21 Day Sugar Detox! 

21 days ago I decided that I needed a sugar detox. I had been eating loads of fruit, having sugar free jelly with Greek yoghurt with my lunch and the very occasion piece of toast at my after school club. Although I wasn’t eating loads of sugar my body was craving it. I was driving myself crazy in the evenings fighting the urge to buy chocolate because I’d gotten used to wanting a sweet taste. I’d fancy something sweet after each savoury meal and although I was making pretty healthy choices the sweet tooth was driving me nuts! 


So, I looked online and saw some different detoxes, some not as strict but I knew I would need to do the strictest if I wanted to see good results! I found this 21 day detox and agreed that it fitted my usual eating habits week, I have low carb diet anyway so wasn’t bothered about cutting out rice, pasta and bread because these are things I rarely have anyway. I made a couple of exceptions to the list and kept milk and Greek yoghurt in my diet but stuck to the rest. After a week I started to notice I had more energy, wasn’t having my 2pm slump where my fatigue hit and was able to get bit more gone in the evenings. My partner agreed to do it with me and saw great results of 7lbs weight loss over the 21 days. I lost 4lbs but was at an ideal weight anyway. The biggest change tho was my shape, I lost a huge amount of bloat around my tummy, 14cm to be exact! I was still able to train hard in the gym and in fact upped my weights on lots of my exercises. I didn’t want the lack of carbs or sugars to mean I wasn’t able to train as well! 

During the first week I found my new favourite food, kale. It is so versatile and can be cooked/eaten in so many different ways. 

Baked Cajun kale crisps


‘Kale’slaw made with Greek yoghurt to accompany my steak and parsnip fries!


I stir fried it, baked it, steamed it and added it to meals all without really knowing how good it is for you! As I started cooking it everyday to replace higher sugar vegetables I thought it would be a good idea to check out its nutritional value. I knew it tasted good but didn’t realise just what a super food it is until finding this website. 

http://spiritfoods.net/health-benefits-of-kale/

I will be looking up some more great kale recipes over the next few weeks to keep it varied but at the minute it is most definitely my favourite vegetable and its not only tasty but a nutrient dense alternative! 

 My 21 days are over but I’ve decided to add another week which will take me nicely to a Chinese meal out to celebrate the boyfriends birthday, I intend to over indulge on this treat meal but will be going straight back to my healthy eating afterwards ! 

On a separate note my gym progress is going well and I’m happy with the results I’m seeing (I will do a separate post at later date but here’s a progress pic or two) 

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Changes! 

Tonight I’m laying in the bath in my sparkly clean bathroom feeling a mixture of feelings. I’m wondering why on earth it’s taken me this long to ACT (Accept and Commit) 

After years of living with a chonic illness I thought I had my life pretty much sorted. I have so many little tricks to preserve my energy to make sure I can live a happy life and have time and energy to keep myself fit and healthy. Even that side of things have been overhauled lately with different training plan with very little cardio and more strength sessions because I wasn’t coping with the fatigue brought on by heavy cardio sessions.

I started prepping food (both lunches and dinners) on a Sunday afternoon years ago. I cook lots of healthy, nutritious foods and freeze in portion pots to save me from needing to cook after work! 

Even with these changes I used to find I was stressing every Friday about how much I had to squeeze into my weekends. My weekend would consist of 2 gym sessions, seeing the boyfriend and his children, wanting to visit my parents, sister, daughter, food shopping, cooking, washing, cleaning and everything else in between.. Most of the time I struggled to see family or clean to my fairly high standards. Every Friday without fail I’d start to feel panicky and wished I could take something out of my frantic weekend so I had time to relax, do something nice or just see family. 

About a month ago I had a conversation with another MSer who told me she had an amazing cleaner… 

Maybe I should look at getting a cleaner, I’m on a limited budget and kept coming back to the cost and whether I could afford it. Plus I worried about whether they’d do what I want to my standards and maybe on different weeks I’d want different things done. I was also worried I’d spend more time tidying before they came than them actually cleaning. I know the latter is a silly thought but I have silly thoughts…. Lots of them! 

