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My Weight Loss Journey

Week 1

History

I decided on many New Year resolutions for 2018. Weight loss is one of them. Have I tried this before? Yes. Many, many times. I’ve done the lemon and maple syrup diet and the Cambridge diet. I tried boot camp (twice), swimming, boxercize, fencing, Zumba, Jazzercize, hitting the gym. You name it, I’ve tried it.

Did it work? Yes, most of them. Until mother nature decided that losing weight was not what she had in mind for me and threw a spanner in the works. I got shin splints, calcified tendons, torn tendons, and even a diagnosis of being ‘exercise intolerant’ (i.e. slightly asthmatic). I’ve tried going to the gym multiple times, but after a month I just get bored with it. Likewise with the diets. After three months of starving myself, I’m just dying for a snack and go overboard.

Do I really need to lose weight? Yes, I do. My BMI (body mass index) is 32, so just into the obese range. I nearly faint due to lack of oxygen when tying my shoelaces, and my clothes are screaming at me to buy a bigger size. Most of all, I didn’t look good in any dress I wanted to wear over Christmas, so something had to be done!

My Way

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This time, I’m going to do it differently. I’m doing yoga, to warm up my body for some exercise in the future, probably karate (as half of my family is doing it). Not only is yoga good for your body, but looking at Finlay Wilson’s nicely shaped body is also good for the mind 🙂 (don’t worry, the book was a Christmas present from my husband, so he’s okay with the eye candy).

I’m not doing a particular diet nor counting calories nor measuring amounts of food. I’m just going to eat less. Cutting out a lot of carbs in particular. This means not eating the potatoes/rice/noodles that go with our dinners and not having any biscuits with my tea in the afternoon. It also means I can’t have sandwiches for breakfast or lunch and have to be more creative. Variety is the spice of life, n’est-ce pas?

Results

Every week I’ll embarrass myself and show you photos so you can see the difference. I’ll show you the first photos taken and then what I look like that week. You won’t be going ‘oh wow!’ if I show you the photos from the previous week (except for this week of course) as I’m expecting my weight loss to be a slow process. My GP once said to me, ‘It didn’t get there overnight, so don’t expect it to come off overnight.’ Wise words. So here are my results for Week 1.

I’m (still) 1.58m tall (5’2″), and at the beginning of the year, I weighted exactly 80kg (12.6 stone). I’ve never been this heavy in my life! This morning, I weighed… (drumroll): 77kg (12.1 stone)! I only began my diet last week, so I must have lost some weight in the first week of January. We were home again from our overeating expedition in Holland (visiting the family), so my diet was a lot healthier when I got back although not optimal.

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Note the lesser amount of shadow on my belly. I’m trying to ‘keep my stomach in’ about the same on all the photos, so I’m not cheating. I’ll try in the future to keep my hands on my hips so you can see the ‘saddlebag’ I’ve got on my right hip. I suppose everybody is, but I hate being asymmetrical.

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As you can see in the W0 photo (when you take a loupe 🙂 ), I have an indent mid-belly that is almost gone in the W1 photo. Woohoo! My belly is still sticking out way beyond my boobs, so we have a long way to go still, but we’re working on it.

Did I notice losing the weight? Yes, I did. I was able to move up to the next hole of my belt, going from a waistline of 88cm (34.6inch) to 85.5cm (33.7inch). Also, my pants are feeling slightly loser around my belly.

Diet

As mentioned, I cut out a lot of carbs from my diet. No potatoes, rice or noodles. Did I cheat? Yes, I did. I had a small handful of french fries with my dinner one day, and I did have some licorice lollies when I had a sore throat. I managed to stay away from any biscuits with my tea, though. I didn’t cut sugar out as I can’t drink my coffee without it, but that’s the only added form of sugar I’ve head. Oh, and no desserts of course. I once had some yoghurt with raspberries, but that’s it.

Here are some images of the breakfast and lunches I’ve had this week.

