Tag Archives: weight loss

The #Wedfit Series: Is that a canoe you’re carrying?

15 Feb

It finally happened.

6 Weeks into the new year I have finally hit the 40lb weight loss target.

Yay for 40!

I hit 30lbs back in September and  I didn’t expect it to take almost 6 month to get to this point, but never mind. The past 6 months have been a blast.

I’m not going to dwell over any pitfalls of last year. It is important to look how far I’ve come and not how long it took me. I restarted my journey in January and have lost over 40lbs in pretty much one year. It fits with my life motto of “It wasn’t fast but it was done” and I am so proud of that.

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Clearly feeling myself!

I found this great website which gives you an object which is the same weight as however much you have lost and 40lbs is the same weight as a 15-foot canoe. That’s pretty darn heavy. The website is: http://ilostwhat.com/

My measurements have also come down as you can see from these screenshots. My butt is being quite slow to come down in size but I’m not too worried. It’s progress all around, although I can clearly see into the future since I marks this weeks measurements with tomorrow’s date!

Measurements in inches

I haven’t yet picked my new Pandora charm but will do so in the next few days. I’ve decided that when I hit 50lbs I’m really going to splurge on my charm and get one from the top end of my wish list.

So what’s been happening this past month?

Exercise. A lot of bloody exercise. I finished my month of spin with Boom Cycle. I managed to fit in 15 sessions in the end. I think it really helped me kick the year off right. The team over there are spectacular and I can’t wait to get back there for the odd session when the pennies allow it.

I was featured by This Girl Can in some of their sponsored Facebook posts which was really nice. I’d bought some of their kit and posted it on Twitter, I felt a bit famous when loads of people told me they had seen it.

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Pic featured by This Girl Can

At the beginning of February I joined Gymbox. There are two right by my office so the convenience element really outweighed the cost. I love the vibes there and I am getting settled in.

A friend of mine did an interview with Weight Watchers and the subject of blogs came up. The lady said she knew of mine, so hello to everyone over at WW! *waves*.

Running has featured heavily over the past 6 weeks. With training for the Hackney Half Marathon in full effect. Long run Sundays are on. I did a really nice relaxed 8 miler this weekend just gone. I turned off all mile and pace prompts and just ran with a podcast playing in my ears. No pressure just my feet plodding along. Run Dem Crew Tuesday’s is probably the best day in my working week. I moved up a group to Greyhounds a couple of weeks ago and it’s a challenge but no where near as scary as I thought it would be. My Crew gets me through it.

The last key in my exercise has been the joint sessions Chris and I have been having with our excellent PT friend, Chevy, head honcho at Chasing Lights Collective. He generously gifted us some sessions as a wedding present and has been working with us on our form and techniques. Having someone to correct us and guide us is a massive advantage in our journey. I can go to the gym 5 days a week but if my techinque is off then all I am going to do is injure myself and miss out on progress.

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After our couples session with Chevy

But all that exercise means nothing if I don’t eat right. I can’t say I have been strictly sugarfree but I’ve done quite well. I’m not scoffing cakes and biscuits but I have had the odd bit of chocolate. I’ve tried a bit of pescatarianism. With a week of no meat a couple of times over the last  weeks and I do feel that it makes a difference.

I love Cauldron veggie stuff and have even bought a bit quorn as well. I think I’m very set in my ways during the week when it comes to eating and I have the same things for breakfast and lunch, I always know what I’m having for dinner as well and since I have cut down on meat I find it easier to have veggie alternatives even during the weeks I am eating it.

Here are some pics of my favourite breakfast smoothie recipe.

I keep it pretty standard:20160124_215741

Handful of Spinach
Handful of Kale
1 stick of celery

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1 banana or half an avocado
1 apple
A dash of cinnamon
Some oats
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My nutribullet has just broken so until I can replace it, its all about the overnight oats

Oats, chia seeds, banana raisins, a dash of cinamon and some Oat Dream milk. Shake it all up and leave it over night. Job done.

Wedding planning is full on at the moment. Invites will be going out the next month or so. I have my first dress fitting and numerous consultations for hair, makeup and bridesmaids dresses happening. It’s a little overwheming at times to be honest. The word “elope” occasionally escapse my mouth, but we have a great support team behind us and it will all come together I’m sure.

