Sharing a Chair | Book Club

- Book Review: Enough -

by Angela Cox

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Book Peak: A real life story of overcoming, with tools to help those who will no doubt read this and relate on so many levels. Truly inspiring. 

Book Pit: Only that I was enjoying the autobiographical section of the book so much that I wished there was more to read. 

Favourite Quote: 'Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.' - Ian McClaren

Similar Reads: The Art of Being Brilliant by Andy Cope, Eat Drink Run by Bryony Gordon. 

 | FULL REVIEW BELOW | 

 
 

I've followed Angela on social media for two years, you could say that her transformation on The Body Coach plan sealed the deal on starting my own 90 day plan transformation. 

It was always clear from Angela's posts that she had a difficult relationship with food, I knew this because of my own experiences. Many of us will have a reason that we turn to food in times of trouble, and some of us will simply battle with food and body confidence and get stuck on that never - ending treadmill of self - destruction. 

I was stuck. Lost in a maze which seemed to have no exit and I really didn’t know where to turn.

Angela, much like myself, had a trigger. This was something I knew nothing about until I attended the launch for her book and she gave an emotional reading. I don't like to give spoilers in my reviews, and I feel it would take away from the heart of the book, the thread that holds it all together. Be prepared, it is shocking and the desperation you feel for Angela is overwhelming, but she tells the story so eloquently and has turned trauma into tenacity. 

The autobiographical section of the book will resonate with so many readers. Even if your battle has not been with an addiction to food, any addiction will occupy our thoughts and lure us into temptation much the same. We all have a story and Angela's is a brave one that so many of us can learn from. Many times I found myself nodding or even experiencing a few revelations about my own eating disorder that I hadn't yet dealt with. 

...I stayed strong in the moment of self-sabotage and didn’t yield to a binge. This was transformational progress.

Angela has played out the most recent part of her journey on social media, which brings with it an abundance of positives with a sprinkling of negatives too. This aspect of the book will be recognised by most who read it, given that the majority of us have experienced negative comments online and are all growing and adapting to this new world of fast - paced communication.

The second section of the book is brilliantly insightful, and to a planner like me, a real call to action. When you are sat on the edge of a seemingly impossible task, like having to lose a substantial amount of weight, it can appear hopeless. What I love about Angela's approach is that she too believes that breaking it down into smaller chunks or 'goals' and 'tactical steps' will make the task at hand seem less intimidating. We should celebrate the small achievements as ultimately they will add up to a much bigger one. 

... feedback in any form tells me less about myself and more about the person who is giving it.

I powered through this book, so much of it was like reading about myself or seeing my own thoughts written down. I wish I had this book when I was in my twenties because I know it would have pulled me out of that self destructive cycle and the years of self criticism which happened as a result of that. 

As a writer, I can understand why potential publishers wanted to split the book in two - one an autobiography and the other a book of tactics and strategy. However, this should only be seen as a positive, Angela has so much to give of value and I believe this book is just as successful as a singular module as it would be in two. The most important point is that the content draws you in with it's honesty, a characteristic of a great writer and of a great friend. Reading this book makes you wish you could give this friend a great big hug. 

The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed. - Ernest Hemingway

Angela Cox is now a successful mindset mentor, specialising in one to one sessions, retreats and upcoming event 'Mojo' follow Angela on Instagram, Twitter or check out her Facebook Page for Big Girl's Journey to Lean.  

 

 

 

Sharing A Chair | Bullet Blog

Bullet Blog: Cycle One of The body coach 90 Day PlanSharing A Chair

Lifestyle : Getting Lean with Hypothyroidism

 

 Left: 2016 first plan photo. Right: Beginning of Cycle One February 2018

Left: 2016 first plan photo. Right: Beginning of Cycle One February 2018

I found the Plan really easy to get into this time around (I've done the old version of the plan twice previously). I'm not sure if it was the brand new recipes and fresh set up or whether I was just mentally ready to start seeing results again. Either way, I was grateful for the motivation because that is the one thing between staying put or moving forward.

