Monday, 30 April 2012

Revision Munchies.

Food is constantly on my mind. It dominates at least 70% of the space in my head, probably because I have to plan so much of my life around it. In truth I think about food far more now than I ever did before Weight Watchers, when I was eating up to four times the amount that I should have been. Food was just a given then - I took it for granted. No thought or planning went into what I was going to eat, which is probably why I ended up eating so badly and thus piling on the lbs.

Life isn't like that for me now. I can't take food for granted. Every meal, every snack, has to be meticulously planned, or else I risk falling off track. On a normal day-to-day basis, that doesn't pose much of an issue. Either I'm at work or at uni, with a packed lunch and lots of fruit in my bag, or I'm at home and doing these that keep my mind - and more importantly my hands - out of the biscuit tin.

This all goes rapidly out of the window when I'm on an academic deadline. At the moment, its exams.

I have two exams this year - the 9th and 14th of May, worth 50% of the modules for my final and therefore most important year of university. I should be revising like a bad man, yes? No. I am revising, but in truth I have no real drive or urgency about it. The fear hasn't struck me yet, and until it does I'm powerless to the distractions of YouTube and GorillaVid. And Blogger...obviously. And until the fear strikes me, I'm sat at a desk inside all day, on my own, staring at a computer screen/book and being painfully aware of the packet of chocolate buttons that are 10 ft away in my kitchen cabinet.

Because lets be honest...revision and snacking. They just go hand in hand don't they? The term 'revision munchies' has such a lovely ring to it. It might even be better than 'essay snacklets', which is my friend Emma's favourite turn of phrase during the lead-up to an essay deadline. When you're sat a desk all day, re-reading Ulysses and Mrs Dalloway and trawling through critical articles to find something, anything, that is going to make the last few months of your academic life suddenly click into place and make perfect sense, you need something tasty on hand to stave off the boredom/depression/desperation/all of the above. And that is absolutely fine - except when you're a Weight Watcher and you have 12.5 measly effing lbs to go until you're at your goal weight and you are painfully aware that these last few lbs are going to be the hardest out of the whole 100+ to get rid of AND YET YOU STILL CAN'T STOP FUCKING EATING.

I knew this would happen...I was prepared for this. I went shopping with my step-mum on Saturday, and spent £45 on a trolley full of brightly coloured fresh produce and healthy stuff for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. What I forgot to get were 'snacks'. I am now back in Canterbury, so when my housemate asked if I wanted to go to Asda I of course went along, with the intention of buying lots of healthy snacks to see me through the long dark days of revision. And what did I come out with? £10 worth of crap. Crisps, chocolate, biscuits. And absolutely nothing of any nutritional value except some yogurts. I don't know how it happened! I just walked out with a bag full of (yummy) processed rubbish. It is literally all sugar and fat. And I know that I shouldn't be eating it - but has that stopped me?! Don't be ridiculous. I ate almost all of an entire big bag of Kettle Chips before we even got home. It was my own fault for leaving it so long to have lunch and thus letting myself get too hungry, but that doesn't excuse it. Nor does it excuse the loaf of ciabatta bread that I shared with Mark, the mini-Quiche (admittedly a Weight Watchers one so it could have been worse) or the three chocolate hobnobs I ate when I got home.

I am so fat and disgusting.

It was at the point that I started contemplating a fourth and fifth hobnob that I knew I had to come on here and confess my sins! The damage for this afternoon is done, but that doesn't mean I can't repair some of it. I know what I have to do - I have to accept the fact that I'm going to want to snack on unhealthy stuff over the next couple of weeks. I can accept that, and I can do it. Nobody on Weight Watchers has ever said 'I can't have that' (and if they have, they're idiots, because you CAN), and I am not about to start now. I haven't had a good few days foodwise anyway, so I'm prepared for a gain. Bring it on. I've lost 100lbs, you think gaining a couple of them back is going to phase me? Think again. I know full well that I can't be point-perfect all the time. I'm not a machine - sometimes I'm going to give in to temptation. This is going to be one of those times. If I want some chocolate or some crisps while I'm revising, then I will damn well have some. But what I don't have to do is throw reason out of the window and eat myself silly for no good reason. The food is bought now, its in the house. Done. Temptation is already here. That is not something that I allow to happen too often - for the most part the worst thing in my cupboards are Weight Watchers chocolate bars. The thing is, I have to accept the fact that that is not always going to be the case. I'm not always going to be in an environment that I can control. Next year I will be living at home - either at mum's or dad's. To a certain extent that is fine, because both my mum and step-mum are Weight Watchers as well. But there are always going to be chocolates and crisps in the house, because my dad, step-dad, brothers and sister sure as hell aren't! I'm going to have to learn to control myself when there are things in the house that might throw me off track - and now is as good a place as any to start. There's chocolate in the house - does that mean I have to eat all of it in one sitting? No. No it does not. 

