a wealth of practices and products that others are keen to benefit from I felt inspired to create a wellness brand.

Interest grew and with the encouragement and support of my family Wish U Well was born.

I am passionate about health and a firm believer in the mind, body connection. I am continually researching and developing products to support the needs of modern life and specifically targets common health concerns, such as anxiety and stress.

Self-development, an open mind and a holistic lifestyle has taught me the power of self healing and consciously creating better health.

Meditation, exercise and positive practices have had an immense impact on my wellbeing.

I bring my mind into focus with Peppermint Oil and relax to the smell of Ylang Ylang.

Positive energy combined with loving self-care is the best recipe for improved well-being.

Wishing you well.
Karen 🙂

 

If you have the time, click on any of the links above to check out Wish U Well for yourself and give one of her delicious products a go for yourself! Although my little set is no longer available – having sold out – Karen is happy to accept custom orders. I found her really lovely and only too happy to help.

I hope you have a stress-free week and find peace in the chaos. 😉


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Slimming World vs The Menopause

Hello Lovely Followers,

If you are one of my nice new followers, I should explain that I publish two regular posts a week. Mondays are typically quite a depressing day for a lot of people – back to work after the weekend, the next weekend seems so far away – so one Monday evening I shared a post about being perimenopausal – my experiences, my symptoms and what I had found online about the causes and remedies (read it here). Hey presto! Menopause Monday was born.

Back in August 2017 I was persuaded to join Slimming World by my mum (read my post here). I have done really well and decided to start sharing my weight loss journey with you, my lovely followers. I attend my local group on Wednesday evenings to get weighed and get inspired, so when I get back home I post how I’ve got on, any tips and what my loss or gain is for the week using the Weight Loss Wednesday tag.

Last week I was overjoyed to come in with a fabulous 2.5 lbs loss! My focus has been rewarded again this week with a 1.5lbs loss!

I have struggled with emotional eating and cravings this week; imagine my surprise and joy at finding this article on Slimming World about weight loss while going through the menopause! I just had to share it.

Many of you have been in touch with us to ask how the menopause might affect your weight loss journey – we’ve taken a look below.

The good news is that there’s little evidence that the menopause should be a direct cause of weight gain or inability to lose weight. Some people see an increase in weight particularly during middle age – this is thought to be primarily due to change in lifestyle and a gradual decrease in the amount of physical activity we do. So a healthy diet (Food Optimising!) and exercise (Body Magic!) will help you reach your ideal weight.

Staying on your weight loss journey

Increasing your level of physical activity can not only help weight loss by helping you expend more energy whilst active but it also helps preserve muscle tissue, and with maintaining your metabolic rate.

As at any time during your weight loss journey including plenty of Free Foods and Speed Free Foods in your daily Food Optimising will help satisfy your appetite and give your weight loss a boost.

You are what you eat

Eating a varied, well balanced diet during the menopause is beneficial to overall health, as it is at any time of life, but there are also some specific nutritional issues that are worth considering at this time.

Calcium

During the menopause, a good calcium intake along with a physically active lifestyle is considered important to help ensure that bones remain as strong as possible. Bones become weaker as we age due to the loss of calcium. Large losses can result in osteoporosis whereby bones become so weak and brittle they easily break. Women lose bone at a faster rate during the menopause due to changes in hormone levels, particularly oestrogen. Oestrogen normally helps maintain bone strength by preventing the loss of calcium but levels of oestrogen fall during menopause. The importance of calcium in bone health, particularly in maintaining bone strength as we age, has been the subject of much research. The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) recommends that women ensure a good dietary intake of calcium during the menopause.

The main sources of calcium are dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurts. Low fat dairy products such as skimmed milk still contain plenty of calcium.

Extra calcium from supplements has not been shown to have much effect on bone loss during the menopause. However, supplements may be of more benefit in later stages – some studies found that calcium supplements slowed the loss of bone in women five years post-menopause. If you’re considering taking calcium supplements we’d suggest you discuss this with your GP first.

