Especially for this week, the end of the first quarter of the year on my weight loss journey, I have made a graph of my progress, showing my weight (in kg) and my waistline (in cm).
As you can see, both lines have the steepest slope at the beginning of the year, after I had been eating and drinking too much during the Christmas holidays. What is also very notable is that since I began doing the HASfit exercises in week 6 (week 7 on the graph as it starts with week 1 instead of week 0; I don’t know how to change this in Excel), my waistline has taken a dive even though my weight hasn’t changed much. I haven’t done much exercising these last two weeks, hence the flatlining of both graphs at the end. They’re not going up though, and I’m very happy with that.
Do I feel any permanent changes? Not really. I still crave the unhealthy things in life. What has changed, is that I like my salads for lunch. But that’s about it. You’ve got to start somewhere, though!
I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t gain any weight over Easter. I didn’t eat a lot of chocolate eggs, I must confess, but didn’t eat very healthy either. My weight was the lowest official weight since I began with 75.6kg (11.9 stone). My waistline is the same with 80.5 cm (31.7 inches).
… and the side view…
To be honest, I don’t feel like I’ve lost a lot of weight. My belt buckle says I have, and my waistline and scales say I have, but I don’t feel like it. I suppose I need to start exercising again to feel fitter and healthier and have a more positive outlook on the whole experience. I will do that… just not today 🙂
Somehow, I couldn’t make myself do any exercises. Not the yoga, not the HASfit ones. I don’t know why. My shoulder is still sore now and again, making sleeping uncomfortable, and you’d think for this reason only I would do what the physio told me to do. But I don’t. I have been incredibly busy with my blogging and book though, which is my excuse. Not a valid one as I need to realize there is more to life than being online. If it was making me money, it would possibly be more valid, but it doesn’t, not a penny, so why do I make such an effort and spend so much time on it? Good question. Let me know if you find the answer!
In the meantime, I have been getting some exercise yesterday whilst working in the garden. Today it is filled with snow, but yesterday we had a dry afternoon, and I did some pruning. I also decided to gather some rocks from a fallen drywall and collected them in one spot, so we can use them again when we’re repairing the wall again. That was a good hour’s work with stretching, bending, and lifting.
As mentioned before, I didn’t indulge in a lot of chocolate over Easter. I did eat my usual ice cream for dessert and had a glass of wine with my husband now and again. Healthy lunches were sort of off the menu for a while as were breakfast for that matter as we slept in on the weekend. When I go shopping again, I’ll make sure I buy some healthy diet options 🙂
Woohoo! I finally did it! My weight finally, officially dropped below the dreaded 76kg! It was a long and winding road, but I made it to this milestone. All I needed was a weekend without celebrating one thing or another.
Was it a good week? No, it wasn’t. I was going down my rabbit hole of depression as I have finished writing my trilogy and am at a bit of a loss for what to write next. My brain can’t seem to focus on anything, and all I want to do is eat and play this puzzle game on my phone. I should spend this precious time reading up on all those lovely indie authors whom I promised to read their books. And promoting my books…
Needless to say, I didn’t stick to my exercise routine. I didn’t do any yoga either over the weekend, not the new ones or the old ones. Result: a terribly locked up-right shoulder that keeps me from sleeping without painkillers. I took the armrests off my desk chair yesterday in the hope this alleviated the pain, but it only seems to have made it worse. As a last resort, I have swapped my large keyboard for a narrower one, hoping that not having to reach out with my right arm to get to my mouse helps. I’ve only been sitting like this for 1.5 hours now and I can already feel my back starting to hurt. It appears that my back muscles are not as strong as my front muscles, pulling me into a fetal position; i.e. with a crooked back. I need to do strengthening exercises for my back muscles so they can compensate the pulling at the front.
As mentioned, I am very proud to tell you that my weight this morning was 75.7kg (11.9 stone) and my waist has shrunken yet again to 80.5 cm (31.7 inches). I must admit that measuring my waist is slightly subjective, but I do my best not to lie to myself 🙂 .
I tried to smile for the photo, but it seems like I have a toothache. I won’t do it again.