To all you students out there who might also be struggling with the revision munchies - first of all, good luck for your exams! And second of all, don't be afraid to have a little treat every now and then. An extra few ProPoints or syns, counted and tracked, over the day is a hell of a lot better than depriving yourself altogether and potentially losing control at the first sight of temptation.

Have a good week everyone!

Lots of love,
Lauren xxx

Friday, 27 April 2012

Health Heroes

Edit: This was supposed to post yesterday morning, but like the genius I am I clicked 'save' and not 'publish' on a scheduled post, so you're getting it now instead!


As I've already mentioned, I received a lot of emails, comments and tweets after I posted about my depression a few days ago. One of the emails I received was from Bradley Russell, who runs the health blog My Re-Body, asking if I would be willing to take part in an interview for their blog in order to raise awareness both of physical and mental health. Of course I was more than happy to take part, and a couple of days later I filled out a questionnaire via email about my experiences with weight loss and depression.

The article was published today, and you can find it here. If you have any interest in weight loss and issues relating to it (as I know many of you are) then this site is right up your street. So go check it out - and let me know what you think.

A big thank you to both Bradley for making the initial contact with me, and Shannon for keeping me in the loop with the questionnaire and when the article came out. Both were the absolute pinnacle of professionalism and sensitivity, which is exactly what you need when talking about tricky issues like depression! Thanks again guys!

Love,
Lauren xxx

100LBS BABY!!

Ok so I'm rubbish at posting my weigh-in results...what else is new!? In fairness to myself, I've been having quite an exciting week! Despite having barely left my dining room table where I am surrounded by a years worth of notes on Middlemarch and Ulysses - gotta love exam time huh?

I weighed in on Wednesday at 12st 9.5lbs - a 2.5lb loss that brought me up to a round 100lbs gone. 

Gone. Forever. As Krystle said when she reached this landmark and few weeks back, they are not lost, they're  gone. Lost implies that they're going to be found again, and I sure as shit am not going to let that happen!

(Speaking of Krystle, I may be getting to meet the woman herself! Praying that she can find the time to make it into the city during my upcoming visit to New York. It would be incredible to meet a fellow blogger and Weight Watcher in the flesh!)

So yeah, 100lbs gone...as we don't really work in lbs over here in the UK I'm actually more excited about breaking the 7st barrier. I now have 12.5lbs to go until my ultimate goal weight. It all suddenly seems very...real. When I started I never ever thought I would get anywhere near where I am now - neither did anyone else! Practically every one I know has told me that they expected me to give up. In fact they thought I had when I had my little relapse in between August '10 and January '11. But I kept picking myself up and getting back on the wagon and now I'm so close I can practically taste it. 11st 11lbs. Just has such a nice ring to it, doesn't it?! I know that these last few lbs are going to be the hardest to shift, and given the way I've been feeling for the last few months that is going to be tough, but I know I can do it. I am now technically healthy by both NHS and Weight Watchers guidelines, meaning that I could call it a day and start maintaining now if I chose to, but I said to myself when I started that I was going to lose 8st and lose 8st is exactly what I'm going to do...come hell or high water I will see 11st 11lbs on those scales. And I don't care how long it takes me to get there, how many hours I have to spend flogging my guts out in the gym, how many times I have to say no to dessert. I will get there. I've come too far and sacrificed too much not to.

That being said, I know that for somebody of my height and build (5'11, broad shoulders and what my friends like to refer to as 'child bearing hips'), 11st 11lbs is probably on the lower side of the scale. Technically its smack-bang in the middle of the healthy BMI guideline. But the way I see it, the BMI guideline is just that - a guideline. If I get to 11st 11lbs I feel like I may be looking a little too sharp around the cheekbones and ribs, then I'll go up a few lbs. No biggy. Likewise if I get to 11st 11lbs and find that I have to live on 26 ProPoints a day and go to the gym 18 times a week to maintain it. I would rather be 12st 7lbs and happy than be 11st 11lbs and spend my entire life stressing about what I have to do to stay there. Does that make sense?

My exams are fast approaching, and this is the time when I really struggle to stay on plan. When you're spending hours chained to a desk its so easy to have a jumbo pack of maltesers or crisps to hand to stave off the boredom/stress. Despite going a little overboard at dinner at my Nan's house this evening, I'm determined not to succumb to temptation for the rest of the week - and if I do, to keep it within my ProPoints allowance. I'm heading to my dads tomorrow and back to Canterbury on Sunday. My first exam is next Wednesday (at the same time as my Weight Watchers meeting...typical!) so exercise is not going to be a high priority between now and then. I'm going to have to be extra careful not to let the lbs creep back onto me over the next couple of weeks. I would dearly love to be in the lower half of the 12s by the time I head to New York on May 24th - four weeks today! - meaning I need to lose at least 3lbs between now and then. Even taking exams and so on into consideration I don't think this is too tall of an order. I suspect that I may gain anything up to 5lbs while I'm out there, but I'll worry about that when I'm back. I'm only going to live once, and I plan to make the most of my trip (and then hope that I still fit in my SummerBall dress by the time I get back...)

