Category Archives: Slim & Tonic

The Scarf

So you know when you were younger, and you perhaps had some kind of comfort blanket or a soft toy of some kind that you carried around everywhere with you, and if it went missing even for the shortest period of time, it felt like the end of the world was near? Then you got older and you didn’t need your comforter anymore, you went to school without it, it probably fell down the side of your bed or got put in the attic only to be looked upon fondly when rediscovered in years to come…

Well let me tell you about the scarf. ‘The Scarf’ used to be my comfort blanket, however I was 25 not 2. I’d wear it with every outfit, it changed in colour and pattern but the idea was the same. I was embarrassed by my rolls (though not quite embarrassed enough to do something about it for a long while), I thought wearing the scarf would somehow hide my weight gain, I wore it in the winter, in the summer, I even wore it out to clubs and occasions (whilst looking pretty ridiculous). It became a staple part of my daily routine, teamed with baggy jumpers and stretchy leggings.


But recently something magical has happened, the scarf is no longer a necessary daily comforter, but instead an occasional accessory. For the last few weeks, I’ve perhaps worn it a handful of times only; a recent trip to Prague saw me… scarfless. Crazy. A turning point in my weight loss journey, I am no longer embarrassed (ok, ok there’s bad and good days but 90% of the time) to be seen without it. I walk out my bedroom door in the morning and leave it hanging on the side hooks, somedays when it does actually compliment my outfit, or the wind is a bit nippy I fondly slide it round my neck, but it’s no longer a necessity. Win.

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Weight Loss & Loneliness…

So I’ve been on this journey now for around 2 years, though I guess in reality it has been most of my life, years of back and forth between being somewhat healthy and absolutely not at all. Losing weight, getting fit and healthy is an exciting change but also a lonely time, infact I’ve never really truly felt loneliness quite like it. To really want to change yourself requires dedication, it requires compromise and time; not just to exercise but to plan and prep your food, to educate yourself and to rally motivation by yourself, for yourself. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s not easy, there is no magic fix, you have to want it and then do it.

Now what I wasn’t prepared for is the consequences of weight loss; ok that sounds silly, like yes I knew my bank account would take a hit with gym fees, workout wear and new clothes to fit my shrinking self, I expected people to notice and give me compliments (I’m getting better at receiving them, though I still cringe a little inside), what I mean is… skin. Lordy there is so much spare skin. Gross. Stretching your body over time, has an effect, the elasticity your skin has wears over time, it doesn’t just snap back as you’d like or maybe think it would. I dreamed of wearing a bikini on holiday or a dress with no sleeves to a friend’s wedding, embracing summer finally and showing off my ‘new’ figure. But when I look at myself, I know that won’t happen just yet. It’s a cruel world when you work so hard for something and it finds another way to spite you. I want to be happy with how I look, I want to feel proud that I’ve turned it all around, I want to feel normal and not like the ‘fat friend’ but it’s a struggle… one I know I’ll overcome eventually (once I’ve saved for the surgery haha).

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Before…

So ok, this blog is meant to be about weight loss only but I feel maybe this will resonate with a few people so here goes. It’s a weird time in my life in general, most of my friends, I guess what you’d traditionally call your ‘support system’ have their own lives, they have partners (or husbands), their own homes, careers and perhaps even children, they don’t live in the city but the suburbs, a night out requires weeks of advance planning not just a shall we go for one drink job. We speak most days (ok ok we send a lot of memes via whatsapp), we catch-up when we can, but naturally this is all very high level conversation, in that we discuss what’s current, who’s doing what and life in sweeping motions.

Moving from London back to Birmingham was a culture shock, gone were the after work drinks, the weekly pub quizzes and the 4am nightbus home, in fact most weeknight’s without the luxury of the last tube were pretty boring. It’s a different way of life here, one where people want to get back to their homes, their families and children, and mid-week drinking isn’t the done thing. This has without a doubt aided my fat to fit progression, but it’s been tough to really come to terms with. Not one to sit around I have made sure I am intensely busy; I run a social action project helping the homeless, I volunteer my marketing expertise outside of the office, I play netball, I run, I work out, I have a full diary of activities, when it’s the football season I go to every game but being busy I’ve figured out doesn’t actually make you feel any less lonely.

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Present

Like how do you even make new friends at 26. I had these visions in my head, like I’ll join a gym in town, and go to zumba, one day they’ll be a girl similar age and I’ll go ‘hey, nice leggings’ or something equally harmless and suddenly we’d be grabbing a coffee after our class and ‘alright, yeah you’re normal, let’s be friends’. In reality a stranger talking to strangers is viewed as a bit creepy, we’re all guilty of it, we want to be left alone, someone speaks to us on the train or the bus and we’re wondering when to put our headphones in.

