When I embarked on my weight loss plan my main aim was to get fit, healthy and live a long happy life. In my 20’s I tried every diet imaginable and my sole purpose was to be slim and look good, I didn’t care about health. My wake up call was my mum dying in her early 60’s of a stroke and diabetes. I’ve been a yo yo dieter and binge eater all my life and it has taken me 48 years to break the cycle and realise that HEALTH is the most important factor not numbers on a set of SCALES. No one except you cares how much you weigh. Don’t get me wrong weekly weigh ins were very beneficial to me when I lost over 100 lbs as they were a way of recording my progress when it was difficult to measure my inch loss with a tape measure. It’s good to remember that a lb of muscle and a lb of fat are not created equal. Although a lb is a lb no matter what, muscle has a higher density and takes up less space than fat which means you can look a lot slimmer just by having a lower percentage of body fat but your weight might not have changed. Exercising and toning my body are important for my mental and physical health. Numbers will always play a role in my weight loss journey and maintenance. I started at 16 stone 8 lbs and today pre breakfast I weighed 8 stone 8 lbs so a total loss of 8 stone which is mind blowing when I think about it. 8 seems to be the magic number. I have decided that shamelessly obsessing over numbers is not healthy. So I’m taking the battery out of my scales. I have maintained my weight loss for over a year now and have actually lost a bit more weight without even trying and I know my body better than a set of scales. I may weigh 8 stone 8 lb this morning but by bedtime I might weigh closer to 9 stone depending on my food and fluid intake. I don’t like how a set of scales can dictate my mood, mindset and sabotage my plans.

Final Weigh-In (22/06/2022)

The most important thing to remember when weighing yourself on glass scales is the fact that they act like a mirror so under no circumstances should you weigh naked. Once the world has seen your lady bits, it’s game over! There is no coming back from that trauma (ha ha). Excuse my ugly arthritic feet.

It’s NOT about WHAT size you wear, It’s about HOW you wear your size

Now let’s talk about dress sizes. We all know very well that clothing sizes vary from shop to shop. A size 16 in one store can be the equivalent of a size 12 in another store. I’m a U.K size 10-12 and I have no intention of being pressured into being a size 0 or even a size 6 or 8. I have huge hips and thighs and muscular arms and legs so I’m never going to be petite or skinny. Be happy with the size that fits you and if you have to go up a size do it, it’s just a number on a label that you can cut out if it bothers you that much. I have had acquaintances in the past that swear they are a size 12 when we all know they are a size 20 but who really cares. Just because you can physically get into a size 8 item of clothing doesn’t mean that is your size. I did a little experiment today. I recently was donated some lovely shoes from a Facebook swap site and the kind lady gifted me a couple of dresses. They are both a size 8 so the challenge was fierce (ha ha). Could I get them on? Yes. Was it a struggle? Yes. Are they tight? Yes. Do I look like mutton dressed as lamb? Yes. Does this make me a size 8? No. Am I comfortable? No. Can I breathe? No. Would I be brave enough to wear the short sparkly dress out in public? HELL NO. Would hubby leave the house with me dressed like this? A hesitant Yes, bless him. Apparently I look like a prostitute in red. I wonder what I should set my fees at. I don’t want to set my prices too low as I want to attract a certain type of high class clientele (ha ha).

I was a sparkly garden princess for 10 minutes at least. I really need to start acting my age. Now I just need 4 more blokes with muscles to get me out of this dress. I only have one average sized man about the house so I might have to wear it to bed and sleep in it (ha ha). See the photos and judge for yourself. The moral of my story is just because you can get a smaller size on it doesn’t mean you are that size and it’s more important to feel good and comfortable than fit in a tiny number that no one will ever see or know. So don’t ever get hung up on size. I like to have a little room in my outfits so they don’t cut me in half. I also like to be able to breathe so I think I much prefer my baggy cotton summer dresses where I have the ability to expand my waist band to eat Portuguese cake (ha ha).

Sparkly Garden Princess or Mutton Dressed as Lamb

I couldn’t find my selfie stick which has the little timer gadget so I had to set a 10 second clock and run like the wind to get into position (ha ha). Excuse my naked make-up free face and messy hair. I couldn’t be bothered to glam up for the occasion. The dresses are glam enough anyway! I’m Mrs Natural, take it or leave it. I know one thing for sure. If I dropped something on the floor, I would put on an X rated show if I bent over to retrieve it (ha ha). Definitely need to wear underwear with this dress! It would make a perfect outfit for PRIDE. I just wish it were longer and a size bigger! I deleted all the photos where I was flashing my granny knickers, Phew I bet you are relieved (ha ha).

