SUNSHINE20113's SparkPeople Blog SUNSHINE20113's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community The negative consequences of trips down memory lane In March I returned to Finland after twenty years! I was last there as a Rotary exchange student and a work conference brought me there again. <BR> <BR> It was a remarkable trip. My first impressions as I stepped off the train in Helsinki with my husband and two year old was the realisation of just how young I was to have ventured into a country so different to my own to live for a year. <BR> <BR> Finland was a place where I first gained a lot of weight. Much of my social activity surroun... Fri, 4 May 2018 07:16:47 EST Running a racing series versus training for one event. I've just completed a Winter racing series. It comprised eight fortnightly 10km races in different forest parks around Northern Ireland. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Now, I like medals. They are my keepsake, so earning a gold medal for completing all 8 was a huge motivator. That, and of course, seeing if I could do it. <BR> <BR> 10km is a safe distance for me. I like the distance and I know I can run it, eve... Fri, 2 Mar 2018 09:32:35 EST Tough, but not impossible. My parents arrived last Tuesday and it has been a week or so of adjusting to new people with different eating preferences in the house. <BR> It has thrown my eating planning out the window because they are helping with cooking - and I'm appreciating that a lot. It just means I don't have the control I usually do when it comes to preparing meals. <BR> Whilst I haven't been planning my food in advance, my weight has remained steady. THAT number hasn't appeared since my last blog post. And I o... Fri, 15 Dec 2017 05:11:42 EST THAT number on the scale. 56kg (124 pounds). That's my number at the moment. <BR> <BR> I reach it, maybe drop a bit below it, then come back to it, then stay there for a while, then start going up. <BR> <BR> That has been the pattern for quite a few months, now. <BR> <BR> I reached this number this morning, and, last week. I decided not to monitor it last week because it was too much of a jump and i was convinced I'd weight more the next day, which I did. (I also only log my weight once a week). I saw the number... Thu, 23 Nov 2017 04:24:24 EST My rules Do I have rules for eating? <BR> <BR> I know that many years ago, when I was about 11, I decided to give up soft drinks. This rule stuck. I rarely drink soft drinks, opting for water, or wine instead. (I had a friend who thought it was hilarious that my drinking options were red wine or water, I can't explain how it developed that way. When I started drinking, I preferred wine to any other alcoholic drink, and as I've aged, this is how my drinking habits have developed.) I also find it very... Fri, 17 Nov 2017 04:51:10 EST Healthy cooking....with a toddler The plan was to cook a potato and pea curry that I had cooked before. So, it wasn't a new recipe and I had a good idea about how to do it. I had also done it before with the toddler running around, so I felt fairly confident I could accomplish it again. <BR> <BR> I got the oil heated up, added the first spices to get them sizzling and began chopping the onion. Toddler wanted me to sit down with him on the floor and watch him play with my spice rack. So, I sat down and continued chopping (... Tue, 7 Nov 2017 09:19:22 EST Sitting down to eat. It seems like such a simple thing. And I didn’t think it was a problem until I became conscious of it. <BR> <BR> Running around the kitchen, thinking I’ll just have the banana while I’m doing this. <BR> <BR> Cooking dinner or getting the kettle boiled and thinking I’ll just have a cookie while I’m doing this. <BR> <BR> What a simple instruction that has opened my eyes to a habit I didn’t even realise I have. <BR> <BR> Sit down to eat. <BR> <BR> So, even if it means sitting on the floor i... Sun, 5 Nov 2017 09:41:34 EST Nutritious diet plans I bought the Beck pink book last night. I have read a number go blogs by other people and thought I would give it a go. <BR> <BR> So, I'm now on day 2 and having a think about two diets to follow. It's got me thinking! <BR> <BR> Counting calories works well for me as it gives me the flexibility I need to add my favourite foods and adjust to an unpredictable schedule. <BR> <BR> The downside, however, is that it never taught me about nutritious eating. As long as I was within my calorie ra... Tue, 31 Oct 2017 12:45:41 EST All gone That little phrase is one of my toddler's favourites. Sometimes he means "all