So with another 9.5lbs to shift before I reach my 50lbs goal I need to make sure I stay motivated.

I’ll still be working towards eating minimal meat. I think it’s nice to have meat now and then as a treat and I have no intentions of being fully vegetarian but can definitley stand to eat less of it.

I need to up my all over strength training but I am sure Chevy will help me with that. I want to be as strong as I can be. I don’t need abs of steel but to be able to a few push ups would be nice.

I’m now under 16stone and very close to having beat my last weight loss amount which 45lbs I believe. The lightest I got to in 2013 was 14st 11lbs. That’s just over a stone from where I am now. I’m working towards that again I think.

So that’s me over and out for now.

Don’t forget you can see a ridiculous amount of pictures on my instagram and follow me on twitter.

I’ll be back soon

Lee x

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The #Wedfit Series: Spin Spin Sugar

18 Jan

Two weeks in and this is so hard. I feel like it’s harder than its ever been. Was it this hard when I first started out in 2012? Probably, but I don’t remember.

One of the reasons it’s so hard is because January is my busiest month of the year, especially the first two weeks with my anniversary (five years, thanks very much) and my birthday a couple of days after that.

The peer pressure always gets to me and I always end up indulging. I love celebrating the good times in my life and I love celebrating them with food.

Chris and I had a great anniversary and went to Sophie’s Steakhouse in Covent Garden. I’d fully recommend it. It was three course of indulgence of course. Delicious indulgence.

Then along came my birthday, or Annual Leeanne Day as it’s known in these parts, where we ended up having lunch at Brooklyn Bowl. Fried chicken with chicken wings and bread and honey and yumminess.

I had friends over later and I actually stayed healthy (ish). Crudités,  dips and hummus,  I did make some home made nachos with cheese. One of my bestie’s made me a beautiful lemon cake. She makes cakes so if you need one check out Char’s Cakery.

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A weekend of indulgence isn’t the end of the world though and I have worked out for the past 12 days out of 14 meaning the birthday damage wasn’t too bad at all.

So quick progress update,  my weight when I finally got my scales was:

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The Monday after my birthday was:

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This was disappointing but expected really.

Today’s weigh in was an improvement:

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And my measurements are changing a little too:

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So I can’t really complain. Hopefully another good couple of weeks and I’ll be in the 15s with a shiny new charm.

So celebrations aside, what’s been happening?

A lot of bloody sweating. You all know I signed up for a month of unlimited spin at Boom Cycle  and I’ve been taking advantage of this.

Lunchtimes,  evenings and weekends as much as my diary permits.
It is so hard. I can’t even express.

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I LOVE IT!

I’m not very good at it, the whole idea is that you’re dancing on the bike lol. I can’t keep my legs on beat. Especially the faster tracks. The spin teachers are so fantastic though, encouraging and pushing everyone to really give it everything. 

I’m going to be so sad when this month is up because I can’t afford to to this every month.

I think the spinning has really helped my running as well. 

I pushed out some really great negative splits this week.

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And running is the other activity I’ve been doing. After the drama of being unable to run the Royal Parks Half Marathon in October last year I’ve just signed up to the Vitality Hackney Half Marathon in May. I cannot wait. Long run Sundays are back on the agenda.

The fab thing about this race is that it’s a Bridge the Gap event, where all the running crews across the world fly in, smash the rave and then have a massive party to celebrate the Crew  Love we all shared.

The community vibe and love that comes out of being part of Run Dem Crew is something that can’t be put into words.

I’ve also been smashing the Davina dvd at first I was a little underwhelmed until I realised there were loads of workouts I hadn’t seen which are absolutely hardcore. I recorded myself a couple of times. Hilarious! Will not be sharing those.

So, I’m jumping into week three, feeling good and motivated. Apart from the birthday weekend, still rocking sugar free and have just gotten over the withdrawal symptoms.

Look out for a post this week on what I’ve been having in my breakfast smoothies. Riveting stuff.

Finally, remember to follow me on instagram and twitter and watch the hastags #wedfit #fromfattophat #itwasntfastbutitwasdone #TheAdus2016 and #rundemcrew.