What I’m learning from my 20s is that I can have all the confidence in the world with my passion, career, myself, and it can still be immensely lonely. I think it is an internal conflict of sorts as I’m pretty sure most people who know me would think I’m very happy, I always smile, I tell a lot of jokes, I’ve always been confident – first one on the dancefloor, last one off it kinda gal. By my late 20s I imagined I’d be happy with myself, have a career I’m proud of (this bit is fine fyi it’s not all doom and gloom), be settled not just in geographical terms but in love and in life. Being as I’m now in my mid 20s I’ve a lot of groundwork to do to catch up and sometimes it can feel like you’re making all the progress in the world but getting nowhere at the same time.

Now that was all very melancholy stuff, but I think it’s quite important to have a grasp of reality, that you know maybe these haven’t been the best years of my life, but instead a transition period. It’s ok to admit you’re lonely and to talk about it, openly; in a world where we are all constantly interconnected it can be quite overwhelming to have an honest face to face conversation with someone about something you’re struggling with, I’ve not managed that yet. But like I said right at the start, it’s a journey, I might not know where I’m going but I’m sure I’ll get there, because one thing I have learnt these past couple of years is believing in yourself is the foundation for happiness.

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Starting over…

Ok hands up… I lost my way a little. In a summer of weddings, celebrations, travel, new babies and new friends, my food choices got richer while I got poorer. I drank Raspberitas (and ate my entire body weight twice) by the pool in LA, piled my plate high with cheese and meat in Tuscany and ate far too many baguettes in Lyon… and it was fantastic.

However I didn’t feel fantastic come the 1st September, I felt tired and bloated. So I’ve signed myself up for a 6 Week Body Transformation… the nutritional plan is strict (there’s no room for Gin), and the workouts leave you wobbling all the way home, but 1 week & 9lbs down and I’m almost back to my pre-summer weight. I feel more energetic, my jeans are looser and most of all I’m enjoying it…

To Be Continued.

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Great Birmingham Run 2016

Wow sorry guys, sometimes life just gets on top.

Let me bring you up to speed. Since losing weight I’ve been naturally feeling a bit healthier, but looks can be deceiving, some of my friends are slim and slender and can’t walk up the stairs without breaking a sweat. I want to be fit. Not in ‘damn girl’ kind of way (though compliments are always appreciated) but in a ‘damn  I feel good’ sense.

I’ve been therefore working on building my fitness, cutting my body fat percentage and generally getting stronger and leaner. I’ve been spending a lot less time on cardio and more time in the weights section. It might look scary, it might be full of pumped up guys, maybe the mirrors freak you out a little but my gosh is it worth it. I’ve decided not to look at the scales for a while… so I can’t really tell give you an update on that. I’ve been concentrating on how I feel and how I look, rather than those little numbers followed by the kg/llb sign. If you want some ideas for workouts try these guys…

Emily Skye – https://www.emilyskye.com/ (her workouts can be found on her facebook/twitter/insta streams)

Clean Eating Alice – https://www.instagram.com/clean_eating_alice (super easy to follow workouts)

Rob & Ben @ TEG – https://traineatgain.com/ (look at the free stuff and then put together your own workout)

I signed up to the Great Birmingham Run back in January – as I needed a challenge. It came round really quickly… before the race (10k in total) – the furthest I’d ran was 6k. I’d been using an app on my phone from Zen Labs – Couch to 10k (http://www.zenlabsfitness.com/) but being the busy person I am, I’d been forgetting to track everything. Still it was a good marker.

Mostly I spent my time doing interval training – 1 min run 1 min walk, 90 seconds run, 1 min walk, 90 seconds run, 30 seconds walk etc. Some days I’d get carried away – I mostly blame Kano for that (I mean you can’t slow down when New Banger drops), and run further and harder, but never really beyond 5/6k.

Sunday just gone was race day, I was nervous, I felt a bit sick, could I do it? Could I run that far? What if I needed to stop? The first 5 minutes were the hardest by far, there’s a lot of people running at the same time, it’s tricky to pace yourself into your own race. However soon I was at 3k and it was going just fine. I managed 5k in 43 mins – fairly happy with that. 6k came and went, then oh my life, the hills, 2k of uphill running. The biggest incline I’d previously run at was 2.5% on the treadmill… I was unprepared, but I couldn’t stop now. Luckily I had a solid playlist, also huge thanks to the nice runners who patted me on the back and told me to keep going. The thing is with races/runs/events like this, part of your effort is adrenaline, the combined effort of the entire participant pack as a whole really does drive you further. Oh and when people have signs like ‘Pain now, Prosecco later’, yeah that helps.

