This week marks two years since I started The Body Coach Plan and blogged about my journey to getting leaner, fitter, healthier. My biggest achievement was going skiing and keeping up, not getting out of breath and just generally feeling better - read more about this here.
But where I am now?
It's not always easy. It has to be a lifestyle change but it also has to be sensible, balanced and flexible. I do eat the cake! But as long as I am being mindful of my eating habits then I can relax sometimes and join in with social occasions and rituals, like birthday cake.
I have managed to maintain a healthy weight and size 8-10 clothes and although I am not my smallest I have found a good balance that works for me.
I struggle more with keeping up with the work outs than I do with eating well. I've always been honest on my blog and admitted I don't really like exercise - well I don't like the time it takes which is silly really as once I get started it is only 45 minutes, I enjoy it at the time then it is done and I feel really pleased. But then add in shower and changing etc and I get frustrated as my to list is getting longer and I want to do other stuff (like work on my blog)!
When I was doing The Body Coach I was happy to get up early and get the workouts done but after suffering with a bout of insomnia and menopause problems last year I got out of the habit and have struggled to get back into it. So this is a work in progress to find a better plan - and I do have my 'home gym' all set up in the log cabin so it is pretty poor really.
Mind Body Principles with Floresco Fitness and Fat Loss Coaching
On Sunday I went up to Milton Keynes to attend this seminar that my friend Bev Thorogood was running. The focus was very much on the connection the mind has with our body and fat loss goals. And that fat loss does not have to be complicated, we don't need endless diets or plans that we start and finish, then revert back to old habits and start again .... and so the cycle goes on. We just need the 5 Principles of Fat Loss which Bev took us through - I wrote a bit about my views on this simple approach in a post a few weeks ago - take a look here.
I was a bit frustrated to be 'inside' on the last of day of the sunny weather - the seminar was held at Xscape (the indoor ski run) and I didn't see the sky all day. Incidentally why do people put their ski gear on and wrap up warm and ski inside when the sun is shining outside? Didn't make much sense to me!
As I knew I would be inside all day I wore jeans and a navy and white breton top from Baujken (Zoe Top £69 look out for discount codes though), I have one of these in pink too and I love it's loose fit and lightweight fabric. And of course my current favourite scarf from Sweet Bea.
Anyway, I digress! I really enjoyed the seminar and found it to be a good reminder of the basic principles as well as picking up some new tips and ideas especially how we self-sabotage our efforts with limiting beliefs. Find out more about Bev and the coaching she offers on her website at www.forescofitness.co.uk.
I will be working on my mindset with Bev's support to find a way forward to enable me to fit in a more structured exercise plan. I will update you every month in my regular Being Fifty & Fab post #beingfiftyandfab.
I'm off to Sri Lanka this summer for nearly 3 weeks. We will share a family holiday for a week then my daughter will be doing some volunteer work with Dogstar Foundation. I need cool, cotton, summer dresses. I don't like linen (I don't like how they crease)! Do pass on any ideas please ladies!
In the meantime here are a few I have found.
This one has been ordered, arrived and tried on and I can report I am very pleased with it, it is cotton, lose and flowing and pretty! Bonita Paisley Print Dress from Monsoon at £49.
Here is another possibility, I like the colour and the that it is midi length rather than maxi, this is the Josette Stitch Detail Dress at £59.
Moving onto Next now which is good value for dresses that don't get worn much (let's face it, it is rare the UK weather is hot enough)! Although this one is higher priced so I am hoping it is going to be amazing. I've ordered it and the one below but not picked them up yet. Blue Broiderie Dress from Next at £65.
I quite like a shorter dress when it is really hot and I can show off my tan. This one is the Blue Embroidered Dress from Next at £24 so a very good price.
This one isn't cotton but I do find the Boden jersey dresses comfortable and work very well in the UK. I bought this one with a good discount a few weeks ago. The full price is £90 so make sure you look out for a 20% offer. I am looking forward to wearing this and it will be one of the first dresses to be hanging in my wardrobe as the weather heats up (and just before publishing I wore it ... scroll down to see). Diana Jersey Dress from Boden at £90.