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The #WedFit Series

5 Jan

So, here we are January 2016 and I am less than 7 months away from my wedding.

Everything has stalled over the past couple of months, I couldn’t get lower than 15st2lbs before December and I still haven’t hit my 40lb off goal.

It doesn’t matter at all. I would say I plateaued but the reality is I wasn’t eating as well in November or being consistent. I became heavily re-addicted to sugar. And then along came December… Oh boy! It started well actually, I tried my hand at #AdventRunning and ran every day for the first half of the month until I got a virus or chest infection or something. I had an awful cough, lost my voice and spent a lot of time in bed.

As soon as I was better, the Christmas parties started, I drank every day, ate my favourite sugary foods, drank some more, ate oil and salt and fat. I ate so much over Christmas that it got to the point where I actually felt sick for about 3 days in a row, I still didn’t stop eating though.

I binge ate so hard that one day I ate profiteroles for breakfast (and lunch). I had fun.

I weighed on and off during Christmas and just before NYE I was up 5lbs. Could have been worse.

My only regret is that I was quite bloated by the time NYE rolled around and you could see my little tummy through my dress. I always use NYE as my comparisons for my weight loss as it was in January 2012 that my journey started.

Here is how it’s gone over the past 6 New Year’s Eve events (including the year before I started actively trying to lose weight).

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I’m not back at year 3 yet but getting there. But I have clearly been up and down.

I can’t currently tell you what I weigh because when I stepped on the scales on the 4th January… This is the message I got:

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Welp!

The batteries are dead, I’ve got some more now so in my next post you can have a weight update.

So, what now! Well I want to look my very best for my wedding in July 2016. With just under 7 months to go I have so much to do when it comes to planning and so much to do when it comes to being the best version of me I can be.

Welcome to the #Wedfit Series.

For the next few months the blog will be focusing on how I go about getting fit for the wedding, ups and downs, lefts and rights.

I know what you’re all going to say, because everyone has said it already. Yes I will look beautiful on the wedding day regardless of my size but I don’t want to look back at my photos and feel like I didn’t look my best. It is as simple as that.

And as for after… Well, what comes after weddings? I want to be in my best shape for the rest of my life. The wedding is an interim landmark.

Scales are not the only measure of getting in shape as we all know. I have also taken my measurements which currently stand at this:

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And my schedule for January is hectic with an eating and exercise programme that will kick start me back on the road.

I’ve gone back to minimal sugar… not zero sugar, but minimal. That means no processed foods, no alcohol, no sweets or sweet treats and fizzy drinks. I do have an exception to this though. It is my birthday in about 5 days and on my birthday I will have a slice of cake.

I’m not planning on beating myself up if I go to dinner and don’t check if they add sugar, but I will be making a conscious decision to pick the healthier options on the menu.

Home-made lunches (saves the pennies too).

Avoiding the dodgy takeaways.

It’s no use me working out hard if I plan on eating soft. The sugar free WhatsApp group is back up and running, my support system is epic!

As for the working out, I have signed up for a month of unltd classes at BoomCycle. A spin studio near my work. I love the sessions there, they work every fibre of your body and I feel cleansed at the end. My aim is to go three times a week.

I’m also still running with Run Dem Crew. They are family to me and I won’t be able to do this journey without them and their spectacular encouragement.

I’ve also purchased the new Davina McCall DVD for those times when I am at home and haven’t exercised. It is a series of 15 minute work outs and I’ve heard nothing but great things. Watch out for some videos J

My ultimate goal for January is to reach my 40lb weight loss. It’s been a long time coming and I need a new charm for my bracelet.

I’m going to be instagramming and giving weekly blog updates, so follow me on @specialee85 to see regular pics. I’m also going to be using the hashtags #WedFit, #FromFatToPhat, ~ItWasntFastButItWasDone and #TheAdus2016

Join me, let’s have some fun with it. Send me work outs to try, challenges to get involved with, invite me to train with you! Help me get #WedFit!

Mid September Update

17 Sep

So I’m back off the injury train and got back to running last week. Impressively on my first run back I managed to run my fastest 3 miles in a couple of years.

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3 miles in 30 mins running negative splits.  Perhaps those few weeks away from running were what I needed.