Hope everyone is having an awesome week!
Love, 
Lauren xxx

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

'TODAY IS LAUREN JONES DAY' - Mark Hicks

True words spoken to me by my housemate yesterday afternoon in regards to the article in The Sun. I can't help but feel that he was being slightly sarcastic, but I appreciate the sentiment anyway. His favourite things are Springsteen, Nando's, Whisky, Football, Politics and abusing me. If any of these things sound like they might be up your street, his twitter is here

Did I mention that he's a bit of a babe as well...?


Seriously though, yesterday was very much a 'me me me' day - lots of calls, texts, emails and tweets from people congratulating me. A massive thank you to anyone who took the time to get in touch, it really means a lot to me :) and I couldn't have done it without the support of the people in my life. Just want to give a quick shout out to my wonderful Weight Watchers Leader Jen, who I definitely don't mention enough on here. This woman is an absolute diamond - incredibly supportive, understanding, honest and funny, which is exactly what you need in a leader! I was having a bad few days a couple of weeks back so I dropped her a text and got a reply telling me that she'd had a bad weekend as well but hopefully we would be able to get back on the wagon together. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Yesterday she sent a text to all of her members letting them now I was in the paper, and has since been forwarding the congratulations texts that she's received from various members in my meeting. I would never have got this far without the support of her and the other ladies in my meeting - most notably Sue, Lorraine, Brenda, Ann and Maeve, plus plenty more - so thank you all so much. I couldn't have done it without you.

Unfortunately I still haven't heard back from The Sun about getting the photographs sent to me - I plan to keep nagging until they email them so watch this space! 

In all the excitement yesterday, I forgot to mention that I was doing my first 'Filling and Healthy' day on Weight Watchers, after being encouraged by a few other people I know who have given it a go. I still have mixed feelings about it, but I think a lot of that might come from the fact that my house wasn't very well stocked in fruit and veg. So rather than having a banana for a snack in the afternoon, I ended up having another crumpet. Still a F+H food, but it just didn't feel very healthy ya know? I can certainly see its merits for people who have a good grasp of what 'full' feels like, but I do worry about the fact that I may have eaten too much just because I was allowed to. I will be weighing in tomorrow morning so I guess only time will tell whether or not it was a successful day. I have a feeling it is something I will be saving for when I'm at my goal weight from now on though...

In other news, I HAVE BOOKED MY FLIGHTS TO NEW YORK FOR NEXT MONTH! Ahhhhh I am SO excited. I fly out on the 24th and come back on the 29th, so I have five days staying out there with a friend. We'll have a three day weekend together but I'll be fending for myself on the Thursday and Friday day-time...that suits me fine, because it gives me a chance to explore the parts of the city that I didn't see last time, and that he isn't interested in. Its SummerBall at my uni three days after I get back, so its going to be a hell of a week!!

Hope everyone is having a good week! I will be updating with weigh-in results over the next couple of days.

Love to you all,
Lauren xxx

Monday, 23 April 2012

Shapeshifter

Hi guys!

The article I was interviewed and photographed for a couple of weeks back came out in The Sun newspaper below - click here if you want to go check it out! As a self-confessed Twi-hard and Truebie, I'm loving the 'shapeshifter' caption on my photos. AND HOW FIT IS THAT DRESS!? Can't wait to wear it again for graduation!

I'm kind of miffed that they don't mention Weight Watchers by name, particularly as Rosemary Conley got a mention and we all know that Weight Watchers is far superior to the RCs of this world! But hey ho, you can't win them all I suppose.

I have emailed the photographer and asked him to send me the photos - copyright means I can't get them from the website which is gutting! Hopefully I'll hear back from him soon. I'm also hoping to have a link for the bog placed on the online version of the article which will be pretty cool.

Once again, thanks so much to all my wonderful followers, friends and family for giving me the best support network anyone could ever ask for. And thanks to my housemates as well, just for putting up with me! So much love for you all :)

Lauren xxx

It Was Acceptable In The Eighties

Hi lovelies

Just wanted to say thank you so much for all the comments, tweets, emails and texts I received after my last post. It was a difficult post for me to write and I had to own up to a lot of things that ordinarily I would push to the back of my mind, so it means the world to know that there are people out there who know what I'm going through and are in my corner.