I find this photo shows the best what I have achieved so far. My belly is almost at boob-level, my thighs are a smidgen less fat, and my butt has a nicer shape. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I think my arm is also a smidgen less fat. Could be it only looks that way because of the shade though.
Last week, I was so chaotic that I completely forgot to post my meal photos! I haven’t been taking a lot of photos anyway because they’re beginning to get a bit repetitive, but here they are from the last two weeks.
My goal for next week is to exercise every day and get rid of this back problem 🙂
So sorry for the late post this week, but I’ve got bad news and good news. The good news is that my waist is shrinking and that my weight keeps going down.
The bad news is that my weight goes up on Mondays and Tuesdays and I, again, didn’t hit my aimed weight for this week. I completely forgot it was Mothers’ Day last Sunday and was given a box of chocolates and a box of licorice (as that’s the thing you give your mother who’s on a diet). My weight has been below the 76kg during the rest of the week for over two weeks now, but I can’t seem to keep it low on Tuesdays. Very frustrating.
The worst news, though, is that I’ve hit that point where I’m fed up with this dieting. I crave cookies, desserts, and treats. And I eat them. They say you make things a habit after three months, but I never seem to make it to three months. I’ll try and keep on going as my waistline and weight keep being a positive reminder I’m doing the right thing, but exercising is a hit and miss at the moment.
Like I said, my weight was not what I wanted it to be on Tuesday as it was 76.1kg (12 stone). Today it’s 75.5kg (11.89 stone) again. WTF?! It’s as if it continually teases me on purpose. I’m very tempted to make Thursdays my weigh-in day, but I’m not a quitter 🙂 . My belt has definitely moved into another notch and have only one left. It measured 81cm (31.8 inches) I’ll get there!
I have noted these last weeks that I hold my right shoulder higher than my left. No idea why. Must have something to do with my right shoulder being tighter and always causing me problems. That said, my left shoulder joint is definitely looser than the right as it keeps ‘popping’ when I do exercises. I also appear to lean more forward on the photo of W0. Was my belly that heavy? 🙂
As I’m looking for ways to keep myself motivated, I ‘shadowed’ my current image over the one from week 2 (where I wear the same bra). The difference is minimal, but I’m definitely shrinking, most notably on the front. Note my hair has also grown 🙂 .
Btw, to minimalize the differences in the image taken, I measure the distance from the top of my shoulder to the bottom of my heel.
All in all, I’m not doing badly. I’m just struggling with eating healthy and doing my exercises at the moment. I hope these images give me enough boost to keep on going. I’ll also be trying some new yoga exercises to spice it up. I’ll persevere!
Tomorrow, the 8th of March, is International Women’s Day, celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. As I have just finished writing the Suckers Trilogy and am bloody proud of it, I’d like to dedicate this week’s interview to myself 🙂 Let me bare my soul to you.
Why did I start writing?
It may sound cliché, but I had a dream. I dreamed about a girl bumping into a vampire and instantly falling in love. You can’t think of anything tackier, but I liked it. At the time, I was listening to popular music and one of the songs was ‘When the beat drops out‘ by Marlon Roudette. I guess the lyrics of that song got stuck in my head. I told my children about my dream, and they told me to write it down. I sat behind my computer that morning, and for the next fortnight, I only left it for the basic human needs even forsaking television (which is kind of a big deal for me). I wrote 55K words and completed my first novel draft ever. It gave me an enormous high to write. Never ever had I experienced something like this. I never took any drugs, so I can’t compare, but it is possible to get high without them, apparently 🙂 .
What is my literary education?
