Hello and Happy New Year! I know I’m supposed to be full of perky new year’s resolutions but I tend to see September as more of a time to start afresh than January. For me the decorations are down, the middle son has already gone back to school and this morning, I faced the scales which led me to a moment of self loathing because I’ve put on half a stone.
However, when I look back at the fantastic Christmas we’ve had, I really don’t regret it. I think of the laughs that wouldn’t have been as fulsome without that extra glass of fizz; the meals with friends that wouldn’t have been as hearty if I’d been picky about food and the quiet times with a book that wouldn’t have been as blissful without a box of Bittermints.
Faced with the cold light of January, I know I have two options. I can tell myself that it’s Winter and that living in the rural North I should follow the animals’ example and hibernate, eating for comfort and sleeping a lot. OR I can remind myself that I’ve done that before and that by the time I look up again it will be Easter… and then the Summer holidays… and the half stone will have multiplied over and over again.
The question that I am asked most often by Midlifechic readers is how I maintain my weight so I thought now might be a good time to go back over it. To recap, I am 5 ft 8″ and a UK size 12 (US 8 -10) which is generally at the larger end of the scale for a style blogger but it’s where I am happy to be.
An easy to follow way of eating
Over the years, I’ve learned that holiday weight is a bit like brown fat and if you tackle it quickly enough it soon goes. It’s almost a case of getting rid of it before it sticks. So, I will be going back to Slimming World tonight, along with most of the village. We’ll do the walk of doom towards the weigh-in station. Then we’ll all have a chat and a giggle, knowing that if we stick to it, we’ll be in a different situation by the end of the month.
I have no professional relationship with Slimming World, I pay my fees when I’m over target like anyone else. The only reason that I recommend it so often on here is because it works and it is relatively painless to adopt as an eating method for the rest of your life.
And yes, I have tried the rest. I first began my struggle with extra weight after the youngest was born and I just couldn’t lose the last stone. WeightWatchers made me cry (and I never cry) because I used to feel so deprived and then only achieve a loss of about half a pound each week. The 5:2 just wasn’t right for my mindset because I ended up indulging myself far too much on the 5 days off. ‘No carb’ actually had brilliant results. I did the Montignac version a few times and I not only lost weight but I felt fantastic. However it was pretty hard to manage socially and so, sooner or later, I always gave up.
Slimming World has worked consistently for me for 4 years now. Extra tips from me would be that I very rarely drink wine or any other kind of alcohol these days unless I’m out with friends or it’s Christmas – when I do!
I also weigh myself every morning because I have to – it’s the only way I can see if my weight starts to veer upwards again. I’ve tried the ‘favourite jeans’ method of monitoring my weight but jeans have so much elastane in them these days that they can easily accommodate an extra half stone without you noticing. I use Withings scales which are one of the best things I’ve ever bought. They send handy, health monitoring charts to my phone and, when I’m using it, they link with my Fitbit.
At the moment I am just starting rehab for my shoulder at Wrightington Hospital (which is where the England Rugby Team are treated for their shoulder problems – so I’m wondering if the waiting room might not be such a bad place to be stuck in)!
For now, my cardio is restricted until my shoulder is stronger (the tendons across the top and the back were torn in the car accident I had 2 years ago). So other than lots of dog walking, I have been relying on Pilates for toning.
If I do have a hopeful resolution for this year, it is to get back to the level of fitness that I had before the accident but that will depend on whether my shoulder needs surgery. In the meantime, I am consoling myself with the advice I was given by a personal trainer who told me that weight is maintained by an 80:20 ratio. 80% is determined by your diet and only 20% by exercise which makes me feel better for now.
All I can say is that it’s better not to waste too much time feeling fed up about your weight. Make a start and it will come off. Before you know it, the small losses will mount up and people will start to say how well you’re looking. It’s a case of gritting your teeth (literally as well as metaphorically) – you can do it.
Recent outfits of the week
Leaving all of the healthy stuff behind, I’m going to give you a few outfits from last week – you’ll notice the waistbands getting looser as my face gets rounder!
This was a very chilly early start as we travelled over to Newcastle so that we could spend some time with Mr MC’s side of the family. When we arrived, the table was groaning with party food and my mum-in-law was joyfully handing out wine glasses filled to the brim with Baileys – which is the way that Geordies drink it!
Cashmere jumper, Uniqlo (sold out); Sequin skirt (past season); Ponyskin clutch, Jigsaw, (sold out); Stacking Bracelets, Claudia Bradby; Ankle boots (past season)
New Year’s Eve
A very quick shot just before our friends arrived. This blue velvet top was definitely my best Christmas buy. It works well with ordinary jeans and here I’m wearing it with leather leggings. I know I’ll wear it for lots of nights out this year – it’s currently back in stock if you didn’t manage to get one.
Velvet top; Hush leather leggings (low stock); Boden shoes (past season)
We saw in the new year with lots of local customs including pan banging and a first footer. I think first footing differs in places but here, a dark haired man knocks on the door, bringing prosperity into the house with a piece of bread, a lump of coal and then shakes salt everywhere. We have also introduced a new tradition of a midnight selfie!
New Year’s Day
After a late night, we then had to be up and ready for a new year’s brunch with some of our other favourite friends. There was much merriment and I think these two, who had consumed the lion’s share, were the most merry!
I was wearing my most relaxing party dress which is now 40% off in the sale if you’re quick (and an extra 10% off with code AP837).
Sequin sleeved dress, Skinny star scarf; Ankle Boots (past season); Whistles silver clutch (past season)
The January Sales
I’ve managed to resist most of the sales so far although I did succumb when the Hush sale went live this morning. I bought the essential crew in black and this grey version of my burgundy wrap which is an absolute bargain – here’s a reminder of how it looks.
The essential crew is also still available in my favourite brown sugar colourway as seen below and the Julia cardigan that I’m wearing in this shot is in the sale too.
Brown sugar essential crew; Julia cardigan – both true to size
My last personal recommendations would be the Victoria dress…
…and, as always, the jumpsuits.
Whatever you do though, be quick because stock is flying out.
Other great sales include Hope Fashion which has good levels of stock and is now up to 75% off. If you use code SALEKNITS you can also get an extra 10% off all knitwear here until midnight on 6th January.
Finery’s sale has also just been extended with further reductions here.
The White Company has an extra 10% off all sale items here, use code AP837 at check out.
An enormous THANK YOU
That leaves me to tell you about the most exciting thing that has happened to me this year (yes already) and it’s all down to you. On Monday I learned that Midlifechic has reached the finals of The UK Blog Awards. Thank you so much to everyone here who voted for me before Christmas. You may remember that being shortlisted for an award was one of the 12 things I hoped to do before my 50th birthday so you have, quite literally, made one of my dreams come true.
I now have to wait until the Awards Ceremony in April to find out if I’ve made it any further. Even better is the fact that my friend Catherine from notdressedaslamb is through to the finals too, so between us we’re doing our best to raise the profile of blogs for women over 40.
So, thank you again everyone – your support and friendship means the world to me and is inspiring me to think of lots of new ideas for us to discuss this year. I’ll tell you more about that next week when I’m back in the office properly. Until then, I hope you are facing the new year with gusto…and wish me luck for the dreaded weigh in!