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My breakfast for the last two days has been a berry smoothie: yoghurt, milk, rolled oats, raspberries, and blueberries. Very nice. I don’t measure or weigh anything, I just add them so I have about 250ml (8.8oz) in total. I try to fill my stomach with an amount of about the size of my fist (usually slightly more for dinner). One of the lunches with sushimi (love that stuff!) has a dollop of garlic and herb sauce on it (the light version). I’m not going fat-free. You need fats to be able to absorb certain vitamins (A, D, E, K), so I eat fat, but in the amount of a teaspoon per meal.

Have I been hungry? Yes, I have. But as my Mom always says, ‘when your tummy rumbles, it doesn’t mean you have to put something in it every time.’

Are you on a weight loss journey? Why not do it together? Let me know how you’re going and we can help each other staying strong!

 

Header Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

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Meet The Author…

I thought it might be a fun idea to introduce you to some other authors. Once a week I will pick out an author for you and direct you to their page.

Meet Gregg Savage

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This week, I felt the twang of nostalgia when I read Gregg Savage’s guest post on The Story Reading Ape’s blog. He tells his tale of how he became a writer after telling his (step)daughter Ruby a story every night. My mind was taken back to when I was prompted by my children to write. It is funny how life can take you in directions you never thought were possible 🙂

Click on the link below to read his journey to become an author.

Meet Guest Author, Gregg Savage…

You can find Gregg’s website full of children’s stories here.

Header Photo by Juja Han on Unsplash

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Happy New Year!

It’s 2018… and I’m back!

It’s been a while, over a month I’d say, and I’ve missed blogging. Did you miss me? I bet you’ve had many things to keep you busy over the festive season. I have so many things to tell you and I hardly know where to start. 2018 is going to be such an active year for me.

Killing A Vampire

My biggest accomplishment in 2017 was finishing Book 3 of the Suckers Trilogy. I was able to send it to the beta readers before Christmas, and I’m receiving their responses back now. The few grammatical errors (tenses keep being my bane), the odd remark on character statements, but overall a positive reaction. I even received a pat on the back for two suspenseful chapters by Kathy Lance, an ex-director of an international school of linguists and now book reviewer for One Stop Fiction. She’s a tough one, writing very honest reviews, and her comment made me very proud.

I must admit I was a bit wary of this book when I began writing it. I have planned this story for a long time, and writing it according to ‘plan’ felt different than writing the first two books, which were written ‘from the wrist.’ Writing the interactions between the characters still felt exciting as they were new on the page, but I worried about the storyline once I finished it.  I wanted a grand finale and felt my story lacking. I discussed the issue with my family and they helped me improve it. Now I have revised the ending, got rid of the grammatical errors, and changed the wording here and there, I feel this story is a great ending to the trilogy and am ready to promote it.

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Christmas Celebration

Over Christmas, we flew to Holland to spend time with the family. We visited almost all of our dearest family and slept in four different beds in the seven days we were there. The weather was great, we only had rain the last day. We were very lucky to get a Maastricht city tour from my uncle, who has been a tour guide in one of Holland’s oldest cities. We visited the tunnels as well, which was very different from what I expected. We spent two days in the Efteling, a fairytale theme park, which is always a big hit with the kids. It was great to see everyone again and we were sad to leave.  I was glad to sleep in my own bed again though 🙂

What is 2018 going to bring?

Promoting

First of all, the promotion of my trilogy. I never thought I would ever write a book, so finishing three has been a major accomplishment in my life. It gives me a real boost and I’m looking forward to promoting them. I love writing and will continue. There are so many new ideas already flying around in my head.

Improving health

The new year also brings a new year’s resolution for me as I have never been this unhealthy and overweight in my life. Writing has been my passion and I have put all things aside for it. This year, I need to take more care of my body, my family, and my house. I have started doing yoga exercises and will begin doing some physical exercises as well. I’ll have to take it slow, as I’m as flexible as a door. Next to this, I fell on my wrist during ice skating on our holiday and it is still painful. Fingers crossed it won’t be a chronic issue.