 

How it works.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the 90 Day plan I will just give you a brief overview of how this first cycle is laid out. 

Month One | AKA Cycle One

NUTRITION - During this first month you only eat carbs after a workout, and you will aim to work out 4-5 days a week. So for at least 2 days per week you will eat no carbs at all. A typical training day for me looks like this:

Breakfast - Cocoa Coconut Pancakes (Low Carb)

Snack - Apple Slices and Peanut Butter

Lunch - Mac 'n' Cheese (Post Workout Refuel)

Snack - 25g Mixed Nuts

Dinner - Prawn and Chorizo Stir Fry (Low Carb)

My typical rest days would look something like this:

Breakfast - Peanut Butter and Jam Smoothie

Snack - 25g Nuts

Lunch - BBQ Turkey Meatballs

Snack - Protein Yoghurt

Dinner - Chicken Cashew Curry

TRAINING - Cycle One is solely HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and you aim to do 4-5 sessions per week (one per day only) for 25 mins each time. You would essentially do different moves for 40 seconds on followed by 25 seconds rest and you complete 3 rounds, but this does varies from workout to workout. 

Here are a few things from my first month of the plan:

  • I didn't stay away from the sad step, I find this is really difficult when you have hypothyroidism because weight loss is like walking a tightrope. There is a fine line between losing fat, water retention and building muscle and Hypothyroidism doesn't seem to care if you are working your butt off, it will increase your weight with no warning or visible reason.

 

  • At 5'2" and weighing 11 stone 9lbs it seems obvious I was overweight. However, looking at photographs of myself on my wedding day at the same weight - I am carrying significantly more fat. This helped me to gain perspective when this months results came in because fat loss is so much more than the scales.

 

  • I had a few periods of complete exhaustion. There were two days halfway through when I could not exercise, luckily they were at the beginning of the week so I overcame it by making them my rest days. The tiredness was a little concerning as I kept falling asleep throughout the day (luckily I'm home all day) and I wasn't sure if it was thyroid problems rearing their ugly head - fortunately, after two days rest and early nights, it ebbed and my energy levels went back to normaI. 

 

  • I had one treat on Valentine's day but I allowed for this by adjusting my day, making sure HIIT was before dinner and I had eaten strictly on plan the rest of the day. I had absolutely no guilt about this because it is a lifestyle change and I was back to being completely focused the next morning.

 

  • In the final week of the plan I did find my restraint starting to deplete a little, I was getting bored of HIITs and just looking forward to Cycle Two and getting back to lifting weights, which is what I love. I like doing HIITs as part of a variety of workout methods but when it's the sole method it does become a little boring. As soon as I feel like that I know it's time to change things up so I submitted my results and I'm waiting for Cycle Two to be delivered.

So here are my all important results:

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Overall I felt a little disappointed. I worked extremely hard and only lost a few pounds. This is the continual struggle of Hypothyroid, it doesn't help that on the plan I think they put me on higher calories than I would allow myself with such a slow metabolism. That said, I fully trust the plan, it's all going in the right direction and seeing my photos showed me that sometimes it's not all about the numbers. 

 Half and inch lost on the waist makes a big difference to look at!

Half and inch lost on the waist makes a big difference to look at!

 A slight tummy shrink and a perkier 

A slight tummy shrink and a perkier 

So now I'm just waiting for Cycle Two to hit my inbox. I'm not a fan of increased carbs as I don't react well to them, but I am very much looking forward to building muscle in the gym again.

In the meantime I always relax for 1 or 2 days and have a little of what I fancy without going too crazy. This isn't the approach for everyone, but for me it's realistic and I miss a pizza or some sweeties so I find if I allow myself a little of what I like, I'm even more ready to attack the next 30 days. 

If you're doing the plan at the moment then I wish you the best of luck, if you're thinking about starting then I couldn't recommend it more. You can sign up on Joe's website, where you will also find my guest blog about staying focused when illness or injury hits during the plan. 

