Change Involves A Challenge!

Change Involves A Challenge!

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When I started my blog I had no intention of setting up the Lifting Weights Not wine exercise challenges, they just sort of happened!  Initially they helped give me content for my Instagram page @liftingweightsnotwine and now I’ve ended up having a few messages asking to start another one!  So on Monday 12th November I will start a new 40 day challenge that will run up to the 21st December, which is perfect timing for Christmas.

I don’t know about you guys but I am certainly someone who likes to journal or chart any sort of progress I am making.

For years I was obsessed with writing down my weight and aiming for a certain (normally unrealistic) goal in a specific time frame (unhealthy obsession I know!)

Then when I became aware that my drinking was getting worse and I wanted to cut down/stop, I downloaded the Drinkaware App.  Now this App is brilliant BUT you have to be honest with what you put into it, and that was my problem! You would find me fiddling my units on a sunday night in an attempt to make my weekend alcohol intake look better!

Then once I had stopped drinking, I (like every other soberista out there) started tracking my days and weeks of sobriety.  This stopped when I got to one year and now I track it monthly along with the exercise challenges to keep me motivated!

OK, so I know it looks like I’m a bit of a crazy woman writing down and tracking all of these things but it all refers back to one thing………………………….

MOVING FORWARD AND WANTING TO CHANGE!!

Here’s the thing, if you want to make your life better, you’re going to have to challenge yourself!

It’s so easy to stay the same, especially when it comes to our lifestyles.  We are in our own comfort zone and although we may be unhappy with how we look and feel,  that feeling is “easier” than taking on the challenge to change.  How we are is the norm, it’s what we are used to and it’s how our friends and family are used to seeing us.  Its comfy. Its normal. Its easy!

Personally I feel that we live in a society where drinking is considered normal.  I know I have had a lot of raised eyebrows when ive told people I don’t drink anymore, which is crazy when you think if I told people I don’t do crack cocaine anymore they would give me a pat on the back and think I was amazing! (Anyway I could blog about that all night long but I will save it for another post!)   We are so embedded into the drinking culture that surrounds us that its hard to escape,  its hard to make the change as we get pressure from around us to remain the same and stick with the “norm”!

Some changes are inevitable and we just have to accept them, like growing old, ill-health, financial situations, relationships etc some changes  WILL occur and there is nothing you can do but accept them and adapt.

The real challenge is when you decide to make a change yourself .

Stopping drinking was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, it was a huge challenge, it wasn’t easy but I just knew that I couldn’t stay the same.  I had to move from the place I was in, I was unhappy and unhealthy and I didn’t want to continue feeling the way that I did.  But by doing it I have proved to myself that I am capable of so many other things, I can push myself outside of my comfort zone and achieve so many other things with my life.  So now it’s opened up the door to lots of other challenges for me such as; focusing on a new career, pushing myself physically, wanting to learn and do new things and having an outlook that life really is one big adventure!

You have got to keep challenging yourself to change, yes its hard, yes you feel stressed and  uncomfortable at the thought of it but at the end of the day its the only way you will get there.  And in no time at all the ‘old you’ will be what makes you feel uncomfortable and the new you and how you live your life will become the norm for yourself and everyone around you.

So start right now – set the challenge – write it down – and make the change! And if you need some accountability or support then join me on Monday for my 40 day exercise challenge, tie it in with no alcohol and you will be feeling AMAZING by Christmas! And who knows you may want to spend this christmas sober! (Sober Christmas blog post coming soon)

YOU CAN DO THIS!

Any advice, tips or questions then please comment below or just to let me know how things are going for you on your sober journey?

Angie xx

 

 

 

Hangover Free Half-Term!

Hangover Free Half-Term!

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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.

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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

Perfect Timing!

Perfect Timing!

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You know when things happen for a reason, well this card is just that!

I had an hour to spare before the school run so I sat down to do a quick blog entry, then ……. total mental block ( and I know why, so stick with me!)  Literally at the same second this card came through my door, it’s from a very close, good friend who I worked with nearly twenty years ago and thankfully we have kept in touch.  She wrote inside “I saw this and thought of you, loving your blog and insta!” How lovely!!!! She will be reading this and she is a superstar, supporting me 100% on this sober journey of mine!

So the reason I had a mental block is because I haven’t had the best week.  And I was undecided whether to bring this into my blogging world or not,  but I suppose the card popping through my letterbox decided it for me!  Basically to cut a long story short, last year I had a lump in my breast that needed investigating further, and the same has happened again this week.  Luckily it was nothing to worry about last time and I am telling myself its nothing this time either, so fingers crossed all will be fine!

The reason why I am blogging about it is because I often talk about the highs being high and the lows being low when you don’t drink, and having to take the rough with the smooth. But at the same time being safe in the knowledge that what you are feeling are true feelings that haven’t been heightened or numbed with alcohol.  This week is a perfect example of this.

Because I have been here before I don’t feel as stressed as last time, and I am trying to think of all the positive outcomes.  The hardest thing for me is the waiting to find out what it is, my appointment isn’t until the week after next so it feels like ages off.

In the past this would be the perfect opportunity for me to drown out the waiting with a bottle of chardonnay every night and I would probably be making things much more dramatic than they need to be and feeling absolutely rubbish for the next two weeks.  I would be thinking negatively from the outset and be constantly thinking about the worse case scenario.  Plus the beer fear and hangovers making the whole situation a lot worse than it needed to be! I would then be talking myself into getting as healthy as possible and quitting drinking once I knew the outcome.  So basically I would be in self destruct mode for two weeks,  before I even knew if it was anything to worry about or not!

