Hangover Free Half-Term!

Hangover Free Half-Term!

IMG_8398.JPG

 

So half-term is almost over, and it has been an action packed one for me and my family!

A while ago I shared a post titled A Sliding Doors Weekend…..which basically was about life being so different for me after kicking the booze.  And this half term has certainly been a “sliding doors” kind of week!

We started the half term at the beautiful Whinfell Center Parcs in the Lake District.  I think holidays are a time when I definitely see a big difference in myself now that I am sober.  We try to visit Center Parcs every year since we’ve had children, it’s just somewhere that we all love.  Now the only time that I haven’t drunk on a Center Parcs holiday was when I was pregnant with my second daughter.

So for me normally it’s  typical “holiday” mode drinking!  Starting as soon as I get there to “start” the holiday off with wine at lunch, then a few beers in the pool, followed by wine whilst getting ready at the lodge and into the evening whether we are going in or out for tea.  Needless to say I have had some horrendous hangovers whist I have been there, and normally would be counting down to a decent hour that I could have a drink to feel better.

The last two times I have been I have been sober and  I have definitely noticed the difference.  Take away the alcohol and you really get a feel for what Center Parcs is all about!  I have had a weekend of feeling full of energy, we did so much more and seemed to pack our days full.  I woke up every morning feeling raring to go, compared to how I used to sit trying to stomach breakfast, watching people run past on an early morning run and just not getting how people did that???? And now, that WAS me, early morning runs and feeling fresh after a fab nights sleep after falling into bed physically, exhausted.  And when we came home I felt recharged, still tired after a full on weekend, but a weekend full of life not full of wine!

For the rest of the week we have been on bike rides, baking, pumpkin carving (obviously!), had dvd nights with home-made popcorn, been to Liverpool for a shopping trip, plus I had a girls night out on Friday.

Before I stopped drinking I still loved the time spent with my girls but drinking would slowly creep in, taking my focus away from them.  For example I would want to get them to bed so I could ‘chillout’ and have a bottle of wine, I wouldn’t have the patience to sit through a dvd or make popcorn.   I would make the most of not having to get up for the school run and drink every night, leaving me feeling totally rubbish the next day.  We still did things together and went to places but my hangover anxiety would creep in and we wouldn’t venture very far!

On top of the drinking I would eat rubbish ALL week and just forget any ideas of exercise.  Now this week yes I have had some lovely treat food (Café rouge thankyou for the best donuts with dark chocolate dipping sauce EVER!) and I have purposely had some rest days to give my body a chance to recharge, but I have also been active on walks, bike rides etc to balance it out.

People think that by stopping drinking that you are giving something up and missing out.  Personally I feel (and I hope I am showing) that this isn’t the case at all!  My life and especially holidays and times together with the family, have become even richer and fulfilled.  I am getting more out of our time together (and with my eldest being a tween I am not sure how many more holidays she will want to spend with me!).

The thought of sober holidays can make you feel anxious and worried.  Holidays are a time when we just know we will be drinking more, after all we ‘deserve’ it don’t we???  On average we drink three times more than normal when we are on holiday!  That’s the norm, its just what we do isn’t it?

But ask yourself – was your last holiday a time that you recharged your batteries, looked after yourself, tried something new?  Or was it just like all the other holidays, eating and drinking to excess, coming home in need of a holiday?

It’s also about what happens after the time off, when life returns back to normal and school and work resume.  For me that used to be the worst!  The horrendous anxiety and fear that I was going  back to some sort of structure and early mornings again.  Feeling drained but trying to plan to exercise and lose the weight I had gained over the week, attempting to detox my body.  On top of that I am not one of these parents who look forward to the kids going back to school, (there is nothing at all wrong with being like that) it’s just that as I work from home it all goes very quiet when they go back and I miss having them around.  So true to form I would be drinking wine as a last chance to make myself feel better!

So yes,  I may feel a little sad that normality resumes tomorrow, but I am also feeling positive and refreshed ready to face the week ahead.  We have had a fab week and made some amazing memories for my little family, and I am now ready for the hectic countdown to Christmas!

Have you got a holiday coming up? Or have you just had your first sober half term if you’re doing sober October, how did it go? Any sober survival tactics that you can share?

Wishing you all a fabulous hangover free week ahead!

Angie xx

Focus On Your Weights At The Gym Going Up, Not Your Weight Going Down.

Focus On Your Weights At The Gym Going Up, Not Your Weight Going Down.

IMG_7789.JPG

Ok so where do I begin…….. let me try to cut a long story short (well as short as possible!)

