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Ventures into dairy free (TMI!)

Ventures into dairy free (TMI!)

Let’s add something else to my ever-growing list of ailments!

For a week or so I’ve been feeling really nauseous, shakey and weak, with loose stool (sorry). I have always seemed to have a slight intolerance to dairy, mainly if I had too much at once or in one sitting I’d be sick the next day. I didn’t think too much of it becoming a general issue until this last week.

Looking back, I think I have been eating more cheese, chocolate, butter etc than normal. It really clicked on Sunday… I had been to the Warner Bros studio tour (hey there, I’m a massive Harry Potter geek!), where I had a cheese sandwich and Butterbeer. If you’ve had the Butterbeer from the studios, you probably recall how creamy and delicious it is. I got through the day feeling really nauseous, but I put it down to anxiety due to the huge amount of people there. When I got home, I felt more sick, but thought I was maybe hungry. For dinner we had a creamy pasta bake with a generous cheese topping, and I had the chocolate wand I bought from the gift shop. I still felt sick, but just got on with it and went to bed.

Here’s a picture of me enjoying said delicious Butterbeer!

The next morning I woke up feeling no better, it felt like someone was stabbing me in the stomach, and I was dizzy and shakey. Again, I put it down to being exhausted from the anxiety and lots of walking from the day before. I went about my day, and the next day just blaming my anxiety and fighting through it.

On Tuesday evening, I was talking to my friend who told me her 2 year old daughter was being tested for dairy, wheat and gluten intolerance, and it was like a lightbulb went off in my head! I decided from the next day I was going to try to be more careful and cut back on my dairy intake. I got some dairy free spread for my toast, and began ensuring I was making conscious decisions about portion sizes where the ingredients included dairy.

I noticed a difference immediately! I didn’t feel nauseous through Wednesday and Thursday, and downstairs happenings were much more normal. Then, for lunch today I had a cheeseburger, and when I got home I had some chocolate spread. I began feeling nauseous immediately. We went to a friends for dinner where we had pizza, and I didn’t go mad like I would normally – I only had 3 slices! – but dessert was chocolate fudge cake and ice cream. Unfortunately, my greedy mind overruled my sensible mind and I had a way bigger portion than I should have. Instantly I felt gassy and like my stomach was going to explode.

So, I think it’s safe to say it’s very possible I have a dairy or lactose intolerance. I’m going to stick at a relatively dairy-free diet for two weeks and if I am certain it’s the issue I’m going to see my GP.

If I find some good dairy-free recipes I’ll be sure to post them here, and I’d be so excited to hear from anyone who has some suggestions or recipes too.

Thanks for reading, and sorry for TMI!

Meg x

“Hello again

Friend of a friend, I knew you when….!”

There’s a good start, going off into a song from Scott Pilgrim…

It has been a really long time since I blogged, and I’m not sure how religiously I’ll be able to stick to it this time, but I’m definitely going to try. It’s been an odd, long couple of years for me. My weight is way back up again, I’ve completed therapy, I’ve changed jobs twice, and have had some new medical diagnoses.

Let’s start at the beginning! Last time I posted, I was freaking out about a mistake at my last workplace. I did end up receiving a warning, which was expected, but I was already looking for other jobs. A couple of months after that huge slip-up, I got a job where my hubby works. My role was Resource Scheduler, and it involved arranging engineers to visit sites, often within a very small timeframe. I really struggled with this role. The pressure from the deadlines, working on my own and frequently butting heads with my team leader didn’t help. The company I work for is a very big company, and there were about 6 people in my team. None of them were based out of the same office as me and whilst the rest of the team were at the other end of the phone or an IM, I had to get through it mostly on my own. It was quite lonely and isolated, and it didn’t help my mental health. In July of last year I was approached by a manager of another team who thought I’d be good for a role in his team. I jumped at the chance as soon as I read the job description! It was a much more involved role in a team I’d actually get to see every day! I got the role and settled into it during September. I am much happier in this role and it’s made such a difference to my mental wellbeing!

Now, therapy. This was a huge step I had to take, and I think it had been way overdue. I had seven sessions which were very involved, and I always felt exhausted afterwards. A lot came to the surface about my self esteem issues, communication failings between me and my family, and some tough stuff I had to deal with during the early years of my life. As this was on the NHS, my therapist told me that I’ve done really well but as I need to work on a lot of stuff myself she couldn’t justify more sessions. Bit of a shame but I understand, otherwise we’re just going over the same things every week and not making much progress. Having come out of therapy, I’m trying really hard to work on my confidence, finding time for me, being mindful and taking steps to try and be more sociable. I have a long way to go, and a lot of self-help modules to work through, but I am feeling positive and looking forward to the future.