 

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Family time

I also need to take out more time for my family as I feel like I have neglected them badly and want to spend more time with them. I’m going to cut our TV-watching dinners and eat at the dining table so we can have actual conversations. Cooking more interesting dinners and resolving the draft issues in the dining room will probably help promote this.

Renovations

2018 is also the year that we are going to have major renovations done to the house. We have decided that it takes too long to do everything ourselves. Sometimes you need to put a little water to your wine. The work doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as it functions and you can enjoy life instead of worrying about not having enough time. So, the kitchen and family bathroom are going to be done by someone else than ourselves. The kitchen project will cause some problems as last year, my husband decided to rip out the little kitchen in the basement ‘because it was ugly.’ We will now have to organize a makeshift kitchen in the dining room when we rip out the old kitchen. This will mean my previous resolution of having meals in the dining room will have to be postponed, but hopefully it won’t take a whole year (famous last words).

Reading

As I won’t be writing 24/7 anymore, I also hope to have more time to read so watch this space for some awesome book reviews!

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Do you have any new year’s resolutions or major plans for 2018? I’d love to hear what’s written down on your calendar 🙂

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It’s the Season of the Witch

Yesterday, I had to play the Wicked Witch of the West, a mother’s prerogative. We booked tickets to see the second Kingsmen movie. As they’re working on the freeway to go around Aberdeen, we were guided along a detour that almost got us to Aberdeen via Inverness, but we managed to get there just in time. I got my phone out and showed the lady the Q-code. “Okay,” she says after scanning it, “Can I see some IDs please.”

Now you must know that we are regular visitors at the cinema. Not that I’ve seen this particular lady before, but we are visiting this place about twice a month.  Never before have we been asked for IDs. I have, however, since my kids turned fifteen, told them to bring IDs to the cinema. We buy them student tickets and to see a 15-rated movie they need proof of studentship and being older than fifteen.

I turned to my children and they are both shaking their heads. They didn’t bring their IDs. The woman said we couldn’t go in without proof they were students and older than fifteen. I browsed my whole photo gallery on my phone, but she wouldn’t accept any photo of my kids in school uniform. Of course, I didn’t have any proof of their age either. My son looks like he could be eighteen and my daughter could pass for twelve (they are twins nevertheless).

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I ‘lost the plot’ and reacted very badly, cursing at anybody who tried to get my attention. We got a refund and drove back again. I didn’t speak a word the whole trip. I even refused a chocolate as a peace offer and the kids know it’s bad when their mother refuses to eat chocolate. My husband didn’t get it. He even tried to soothe me. I was laughing on the inside but put up a wicked face until the end. When we got home I gave everybody a hug and told them to never to forget their IDs again. We then watched the first Kingsmen movie from the comfort of our home instead.

Sometimes, you just have to let your kids know they screwed up big time for them to remember not to make that mistake twice 🙂 .

 

Images from NMgnCP.com

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A life or death situation

About two weeks ago I read on Facebook that somebody’s friend had died of asthma. I remember thinking ‘do people still die of asthma?’ Apparently they do. My daughter has asthma. Not severely, thankfully, but when she gets a cold, she gets it extra bad and needs to use her inhaler. Again, she’s doesn’t get it as bad as some people do, but enough to worry you as a mother.

Last weekend I went back to Holland to visit my family as my sister turned fifty and her husband had a retirement party. My Mum and I met my sister for lunch and found out she just came from the breast clinic where they found suspicious lumps in her breast. She needs to have more tests done and will hear the results a week later. That means a whole week in anxiety for her (and us). Both my sister and Mum were coughing from the other side of the lunch table as they apparently had a ‘bad cold.’ As I was staying with my Mum for the weekend, I naturally picked up this ‘bad cold.’ It actually was a H1N1 flu strain and had me knocked down within a few days. A sore throat, headaches, snotty nose, muscle aches, vomiting, chills, and sweaty spells. I got the lot.