I finished the race in 1hr 43 mins officially (I stopped at 4k for a toilet break – though I kept jogging on the spot in the queue out of fear my legs would seize up haha) so my iPod reckons I did it in 1hr 34mins. Is that good? It’s flipping fantastic for me. I’ve never run that far before in my life. I didn’t stop. I won my own race. So yes my personal best is pretty high in comparison to others, but I’m already looking forward to the next one, and shaving some time off.

Unfortunately my gym is shut for refurbishment today… guess I’ll have a little break till tomorrow, when the journey to fitness continues. Until next time…

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Kerry – x

 

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Lent.

Don’t panic… I’m not about to get all Biblical on you, holy than thou style… trust me I’m no saint and would never dream of enforcing my faith upon others (in fact I bet many of you had no idea I was even the slightest bit religious). However I was raised a Christian and I’ve always enjoyed the Lenten period, as a time of community, sharing and reflection.

No matter where I’ve been in my adult life I’ve always continued to embrace lent, although over that time my outlook on Lent has somewhat changed. As a child it meant self-sacrifice only, giving up crisps or chocolate (only to gorge on egg after egg come Easter), and not truly appreciating why, following in the footsteps of my parents as many children do. Now as an Adult it means so much more, it’s a time to let go of any grudges I’m harbouring, any emotional barriers I’ve been fearful to break, a time to reflect and make peace. A time when I think about the lives of others in comparison to my own and how I can ease the suffering of those within my community. Giving something up is great, but taking action is even better.

So yes I will be giving something up this year – meat and coffee. Two things I enjoy and rely on too much. It’ll be a challenge for sure but one I’m sadly excited to get started on. But I’ll also be taking action by carrying out 40 Good Deeds… one a day for the traditional Lenten Period, they may not be overtly grand gestures but they will help to raise a smile for someone, somewhere.

I apologise this post is slightly different to my usual but I needed somewhere to gather my thoughts… on the plus side for you guys, I’m going to try as many recipes as possible during my time as a Veggie… so eyes peeled for some new ideas. I’m intrigued how the no coffee will affect my weight loss goals, hopefully no withdrawal headaches… eeep.

Until next time… Kerry xo

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Happy New Year…

Ok so I’m borderline (definitely) a little too late for a Happy New Year post but let’s roll with it.

I went to the gym on December 28th… I’d put on a 1lb over Christmas. Wonderful. Surprising but wonderful. I went to the gym on January 5th… 6 more lbs. Not so great. But as I mentioned before Christmas, life would be very boring if you didn’t let yourself indulge every now and again (plus cheese taste far too good to avoid).

I had a few occasions in January (I’m not one of those Dry January/let’s stay in and snuggle kind of gals)… we drank, we ate, but we danced too… I didn’t gain or lose any more lbs. The gym warned them off. But I was a little nervous about my upcoming trip to Dubai. I want to look glamourous… not bloaty. So I decided to do the Clean 9 again. Not only is it a great cleanse, with the added bonus of weight loss, but it really gives you a glow.

I’ll do another post when I have a little more time about my second experience of the Clean 9. But in summary I started 61 pounds down and finished 73 pounds down. I have more energy, my skin is glowing and having previewed a new shirt dress to the office yesterday my confidence has been boosted.

Did you know 73 pounds is the same as 44 bottles of wine? Well now you do… (I use ilostwhat.com for all comparisons – fabulous little site).

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Kerry xox

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5lbs.

It’s Christmas… there’s a party to go to every night, a glass of wine to share with friends every lunchtime and there’s boards and boards of cheese just waiting to be devoured. Trying to shift these last 5lbs towards my 70lbs by Christmas goal is pretty damn  hard. I’ve mostly resisted the temptations so far; I’ve let my Niece open my advent calendar, I’ve offered to drive to avoid the booze, and I’m definitely counting battling through the bullring in the pursuit of those elusive final gifts as extra exercise.

The good news is even though the scales don’t seem to be budging at the moment, I’m noticing some changes in my body itself. It’s shapelier (is that a word?) than before, my waist is more defined, and my legs are less tree trunky than before. I’m still going to the gym, making the most of my PT sessions, and it seems to be paying off. Almost time for another new pair of jeans I think.

Most pleasing is the fact I can finally do my jacket up, rather than having it open.

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Enjoy yourself this Christmas… a life where you’re 100% good all of the time, would be awfully boring after all. See you all in January xox

 

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Jeans.

Last week I indulged in something well out of my comfort zone… I went shopping for (and bought) a pair of jeans. No big deal right? Wrong I can’t really remember the last time I owned a pair, I’m a legging kind of girl (not the see-through-shouldn’t-be-trousers style), I like big baggy jumpers, and blouses which skim my knees, in the summer it’s tunics and long vest style ‘dresses’. However since losing weight (nearly 60 pounds now) my leggings haven’t been fitting too well, they gape at the back and my knees are kinda droopy, I’m short so they usually reach past my boobs anyway, but recently I’ve been keeping them up by tucking them in my bra… sexy right?