Anyway, once I started giving it some serious thought I realised that 2 hours for private cleaner would probably cost more than I earn at my after school club that I do 4 days a week after my full time job… 


So…. I asked work how much I’d lose if I gave up my Monday evening meaning I could leave work at 3.30 instead of 5.30. Financially it was doable and as its a Monday its close enough to the weekend for me to be more rested and less tired. No other day would’ve really worked for me.

So today was the day… I made the plunge and gave up my Monday evening. I treated the 2 hours as if I was at work and refused to sit down, that’s my biggest problem. If I stop its all over! 

I am shocked at just how much I managed to do in that 2 hours. My home is clean and tidy, I cooked a beef casserole for the freezer (one less job for Sunday) and I’ve done some washing. 

Accepting I had MS was one thing, accepting I no longer am an energetic, always on the go, spotlessly clean and tidy woman was another thing altogether. I want to still do it all, I want to still have unlimited energy, I want to still be able to gym twice daily… 

Those days are well and truly  over…

But what I have is not at all bad…. I have a job I love, great family, friends, a kind and supportive partner and my own home! In my eyes that all adds up to make me a super lucky girl! 

Irrational fear, the dreaded MRI day has arrived! 

I know my worrying and anxiousness is unnecessary but at the minute I’m finding it hard to think rationally! 


It all started 18 months ago when I went for my MRI, this was probably the 8th or 9th one I’d had so was confident it would be fine. I’d never really liked them but never really bothered by them before, just went on my own, got on with it and came home to await the results! 

Well, this all changed 18 months ago when I went for another head one. I was feeling fine in the morning and had actually joked on Facebook about it and posted some funny memes on both Twitter and Facebook! 

To my horror tho I found the experience horrendous, it was literalky on the back of a lorry, it was cramped even in the room let alone the scanner. I laid down to prepare myself but every movement outside the scanners room could be felt. Anybody that sufferes from ms dizziness or vertigo would know that this could trigger an attack.

Things got even worse as the bed started sliding in, I was dizzy, disorientated, had a cage around my head and was moving inside this tiny tunnel. The dizziness made me feel sick and I quickly started to panic, I had millions of completely irrational thoughts going through my head at that moment, my breathing  went funny and I started to think I couldn’t breath. I remember shouting for them to get me out. I have no idea how long it took them to get me out and get the cage of my head but it felt like an eternity. I was physically shaking, crying, feeling like I couldn’t breathe and thought I was going to be sick. The staff were brilliant, really calming and reassuring but all I kept repeating is “I’ve got to go back in” over and over through sobs! 

I eventually calmed down enough to go back in, asked for the special mirror glasses that lets you see out of the scanner! After concentaing on my breathing and thinking nice thoughts I allowed the test to restart. A couple of times I felt my chest tightening and I felt like I couldn’t get a breath so I moved which meant that the part of the test that was being done had to be repeated at the end! 

It’s funny how my panic turned to embarrassment after the test, I apologised and drove back home all the time beating myself up about it. For the last 18 months I’ve panicked even at the thought of having another one. Today is the day, I’m prepared with diazepam and hoping it will leave me chilled enough to not worry. I am shattered after a sleepless night worrying so hoping the mixture of calming meds and me being tired will mean I can relax enough to get through.

Another thing that bothers me is restless legs and an arm that goes numb when kept still so will have to concentrate on not moving them! This for me is a huge challenge in itself! 

I have lots of lovely things planned this week so will have plenty of happy thoughts to think of! 

Wish me luck guys! 

Meal Prep Is The Answer

It doesn’t matter what the question is… food prep is the answer. I am too tired to cook healthily after work… Food prep is the answer. I want to lose weight… Food prep. I need to stick to my macros… Food prep… I need to watch my portion sizes… Food prep. I live on my own so only cooking for one… Food prep.

I started food prepping on a Sunday a few years ago when I was quite poorly with my MS. I was just about managing to get through a day at work but then so fatigued by the time I got home I didn’t have the energy or motivation to cook. I was usually asleep within half an hour of getting home so it was either a bowl of cereal or nothing for my evening meal. The longer this went on the worse my fatigue got, the more weight my body held onto because it was storing fat in case it didn’t get fed for another 18 hours. This is where my mum came in, she suggested two things. Cooking all my meals on a day I wasn’t at work and had more energy and secondly buy ready prepared vegetables. Both these things had an immediate effect on me. I started eating a healthy, nutritious meal every day AND I started losing the weight I’d piled on from bad eating habits. It took a while before my fatigue lifted but that was more to do with my MS than my eating habits.