That run was followed by an epic Tuesday night run with Run Dem Crew Party Pacers. A 4 mile run that ended with the last mile belting out karaoke tunes from the 90s and our childhoods. Simply fantastic.

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I’ve also bought myself an ab wheel. It is ridiculously hard to use but I’m trying to get a few reps in every day. If anyone has any handy tips to help, please pass them on.

The end of the week was spent on a long weekend in Turkey. I was conscious of how easy it is to eat crap when on holiday so I promised myself I wouldn’t be too hard on me but actually when it came to eating and staying sugar free I did alright.

I was constantly drinking water so I had no need for ice creams or the like. The food out there was all pretty fresh and grilled most of the time. No sweets or desserts. It wasn’t hard at all. I did drink though but I’m not gonna hold it against me haha.

The highlight of the trip for me was a boat trip we went on where I jumped from the deck into the beautiful sea which was so clear I could see my feet when I looked down. It was amazing.

You can watch me jump here.

This time last year I went to Barcelona and was probably a good couple of stone heavier. I wore a pink swim suit that at the time I looked ok in but I wasn’t super happy when I saw the pics. I wore it again this year and was so pleased with the little differences. The bra part fit so much better, I was much more secure,  my tummy and thighs are smaller. I haven’t dropped half my body weight but I was really pleased by these little differences that show the hard work is paying off.

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So now we’re back and when I stepped on the scales I was a few lbs up but this has dropped up over the past few days and I’m back to where I was.

A few of us have set up a small support group. The aim is to lose 10% of our current weight by New Years Eve. That’s 24lbs. The first goal is 5%/12 lbs. Which incidentally will be my 40lb mark so there will be a big celebration there. Pandora charms galore.

In the mean time,  the Royal Parks half marathon is just weeks away. All my long runs will be half marathon distance between now and then and I’ll be working on getting my pace right so I can aim for my personal best.

Final thoughts; thanks so much for all the support on my last post about exercise and harassment. I’ve not yet heard back from Glassmill since my meeting there but hope to have an update and outcome soon.

To those of you who shared with me your own stories of harrasement whilst exercising, thank you and please don’t ever be afraid to speak up.

X

Exercise and harassment

4 Sep

A month ago I was verbally harassed at my local swimming pool.

I arrived on Monday 10th August at about 6.15am, signed in, and went to get changed for my swim.

I left the changing room in my swimming costume and walked the short corridor to the pool. In this corridor there are group changing rooms and disabled changing rooms.  There is also a cleaning cupboard and most mornings when I am there, there are at least two cleaners hanging around.

Like I say, it’s a short corridor and takes less than 30 seconds for me to walk. I don’t usually carry a towel. 9.5 times out of 10 I wear a full one piece. (Not that it matters what I wear because a public pool is a safe space and what a woman wears should never be cause for harassment).

For a bit of background this is what I have noticed every time I walk this 30 second corridor. The cleaners stare at me. Blatently stare at me. Look me up and down and ocassionally whisper to each other about me. It makes me very uncomfortable so much so that on the morning of the 10th August as I walked from the changing room to the pool I had to pysch myself up and tell myself to just keep my head down. Try not to encourage them I remember saying to myself.

As I walked through the corridor one of the guys walked very closely past me and whispered in my ear “wow”. Such a tiny word but never in my life has this word given me such sick feelings.

As he said that I turned and at the back his head I said something like “That’s so inappropriate”.  I didn’t really really know what to do, so I just went and did my swim.

The whole time I was in the pool I got more and more angry. I was sick of this crap. I remember thinking I should wear a different costume when i swim or have covered up using a towel, and then asking myself is this how they behave with all women who use the pool? Does this guy regularly whisper in the ears of women as they walk to the pool?

By the time I got out I knew I had to say something and make a complaint. I felt unsafe in what should be a safe space.

What I’m wearing doesn’t matter. What matters is we are in a world where some women struggle to get into fitness and the behaviour of men is one of the reasons why. As a runner I experience catcalling. I read stories of women who suffer harassment during exercise which makes them stop.

If the behaviour of the cleaner and his mates wasn’t stopped then my conscience wouldn’t be clear and I couldnt be sure that other women wouldn’t also be affected by this. Also what is this escalated, what if next time the words got worse or he tried to touch me. He clearly has no boundaries.