I didn’t want to spend lots as well hopefully they won’t be lasting too long, so I went to Dorothy Perkins, they were having a 20% off everything day, and I wanted a new coat (still not found the one).  I bought the ‘Petite Darcy Authentic Skinny‘ (who knew jeans had such long names) – usually £24.00 but £19.20 with the discount. They say ‘super skinny’ but they’re nice and stretchy, I can sit down without having my circulation cut off, and the colour goes well with everything really.

Maybe not a big deal to many people but it’s so nice to wearing jeans again and more importantly feeling comfortable in them. I rang my Dad to share my ‘big news’ and he basically screamed down the phone so yeah it’s a big deal to me. The next step is finding ‘jean tops’ aka not over-sized blouses/shirts so I can show off my new demin coated legs.. aha.

New Jeans - Slim & Tonic Blog

Kerry — x

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60 Pounds Down.

I have a jaw people…. this is not a false alarm, who knew under those cushioned layers of flab I had an actual jaw. Ok so when I laugh… like proper belly laugh (which I do a lot because I’m hilarious) my jaw goes into hiding once more, but I know it’s there now at least…

60 pounds down - Slim & Tonic Blog

I’m feeling good, like real good. People say nice things to me and I feel warm inside, I think it’s known as pride? 60 pounds off… that’s like over 4st. Crazy.

So tonight I have a PT session and we’re going to do this thing whereby I pick up an extra 27kg of weight, and remind myself just how draining it was carrying that around daily. That’s when it really hits home for me. I always think when you lose weight that you don’t notice it in yourself as much, well not until you start putting old photos together and see the difference, so it’s nice in a way to be able to feel the difference.

The only way is down….

Kerry — x

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Quick Circuit Workout At Home

So I realise not everyone might be able to afford a PT or want to join a gym – that’s cool. Here’s a super quick routine you can complete at home (or in the park is fun – just make sure there’s steps). I adapted it myself, from some of my preferred exercises*. It’s not too intense, just a good 30 minutes of exercise to get your heart rate up a little, make it sweat baby. Where possible I’ve added a YouTube link for you to see the exercise in action – YouTube is wonderful by the way – personally a big fan of Emily Skye (thanks to my cousin).

Warm-up 5 minutes.

Run up the stairs as quick as you can and walk down at a steady pace x 30 seconds.

Burpees (go for whichever style you feel most comfortable with – I do intermediate) – use the bottom step to support yourself if you need x 30 seconds.

30 seconds rest.

Repeat 3 times.

Rest for a minute.

Phase 1 Circuit 10 minutes:

Step-ups 1st step (step up onto the first step with your leading foot, then the other so both feet are on the step, then step down with one foot then the other so both feet are on the bottom of the stairs) x 30 seconds

Press-ups – (if you can’t do full leg extension, then cross your legs, and press from your knees, suck your stomach in so it’s tight) x 30 seconds

Step-ups 2nd step (same as above but reach your leg up to the second step – steady yourself into a pace which is manageable) x 30 seconds

Plank – Rest on your forearms, in a planking position. Hold it for 30 seconds. Keep your bum down, don’t bend your knees.

30 seconds rest

Repeat 4 times

Rest for minute.

Phase 2 Circuit 10 minutes

Russian Twists
x 30 seconds

Grab a 2lt bottle of pop or a dumbbell if you have one, sit down on the floor – middle of the lounge is fine, make sure your feet are on the ground to begin, slightly spread legs – the V position, lean back, raise your feet off the ground, until you feel the pull in your stomach, suck it in. Holding your chosen prop to you chest twist your torso side to side, touch the floor space with your bottle of dumbbell. Don’t let your feet touch the ground.

Lower Leg Raises
x 10 full raises

Lie on your back, extend your arms above your head (this is personal preference you can have them alongside your body) and stretch your legs out – raise your legs to the ceiling, try not bend your knees during, keep your legs together, slowly lower them back towards the floor – much harder than it sounds, you’ll definitely feel it in your core.

Mountain Climbers
x 30 seconds

Flip over onto your front, get into a press up position, raise your knee towards your chest – one leg at a time.

Squats 
x 20 full squats

Get into squat position (watch the video – you want to make sure you’re doing it right) – go as low as you can – squeeze yourself into your heels – it’ll make more sense once you give it a try. No rush on this one, concentrate on getting the squat right.

30 Seconds Rest.

Repeat 4 times.

Rest for 1 minute.

Stretch – 3-5 minutes

I do something very similar to this – ‘How to stretch’

Enjoy.

*I am not a personal trainer, I do not have a degree in sports science, I just want to look better and feel good – I cannot promise lbs in weight loss or muscle mass increases nor would I want to. But feel free to give it a go, in my opinion it works.

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