With the exception of last night (more on that to come) I am now 100% back on track. It feels so good to be back in control. I'm enjoying planning and tracking my meals again, which is refreshing because for the last few weeks it has seemed like a real chore to plan anything in advance, which normally means making bad decisions on the go and then not wanting to track the 'fat food' I've consumed...vicious cycle, and all that!? I'm hoping that this new-found enthusiasm will stick and then I can really get my head around losing these last 15lbs - and keeping them off for good! I have so much coming up over the next few weeks and months and I really want to look and feel my best for all of them. I'm hoping to be able to take a trip out to New York at the end of May to visit the guy I met there back in October, followed closely by the university Summer Ball on June 2nd and then graduation in July - not to mention any interviews I may have for post-grad jobs. My enjoyment and success in  all of these things depends heavily upon my not being a fat pig for them, so hopefully with all these occasions in mind I'll be able keep my motivation at its highest. 11st 11lbs...lets be having you!

As I said before, I've been tracking religiously except for last night - Daddy Jones's 50th 80s themed birthday bash! I'm pretty sure I had a cracking night, but I can't really remember because I got totally hammered and blacked out - after emptying my stomach contents onto the bedroom floor. Grim. I blame it entirely on the fact that I didn't eat before I started drinking, and that I was stupid enough to drink wine all night. What was I thinking!? I had fully intended to load myself up with buffet food and switch to vodka and diet coke after the first couple of glasses of wine, but every time I went to get something to eat someone would stop me for a chat or I'd get distracted by something else or an absolutely stonking tune would come on and I'd have to go rave to that and in the end I just didn't get round to it. There's no doubting that I had a skinful, but if I'd eaten and been on the spirits I would have been fine. Instead I was put to bed by my brother and sister at 1am and spent all of today dry-heaving into the upstairs toilet. I am just pure class.

I did manage to grab some wicked snaps before I passed out in a pool of my own vomit though!

Me with George Michael and MJ

 One for the family album

 Me and my 'little' brother...can't stress this enough, I ALREADY HAD 4in HEELS ON BY THIS POINT. He is stupidly tall.

 Me and Daddy Jones, with lipstick round his mouth. Grim.

Solo shot of yours truly!

Cardigan, headband and glovelets: eBay
Dress: Topshop
Shoes and legwarmers: New Look

I've received masses of comments about how skinny I look in these pictures - personally I think its just because my body looks disproportionately small in comparison to my MASSIVE 80S HAIR. Isn't it brilliant!? It was achieved with the help of lots of velcro rollers, a Babyliss Angel Curls Curling wand, straighteners, and about half a can of hairspray. Love it. Although I can't believe people used to actually go through all that hassle for a night out back in those days! Long live the straight hair trend, thats what I say. If perms come back in it'll take me frigging hours to get ready, and quite frankly I just can't be doing with it.

Thats all from me for now folks! I hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend and is ready and raring for the week ahead! I have officially finished work now, so will be hitting the books hard as of tomorrow. 

Much love to you all!
Lauren xxx

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

I've spoken on this blog before about my struggles with depression. Its been an issue for me since I was around fifteen or sixteen, although I didn't receive any diagnosis or treatment for it until I was in my first year of university. Its only looking back on the last five years of my life that I am able to recognise that the feelings that were attributed to me 'just being a teenager' and 'a bit of a cow', were actually manifestations of my depression. Don't get me wrong, I was both a teenager and a cow, but my words and actions were not solely due to these two things. There was something much more serious going on beneath the surface.

My depression is not something that I discuss often, nor with many people. While I occasionally refer to it in front of friends and housemates it is only in very shallow terms, and most often in reference to my 'happy pills'. There are a lot of reasons that I don't choose to discuss my depression with every Tom, Dick and Harry, or why I don't mention it with any regularity on this blog. Firstly, while this blog is extremely personal to me and is closely related to my weight loss and therefore my life, I do strive for it to be a positive place. Of course I am honest when I'm struggling, as I was last week when I confessed to my mega Easter weekend binge. But I will always try my hardest to draw some positivity from these struggles for the benefit of my readers. My aim is for this blog to be inspiring and empowering to those trying to lose weight, to show that if a perfectly ordinary student from South-East England with a huge appetite and a clinical phobia of exercise can lose a substantial amount of weight, then by God so can the rest of the world. That is my message to you all. That is my aim. And I hope that I am achieving that aim. This is not a blog about depression, it is a blog about weight loss. And while the two are closely linked for me, I am aware that this is not necessarily the case for everyone, which is why I don't mention it regularly on here. Its also partly to do with the fact that when I see or hear somebody who is going on and about their depression, my instant thought is 'attention seeking'. There is still an awful lot of stigma attached to depression, and perhaps my reaction is a result of society conditioning me to react negatively to open discussions of depression. I know that chances are people who are open about their depression are not attention seeking at all. But even though it may make me a terrible person, that is still my initial reaction. I don't want that to be somebody else's initial reaction about me.