I approached the front desk on my way out and asked the Receptionist if there was someone I could speak to about the cleaners. She gave me a comments and complaints form and said I needed to complete that. I felt dismissed. She didn’t ask any questions but I was to stressed to say anything more so I took the form and left.

I actually had no plans to ever go back to the pool so at lunch time in the office I filled in their online complaints form.

This is what I wrote:

Activity: Swimming
Centre: GMLC
Date: 2015/8/10
Time: 8:00am

Feedback type: complaint
Feedback:
I visited the centre this morning and arrived at 6.14am to swim. I have been using the pool 2-3 times a week for the past month around the same time.

My complaint is about the cleaners who are around the changing room area at that time. Usually as I walk from the changing room to the pool I can feel them staring and discussing me but I can’t hear what they are saying. This morning, as well as the usual staring as i walked into the changing room, when I left the changing room to get to the pool, one of the cleaners felt it was appropriate to whisper “wow” at me as I walked past. This is disgusting behaviour, I don’t come to the pool to be leered at and commented on. I come there to exercise. The cleaners need to learn some restraint. Is this how they behave to all women who use the pool. It makes me extremely uncomfortable and it is disgusting behaviour. I don’t want to be stared at or commented on. Really upset about this, women should not have to worry about the men working in the centre hitting on them, staring at them and commenting on them.

I do not know the name of the cleaner but to be honest all of them have pretty sleezy behaviour every time I come in.

Many thanks

Leeanne Graham

The website said I would get a reply within 7 working days.

On the 5th working day I went swimming in the evening with a friend. By this point I felt defiant. I’ll  be damned if I let this guy or any guy stop me from reaching my goals.  I asked the Receptionist (a different one) if my complaint had been received.  She didn’t know and would ask a manager to look into it. She didn’t ask what my complaint was about.

On the 8th working day I went for my first morning swim since the 10th August. On my way in I asked yet another member of staff working on reception if my complaint was being looked at. This man was the first person to ask me the exact nature of my complaint. He said he didn’t know about my complaint but if anything like that happened again I should come and find him. 

On the 19th August I took to twitter.

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I only got a reply once friends and twitter followers started applying pressure.

Finally late that afternoon the General Manager gave me a call. He hadn’t received my complaint so I went through it on the phone.
He told me that my complaint should have been escalated to management as soon as I mentioned it to the first Receptionist. He also mentioned that the cleaners shouldn’t even be in that pary of the building at that time of day, since they should hace finished there. He promised me it would be looked into and investigated. 

Since then I’ve had numerous emails with the management staff. Although there is CCTV in that part of the building at the time I walked through it was currently rotated to a different part of the corridor.

This morning, 4th September I met with the GM and a manager from the cleaning contracting company. I was asked to look at some photos to see if I could pick the guy out. I knew I wouldn’t be able to having only really seen the back of his head (and I told  them this) but I gave it my best shot. They compared the guy I thought it was to what CCTV they did have and it looks like it wasn’t him. It might have been one of the others or someone covering.

I am now waiting to hear what will happen when all four cleaners meet with HR next week.

I’m sharing this post because I think it is so important for women to be safe whilst exercising. To not have to worry if walking to the pool, or running outside or inside is going to get you unwanted comments and looks.

Harassment for women who exercise is a very real thing and it’s important we speak out about it. I hope my issue is resolved so I can swim confidently in the mornings again. I miss my morning routine but I just don’t feel comfortable using that pool before work any more.

As soon as I have an update on the investigation I’ll  let you all know.

X

Bye bye summer.

1 Sep

Hello Autumn.

Today is the 1st September. I can’t believe where the year has gone.

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August was a good month. Since restarting the blog I’ve stayed on track and done well on and off the scales. But as we head into a new season it’s a good time to reflect and renew.

I finally hit my 2 stone weight loss thanks to a mild bout of food poisoning. 2 more lbs and I’ll be ready to get my new Pandora charm.

I’ve seen some great physical changes in my body. Some shape to my tummy which makes me think there might be some abs under there. I’m looking at photos and starting to like what I see. I ended up on TV last week. HD and live on BBC and I remember just feeling so thankful I didn’t look like a round lump.