Lady in Red or Cheap Hooker

The verdict is still out but my neighbour just chucked a couple of euros at my feet. I shoved them in my bra to make my boobs look bigger (ha ha).

Floaty, Floral & Room to Breathe

I much prefer my summer frocks as I have room to breathe and eat cake (ha ha). I rarely leave the house anyway and when I do it’s usually for hiking or paddle boarding so I really just need a wardrobe full of leisure wear and gardening leggings.

Balance & Moderation – I Live by “Everything in Moderation”

From now onwards it’s all about balance and moderation. I’m not going to beat myself up for eating that huge bowl of popcorn last night because it was yummy and I don’t do it every day. I also am eating Portuguese cake, ice cream and drinking alcohol when I want to because life is too short to be miserable, restrict food and be hungry. I eat tons of food some are good choices others not so good but I enjoy food, especially Portuguese cuisine. One thing I am super proud about is I’ve broken the binge eating cycle and yo yo dieting. I am no longer obese and I exercise come rain or shine.

Exercise, Fitness and the Menopause – I’m still HOT it just comes in flashes

There is so much social media coverage about how women can put on weight during the menopause due to hormones and how it’s difficult to shift weight around your mid section “menopause belly” so I am determined to work on my fitness and exercise to prevent this. I can’t do anything about excess skin but I can tone my abs so I have some form of definition. I will continue with my power walks and jogging and listen to my body. Guilt free rest days are important and I will continue to get my hormone levels checked annually for my underactive thyroid and take my meds. I am venturing out on X4 7k power walks per week with an average pace of around 7k per minute which is not too shabby for a walk. I have a rest day and weekends off to PARTY. Who am I kidding, It’s DIY, gardening, hiking or paddleboarding with a rare day trip in-between.

I Have a Gut Feeling

I’m also learning about gut health and the digestive system as I have IBS and it doesn’t matter if you fuel your body with healthy foods, if you have bad gut health then it won’t digest foods properly. I am often bloated to the point where I look pregnant! I’m not by the way, my oldest child is 29 next month! I am also focussing on sleep aids as I’ve suffered from insomnia for years. It is linked to my chronic pain and my disturbed sleep pattern sucks big time.

Acceptance – Do NOT let your Mind Bully your Body

I am learning how to stop comparing myself to others and I am waving the white flag to fad diets and unachievable and unrealistic exercise plans that can’t be maintained. Please don’t compare yourself to others as everyone’s journey is different. I get frustrated at myself when I see others on Instagram sharing their long runs as I know I will probably never run again due to my recent injury. It’s important to follow our own bodies after all it’s not a competition. Don’t ever feel jealous of others and their achievements, smash your own goals and congratulate others on their success as you don’t know their full story or background. I bet they struggle just as much as you and I but they just don’t share their bad days with the world. I am going to step into my old age adventure with a new lease of life and look after my health as a priority. My body needs to carry me into my senior years with strength and dignity. No one should judge me for my lose skin and cellulite and I shouldn’t be ashamed of it and hide it away. I need to learn how to embrace my imperfections which are a result of massive weight loss. Not many folk can lose 8 stone and have a perfectly toned body at the age of 48 after a life time of yo yo dieting. If I can’t be my own cheerleader then how can I expect anyone else to be. Love and respect the skin you’re in. I have fought the obesity battle and WON!

Focus & Fucks

Don’t let anyone crush your health and fitness goals. I will NOT let age, Menopause, Chronic Pain, Under Active Thyroid or Arthritis take me down. It’s took me 48 years to realise it’s not about being slim but prioritising my HEALTH. My focus now is to get a STRONG body prior to my pending surgery as afterwards I know I won’t be able to exercise for a few weeks. I also need to be less judgemental about my flaws from excessive weight loss and learn a little self love and body positivity. My goal, now, is to remain the way I am: happy and healthy, without the guilt of eating the occasional cake and without being swayed by the opinions of others.

Lets unite together and shout from the rooftops: “FUCK the weighing scales and FUCK clothing sizes”. It’s HEALTH all the way for me now. This is most likely going to be my final weight loss update and hopefully I will now maintain for life and if I do pile all the weight back on I doubt I will have the audacity to share it with you all (ha ha).