Much of my reticence about discussing personal issues such as my depression - both in 'real-life' and the blog - also comes from my upbringing. Overt displays of emotion are not common in my family. We don't really hug all that much. And we certainly don't 'talk' about things. I'm pretty sure that this has contributed in no small part to my slight social retardation and communication issues. I'm not very good at talking to people about 'personal' things. I'd rather text it to them. Or perhaps send it in an email. I know thats bad, and that it is a sign of the times that an intelligent and articulate young woman would rather resort to forms of social media to tell someone that she likes them or that she's feeling a bit low, instead of simply telling them to their face, is a prime example of the ways in which we depend too heavily on technology, but thats just the way I am. I can compose my thoughts in a text or an email, and phrase them so they make sense. There's nobody to interrupt me and jumble my thoughts up. Its just easier.

So by now you're probably thinking to yourself 'What has any of this got to do with Weight Watchers?'. The answer, really, is everything. For me at least. I've always known that the two are linked, that there is no one without the other and when one is going badly the other inevitably follows suit. The last two weeks have reinforced this message. For the last four months or so, I've been teetering on the edge of a precipice that I really don't want to fall down again. I'm not at rock bottom, but it won't take much to put me there. This I know from experience. For a long time the depression was getting better, then it sort of plateau'd...and since then I feel like I've been on a steady decline. I didn't ignore it like I have done before. I went back to the doctor who upped my dosage of Happy Pills and referred me for counselling, which I've been attending since January. Both of these have helped, marginally, although there's very little counselling can do for somebody who isn't willing to discuss certain issues. The recommendation, after the counsellor ascertained that I wasn't quite comfortable opening up to her, was that perhaps I should speak to one of my close friends or family about some of the things that are causing me problems. I think she thought that if I spoke to my mum or one of my friends or housemates about one minor problem that the floodgates would open and I'd suddenly have all these free-flowing emotions. Sadly it didn't really work like that because I don't do talking. Unless we're counting texts and whatsapp messages of course, which I really don't think we are.

These feelings, obviously, have had a negative effect on Weight Watchers. Quite frankly I find it miraculous that I've managed to lose anything since January what with how I've been feeling, never mind the best part of a stone. My weight does jump up and down from one week to the next for a variety of reasons. Part of it is quite simply an occupational hazard of being a student - there is a lot of socialising, most of which includes alcohol or food. Where the depression comes into play is that it strips me of my self-control. On a good day I'd go to the pub and have a couple of vodka and cokes or a glass of wine. On a bad day I'd have a couple of bottles of wine or a few pints of cider, plus shots. Where things get really messy is when the alcohol and the depression are in cahoots and not only strip me of my self-control but also any sense of self-worth. This is getting into fairly personal territory now, and its not something that I've ever really voiced before - either out-loud or online. But that is what happens. The little voice inside my head that is so good at telling me that I'm worthless and useless gets louder and louder until it has me completely in its grasp. And if I'm already worthless and useless and completely unwanted then whats the point in being skinny and healthy? May as well be fat and worthless and useless all at the same time. And so the cycle continues...

My issues with food do not stop there. When I'm feeling really low, as I have been for the last few weeks, food becomes both my best friend and my worst enemy. I know many other people for whom depression and overeating go hand in hand, but my experiences seem to differ slightly. There is no doubt that I am a 'binge eater', however I don't seem to binge in the same way as other people do. Other people describe their binges as a total lack of control, and I've heard the phrase 'shark on a feeding frenzy' used many times. My binges have never been due to lack of control - quite the opposite. If anything they were a deliberate and calculated attempt to cause myself as much pain and discomfort as a I could through overeating. Eating to the point that I was in a great deal of pain allowed me to focus on something over than the depression. Thankfully I have have learnt a great deal from Weight Watchers, and my binges are no longer anywhere near as bad as they used to be. The effect is still the same, except now I use the emotional pain of the guilt of overeating, as opposed to the physical pain. Eating an entire jar of Nutella straight from the jar enables me to focus on the crippling feelings of guilt, as opposed to the other things that are bothering me. Food is an escape route. The food itself doesn't make me feel better, but the feelings associated with it allow me to distract myself from the feelings of self-doubt and worthlessness that are part and parcel of clinical depression.

This is all getting a bit heavy now, isn't it? I'm sorry. I feel that I owe you all an explanation though. Some of you guys have been with me since the start, and I know that my weight loss efforts over the last few months or so have been poor at best. Now you know why this has been the case. Its not that I can't be bothered or that I'm just being greedy (although both of those things have been known to happen). Its because I'm struggling in other areas of my life, and this in turn has a knock-on effect on my weight loss.

When I first started Weight Watchers, I truly believed that losing weight was the key to being happy. Actually, its the other way round. I'm not depressed because I'm fat, I'm fat because I'm depressed. I used to blame all my problems on my size, but now that I am only slightly overweight I can't do that anymore. If something doesn't go my way I can't blame it on being 20st. If a guy isn't interested I can't simply put it down to him being shallow. Instead I have to address the other issues that are going on, and that can be really tough.

