5 systems we use to keep us on track

Why is it so hard to stay on track? We have set so many different goals and countless have failed, but this time we want to achieve my dreams.  Our mindset is different this time and feel it is now or never and we want it to be now, but we know that unless we make changes to the way we do things we will slip back into our old ways again.  We have put systems in place this time to keep us on track and put our energies into achieving our goals.

Planning and preparation

 It will come as no surprise that we love food and during this journey the main key to keep us on track with our food intake is to make sure that we have all the food we need for our meals and snacks, for the week, in the house so that I do not need to keep nipping into the shops where I am surrounded by temptation.  I will sit down one afternoon, generally the day before I go shopping, and plan the menu for the week.  This will include breakfasts, lunches, dinners and healthy snacks.  I will then go shopping with my list…I have forgotten it before and that was disastrous. Once the shopping is done and organised I can relax in the knowledge that I don’t have to think or worry about what I will eat today.

Set our goals for the week

 At the weekend, Brenda and I sit down and talk about how well we did that week and set our goals for the week ahead.  What exercise will we do? What do we want to achieve? What can we improve on? We both have different routines but we do like to sit down together and plan the week ahead, this helps us both to stay focussed and it is harder to make excuses as to why we can’t do something, instead we think about what we will do and what else we can do.  It is a great way to keep us motivated.  We don’t set goals for our weight-loss as we do not want to stress about it, we are changing our lifestyle and that is our focus.

Inspiration Board

Inspiration comes to us all in many different forms; stories, pictures, music, quotes, videos and even smells (the smell of baking always inspires me eat cake!) but for us a visual reminder is something that can inspire us both and is easy to implement.   We have created an inspiration board that we can look at every day to help us to remember what our goals are and why we want to do this. We have a couple of photos of ourselves (in slimmer days) that we like, motivational quotes, pictures of the Charity Challenge we want to do and some work out tips for when we want to change it up.  It is great to look at and see why we are doing this.

Keeping Busy

 Before I became ill we used to be quite active but afterwards it was hard to plan anything because it would all depend on how I was feeling, so we stopped doing as much.  In the last year, I have been able to do a lot more as long as I have a couple of rest days a week.  We realise when we sit down to slob out in front of the telly how easy it would be to slip back to the old ways.  To stop us doing this we have created a list of activities for us to do depending on how much time we have.  I am not saying we don’t slob out in front of the telly anymore but now when we do it is to watch sporting events or to relax and wind down with rubbish TV rather than just a habit. The list of activities comprises of local places we want to visit, days out and jobs we want to do around the house and garden. It is good to have a selection of choices so we have something for all moods and weather!  This is really helping us to stay active and not get bored which, it turns out, is great for our waistlines.

Support Network

 We find that having a support network is key to keeping us on track.  It is great that we both want to do this together so that we can support each other.  If one of us is struggling, then it is great to have the encouraging words of support on hand to help.  We also have a couple of friends that we can chat to about hints and tips or recipes, or what worked for them. This kind of support is priceless. Finally, we have the support of our wider network since we started writing this blog.  It has been great to put it out there and find support from places we never expected. We never lose sight of the fact that we are doing this for us but it is a great motivator having accountability to others too.

If you have any more systems or tips to help us with our healthy living, we would love to hear them.

Here’s to living the Dream,

Emma x

How I made early mornings work for me…

It is 06:15 on a February morning, still dark but the birds are beginning to sing and I have just heard a flock of geese flying past. There is something special about being up and about in the early hours and even though I am heading into the gym, it is still a good time with only the early workers up and about and lots of sleepy houses. I will be able to get just over an hour in at the gym before it is time to get showered and head into the office to see what the day will bring. I never imagined the benefits of getting up to go to the gym in the morning, apart from the obvious getting fitter that is. It changes my whole outlook to the day. I am no longer getting up to go to work, I am getting up to do something for me and feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. An early morning workout varying from forty to sixty minutes’ cardio on the bike, treadmill and rowing and whatever time left with some strength exercise, trying to get stomach crunches in whenever possible, leaving the gym after a refreshing shower with a glow about me feeling proud of what I have achieved.
I have had issues with mental health in the past and it is fantastic to feel the mental strength that exercising in the mornings is giving me. I have always been self-conscious getting changed, even at school I hated having to shower or being naked in the changing room. To some extent I was jealous of the other girls that didn’t care. When I started going to the gym in the morning knowing that I had to shower there, it was with some in trepidation that I entered the busy changing room as one of the classes had just emptied. I soon realised that everyone else is busy getting ready for their own day ahead and not paying me any attention. At first I went into the shower cubical in my undies with my towel and clean undies again jealous of the other woman that just stripped of. After a few weeks realising that neither I or anyone else were caring what anyone was doing I started getting brave and can now strip of before heading into the shower. I still take in my clean undies but this is a major achievement and gain in confidence that makes me proud. Who would have thought going to the gym would be such a life changing experience?

Getting back to enjoying doing something before work, this shouldn’t really be a revelation to me as I always preferred the late and night shifts when working a shift rota for that very same reason, the focus for getting up isn’t for work!

Heading out of the gym now, there is a glow in the sky and the day is coming into life. There goes another flock of geese or it could be the same one passing across the morning sky, too slow with my phone though to get a great pic. Off into work now feeling relaxed and ready to take on the day, with a smile and a skip in my step as the day wakens around me.

Oh, no! There is a birthday at work and there is long tradition of bringing in cakes and doughnuts and I do love a doughnut especially a custard one. Morning coffee time and I have managed to resist and thought maybe if there are any left at lunchtime I might have one. Entering the kitchen at lunchtime there is a bag with a few custard doughnuts shouting my name but I have managed to ignore them as I heat up my yummy leek and potato soup and make a cuppa, such resilience to behold.

Early morning gym and I am getting fitter, feeling mentally strong, more confident and can even resist a custard doughnut.

If you have ever thought about early morning exercise, go for it, it is worth the effort getting up on these cold frosty mornings.


Release the Dream


I love to dream.  I have many different day dreams that vary from winning the lottery to getting my dream job to just being able to keep my house tidy for longer than a couple of hours to worldwide travel and of course the old favourite losing weight and looking fab.  I can dream for hours about these things while actually doing nothing about any of them!

With Brenda, I realised that dreams are all very well but how about actually trying to make some of them come true.  That is the hard part, but without doing anything how will we ever achieve them?

It is time to release our dreams and see where they take us.

The biggest one and most constant was to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.  This may seem simple but we had tried before with varying success, generally none though!  This time we had to make it different, we had to actually make the change.   To do this the very first thing we had to do was to change the mindset, we had to truly want it.

We started our weight loss journey 3 months ago and so far it is going well but was it really going to be different this time?  We started to think about our dreams and how we could work the two together to give us more focus.

We wanted to have a more solid goal at the end of our journey rather than just looking fab and feeling great…we don’t want much!  We needed a goal, something we could get our teeth into and give us focus on our personal dreams.  We decided that maybe we could do a challenge for charity but running, climbing or walking just isn’t our thing, so we looked for different challenges and found the one that made both of us skip a beat.  Spending time in the Arctic Circle learning how to mush with a team of Huskies and getting to know the Sami culture.  It involves travelling over 200km while sledding with a team of 3 or 4 Huskies.  We will be responsible for looking after our own team of huskies and will have to learn how to mush with them too.  It is not everyone’s idea of  fun, but that is the point of a challenge!

One thing has led to another and here we find ourselves going public with our personal challenge.  Scary? Yes but also a bit liberating, we are now accountable to others.

The idea of a blog came from wanting to let  people  follow our journey and maybe inspire others to follow their dreams, no matter how big or small.  I have toyed with the idea of a blog for a couple of years now, so here I am following another dream.

We have given ourselves 2 years to meet the challenge and release our dream but it feels so real now that we have put it out there.

We would like to invite you to follow our journey and hope to inspire you to follow your dreams.

Here’s to living the dream!

Emms x