Pink Power – Thank You Teanna

I also just wanted to say a huge THANKS to my gorgeous daughter TEANNA who is my biggest fan, always says the kindest words and is my inspiration as well as my exercise buddy whenever we are in the same country. I am sure hubby is proud of me but he actually never really tells me that much but I do appreciate him being by my side throughout my weight loss, cooking nutricious meals every single day and loving me unconditionally whether I was big or small. I like to think he fell in love with my spirit and crazy personality and we all know it’s what’s on the inside that really matters. As my hero Judge Judy says: “Beauty fades, Dumb is forever” (ha ha).

The photo on the left is of Teanna and myself at the Pretty Muddy Cancer Research Event in Bristol, U.K. I was at the start of my weight loss journey and had already lost 1.5 stone so I weighed around 15 stone. I knewthe 5k race would be a challenge but I didn’t how hard it would be on my huge bulk of a body and once mud and obstacles were added in the mix it just doubled the difficulty. I made it through to the end but I had to walk a lot of it but I was determind to finish to raise money for such a worthy cause and in honour of my best friend who died from breast cancer. The photo on the right is a completely different kind of pink, Pink Street in Lisbon, 2021 family road trip and I weighed around 9 stone 7lbs. One day I will re-enter the race and run the whole 5k. You will never know your limits until you push yourself to them.

Loud & Proud – Achievement Progress Photos

I am my own worst enemy and very self critical as I pick at every little flaw. Every now and then I like to make these cute little photo frames and save them in my Favourite Photos album. When I’m having a bad day with my chronic pain and have zero energy to get out and exercise or I’ve consumed too much cake or one too many curly wurlys, I take a minute to look over these photos and see with my own eyes just how far I have come. As I have previously said, numbers are not the most important factor but sometimes I just need to sit down, breathe and acknowledge that 8 Stone is a mammoth amount of weight for one individual to lose. That doesn’t happen overnight and it takes sheer dedication, discipline and routine to achieve such huge results and keeping the weight off is another challenge to be proud of. I will never be that person who can blow their own trumpet on a daily basis but I need to be proud rather than pick at my imperfections. My new “thing” I have adopted now is that every time I look in the mirror and pull apart my body by self sabotage and say negative shit I come back with at least one positive remark. My favourite is “Believe in yourself Helen, Look how far you’ve come”. So lets raise a glass to growing old NOT so gracefully (ha ha) and kicking ass when it comes to our health and fitness journey. I may have lose skin and cellulite but I’m owning every crinkle and wrinkle.

Health is a long term investment, so invest the time, energy and commitment. The reward is priceless! 

Other Weight Loss Posts – My Journey

http://casavalhal.com/weight-loss-in-portugal/

http://casavalhal.com/weight-loss-2021/

http://casavalhal.com/weight-loss-2021-update/

Batteries Not Included

So it appears that I am my own worst enemy because I didn’t take the batteries out of my scales! I ate pizza and cake on a day trip out then felt it necessary to weigh myself as I felt fat as a house. It turned out I only weighed 8 Stone 7lb which is crazy. I have never ever weighed this light in my entire life. In my 20’s I punished myself with ridiculously low calorie diets and my lowest weight ever was 8 Stone 13lb and I was eating hardly anything and my monthly periods stopped because I was starving myself. I would follow this regime for a couple of months and lose weight but then I would pile the weight all back on and more because I couldn’t stick to such a small amount of food for any length of time, yo yo dieting and binge eating was my life. I currently eat so much food and don’t restrict anything or any certain food groups. It just goes to show that you don’t have to starve yourself to be a healthy weight, you just need to be sensible. I can’t believe it took me many years to finally realise this and it really is a lightbulb moment for me. To respect my body and enjoy chocolate and cake and not to beat myself up afterwards for enjoying treats. I am continuing to prepare my body for surgery and I am trying my best to get fit and strong before my operation. I don’t actually mind if I put on 7lbs as I want to build muscle and bulk out a bit to hopefully fill some of my lose skin. One thing is for sure, I am going to take the battery out of my scales RIGHT NOW. I have memorialised my lowest weight on a cute frame below and whenever I am feeling fat or sluggish I am going to look at this photo and tell myself “I AM NOT FAT, I AM HEALTHY”. Apologies for my chipped nail varnish, I painted the black garden railings and I obviously got the paint all over me including my feet. The paint remover also took away my pretty pink nails. I will re-do them before I visit the river beach (ha ha). TIME TO BE PROUD & LEARN SELF LOVE.