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I hadn’t had a cold in years and it knocked my off my socks, as a matter of speech next to literally, that I was so susceptible to it. I didn’t have any existing health issues, yet this tiny little thing had me crawling on hands and knees in no time. What would this bug do to people who do have health issues? People who’s immune system is compromised by an illness, elderly people, people with asthma? And then it hit me that it may kill my daughter.

I’m not so short sighted that I think that I can shield my daughter from any outside effects. But what if I’m the one that brings in the rot? What if I contaminate her with a bug that hospitalises her? As we will have no doctor close at hand over the Christmas holidays, I had another issue to deal with. Do I try my best not to contaminate her and keep my distance for a week until I’m no longer contagious or, suspecting that I can’t prevent contaminating her as we’re living in the same house, do I contaminate her asap in order to get it over and done with now we still have access to a healthcare professional? I felt I had become her judge, jury, and executioner. I had to decide whether I actively made her sick or not.

However, you don’t say to your child ‘come here because I want to cough in your face so you can get this horrible illness.’ There is always the chance that she doesn’t get ill at all. Maybe I was not as healthy as I thought. Maybe she had this flu strain before, when she had that awful asthma spell a few years ago in Australia (the strain did start in Australia in 2009). You try to think of all sorts of reasons not to make your child ill. You have got to keep weighing the pro’s against the con’s though. What if she finally picks this highly contagious bug up elsewhere and we haven’t got access to a doctor at short notice? Is it worth the risk? Of course not. So I try to cough as ‘accidentally’ as possible near her. Because I love her.

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Tomorrow is the day that my sister will hear her test results and the last day my daughter can safely show the signs of contamination. If my daughter has a sore throat, she will have a rough time ahead, but will be able to get the healthcare she’ll need. If not, I will have to keep my fingers crossed she won’t show any symptoms for another three weeks. For both a moment that could possibly decide their fate.

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Writers’ Corner update 19/10/2016

Check out my Writers’ Corner update 19/10/2016!

This week my Writer’s Corner update contains a post that is close to my heart: the Science Fiction Women Problem (or the fact that women are still under-represented in Science Fiction). This can be extrapolated to most other areas, like main characters in movies, writing in general, science, business management, just to name a few… I was surprised to read this was already a problem a 100+ years ago in Colin Garrow’s book ‘The Hounds of Hellerby Hall,’ in which a young lady has to take a male pseudonym to be able to sell her stories. You should check it out, it’s a great murder mystery!

Focus on Filming has only one other entry this week, and it’s a graphic designer’s personal take on movies. Have a look, the images are extremely creatively designed.

Health Herald has two new entries; one on the fact that you need to keep exercising to keep the blood flow to your brain going (so much for my break in karate due to my shoulder issue), and another one on a new, mobile sort of CT scanner, which is actually made for horses, but which can be adjusted for humans and should, in the future, make it possible to make CT scans while you’re standing up (which horses also prefer).

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No posts for now…

My dear readers,

I’m sorry to announce that I will have no posts for at least three weeks. This is due to my deadline of making my first novel printable and ready for the book fair. If I want to pull this off I will have to work day and night!

My apologies for letting you down. I promise I will make it up to you in November!

Love always,

Jacky D.

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Takeover…

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As you can see I am going to my first book signing in December! Very exciting. It is the stick behind the door that makes me work on my re-write so hard at the moment 🙂 .

The other day I read on their FB page that there were ‘takeover slots’ available. I had no idea what takeovers were, so I tried to ignore it. Bit of ostrich politics on my part, I know. But there was no escaping as I was tagged and told that I needed to pick a slot. I had to ask what a takeover was. I don’t like signing up for something if I don’t know what I’m letting myself in for.