That being said, I am getting better. I've been clinging to sanity with my fingertips this week, but its paid off and I have managed to lose all of last week's 4lb gain. I did slip up a few times, but I managed to get my head back in the game before I totally blew it. I know that its going to be a long hard slog, and that I'll never really get better, but at least its a move in the right direction.

So why am I writing this then? Why now? For a lot of reasons really, not least because this, writing it all down, is the only way in which I feel able to talk about these things. Also, because I hope to help others out there who may be struggling with similar issues. I suffer alone because I choose to, but you don't have to.

Thank you, once again, for listening to me prattle on! I know this post wasn't exactly 'thinspirational', but hopefully it'll give you some idea as to why I haven't exactly been on top form for a while!

Lots of Love,
Lauren xxx

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

My Moment Of Fame

Hi guys!

Ok, so lets get the bad news out of the way...I weighed in this morning with a 4lb gain. While I'm mega annoyed at myself, I'm not too upset because I knew it was coming - in fact I expected it to be a hell of a lot worse! I'm gutted to be back into the 13st category, but I'm hoping with some hard work I will have shifted those 4lbs within the next fortnight and then I can focus on getting back on my way to goal.

Anyway, we won't dwell too much on that. Instead, lets talk about yesterday!

For those of you who don't have me on facebook or twitter and who haven't been keeping track on here, yesterday I went for a photo-shoot for The Sun newspaper. You guys, it was SO much fun. The whole thing came around really quickly, and started with a freelance journo called Laura tweeting, asking for women aged 20 to 40 who had inspirational weight-loss stories. I wasn't following Laura at the time but the lovely Emma (aka Mrs Shilts) pointed her in my direction (thank you for that, by the way!) and after a few emails and phone calls it was decided that I was to feature in the article. The details all came through really quickly, I did the phone interview with Laura last Thursday (while I was hungover and an emotional wreck so I dread to think the sorts of rubbish I was spouting) and then the photo-shoot was yesterday. 

The studio is in St Katherine's Dock in London, not far from where I work at the Tower, so it was easy enough to find. Everybody there was so lovely and attentive! I was taken through to make-up straight away - I have never seen so much MAC before in my life. MAC everything. I was in heaven. I was asking all sorts of questions as I was having my make-up done - what colour is that? What sort of brushes do you use? Whats your favourite concealer product (because acne is the bane of my life)? I really liked what the make-up artist did - when I do my own make-up for a night out I tend to go very heavy on the eye make-up and do the whole smokey eyes bit, but she went fairly minimal on the eyes. She extended the eyeliner that I already had on and added just a touch of shadow around the sockets. I was slightly dubious when she pulled out a Barbie-pink MAC lipgloss but once she put it on I was totally in love.


Please excuse the rubbish phone quality picture - this cretin forgot her camera! I was loving the pink so I was quite gutted when the make-up artist saw me in the dress and changed her mind about the colour (she also added a little more to the eyes as well). I was secretly hoping for a really elaborate hair-do but the stylist said she wanted to keep it 'young' so she just straightened it through and then back-combed the layers so that it was all voluminous.

After I was done with hair and make-up I was sent out to get dressed. I'm telling you, I could learn to live with having a stylist dress me. It was awesome. The stylist was called Sharon and she kind of looked me up and down a couple of times and was like 'right, this one'. I won't tell you what the dress is like because it will ruin the surprise, but its lovely and 100% not something I would ever have picked out for myself. I felt super slim and sophisticated in it and had to be persuaded to take it off while we were waiting for the photographer to set up. I was terrified that the photographer was going to be the super-camp young European type that you see on TV, and that he would shout things like 'pout darling' or 'give me sexy...now give me FIERCE' or 'fabulous darling, FABULOUS' but he was actually a really normal guy. He made lots of jokes to put me at my ease and told me how to pose to get the best angle to 'show off that tiny waist' (could have kissed him when he said that). He showed me a few of the pictures afterwards as well and spent quite a while talking to us about the editing of photos that goes on in newspapers and magazines. I told him that if he wanted to photoshop a couple of dress sizes off of me then that would be fine, but apparently that 'defeats the object of the article'. Worth a try though right!? He also said he would email me the pictures once they've all been processed, so I will be sure to upload them here after the article has come out. Wouldn't want to spoil the surprise.

From what I can tell the article is going to feature six different women (including me) from all different age groups and walks of life, who've all lost weight in different ways. There was quite a lot of waiting around between shoots so I spent a while chatting to three of the other ladies there (one of them was a bit quiet and kept to herself, and the other was running late and only arrived as we were leaving). The women I spoke to were all in their 30s - one has lost 10st with Weight Watchers in just over a year (I was AMAZED), another has lost 11.5st after having a gastric bypass 15 months ago, and the third has lost around 3st just by healthy eating and exercise. It was so good to chat to them, especially as they are that bit older than me. It was interesting to see how they had dealt with being larger when they were in their teens and twenties, and it once again made me so glad that I did something about my weight when I did. I'm learning healthy habits that (hopefully) will stick with me for life. This last week has been a prime example of this. I totally binged, but I knew that I was doing it, I knew that it was bad and that I had to get it under control, whereas before Weight Watchers that would have been a normal week for me and I would have thought nothing of it.