However the sober me has dealt with it much better.  I’ve stuck to my normal routine of exercise and eating the best I can.  Although twice I’ve given into McDonald’s mocha frappe this week (rehydration purposes in the heatwave!!!) And I am telling myself to stay calm until there is something to worry about.  Yes the waiting isn’t great, but you know what I’ve got to deal with that, and with my eldest leaving primary school in two weeks I certainly have a lot to keep me busy!

So although I haven’t been very ‘badass’ this week and more like a wet lettuce,  feeling emotional every five minutes,  I hope by sharing this its helped someone stop reaching for the wine glass thinking it will help them feel better.  I can’t name one situation or scenario now where drinking would benefit me or make me feel better, and I really mean that.

So whether your stressed with something or just have a lot on your plate and you would normally turn to drinking to ease the stress, just see what happens if you don’t?  And just go through what your going through, maybe you will be surprised at the outcome!

And to anyone who is a sober warrior and going against the majority of drinkers this weekend, then you are definitely BADASS!!

Have a lovely, happy, healthy weekend!

Angie xx

See What Happens If you Don’t Give Up….

See What Happens If you Don’t Give Up….

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Are you sick of starting over?  Sick of yet another Day One? Yet another attempt to start a diet, eat healthy or kick the booze!

Before I stopped drinking for good I had a LOT of day ones!  I had been trying to stop drinking for around twelve to eighteen months before I actually quit.  I attempted Dry January and even tried to give up alcohol for lent once (it nearly killed me!).  But once I failed at it,  I would just convince myself I couldn’t do it and would feel so mad and disappointed with myself that I couldn’t succeed at what I was trying to do.  When I look back at it now, those unsuccessful attempts where my practice runs, which all lead to one day it just clicking in place and giving up for good.  So if you’re experiencing the same thing and you really do want to stop drinking because you’ve  gone a certain period of time and know how good it feels, then don’t give up, eventually you will have your last day one and stick with it for good.

Now I’ve got the stopping drinking part ticked off, but I feel like I have hit a plateau fitness wise!  i am struggling! Today is day 60 of my 100 day challenge and setting the challenge has definitely helped me be consistent with exercising everyday but I do feel like it has made me be more relaxed with my diet.  I’ve been thinking “well I have been exercising every day so why not eat cake!”  which is obviously counteracting my exercise efforts and I feel like I have hit a plateau.

So even though some days I have thought, what’s the point?  I know that giving up is not an option!  I have been looking at what I can do to mix things up a bit and get back on track.

Because I do a lot of my workouts at home, I looked into online programmes such as Kayla Istines and Beachbody but after looking into it I thought I would be paying for something that I have done and can do myself! I can get myself to that next level of fitness, I don’t need to pay a monthly subscription for someone to tell me what I already know!  After reading up on it I have found a book that’s come highly recommended and will hopefully give me lots of tips and information on taking my fitness to the next level and its ‘Thinner, Leaner, Stronger’ by Michael Matthews.  Full of training tips, diet information and what supplements to take, that will hopefully give me a fresh focus and get me out of this plateau.

One of my main aims is to get a six-pack (or I would be happy with 2-4 pack to be honest!)  After two children my core is definitely my weak area and this is what I want to focus on.  The old me would have given up, thinking what’s the point of trying to get into shape at 42?  But that’s the old voice that didn’t believe in me! Stopping drinking has definitely given me a new-found confidence,  and a belief that I can do this, its made me believe in myself!

If your following me on Instagram I will hopefully post some updates and before and after pics to see if my new plan is working, and of course I will share any tips and advice on here too!

Have any of you read this book? Or do you have any tips for when your fitness level hits a plateau?  Also how many day ones did you have before it finally became your last and you’ve kicked the booze for good? Lets help each other on this journey and see what happens when we don’t give up!

Hope you have a healthy and happy weekend!

Angie xx

 

Strong Is Definitely My New Skinny!

Strong Is Definitely My New Skinny!

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I just love this caption – “Strong is the new skinny!”

For me this is so true, after spending a lifetime wanting to be skinny (my role models were Kate Moss & Posh Spice ) and going on crazy diets, I have finally over this last year and a half changed my mindset.  I now want to be healthy and I want to feel strong both inside and out.

There has definitely been a shift in the media and female body images, I mean look at how many strong, healthy, realistic  role models are out there.  There are also a lot of fitness influencers out there too, and to be honest I would rather follow those on instagram than a celebrity anyway!

You only have to look on Instagram or Pinterest and there are so many motivational quotes:  ‘Sore today – strong tomorrow’,  Look like a beauty – lift like a beast’, ‘I’m not just strong for a girl –  Im just strong!’  All promoting strong, healthy women.  I love this and I hope this continues so that my girls grow up with this positive body image around them.  Its something that is realistic and achievable.

I posted recently about milestones and celebrating them in anyway you like, you can read it here at All Milestones Matter, Big Or Small………… So for my eighteen month sober milestone I treated myself to some new gym wear.  I have recently become an ambassador  for Just Strong Clothing, and I have to say I love their range and what their brand stands for.  They have created fabulous workout wear, and have numerous embassadors who are strong women, portraying a healthy lifestyle and image. You can follow them on Facebook and Instagram and they have an amazing community of women who are all just trying to be the best version of themselves, regadless of their shape or size they are just focusing on being strong both physically and mentally.  Imagine if all women focused on feeling strong, just think what we could achieve!

I have included the link below to visit their website and if you use my code ANGIEFAIR10 you will get 10% discount too!

So if you’re coming up to a special milestone, or just need an incentive to get back into working out or even just need a little retail therapy (like we need an excuse!), then have a look and treat yourself –  you deserve it!!

just strong clothing

Angie xx

 

My Girls – My Wake Up Call!

My Girls – My Wake Up Call!

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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