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Saturday, 31 January 2015

Fitness Moments | Going it (Almost) Alone

Hi all,
As you know, I'm currently on a journey to lose weight. I started September 1st 2014, and since then I've lost a total of 35lbs. I did this, for three weeks alone at home, in which I lost 8lbs, and then after that I joined Weight Watchers with my younger sister and my mum.
Now, Weight Watchers was working really well for me. I lost weight every week, and managed to get my 10% weight loss goal. However, two weeks ago I gained half a pound, which isn't a huge deal, though I wasn't expecting it because I'd been good. I'd worked out, kept to my points allowance, and honestly I didn't see a reason for the gain. 
Still, as my class leader told me, sometimes weeks like that happen, and we were both sure that by the next class I would have lost that half a pound, and some extra too. I was motivated!
I went to the gym, went out on a walk with my family, I did some workouts at home. Even on bad health days when I couldn't stand up because of my P.O.T.S  I was finding ways to exercise without standing. So when I got to class, I was pretty confident I could get that half a pound off, and some extra. Then I got on the scales. And...well it wasn't good. I'd stayed the same. Again, this isn't awful, but having two bad weeks in a row, when I've done so well sticking to plan, it was disappointing.

So this got me thinking. I needed to change something. My mum felt the same, because her weight loss had slowed down. So we decided to change things up and try a low carb diet. We've been doing a bunch of research on the principals, and we're tracking all our food and carb intake on Myfitnesspal. For me, I'm aiming to have 20% of my calories coming from carbs, which is around 60g a day. 
After we'd decided this, we made another big choice. We decided to leave Weight Watchers.
We bought some scales from Amazon. Ones with great reviews, and which give accurate weights. Now our weigh in day is a Saturday, and we're going to keep track of it at home. I even made us each a chart to track it each week.

So, how is it going? Well, I started low carbs four days ago. Today, being Saturday, is our new weigh in, so despite it being less than a week since our weigh in last Tuesday, I got on the scales to start my new weigh ins. I was very shocked! I'd lost 3lbs. In just four days! 
It's safe to say that I'm liking this new lower carb diet, even if I have had to cut some of my favorite foods.
I haven't been very well this week, and so my exercise has been practically non-existent, and yet I still saw a great result on the scale. I'm excited to see how it goes in future, now that I'm trying a new diet approach, and I'm not attending class.
I'm slightly nervous that without the classes I'll lose track, because in the past I have. However, with my mum and sister doing it with me, and our set weigh in days, and charts. I'm hopeful that we'll all keep losing weight.
38lbs to go!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Health Moments | P.O.T.S - My Story

Hi all,
I mentioned a while ago in my post on Getting Active, that I have a health problem called Postural Orthistatic Tachycardia Syndrome (P.O.T.S). In that post, I mentioned a little about it, but I wanted to write a proper post about it, because it is a large part of my life, and affects me in a lot of ways.
So, what is P.O.T.S?

Image Credit -
You can find out all about the condition at Pots UK. There's some really helpful information there, about symptoms, triggers, diagnosis, and support amongst other things.

P.O.T.S is a very variable illness, some people will get more symptoms than others, and some will have more mobility than others. Below, I'll list the main symptoms of the illness, and the ones that affect me personally. The ones with an asterisk are ones which affect me every day, the ones that are just in bold and italics are ones I get frequently, but not daily, and the others are ones I don't suffer from, or very rarely suffer from.

