Monday, 29 August 2011

I'd Buy That In A New York Minute.

Preparations for my trip to New York are now in full-swing, and I am starting to get ridiculously excited! We fly out in less than six weeks and what with my return to university, Freshers week and my birthday in the meantime I know its going to fly by! 

Despite literally having no A/W clothes that fit me, I'm trying to hold off from buying new things as much as I possibly can. The way I see things, there's just no point in me buying a whole wardrobe of winter clothes that aren't going to fit me next winter. Things like jumpers, coats and jeans can last an age if they're looked after properly, and it would break my little heart to have to throw out or eBay things after I'd only worn them a few times.

That being said, I can't go to the Big Apple looking like a tramp in jeans two sizes too big (I've been walking round in a pair of size 20 jeans when I'm actually closer to a size 16 - yes, really), and so I've spent a fair few hours over the last week or so perusing the wonders of the internet in search of some 'NY staples' - staples that will incidentally carry me through to S/S 2012!



Jeans - New Look - Its going to be an extremely 'touristy' trip, which basically means that I'll be living in jeans for the whole five days. These ones are from New Look and cost £19.99 - enough that I know they're of semi-decent quality, not so much that I'll balk at getting rid of them in a few months time.

T-Shirt - Dorothy Perkins - I seem to have a bit of a bird print obsession at the moment! I love this t-shirt and it will be perfect for a day of sight-seeing.

Sweatshirt - River Island - This is definitely not something that I'd usually go for because I think sweatshirts make me look too boxy, but as the internet expressly told me that early October in NY is 'sweater or light jacket weather' I decided that this would be as good as any. Plus its ridiculously cute!

Jacket - Matalan - I've fallen in love with this jacket - even more so since I realised that it has a hood! And it's only £20!! It must be mine!!

Scarf - Topshop - I know chances are it won't be cold enough to justify a scarf - especially a £16 scarf - but I love this one so I thought I'd feature it anyway!

T-Shirt - New Look - I've been told in the past that I wear too much black, so as a compromise I've been branching out to include a lot of navy. I also have a bit of a fetish for t-shirts with the US flag on them (see here). This baby ticks all the boxes - plus there's a 2 for £12 sale on t-shirts in New Look at the moment. Score.

Black Pumps - I'm pretty sure the image was taken from New Look, but they're the bog standard plimsoll/pump things that you can get from anywhere. We're going to be doing a lot of walking, and comfortable shoes will be a must. I'm currently debating the pros and cons of pushing the boat out a little and investing in a pair of proper walking shoes. Trouble is I don't think I'd get much use out of them other than for that one weekend in New York. Its a bit of a dilemma.

Knitted Dress - Dorothy Perkins - This is one of those things that looks awesome on the website, but will probably look absolutely dire on me. It will show up all my lumps and bumps - and not in a good way - and will just generally be super-unflattering. Despite knowing all this, I still can't help loving it.

Hat - Topshop - Everything that I said about the scarf applies here. I won't need it, but I want it. And I will probably end up getting it - just in case New York has a freak snowstorm. (What!? It could happen! If they can have a hurricane then they can have a snow storm!)

Cardigan - Dorothy Perkins - This is probably my favourite thing on the wish-list, along with the birdy t-shirt. Its way more than I'd normally spend on a cardigan but I know that I'd basically live in it all winter so I don't mind spending the money. It looks like it would be fairly lightweight but still quite cosy, so it could easily be worn under a coat or jacket or on its own for warmer days, and would probably carry over into early spring as well. Plus, because its a cardi, it doesn't matter if it gets a little loose.

So there it is, just a few of things I'm coveting for my upcoming trip to the US of A - its not exhaustive, I basically could have gone on forever and will probably be trawling through fashion websites until the day before we leave. Still, looking at clothes makes a nice change from obsessively checking reviews of all the different attractions - and yes, I am willing to admit that I might be a bit obsessed. What? Cut me a break, its my first big holiday!

What trips have you got coming up this Autumn, and whats on your holiday wish list?

Lauren xxx

Monday, 22 August 2011

Life After Weight Watchers.