Next, medical issues!!! In June 2016 I had emergency surgery for a pilonidal abscess incision and drainage. It’s relatively common, I was out of hospital the same day, had dressing changes for a few weeks and was back to normal. Doesn’t seem so bad, right? Well, almost exactly one year to the day after my surgery, I had to have another emergency surgery for the same thing. I wasn’t best pleased, and was off work high on pain medication and low on antibiotics during the UK’s heatwave. So not only was I recovering, I was dealing with heatstroke. I didn’t think it would come back again, but it did, and on my birthday I had an appointment with a doctor. He diagnosed pilonidal disease (yuck), gave me more antibiotics, and wrote a letter to the surgeons asking for a pilonidal sinus excision. The abscess came back again about a month after that, but luckily both times the antibiotics fixed it. I had my operation for the sinus removal in November. It was not at all pleasant. I was in a lot of pain, had a surgical drain and couldn’t sit up, at all, for two weeks. Whilst it was healing the wound got infected, and I got one of the worst ear infections I have ever had (I get them quite often). I was off work for a month, and it unfortunately meant that I received statutory sick pay over Christmas – the worst time!! Since the wound has healed, it has reopened twice, and the second time it got infected again. This brings us up to last week when I was told it had healed again. It has been a week and I can’t see any signs of it reopening since, so hopefully that was the last hurdle!

In addition to all that, I also got diagnosed with mild sleep apnoea last week. I’m a bit gutted, as I have to wear a CPAP mask to sleep, which will take a while to get used to. The consultant said she thinks it’s related to my weight, so she’s hopeful that if I can get some good quality sleep, finally, I’ll have more energy and motivation to get into a healthy living routine and stick to it. Hubby and I will be joining a gym in the next couple of months, which I can’t wait for, and I’ve found a 5km swimming plan that I am really looking forward to starting. I love swimming, and the fact it’s an all body workout is an added bonus! I completed Swim 22 for Diabetes two years ago, which was really difficult but it was such an accomplishment. I know that when I have energy I can stick to better eating as I’m not desperate for sugar, and I feel so much better when I’m exercising. I’m also hoping that once I’ve built up my base fitness I can get into running again. I loved the feeling I had when I was a runner, and how much more in control of my mental health I felt. I’ve also had physiotherapy and have a lot of exercises to do for my injured knee, and have been taught how to tape it up too!

The last big thing is I am now studying towards a degree in Health Sciences through the Open University. I am really enjoying it, most of the time, and have been getting really good results on my assignments! I never thought I would be clever enough to study for a degree, so this is amazing, scary and enlightening all at once.

Phew! This ended up being a long post! Thank you so much for reading – if you got this far. I’m aiming to make several posts a week, not really following any themes, just airing out thoughts, ramblings and maybe the odd film review.

Catch you later!

Meg x

I need to write this

Because I made a massive mistake at work and it’s playing on my mind, and I know it’s probably going to keep me up.  I’m hoping by writing this it’ll get it out of my head at least. 

We use “Skype for Business” at work which is an instant messaging service. I talk to my colleague most of the day through it including ranting about other colleagues, customers, workload etc. We’re supposed to use it to check availability of the regional staff in our other offices and ask them quick questions if we don’t know the answers. I had such a need to use it today.

A customer called in with an urgent issue and wanted to speak to his housing officer. I checked the HO’s calendar on Outlook and their status on Lync, and everything said they were available. But, as is often the case, they didn’t answer the phone or respond to me. Why would they, after all, I mean I’m just a service centre advisor who gets paid peanuts for taking all their shit, while they earn a lot of money for barely doing anything and treating us like dirt!!!

Anyway, I was frustrated and having a rubbish morning, and I said something which was meant for my colleague, but for some reason it glitched out and sent the message to the HO. The message read something like “f**king (HO) isn’t answering their phone even though their calendar and IM says they’re available”. 

The minute I realised it hadn’t gone to the right person I sent another message apologising profusely and explaining we were having a rough day. There was no response back, so of course my stomach was in my mouth, I felt sick, I panicked. I told my colleague and she said I should tell our manager because it would be good for it to come from me. I agreed but never got the chance to talk to my manager. 

