Spring Cleaning Week – April Challenge

Good morning, happy new week and happy new month! Today sees the start of my Spring Cleaning week – I will be posting blogs here and videos over on my YouTube channel all week about cleaning! Today I am starting with the return to my monthly challenge posts. Last month I didn’t do one as I spent a lot of it in hospital, so there isn’t one to review and I will plunge straight in to what I plan on doing this month.

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January Challenge

Good morning and happy new year! Who else is so ready for 2019? I am definitely hoping for lots more positive and happy experiences this year and am ready to get working for them.

December Challenge

I am pleased to say I completed my Instagram photo challenge last month and am rather pleased with my little self! The prompts were great and definitely got me thinking about everything around Christmas. I also was pleased to discover a couple of other great parent bloggers over on Instagram through the challenge. Thanks for hosting The Granthams!

January Challenge

It sounds cliche, but this year I am starting with a fitness challenge. I was definitely wanting to lose some weight prior to Christmas, but thought waiting till after the festivities were over was the best idea!

I have tried not to over indulge too much and have not been a total pig, but after the years of steroids taking their toll, I am heavier than I am happy with and ready to get down to a version of me that I am more content with.

I know many will look at me and say you aren’t overweight, and I understand that, but I am happier when I weigh a little less than I am now and am looking to get back down to 56/57 kilos.

My Weight Journey

For most of my adult life my weight has been pretty consistent at around 50-52 kilos. A Crohn’s flare in December 2013 saw my weight plummet by a stone in just 6 days over Christmas, but at the time I just battled through it as it wasn’t long after my diagnosis and I thought I just had to crack on, as you do! Prior to my ostomy surgery in 2016 I was down to 40kg and severely ill. As I had been poorly for around six months, I didn’t quite realise how poorly I looked during this time. Now I look back at photos and the skeleton shape staring back horrifies me.

The photo on the right is me in April 2016 weighing just 40 kilos and severely ill

Following my hemicolectomy and ostomy surgery, I began putting back on the weight my body had lost and was feeling much healthier. After being used to such a skinny appearance for so long, I struggled with this though too. I remember sharing a photo of me holding my cousins newborn baby and everybody saying that I looked so healthy and so much happier – I felt huge. The constant yo-yoing of weight caused by my Crohn’s Disease had caused me to suffer with BDD.

I HATED this photo for so long and thought I looked massive

What Is BDD?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a mental health condition which causes you to worry about flaws in your appearance. These flaws are often minor, or not even noticeable to others. Because I had been poorly for so long and had become used to how skinny and underweight I was, the weight gain I experienced post surgery affected me badly at first, making me think I was hugely overweight. In fact, I was around 56/57 kilos which, although heavier than my usual body weight, was actually very healthy and I now look back on that photo and love it!

Find out more about BDD, symptoms and what to do if you think you have it on the NHS Website

The Goal

Since having a couple of bad flares and rounds of IV steroids, I have developed the ‘moonface’ people often struggle with, as well as an increase in appetite which has caused me to gain a lot more weight. My goal is now to get back down to around 56/57 kilos which was my weight post surgery and where I felt most confident and happy.

Diet

To do this I will be ‘dieting’ to an extent. I eat pretty healthy meals anyway but I would like to stick to a healthier schedule of eating and make sure my snacks are healthier. Having a stoma and Crohn’s Disease won’t make this ease, as I struggle with fibre and have to stick to lower residue foods but I am ready for the challenge and also looking into low FODMAP as a potential thing to try.

Exercise

I have really been falling down on my exercise this last year and this is where I am going to make a concerted effort to improve. I used to walk the children to and from school every day and now don’t have that to do, so I have cut out a huge chunk of my normal daily activity.

I found this on Pinterest and loved the fact it was quite relaxed and you could choose different styles of workouts to fit the theme each day. As I have arthritis many of the workout plans posted are entirely unsuitable, or have certain chucks of them that I have to miss out. I will be swapping the yoga sections fop Pilates as this is very similar and something I already do and enjoy.

I grabbed this from He & She Eat Clean and they do have some workouts for the cardio and strength training days if you would like to have a look!

Would love some exercise buddies, so if you want to join in please pop a comment below – we could maybe start a little chat group where we can keep an eye on how we are all doing and motivate one another. I am really looking forward to this challenge, although we will see if that mentality continues to the end of the month… wish me luck!

December Challenge

Good morning and happy December to you all!  It is one of my favourite months, I love all things festive and spending so much family time having fun!  What are you looking forward to this month?

Last Month’s Challenge

In November I set myself a challenge to give myself some time each day to complete a task for myself. I honestly didn’t keep up with it as the month went a little awry with Ste being taken into hospital. However, I found time to make sure I kept up some semblance of self care. Ste was originally taken into Derby hospital as he became ill while staying with me but was then transferred to his specialist hospital in Leeds. This meant it became difficult to see him as often as the drive takes its toll, especially when I’m not 100% myself. Ste definitely helped me with this. He knows that I would do the drive, every day, even if it made me poorly so he told me I wasn’t to. This took a lot of pressure off me which was great. Although I didn’t do an individual thing every day of the month, I did do the majority of the things on my list at some point during November, and will definitely revisit this challenge again next year. 

December Challenge

So onto December. This month I decided I wanted to do a photo challenge. It is a skill I really want to start improving and I felt this month would be a perfect time to start with lots of fab photo opportunities. My lovely friend and fellow blogger – @thegranthams – is hosting a photo challenge over on her Instagram this month and so I’ve decided to join her. She’s also offering a prize for one lucky person who joins in which is perfect for this time of year, a £100 Amazon giftcard. Be sure to head on over, check it out and join in – you might be the lucky winner!