SHARING A CHAIR | Blog

A Newborn, A Toddler and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.

HI MAMA LETTERS | HYPOTHYROID MUM

Hi Mama,

As you lie there, listless on the floor next to your screaming 6-month-old daughter, your son safely preoccupied with dinner, I know you are afraid. You don't know what is happening to your body, and although the random shards of doubt try to pierce your thoughts with lies 'you're depressed', 'you're going crazy', deep down you know something else is wrong. 

 
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That night you will take off in the car like a cliché. Driving to the highest point you can find to breathe in the freshest air available. Whatever this is, it is suffocating. Your husband will be worried. 

You hear the words of others trying to reassure, but they actually lead you further away from the truth, 'two children under two is bound to be tiring', 'you're doing too much, with all this new exercise'. Your children both sleep through the night, and until two days ago the new lifestyle was making you feel the best you've ever felt. You are making inspiring moves to be better, physically and mentally and your body repays you by attacking you. Literally.

You will scream when people suggest you are depressed. You can see your life and how beautiful it is, how happy it makes you, but it is on the other side of a wall. It's out of reach. You ask yourself, perhaps this is what depression feels like? 

When you finally decide to seek help, it won't be because of the exhaustion, or the weakness in your arms and legs and it won't be because the darkness is quickly crawling into your eye line. It's the pins and needles that creep up your arm that start to scare you, like tiny knives prodding you to wake up to reality. 

The nurse practitioner is thorough, he suspects carpal tunnel and perhaps some strange virus. He is concerned about the exhaustion so requests an 'MOT'. Thank goodness you didn't listen to outside voices, thank goodness you listened to the still small voice inside. 

"You'll hear back about the blood test by the end of the week."

When the phone rings at 4:30 pm that same day and you hear the Dr state his name on the other end of the phone, your heart will skip faster than you thought possible. This confirms it, something is not right.

"You are very lucky the Nurse that you saw today was so thorough. Your Thyroid has completely stopped working, probably several months ago." You learn later that you have an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, and you will learn over time that the state you were diagnosed in is very rare and was found just in time. 

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You won't have any idea the ordeal you are about to undertake. It may feel like an ending and you will cry with relief that you have answers, but this is only the beginning. You need to remember how well you know your body and hold onto that. This is a tool that will keep you sane through the weeks and months that follow. You need to remember that being healthy is paramount over body image, something you now have limited control over with this disease. 

At times you wonder if you will ever feel normal again, if you will stop snapping at your husband and children, and if your marriage will survive such a huge challenge.

Let me tell you that you are so much stronger than you will ever have imagined. Most people will not understand the gravity of what you have to deal with, but the more you talk and write about the issue, the more you will find friends who suffer with you and support you through it. But you will learn it is something that cannot truly be understood unless you go through it.

Most of all you will be surer than ever that you married the most wonderful man. He will take over with the children when you are too tired to function, he will take the time to research things with you, he will cook weeks worth of meals for you to keep lifestyle goals on track and he will support and inspire you to be the best you can be each and every day. Through sickness and in health.

There is still much that you don't understand about your body, and you live in hope that one day it will fix itself. For the time being, you are told it is permanent but you have not allowed any of this to hold you back, in fact, you are reaching goals all the time. You will surprise yourself with how much you have achieved when you come out the other side of this debilitating time of learning and healing. 

 
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Never forget that yes there are others with health problems much worse than yours, but it's not a competition and you have just as much of a right to voice how you feel. I know you feel guilty about complaining, but sometimes it's all you can do to get through. 

I now know you can take anything life throws at you and you will overcome it wonderfully. 

Rebecca

 

Original letter written for Hi Mama Letters.