gone" as in he's finished eating and the food is gone, or someone has left and they have gone. At other times he means "all done" in that he's finished doing something and his ready to move on to something else. <BR> <BR> It seemed the most applicable phrase for this blog as I have finally completed by PhD viva. This is the verbal defence of my written thesis and is the final phase in obtaining a PhD in the United... Sat, 28 Oct 2017 07:00:27 EST Up and Down I found myself wondering if there is a connection with the ups and downs of life and the ups and downs of my scale! <BR> <BR> The last two months have not been the steady and consistent months that I was hoping for. My thesis was finally submitted and I have a viva date (verbal defence) set for the end of October. So, I'm in a waiting period, now, but also coming to the end of four years of work and the uncertainty of what will follow career wise. <BR> <BR> We've had a lot of visitors pass... Tue, 3 Oct 2017 05:56:05 EST Ten reasons not to quit 1. Consistency is key. Stick with my plan today and that will make me one day further in creating and maintaining consistent habits. <BR> <BR> 2. I want to feel in control of my eating habits. <BR> <BR> 3. One day I would like to run a full marathon. To do that, I need to keep my 5km base runs. That way I can build up to a full marathon with minimal injuries. <BR> <BR> 4. I'd like to have another baby. I want to have healthy habits in place while pregnant and not carry extra weight. <BR> ... Tue, 29 Aug 2017 08:56:55 EST Returning to reality I have been attached to the computer for the last month, working very hard to meet my deadline for the submission of my PhD thesis. I met the deadline, but then an administrative error has meant that I have to wait for a while before I can hand it in (something completely out of my control that just slipped through the net). It is a bizarre situation and left me not really sure what to do with myself, but I am patiently working through the many emotions I am feeling, and hoping it will be sor... Thu, 10 Aug 2017 11:32:50 EST First half marathon since having a baby - part two! <img src=""> <BR> The rain blew away, so it wasn't wet, but it was windy! My knees survived and I now look forward to some proper recovery time and strength exercises. I did it in 1hr55 and a few seconds, which I'm very happy with. I was so nervous about it - because my body behaves differently, now. But now that I've done the first one, I know I can do more. Thank you for all the encouraging words today. I needed... Fri, 30 Jun 2017 18:30:15 EST My first half marathon since having a baby is today.... ....and I have woken up to an Irish storm. Irish storms are windy, wet and relentless, with rain that drizzles constantly and icily, for hours on end. <BR> <BR> I ran this half marathon in 2014 and loved it. It was in the hills of Newtownards with beautiful views of the Loch and the farms. Clear, sunny and really quite a beautiful Summer evening. <BR> <BR> Today it is quite different. The wind is blowing about 20 knots and from my window I can see the waves chopping in the sea and hear the ... Fri, 30 Jun 2017 05:07:53 EST Being beautiful I'm having a hard time at the moment. I am in the last phases of writing my PhD and at home with the baby most of the time, so I rarely have a reason to dress up. As I am still nursing the baby, I also have the most un-attractive nursing bras and have to wear clothes with easy access (!!). <BR> <BR> My beautiful dresses are rarely worn purely because it is impractical right now, and they are still just a bit too tight for me to feel comfortable. <BR> <BR> When I first started my weight los... Thu, 4 May 2017 06:28:15 EST One belt notch skinnier! Spring is (sort-of) here! So, I decided to wear a dress I bought around this time last year this morning. <BR> <BR> Although my weight it almost at pre-baby weight (I'm still about 1.5kg over), the inches around my waist are still taking their time, so it was nice to slip into this dress and notice that the notch that felt easy around my waist was definitely not the same notch as last year. It was a nice feeling. <BR> <BR> I'm still settling around the 55-56kg mark, but am accepting of th... Fri, 24 Mar 2017 07:18:28 EST A healthy BMI - maybe that's enough I was chatting with my DH about my weight. My weight jumped up 2kgs after Christmas and I'm not really managing to get it down again. I was telling him this and he said - but you're still a healthy BMI, right? <BR> <BR> Yes, I said. I thought I would check today to see what it