I tried this one from Hush and I so wanted it to fit! I really loved it. Okay so it's not cotton but for the UK weather it would be fine. But sadly it was too long in the body for me, the waist sat too low and I would have needed to lift the shoulders so it had to go back but if you are not as vertically challenged as me it might work and it is lovely. Windsor Dress from Hush at £89.
That's as far as I've got with my research. I've looked at Aspiga but they really are very expensive and I have looked at Coco Bay but not a lot in cotton - if you find anything I'd love to hear from you.
Don't forget to use my hashtag on Instagram #beingfiftyandfab I'd love to see what you are doing to feel and look fab!
PS My daughter passed her driving test today! First time, only two minors. Big excitement here.
Not Dressed As Lamb
Maybe it's just me but has anyone else noticed they are less able to handle even a small amount of alcohol once peri-menopause has started? Maybe you are not aware that being less able to process alcohol is one of the many symptoms of peri-menopause?
Now I love a glass of wine. A glass of red with a steak on an evening out. A glass or two of prosecco with friends. A crisp, cold white on a summer evening or a light and refreshing rosé or kir royale on holiday. I rarely drink anything else, very occasionally a G&T but I have never liked beer or any other spirits. In fact I didn't really drink much at all until I was in my 30's and even then never to excess - three glasses and that's my lot!!
When I first started noticing problems I thought that I'd make sure I only ever had two glasses max. But then that started affecting me too. Now I have to have one glass only or really none at all - or accept that I will have a sleepless night and feel pretty rough the next day.
Prosecco is lighter and has 'less' alcohol so that is better for me but one glass of red is just so nice with a steak?! I tried alcohol-free wine but I wasn't impressed. I'd like to try some low-alcohol wines but am I that bothered really?
Why do I drink?
For me it is now simply a social thing. We eat out quite a lot. Usually in good restaurants, we are minor 'foodies' so enjoy the whole experience of a good restaurant, good food and fine wine. Favourite places ... The Coach in Marlow, The Waterside Inn at Bray, The Ivy Marlow Garden.
I used to drink to relax - yes I know - 'wine o'clock' or 'it's Friday evening' or 'it's the weekend' or simply let's open a bottle for no reason whatsoever.
When I did The Body Coach Plan I gave it up. It was fairly easy as I wanted to lose weight and feel better. But slowly it crept back in, although not at home. We have a small stock of wine that has not been touched for two years. Laithwaites keep calling me and every time I say no we don't need any.
The impact of alcohol on menopausal symptoms
For me it is the increase in night sweats and insomnia. I simply can't sleep. I get too hot and have a very restless night. Then when I 'wake' in the morning I feel absolutely dreadful and this can have an effect for two days after. This then has an effect on my mood and anxiety.
And of course weight gain - although I probably don't drink enough for it to have much effect and I do try to log the calories in MFP but I can often feel much more bloated and inflamed after a few drinks and a sleepless night. My body simply can't process the alcohol any more. And it is very common among menopausal women it seems.
Everyone is different and you might not be affected in the same way. I'd love to hear your experience though. Do my symptoms sound familiar to you? Have you given up alcohol or cut down a lot since starting peri-menopause?
Well I am cutting down further. Two glasses on the odd night out is still a too much and even one glass can affect my already poor ability to sleep. The late night doesn't help either and the more we drink the more relaxed we get and so common sense disappears and you have the dessert and you stay up late (and sod the consequences) then the next morning I feel dreadful and think why!? A glass or two at lunchtime is better for me as by the evening the effects have worn off. Prosecco is also better!
But to be honest I really don't need to drink - none of us do!!! It is just social pressure and I need to learn to say 'no thank you'. But I do enjoy the odd glass and I do enjoy the social side of it. I admit it is relaxing but only 'in the moment' not at 3 am or the next day!
