“If you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you got to be willing to take the hits and not point fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!…… But until you start believing in yourself, you ain’t gonna have a life.” – Rocky Balboa
Own Your Worth
Something emotionally unsavoury landed in my lap on Tuesday morning so my first response was to roar at my sister, “Emma!! Light me up a cigarrette! NOW!!” She stalled in her tracks across my kitchen floor. Her eyes enlarged and her body tensed as she stared at me like Bambi, blinded by the headlights of a fast approaching hunter’s jeep. I slapped the table and DEMANDED a smoke, declaring incredulously “I can’t deal with THIS without a smoke!” Never mind that I was buckled with a chest infection and was wheezing like a bellows. I hadn’t had a smoke in 23 days, not even a puff! I was pacified with some white lies about being granted maybe one or two puffs etc and at the same time she skillfully distracted me long enough to forget about having the smoke. There was no one to save me from myself towards the weekend though when I ended up chain-smoking three rollies and then some more besides 🙁 So, a minor blip with the smoking in my healthy lifestyle campaign but have drawn a line and shall crusade onwards this week smoke-free.
The last 18 weeks have seen me thrive with my progress, with not one single binge and hence no lock-jaw from trying to shovel too much food in so took time to reflect on my self-worth and how it has evolved, especially in relation to my weight. I had been fairly self-contained in my late teens. In my twenties however I seemed to falter with my own self regard. It was slow and unnoticeable to begin with but I started to allow my self-worth and self-belief to hinge on outside validation as opposed to defining my own worth myself. This was new territory. I had been used to depending on myself, I enjoyed pushing the limits of my comfort zone and thrived on new adventures such as moving to Switzerland at 19 to work, to learn a new language and meet new people, living there for 2 years in the end. From my mid-twenties however I munched my way through my growing insecurities and slowly my weight started to increase. My thirties saw me become a mother to two beautiful boys and I loved being a new parent. I was very happy in myself and lost 3 stone after the birth of my second child, getting to my lowest weight in years. Unfortunately this was due to following a meal replacement diet so the 3 stone was lost dangerously quickly over a 9 week period and the only food I ate in those 9 weeks was when I was at a wedding in the middle of it. I stopped the “diet” when my hair started falling out and when I wanted to start eating real food again. Before that year was out I was diagnosed with post-natal depression and over the following two years I horsed back on the 3 stone I had lost and lashed another 4 stone on top of that too.
I did not own my worth. Somewhere along the line I had abandoned responsibility for loving myself and kind of caved in on myself. It’s mortifying but I found so much comfort and solace in food. Another impact on my life I had not considered relevant any longer as I had believed I had dealt with it was that I had been raped and sexually assaulted as a child and young teenager. When I revealed the abuse to my family I was protected and it finally came to an end. I have received therapy for it over the years and am blessed with the constant support, love and strength of my family and close friends. However I now realise that part of the legacy I had been left with was a quiet acceptance and hard-wired belief that I was damaged goods, that I was not good enough as I was, that my worth would always be determined by someone else. I became afraid of being found attractive and the protection of a “fat suit” provided for me a safety that I needed. I just couldn’t eat enough to feel safe enough. I was suffocating my own voice, stuffing way back down with food whatever it was that was lurking its way to the surface. Sometimes I would have a respite from this crippling self-worth deficit and would pull myself together and start following a weight loss plan (and even trained for and completed my first marathon back in 2013 under the watchful eye of Hannah Nolan!). However as soon as it became noticeable that I was losing weight, starting to look better and the compliments were coming in, I started feeling very distressed and the internal sirens would start roaring within me, “Abort! ABORT!!!!” Within days I would be head down in a trough of chocolate and food. The safety and perceived protection of being fat, unattractive and staying below the radar at all costs became crucial to maintain. Keep the defences up. Let nobody in.
This time is different. This time I know that my healing has to start within me and can only come from me. I have chosen to own my worth and do not allow it to be determined or defined any longer by any other opinions or behaviours but my own. Whatever I think and believe of myself is what I have become. I believed myself to be damaged goods, only suitable to be placed back on the shelf, useless and of no real value to anyone. Not anymore. What I was trying to smother back down within me with a never ending supply of food was my own voice trying to tell me that I am worth the love and compassion that I have innate within me, to allow myself to feel nourished by it and to know that I am loveable just the way I am.