Even now I’m much healthier I still food prep every Sunday. I have got much quicker at it, sometimes I buy the veg all ready prepared but other times (like today) I make the effort to peel, chop and prepare what I need. Each week I cook 3 different meals so I can rotate it and have something different every day for Dinner.

Today’s recipes are

Beef and Sweet Potato Casserole

Moroccan Chicken soup

Heck Chicken Sausage and Bean casserole

Beef and Sweet Potato Casserole

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Chop sweet potato

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Add chopped onions

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Add mixed herbs and chopped carrots

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Garlic

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Add chopped beef and stock

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Put in a preheated oven 180 degrees for 70 minutes, stir, add cornflour to thicken and put back in the oven uncovered for 20 minutes.

 

Next I made the Moroccan chicken soup for my lunches. This one I cheat with, I buy the veg and seasoning in a packet (Morrisons 2 for £1.50)

Add the Moroccan style meal kit to chilli, herbs and chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock cube, chicken breast cut up into small pieces and water to a large pan. Simmer for 30 minutes and it’s done. I use two packets for a weeks worth of lunches.

Next I prepped the spicy sausage and bean casserole. I literally throw the ingredients into a casserole dish, put it in oven and forget about it for an hour. I then add a tin of baked beans to it and return to oven for 10 minutes. I love the Heck chicken sausages, super healthy, gluten free and more importantly tasty.

Next on the prep list is preparing some healthy snacks. Sugar free jelly with grapes go in the fridge ready to be topped with Greek yogurt. (Sorry the pics are sideways)

I also cook hard boiled eggs and get vegetable sticks ready for my healthy snacks I have at 4pm alternatively I have Greek yogurt and seeds

If you like this foodie post then let me know and I’ll do some more.

Thanks for reading

When life moves to fast! 

Just over a week ago I had a rushed neurology appointment!

 I had my appointment letter dated to remind me to ring up and book my appointment which usually takes about 4-6 weeks! I hadn’t really mentally prepared myself for it knowing I had a while to think about which disease modifying therapy I was going to choose. I rang up on the Tuesday to find out all clinics were full and was told they couldn’t see me until  the end of April, I explained that this was a pretty important appointment and that would mean another 3 months off treatment if going back on was the best decision. Even though I wasn’t 100% sure this was the decision I wanted to make quite yet after the horrendous time I had on plegridy! The receptionist told me she’d speak to my neurologists secretary and see if there were any other clinics likely to be put on! Within an hour she’d called back and left a message saying they’d added me to the end of his clinic 2 days later! That panicked me slightly because I still wanted to research further DMTs and I felt I’d be pushed into making the decision straight away! 

For the first time ever I felt that my Dr really listened to me, I also felt like he respected the invisible side of my ms symptoms (something I have always felt he ignored)! He also agreed to do another MRI before I make any decisions! I really want to see if my lesion load has deteriorated or if the previous active lesions are still active! If things are stable I am hoping to stay medication free a little longer! I have had a return of some old symptoms lately which worries me tho which is another reason I wanted another MRI. I know that it’s reccomended MS patients  should be monitored every 12 months but my neurologist prefers to leave it longer stating he feels you see a better picture after a few years! I haven’t had one for 2 years now but was still dubious as to whether he would agree! 

So now I wait for an appointment! A plan has been put together if there’s any more lesions, aubagio will be the therapy I’ll try next! 


He’s also writing to my GP with info of migraine medication if I choose to try it and a suggestion of restarting gabapentin for my nerve pain! Here’s hoping I can manage without because I don’t want to have to worry about more side effects! 

It’s not all about resolutions!!


Remember that tomorrow is just another day. New Years resolutions rarely last but if you want to make changes then it’s worth remembering that it’s the long term changes that count! Each and every day is a fresh start so you can make changes that improve your mental wellbeing, health and help you hit your goals any day of the week, it doesn’t have to be restricted to January 1st!  