I hear that 'low alcohol beers' are getting much better - but I don't drink beer. I'm pretty sure it is rare to find 'low alcohol wine' in a bar or restaurant. I quite like an alcohol-free cocktail. I've yet to try Seedlip (the world's first distilled non-alcohol spirit) - have you? Someone recommended it to me but it isn't yet served in many establishments.
I did a little research online and found this information about lower alcohol wines (Source: Real Simple).
Very Low (Under 12.5 Percent)
Sparkling: Italian Asti, Italian Prosecco.
White: French Vouvray and Muscadet, German Riesling, Portuguese Vinho Verde, Spanish Txacolina.
Rosé: California White Zinfandel, Portuguese rosés.
Moderately Low (12.5 to 13.5 Percent)
Sparkling: California sparkling wine, French Champagne, Spanish Cava.
White: Austrian Grüner Veltliner, Australian Riesling, French Alsace white, French Loire and Bordeaux whites, French white Burgundy, Italian Pinot Grigio, New York Riesling, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Oregon Pinot Gris, South African Sauvignon Blanc, Spanish Albarino.
Rosé: French rosés, Spanish rosés.
Red: French Beaujolais and Burgundy, French Bordeaux, Italian Chianti, Spanish Rioja.
But I am not sure I will whip out my notes when ordering wine in a restaurant!? I will just need to try and remember (oh now there's another symptom of peri-menopause - brain fog and dodgy memory)!
I'd love to hear from you - maybe you have a great 'wine alternative' you can recommend?
I was recently contacted by Vionic who asked if I would like to choose a pair of shoes to test. Well yes please! I had a look at their website as it was a brand that I hadn't heard of before so I wanted to make sure they were in keeping with my style and what I like to wear. I discovered that their styles are very on trend but provide comfort and foot-care with their supportive technology. I was intrigued..
I chose the Syra in white snake (also available in white and black). These retail at £100 so a mid-price option (yes there are similar out there that cost a lot more). But if they provide the comfort they promise then actually very good value.
I tried them on as soon as they arrived and they felt immediately comfortable but I saved wearing them properly for a dry day and chose to road test them when my daughter and I went shopping at Westfield last week.
They are so comfortable! They definitely live up to their promise. I wore them all day without socks or liners and I had no rubbing, my feet didn't get tired and they felt soft and supportive. And they have been my go-to shoe every day since! . Especially now I am a little older and comfort as well as style is important. Gone are the days when I could wear a heel all day to the office, walk down the high street and back at lunchtime and still go out in the evening! My lifestyle means I am jumping in and out of the car, running errands and walking the dogs.
Vionic explain 'our shoes and sandals hug your arches like a natural footprint, giving you all day support'.
Styled above with: Gap Girlfriend Jeans and Scarf from Mango.
Vionic offer a 30 day money back guarantee as well. You can 'wear-test' them and if you are not convinced they are for you then they will happily refund your purchase.
The technology in all their shoes offer relief from conditions such as plantar fasciitis and heel pain.
I wanted to find out more about this brand having not heard of them before. They are an Australian company, established in 1979 by a podiatrist. They have their own Innovation Lab where they are supported by some of the best minds in health and bio-mechanics of the lower limb. So they know their stuff.
This style is perfect for spring - when we are keen to move out of boots and ready to reveal ankles but not ready for ballet pumps or sandals yet
And now I have discovered how comfortable Vionic shoes are, I have my eye on some different styles for summer. I love these espadrille wedges, Maris at £90, I like the pewter but they also come in blue and black.
And men don't need to feel left out - they have a good selection of men's styles too!
Styled above with: Next Coated Jeans in Berry, Next Jumper and Sweet-Bea Scarf.
If you'd like to look at some other styles and reviews too then pop over to Donna at I Won't Wear Sludge Brown she has been trying out the tan backless loafer and Susie So So has the espadrilles that I have my eye on.
PS Since writing this review I have found them so comfortable that I have been wearing them in the house! I don't want to take them off.
Not Dressed As Lamb
Disclaimer: these shoes were gifted to me by Vionic and all they asked of me was to share an outfit photo on my social media. I chose to do the review as I genuinely love these shoes and wanted to share the details with you.
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.