This wasn't my planned post today but having reached the end of my tether yesterday I decided that for my own accountability as well as sharing what I learnt with you, it would be good to post this today.
Sleep. We love it! We feel better for getting lots of it! When we don't sleep well though we feel sick, miserable, fed up and frustrated. And it can affect our health and fat loss - it is just as important, if not more important for fat loss, than calories!
I have a long history with insomnia and each time it gets me it is for a different reason, baby not sleeping through the night, stress, phobia, anxiety to name a few.
Unfortunately though it is very much a modern problem that is causing so many of us to lack quality sleep now. And yet we don't do anything about it. We keep ignoring the problem and hoping tomorrow will be better.
We are addicted to our smart phones (TV or iPad) - modern technology. I talked about going 24 hour phone free a few months ago, unfortunately I have not repeated it often enough - see my post here.
Modern technology emits a blue light and this blue light interrupts our circadian rhythm and ability to produce melatonin, the essential hormone needed to make us feel sleepy.
I'm not going to delve into the science bit, it is readily available online but I am going to share with you my action plan and the advice I have been given both from doing The 8020 Lifestyle Plan and from speaking to a sleep expert yesterday.
I've had a difficult summer with stress and it hasn't helped my ability to sleep properly, I either can't get off to sleep (probably due to the blue light of smart phone addiction) or I wake up in the middle of the night with a hot flush/night sweat (due to peri-menopause). The result is I'm exhausted.
It does make my insomnia harder to solve due to having Sleep Initiation Insomnia and Sleep Maintenance Insomnia but first of all I am going to deal with the Sleep Initiation:
I've got into bad habits and here is my action plan for change:
My plan is to have a wind-down time and be more strict about keeping to it. So no mindless scrolling on social media after about 8 pm, then I shall watch some TV downstairs in the lounge, have a relaxing hot bath then read a book. The experts suggest that you should not even read in bed. Bed is for sleep and sex. I am not sure I am keen to give up reading in bed so I am going to experiment with that one and see how I get on.
Even light-bulbs emit a certain amount of blue light although a bedside table lamp is still far preferable to the blue light from our devices. There are alternative light-bulbs and a quick google search turned up this article but so far I've not found a UK company that sell this type of bulb - more research needed!
I am told that it will take 2 -3 weeks of sticking to this new routine to break my old habits and see results. If I can tackle the Sleep Initiation then I can then look at the Sleep Maintenance around my peri-menopausal symptoms, but one thing at a time!
There is some more great advice at The Sleep Council, or take a look at the 8020 Lifestyle Plan where you will learn about nutrition, mindset and movement and sleep has it's own chapter on the weekly course, or I spoke to an expert at The Sleep Disorders Clinic.
Last year I really lusted after the Baukjen leather leggings, a few weeks ago I gave in and ordered them. But they didn't suit me at all. I ordered a few bits from Baukjen but I found all the tops came up really big - I ordered 8's and then downsized to 6's but they were stil too big. I did keep one item which I will share below. But the leather leggings were too tight - just too difficult to get on and too tight in the leg.
My conclusion - Baukjen is for tall, lanky ladies, not short ones like me! So the leather leggings got sent back along with some very lovely (but too big) knitwear.
Which got me thinking, am I really going to wear £349 worth of leather leggings? I wanted to try them but I am probably quite relieved they weren't right for me.
Now to the alternatives ...
Black leather look tregging from Mint Velvet at £79, these are leather look at the front and stretch fabric at the back. I have had them for the last couple of years and love them.
Black shine legging from Mint Velvet at £35, now again I have these and despite feeling a bit Oliva Newton John in them, they are actaully very nice and really do look like leather so I'd definitely recommend trying them on. I sized up to a medium but I do feel they need pulling up on the waist a bit, they do have a very wide flattering waist band and are ideal for going out to dinner!
I've just spotted that Mint Velvet have an online exclusive real leather trouser this year but at £399 they had better be good! I won't be trying them but if anyone else does, do let me know!
Then there are waxed or coated jeans and leggings which I think do have that 'leather' look about them and can really dress up an simple jumper for daytime or a pretty blouse in the evening. They make a change from just black jeans and add a different contrast to outfits which are more similar to leather.
I have two pairs from Next (which are very blogger popular and raved about), my problem with Next is that I am between an 8 and a 10, this year I have sized up to a 10 and have them in black and berry but they are a little generous on the waist. The style is high waisted which is good and they are very reasonably priced. They are very difficult to find on the website so use this link - Pull on Coated Leggings £26.