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My face is changing shape too. My jaw is looking sharper.

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Old clothes are fitting again. Jeans and trousers are wearable again. My arms have a bit of work to go but there is one blazer I’m keen to get into again and it’s just a tiny bit too tight on the arms but I think another couple of weeks and I’ll be good to go. My old bras are fitting again and my newer bras are too big. Bin or keep?

It was carnival this weekend and I hit the roads in the shortest shorts ever and I felt comfortable. For the first time is such a long time.

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Exercise wise, I’ve been injured for a couple of weeks now and been advised not to do any impact exercise until my leg is no longer in pain and the bruising has gone. This is no good for someone training for a half marathon, so I’ve been keeping up the swimming and doing circuits at home. It’s helping me feel active even if not in the way I want. I think I should be good to hit the roads again in about a week or so.

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In the coming weeks I’m going to try and share more recipes with you.
I made a fab banana “ice cream” and my own version of Nak’d bars. Both were so easy to make and relatively quick too.

So I’m going to end this post with my renewed goals for the next month or so. Feel free to share your September goals with me 🙂

1. No alcohol.
2. No refined or added sugars.
3. No processed foods with added junk. 4. Exercise 5 days a week.

If I am in a situation where I can’t control what goes in to my food then that’s fine but I need to be conscious to make the best possible choice for me.

There are no weight goals in here because yes, I do want to make my 30lb and 40lb weight loss targets but they are not date defined and living healthier is more important to me than dropping weight fast.

Catch you on the flip side my lovelies.

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Swim a mile in her shoes

26 Aug

Swim swimmer, who got the keys to my bimmer.  Lolz! I’m going to try and fit a few swimming puns into today’s post.

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I started swimming again about a month ago. At first I felt like a fish out of water. I only learnt to swim in my mid 20s and only really the basics. So although my arms can do the right thing, my breathing and legs are lacking some of the techniques needed. I’m no water baby.

Swimming is a great whole body work out and I find it quite relaxing and a nice way to start the day. It’s never really feels like work.

I started off testing the water by doing 30 lengths in about 40mins and my current norm is 40 lengths in about 40mins.  I haven’t  really pushed myself further than that. I’m not really sure why, I just feel like 40 is enough.

A few things have been inspiring me to swim over the past weeks. Mostly they have come out of a spin off from Run Dem Crew, a group called Swim Dem Crew. Like RDC, Swim Dem encourages and nurtures those who want to learn and grow through swimming. They’ve taken guys and girls who can’t even tread water and had them swimming in open water and competitions. This has me star struck.

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The Swim Dem guys are so amazing and have really made a splash in my life, so as I watched all of their achievements from a far I wondered what I could achieve for myself.

A few weeks ago I had a bad experience at the pool, which I’ll tell you all about in another post. This left me not wanting to swim in the mornings. So a couple of a Friday’s ago I grabbed a friend and we went in the evening. We ended up doing 50 lengths that night in about 50 minutes and I still felt I had mileage in the bank. So I found myself thinking if could do 50 lengths  which is well over half a mile, surely I could swim a mile?

In my head this felt massive. It would be 66 lengths my swim hero Peigh told me. But in true LeeLee spirit my brain just said “Challenge Accepted”.

Friday 19th was the date. I actually found myself feeling really nervous. What if I got bored,  or just couldn’t go on after 50 lengths. The mind is such a funny thing. Fear is such a funny thing. Logically I knew I had nothing to worry about but still, I was scared.

I shouldn’t have worried though.  Got to the pool and saw a familiar face in my friend Priya who cheered me along as she did her laps.

I took stock every 20 lengths. Tried not to worried about how long it was taking me. Telling myself using the words of Dory from Finding Nemo “Just keep swimming”.

At around 60 lengths I started to get cramp in my right foot and left calf. I could feel that I was reaching my limit. 

After just about an hour and 10 minutes I did my 66th length. I then did another two just to make sure. Victory! 1 mile. It felt like such a small distance compared to running where I know I can quite easily run 10 miles without much thought.

It was a great challenge to myself and some thing to really get my feet wet. I really don’t think I could have done it without the encouragement from Peigh, who from the start has been encouraging and gently pushing me with his words, as well as all my other lovely friends.