So from the age of about fourteen I have weighed myself approximately three times every week (minimum), more often than not on a daily basis.  My weight in that time has fluctuated from 9 stone to 12-13stone,  this isn’t including my weight when I was  pregnant with my girls. I sort of went off the scales then (literally!) but I was busy growing my babies, so nothing else mattered!  I am sure I am not alone in saying that I have had a very unhealthy relationship with weighing scales, they can determine my  whole mood, diet, energy and plans for the day ahead in a heartbeat – yes they really have that power over me or should I say they  HAD that power over me!

When I gave up alcohol, I knew that I could potentially turn to food and that could be my new addiction,  food could fill the gap alcohol had left behind.  This is why I had to consciously focus on exercise and trying to get in my best possible shape, so that if I was indulging in treat foods at least I was burning some of them off too.  In a previous post I explain how exercise is possibly my new addiction but at least its a healthy one. Exercise – A Healthy Addiction!

It’s only recently that I have had to try to get out of the really bad habit of weighing myself regularly, and I have got to be honest I have  struggled.  My main issue has been my weight gain from lifting heavier weights, and even though my clothes size has gone down I just feel frustrated because the number on the scale has gone up.   It’s crazy I know but I am sure that I’m not the only one who feels like this?

So the said scales are currently locked away in the shed and I am trying to stay body positive, which some days is harder than others.  I am just trying to focus on how I feel – I am lifting heavier weights than I have ever done, I have more energy, I am eating good, healthy, regular meals and snacks with not so healthy treats occasionally too.  A healthy,  balanced, realisitc diet.  A tiny little square that I step on every morning cannot measure how I feel, and although it’s work in progress I definitely feel like I am getting there.

Earlier this week I was chatting with a friend at the gym and she was telling me that she doesn’t weigh herself and instead uses a pair of jeans as a guide!  It felt like a light bulb moment for me, and I promised myself to do exactly the same.  It feels so liberating and scary!  It’s crazy how I could put own the wine glass pretty easily yet struggle with my battle with the scales.  I suppose somethings are easier to give up than others.

An article from The Insider (March 2018) gives 5 reasons why you should stop weighing yourself NOW!

  • It can distract from body cues – the number becomes so important that you ignore important body signals such as exhaustion and stress.
  • It can create mental obstacles – for example it can determine your mood and diet for the rest of the day even effecting your social life in some cases.
  • It can go hand in hand with or encourage eating disorders as the number on the scale becomes priority over everything else.
  • Standard scales don’t indicate your body composition, so they can’t tell you the distribution of fat and lean mass on your body.  This is why someone with a lot of muscle can look slimmer than someone with a higher fat composition, even if they both weigh the same amount.  If you only focus on the number, you could be stopping yourself from building muscle that will ultimately make you appear leaner.
  • And finally, the number on the scale is a poor indicator of your overall health!

So now my focus is watching the weights I’m lifting going up instead of obsessing about the number on the scale going down.  Who’s with me??  After all how can we measure our awesomeness on a set of scales!  I am stronger now than I have ever been and although my scales have been saying I am around 10lbs up from what I was at the beginning of the year, I am also fitting into a size 8 pair of jeans (that has NEVER happened) – I just need to get my head around it, and I am……..  slowly…..its work in progress!

I apologise that this post isn’t really about quitting the booze.  However it is something I have wanted to discuss, and I feel I have taken ownership of it now that I have shared it with you all.  And if its helps someone else in the process then that’s even better!

To anyone who is Going Sober for October, you are nearly a week into it and that’s amazing!  Make sure you have lots of alcohol free drinks stocked in the fridge (and chocolate!)  and that you spend the weekend nurturing yourself and taking time to chill – you are SMASHING it!

I will finish with a quote I saw recently (unknown):-

Your best weight is whatever weight you reach, when you’re living the healthiest life you actually enjoy living!

Well,  I will raise a Becks Blue to that!

For further tips and sober support please follow me on Instagram  @liftingweightsnotwine

I hope you have a happy, healthy weekend.

Angie xx

My Girls – My Wake Up Call!

My Girls – My Wake Up Call!

IMG_3849

Here are three photos, the two on the left were taken a few years ago, the one on the right was in December 2017.  In all three photos I am smiling and happy, of course I am I’ve got the arms of my children around me!  Anyone who knows me knows that my girls are my world and for those who don’t know me, I am hoping you’ve picked that up from my blog and Instagram! Like most of us out there I have always tried to be a good mum, I have tried my best to do the right thing for my girls and that has always been the same, if I was drinking or not.  But there are a lot of ways that I now feel like I am giving my girls the best version of me and the best mum that I can be!