I'm aware that I may be jumping the gun a little with this post, but over the last weeks and months I have been thinking more and more about getting to my goal weight, and how my life will be once I'm there. Having always been larger, I don't know what size clothes I will be wearing. I would imagine that a weight of 11st 11lbs on my 5'10 frame would put me somewhere in the region of a 12-14, perfect for me as I'm tall with wide hips and shoulders - anything less would look too thin I think! So I know roughly what I'll be wearing. 

I also know that I'll have a BMI of around 22.5, smack bang in the middle of the 'healthy' range. Ok, so I'm healthy and I can wear pretty clothes. Great, that's all fantastic and those are both things that are very motivating. But that's not just what it comes down to, and the closer I get to my goal weight the more I'm beginning to realise that.

Don't get me wrong, I was never naive enough to believe that size 12 = instant happiness. I understand that my unhappiness does not stem simply from the fact that I am/was obese, there are also many other underlying factors. The knowledge that I am doing something about that, that I'm facing up to my demons and getting healthy has been a hugely effective antidepressant for me - I think I get a rush of endorphins from seeing the numbers on the scales go down. If thats the case, what happens when I get to goal? Am I still going to feel like that when the numbers are staying the same? A big part of me (the part near my arse) is worried that without the focus and drive required to lose every week, I'm just going to fall apart again. Without my even noticing it, Weight Watchers has become a huge part of my life - not just because I follow the plan, but because I'm so open and upfront about it with people from all different areas of my life. Everyone from my housemates to my mum to my work colleagues to my old school friends know that I'm on the plan, and I'm always happy to talk to people about it and answer questions. Maybe it is because of this, and because Weight Watchers is always at the forefront of my mind, that I have managed to maintain a fairly strong willpower most of the time. I'm talking about it, so I might as well put it into practice, right? What happens when I get to goal though? Am I still going to be talking about it every day? How am I going to cope without the buzz of a loss every week?

Its not only this aspect of getting to goal that worries me, and I know that there will never truly be a 'life after Weight Watchers' - I'll be counting points for a long time to come yet, and its possible that they may become even more important in maintaining my weight than they are now! No, its not just that. Its what will happen to this blog as well! Are you folks still going to be interested when its no longer a 'little less' of me? What happens when its just 'Lauren'?? I hope that you will all stay on after that eagerly-awaited day arrives, and will join me in my post-goal adventures! Because I plan to have a lot of adventures. Even now, when I'm only a little over halfway through, I see things differently to how I used to. I can't wait to experience things in what will essentially be a new body, half the size of the old one (I may have to work on co-ordination and knowing my limits yet, my brain hasn't quite realised that there's less of me than there used to be).

Looking back on it, I'm not sure that made any sense and there's a good chance that I'm just rambling like an idiot! (At least we know there's one thing that will never change - you can take the fat off of the girl, but you can't take the idiot out of her!)

Lauren xxx


Thursday, 18 August 2011

Some Weight-Loss Affirmation.

Earlier today I tweeted - 'the life-affirming moment when you don't recognise your own reflection in a shop window'. Believe it or not, that is exactly what happened. There I was, happily wandering to the train station after work, when I happened to glance into the window of Caffe Nero and saw myself reflected in the glass. It genuinely took me a second to figure out that it was me. Not because I looked super-skinny - far from it - just because I didn't look fat. I don't look like a proper fat person anymore. Sure, I'm still a bit on the large side, but I am no longer the person that people glance at out of the corner of their eyes because I'm that huge. I don't stand out anymore. Now, I just blend nicely into the background. (Just so you know, this is a good thing. I like being able to blend. I have wished on many occasions that I was capable of performing a disillusionment charm (Harry Potter Nerd is one of my listed languages on facebook, fyi) and just disappear into the background. I'm not losing weight so I can flaunt a sexy new figure for everybody to look at - I'm losing weight so people will stop looking at me.)