actually was: 21.6. Right in the middle of the healthy BMI range. <BR> <BR> So, perhaps that's enough. Perhaps I'm beating myself up too much over those extra 2kgs. I'm not gaining any more than that, so perhaps th... Fri, 24 Feb 2017 07:56:44 EST 5 years since reaching my goal weight. Wow. <BR> <BR> I remember reaching my goal weight and being terrified of gaining it all back again. And I remember reading the stats on how if you maintain for 5 years your chance of regain reduces by 27%. And I remember thinking that's a long time to wait for some sort of certainty that I am out of the "danger zone". <BR> <BR> And then, of course, I got busy doing other things. <BR> <BR> Like having a baby. <BR> <BR> I know that one would think that having a baby should mean I went out o... Wed, 21 Dec 2016 07:25:44 EST From goal weight to having a baby and back again (I did it!!!) Today, for the first time, the scale read 54.2kg - the weight I was just before I found out I was pregnant. It was a poignant moment for me. And one that is tinged with a little bit of disbelief. <BR> <BR> I joined Sparkpeople in September 2011 and reached my goal weight of 59kg in December that year. The original weight loss goal was 11kg (about twenty pounds). I went on to lose another 5kg with my body eventually settling at the weight of 54kg (about 120 pounds). I maintained that weight ... Wed, 7 Dec 2016 06:51:35 EST Checking in Never ever have I been so busy. <BR> <BR> The baby turns 1 tomorrow. <BR> <BR> I still have 2kg to lose, it has taken me a lot longer than I thought it would. <BR> <BR> I spend most days juggling work, baby and housework. It is intense. <BR> <BR> I also seem to get sick a lot more, now. <BR> <BR> The baby is healthy, happy and a real pleasure to look after. <BR> <BR> My PhD work is miraculously still progressing well. <BR> <BR> I still jog, just not as long distances. Illness, ra... Thu, 17 Nov 2016 11:13:36 EST Hello from Brazil! No, I'm not at the Olympics. Rather in Campinas, Saõ Paulo in order to do some work at the University here. <BR> <BR> We have been here one week and I think have some idea on how to manage the next three that we will be here for. I purposely did not bring my scale, so that I would focus more on what I was actually eating rather than a number on the scale. <BR> <BR> It is also really hot, even though it is winter here, so I have opted to do my running on a treadmill, rather than on the roa... Mon, 8 Aug 2016 11:24:08 EST Help! Battling to stay consistent and motivated I am struggling to lose the last 8 pounds of my pregnancy weight. My goal is to reach my pre-baby weight by November (which is when the baby will be one year old). <BR> <BR> What I'm finding is that I'll have a few days of consistent healthy eating and exercising and then I'll lost my motivation. It has been going on for a few months, now, and I realise I need to some help and advice. <BR> <BR> I had been maintaining for three years before this quite successfully and all the things I did t... Wed, 20 Jul 2016 06:06:49 EST The jogging stroller I love jogging. It was the one thing I was reluctant to give up when pregnant and the first thing I got back into when my body felt ready. This meant jogging late at night, or early in the morning when someone was around to babysit, and, made the enjoyment of jogging a bit harder. Especially when I would arrive home after a long run to a crying baby, hungry for milk and a bit confused about where I had been. <BR> <BR> Enter the Jogging Stroller! <BR> <BR> I waited until my baby was 6 month... Mon, 30 May 2016 11:10:20 EST Weekend regain feedback I did well on Saturday. I tracked and kept within my calorie range. I also had a good long run of 12km, so it meant I was able to eat quite a lot without worrying too much about calorie limits. <BR> <BR> Sunday was a different story. I had a hard day, emotionally, and ended up not tracking for the last half of the day. I did keep up with my steps, but had a lot of "After Eights" chocolates. <BR> <BR> So, I regained half a kilogram / 1 pound. Not the usual two pounds, but not what I was hop... Mon, 14 Mar 2016 08:45:13 EST Being pampered Yesterday I went out on my own!! No baby in tow. <BR> <BR> My husband had bought me a voucher at a local Beauty salon and so I went to get a back massage followed by breakfast. It was a real treat. <BR> <BR> I thought I would try on my leather jacket to see if it fitted me again - and it did!! So, I headed out the door feeling svelte and elegant. <BR> <BR> After the massage, the beautician pointed out that my shoulders were