If you have a bad day, chalk it up to experience and start again the next day! Life isn’t always going to be easy, things are going to get in your way or sometimes stop you in your tracks but every step you take towards your end goal will be a step closer to the life you want! 

I won’t be making any new year resolutions but I will be continuing to live a happy, healthy lifestyle and continue to work towards my goals to be the best version of me I can!

 I will wake up every day with gratitude!

 Happy New Year everybody! 

Oh fudge! 

Wednesday  I was enjoying a bath before work when I remembered that it was one of my colleagues  last days before the Christmas break and I hadn’t got round to sorting a small gift! Cue the panicked fudge making! I had 45 minutes to dry, straighten hair, get dressed and do makeup and I’d just added in cooking fudge to my already hectic morning!

This is where my tried and tested recipe comes in. I would say its fool proof but even I had one disastrous batch that I had to bin (it might have been down to the fact I added almost half a bottle of Malibu which stopped it setting) 

Thankfully even tho time was limited I still managed to make it and refrigerate it once I got to work! 

White chocolate and cranberry fudge 

12 oz granulated sugar

1 oz unsalted butter

6fl oz evaporated milk

10 oz white chocolate 

Dried cranberries 
Line dish with greaseproof paper

Put sugar, butter and evaporated milk into a large pan

Heat gently on low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved

Bring to boil stirring continuously with a wooden spoon

Turn down to simmer for 5 minutes (use a timer) stirring continuously

Remove from heat and quickly stir in chocolate and cranberries

Put straight into the lined dish and refrigerate until set

(Enjoy licking the pan/spoon) 

Once set cut into small squares and bag!

Some different flavours I’ve tried 

Chocolate orange

Rum and raisin (only small amount of alcohol)

Milk chocolate and honeycomb

Biscuit and raisin

Plain chocolate

White chocolate and coconut

Let me know if you do try my recipe! 

 

Change is needed, get rid of skinny and bring in strong! 


I read an article this afternoon that sickened me, this is what teens look up to but is really damaging to their health. People are struggling with eating disorders to try and fit in with what the media portrays! (I’ll post the link below) 

I’m annoyed to say I spent my teen years and most of my adult life feeling never quite good enough when it comes to how I look. Being a petite 5ft 1in meant that even looking at a doughnut meant I put on weight! During school years I was called fat and I believed it! The most I ever weighed in secondary school was 7st 7… Yes that’s 7 1/2 stone which is a healthy weight yet I allowed other people’s nastiness make me feel huge. By the time I was 18 I’d lost a stone and was an unhappy 6st 7lbs! I only weighed 8st 7lb when I went into labour with my daughter. The cruel comments were embedded and have lasted a lifetime! The media did nothing to help, models were all ridiculously thin and sadly people thought this was healthy and obtainable! What we didn’t see is how little these models ate, how pressured they were to have bones showing and how weak they probably felt! 

This is a recent (not very good progress) picture of me at 7st 7lbs

Things really need to change. We need to be portraying strength, health and balance to the kids and teens of today, the ones that are still very impressionable! 

I now weigh the same as I did in my teen years but the difference is I’m stronger, I’m not desperately trying to get skinny. I want to feel healthy and fuel my body so it works for me! 

It took me until I was 40 and recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis before I realised that health, strength and balance were more important than being slim! I eat more now but I eat better, I use food for fuel!

working towards body confidence!


http://diply.com/laughitout/article/woman-lives-on-three-apples-a-day

Body Building… Have I lost the plot? 

Today’s blog is a bit of history regarding my fitness journey and explains why I decided to start a female body building program. My main reason is because I want to be strong enough to cope with whatever my MS might throw at me, it’s not about becoming a body builder but more about building a body that won’t let me down so much. 

 After having more than my share of setbacks in and out of the gym I realised I didn’t really know where I fit in the gym life anymore! I used to be a cardio queen, it was all about weight loss and keeping as small as possible when I first started in 2009 as a slightly chubby short arse. I then added a bit of strength but didn’t really have any goals and was often spinning 7 times a week by 2011 so any strength I did was probably being burnt away in a sweaty spin room! 