I don’t have a literary education as science was my first love. When I was four, I suffered a heavy concussion and skull fracture, and I spent four weeks on my back in the hospital. The nurses in the hospital were nice, so I aspired to become one. From the age of six (for the life of me, I can’t remember why that particular age), my aspirations were set a bar higher, and I set my sights on becoming a veterinarian. Animals can’t talk and tell people what’s wrong with them, so I wanted to help them. Helping others is part of what I am. Fortunately, I’m an eager learner and did well at school. I had a huge setback when I contracted a severe bout of glandular fever, or infectious mononucleosis, in my late teens. Unfortunately, it affected me far longer than the few months they say it lasts on the internet. For decades, I was affected with a bone-felt tiredness, but I moved heaven on earth to become a veterinarian and finally became one in my early thirties. By that time, I was ready to have children and found animals no longer a priority in my life. After I gave birth to our twins and stayed home for one-and-a-half years, I re-schooled and became a high school science teacher. This proved too tiring and too depressing for me (I was trying to keep the students in their seats more than I was teaching). I gladly took the opportunity when an office job presented itself.
When I had brain surgery in 2009, I decided that life was too short to be unhappy. I quit my job, a joint decision with my husband, and pursued many hobbies. I tried painting, drawing, scrapbooking, chainmail-, metal-, and pearl-jewelry making, taxidermy, and photography. Never did it occur to me that I could write a novel. I had a diary in my teens, but after I let my then boyfriend read it which made him cry, I never put a pen to paper to entertain people, thinking I could only hurt people with my writing. During my university years, I wrote in a student magazine, but that was purely information transfer. I was an office manager and secretary for a residents’ association for years, but again, that writing was also pure information transfer. My past-time I spent reading, though. I loved Terry Pratchett’s books and Anne McAffrey’s stories. I read Tolkien, the Eragon books, and many others. I loved being sucked into another world, forgetting my own troubles. That’s what I’m aiming to achieve when I write.
Since writing Books 1 & 2 of the Suckers Trilogy in 2015, I’ve spent most of my time reading up on and learning how to write. I’m still learning but getting better all the time.
Is there a bit of me in my books?
Hell, yes! Many people who know me have mentioned this. They see me as Kate. I have the red hair, make rash decisions, and am a vertically challenged person (for a Dutchie). Not everything Kate does is me, though (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). The two sisters of Kate, Maxine and Julie, also share the same first letters of my own two sisters, Marianne and Judy, but that’s where the similarities end. All characters are purely fictional and do not represent a particular person I know. That said, I based Caleb on the image of Ioan Gruffud and Charlie on the image of Peter Dinklage. They are two actors that I admire and love watching on the screen. I actually sent Peter Dinklage the first draft of my book but never heard anything back from him. I guess it’s not going to be filmed, then 🙂
Why do I write paranormal novels?
I love dressing up! At home, we used to have a large crate in the attic with dress-up clothing. Whenever we could, my sisters and I would dress up and play. My twin sister, Judy, and I used to make up plenty of fantasy stories on weekends when our parents would sleep in. With our dolls and fluffy animal puppets, we created whole new worlds, spanning our entire bedroom, where anything was possible. Our imagination ran rampant.
To be honest, I never had something special with vampires. Anything out of the ordinary would work for me, still does. I was engrossed in the Twilight series, though. The idea of being beautiful, being better at everything, and living forever attracts me. As a teenager, I suffered the usual teenager-amount of pimples. My sisters didn’t, and I felt like the ugly duckling. The only thing I had was being good at everything I did–what am I saying; I was excelling–until I contracted glandular fever. The disease made my grades plummet, and I had to sit my final high school year twice because of it. It caused an abyss in my self-confidence with a fear of failing which made me a terrible procrastinator up until today. As mentioned, I suffered a life-threatening head trauma twice, which makes one contemplate life a bit more than usual. Immortality is hence a very attractive alternative to this unpredictable and painfully short lifespan.
But your books all are based on romance, so why not write romance novels?
True, all my novels (this means not the novelette) have their feet firmly planted in romance. It is the core of the stories as without them they wouldn’t make sense. But there are so many stories about normal romances already. Don’t we all want to be special, experience something unusual, be part of something extraordinary? Enter the paranormal aspect.
There was a time I watched a lot of crime series on TV. Suddenly, I was fed up with all this pain and suffering as it became too real. I don’t watch any news or read any newspapers. It’s too depressing. What I want to achieve with my writing is for people to get away from this world and love on a deeper level. Hence, I also don’t take the (minimal) intimate details in my writing for granted. They have only been added to express the love, the romance, the needs of Kate, hoping it will flow over to the reader. I know my vocabulary needs to improve, but I’m working on this.