I went about my day, including having a disciplinary meeting about my sickness (another story), which didn’t result in a warning (yay!). Towards the end of my shift my manager puts my phone into “Meeting” and asks me to come with him. We get on well, I honestly thought that maybe it was to do with my sickness meeting, but he wasn’t talking to me and there was this weird atmosphere. 

He shut the door behind him to the meeting room and asked “Do you know why I wanted to talk to you?”. Of course I knew straight away, it was this incident with the HO. Turns out the HO had sent the transcript of my messages to them to one of our major regional directors. 

Apparently this tiny slip up of mine constitutes misconduct, and I now have to have another disciplinary meeting. My manager said he tried to work around it so it didn’t have to go to disciplinary but he couldn’t. He also said that something similar happened to another department and the person got a warning. From what I understand I think he was telling me I’ll have a warning, because swearing at a staff member is misconduct, but he kept saying “I don’t think it’s a sackable offence”. 

I am so frustrated with myself and can’t believe I did something so stupid. Equally though, the amount of shit and abuse we get from customers and ALSO our regional staff means to me that we should be given a little grace when they’re refusing to help us! I was talking to another colleague about this and another HO swore at her on the phone (also recorded), but did they have a disciplinary? Of course not.

I appreciate I shouldn’t have said it but it’s not like I called them a cu*t. It was a frustrated rant/vent that unfortunately was sent to the wrong person. We do our best at the service centre with the limited information that the regional teams give us, then when, God forbid, we actually need to ask them a question, we’re met with hostility and condescending language and behaviour. I’d love to see them work a day at the service centre and see how they get on, maybe then we’d get some appreciation.

My Week in Weight Watchers: 1

My Week in Weight Watchers: 1

It’s been a week since my first post back on the blogosphere, so I thought now would be a good time to check back in.

On my previous post I didn’t really explain what it was I’d be doing in order to meet my goal, other than following Weight Watchers,  so here’s my basic plan: 

  1. Stick to my Smartpoints  allowance every day and every week
  2. Save my weekly allowance for Sundays and have an “almost” cheat day
  3. Exercise at least 3 times a week 
  4. Hit my step goal as much as possible
  5. Keep up with Instagram and Connect to keep myself in check

Now, in more detail: 

1. I currently get 59 Smartpoints to eat per day, and 42 extra to spread out over the week. When I started back up on Weight Watchers I think I had 64 or 65 Smartpoints per day. From what I can work out, your daily allowance goes down every 7lbs (or half stone) you lose. This is because Weight Watchers are big believers in not restricting yourself, and having a healthy weight loss for your size. If you weigh less, you have less Smartpoints to eat because your body needs less fuel to function. I always stick to my daily allowance, most of the time I use it all up, and that includes saving about 5 Smartpoints for some chocolate (I need my fix!!) . 

So far this week, other than last Sunday, which I’ll get to, I have managed this. Good start!


2. Hubby and I used to use our daily allowance and save all our weekly Smartpoints for Sundays, when we would have a cheat day. A lot of the time this didn’t necessarily mean we would go completely crazy on a Sunday, but I think it would be safe to say that  we went over our remaining allowance on a regular basis! Since we booked our holiday to Mexico, we decided that we would still have Sundays as cheat day but we’d save our weekly Smartpoints for Sundays, and make sure we didn’t go over it. 

Last Sunday we had a really nasty row. We are fine now, and we’ll be OK, but we needed the day afterwards to recharge our batteries and look after our mental health. Normally this wouldn’t have bothered me and I would have just said for us to go for it and have a full on cheat day, but I had used up most of my weekly allowance already by this point! I’m glad we did it, and luckily it didn’t show up at Weigh In when I smashed it with a 4lb loss and Tom got a 2lb loss too! I did track all my food from today though, and although I wasn’t allowed all my weekly points I did really well and still enjoyed my day.


3. Exercising 3 times a week is what’s recommended by most health professionals as far as I understand it. For me, my exercise will consist of yoga (thanks to Yoga with Adriene on YouTube) and running as soon as the nurses say I can start again following recovery/healing of my abscess. 

This week, I think I hit my goal thanks to Yoga!! It was also my first week back at work since the operation so I wasn’t as active as I would have liked, but I’m really enjoying Yoga and have appreciated just being able to do it. 