Vitamin D

This vitamin is also important for bone health as it is needed for calcium to be absorbed from food. Most of our vitamin D is made in the skin when exposed to sunlight. Dietary sources include fortified spreads, meat and oily fish and are important for those whose exposure to sunlight is limited. However, as sunlight is mainly relied on to produce vitamin D, and there are few dietary sources, many individuals may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency. As such everyone aged one year and over has a recommended dietary intake of 10 micrograms per day of vitamin D. Public Health England recommends that:

  • All individuals aged 5+ should consider taking a 10 micrograms supplement to ensure their intake is adequate between October and March when the skin is unable to produce vitamin D from sunlight
  • People with limited exposure to sunshine (i.e. those seldom outdoors, or who cover their skin when outdoors) or those from minority ethnic groups with dark skin, such as those from African, African-Caribbean or South Asian backgrounds, should consider a daily 10 micrograms supplement throughout the year.

Iron

Women’s iron requirements decrease at the time of menopause when periods stop. Requirements are then reduced to the same level as men (8.7 micrograms/day). Therefore, although there is a reduction in requirements, it is still important to include a variety of sources of iron in the diet. The best sources of iron are lean red meat, poultry and fish. Iron can also be obtained from plant foods such as dark green vegetables, pulses and nuts but is not absorbed as well as that from meat. Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron from plant foods so it helps to include vitamin C containing foods (such as fruits, salad and green vegetables) within a meal.

Physical activity

It’s recommended that we should all aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity at least 5 times a week to stay fit and healthy and help control our weight. This can include activities such as walking, swimming or gardening and doesn’t have to mean taking part in strenuous sports. Any activity that makes you feel warmer and speeds up your breathing and heart rate, while still being able to hold a conversation, counts as moderate activity. Including more activity into daily routines all counts, for example:

  • taking the stairs instead of the lift
  • walking short distances instead of taking the car
  • getting on the bus one stop further away

You’ll find lots of Body Magic inspiration in our activity section, including Building your steps to activity, Easy exercises at home and Choosing the right fitness class.

Phyto-oestrogens

Many women experience a range of symptoms during the menopause such as hot flushes, night sweats, dry skin, poor concentration and mood swings. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) often helps relieve these symptoms and has been shown to help prevent the development of osteoporosis.

There has been recent interest in the role of phyto-oestrogens as a more natural alternative to HRT to help alleviate some menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes. The idea arose due to the fact that women in Japan tend to have a much higher intake of phyto-oestrogens in their diet and a much lower prevalence of menopausal symptoms than women in Western countries. Phyto-oestrogens are a group of substances found in plant foods, such as soya beans, and resemble oestrogen hormones. They have been found to act in a similar way to oestrogen hormones but have a weaker effect.

The potential benefits of phyto-oestrogens are currently being investigated in a number of studies. However, at present the effects are not clear – while a number of studies have shown a beneficial effect, others have not. The British Nutrition Foundation suggests that further studies are needed before firm recommendations can be made and appropriate advice given. They advise that anyone suffering from menopausal symptoms consult their GP to discuss the most appropriate treatment. However, those wishing to try increasing their intake of phyto-oestrogens could include more of the following foods in their diet:

  • soya beans (Free and also an F symbol)

  • tofu (plain or naturally smoked tofu is Free)

  • soya milk (calcium-enriched soya drink can be used as a Healthy Extra choice)

  • linseed (4 Syns per level tablespoon, 6½ Syns per 25g or 2 level tablespoons can be used as a Healthy Extra choice)


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Menopause Monday – Someone Turn Down The Heat!

Hello Lovely Followers,

I can’t believe that we’re in March already. I must confess that, like many of you, the brighter days are having a positive influence on my mood. I feel happier. Well when I’m not suffering from mood swings, that is! 😉

Mood swings aren’t the only menopausal symptoms I have to contend with, I’ve been having hot flushes and night sweats over the past few years too.

Hot flushes

Hot Flushes usually come on very suddenly and spread throughout the body, chest, neck and face and can vary in length from a few minutes to much longer. I never know when I’m gonna get hit but I feel less of a freak knowing hot flushes are the most common symptom of the menopause and occur in around 3 out of 4 women. Some of my friends also experience other symptoms along with the sweating including dizziness and light-headedness, I’ve been getting brief heart palpitations which can be a bit scary.

My lovely Mum warned me that hot flushes can happen more than once during the day and some women can keep getting them for years – some even experiencing hot flushes in their 80s! Really? Thanks Mum! I’ve read and spoken to my friends trying to find any patterns and although they usually occur spontaneously, they can come on after eating certain types of food or drinking alcohol, especially wine but I haven’t noticed any correlation to particular foods or drinks for me – yet.