All in all it was a totally amazing day and a wonderful experience. I'm praying that the photos come out all right and that the interview is ok as well - I don't know how its going to have been edited so I hope I don't come across as a total twat. I'm also slightly concerned about the whole country know what I used to weigh, but I suppose that is par for the course in this situation really!

I managed to grab a couple of pictures while I was there, but you'll have to wait for the paper to come out for the real deal!

Sneak preview of the outfit - the shoesss! Aren't they gorgeous? They were too small for me but I was determined to squeeze into them and I managed it in the end!

Waiting for 'my stylist' to come and dress me!

Like I said, there was a lot of waiting around between shoots, so I took the opportunity to rifle through all the dresses (some of which you can see on the rail behind me) and try on all the shoes. These beauties are from Truffle and are at least 6in high. I'm not afraid to admit that I fell over in them. But they're so gorgeous that I didn't even care. (Please excuse the dressing gown.)

I'll let you know when they paper is coming out!

Love, 
Lauren xxx

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Enter Witty Blog Post Title Here.

Hi guysss!

I have so much to tell you all, my head is literally exploding with thoughts right now. I'm just going to let you have it, and hopefully it will make some sort of sense.

Ok, first of all, I weighed in this week (or should I say last week!? My bad!) at 12st 12lbs - the same as for the previous two weeks. This was absolutely fine by me, because I hadn't tracked or pointed at all for most of the week. I just ate what was there/easy to make/I felt like. Blame it on impending deadlines and hormones and the pang of rejection...

I'm joking about that last one. Sort of.

Anyway. Stayed the same. Fine. I made my usual Wednesday morning pledges about the upcoming week - five gym sessions, plan all my meals, drink lots of water, don't waste your points on sweets and chocolate. 

This lasted until precisely 7pm that evening when I decided to go out. I really shouldn't have bothered. I should have stayed home and worked on my essays. I was guilted into going out by my housemate because it was his 'birthday'. Which it wasn't, by the way. And anyway, its not my fault that he doesn't get to celebrate his birthday at uni. Its his stupid fault for having a birthday during the Easter holidays. Idiot.

....where was I? Oh yes.

Well I had a horrendous night on Wednesday. For starters I got way too drunk. And I just spent the whole night feeling HUGE. Not just fat, but physically massive in height as well. I was wearing heels, as is the usual, but so was everybody else so its not even like I can blame it on that. The trouble is is that with one exception (the gorgeous Sophie) all my friends - and I use the term 'friend' very loosely in this instance - are in the region of 5'4-5'6. At 5'11 I tower over them. I'm taller than them when I'm in flats and they're in heels. And I know that it shouldn't be an issue, that I should be proud of my height and my long legs and so on, but I'm just not. I'm painfully self-conscious of having my photo taken, particularly with boys, because I just look ridiculous. And its really not fair because my mum is 5'4 and my dad is 5'10 and I'm taller than both of them! If I didn't look so much like my old man I would be inclined to believe that I am the milkman's baby. Alas, two peas in a pod.

Being a lanky cow isn't the only reason I had a rubbish night. There were a few snide comments made my aforementioned 'friend', plus drunken words with other 'friends' were had, and then aforementioned 'rejection' (God, WOE IS ME right. Throwing my own little pity party here). The whole thing was just a mess. An essay on Ulysses would have been the better way to spend an evening.

Getting back to my story - my bad mood from Wednesday night snowballed and I was in a foul mood on Thursday. I managed to hold myself together just long enough to get home to Essex (Hurrah Easter Holidays!) and then I had some kind of nervous breakdown. I think the fact that I had managed to maintain my weight the week before kind of blended into my shit mood and made me want to eat everything in sight. Thursday night wasn't too bad, but from Friday onwards its been like I've been on a one-woman mission to eat the whole of Essex. I spent all day Friday at home eating rubbish food, and the best thing was I had the perfect excuse.

'I have to eat this because Mum hasn't been shopping and we haven't anything 'Weight Watchers friendly' in the house.'

Yeah ok fatty, you keep telling yourself that as you shovel cheese sandwiches into your mouth and eat Nutella straight from the jar. On Friday evening we went to my Auntie's house. It was her birthday and she had laid on 'picky bits' - spring rolls and samosas, crisps and dips, some salad, cupcakes, plus birthday cake of course. So I ate more than my fair share there as well. But it doesn't stop there! Earlier in the evening my mum had made a big batch of Chilli Con Carne, and when we got home she made a heaving plate of Chilli Nachos with salsa, sour cream, guacemole and mountains of cheese - the whole bit. So of course I had to eat that as well. BUT IT DOESN'T STOP THERE EITHER. I then washed the whole lot down with half an Easter egg. And the only reason I didn't eat the whole egg (and the Creme Eggs that came with it) was because I was tired and had to get up for work the next morning.