“If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do you no harm.” – African Proverb
My Weight Loss Update
I’ve lost another 2lbs this week, bringing my total weight loss to 3 stone 4lbs over 18 weeks. Considering I was poorly this week and didn’t do a tap of exercise I ensured I protected my weight loss progress by being extra careful with my food and stayed on plan. Only 87lbs to go!!!
Please find below more recipes for the delicious meals I prepare at home which help keep me satisfied and willing to stay focused on my goals . Enjoy!
It’s so easy to throw a huge tasty healthy salad together when you are stuck for time but also starving! This was very filling and took ages to eat. Yummy! This humongous salad is only 294 calories. The Good 4 U Super Sprouts and Super Seed Sprinkles I pick up in Tesco.
- handful of spinach
- handful of lamb’s lettuce/ruby chard mix
- 3 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 slices of cucumber
- slice of red onion, chopped
- 130g can of tuna chunks in brine
- 15g Good 4 U Super Sprouts
- 5g Good 4 U Super Seed Sprinkles
- 5 or 6 green olives
- 2 tbsp blueberries
- 2 tbsp Tarragon Salad Dressing with Mustard & Cider Vinegar (Aldi)
Layer the spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and super sprouts and drizzle with the tarragon dressing. Drain the tuna well and pile onto middle of salad, topping with the super seed sprinkles and finishing with the olives and blueberries. Gorgeous!
Quick Chicken Cordon Bleu (Hairy Dieters)
I love the combination of chicken with cheese and this recipe went down very well in my house. I changed the cheese from Emmental to low-fat cheddar as it’s the only cheese my chaps will eat. I used a 180g breast of chicken and cooked with the ham and cheese it came to 296 calories. Altogether with the salad the full meal came to 338 calories.
- one chicken breast, no skin, boneless
- 25g slice reduced fat cheddar cheese
- one slice (approx. 25g) good quality ham
- sea salt & freshly ground pepper
- handful of spinach
- 3 cherry tomatoes
- few slices of cucumber
- 1 tbsp Alphonso Mango Chilli Dressing (Aldi)
- Frylight or olive oil spray
- Preheat oven to Gas Mark 6/ 200 C. Carefully slice horizontally through your chicken breast, not slicing fully to the other side. Open out flat, careful not break it in two. Place between two sheets of cling film and bash with a rolling pin to flatten out a bit more, making sure not to flatten too thin or the chicken could fall apart.
- Fold the ham slice and place on one side of the chicken breast. Cut the cheese slice in half and place over the ham. Bring remainder of chicken over the top of ham and cheese to cover and enclose as best you can.
- Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper.
- Using a few sprays of Frylight or olive oil spray, cook the chicken breast on a non-stick pan over a medium heat, about 4 minutes each side, until the chicken takes on a golden colour.
- Carefully transfer the chicken to a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 6 minutes until no pinkness remains and is cooked fully.
- Serve with salad of cucumber and tomatoes with a drizzle of mango dressing. Yum!
Macaroni with Asparagus, Carrots and Mushrooms
I love my pasta so would usually have it early in the week after weigh-in day. This is very easy to prepare and tastes delicious. Bulking up the meal with vegetables means you can cut down on the pasta and therefore the calories. This meal comes to 273 calories, less than some bars of chocolate!
- 50g dry macaroni (or any pasta you choose)
- 5 or 6 asparagus spears
- 70g raw carrot, grated
- 5 medium mushrooms (approx. 50g), quartered
- 2 tbsp Light Philadelphia Garlic & Herb Soft Cheese
- 3g Good 4 U Super Seed Sprinkles
- few coriander leaves
- freshly ground pepper
- Cook pasta as per packet instructions. About 4-5 minutes before the end of cooking, add the asparagus spears and quartered mushrooms to the pot.
- Strain the pasta and vegetables and stir in the garlic & herb soft cheese. Stir in the grated carrot. Plate up, sprinkle over the Good 4 U Super Sprinkles, torn coriander leaves and freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!
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