4. My current step goal is 10,000 steps per day. My walk to work is roughly 2,000 steps and by the time I’ve walked around the office all day and walked home, I’m normally at around 7,000 steps. Again this step goal is what’s recommended by health professionals (I think). 

This week I think I hit my goal three times. Not great, but I was always at around the 7,000 steps mark so I’m not mad. Again, it was my first week back at work so I didn’t  want to overdo it and be grouchy all week. The days I did hit my goal was thanks to Pokemon Go (which is super awesome, btw). 


5. I think it’s important to connect (no pun intended!) with people who are following the same plan or on a similar journey to you. It helps keep you motivated and accountable and the support you can get from others as well as the support you can provide is priceless. 

I‘ve posted a few things on Instagram every day, except for 1 day when I was really low and was having my usual “No one is going to care” thought process. Other than that I’ve had around 20 likes on each post, and have even been tagged in my first #widn 😄 . I’ve also tried to be supportive to those who have had bad days or weeks, and I hope I’ve made a difference. 


I’m going into this next week a little bit nervous because we have a busy weekend coming up, including birthday drinks, a BBQ and my Dad taking us out to an All-You-Can-Eat World Cuisine Restaurant on Sunday (very belated birthday meal for Hubby and early one for me I think!), although it will be easier to stick to points during the week because we’re not going out for dinner anywhere or to anyone else’s palace, so I’ll feel more in control! I’m also going to ask the nurse tomorrow (still visiting every other day following my operation) if I can start running again – I’ve signed up to The Colour Run in September and need to get training!

Have a good week everyone, I’ll check in again soon! 

So, it’s been a while

As you will see from my previous posts, it has been a long time since I wrote anything. 

As mentioned at the beginning of my blog, my hubby and I did watch The Oscars live. We had a great night and I really enjoyed it, I did have a whole post planned after we’d watched it but it has been a bit too long since The Oscars now, and it would probably just be boring.

The reason I’m writing again is because I’ve seen a lot of people on Instagram (FYI, you can follow me @mcmeg898_ww) using WordPress to document their weight loss journey. I have always struggled with my weight and am really trying to get on top of my issues this time round, so I’m giving anything a go!

I have always been, or thought I was, a big girl. Genes have given me height so I’ve always felt like a giant anyway, and I think at the back of my mind I always figured “hey, I’m huge anyway, what difference will it make if I’m fat?”. Looking back I can see that I was relatively healthy, if a little chubby, and looked badass in jeans and a hoody. 

If I had to pinpoint where I began to gain the weight, I would have to say (and I hate to sound like a cliché), that it was when I got together with my hubby. I had had my eye on Tom for a long time, and we had a short fling about a year before we got together for good, so when we *cough* he *cough* finally realised we were meant to be together, I got excited and all we did was eat! We both lived at home so going out meant we would be on our own, and our dates tended to fall into the category of “dinner and something”, be that something a movie, or drinks, or basically anything, but only as long as dinner was involved somewhere. We liked to treat each other by taking each other out for meals or cooking for each other, or we’d watch movies with popcorn and chocolate, and everything and anything! 

The weight piled on quite quickly and by the time we’d been together for 18 months I was at my biggest. I kept making excuses that clothes sizes were getting smaller, but eventually I realised there was a problem with me and shovelling food into my mouth. A couple of months after that we joined the gym, and we went 3 times a week. By this point Tom had moved in with me, my mum and my stepdad, so going to the gym meant we got out of the house 3 times a week. Back then we needed time to ourselves and I think so did my mum and stepdad!

Unfortunately exercise alone didn’t do a huge amount for me in regards to weight loss, so one evening my friend was cooking herself a Weight Watchers ready meal of Sweet & Sour chicken, and something clicked (I had also found out they had an iPhone app), so within a week or so I was signed up.

I did amazing on Weight Watchers. I shrunk down to a size 16 from a size 24, I felt good and looked good. This all happened within a year, and by the end of this time Tom and I had moved out of my mums to a place with a friend. I remember one weekend I was really stroppy and aggy, and ended up having a meltdown in our car because I was “sick of this bloody diet”. This was around the end of 2012. Tom was amazing and looked after me, and said if I needed some time to not think about Weight Watchers I should take it. So I did. And then never really got back on track until May of this year.