Yesterday was no better. In fact it was probably worse, because I had to go to work and see people I haven't seen in seven months, and they were all so complimentary and said I looked amazing, I'd done so well, and so on...and I just felt like a massive fraud. To ease my feelings of guilt I carried on eating. And then I did the same today.

You guys, I haven't binged like this in a really long time. My Mum's scales say I've put on upwards of 4.5lbs - in four days. Thats disgusting. I mean, that is really really grim. I just went into self-destruct mode. I wasn't eating because it was sociable to do so, or because I was hungry...I was eating for the sake of eating. I made a conscious decision to eat until I felt ill, and that's exactly what I did. And I paid the price with a 4.5lb gain. 

As of tomorrow I am back in control - 100%. I wasn't planning to go to any Weight Watchers meetings over the Easter holidays, instead weighing myself at home every Wednesday morning, but I just don't think I have that kind of strength at the moment so I will be going back to meetings. I'm also going to start 'fessing up to what I'm actually putting in my mouth by Tweeting it, or publishing it on here. #TweetWhatYouEat from @LessOfLauren, and keep your eyes out on here for foodie posts.

(This post is getting long now, sorry.)

It is extra important that I get back in control now, because exciting things are happening on Tuesday! After some very exciting Tweets and emails over the last couple of weeks, I have been asked to take part in a feature in The Sun newspaper!! A lovely freelance journalist called Laura is doing a piece on several women aged 20 to 40 who all have inspirational weight loss stories - AND I'M ONE OF THEM. The photo- shoot for the piece is this Tuesday (I know right, couldn't think of a worse time to go on a massive self-pitying food binge) and there will be hair and make-up artists and a fashion stylist!! They're going to dress me! I am so excited. It kind of didn't dawn on me what a big deal it was until I was talking about it earlier to my mum and her friend, and also after thinking about some of the reactions I've had at work over the last couple of days. As much as I love my housemates, they have kind of worn me down into the mindset of 'it doesn't really matter' and 'its not a big deal'. Apparently I talk about Weight Watchers too much, and saying that it works and that I'm proof is a 'douche-bag comment'. Its kind of wearing when the biggest thing you have ever achieved, or will ever achieve, is belittled by those who see you every day. Its hard to summon up the proper enthusiasm for losing 1lb when the response at home is 'should have done a poo before you got weighed, then you would have lost 2lb'. I don't think they mean it nastily, but I think because they are a) boys and b) have never really struggled with their weight, they don't really see it as a big deal. After being home for a couple of days and being complimented and praised and asked for advice its kind of coming back to me how much of a big deal this really is. Its changed my life. Its given me two best friends who I absolutely adore and who I wouldn't be without. Its let me be me again. I often get some very odd looks when I say that Weight Watchers is more important than my degree, but really Weight Watchers is more important than everything. When it really comes down to it, Weight Watchers is everything. If it weren't for Weight Watchers and the wonderful support of my leader Jen and my meeting and my closest friends - especially Emma, Liz, Rosie and Caitlan - then I wouldn't have been able to do my degree in the first place. I would have been long gone from uni and without dwelling too much on things that don't bare thinking about, I probably would have been dead by 35. Shudder. I don't like saying that, but its true. Thats the way I was heading. So yes, Weight Watchers is more important than uni, and everything else for that matter. And there is absolutely no reason why I shouldn't make the most of my achievement and let the world see how hard I've worked. Ok, so its an article in the Women's section of The Sun - the paper world-renown for having barely-adult girls flashing their tits on the opening page. But fuck it, who cares. Its a fucking big deal.

Ok, yeah, so there you have it...a stream-of-consciousness blog post that James Joyce would be proud to call his own. (I hate that man and everything he stands for. Ulysses is the actual bane of my existence.) I'm sorry this post doesn't make more sense, or that is doesn't have lots of pretty/hilarious pictures to break up the huge outpouring of random thoughts. I kind of let my hands start typing just to see where it went. I'm glad I did. I feel better for having confessed about the binge eating and everything else. Sometimes it just feels so good to let it all out. Kind of like having a good cry, except without the puffy eyes and snotty nose and implied weakness/patheticness. (In case you hadn't noticed, I don't like criers. Especially male criers. Come on lads, get a grip!)

I'm going to go now, before I bore you all to death with more non-sensical ramblings. Sorry again for the mental post, I promise to be back with happy news soon - and I will be keeping twitter updated with the progress of the photo-shoot on Tuesday, SO FOLLOW ME. @LessOfLauren. Do it. Now.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Easter weekend!

Lots of love
Lauren xxx