What’s next on the agenda?
First of all, I need to launch Killing A Vampire, Book 3 of the Suckers Trilogy. I screwed up the other books’ launches and want to do this one right. Procrastination is hard to overcome, but I’m trying my hardest. At the moment, only Book 1 exists in print format, and I want all three to be available in print. Before I can make this happen, I need to go through Books 1 & 2 and re-edit them (for the so-maniest time, I know), but I’ve learned so much since I wrote them, and they can do with another ‘upgrade.’ Audio format is the next step.
In the meantime, I am ready to start writing something new. Not writing for a few days made me depressed already. I’ve suffered from depression for a long time. My GP told me I was tired because I was depressed. I am convinced I was depressed because I was always tired. Who was right, I will never know. One thing I do know, and that is that writing is the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. Don’t get me wrong. I love my family to bits and honestly couldn’t wish for a better life, but writing fires up my soul.
I’ve got so many ideas in my head. Number one and two are another paranormal/sci-fi novel (I never seem to be able to stick to one genre 🙂 ) and a whole new fantasy series in the style of Terry Pratchett. I love putting humor and sarcasm in my writing, and this seems like a good option to get away with this. I will send out a newsletter to my readers soon and ask them what they prefer I should write first.
Well, that’s me in a nutshell. I’m proud to be a woman, proud of what I’ve achieved, and proud of all the women in my life. You girls rock!
As I mentioned in Week 6, I was afraid I was losing muscle instead of fat, so I began doing exercises next to my yoga. As I had been doing yoga for six weeks, I felt my joints were ready for some more movement. My dear Canadian friend Stephanie mentioned HASfit to me, an online exercise program. She has been doing the daily exercises religiously for a few months already and has lost over 10kg. This result convinced me to try it out. You can do it from home, whenever you want (but daily with two rest days per week), and on the fitness level that suits you. I’ve started the foundation program, and I can tell you; it’s hard work! My body isn’t used to all that movement anymore and tries to fight me, but the HASfit instructors keep me focussed and motivated. They show you how to down or upgrade every single exercise, which is great when you have joint problems.
I can’t seem to get my weight under the 76kg on Tuesdays as the last two weekends I have been indulging myself. My weight drops, only to rise again after the weekend. The weekend before last I had a birthday party, and my husband took me out for a delayed Valentine’s Day celebration (see the temptations above!). This last weekend we went to Glasgow to see Imagine Dragons. Of course, this came with a lovely Sunday roast at the Rait Antique Centre (including sticky toffee pudding!) and a scrumptious dinner at TGI Friday. No wonder my weight loss is going so slow! 🙂
My weight this morning was 76.1 kg (11.98 stone), but most of the time it’s been under 76kg. I’m confident that next week I will officially go beneath the 76kg! I’ve given up on measuring my waist with my belt and have given in to properly measuring it with a measuring tape. Last week, it was 83.5cm (32.9 inches) and this week 82.5cm (32.5 inches). Whether this is a result of the diet or the exercise, I don’t know. My bet is on the exercise, considering what I’ve been eating and drinking 🙂 . I did notice that I can almost tighten my belt a notch further!
Here are the photos of Week 7.
Not much change again, at least not visible.
No other change than that more rounded belly. Now on to Week 8.
It’s a slow going process, but I’m okay with that. I’m still enjoying nice food in the meantime and not completely starving myself. I like the salads I make for lunch as they are more appetizing than plain sandwiches. I do need to curb my dinners crawling back to the way they were, with rice, pasta, and potatoes. Now fingers crossed I don’t need to celebrate anything soon!
Here are some images of the lovely stuff I’ve been eating the last two weeks:
Something’s wrong. I’m not sure what. I was on the scales today and I lost weight. Yay! Not a lot, but we’re on a downward spiral. So what’s wrong? When I was compiling my photos for today, I had the enlightening idea of pasting a shadow of myself today over the photo I took when I started out. And guess what? Nothing has changed!!! That’s what’s wrong. Great disappointment.