Me at roughly my smallest, September 2012

In the time between Weight Watchers I tried Slimming World, calorie counting, clean eating, even went back to Weight Watchers for a short period, but nothing ever clicked. I tried to keep myself active by running (until I got a knee injury) and going to the gym and walking to work, but as I already knew, exercise isn’t the only factor in weight loss. 


Me in March 2015. No idea on my weight but you can see I wasn’t my smallest!!

In March of this year my supervisor at work was telling me his partner had joined up to Weight Watchers, and she was doing really well on it. I signed up online and fell in love with the new Smartpoints system, and the updated app with “Connect” (which is a social media style forum with tons of amazing, supportive fellow Weight Watchers). I did okay for a month but fell into my old trap of “but I don’t want to track forever” etc etc. 

I finally gave in and agreed to go to meetings with my supervisor’s partner. She makes it so much more fun and there’s nothing like a little healthy competition to keep the motivation going!! So far, since being back on track properly, I have lost 1 stone 3.5 lbs. I still have about 10 stone to go but I have such good support in place, and an amazing holiday in May 2017 to keep me motivated (one of my oldest friends is getting married in Mexico and I am determined to look bomb in her pictures, it seems a shame to me to waste the opportunity by being miserable in how I look and feel). 

I’ll still be using this blog for the odd thoughts on films etc, but it may also end up being a journal for my journey with Weight Watchers. Instagram and Connect are awesome but they’re not really the right place to have a long-ass rant about how you couldn’t have the fries at Nando’s because you were already over your weekly allowance and it just seemed pointless without… and other similar strops. 

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading. I’ll try to be entertaining or provide an insight into Weight Watchers if you are curious as to how it works, but if not at least I know I’ll be using my blog! 

The Revenant

The Revenant

Dir: Alejandro G. Inarritu
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson
Nominated for: Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role (DiCaprio), Actor in a Supporting Role (Hardy), Cinematography, Costume Design, Directing, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects

The Revenant follows the story of Hugh Glass, an American who fell in love with a Native American. When his wife and her village is wiped out by settlers, Glass and his son join an American troop as navigators/hunters. When their hunt is interrupted by Natives and their troop lose a majority of their men, the survivors begin a long journey back to base. Glass gets attacked by a bear and is left with his son and 2 men who are under orders to stay with him until he passes, and to give him a proper burial. The film stays with Glass after he is abandoned by his colleagues while he tries to make it back to base.

DiCaprio’s performance, as ever, is outstanding – even more so considering the film is mostly lead by him in solo scenes with grunts as the main form of expression. He has the ability to keep the audience’s attention throughout the whole film (156mins), to drag you in and keep you hooked – and before you know it the film is over and you are left with a feeling of astonishment and unexplained feelings. Hardy’s performance as the Texan, Fitzgerald, is entertaining and excruciating. He has the ability to bring in humour through his attitude but also to make the audience angry and to hate his character at the same time. Gleeson (Bill Weasley, if anyone is interested!) is endearing as Captain Andrew Henry and watching him develop from struggling with his post as the young Captain of a boisterous troop to an assertive commanding officer provides a sense of achievement for the character and for the audience.

Inarritu’s auteurist direction follows his visionary style in that the establishing shots, long shots, wide shots etc are stunning and set up the tone of the film from the beginning. His clever use of tracking shots with sneaky edits help drive the tension of the fight scenes and give the illusion of intricate, well-choreographed ensemble scenes.

In regards to Oscar status, I am not sure I would choose this for best film. It was incredible, but with the other nominees I feel it may fall short. That being said, I am one of many who believes DiCaprio’s Oscar recognition is well overdue so I sincerely hope he wins the award this year. His ability to carry the whole film deserves the award alone, not to mention the fact he learnt two Native American languages for the film and portrayed the emotion of someone who has lost everything whilst barely saying a word. The cinematography was stunning and despite shooting in different locations it was impossible to tell, so it may be in with a chance for that award. I feel The Revenant deserves the nomination for best visual effects, however there is quite distinct competition for that award this year so I am not sure it will take it home. The main scene that springs to mind is of course the Bear fight scene, which did have me fooled, but in a movie where most of the visual effects come from landscapes, one CGI bear might not be enough.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed The Revenant and was very emotionally invested in it. DiCaprio is well overdue an Oscar so I really hope The Academy awards his talent this year, but I don’t think it will get Best Picture.