As I continued walking to the station (after I tweeted, obviously), I thought to myself about the significance of that moment and how in years to come, when I think back on this whole weight-loss thing, that moment and how I felt at the time will always stick out in my mind. And then I started thinking about all the other little 'oh' moments that I've had, and all the things I love about losing weight. 

Like the time I was lying in bed on my tummy, the way I have always slept, and couldn't figure out why I couldn't get comfortable. It was only after I put a pillow underneath me that I realised it was because my ribs and hips were digging into the mattress. 

Or when sitting on a chair with my legs crossed started to feel different, because I could actually cross them all the way over.

Or the first morning back at work this summer, when I completed the 1 mile up hill to the train station in 15 minutes without breaking a sweat or losing my breath. (Admittedly this may not sound like much, but time was  it'd take me 35 minutes and I'd be dripping with sweat by the time I got to the station.)

Or going shopping in Oxford Street with the girls and not wanting to try on something I liked because they only went up to a size 18. The girls persuaded me to try it on anyway, and it was too big. So I tried on a 16. Too big. I ended up walking out of that shop with a size 14 playsuit - I haven't been a size 14 since I was 14! Only people who were once extremely overweight can truly appreciate the joy of being about to walk into a 'normal' shop and find something to wear. Its literally not something that I can put into words - and I've got a lot of words.

All of these moments were fleeting and seemingly insignificant. I wasn't doing anything special when they happened, I was just going about my business, living my life. But these are the moments that will stick with me, probably forever. These were the times when I felt like I was really getting there, and that maybe - just maybe - I might actually be able to do this. I'm now staring a 5st loss in the face, and most of the time it doesn't seem real. People tell me how well I'm doing, how good I look, and as much as I love them for saying it, I still can't really bring myself to believe it. All I see is the 3+st still to go, and even then it doesn't feel like I'll ever really get there. Its these little moments that make it feel like its really happening, I'm really doing it. And I can guarantee that no bar of chocolate, no glass of wine, no slice of cake or bag of chips or chinese takeaway, will ever taste as good as not recognising my own reflection felt.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

These Are My Confessions...(Surely an Usher title is better than a Rebecca Black title!?)

Ok, so the last few days...not great. There. I said it. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Weight Watchers has gone out of the window, because that is certainly not the case. But it hasn't been the be-all and end-all that it usually is either.

I realise that my rant on Wednesday kind of took the place of a weigh-in update, so for those of you that don't follow me on Twitter of have me on Facebook, I lost 2lbs. This brings me to a grand total of 69.5lb, or 4st 13.5lbs if you're on my side of the pond.

I couldn't quite figure out if I was really pleased to have achieved such a good loss, or really irritated that I couldn't have managed another half a pound to get me to an even 5st loss. I mean, really. Its not like half a pound is even a lot! And my stupid body couldn't even shift it for me. It was all very upsetting.

Anyway, I digress. Weighing in on Wednesday morning = eating on Wednesday day time. A lot.

Well, it probably wasn't really a lot as such, but it felt like a lot because it was much more than I would usually have. Does anybody else have this post weigh-in mentality, or is it just me? Its not that I go completely crazy with the cakes, its just that I know I don't have to get weighed for another week, so really what does it matter if I have a packet of crisps for lunch or if I pick at the leftovers after dinner? Its only one day a week that I let loose a little, its not like its every day....

Ok, I'm rationalising. I know, I'm a very bad fat-fighter. Like I was saying, I probably overdid it a little with the treats on Wednesday. My biggest mistake was that I stopped tracking halfway through the day, which is something I would never normally do. It probably means that the masses of food that my brain seems to think that I ate actually wasn't that bad, but I'll never know because like an idiot I didn't bother to write it down. Ah well, we live and learn.

So yeah, Wednesday. Not great. Yesterday was fine though, and I came in two points under my daily allowance AFTER three bacardi and diet cokes at the pub. Pretty good going, I'd say. Thursday I liked, it was a good day.

Today...not so much. Once again, I stopped tracking. I am a fool to myself. But somehow not writing it down was a hell of a lot more appealing than working out the points for the best part of a packet of Percy Pigs. Mum also dished up Chilli Con Carne for dinner, which on its own probably wouldn't have been too bad. It was the cheese, jacket potato, bread and tortilla chips that did the damage. Woopsie.