Night sweats

My darling Hubby used to complain rather loudly about my cold hands and feet at night –  I used to be on the chilly side. Not so much any more.

For about a year now, I have had nights where I’ve been waking up several times a night “drenched” with sweat. It’s horrible! It got so bad a while back that we put the kids’ old “bed wetting” sheet under my half of the fitted sheet! I mean, they’re not the most comfortable to sleep on – have any of you had to spend the night on one?

I have read that some women really do suffer horrendously with night sweats but luckily, I don’t get them to the degree where it’s too disruptive to my Hubby – I have been putting up with his raucous snoring for the last 25 years, after all, so I feel the scales are still in my favour. 😉

But,  I still want to ease my symptoms somewhat, especially as the weather is getting warmer now. I’ve ordered this little trio from WishUWellByKaren a British company based in Southampton, hoping that the cooling properties of mint and the balancing properties of Clary-sage will help. I’ll let you know how I get on.

I will be visiting my GP next week to talk about all my symptoms; the heart flutters, forgetfulness, dithering, tearfulness and the fact that, although I have a IUD I’m still getting the odd period. It’s been 7 years since my last health MOT and I think I need another one. I’ll let you know what he says. 😉

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you’ve got any menopause experiences or if you’ve tried any natural remedies (whether they worked or not); I’d love to hear from you.

I hope you have a good week.

 

 

 

 


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Sage Advice From Fellow Blogger – Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

Good Evening Everyone,

As I sit here, browsing social media to help relieve the stresses of another working week, I came across the following post from fellow blogger, Shaz, that I need to share with you.

Shaz, like me is married with children (unlike me, her kids are already in their 20’s) and works in a primary school. She is an Inclusion Lead in KS2 and is passionate about early help. She’s got a wealth of experience and is a member of Bournemouth’s Early Help Operational Board working alongside others to instigate change and growth.

Shaz is also passionate about reading, being out in nature and creating with crochet and has been blogging for eight years. I always find something interesting to read on her site and I hope you enjoy reading this too.

I have added a link to her blog at the bottom of this post that will open in a new tab so that you can check out her site for yourself.

 

How Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) Improves Quality of Life

Mental and emotional health is something that touches all our lives. In the past I’ve received counselling but it wasn’t until my GP referred me for CBT that I understood more about my thoughts and the changes I could make. A family member is currently on this healing journey and previous therapy didn’t have the impact that his current CBT sessions are having. Last year at school I worked with our link trainee Educational Psychologist to create and deliver a CBT programme for KS2 children.

CBT is a valuable tool for all ages and my guest today, Leigh Adley of Set Your Mind Free, is highlighting how this can help the elderly.

Set Your Mind Free Leigh Adley CBT

If you’ve always wondered what CBT is or the process that the therapy takes you through, you will be much clearer after reading Leigh’s article.

How Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Improves Quality of Life

As we grow old, our bodies begin to weaken. This makes the elderly especially vulnerable to serious physical diseases and conditions including arthritis, diabetes, cancer, dementia and cardiovascular problems. Often, any prescribed medicines merely relieve the pain and don’t offer a cure. On top of that patients may also suffer from psychological disorders or depression. These factors combined can also make a person feel suspicious or even hostile to others.

Fortunately, there are effective holistic approaches that Long-term Care (LTC) facilities can use to help their elderly patients. One of them is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

What is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy?

It’s a type of psychotherapy that helps patients deal with their problems by tackling their mental, emotional and behavioural issues. CBT is effective because it allows patients to see how their negative thoughts affect their actions.

In CBT, patients will realise the event itself is not the cause of their emotions but how they interpret that event. Take, for example, a patient’s son or daughter who doesn’t call or visit for several days making them sad or depressed. Instead of harbouring negative thoughts, CBT can help them consider other reasons like their child probably has a busy schedule at the moment.

This treatment method helps elderly patients in dealing with two major issues:

Pain management

CBT can change a patient’s view about pain. The therapy can make them realise that less pain means improved quality of life. This method can also change how the patient’s brain responds to chronic pain. Doctors can also combine CBT with other remedies like medications or physical therapy.

However, some medical studies show that CBT, compared to medications or surgery, is more effective for controlling pain because it has fewer risks and side effects.  Furthermore, CBT helps patients to develop a positive problem-solving attitude and useful life skills in dealing with pain and other issues in their lives.