I guess, like I said last week, my fat is getting less dense. Or I’m losing muscle. But nothing in my body shape has changed. At all. Very depressing. I’ve almost finished my book, just missed the deadline yesterday. I only had ten pages of correction to go still (also very depressing). But it means I will have more time to be more active in and around the house. I hope this will burn more calories than sitting on my butt behind the computer all day.
I weighed 76.2 kg this morning (11.99 stone) and my waistline hasn’t changed.
I haven’t been sticking to the diet either. On the weekend we went to the movies and I had a fast-food burger. I only found out afterward that it contained 1100kcal. 1100! And that was without the fries I had with it. I didn’t take a lot of photos of my meals this week as I have been too busy working on finishing my book. My husband cooked most of the time and, I’m afraid to say out loud, they weren’t the most conventional meals. I am grateful he did it without complaining, though. I love him to bits!
I wonder why I starve myself if nothing is changing, but my weight is going down, so I keep on going. Maybe I’ll hit the gym this week now I have more time.
This week has been a step backward. I was doing pretty good, sticking to my diet, even got under 76kg (11.9 stone) just before the weekend. Unfortunately, we went to Holland to celebrate my father-in-law’s eightiest birthday. This, as you can imagine, the party included lots of food and drink.
Needless to say, I didn’t lose any weight this week. Even though I have moderated myself, I actually gained weight again. I suppose it could have been worse if I had let myself go completely, but it is still depressing. But, I’m not going to quit my diet completely now. I felt like it yesterday when I had a vanilla slice for dessert, but I keep that lean body image in front of me and want to get there. It’s a shame I didn’t see that image when I held that vanilla slice in my hand, but oh well. Two steps forward, one step back! 🙂
My scales went up to 77.5kg (12.2 stone) this morning. My belt is still closing in the third hole, so not too bad. I’m feeling very full still, so I think the coming week will be a good week for weight loss.
If anything, I look wider around the hips.
As you can see, no improvement at all. I even have a tiny bit of that bottom lump back 🙂 I think it’s also visible I feel full (my abdomen is slightly more extended than in Week 0).
I drank four glasses of wine. Two red ones that were so tiny, you could count it as one big one. And two dry white wines. I chose dry as I don’t like this at all and hoped it would take me longer to finish them. It didn’t work. I’m very proud I kept to two alcoholic beverages over the five-hour party, though (the red ones I drank the evening before while catching up with my sister-in-law).
The food was plentiful, with four entrees, a huge banquet, and multiple desserts to choose from. The scrumptious desserts were plentiful and spectacularly revealed.
Next to the party, I had to deal with the Dutch cuisine. Fries drowned in mayonnaise, so much licorice to cover a wall, bitterballen and kroketten, enormous pancakes… Too much to resist!
Here are the healthier things I ate this past week:
This coming week, I’m going to be a good girl again. Fingers crossed I will not be tempted by my family’s desserts.
I have just published my second book on Amazon. The first book disappeared into the Amazon abyss in no time. I was a complete novice then and didn’t advertise. This time, I was going to shout it from the rooftops and make my book get to #1 in its category on Amazon! Right? Wrong. Here’s what I learned from this experience.
Don’t go on a two-week holiday during the month before the launch
There is so much that needs to be done in the weeks before your book goes ‘live.’ Communication with your launch team members, finalizing your text, organizing advertisement. Don’t waste that time by not being there.
Don’t launch your book when it’s not in tip-top shape
I was still changing words, sentences, paragraphs the day before the launch. I’m still not done. Try to make sure the book is exactly what you want it to be before even contemplating putting it out there. It’ll save you a lot of stress.
Don’t assume your launch team has read your book
I knew some team members had other books to finish first, but I assumed they all would have read it by the time the book was due to be published. I reminded them a month before launch and a week before launch. I didn’t want to be too pushy. It only takes about four and a half hours to read it, yet, when I contacted them personally the day before the launch to tell them their review was wanted in a day’s time, there were still those who hadn’t even started reading. You need to contact them sooner, individually, to make sure they read it. Or scrap to them from your ‘people to count on’ list.