  • Dizziness or pre-syncope (almost fainting) *
  • Syncope (Fainting)
  • Palpitations
  • Headaches *
  • Brain Fog (Difficulty thinking/poor memory) *
  • Tiredness
  • Shakiness
  • Nausea
  • Chest Pain
  • Poor Sleep *
  • Visual Problems
  • Sweating
  • Purplish discoloration of skin due to blood pooling in hands and feet
  • Bladder Problems
My Story.
When I was sixteen years old, I was on a placement in a school through my college course. I was training in childcare, and working in a school a few days a week, while other days attending college. 
Although through my childhood, I hadn't always been the healthiest, suffering from occasional dizzy spells, fainting one of two times, and a few other complaints, for the most part I was ok. At sixteen, I was fairly active. I used to walk to and from college/placement five days a week. I enjoyed going out with friends and family, and was looking forward to completing college, getting a job and learning to drive, among other things.
One morning, while on placement at the school, I was working in, I wasn't feeling well. I'd had a recent bout of illness, and I thought it was nothing major, just a cold. However, on that morning, I remember going into the school, feeling particularly bad.
It was as the students were arriving for class, that I began to feel worse. I remember standing to one side of the room, as parents, teachers and students were wandering around. The next thing I know I'm on the floor. A couple of teachers and parents are around me, and my main supervisor was asking people if I tripped, or if I'd fainted. One of the parents told her that I'd fainted.
I sat down for a while, until I'd gotten my bearings, and was given a drink, and then one of the teachers drove me home. 
My older sister was waiting there, after being contacted by the school, and told I'd fainted and would be coming home. By this time I was ok standing and walking around, and just felt tired. My sister had made a doctors appointment for me, and she took me up there. I was initially told it was probably nothing, and just to rest up a little bit. So I did.
I woke up the next morning, ready to go back to the school for my next day of work. However, my body had other ideas. As soon as I stood up out of bed, I collapsed to the floor.
My parents heard the fall and came in, and when they tried to get me up, I immediately collapsed again.
I was taken back to the doctors, and referred to the Syncope Clinic at the hospital. During this time I was collapsing everyday, every time I stood up. I couldn't move around without having someone support me up, and it was scary. I didn't know what was going on, all I knew was that I didn't have control over my body anymore.
I went to my appointment, and had to have a tilt table test done. Which meant being strapped onto a table, and taken from a lying position to a standing one, several times, while they monitored my heart rate and blood pressure.
The results? Well, each time I went into a standing position, my heart rate would jump up much too quickly, and end up going really fast.
The diagnosis was made. I had P.O.T.S.
I was put on medications, which did help to control the symptoms a little, but not much. I was still collapsing everyday, but not as soon as I woke up. Sometimes I'd get most of the day standing and collapse later. Sometimes I'd only collapse if I'd been standing for a long time, but some days I'd wake up and fall down straight away, and be down all day.
Because of this, I had to drop out of college.
Over the last six and a half years I've had frequent appointments, tests and alterations in my medications. Now I'm talking Midodrine and Ivabradine, and it's the best combination I've had.
I get days where I don't fall down at all, though I do still suffer from other symptoms, but it isn't perfect. I still collapse every week, sometimes several times in a day. I still have days, like today, where I wake up and immediately collapse to the floor.
Some improvements I have seen, is that I can collapse and after resting up for a couple hours, I'll sometimes be able to stand again.
However, I do sometimes need to use a wheelchair. I'm not allowed out on my own, even in the chair, because I've been known to collapse while sitting, and I get no warning of when I'm about to drop.
I'm not allowed to stay at home on my own, because I frequently collapse, hit my head and end up unconscious on the floor.
I'm not allowed to drive. I can't go out and get a job. This illness had limited my life in ways I never imagined having my life limited.
It's a mix of good days and bad days, and I try my hardest to focus on the positives.
I'm able to write, which is a passion of mine, and I've published four books so far. I'm able to run two blogs, and that's been so much fun. I've also been able to get a BA (Hons) Degree through distance courses with the Open University.

This illness is probably something I'll suffer with for the rest of my life, but I can hope for it to burn out. I can hope for it to become better controlled. Until then? I'll just make the most of what I can do.

Have you been affected by an illness? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Beauty Moments | A Brand Worth Blogging About

Hello all,
Recently you may have noticed I've been blogging quite a lot about fitness and dieting, and while I definitely do have more posts coming on that topic soon. I wanted to do something a bit different today, because after all, this is not a fitness blog, it's simply a general lifestyle blog of all things I love.
So, what have I been loving recently? Well, when it comes to beauty products, there's only one brand that sticks out as an absolute love.
That brand is...

*Please note, all of the products mentioned are my own, and so are the opinions. I wasn't paid to write this, the products were given to me for review, and this post has not been sponsered*

I first discovered this brand through my Birchbox. I received the They're Real Mascara in the first box I got. I'd been looking for a great mascara, and with this product I definitely found it. One of the things I love so much about it, is that with literally every other mascara I'd tried, after wearing it all day my eyes became itchy, and I needed to remove it before the day was over. With this mascara, it's comfortable to wear all day. My lashes don't feel brittle, and the look I get with this product is perfect.
After I got the mascara, I also received a sample of the Porefessional Primer. This is another great product, the texture is smooth, and it really does reduce the look of pores on my skin. Great!
The last product I received through my Birchbox, was the High Beam highlighter. This isn't as much of a wow product as the mascara, but still, it's a great product, and when I do use it, I love the look it helps me to achieve.
By this point, I already loved the brand, but a couple of days ago, my mom got me a set from Benefit, and in it were some of my tried and loved products, including the mascara, the primer and the highligher. There were also some new to me products.
The first I'd like to mention is the Benetint which is a lip and cheek product, and can I just say, wow! I mean it, I didn't really know what to think of a liquid that was both a blush and a lip product, but I used it for the first time yesterday, and it was amazing. As a blush, it blends so nicely, and it's so easy to apply. It gives just a touch of color, that looks natural. 
I'm not usually a blush wearer, but this is definitely going into my regular make-up bag for frequent use.
As a lip product, it gives a nice stain that lasts a long time. I did find it a touch dry, so a gloss over the top works well with this product for a great look.
Lastly, the product I wanted to mention is the They're Real Push Up Gel Eyeliner. WOW! I couldn't believe it when I tried this product. I've used a lot of different eyeliners for the upper lash line. I've tried, gel, pen, liquid. It's one of my favorite makeup items to use, but I couldn't ever get a great finish. The lines went too big, or wonky, or too thick.
Then I tried this one, and when it says it's lash hugging, they really mean that it's lash hugging. I was amazed when I put it on, and first time applying it, I got a smooth, even line. It's easy to apply, the line it gives it thin and hugs the lash line. You can of course make the line bigger for a more dramatic look as well. It's my new favorite eyeliner.
This is a brand that I would definitely recommend. I am yet to find a product I don't like, Great stuff.