A lot of alcohol free experts state that if you are trying to give up alcohol for someone else then you won’t succeed, and  I’m not sure I fully agree with that?  I know for a fact that my girls are my motivation to stop drinking.  I want to be the best mum that I can be for them, I want to feel good all of the time,be healthy and full of energy for them, especially at the weekends when we have time to spend together.

The main thing for me is that they have my full attention whan they want it, well most of the time anyway!  We’ve all been there, a few glasses of wine down on a Friday evening and your ready to relax, your maybe trying to get the children to bed earlier or rushing their bedtime story to get down stairs to your next glass.   This doesn’t make you a bad parent it just means that you associate your down time and relaxation with a glass of wine, and that is easier to do when the kids are in bed.

It’s exactly the same when friends used to come around, I felt as though I would just go into wine world and leave the kids to it watching a dvd or playing.  This didn’t make me a bad mum,  it’s just that after 2-3 glasses the next glass became my priority.

My eldest, who was ten when I stopped drinking had definitely started to notice these times, when my attention was focused on the wine.  There are a few occasions that I will never forget and I honestly still feel bad about, when she said I hadn’t tucked her into bed properly or on a camping trip when she had been trying to get to sleep and I was cackling away taking rubbish outside of the tent! OMG cringe!  It was these times, that thankfully were few and far between, that I felt so so bad because I had upset her without realising it at the time.  She was growing up and starting to take notice, and I was noticing that she was noticing!  This definitely made me want to change.

Now I feel fully present for my kids, I am trying to give them the best version of me. We all know that being a parent is bloody hard work, sober or drinking but I definitely find that quitting the booze has helped me a lot.

I feel calmer, with no hangovers or feeling desperate to get a wine down me in the evenings at the weekends, I feel more chilled and patient with them (not all the time obviously!) I have energy to keep up with them and do what they want to do, most importantly I feel on their level of excitement, so for example at Christmas, Birthdays, or holidays, anything really that they are excited about, I am on that level with them.  Children don’t need alcohol to have a good time, they are genuinely excited about what they are doing not where the next drink is coming from.  The beauty of being sober is that I can now relate to that, I am with them on that level of pure joy and excitement for whats ahead!

I read a post on Instagram last week from a sober site that said sober parents are giving their children another option in life, and that is so true.  My girls can see that you don’t have to drink, there is an option to go out, have a life, celebrate Christmas, Birthdays etc and be sober.

So if you have got children just think they may be taking in more than you realise with regards to your drinking patterns, and if you change how you are after a few drinks they will possibly pick up on that.  Both my girls have told me that they prefer me not drinking, they say I am more “mummy like”  at the weekends!  And although I wont be turning into Mary Poppins anytime soon, I am so happy I have made the change when I did, whilst they are still young enough to want the more “mummy like” me tucking them in every night and not rushing downstairs for her next glass of wine!

Angie xx

 

 

The 80/20 Rule Works For Me!

The 80/20 Rule Works For Me!

IMG_3677

Last week I posted –  Eat like you love yourself…..and following on from that I’ve had  a couple of emails asking what foods I incorporate into my daily diet.  The main thing that works for me is the 80/20 Rule, where I eat clean and healthy most of the time but I don’t restrict myself, I keep it flexible and listen try to listen to my body.

As you all know I am not a qualified nutritionist or dietician but I certainly know what works for me.  In my previous post I explained how I have done a million diets in the past (which haven’t worked, no surprise there!) and now I have finally found a way of eating that works for me.

I try to stay as flexible as possible with my meals, and not get too obsessed with what I should and shouldn’t eat.  I definitely have an addictive personality, which I’m sure some of you reading this do too if alcohols a problem for you, so that’s why I try to stay flexible and not too strict.  I don’t count calories, I don’t restrict food groups and I have  never counted macros (I don’t even know what a macro actually is!)

So here’s just a general breakdown of my meals and what I eat in a normal week, as I said previously I’m not an expert and this is not an eating plan for people to follow but if you can pick up a couple of healthy alternatives from it then that’s a good thing!

Breakfast is normally a protein smoothie, made with frozen berries, protein powder, chia seeds and wheatgrass powder.  Or alternatively I will have protein porridge with all the same ingredients as the smoothie mixed into my porridge.  To be honest breakfast is all about speed and getting out of the door with the kids, washed, dressed with any extra school bags, musical instruments or tennis racquets they need that day!

For lunch I will make an omelette or sweet potato with tuna salad or I will make an open egg or tuna salad sandwich on rye bread with avocado.  Again what I have depends on how busy my day is, sometimes its left over tea from the night before!

