Tag Archives: weight loss

I Tried It: Dry January

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Have you ever done a dry January?

After a heavy November and December, I decided that I needed to give my body a break and get on the wagon for a month. And what better month than January, when everyone’s skint, partied out and needing a bit more time at home.

I also needed to regulate my relationship with alcohol. It’s easy, especially with the UK drinking culture and in a hectic city like London, to use alcohol to relax and let a quick drink after work turn into 3 or 4. Knowing everything I know about the effects alcohol has on the body, it was time to put all of my knowledge into practice for myself.  Alcohol is a tricky one for the body – it depletes your B vitamins, which can lead to anxiety and depression, it puts stress on your liver and diverts it from other, more important functions and it can lead to weight gain, poor sleep, spotty skin and dehydration. I decided it was time to take the advice I give to clients in clinic and get a grip on my alcohol intake.

On New Year’s Eve, I drained my last glass of champagne and rang in the new year, ready to kick booze to the curb for a while.

The first few days were hard. No glass of wine at lunch, no cold and crisp G&T while watching TV on the sofa in the evenings. But this was where the foundations for all the hard work of the next month started – breaking the little habits that I had developed and putting better ones in place.

I replaced my red wine and G&Ts with lots of warming cinnamon tea in the evening and sparkling water at lunchtimes. I asked M not to offer me any drinks (except tea or water) in the evenings. I talked about my dry January with my mates, so they knew what I was doing and changed plans to lunch and coffee dates, rather than evening meals, so I wouldn’t be tempted.

By weeks 2 and 3, I started to get in the groove and was enjoying waking up without a hangover and fuzzy brain. My skin was clearer and my jeans a little looser. And the biggest plus? My anxiety levels rapidly decreased.

Last Tuesday 31st January felt great. 31 days without alcohol, a clearer head, deeper sleep at night, more money in my bank account and less anxiety. I decided to carry on through to the end of February, as I have a big nutrition exam at the beginning of March and need all the focus I can get.

What comes after that? I’m not sure. I’d love to be able to get to a place that where I can have one drink and have that be enough. Any advice?

Stories I loved this week.

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Another week goes by and it’s another week that I’m closer to finishing my second year of my nutrition degree. I had my final practical assessments last week, which were nerve wracking and amazing at the same time and my final year exam is on 9th July. Which means that I had better get cracking on the studying!

That’s one of the benefits of the weather not being so great right now in London. I’m not stuck inside poring over books, while everyone is enjoying the sun. Schadenfreude, I know. Once the exams are done, next up is to book another holiday to have something to look forward to. We’re thinking Corsica or Sardinia for somewhere different. Have you been to either?

How Brexit might affect women in Britain.  (Refinery 29 UK)

Speaking of Brexit and BrIN (!), are you registered to vote?  (Gov.UK)

Better ways to use your food processor. (Bon Appetit)

The definitive guide to adaptogens – herbs that protect your body from stress and fatigue. (Well + Good)

Time goes, no matter what you do. I’m covetous of the time I have. I want to make sure I use it more wisely.” A great piece on how we have more time than we think. (New York Times)

Weight loss is a long term process – patience is key. (Greatist)

A great summary of all the things you need to know about poop. (The Science of Us)

A great guide to high heat cooking processes. (goop)

Stories I loved this week. 

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We’re off on holiday this week and it is long planned and very well deserved. We haven’t been away since our trip to Toronto last year and I’ve been yearning for some time away from London and an escape into another culture.

I expect to come back happy, refresh, recharged and ready to take on my last assignment and exam for year 2 of my nutrition studies. I’m excited for the break!

14 wellness tips these women learned from their moms. #6 is so me – drink more water! (Well + Good)

Me at any kind of food market. (The Onion)

I really like Darya’s take on the Biggest Loser weight loss study that came out a few weeks ago. In a nutshell, weight loss can be sustainable if you do it in a mindful way. (Summer Tomato)

Changing careers in your 30s – something I’m currently in the process of doing. It’s exciting, nerve wracking and incredibly adventurous, all at the same time. (Oh Joy!)