really tense rather than my lower back, so I decided to book an a... Sat, 12 Mar 2016 12:04:41 EST Losing those same 2 pounds every week.... I am noticing a pattern. On a Friday I weigh 58kg. By Monday morning, I am 59kg! It's the famous weekend weight-gain. <BR> <BR> As my current goal is to reach 54kg - I would rather keep going down the scale than find myself constantly focussing on that 1kg! <BR> <BR> So, I am thinking about some strategies - inspired by this article: <BR> <BR><BR>/52-simple-strategies-to-lose-a-pound-<BR>a-week?cmp=17N-PB2-S35-T6-D7-03062016-1170 <BR> <BR> There a... Tue, 8 Mar 2016 09:49:02 EST Normal? I find that the most motivational thing about Sparkpeople are the blogs written by other members. They remind me that I am not alone in my weight-loss experiences and frequently open my eyes to a new perspective on it. <BR> <BR> The 5% challenge is also great. Every week there is a new challenge to try out and this week is "no evening eating". It is encouraging us to only have a low calorie snack in the evening and to make sure we have eaten two-thirds of our calories before 5pm. Once again,... Wed, 24 Feb 2016 07:21:56 EST Achievements I have been so focussed on what I haven't done and don't do. This blog is about what I have done since the birth of our baby. <BR> <BR> I have lost 8 out of the 12kg I need to lose. <BR> I am running regularly at least twice a week. <BR> I ran 7km over the weekend with no hip pain afterwards. <BR> I have attended one mothers and babies group. <BR> I attend a choir rehearsal once a week with the baby <BR> I eat three regular meals a day. <BR> I cook dinner most evenings. <BR> I have hired a ... Thu, 11 Feb 2016 04:56:35 EST Things that have helped this week A featured article on sparkpeople challenging me to consider whether I am committed to weight loss or just interested. It reminded me that weight loss doesn't just happen. It is hard work. <BR> <BR> The article led me to set two daily goals: walk 10 000 steps and keep within my daily calorie range. I have managed that for the last three days and feel motivated to continue. <BR> <BR> At the end of each day, if the goal is achieved, I reward myself with anything under £5 that is not food. <B... Thu, 28 Jan 2016 18:37:42 EST Wobblies It's been a rough week. Somehow this is the week that depression has hit. <BR> <BR> Because we know to take it seriously, DH and I have put some measures in place to help me. Simple things, like making sure I get dressed in the morning, eat a proper lunch, get out the house at least once. But things that make a difference to my mood. <BR> <BR> Thursday is my weigh in day. In spite of a week of heavy chocolate eating (this was my warning bell sign for depression - an almost insatiable desi... Thu, 21 Jan 2016 06:44:04 EST A few good things The sparkpeople mileage tracker now logs my runs as 'runs' rather than 'walks' <BR> <BR> My Strava running tracker is saying I am trending upwards rather than downwards <BR> <BR> I increased my calories tom1800-2000, so now when I track I actually stay within range, which is inspiring me to track more. (note: I am breastfeeding, so cutting calories is not my primary goal, I am just trying not to overdo my eating each day and watch that I am not eating for other reasons, such as being over-t... Sat, 16 Jan 2016 13:13:57 EST Getting back into running post-pregnancy My baby is now 7 weeks old. I did not exercise at all during the first 2 weeks. <BR> During week 3 I started walking, aiming to walk for half an hour every day. Realistically, it was more like every other day. I would do this pushing the stroller, or on my own, depending on the weather. I continued this in week 4.In week 5 I tried a jog / walk routine for the first time. It was slow going and left me with some hip pain afterwards. I did this again in week 6, aiming to do it three times a wee... Sun, 10 Jan 2016 14:04:37 EST The bowl of potato chips My mom put a bowl of potato crisps right next to me this evening. We hadn't had dinner yet and I was ravenous having just breast fed the baby. So, I ate the entire bowl. <BR> <BR> Even while I was eating I knew it was a mistake. They would not satisfy me and I would feel ill afterwards, but I was so hungry. I felt angry with my mom for placing temptation in front of me - why the chips? Why not the grapes or mixed nuts? <BR> <BR> Of course, I could have got up and fetched the healthier foo... Fri, 25 Dec 2015 01:53:34 EST 4 Year Maintenance Anniversary with a twist This year I was very unsure if I could still class myself as a maintainer, especially