Sharing a Chair | Bullet Blog

How to take better care of you in 2018

Bullet Blog | Self-Care

 

Mood: 🙃 🙏🏻 🥑 🛁

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 'Self - care', it's happily replacing the term 'New Year, New You' and if you ask me (you didn't, but let's pretend you did) I'm all for it. I've spent far too many years being awful to myself, not taking enough care of my physical or mental health. In 2016 after the birth of my daughter something clicked and I took a leap in attitude to change this. With the help of the inspirational Bodycoach and unending support of my husband I lost a lot of body fat and fell in love with the Gym. 2017 was the year of the mind for me and I tackled some big hurdles with my anxiety and mental health. Now I know the two go hand in hand so this year I'm all about looking after myself, body and mind. Here are my tips if you want to get on board!

 

  1. Baby Steps - no matter how you plan to tackle your wellbeing this year, my number one piece of advice is to take it slowly. As soon as we say we're going to overhaul our diet, exercise or commit to completing a giant list of tasks (or all three), we are setting ourselves up for failure. Too much too soon. Take one thing and then break it up into bite sized chunks, making little changes that you build upon is much more sustainable.
  2. Add Something - I find adding to something I already do helps me to not feel overwhelmed. For example I help to walk my Nana's dog every evening, so instead of walking with her I now run with her and it doesn't take anymore from my day or my brain!
  3. Write it Down - Whether it's your nutrition or your house clutter you are tackling, things feel that much better when you write them down. When I do this I find it isn't so overwhelming and not as bad as I thought. I then have the satisfaction of ticking it off when it's done. 
  4. Do Not Limit Yourself - Don't put a time limit on your change. If you say 'I'm going to get fit by summer', and then you don't quite manage that part of your plan, how are you going to feel about yourself? Only commit to things that are going to improve your attitude to yourself, and don't put limits - you have the rest of your life to achieve and slow progress is still progress. 
  5. Take Baths - We can't all take a regular spa day, it's pricey and it's time consuming. What we can do is give ourselves a little pampering at home whether that is taking a bath, painting nails, looking after your skin with a little face mask or just simply sitting quietly in a room with some scented candles. 
  6. Make Time - Leading on from the above it is important to find time. It's funny how now I'm a busy mum of two I realise just how much time I have in my day and I manage to fit a lot more in. I used to have an excuse for everything but now I know I can fit a little of everything I enjoy into my day if I prioritise my time and use every free minute wisely. It takes practice but if I can do it - trust me you can too!
  7. Read - You may not be a big reader, but I think reading is such a great way to unwind. So many people I speak to say they don't have time for a book. But we all find the time to scroll on our smartphones nowadays so if we cut back on this (good for the soul) then trust me you'll find an extra half an hour. If you don't believe me then download the app 'Moment', and see how much time you're spending on your phone, you'll be in for a shock! I find reading before bed helps me relax into sleep naturally rather than screen time which actually keeps you wired.
  8. Forgive yourself - This is a big one for me. When I first had children I struggled so much with not being able to keep on top of things. Before I would pride myself on a dedicated day to clean the house, keeping on top of washing, writing thank you cards and sending out birthday cards and gifts on time. I just don't manage this anymore and I consider myself a pretty organised person. You have to learn to forgive yourself the little things and let them go, we spend too much time measuring ourselves against an invisible standard. Set a new standard - one that ebbs and flows with the fluctuation of YOUR life.
  9. Clear the clutter - Have a good clear out of stuff. My mind feels so overwhelmed when my house is cluttered and all I can see is stuff everywhere. It's very cathartic to rid little corners of your home of clutter - it will have the same effect on your mind. Remember write a list i.e. under stairs cupboard, sort computer files, tidy bookcase, shred paperwork, and then just aim do one a month maybe even just doing a little bit each day when you walk past.
  10. Take walks - If you aren't one for the gym, running, or high impact exercise then just go for a 10 minute walk. I find even just going for a 15 minute walk around the block each day clears my head and gives me breathing space. Sometimes changing the air is all it takes and if you can listen to some calming music whilst you do it, then all the better.
 
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So remember it's all about the little changes, over time these will have a big effect on your wellbeing and you may find there's a little room to make another change, and so it will continue like that. The more positive you are the more, the more you will welcome positive change. 