I also have a pair from Boden which are more jeans style with button and zip - Mayfair Skinny Jeans from £50. I wore them for the first time yesterday and they are a definite hit! So guess what, I've ordered another pair with a 20% off offer and a £10 voucher they sent me, bringing them down to £35.
And a few other recent purchases to share with you. First of all the Baukjen top I mentioned to start with. The Lily Relaxed Top at £69 is perfect for this in-between weather and I have worn it a lot with my poncho from Jigsaw. Size down though!
Today flicking through the Hush catalogue I spotted their Ellie Merino Scarf in Aqua Sea but at £69 I thought it was too much. It was styled with a grey cashmere jumper and leather leggings. So I set out to recreate this look but for less money. I have the leggings and I have a grey jumper but I needed the scarf so I headed over to Sweet-Bea my favourite online scarf and accessories shop and ordered one of theirs at £17.50, I think it will work! Look out on Instagram for an update when it arrives - Plain Knit Scarf in Light Teal/Aqua.
And finally I am about to order this gorgeous jumper from Hush (well I am going to order it from John Lewis as I have vouchers)! I will let you know what it is like but I do love an easy to wear boyfriend jumper on lazy days.
A few additions to the winter wardrobe, I hope some inspire you too.
I love this simple recipe and often share it with friends or on one of the online support groups so I thought why not share it here too.
I make it whilst I am cooking dinner and pop it in the fridge and then I can just grab it in the morning - breakfast with no thinking, works for me!
50 g porridge oats
15 g ground flaxseed
25 g or 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder (see below for info)
100 ml almond milk (use whichever milk you like)
50 g yoghurt (I use Skyr or Total as these are the healthiest options)
Put it all in a bowl and mix it up.
Top with some berries - I keep raspberries in the freezer and by morning they have defrosted and are ready to eat.
Here I used fresh strawberries as I do a big one for me and a little one for my daughter and she prefers strawberries!
If you try it, do let me know how you get on.
My regular Instagram account is Fifty_andFab but you can also follow my health and fitness account here michelle_fitatfifty I post recipes, meal ideas and lots of motivation stuff.
A note about protein powders - use a reputable brand, there are a lot of 'fakes' about i.e. it doesn't contain the amount of protein stated. For this recipe I like Chocolate Silk from The Protein Works. I buy it online and go for the 100% whey advanced.
After I completed The Body Coach SSS Plan I fumbled around for months looking for a way to improve my results and make sure I found a sustainable way forward. It was the first time I had ever done a formal 'plan' to help me lose a bit of fat and it worked but it was never the long term solution.
I've written about my ongoing journey a lot but following a recommendation from a friend I came across Daniel Wheeler at Life Changing Fitness and I decided to join one of his first test groups for his new initiative The 8020 Lifestyle.
The 8020 Lifestyle is an educational journey, I did mine over 12 weeks - but the new plan is to do this over 16 weeks - Dan and his team will teach you everything you need to know to create a lifestyle and not ever have to go back to a fad diet ever again. You learn about nutrition, movement and mindset but it is so much more than that - health, hormones, stress, sleep are all part of the education and it really does teach you why none of the 'famous' weight loss programmes really work on the long term - you do the diet, you lose the weight, you go back to normal life and you gain it all back and often more - sound familiar?
Dan has spent a year testing The 8020 Lifestyle and is now ready to launch his new initiative in full. He is looking for small or large investors via a crowdfunding campaign.
The 8020 Lifestyle is taught via weekly Facebook live 'meetings' - you join live or you can watch back at your convenience. I prefer to watch live as it means I can ask questions there and then rather than having to wait for a reply later on. It is ever evolving, the quality of presentation is improving and the quality of the content is first class.
If you 'invest' £110 via their crowdfunding campaign you will be able to join an 8020 group starting in January 2018. Usual price is £150. There are lots of other options too but this is the basic one where you actually get to do The 8020 Lifestyle at a fantastic discounted rate!
If you'd like to give up dieting for good and feel better, look better and address your health then what's not to love - please do go and take a look! Dan's intro video on his crowdfunding page explains it all very well - it is worth watching.
Indiegogo The 8020 Lifestyle Plan Campaign
Let me know if you decide to join!
Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties, I share fashion, beauty, lifestyle and exercise/nutrition tips to inspire others to be fifty and fab too … join my mailing list below for regular updates and offers. And don’t forget to take a look at my social media pages Facebook Instagram and Twitter.