(I would just like to take this opportunity to point out that while I may have stuffed my face, there is a bottle of my favourite wine in the fridge downstairs with my name on it that I haven't touched, even though its been calling my name since I walked through the door. There were also two large bars of chocolate that I declined to partake in, and some other chocolate type affair was taking place on the coffee table and I ignored those as well. Admittedly it was because I stuffed myself with carbs at dinner and felt sick as a dog afterwards, but time was I would have eaten the dinner, finished off mums leftovers, polished off the entire bottle of wine AND eaten the majority of the chocolate. This, my friends, is progress.)

Yeah, so there you have it. My confessions. If I say ten Hail Mary's and ten Our Father's do you think the Weight Watchers God will forgive me and allow me into the heaven of having lost 5st this week? I am truly sorry and I have repented and am prepared to not eat for the rest of the week to make up for it. Well, not really, but you take my point.

Seriously though - I 'fessed up and now its out in the open and now I have no choice but to nip it in the bud. I'm determined to be a Weight Watchers angel for the rest of the week and I'm fervently hoping that my bad behaviour won't come back to haunt me on the scales on Wednesday! I will of course let you know if it does!

Night everyone! Have a safe and happy weekend!

Love to you all
Lauren xxx

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Get Angry and Fight Back.

One of my closest friends lost her dad yesterday. He died of a heart attack in his sleep, leaving behind a wife and two children. He will never see his children graduate from university or get married. He'll never meet his grandchildren. My friend (who I won't name out of respect for her and her family at this difficult time) will agree with me when I say that her dad wasn't perfect - nobody is. Sure, he made mistakes. But that doesn't change the fact that he was taken far too soon, without even the chance to say goodbye to those he loved, those who loved him. I can't even begin to fathom what my friend and her family are going through right now, and I hope I don't have to for a long time. I hope she knows that she has people around her that she can lean on. All my love and best wishes go to her and her family. 

...it kind of puts the London Riots in perspective, doesn't it?

I can't imagine that any of you aren't aware of this by now. I'm pretty sure the shame and humiliation that has been inflicted on our great nation over the last few days has been broadcast far and wide across the globe - no matter where you are in the world, you will know that Great Britain is being ravaged by thugs as we speak. Areas across London, Manchester, Birmingham and many more have been affected by this mindless and pointless violence. Some ignorant news channels have persisted in referring to these yobs as 'protesters' - they're not. This is not a protest, not by any stretch of the imagination. The abominations that occurred in November 2010, when students across the country marched to prevent the increase of university fees, was a protest. Even though property was destroyed, people were injured, and chaos reigned across the capital, it was still a protest. Those people had a cause. Their attempts to fight for their cause may have been misguided and ignorant, but at least they had a cause to fight for.

The people ravaging major cities across the United Kingdom this week do not have a cause. This is not a protest. It is an outrage.

What was originally a 'protest' over the death of a (guilty) man at the hands of the Metropolitan Police has now descended into chaos. These people don't care about Mark Duggan's death - in fact, they don't appear to care about anything. Homes and businesses across the country have gone up in flames, every shop from Poundland to Carpet Right has been looted. People have died. And yet chaos continues to reign. Last night Manchester bore the brunt of the violence and destruction, in the days before that it was London. Hundreds of thousands of people's homes and livelihoods have been destroyed by the people running amok. Most of them are reportedly no older than 30.