Why you can’t lose weight on a diet. (New York Times)

A fascinating piece of food trend research from Google. No surprise that searches for ‘functional food’ like bone broth and turmeric are rising.

Photo by Fre Sonneveld

Stories I loved this week.

It’s amazing how a little sun and some extra sleep can really lift your mood. For the past two weeks, I’ve been going to bed between 9:30 and 10:30pm every night. Not intentionally, mind. Purely as a by-product of not being able to keep my eyes open after we put J to bed, then I attempt to have a bit of chat with my husband and do some course work.

This has happily coincided with J starting to sleep more regularly through the night, so M and I are feeling more refreshed and frankly more human. It’s only taken 2.5 years, but it’s so exciting to have a child that finally sleeping through!

Lil’ Kim and the unbearable whiteness of being. (The Conversation)

How will women manage their periods in the future? Great question – it feels as though we sleepwalk our way into menstrual hygiene choices. (Refinery29)

A fascinating profile on the Bouvier sisters – Lee Radziwill and Jackie Kennedy. (Vanity Fair)

How I longed for a better breast pump when I was breastfeeding my son. The sound of the Medela and doing 3am pumping sessions still haunts me. For all my future breastfeeding sisters, I look forward to seeing what the breast pump of the future looks like. (New York Times)

This is such a great piece about the social pressures on boys. “If we can free men from their belief that a real man is tough, competitive and unemotional, then we can create happier men – and better partners, friends, colleagues and fathers.” (The Pool)

I used to love watching the Biggest Loser, but was always incredulous at how they managed to not only lose weight so quickly, but whether the contestants really had the nutritional and fitness foundations to maintain the weight loss. It turns out that they didn’t and this type of weight loss really messes with the body’s metabolism. (New York Times)

Photo by Erol Ahmed

Stories I loved this week.

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Photo by Austin Schmid

Thursday was my last day at my freelance job and I feel like the person in the picture. Jumping for joy and ready to take on new challenges. I’m looking forward to taking the time to find a new contract, getting a lot of studying done and getting off the hectic London treadmill for a bit and into the slower life of being a mother, wife and student. I won’t just have my head in the books the entire time – I’m looking forward to getting stuck into my mindfulness practice and trying a few new exercise classes, including Barry’s Bootcamp.

A fascinating piece on how we got so hooked on avocados. (Guardian)

The loneliness that happens after bariatric surgery. (Salon)

Have you tried switchel? (Well + Good)

I for one cannot wait for the third installment of Bridget Jones. (The Pool)

Do you have wine, gluten or dairy face? Snarky titles aside, it’s fascinating to know that you can see what a person is eating by where acne appears on their face. (Elle UK)

Don’t wash your hands. Yes, yes, yes. People are way too fearful of bacteria – they are so beneficial to us. (The Times)

Stories I loved this week.

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Jet lag is a killer, isn’t it? We landed from Toronto yesterday morning and despite the common advice to just adjust to the timezone you’re in straightaway, we climbed into bed and didn’t wake up until 3pm. I’ll take dealing with a toddler that’s awake late over dealing with an overtired toddler any day. Now it’s time to get back into the swing of things, avoid the post holiday blues and embrace fall in London. It’s been really nice to see the fall foliage and the beautiful colours emerge. Note to self: buy rain boots for little J!

I’m fascinated by this article. Microaggressions and trigger warnings are such a foreign concept to me and it sounds like they’re becoming more and more prevalent on American campuses. The authors of this article posit that this is a bad thing as these young adults who are pushing for this won’t be able to deal with workplace realities where their feelings won’t especially be taken into consideration. (The Atlantic)

More reminiscing from Bring It On. (Entertainment Weekly)

Ten simple ways to eat less without noticing. (Summer Tomato) 

Stress, pollution, more screen time, less sleep and hormones like antidepressants & birth control make it harder to lose weight than 20 years ago. (CNN)

Fruit and veg help you lose weight, but only the right ones, i.e. those low in sugar. (The Guardian)

It is definitely stressful flying with young children so this story warms my heart. (New York Times)