Don’t assume your launch team members read your posts
I knew there were a few people in my launch team new to the whole experience and I wrote a post with guidelines on how to write a review. Don’t assume they read it. Or follow it. Even when I posted where and how to find the place on Amazon to write the review, people still contacted me to ask how to do it. Just smile and explain it to them, again. When they write a review and give away the plot, contact them asap, drop to your knees and produce those crocodile tears, anything, to make them take that one sentence out of their review.
Don’t order a BargainBooksy promo if your book is free
I made that big mistake. I thought BargainBooksy and FreeBooksy were two completely different entities. They’re not. BargainBooksy contacted me on the day to say they couldn’t run the promo as my book was free and not between $0.99-$2.99. They offered to switch me over to FreeBooksy, but FreeBooksy couldn’t run my promo on any of the days my book was actually free. Day 1 wasted.
Don’t assume all launch team members are there for you
There are some people that are there for you every step of the way. Love them to bits. And then there are those that join your team and are never heard of again. Why they joined the team, I don’t know. I understand that everybody lives busy lives, but when you sign up for a launch team, people count on you. I know I’ve been one of those, and I still feel guilty about it, even though I always tell people I’m a very slow reader. What I don’t understand it that they don’t reply after you contact them personally. At least a word of ‘Sorry, I was busy’ would be nice. Now I keep wondering if they got hit by a train or something.
Don’t use Fiverr if you don’t know how it works
It was the first time I used Fiverr. I did so much wrong. I ordered a promo by a girl that said she needed three days to set it up (I opted for ‘the whole hog’ package). I didn’t realize you actually had to order it three days before you wanted it, not 5 days in advance. I managed to contact the girl and ask if she could do it later, on 1 or 2 September. No problem, she said, not mentioning what day she was actually going to do it. I had to try and get a response from her again. I finally did. 1 September she said. Okay, sorted, I thought. She didn’t do it on 1 September. She contacted me on 2 September to ask for the text of the tweet (I thought I had given her enough info (and money) for her to sort this. For some reason or other she didn’t run the promo on the 1st and assumed the 2nd would be okay. Not. I never got my money back as Fiverr keeps it’ in my account for future use.’ As if I ever want to go through that again. Lesson learned. Day 2 wasted (and my money).
Don’t assume your launch team members write reviews that make your book rise in the Amazon ranks
Even though the word ‘launch’ should make it clear that a launch team is there to help your book upward, some people have a problem understanding the system. They insist on rating the book according to how they compare it to other books they’ve read. Obviously, I can’t dispute their rating, but being in a launch team is not about ‘them.’ Team members are there to help the author rise in the Amazon rank to be seen by more people and hence be able to get more people to see and read your book. You can ask team members to contact you if they have a problem giving it four or five stars, but like I said before (see point 4), not everyone reads your posts.
Don’t think Facebook ads are your savior
When I already missed two days of advertising, I quickly made a video for my book and advertised it on Facebook (it took me half a day to make, more time of my promo time wasted). I still have no idea how it works, but I paid over £20 for five people to click on the ad. There is no way I can check if they bought it afterward. I stopped it as soon as I realized that this was a very expensive way of advertising.
Don’t give up!
Even though your ranking will plummet into the abyss immediately after the free days ended (I ranked #2557 the day after the promo), don’t give in. Don’t give up. Keep at it. Keep promoting your books and keep writing more! Remember that perseverance is stubbornness with a purpose 🙂 .
The launch and promo of Book 2 of the Suckers Trilogy are over and I’m exhausted. It is done. People can finally enjoy the fruits of my grit, sweat, and love of the past six months. Would I do it again? Of course! Just different…
I’m not a religious person, but I love this song. It’s so empowering. Grit, sweat, and love by the Brothers Bright. Get out of my way, you can’t stop this train!
From a young age, I have always used music as a way to steer my emotions. It calms me down when I am upset, it stimulates me when I need more energy, and it is a way to express my feelings ad hoc. Red Hot Chilli Peppers music has been blasting many a time from my student flat.
After the launch fiasco (see my next post), this song is just what I need to persevere!