I hope you decided to participate and I will be looking forward to seeing everyones festive pics! You can find me on Instagram by my username @thespooniemummy 

November – The Happiness Challenge

So, October has been and gone and November is upon us already!  It’s beginning to look a lot like….Chr….nearly!

October Challenge

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So last month’s challenge was #blogtober – posting a blog post every day during the month of October and I failed dramatically!  Unfortunately I was still recovering from being unwell which had taken it’s toll, and with the start of the cold weather my arthritis was playing up and I was very fatigued.  I did miss out a part of the month and did think about trying to catch up once I started feeling well again.  I chose not to as I would have been placing even more pressure on myself when I had just started feeling better and probably set my recovery back.  This is life with chronic illness – despite your best laid plans, not every will always work out the way you want it to!

Challenge For November

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I am enjoying my challenge’s and so have decided to keep this going and have picked a one for this month.  Being chronically unwell puts a strain on your mental health as well as your physical health.  Having to miss out on things when you are unwell, and the slightest activity wearing you out can really make you feel even more rubbish.  With that in mind I thought I would choose a challenge for this month to encourage me mentally.

With that in mind I came across this while having a Pinterest scroll.  It looked like exactly what I needed!

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Apostrophe S is a fab blog with lots of great self care ideas and inspiration.  Check out the blog by clicking here

I won’t necessarily do these in order but I plan on doing one a day.  I aim to fill you in on the daily challenges over on my social media pages so make sure you are following me –

Facebook     –     Twitter     –     Instagram

and updating at the end of the month (and possibly halfway through) as to how I found it and how I am feeling on here.

Self Care – Is It Selfish?

Self care has become very popular recently and can mean anything from taking control over your mental health to giving yourself a little me time and having a bubble bath!  I think everyone needs to be able to treat themselves once in a while but self care, in my opinion, can be even more simple than that.

When you have mental or physical health problems, or are a parent, self care is very often forgotten about, or even consciously denied.  When you feel poorly, low and depressed, people will often ‘punish’ themselves by withholding simple care behaviour from their life. They may feel like their health concerns already take over too much of daily life and refuse to concentrate any more efforts on themselves.  They may feel unworthy of this kind of attention, that they don’t deserve it.  A parent can feel too busy and like they should be dedicating all of their time to their children and their needs.  The thing is – we all deserve a bit of TLC and the common quote – you can’t pour from an empty cup – is very true.

Starting simple with things like ensuring you are taking all your medication at the correct time, that you are staying hydrated and drinking the recommended amount daily and you are getting some fresh air are great places to start.  These sound like simple things but they are so often forgotten when you are focusing on your children or you are struggling with feeling down.  Self care is about looking after you and encompasses everything you need to be doing for yourself.  You wouldn’t forget to give your child regular drinks throughout the day.  But, as I have in the past, you could be cooking tea and realise you have only had one cup of tea all day!

Wish Me Luck!

I am really looking forward to this challenge and definitely think it will be a really positive one for me at the moment.  I would love it if you would like to join me, let me know in the comments below if you would like to participate!

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

 

 

Welcome To #Blogtober

Good afternoon, happy new week!  And happy new month to you all as we are officially in October.  This month I am looking forward to Autumn kicking in, Leo’s tenth birthday (how did that happen?!?), half term school holidays and Halloween!

Last Month’s Challenge

Last month I attempted Scroll Free September which meant, apart from for work (blog) purposes, I would not be on social media.  You can read my introduction post about it here.

sfs4

I was really excited about the challenge and thought it would help me explore my relationship with social media.  I do feel I often spend too much time on there, especially with blogging being central to the online world.  It is something Ste has also mentioned.  I know he is proud of my blogging work, but does often feel like it takes over too much of my time.

The first couple of weeks were a real eye opener.  I stuck tot he rules really well and only went on at set times to post things for my blog.  Unfortunately, halfway through the month I became unwell with a nasty sickness bug and then a cold.  This led to lots more rest time and I noticed I began scrolling again more frequently.  I was upset that I had failed the challenge but also, too poorly to care at the time.  I do think the challenge was having a positive effect on my well being when I was following it.  Being poorly did make me feel down though, and sliding back into using social media again and realizing I had failed, did not help with this.

On reflection, I still think Scroll Free September taught me a lot.  Although I took the option of trying ‘cold turkey’ which meant that I wasn’t doing anything online except for work purposes, the creators planned different options.  Things like not using social media in bed is something I will be continuing with.  Me and Ste have started watching films and TV series again and getting a little quality time in the evening without interruptions, which I love.  I also want to extend this to the mornings, as I often get up and check my social media first thing.  I am going to try getting up and waiting o check my social media till I get my cuppa and breakfast.

Treating blogging a little more like a job is also worthwhile.  Rather than frequently popping on to check on my different accounts, I spend a little time prepping what I want to be posting about at the beginning of the week/day and then will just go on to check it at a couple of times throughout the day for messages etc.

Although I technically failed the challenge, and I don’t mind admitting it, I hope that Ste especially will see the steps forward that I have taken this month and continue to support me with this.  I am now back to studying for my degree too so need to ensure my time is well handled so I do not fall behind.

This Month’s Challenge

So a new month is beginning and I have set myself a new challenge – maybe this should become a regular monthly thing?!  Let me know in the comments below if you have any ideas I could do in the coming months!

This month I have decided to take part in #Blogtober which means I will be posting a blog post every single day of the month.  I feel tired just saying it!  Make sure that you are subscribed if you aren’t already and you won’t miss a post, as they will all conveniently drop into your inbox!  To do this just check out the bottom of the home page and type in your email address. I have lots of content planned and I hope you all enjoy it.

Thankyou all once again for your support – every like, share and comment is hugely appreciated.  I try and reply to everyone’s comments and you can also message me privately if preferred.

Happy #Blogtober, wish me luck!

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy