It’s all relative #weightloss #sizematters

I’ve realised lately that I’ve lost touch with what size I am – but in a good way.

2016-08-11 16.54.48I ordered some workout gear from Marks & Spencer online the other week. That in itself is quite an achievement, as it wasn’t that long ago that nothing in M&S fitted me.  When my purchases arrived, I realised I’d ordered them in a size too large. As I pulled them on, they gaped around the neckline and sagged across the shoulders.

I was thrilled.

So on Wednesday, I walked (walked!) into town to exchange for a smaller size. I browsed too, and found some more tops and t-shirts I couldn’t live without.  But I wasn’t convinced that my need for a smaller size in those online purchases wasn’t just a fluke, so I went to the changing room with everything in two different sizes. And then my happiness was complete, because in every case, it was the smaller size I needed.

I realise that being a size 16 (that’s a US size 14, by the way) isn’t something that everyone would be proud of.  There was a time that I was horrified to be a size 16 – but then that was over three decades ago. At the time, I hit size 16 on the way up from a modest size 12, through 14.  At that time, in my early twenties, size 16 felt enormous and disastrous, and I felt positively gross.

This time around is an entirely different matter. To have come down from size 26/28 (at that size, they don’t even bother to separate out the two sizes – if you get that big, you’re not supposed to care), through 24, 22, 20, and even 18… to the point where that bright little yellow ‘size 16’ tag dangles from the garments that fit you.  Well, it’s… huge.

Even though my weight-loss has slowed, the journey continues and my body is still changing shape, sucking in here and there, from my ankles and knees to my thighs, waistline and even my neck. I fancy even my bingo-wings are a little less… flappy.  So even though the scales have confounded me, this has been an uplifting week.  Onwards and downwards – next stop, size 14. Then I really will feel properly normal again.

I lugged my haul of size 16’s to the counter. I came away with more than I intended (what can I say – it’s a girl thing); a heavy bag, but a light, fluttering spirit.

I’ll be taking a break for a couple of weeks as the online universe has gone very quiet in the silly season. But look out for my next post on 26th August – that’s the anniversary of the day I started on this healthy lifestyle weight-lossy business.

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The Power of the Positive #affirmations

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In late 2001 a redundancy on top of a hideously damaging relationship caused me to stop and take stock of my life. Self-improvement guru Anthony Robbins was all over the place at the time and his book Awaken the Giant Within made a big impression on me. I invested hours in his audio programmes too – he’s a little OTT in places, but for me, it was a case of right concepts, right attitudes, right time.

As a direct result of the approach I learned and the self-improvement tools I took on-board, I took the plunge, stopped looking for another job and established myself as a freelancer – something I’d always thought I would enjoy (and still enjoy, 14 years later).  I made a commitment to business networking (which has proved to be a wise and fruitful engagement over the years).  For a while to supplement my income, I took up a direct/home-selling ‘business’ (Weekenders ladies clothing, now sadly demised), through which I learned how incredibly supportive my friends and family were prepared to be; I totally shook up my attitude to men and relationships too; I joined Weightwatchers – and I lost 50lbs.  Anthony Robbins – I owe ya!

I also signed up to learn how to be A Coach. Yes, I was one of those 40-something, change-your-life coaches who were spewed out of pseudo ‘colleges’ set up overnight to ride the crest of an undeniably profitable (for the ‘colleges’) self-improvement wave.  I bought the hype, I admit it – but on a personal level, it wasn’t a bad decision, just one which didn’t ultimately lead where I’d hoped it would.

Perhaps a little naively, I envisaged I would move away from marketing – a career I have some aptitude for, but in which I had arrived rather more by accident than design. When I stood up at business networking groups to try and interest people in coaching (just as the ‘colleges’ said you should), I would give my potted history, explaining I’d come from a background of sales/marketing and copywriting… I’d watch people’s eyes glaze over. Afterwards, every time, one or two would come up to me and quietly ask if I was still taking marketing work.  After a while, I stopped trying to swim upstream and concentrated my energy back where it would deliver the most consistent results. I left coaching behind – although if I’m honest its techniques still feature, if a little surreptitiously, in the way I work with some of my marketing clients.

But some valuable principles of coaching and self-improvement stuck with me. And one of these is the general point of this post: Positive Affirmations.

“Adopting healthy diet and exercise habits is exciting and fulfilling”

Yes, Positive Affirmations is my Thought for Today, and I’m sorry I took so long getting to it.  And I know some people think that affirmations are a bit kooky, a bit new-age (and that’s a really old phrase these days!), but I’m a believer.  Affirmations are all about adjusting your thinking – seeing yourself as the person you want to be. Affirmations help to remind your subconscious at odd moments throughout the day, that you choose to see yourself differently, and it had better start backing you up!

“I enjoy walking in the fresh air”

Affirmations, for those who don’t know, are short, positive phrases and sentences that are about the person you seek to be, and the habits and attitudes you seek to live by. When you write them, you word them in the present tense, as if you’re already there.  That’s the way they work. Then you post them in whatever place or places you pass through every day – maybe your bathroom mirror, your fridge, your desk, your car – places where they will catch your eye every now and again, but always, always be doing their work on you, whether you notice them or not.

“Preparing good and healthy food is a celebration”

I have four above my desk at present. I put them there when I embarked on my healthy lifestyle gig back in September. Yesterday as I read them, I realised how much they have altered my thinking and supported the changes I’m making.  A few simple words, that’s all – and their power is immense.

“I enjoy the feeling of getting moving”

Affirmations can help you think more positively and become more resourceful; they can help change your attitude to so many things, not just diet and exercise. If you ever want to try them yourself, you can find out more about writing good affirmations all over the internet or on the self-improvement bookshelves.

As a wordsmith myself, I love affirmations and I celebrate the life-altering power that their few simple words can have.