In 2010 I had a car accident that left me with permenent neck/back injury but at the time I didn’t really know how bad it was. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I fell doing a handstand in one of my gym classes that they found 4 fractures! I was back on an exercise bike within 2 weeks but not spinning for a month and it was much longer before I was able to do strength again. Then 18 months ago I had one of my worst MS relapses. I had severe dizziness and vertigo, I was barely able to lift my head up or  walk in a straight line for 5 weeks. This yet again put me back! When I came back I was determined to start building strength and got a plan devised by a personal trainer Daddy Kabuiku http://www.trainforlifeuk.com/

Following this plan I built up a pretty decent amount of strength only to have a gym injury in January resulting in dislocated shoulder and subsequently getting bursitis which put me out of lifting for the next 5 months! 

Each time I come back I find it harder and harder, I don’t know if that’s down to my ms or just motivation. 

While trying my best to overcome injuries I’ve also been battling crippling medication side effects which has also played a part in  hampering my progress! 

This brings me to a couple of weeks ago when I realised I wanted/needed a new focus. I’ve had to cut most cardio out because of fatigue so only do 10 minute hiit on the treadmill before any strength. I was only training 3 times a week and knew I wanted and needed to do more if I was going to get back to where I was so I scrabbled  around the internet until I found Jim Stoppani’s Short Cut To Size plan on http://www.bodybuilding.com

And so my new motivation began

Day one,  Monday chest, triceps and calves

10 minute interval training on treadmill 

Bench Press: 4 sets of 12-15 reps, Rest-pause on final set for each

Incline Bench Press: 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Incline Dumbbell Flyes: 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Cable Crossover: 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Triceps Pushdown: 4 sets of 12-15 reps        

Lying Triceps Extension: 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Cable Overhead Triceps Extension: 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Standing Calf Raise: 4 sets of 25-30 reps         

Seated Calf Raise: 4 sets of 25-30 reps

Tuesday, my usual kettlebell and bodyweight class

Wednesday, Pilates 

Thursday back, biceps and abs

Saturday shoulders, traps and calves

Sunday legs and abs

If you want to see what the rest of my week held then check out this link Short Cut To Size

My food is prepped, all gym kit clean and ready for the start of week 2! 

Burying my head in the sand! 


Two months ago I felt extreme relief, I had been waiting to hear back from my ms nurse to discuss my medication. At that time I was desperate and couldn’t imagine having to take another shot of Plegridy so was extremely grateful to get the call just two hours before I was due to take it telling me to stop! 

It was explained that my next steps in terms of disease modifying therapy would be discussed at my next appointment. That gave me two months to research and think about what to do! 

It took about a month for side effects to completely go which has left a month where I’ve found myself again. The longer I’ve been off medication the more I’ve wanted to stay that way! I’m picking myself back up in the gym, not wanting/needing to get in bed after work and feeling much happier. It has been pointed out to me that I had lost my mojo but in reality I was becoming depressed while on it! 

Now is the time I realise I can’t put off researching new meds any longer, I need to stop burying my head in the sand! It won’t go away if I don’t think about it. 

So after a nice relaxing bath last night I decided to get the  MS Decisions book out. Every time I think about trying something new I panic, feel sick and shaky! I read through each medication paying particular attention to the side effects… I can usually be confident I’ll get them ALL! The more I read either online or in booklets picked up at my neurology department the more I think that I can’t do it! 


I’m scared! 

It takes a lot to make me scared but this decision has left me terrified! 

If I chose to not take disease modifying drugs  I risk unseen damage going on in my brain or spinal cord, I risk disability, I risk my eyes getting worse, I risk relapsing, I risk losing life as I know it! 

BUT 

I am absolutely terrified of a new set of side effects! 

There’s no magic cure, there’s no guarantee whatever I try will stop the damage to my myelin, stop relapses or  mean I have less chance of future disability! They don’t even know how some of the newer medications even work! 

I really don’t know what to do and time is ticking away! 

The closer it gets the more anxious I feel! 


Which direction will my life take? 

I have till Tuesday to think and worry about it before meeting my ms nurse to discuss things! 

Sometimes I think it would be easier if somebody else took the decision out of my hands!