All number of excuses have been made in the media for the actions of these people. They are the from the poorest areas, living in near-poverty. They feel they have no other option. The truth is that these riots are the result of an entire generation being raised in this now-mockery of a country. We now live in a culture where it is perfectly acceptable to live off of the handouts of the state. There is no incentive for these people to seek to better themselves, because they know that they can live comfortably off of the taxpayers money - they should know, the majority of them have watched their parents do it. There has been many a time, faced with the prospect of tens of thousands of pounds of student debts, when I have wondered why I didn't go down that route. It would have been exceptionally easy for me to get pregnant and get a council flat. So why didn't I do that? Well, a little self-respect. Pride. Ambition. Drive. Work ethic. Discipline. Correct parenting. Why am I not rioting in London this week? The same reasons. All these things I have, all these things are lacking in hundreds of thousands of others around the country. And it is us that have allowed this to happen. Us. Britain. We, as a country, have sat back and allowed the governments of the last generation to repeatedly screw us into the ground. The motto of this country might as well be 'punish the hardworking to benefit the lazy'. We go to work to earn our money so that it can benefit those who sit at home and do nothing. I paid £400 tax this month - a third of my pay cheque. It makes my blood boil to know that the majority of that money went straight into the dole packet of some degenerate scumbag who considers him or herself too good to go out and find a job like the rest of us.

Now that these people know that they can get away with this - and they will get away with it - it will happen again. The respect that used to be felt for our police forces has evaporated, and there is little or no deterrent against these crimes anymore. Human Rights acts and political correctness have prevented the rioters being stopped for the last four nights. Four! The police should have been armed with water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas from the word go. The army should have been enlisted to help. Instead the police were sent out to stand against sometimes hundreds-strong mobs armed with little more than a plastic shield. Many of our military are still posted in the Middle East, fighting in the war against terror. Never has there been a bigger wake-up call to those supposedly running this country. Bring our boys and girls home from Iraq and Afghanistan - the war is no longer abroad. The pathetic attempts at governing a country made over the last decades have resulted in the biggest danger to Britain being just that - the British. It makes me sick that our troops are out in those hellish places, fighting to defend a country that is in this state. Bring them home. Now.

It will take months, perhaps years, to repair the damage inflicted by these riots, and August 2011 will undoubtedly go down in history as the month that anarchy reigned in the UK. We must prevent this from happening again. We, as a generation, must learn the respect and discipline that our parents and grandparents were taught. We need to bring back National Service. We need harsher discipline in schools. We need to stamp out the growing population of people who exist on handouts and restore a sense of pride and work ethic to our people. Anybody found to have been involved in these riots needs to be blacklisted for any future benefits they may have been eligible to receive - if they think they're living in poverty now, lets see how they like it when they no longer have the option of living off of taxpayers money. Anybody found to have stolen goods from the looted shops or vandalised property needs to feel the full force of the law on their shoulders. There must be no exceptions.

I am, and always will be, proud to be British. We are a nation of many exceptional achievements and outstanding individuals. Its a terrible shame that these riots happened, and an even greater shame that they will leave a scar on the face of Britain for years to come.

It must not be allowed to happen again.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Its That Time Of Week Again...

Yes folks, thats right, it is that time of week again. The time of week when I pop on over to say hello and let you know about my latest adventures in the world of Weight Watchers.

So, without further ado.....

-1.5lb

That's right, this week saw a loss of 1.5lb, bringing me to 15st on the nose and only 2lbs away from having lost 5st overall (or 70lbs, for my American compadres). To say I was pleased with this loss is an understatement. I totally lost my head during the week, and I mean completely, and chowed down on numerous packets of crisps and bars of chocolate for no real reason whatsoever. I think it was maybe a combination of the hormones, tiredness and generally just feeling a bit 'bleurgh'. Anyway, it wasn't pretty! I drew a line under it and accepted that chances were it was going to ruin my efforts when it came to the scales this week. I'm extremely glad that I was mistaken! 

Its now only 9 weeks until I jet off to New York City to celebrate my 21st birthday, and I would dearly love to be in the 13s by then! I'm hoping that the prospect of fat holiday photos will be enough to spur me on over the next few weeks and keep me on track during the inevitable tricky first half of September - moving and a birthday?! Its going to be a right mare.

For now my lovelies, I am going to love you and leave you! Its late, and unfortunately I have to get up and go to work tomorrow morning after two lovely days off (more about that another time). I hope everyone is having a fantastic week so far, and good luck to any body weighing in over the next couple of days! Just remember - if I can do this, then anyone can.

Love to you all
Lauren xxx