Battling depression

Depression affects all people including the elderly but their symptoms are different probably due to the various illnesses they may have and the effects of the medicines used in their treatment. When the elderly get depressed they face an increased risk of:

  • Cardiac diseases
  • Death from illness
  • Reduced ability to rehabilitate

Because depression has a serious effect on the elderly, LTC doctors and nurses need to address it immediately.

CBT deals with depression through talk therapy, which can work better than medication. For severe cases, however, a combination of CBT and drug treatment can also work effectively.

How does it work?

The patient can meet and talk with a therapist for at least 30 to 60 minutes with CBT sessions often held once a week or twice a month. In the initial meeting, the therapist will determine if the patient is comfortable with the session and if CBT is suitable.

Patients should also expect the therapist to delve into their past and background. Such information is needed by the therapist to understand the patient’s current situation. In every step of the session, however, the patient has full control throughout and can refuse to discuss anything they might feel uncomfortable talking about.

In CBT, the therapist will take the following steps to assist patients in learning about their negative behaviour and how to best correct it:

  • The patients will divide each problem into different sections. Also, they may need a diary to identify their emotions, thoughts or actions.
  • With the therapist’s help, the patients can examine their behaviour, thoughts and feelings (and how this affects them personally as well as others). Also, if it’s unrealistic or unhelpful, both therapist and patient can find out ways to change that negative behaviour.
  • The therapist will assign homework that can make patients ‘forget’ their bad behaviour and reinforce positive ones. These simple assignments give patients the chance to apply the changes to their daily lives.
  • If a task isn’t working the patient can discuss it with their therapist in the next session.
  • Another advantage of CBT is that it allows patients to continue applying what they learned even after the sessions.

What makes CBT different from other depression treatments?

CBT deploys a short-term approach that requires anywhere between 6 to 20 sessions. In contrast to traditional treatments, CBT also:

  • Focuses on changing present thoughts and behaviours.
  • Sets goals during every session, including long term ones.
  • Lets patients monitor their feelings and thoughts. Afterwards, the therapist helps them deal with them by teaching valuable coping and problem-solving skills.

As LTC professionals we should always strive to look for the best ways to deal with whatever mental, emotional and behavioural issues our residents face.  CBT is the right step towards achieving that goal.

Leigh Adley of Set Your Mind Free

Leigh Adley is a qualified clinical hypnotherapist/psychotherapist based in Milton Keynes.

Her site, Set Your Mind Free aims to help people get rid of their unwanted habits or addictions.

Emotional Health on Jera’s Jamboree.

Source: How Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) Improves Quality of Life – Jera’s Jamboree


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Weight Loss Wednesday – Planning and Stocking The Freezer

Hello My Lovely Followers,

It’s another Weight Loss Wednesday post. So, how was your week?

I am full of the joys of spring, although the snowdrops are over, the sun is shining and the daffodils and spring bulbs have taken their place and are pushing their way out to fill my garden with colour.

Last week, I told you that I wanted to get back on track after the frustrating 4lbs gain that I’d allowed to creep on over the last month. I bought a 12 week countdown, a SW journal and I’ve stocked up the freezer with Free Slimming World meals for those times that I just can’t be bothered “to cook anything“.

I’ve been writing down everything that I eat – it’s so tempting to lie to ourselves, thinking that we’ve been good today when in reality the syns are piling on – and although I wasn’t 100% on plan for the first half of the week, journalling my food has helped me to at least be honest.

My new part-time hours also started this week, so I made the most of my time away from school and went for a couple of jogs using the NHS Couch to 5k podcasts. I can’t believe that I am actually running (well lightly jogging) for 28mins without stopping. I can’t recommend the programme enough; it’s certainly kept me going and I do feel so much fitter too.

I was rewarded with a 2.5lbs loss for all my dedication tonight – I am over the moon!

So, today, I want to share with you my favourite FREE Slimming World meals that I always have my freezer. I’ve found that if I plan my meals on Thursday evening – what I’m going to have down the week – I don’t have to think about food so much and I’m less likely to snack on high sys foods.

Slimming World Mums certainly do go to Iceland 😉 yum!yum!

Before you go, I’ve got a money off code to share with you. If you haven’t shopped online with Iceland before quote ICE5OFF409VRGJM and get £5 off your basket when you spend £40.