I dove in and went to my first Swim Dem session on Monday evening just gone and my new challenge is to get myself comfortable in a 50m pool. It’s so much harder to swim lengths there. I have to take a break every length. 😦

I’ll keep you updated and let me know how many of my swimming puns you found 🙂

Find out more about Swim Dem Crew here.

Review: Oppo sugar free luxury icecream

18 Aug

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I love ice cream. I like nothing better than sitting and munching my way through a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. All of it. It’s a contributing factor to my weight.
Being sugar free means no icecream. Sugar is what helps ice cream form. It’s a key component, but I’ve come to realise there is a yummy alternative to pretty much everything I’ve cut out, be it home made or shop brought.

I can’t remember if someone recommended Oppo to me or if I came across it on the interwebs. Either way, when I saw it in my local Holland and Barratt I had to give it a go. With no refined sugars and only natural ingredients, it ticked all the boxes.

It came in on the pricier side of £5.99 for 500ml but what the hey, I wanted it and what Leeanne wants, Leeanne gets.

A little bit of reading about Oppo told me that it founders came up with the idea after a trip where they survived on the fruits of a country they were trekking and realised how good living off the fat of the land could be.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect from this Salted Caramel with Lucuma (what even is that anyway?). The ‘gold of the Incas’ apparently. A fruit loaded with goodness that has a sweet, yet salty caramel taste. Those Incas knew tasty when they came across it.

I was so excited to taste the ice cream I grabbed a spoon as soon as I got home.
My mouth is watering as I write this. Slightly soft from the journey home I went to my happy place as I tried the first mouthful. So creamy with fab hints of caramel. Rich and full of flavour, sweet but not over sweet and it tasted real. It didn’t taste like a weird frozen yogurt substitute for ice cream, it tastes like real ice cream. Blindfold me and I’d think I was eating a Häagen daaz or Carte d’or.

It took all my might to only have a few spoonfuls.

I was super impressed with the nutrional info for the icecream. Taken from the website:

Salted Caramel with Lucuma
Energy (Kcal): 77.3
Fat (g): 3.8
of which saturates(g): 2.8
Carbohydrate (g): 7.6
of which sugars (g): 6.7
Protein (g): 3.2 Sodium (g) 0.1

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Nice. And definitely guilt free.

It’s a very happy treat for me and I’ve been very good at not scoffing the entire tub. I’m defo going to keep an eye out for other flavours and this may just be my regular payday sweet treat.

Well done to the makers of Oppo. What a winner!

You can find Oppo at Holland and Barratt, Waitrose, Ocado and Whole Foods.

Let her eat cake

17 Aug

One of the things I’ve missed during my sugar free period is cake! I love a good cake. Sponge, icing, butter cream, jam. All of it.

Whenever there is a celebration, there is cake, it’s social, it brings people together and people think you’re weird when you say “no thanks”.

Over the weekend I headed off to a family celebration and there was going to be a cake baked by my cousin. I asked if she could do a sugar free one (only half joking) and she laughed in my face (over Facebook messenger) :-(.

I know a few people in the family are trying to eat less sugar and I couldn’t have all of us missing out so I decided to bake my own sugar free cake.

I AM NOT A BAKER. Let’s make that clear. I have people who make cakes for me when need be. I do not make the cakes. But in a bid to be independent I went for it.

I found a recipe for lemon drizzle on BBC Good Food and thought it looked good. Made some additions and adaptations and voila.

My adaptations were to swap sunflower oil for coconut oil and I didn’t use any milk. I used Yeo Valley natural yogurt (not fat free) and I also used stevia instead of xylitol.

I added raisins also some mixed seeds, because why not.

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I must admit I was quite impressed. I’m not a massive fan of stevia. I don’t like that after taste but I didn’t notice it in the cake.

It rose quite a lot in the oven but sunk soon after.

It definitely passed the taste test with everyone at my nans giving it a go and all of us being pleasantly surprised at how yummy it was.

It came out very brown though and looked more like a malt loaf than a cake but that’s not really a complaint.

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As of today I have only a teeny square left which might be my little treat this evening.

I’d definitely make this cake again. It was quickish and very easy to make and really satisfied my need for cake. Yay!