once I had given birth to the baby and would be starting the long project of losing baby weight. Also, being pregnant for most of the year, my goal was gaining a healthy amount of pounds, rather than keeping within a steady range. <BR> <BR> I gained 12kg while pregnant (around 26 pounds) which was 3kg less than I had anticipated. In fact, I weighed less at 9 months pregnant than I did when I was at my heavi... Thu, 17 Dec 2015 12:51:15 EST Tired and hungry It is 5.30. The baby has woken up and is hungry. He will feed for at least an hour, often with a tearful nappy change in between. <BR> <BR> It is now 6.47. I put the baby down, but after some time rubbing his tummy, I realised he was hungry again. So, I am giving him more food. <BR> <BR> The last time I feed the baby was around 12.30. By 2am he was asleep. He had been crying for most of the evening - since about 5pm unless he was being fed, or asleep. None of his sleeps were longer than ha... Sun, 13 Dec 2015 02:09:45 EST Post Pregnancy recovery, body and new baby It's a boy! <BR> <BR> Those are the three words announced by the doctor as she hurled our little one up into the air and over to the nurse that I will never ever forget. That magical moment when we finally saw our little baby - and he was perfect. <BR> <BR> The baby was born via c section after a prolonged 48 hour labour (if not longer) that was not progressing. so, I am now recovering from an operation as well as a very long labour. But, our baby is healthy and feeding, sleeping and growi... Tue, 8 Dec 2015 11:16:27 EST Struggling along - where has all my energy gone? Tomorrow will be the two week mark until my due date. Two weeks! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> But somewhere over the last two weeks I have lost my resolve. I am lucky if I can go out for a ten minute walk without needing to stop because my hips hurt. When I get home from any activity my first stop is the couch, where I end up falling asleep for at least two hours. I am just exhausted and I have noticed that I... Thu, 29 Oct 2015 05:32:15 EST Getting ready Pre-pregnancy weight: 54kg (120 pounds) <BR> Current weight (36 weeks pregnant): 64kg (approx 140 pounds) <BR> <BR> The baby is due in 1 month! 1 month! <BR> <BR> My belly is now huge and aching! I'm not sure what happened over the last three weeks, but it has progressed from nice and neat to big - beach ball big! And with that has come a lot of back pain and ligament pain as my body tries to adjust to it's lopsided appearance. <BR> <BR> I aim to walk every second day for thirty minutes a... Sun, 11 Oct 2015 13:56:07 EST There is more to maintenance than just keeping within a healthy weight range! Maintenance weight: 54kg (120 pounds) <BR> Current baby weight: 62.5kg (138 pounds) <BR> <BR> 4 years Sparking, 3 years maintaining, 7 months growing a baby! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The year I started with Spark <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This time last year <BR> <BR> <img src=" Mon, 7 Sep 2015 05:47:09 EST The best laid plans of mice and men (and pregnant women.....) On Wednesady afternoon during a walk / run an old injury flared up - foot pain. <BR> "Oh, hello, I thought, this is not what I want to happen". I got home, and knew that the only thing for it was to rest with my feet up, and, stop my walk/running plan until the inflammation had gone. <em>39</em> <BR> <BR> Nothing makes me sadder than a sore foot. I thought it would last a day, or so, but four days later and my left foot has joined in with the aching! So, with my husband fussing around m... Sun, 23 Aug 2015 04:16:56 EST Changing perspectives and preparing for jogging in the third trimester Weight at beginning of pregnancy: 54.5kg (120 pounds) <BR> Weight at 6 months: 61.5kg (136 pounds) <BR> <BR> I was just wondering as I was writing down my 6 month pregnancy weight, if this feels the same as when I was over-weight and at this mark on the scale, and I realised that it doesn't at all! I was reading a blog earlier about how some women see themselves as getting fatter, and describe themselves in that way, and, fortunately, at this point in the pregnancy, where such an evident "bu... Sun, 9 Aug 2015 02:46:59 EST Half way! Pregnancy update. Weight at beginning of pregancy: 54.5kg (120 pounds) <BR> Weight at half way point (21 weeks): 58.3 (128.5) <BR> <BR> This photo is from the early weeks of pregnancy: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And this is me at 21 weeks: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I've been