Posted in Real Life

The one about eating well – weekly update #6

Happy Thursday. So as I mentioned last time, Friday 24th is going to be a messy day of eating drinking and making merry. I fully expect to fall off the healthy eating wagon almost before I wake up but rather than putting off my new regime for yet another week I’ve already started and decided to post a blog a day early in celebration.

Not only am I feeling virtuous by way of the fact that I have walked the dog and been in the gym three times this week but I’ve also spent time putting recipes together for my healthy eating plan. It’s absolutely not a diet because that suggests a short-term fix, it’s more a structured change in how I perceive food and use it to fuel my body.

I have the autoimmune skin disorder psoriasis. I have also suffered in the past with psoriatic arthritis. Whilst I no longer suffer with joint pain other than the odd twinge and the remnants of damage from historic flare-ups, my skin has steadily got worse over the past couple of years.

I have tried almost every drug, combination of drugs, herbal remedy and old wives tale. I’ve tried light therapy and every emollient and cream known to man. The ONLY thing that has worked for any length of time is eating differently. So here we are.

I stumbled across the Pagano program about eight years ago and it worked absolute wonders for my skin and had the added benefit of significant weight loss. As with all things, I fell off the Pagano wagon and never got back on. What I found the most difficult was sticking to such a strict regimen and it was very much all or nothing for me. I saw such a dramatic improvement in my skin I thought for a while that I was cured. What I failed to realise was that I needed to keep to it for good. So this time the aim is to take most of the suggestions from the regimen and stick with them, letting myself have occasional days when I’m allowed the freedom to go out with friends for a meal or enjoy an evening off and a few glasses of wine.

So I thought I’d just quickly outline the plan because it would totally work for everyone, not just those with a skin problem, as a way to lose weight. I’ll give you a quick run down of the ideas behind it together with a meal plan for a typical day.

Dr John Pagano helped and healed people suffering with psoriasis, arthritis and eczema with a regimen that has achieved abundant remarkable outcomes. The regimen, examples of results, reasons why and meal plans are all contained within the book Healing Psoriasis The Natural Alternative – John O A Pagano DC.

Simply put, the science behind Pagano’s regimen is related to how the body reacts from the inside to what is put into it. Toxins released from within the gut cause the auto immune reaction and resulting skin problem. As psoriasis happens from within it needs to be cured from within. Therefore topical creams, light therapy etc are all symptom relieving but not curing.

The book and regimen contained within it detail lots of ways to kick-start the process from colonic irrigation to a three day apple diet which enables the body to expel the maximum amount of toxins prior to starting the diet properly. These are absolutely not for me and whilst I did the three day apple thing last time it’s not something I’m committing to this time. It just means the evil toxins sitting in my body now will take a bit longer to leave. So be it!

As this post is already becoming significantly longer than I had anticipated here’s a quick, general run down of the baddies and goodies in terms of food types.

The Deadly Seven

  • Saturated fats
  • Nightshades (especially tomatoes, peppers, white potatoes and hot spices)
  • Sweets (sugar in general tbh)
  • Cigarettes (doesn’t apply to me)
  • Alcohol (definitely applies to me)
  • Junk food (also applies to me and I’m surprised cake isn’t singled out)
  • Fried foods.

The Glorious Seven

  • Fresh water (with sliced fresh lemon or lime)
  • Vegetables (fruit and veg should be the majority of the daily diet, vegetables are the builders and fruits are the cleansers)
  • Fresh fruit (the cleansers)
  • Animal protein (fish, chicken and lamb)
  • Pro biotic yogurt
  • Olive oil
  • Wholegrain breads, rice and pasta

The aim is to pick foods with low carb and sugar content and to try and stick with the kinds of foods we all associate with losing weight; fruit, vegetables, chicken, fish and lean meat. Swapping out white bread and white rice and pasta for wholemeal seedy bread and brown rice and pasta, only drinking freshly squeezed or pressed juices, avoiding juices from concentrate and fizzy sugary drinks. I’ll also be avoiding red meat and processed meats, gluten, caffeine and sugar as much as possible.

If you read Pagano’s book in a systematic and rigid way like I did last time it’s pretty challenging. However, if you think about it logically all you are really doing is thinking more carefully about what you eat, taking care to avoid trigger foods for inflammation and being kind to the inside mechanics of your body.