For evening meals I always have what I make for the rest of the family (unless its pasta which I hate!)  There are two reasons why, one is that its easier and secondly I have two young girls who have a healthy attitude to food and are body confident (so far!).  I never want to make food an issue for them, I never want them to have food or body issues like I used to have.  So I will make a chilli, chicken stir fry, roast chicken – just a healthy as possible version of a family meal really. I cook a lot in my slower cooker too so its just less stress at a busy tea time!

I snack (a lot) on fruit, nuts, peanut butter on oatcakes, greek yoghurt and frozen berries, dark chocolate. I try to stay away from crisps or biscuits which I used to eat daily and once I start on those I can’t stop.  I’ve found by eating more regularly and staying full on healthy stuff,  it keeps me away from unhealthy snacking, that’s the plan anyway!

Fluid wise I make sure I drink at least two litres of water a day, I’m trying to get back into my green tea but at the moment my coffee addiction is getting in the way!

Weekends are much more flexible and we nearly always have a takeaway on a Saturday night, followed by treats and then most Sundays I do a big roast and a pudding.  What’s good is that I don’t feel guilty for eating the unhealthy stuff  because I know that most of the time I’m eating clean.

Quitting the booze has obviously also been a huge factor for me!  I mean just think of the extra calories you can save by not drinking! I would always skip the pudding for an extra glass of red, then probably come home and raid the biscuit tin anyway!  Not drinking means that I don’t have the weekend long food and drink binges and i am no longer repeating the “Sod it, i will start Monday!” scenario.

Most importantly, not drinking will enable your liver to work at its best.  An article in Women’s Health Magazine stated that excess alcohol can turn to fat in your liver and can raise the amount of fat in your blood, so its more likely to be stored in your body as fat.  And don’t forget after a couple of glasses of wine, all your good diet intentions go out of the window and who wants to do that morning workout with a raging hangover! So you can see how reducing your alcohol intake, or cutting out alcohol completely if that’s easier to do (for me it was) can help if you’re trying to lose weight.

Writing this has made me realise how much of a foodie I actually am now compared to when I was drinking! Just think of all those puddings I have missed out on for another glass of the same old red wine! Tragic!!!!!

Any questions or tips, then please comment or email me direct and  please find me on Instagram if you haven’t all ready, @liftingweightsnotwine

Angie

ps – oh and the meal pics above are taken when I was on holiday last month (my meals at home are normally just thrown on a plate!)  Lots of lovely fresh, healthy,delicious food, plus two puddings a day! (I put the token fruit with the puddings to make me feel better!!! 😉 )

 

 

 

 

Alcohol Free Drinks, Yes Or No?

Alcohol Free Drinks, Yes Or No?

At the start of my sober journey, my go-to drink was Becks Blue, I had to have a good stock in the fridge for the weekend ahead knowing it would stop any cravings or I would feel anxious and stressed if I didn’t have any in. The strange thing is I didn’t really drink a lot of lager when I was drinking alcohol, it was mainly wine or gin & tonic.

When I read Jason Vales book – Kick The Drink, he advises not to drink alcohol free drinks as they may trigger you to want the real thing. It’s probably the only piece of his advice that I don’t agree with, because for me the Becks Blue definitely helped, but I suppose different things work for different people.

As the months have passed, I haven’t needed the Becks Blue as much and I’m quite happy with a Diet Coke of sparkling water, but it always has to be in a wine glass though! I think a wine glass gives me the feeling of it being the weekend or a special occasion.

Last week I read a brilliant article in my husbands Mens Health Magazine, titled How To Party Like You Were Born In 1999. It’s basically saying how the younger generation drink a lot less now and that a quarter of adults under 25 are now tee total. Which is fab news! It goes on to say how young people are visiting dry bars where no alcohol is served and they are spending sober nights at dance exercise nights such as Ministry Does Fitness. It’s focusing on a healthy lifestyle and alternatives to getting leathered in your local pub, which is all really positive.

It also focuses on alcohol free drinks, and it’s this article that led me to DryDrinker.com. They have 100’s of non-alcoholic beverages on their site and I purchased a few for this Bank Holiday Weekend. We have two parties to go to and it’s just nice to take something along that looks more sophisticated than a bottle of Diet Coke.

I know in a lot of shops you struggle to find an alcohol free section, it’s normally a few bottles crammed on the bottom shelf! (Although I’ve found Booths have started stocking more). So it’s nice to have a wide selection so you can choose something for a special occasion, or just to treat yourself.

