I don't care who you are, what you do or where you live...you don't like Mondays. Go on, try and convince me otherwise - I aint buying it! Nobody likes Mondays. In fact, most people I know dislike Mondays so much that their dread starts the day before and taints all of Sunday as well.
I am no exception to this rule. I am not a fan of Mondays. To me, Monday isn't just 'the end of the weekend' - its the day that I start fretting about weighing-in, the day that I have invariably told myself I will start being strict with my gym/uni work/spending habits. Like, its the start of a new week and the start of a new me, and all that rubbish. Its also the day that I have the classes for my least favourite module (Nineteenth Century Literature, bluerrrrgh), so my entire day is spent 'learning' about prissy Victorian housewives and other equally tedious things like that. Whether its self-fulfilling prophecy, or whether Mondays are just rubbish in general, I don't know. What I do know is that I don't like them and I want it to be Thursday please. Or better yet, Friday. Lets make it Friday. I want a week that consists of the weekend. No week days. Just the weekend. That'd be ace.
Not gunna happen? No? Right, well in that case, maybe we can bring some positivity to this notoriously crappy day?
Without further ado, I welcome you to the (very creatively named) Feel-Good Mondays.
Every Monday, I will do my utmost to bring some happiness and positivity and a feel-good factor to Blogland - in the form of guest posts, recipes, work-out ideas or anything else that might inspire you or lift those Monday blues!
This weeks Feel-Good Monday post comes from the one-man weight-loss machine that is Chris. Chris is a financial blogger for moneysupermarket.com who specialises in life insurance. He has recently started losing weight through a combination of Slimming World and exercise.
Shedding Pounds and Losing Baggage
Have you ever seen your life fall apart in front of your eyes?
I have, and let me tell you something: It’s not much fun.
Six months ago five years of relationship fell down around me, leaving me homeless and with little more than the couple of bags of stuff I had grabbed on leaving. Not the best Sunday afternoon I’ve ever had, I can tell you.
Thanks to some good friends I managed to get myself sorted with a bed and a roof quite quickly, and once I was settled it was time to rebuild what was left of my life – to make it better, to streamline and to improve.
I’d already quit drinking about eighteen months previous, but I was still quite dramatically overweight (I weighed nearly 300lbs), I smoked, I had real insomnia issues and was mentally fried.
Well, I’m still working on a few of those problems, in truth (six hours sleep in an evening is still a pleasant surprise, for example, and I’m still not quite sure where my head is at some days), but in the last six months my life has changed so much for the positive I barely recognise the person I see in the mirror.
I’d wanted to lose some weight for quite a long time before the breakup, but cooking for two people, one of whom had no intention of dieting, made doing so somewhat tricky.
Well, now I was cooking for myself, and as such I was determined to start eating properly. Gone were crisps, fried things and deserts; in came grapes, apples, pasta and more veg than you could shake a stick at.
Initially, I decided that I was going to do this quietly; I wasn’t going to go announcing to the world that I was dieting or even really admitting it to myself; a very good way to make sure that I fail at something is to make as big a deal out of it as possible.
So off I went for a few weeks, not really paying attention to my weight at all… And I actually started to see a difference. I’d moved to a smaller notch on my belt, for one – This wasn’t a huge achievement as I wasn’t far off the new notch anyway, but doing it felt good.
Then, fate conspired to place a friend of a high-school ex and myself in the same pub one night, and we took to chatting when she mentioned Slimming World, which she’d lost two or three stone through in the last few months. “It’s really good” she told me, “Not like a normal diet at all.”
Call me sceptical, but I didn’t believe a word. She handed me a leaflet featuring slim, grinning women talking about cooked breakfasts, chips and enjoying a wine on the weekend and my disbelief was instantly piqued.
“Come along”, said my friend. “You’d be amazed how well it works”.
Well, Wednesday rolled round and I found myself sat in a local community centre having the difference between Superfree and Free foods explained to me, A and B choices mentioned and Synergy points discussed. To the uninitiated it’s baffling, but after a couple of days I was well on track – and at the end of my first week I’d lost 5lbs!
This was the start of something great – since May I’ve lost over 80lbs, and my plan is to keep going past the 100lb marker to around 194lbs – putting me just in a healthy BMI for my height. Then, who knows what after that?
My life has changed enormously since I started the diet – as someone who works in life insurance I was aware of the dangers that being the size I was could cause, but only since losing the weight have I seen the benefits.
And what benefits! I bound up flights of stairs now, and now spend long weekend days out on my bike after getting up early – A huge change from lounging in bed until gone midday every Saturday and Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a good laze (Fridays after work is my time for not moving at all), but now being active is easier, I enjoy it so much more.
I also eat like a king: Giant veggie stir-fries, omelettes, potato wedges, chilli chicken – all sorts – and I still make the occasional trip to the takeaway as well – evidence that if you’re clever you can still eat good, exciting food and still shed the pounds.
Financially I am suffering at the moment, I will admit (working in the financial industry, you worry about these things) – Between spending twenty quid a month on going to Slimming World and the almost constant hassle of having to buy new clothes (which thankfully is starting to abate) means that I’ve spent a tremendous amount over the last few months.
However, short-term pain equals long term gain; I no longer have to pay the inflated prices “big and tall” shops charge for clothes, and my shopping bills have decreased since I have cut out buying things like Pringles, Ice Cream and sweets. I’ve also quit smoking; at almost £7 a packet, four or five packs a week, that’s quite some saving each month!
I’m also going to be saving petrol money soon when I start riding my bike to work; fuel doesn’t look like it’ll be getting any cheaper any time soon, so my legs are going to be getting a workout!
I really can’t even begin to stress how much my life has changed for the better over the last few months: I’ve become more confident (potentially spurred on by my new girlfriend, who shouts viciously at me if I do something self-deprecating like refer to myself as a river troll or suggest that I should be sent to space to live with the other moon-creatures), my body is kinder to me in a whole raft of ways too numerous (and in some cases, too personal) to mention, and let me tell you, the compliments do NOT get boring. The first time doesn’t recognise you, or does a double take as you walk past is an amazing sensation, and I’m yet to hear somebody tell me how good I look now and think “Oh, I’m fed up with this, now.”
I do hope reading this has given inspiration to others – whether you want to start dieting, are in the middle of a diet and having a hard time or rocketing through it. If I’m honest my life was a mess, having it fall apart in front of me was quite possibly the best thing that ever happened to me, it gave me opportunity to put it back together better than ever before. I’m not for a minute suggesting that you should put yourself through the same heartbreak and pain I went through, but if you’re given an opportunity to rebuild your life from the ground up, do. You won’t regret it, I promise.
And now, over 80lbs lighter.
I just want to say a quick thank you to Chris for agreeing to share his story on here - I don't know about anyone else but I was bordering on gobsmacked! Over 80lbs in less than a year - incredible!
I hope you've all enjoyed the first installment of my new little feature, and that it has brightened your outlook for the day and warmed the cockles of your heart and all that jazz. And if its shite, well then I'm sure you'll all let me know soon enough!