Together with the new healthy eating plan I’ll be exercising by walking the dog each day for at least twenty minutes and spending time in the gym for at least thirty minutes, three times a week or more. And when I say ‘spending time in the gym’ I actually mean working out as opposed to standing looking at the equipment, watching tv and sighing. So before I go, here’s what a typical day will look like for me food wise:

Breakfast. Pro biotic yogurt, a handful of blueberries or raspberries with some honey drizzled over. A wholemeal muffin with a poached egg on top. A cup of decaf tea

Lunch. A light salad comprising of cooked chicken or tuna, egg, romaine lettuce, cucumber, beetroot and avocado. Light salad dressing. A slice of brown seedy bread. A glass of pressed apple juice.

Dinner. Chicken pesto. Made with onions, chicken, green pesto, half fat crème fraiche, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, brown pasta, black pepper and grated Parmesan.

Snacks. A small bunch of grapes, a handful of almonds and dates, peeled and chopped apple and pear.

Doesn’t look too terrifying does it? I have meal plans to put together for about ten days in total which I will rotate. The joy of this is that every evening meal is a good hearty evening meal for the whole family and not just lettuce leaves and carrot sticks for me. I’m actually looking forward to it. Of course it helps that next week our new kitchen arrives so spending time cooking in a gorgeous new space will be bliss.

So that’s me done for this week, I have a present to wrap and a bag to pack before a girls night away. Have a good one and wish me luck ….

Big love, Jules x

Posted in Real Life

The one about the uphill climb – weekly update #5

Well it’s been a while but I’m back and although I feel a complete fraud calling this a weekly update the plan is to get going again. Ready? Let’s get 2020 started.

Christmas was lovely. It’s my favourite celebration. I love the build up, shopping for gifts, gathering with friends and family, the delicious goodies. And once Christmas was done we spent a long weekend in the Lake District. We overindulged and we made precious memories with our lovely family.

As the last decade ended and the new one began, it was my birthday. And touching very briefly on the fact that I’ve now reached the age my beautiful mama was when she passed away, it has been a little emotional for me. I have no frame of reference now in terms of what she would have been to me and what our relationship might have been like. What I’m reminded of though is how important it is to be healthy in order to live a longer life.

With the fact that I am now firmly in my 50s I recognise that it really is time to get started on living that healthier and more active life. Over the last couple of years I have put on weight. A couple of years ago I had some trouble with my knee that resulted in a consultant confirming that I should expect surgery. However with exercises from a physiotherapist, using an exercise bike daily for twenty minutes and the use of a personal ultrasound machine I cured the problem myself over a number of months. So now I have only minimal joint issues related to a bad spell of psoriatic arthritis and I am absolutely ready for what will undoubtedly be an uphill climb to lose weight.

It sounds so easy right? You eat healthy food, have smaller portions, leave fat and sugar in the supermarket where it belongs and exercise more. Simple. The reality for me however, is that I go out for meals, catch up with friends and get tempted by cocktails and all the goodies associated with “having a lovely time’. I put off going to the gym even though it is literally in my house and kid myself that walking the dog for twenty minutes every day is enough.

So here’s the plan. The weekly-ness of the blog is back and each week, whether you want to hear it or not I’m going to share my little victories, together with my little setbacks! We’re all human right? I’m not expecting an overnight miracle but I am expecting to meet the challenge and here’s why.

Last weekend, we were in Grasmere (the home of an unusual gingerbread that set every single one of my teeth on edge but which was delicious nonetheless). It rained a lot. However, on the Sunday afternoon we had a break in the weather, donned our warm clothes and sturdy shoes and set off on a walk. Now, since my aforementioned ‘knee trouble’ I’ve exercised but not to the extent of anything even close to hill walking. With my trusty camera around my neck and a short-lived jaunty spring in my step, we set off together. After an hour or more we came to a turning point. My brother stood beside me and explained. ‘We can go on up there where the view is better for photos’ he said, pointing in the direction of a steep, seemingly endless path ‘or we can go back the way we have just come’. It was approaching 3 o’clock. Light would fade in an hour or so. My legs and ankles were already struggling. I felt the rest of the group were far fitter than I and I didn’t want to hold anyone back or be embarrassed at how slowly I was walking in comparison to my super fit, marathon running sister in law. My face was freezing. We were already reasonably high up and the views were lovely. And there it was. A decision to be made. Take the easy route and turn back or keep going, onwards and upwards and be rewarded with the more spectacular view? It was an easy choice in the end. ‘Let’s keep going’ I said. It was a stony, uneven path in places and I totally had moments of regret as we continued on. However we reached the highest point of our walk and I felt a feeling of unbridled joy. I thought back to the times I could barely get out of the chair and realised how far I had come and how rewarding the more difficult route was with it’s stunning vista.