The article also stated that – just four cups of coffee a day can offset liver damage from alcohol by 80%, by reducing the build up of scar tissue. Now this is good news for me because I would say coffee is definitely my new drink of choice that I will not be giving up anytime soon!

So basically I would say if alcohol free drinks work for you and stops you picking up the booze then stick with it, and maybe look out for other alcohol free drinks to keep you on track. The link for DryDrinker.com is below.

I hope you all have some sunshine wherever you are, because it’s lovely here and that doesn’t happen very often!

If you have any tips or advice on alcohol free drinks or what’s helped you then please comment below!

Angie xx

https://drydrinker.com

Eat like you love yourself…..

Eat like you love yourself…..

IMG_3523 (1)

I’m guessing that if your reading my blog that you are looking at ways to be healthier, either by exercising more, stopping or cutting down on drinking, improving your diet or just looking for a little positivity and motivation!

If you are anything like me,  you will have tried a million different diets to lose weight, and probably you’ve also realised that diets don’t work! (its taken me until my 40’s to accept this!)  I have tried the Atkins Diet, Weight Watchers, Carbs Only Diet, No sugar Diet, and then the crazy starvation diets.  In the past I would just eat very little before a holiday or special event and then just binge, gaining what I had lost and more. Constantly yo-yo ing up and down, and repeating that pattern year after year, from seventeen to my early forties, how crazy is that!

Its only up until recently that I have got off the crazy diet rollercoaster and It definitely ties in with me stopping drinking.  Initially when you stop you do get sugar cravings and to be honest it was Christmas time when I gave up and  I just let myself  have all the sweet treats out there, and lots of luxury hot chocolates too (you know with a Cadbury’s flake and sprinkles!) Then after a few weeks the sugar cravings died down, I still have a sweet tooth whereas I never had before, I would much rather squeeze in another glass of wine than a pudding.  But now I’m a coffee and cake girl all the way!

So I have  had a few emails asking about what I eat and if I follow any particular diet.  i don’t follow any eating plan, I try to eat healthy, fresh food most of the time, all my meals I cook from scratch and I just try to eat whats good for me but also what I enjoy too.  There is a saying I have seen on Pinterest “When you start eating food without labels, you no longer count calories” and that is so true. So try thinking “Is this good for me?  How will I feel after eating it? Will it bloat me? Will it help my skin glow? Will I regret it or will I feel good afterwards? It’s amazing how just that small change will make a big difference!  I try to listen to my body too, so some days I will crave something sweet or a slice of pizza and i will have it, why shouldnt I?? But once you take away the restrictions of a diet or strict  eating regime you can really start listening to your body.

The main thing I found once I gave up the booze and got through the initial sugar cravings is that you no longer have the Saturday and Sunday all day binges, where you eat anything and everything to get through your hangover. I don’t think anyone wants fresh healthy food when they are feeling rubbish after drinking too much wine, I personally used to get really low blood sugar even after a few drinks and would feel faint and spaced out all day.  I would eat high fat and high carb foods- (crap basically!) to try to give me the energy boost I needed to get me through the day, once I was on that path any idea of eating healthy that weekend was just not happening! And then you start the whole “diet starts Monday” scenario, which I have done a million times.  I still believe in weekend treats and being flexible with your diet but once you’ve had the chocolate or a takeaway, make the next meal a healthy one, don’t blow it all and carry on for the weekend. It’s all about balance.

So if you know you want to eat healthier but don’t want to follow a strict eating plan, just listen to your body.  If you’ve cut down or stopped drinking you’ve already done one of the most amazing things you can do for your body and your health, so don’t stop there, look at ways you can improve your diet too.  Remember this is a new way of life, it’s not a diet, its hopefully for forever so do what works for you, make small but realistic changes that become your way of life and not just a temporary short-term fix, because as we know they just don’t work!

I am hoping to post more on food, recipes and healthy eating ideas.  As I’ve said previously I’m not a qualified nutritionist but I know what has worked for me.  By exercising regularly, stopping drinking, listening to my body and stopping the crazy diets, I am now at a weight that I am 100% happy with and I eat more food now than I have ever done. I nourish my body and mind with healthy good food and with treats when I want them.  I know by experience that this works – I just wish I had worked this out at seventeen, all that wasted time on stupid diets and missing out on all that lovely food!  But there’s no point in having regrets, just make a start today, make a change that your future self will thank you for and eat like you love yourself!

If you’ve any healthy eating recipes or tips let me know and I can share them on here or on my Instagram, I will be posting some of  mine on there too @liftingweightsnotwine.

 

Angie xx