A takeover is basically a two-hour session online during which you can promote yourself to the audience (of the book fair). I can tell a bit about myself, I can promote my books, my other work, I can even (the horror of it) play games! That last one had me really scared… Fortunately the ladies who organise the fair are very helpful and said they would guide me through the session. Everybody is a noob once and they understand my position completely.

I find it amazing how many nice people I have met through writing. Most of them are so helpful and nice. And a really fun bunch! I am so glad I have found something to do that I like and in good company as well. I thank you all!

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Come on!

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Just when the kids have gone back to school, just when the DH has gone back to work, just when I as good as finalised the work on the constitution of the film club, and I finally think I can go full steam ahead with my writing… the weather turns good and I have to spend my days restoring the old window frames while I can…

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First stripping them of paint, then sanding , repairing rotted bits, sanding again, (undercoat) painting, sanding, painting, sanding, painting. And all in the next four days before it starts raining again. But when these two are done I only have eleven to go… 🙂

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A three-act day

Three Acts

After almost two weeks of school holidays I got my act together. Well, acts (plural) I should say. I now get up early -ahum, at 9am- and work on re-writing my first novel. Then at lunchtime I drag my kids away from their electronic entertainment and I teach them math. And as the grand finale I work on renovating my house until DH comes home. You could call it a four or five act day, if you include cooking and spending the evening with my family. But I’m talking about my ‘daytime’ act for the moment.

Why am I re-writing my first novel? Because I have learned a lot since I wrote it nearly a year ago. I realised that the build-up was a very slow, action only started to happen on page seventy, so I had to do something about that. As I am shuffling text around, creating flashbacks as to not lose my already written text (I can’t kill my darlings, not yet!), I am picking up a lot of mistakes too. I find my vocabulary has grown and I have learned to ‘say’ things in different ways. All in all a good thing, but time consuming.

The reason I all of a sudden got my ‘act’ together on this is because I received an invitation for a book fair in December. I have decided I want to promote my third book then, but I still have to write it. I can’t write it before I have re-written the first and second one, so there you have it. A stick behind the door!

Trigonometry

Why am I teaching my children math? Because I don’t agree with the school system at the moment. In August they will move to Year 3 of high school and they (basically) can only do one science subject; biology, physics or chemistry. Not all three at once. I wanted to let them make up their own mind and tried to organise for them to get some work experience in a hospital. Not that I want them to work in a hospital in particular, but I had to start somewhere with giving them options. It appears that they have to be sixteen before they are allowed to get experience. That just threw me. How can they limit their education now, when they have no possibility to find out what direction they want to go into? This system is just not working. So I collaborated with the school and I am now making them catch up half a year of Year 4 math work in the six weeks of holidays that we have, so they can join the Year 4s math class when they go back to school (as Year 3s) in August. I am also hoping they get extra lessons in the other science subjects, with pracs done at school and me teaching them the theory at home after school. This way they get a normal base of science knowledge and it will increase their options later. Some say I am cruel, I say you have to be cruel to be kind. It appears that Year 3 material is not amounting to much anyway, so why waste that year? And it beats them sitting in front of a computer/TV the whole day (from my point of view 🙂 ).

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And of course there is the forever renovation going on at our house. We recently finished our bedroom, so now we have moved on to the dressing room (the room next to our bedroom). We initially thought of putting a door between the two rooms, but that will cost us another cupboard, so we won’t. Saves a lot of work too! DH already took the window out for me to strip of paint and of course I found out today that my dust mask is broken. So tomorrow I will have to go get a new one. The problem is that the shop is a 45 minute drive away. I, unfortunately, will have to combine it with a cinema visit. To be cost efficient, of course 🙂 .

 

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Lessons Learned #20

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This week I finished writing my script for the short we are filming in August. It is basically a short slasher movie, although it has more suspense than horror in it. It’s about a number of campers, who get decimated by something/somebody unknown (unknown until the end, where it is revealed what is happening of course). There is no gore in it (unfortunately), just a blood splatter on the camera in the end.