I know that losing weight will be a similar uphill climb. I know there will be setbacks and choices to be made. I know some days I will fail miserably (January 24th…. I see it coming already!) and other days I will surprise myself with what I can do. But I’m in it for the long-term win and for the resulting spectacular view. Bring on a healthier 2020. Come and join me why don’t you. How can you possibly regret it?

Big love,

Jules x

Posted in Real Life

The one about the Inner Critic and the Inner Coach – weekly update #3

Happy Friday!

So this week’s little victory is an interesting one. Anyone who knows me most likely thinks I am super-confident. I know I’m a good communicator, good mate, good Mama, I like people and am an eternal smiley optimist. I have an opinion on most things and I’m not shy about sharing it. However, I lack confidence and always have.

As is the case with most things that make us who we are it’s probably a throw back to my childhood. I do remember constantly seeking approval from my parents and friends. Doing my absolute best and hoping it would be good enough. I expect it was for the most part but it often didn’t feel that way. As a result I became a bit of a perfectionist as I sought reassurance and approval.

Being a perfectionist doesn’t necessarily mean life has to be perfect (because it just isn’t) but it does mean that sometimes the anxiety about the things you do being good enough can be overwhelming.

As a child I was a gymnast. I loved it. I was the best in my school, the best in my club and the best in my borough, winning every competition, and yet I always felt it wasn’t enough.

As an adult I’ve achieved lots of things, the most recent being I wrote some short stories and a novel. Despite winning a competition and getting the most glorious feedback, I have always felt a bit embarrassed and that none of it was professional enough. I felt like an imposter saying I was an author or writer and even though a mainstream publisher showed significant interest the pressure to perform was too much. Self-doubt crept in and the first ten chapters of the new novel have been abandoned.

For no apparent reason, this popped into my head this week. About 15 years ago I booked a motivational speaker for an event (Paul McGee author of Shut Up Move On, absolute top bloke). One of the best things I learned that day was that everyone has an Inner Critic and an Inner Coach. Basically, the Inner Critic is the voice in your head that tells you that you’re not good enough. The Inner Coach is the voice in your head that tells you that you are. I listen to the Inner Critic ALL the time. The Inner Coach is mostly crushed and sits quietly on the sidelines because the Inner Critic’s voice is sooooo annoyingly loud.

My problem with listening to the Inner Coach and enjoying a moment of self-praise is probably due to the fact that I’m waiting for everyone else’s opinion before I can allow myself to feel anything (there’s that throw back to childhood of approval seeking) ….. and then even when I get great feedback I’m speculating whether it’s really meant or whether it’s just kindness. Take my new hobby for example. I’ve made a few Christmas cards. They’re not professional. I’m not even sure about sending them (be gone Inner Critic). Hubby says they’re great and the people I know best also say they like them but still there’s something in me that thinks they’re just not quite good enough. Argh! Inner Coach where are you?

So, despite my battles with the Inner Critic lately I do have a little victory to share. We’ve been looking for a nice piece of wall art to put in our bedroom. I’ve relentlessly searched t’internet for the perfect painting or framed print and finally came across a series of photographs of our favourite place in Cornwall. And you could get them enlarged and framed. Hoorah! Imagine my delight.

I showed my husband and he said …….. ‘Why don’t we get one of your photos done? They are as good as those and apart from anything else it would be YOUR photo, our experience together, what could possibly match that?’

So without having purposely sought feedback, there it was, unsolicited but better still, something lovely happened. The Inner Coach crept back into my mind pushing the Inner Critic to one side, as we spent a couple of hours going through the photos of our last trip to Cornwall sharing our memories and choosing our favourites. The Inner Coach reminded me that what matters most is how I feel about something, it’s about my journey and the enjoyment I get from things.

We found a website that would print and frame an enlargement of a stunning, unfiltered Cornish sunset (featured photo), and before I knew it, we’d created a project, framed it and bought it. It should arrive in a week or so and I absolutely cannot wait to get it and see it on the wall. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t perfect. It’s mine and I love it.

And so I’ve finally realised that what other people think matters less than I let it (although in this case it definitely helps that hubby likes the photo that he will have to look at every night and every morning!). The feeling of receiving praise and approval is lovely but waiting for it and hoping for it isn’t. So it shouldn’t mean so much.

What matters is being happy and healthy and fulfilled and satisfied – and I am lucky enough to mostly be those things right now. I am beginning to get to grips with the fact that what other people think is their business and not mine and sometimes I need to let it go, to care less.

So my little victory is that I realised this week that I am good enough and that when I need it to be, the voice of my Inner Coach really can be louder than the voice of my Inner Critic.

Have the best weekend. Big love.

Jules x