Take care of you

Rebecca is running everyday in January to support Mind Charity and their R.E.D. January campaign

You can show your support too by sponsoring Rebecca on her Just Giving Page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/reb-does-red2018

Thank You🏃🏻‍♀️

Sharing a Chair | Blog

ROUTINELY TABOO: WHY GINA FORD IS MY MODERN DAY HERO

 

The one thing that is supposed to unite us all as new shell shocked parents is the fact that we are shell shocked and exhausted. Sleep, or lack there of, is our mutual ground, our conversation starter, the foundation of our newly sprouted friendship. Well, where does that leave the parents who are getting sleep? Just because they are getting sweet juicy sleep does not mean they should be shrugged off. I can sense your eye-rolling disdain, but just hear me out.

 

Last week a guy was doing some maintenance work at our house, seeing my daughter we got into conversation about his own, also a one year old. He went straight in with ‘does she sleep?’ for some reason this question always makes me clam up, because my response needs to take into account that the asker may no longer want to talk to me. “Yea, er, we’re really lucky actually she sleeps pretty well’. Honest answer: she sleeps amazing. She sleeps from 7pm–6:30am, in the same room as her big brother who is almost three; who also sleeps all night, and has done since he was 5 months old. Despite my response, luck has nothing to do with it, it’s hard work and consistency and involves coming against a lot of opinions.

I never had any pre conceptions of Gina Ford before I was a parent, in fact I’d never heard of the woman. All I had pre wet wipes and raisins was my unrealistic expectations of attending a friends dinner party, putting my children down in their spare room and tucking into my prawn cocktail like nothing had changed, idiot.

My first introduction to Gina was when my son was 4.5 months old and only sleeping for 30 mins at a time during the day, I knew he was unhappy and never seemed to be getting the full sleep he needed. I turned to social media for advice, two dear friends, who had four children between them, suggested Gina whilst the rest of the parents told me not to worry about it and that my son would work it out later on ‘make the most of it’, ‘more excuses for cuddles’ all very lovely things to suggest, but along with the suggestions to eat all the cake whilst breastfeeding I felt it was more an ‘enabling’ kind of stance, culminating in making a rod for my own back.

I bought The Contented Little Baby Book and Gina became my parenting hero. As did the two legends who suggested I check her out.

 

They say there’s no manual but…

However, I quickly learnt that parents the world over have a lot to say about Gina. And most of it is not very nice. If you DARE to follow her routines then you are a certain type of parent, in particular, a parent who isn’t adhering to their offspring’s needs as lovingly as those who take the ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ approach.

I mean, let’s back up a minute. When my son was born I taught him how to feed, we worked on that smile by smiling at him and showing him how it was done, we taught him to laugh by acting like fools, we showed him how to grip things, how to wave, how to say words and in a few months time we would teach him how to eat food, how to drink from a cup, how to walk…you get the idea. As parents we are teachers. So why when it comes to sleep are they supposed to be left to their own devices and know what to do? It’s crazy to me. I don’t get why parents who wanted to show their children the correct way to sleep were berated for it. And trust me they were.

I once saw a poor woman on a parenting forum get torn apart because she offered advice in response to someone asking for it. She wasn’t forcing her views she said simply ‘this worked for me, maybe give it a try?’ I made the mistake of showing support, voicing that the routine was also working wonders for my son, now 5 months. That was it. I was the world’s worst mother, I cared more for myself than my innocent son who ‘needs your love not a regime’ I’d love to say I had a thick skin and their words didn’t hurt me or fill me with doubt, but I was a first time mum and I definitely needed some love and reassurance after that. I had no regret at standing up for the other Gina mum though, that’s something I definitely didn’t lose sleep over...

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Remember: Sleep begets sleep!

I’ve since had my daughter and we’ve been getting that full night’s sleep for months now. She has been following the routine since she was two weeks old (yes weeks), but don’t tell the trolls or I’ll probably be reported for neglect — lack of sleep can make you a bit grumpy.