I contacted some actors and send them the script and divvied out the roles. As it is holiday time I haven’t had a reply from everybody yet, but two thirds of the roles are accounted for. One of the replies though had me gutted. It was literally like my heart was being cut out when I read it. Had I really been so uncaring and blunt in my writing?

I studied my script again and could see what this person was seeing. But only after I read my script though special glasses; negative glasses. When I put on my glasses, positive glasses, I saw that what I had written was doing good, not bad.

Nevertheless it was a blow to my confidence. Heaven knows I know how this feels and I certainly don’t wish it upon other people, and certainly not through my doing. But after lying awake for a couple of nights about it, I concluded that you just can’t please everybody all the time. Sometimes you just have to let go.

Life is too short to be serious all the time and we all have to accept who we are and what we can do with our lives. Sure, life seems hard when you are young and you think the world is a magical place and you don’t like people being not-perfect. But, hey, nobody is perfect and life sucks for different people in different ways. As my life is spanning nearly half a century now, I have met some very colourful people along the way. Some have had the luck of a happy life. Most, however, have not been so lucky and they all deal with it in their own way. Some waddle their whole life in their unhappiness, some jump out of bed every morning and turn the other cheek and move on. Who am I to say how they should handle things? I can’t even handle my own life…

So what have I learned from this episode? That life sucks, that life is what you make it, that you can’t please everybody, that life still goes on, and that I need to improve my scriptwriting 🙂

 Have a Wonderful Writing Weekend!

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Unseen Obstacles

I finished writing my short story script yesterday and there is a load off my shoulders you won’t believe! I don’t know why this load was so heavy. All in all I think I only spent a day in total writing it. I knew exactly what I wanted to write and how to write it. So why did I object to finishing it?

I have lots of projects that don’t get finished. I want them finished, no doubt about that, but I can’t make myself do it. Every time I think about starting to finish them, or even just start, I walk into this invisible wall. I bounce off it, get rejected, and pushed the other way. And I go with the flow, take the path of the least resistance. I am not a person to start an argument (well, it depends on which topic, but let’s not discuss this now),  I certainly don’t argue with myself. But it is a curious thing that happens, this wall. I call it the P-wall. With the P standing for that ugly word; procrastination. I’d like to pee on it, just to show how I feel about it (such a shame I am not a boy).

I have thought about it over the last decades (yes, it’s not a new thing). Why don’t I want to finish things? Is it a fear of failure? Is it a fear of excelling? Is it a fear of what comes next? There could be so many reasons. I used to be a brilliant student, top of the class material. Until glandular fever was the spoke that was thrown into my wheel. I had it bad. I had it so bad that I had a reactive hepatitis and necrotising tonsillitis with it and have been sleeping for most of my life since. Some doctors say glandular fever only lasts six months. Bullshit I say. I’ve just overcome it and I am nearly half a century old.

The illness didn’t affect my reasoning or intelligence. I just missed a lot of explanation at school as I was always asleep in class. But it did hit my confidence big time. From the self-assured, high-flying student that I was, I was thrown down into the pit of below-average-doers. All of a sudden, I was mundane. And it was a shock. From that moment in time I have never excelled. I passed exams on minimum scores, sometimes only after the third attempt. From excelling in everything I did, I had adjusted to being sub-average.

A lot of self-help stuff (articles, books, psychologists) say ‘just do it.’ Such a short, simple sentence. Just do it. ‘You’re the only one that can change it. Just do it.’ They don’t get that that’s the problem. That’s exactly what I can’t. There is this wall between me and ‘doing it.’ I’d like to break the wall, find a hammer and smash it. I’m sick and tired of seeing what I could have  and what could be, as this wall is very transparent and I can see every alluring thing I want on the other side, but not being able to get there.

So for now I scratch at this wall, with my fingernail. One molecule at a time. One day, I hope, this wall will crumble and when this happens  I will pound my chest as I stand on its rubble and shout out my conqueror’s roar.