doing a lot of travelling over the last two weeks, which alway... Wed, 8 Jul 2015 04:01:07 EST Running and my first trimester While I was running a few days ago, a little old lady stopped me asked if I do this regularly, I replied, saying yes, and she responded with "good, it's important to keep fit". <BR> <BR> Those words were like magic to me in that moment because keeping up with running during my first trimester has been hard. Mainly because my energy levels are so unpredictable. On Saturday I went out for a run, and ended up walking 3km instead, because I just could not get into the running rhythm. Fast forwar... Fri, 22 May 2015 03:22:18 EST I'm pregnant! Three years of maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle can cause many changes. One of those seems to have been my fertility! <BR> <BR> For years I suffered PCOS and was of the understanding that if I ever wanted to have a baby it would take us a long time. Well, this Christmas we thought to ourselves that it was time to start trying. I thought it would take me about a year to fall pregnant, but, no, I'm now three months pregnant, and, so far, so good! <BR> <BR> What this means for my ma... Sat, 9 May 2015 18:49:18 EST Another lightbulb moment: it's not I can do this, it's I'm doing this! Firstly, I need to thank people for reading my previous blog and responding so warmly and with so much advice. The comments are full of so much amazing advice and I was truly humbled. <BR> <BR> So, what's happened since then? <BR> <BR> I wish I could say I have mastered my sugar cravings. I haven't. I tried lots of different things as advised by people in the blog, and I think I have settled with the fact that for me, I need to keep sweets and chocolate out of the house. I am able to be dis... Fri, 20 Mar 2015 05:07:10 EST Challenging the elephant in the room: sugar cravings I am a successful maintainer. I was able to lose weight quite steadily and have been fortunate to stay within a 3% range for three years now. <BR> <BR> BUT <BR> <BR> I still eat a lot of sugar. Whereas I feel I have busted my salty cravings and have developed a good self-discipline for saying "no" to those foods, chocolate, cookies, cakes, anything sweet really, are still a big weakness. <BR> <BR> As I've mentioned in previous blogs, I do eat less of them. A binge used to be an entire box... Tue, 20 Jan 2015 08:40:27 EST 3 Year Maintenance Anniversary 3 years! <em>244</em> <BR> <BR> Three years maintaining is quite a long time, and I've spent the last few days thinking about what is different now, compared to before I started with Sparkpeople, especially as now I don't track my food very much, so I am pretty much living a "normal" life. <BR> <BR> And I came to one conclusion: I don't eat as much. <BR> <BR> I still eat chocolate, chips and cookies - but not as much. If I do eat too many of any of those, I try to eat a smaller dinner ... Wed, 17 Dec 2014 05:08:24 EST New situation, new techniques On Saturday I ran a multi-terrain race, which included running for 2 miles on the sand. I signed up for this race for two reasons: to give me some motivation to keep training as the seasons changed and to have something to look forward to after a big deadline in my Phd. I hadn't really thought about what running in the sand would entail. <BR> I told everyone that the race was just for fun - I wasn't looking for a PB, I said - I just want to have the opportunity to run. But, as soon as the ra... Thu, 23 Oct 2014 04:02:07 EST 3rd Half Marathon of the year, 3rd PB! The goal of my last half marathon was to do it in under 2 hours. As they had pacers there, I stuck to them like glue and made it past the finish line in 1hr58. When I went to thank the pacers, one of them said to me, "I think you've got a got ten more minutes in you. I think you could do it in 1hr50". He also suggested I run the Groomsport Half Marathon, which I did last night. <BR> <BR> Groomsport is the village up the road from us. In fact, part of the route I ran last night is one of the ... Sat, 16 Aug 2014 05:03:13 EST One year in Northern Ireland This last week celebrated the anniversary of our arrival in a small seaside town in Northern Ireland, and the beginning of a startlingly different way of living after five years in London. <BR> <BR> My weight started creeping up in about December. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> That is the graph of this last year. Since I started spark people, it doesn't look like too much, it is really just about a kilogram more: <BR> <BR> <img s... Fri, 15 Aug 2014 04:42:44 EST