P.s. I also discovered ready salted hula hoops are sugar free too. Another win!

Sugar Addiction

13 Aug

So six weeks ago I gave up sugar. It came off the back of a usual binge where I’d bought a £1 giant bar of chocolate, sweet and salty popcorn and a loaf of soreen.  I ate the popcorn and chocolate right away and decided to save the soreen for after dinner as a little treat (lolz).

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By the time I’d eaten dinner I knew I had to stop. As I said in my previous post I’m getting married and when I went wedding dress shopping I found my dress but there was a possibility I’d have to buy it in a plus size. That would be an extra £400. Why, knowing all this, was I still eating in such a shocking way?

Sometimes you just reach that point where enough is enough.

I didn’t think about it or plan it. I just went straight cold turkey. No provisions or replacements I just had to quit my crack habit right there and then.

So although in my head and heart I was ready, I hadn’t been prepared for the effects of 30.5 years of sugar leaving my body. I hadn’t expected the cravings, the headaches or mood swings. 

After a day or two someone brought Krispy Kreme donuts into the office. There were actual tears in my eyes, but I held fast. I wanted one so badly, I felt sick.

I didn’t have one and im pretty proud of my will power. As much as it felt like it actually hurt me to say no, I think even after just a couple of days I knew I could do this. Donut-gate aside, I felt pretty good those first few days.

I stocked up on some goods which I’ll list at the end, and created a sugar free living pinterest board. There was no reason I couldn’t have goodies. They just needed to be refined sugar free. I was allowing myself honey and agave nectar at first, but I’ve mostly phased that out. Unless something is super bland then I’m not adding it.

At the one week mark, things went downhill. I had two to three days of intense headaches. I’m not a headache person so I knew this was a result of cutting out the nasty sugar. I was so grumpy, like PMS but worse. I couldn’t concentrate and I was mean. It was rough but then came the calm.

As the sugar left my system the cravings stopped. This is no longer a willpower jobby. I actually don’t want chocolate and crap. No biscuits,  no crisps, no juice.  Nothing.

I tell you what, it’s a revelation. I grew up putting tablespoons of sugar on my cereal or in my hot chocolate. Cream on everything. Cake and cheesecake and whole trifles.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I now dislike this stuff. I just don’t NEED it any more and I don’t really want it as much.

My snacks have been nuts and fruit. Hummus and olives. Nak’d bars save me if I’m caught out. I’ve been making peanut protein balls (recipes to follow), sugar free cocoa and coconut brownies, savoury homemade popcorn, gorgeous chia seed puddings. So I’m getting sweetness in just without the crack habit. 

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My homemade sugar free brownie

I’ve also given up booze. I miss Gin.  Need to check if it’s sugar free. (Checked and Gin with soda water and lemon is in)

Things I miss:
Ice cream. It’s summer and I want cold, creamy and refreshing. But I’ve been give  some faux ice cream recipes which I’ll try and let you know about.

Cake: cos everyone loves cake, but again I’ve got some recipes to try.

Slips ups:
Any slip ups have been intentional. A friend had a birthday dinner at an all you can eat buffet and I just thought “well I’m not gonna be able to avoid it here so I’m going all in”. Man it was good. Until the end, when I was so high off sugar that I thought I was going to die. Literally buzzing. A headache like I’d been drinking all night. I was hyper. And I felt so sick I thought I was going to vomit. Was fine the next up day but it was a reminder how bad all this stuff is.

We also had a family lunch and my dad bought a bottle of champagne as a  celebration. I got very tipsy very quickly on just a glass.

I have to be realistic.  There are going to be times where it’s going to be impossible to not have sugars but I’m pretty confident that these will be far and few between and I can control my portions and the amount I’m consuming. And on a hot day I might just want a cocktail or an ice lolly. I’m only human.

Lots of people have been asking me about going sugar free. I’m no expert, I know pretty much nothing but can offer whats worked for me, sharing recipes and support. To that end, I recently started a Whats App group where a group of us are working together to crack our sugar addictions and get a bit fitter. With a challenge to be sugar free by the end of August.

I think I’ll run the challenge monthly.

Look out for tidbits from the group. I’ll be posting my snack recipes as well because some of this stuff is so damn tasty.