2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Page 2 of 9

How many calories?

I thought it would be a good time to talk about calories and exercise. I am aware that there is a big holiday coming up next week so I thought why not. What I plan to do is take you through some Christmassy calories and exercise. I will also tell you how you can be sensible but still have fun. In my book it is quite simple at the end of the day.

Calories

I read a BBC news article a few weeks back that stated it would take you around four hours of walking to burn one pizza off again. Wow! A full four hours of walking just to walk off one pizza. Yes I agree the article has a point of making packaging more informative but at the end of the day how many pizzas do you eat in a month? In the month of December I think I have had 3 (this isn’t my point!) but then the months of September, October and November there were none. So that is my point usually my pizza intake is non existent and I am a pizza lover.

Some more calories

FoodWalkingRunning
5 pigs in blankets (70 kcal)12 minutes6 minutes
450g Christmas pudding (1280 kcal)210 minutes110 minutes
100g brussel sprouts (35 kcal)6 minutes3 minutes
Mince pie (245 kcal)20 minutes40 minutes
Small glass sparkling wine (105 kcal)17 minutes9 minutes
Chocolate bar (229 kcal)42 minutes22 minutes
Leftover turkey sandwich (445 kcal)82 minutes43 minutes

The verdict

The verdict from the above table. Well, if you are a fan of the brussel sprout then you are good to go and eat as many as your wish. However, if you are a fan of the Christmas pudding then perhaps take it in moderation. According to Google the average calorie intake for the whole of Christmas Day is around 6000 calories. I’m not even going to calculate the walking and running times for that. It is one day a year that we all eat too many calories. On Boxing Day most of us are seen outside with our latest presents taking a walk.

Everything in moderation

As I mentioned above how many pizzas do you have in one month? The same goes for how many Christmas Dinners do you have in one month? I bet the answer is one and it is usually the 25th of December. This is my point: everything in moderation. Many people come January will be hitting a detox programme and getting a new gym membership and this is all well and good. It is good to let the body detox after such a feast. I myself have been eating a lot more mince pies and Lebkuchen (German cookie) during the month of December but as they say “it is the season”. I am also aware that come January that I will go back to eating a Rich Tea biscuit if that.

Exercise

Now here is where we can get our own back on the calories. The most important news is that exercise can be whatever you need it to be.

ExerciseCalories burnt (1 hour)
Sleeping60
Slow walking180
Yoga280
Light cycling500
Swimming620
Boxing800

The verdict

I am aware that sleeping isn’t quite a workout but seeing as most of us will be doing it after that Christmas meal I thought I would add it in. So you can see from the chart in one hour your can burn a lot of calories depending on what you are doing. Take a two hour walk and suddenly you have close to four hundred calories burnt (and that is at a slow pace). My personal favourite is boxing. Take out the stresses of Christmas Day on the boxing bag.

The point

Christmas comes round once a year so eat in moderation, drink in moderation, have a good nap on the day and most importantly have fun and don’t worry about it. I know I’m not going to worry and I also know that I am going to enjoy my walks.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas for next week from 2 Spuds in a Pod.

-Helen

Ps. There will be no blog on Wednesday, 25 December for obvious reasons. 2 Spuds will be taking a well deserved break.

How to cope with a big family event!

The poll

The December Facebook poll has been and gone. 2 Spuds asked you the following –
How to cope with a big family event
Or
Steps to coping with December and January
The majority went with how to cope with a big family event.

So how do we do it?

I would love to turn round to you and say eat, drink, be merry and speak your mind but we all know that could end you up in more trouble than it is worth. However, you can still have a great Christmas with these simple ways.

Look after yourself

First things first is to look after yourself. Remember that 2 Spuds likes the “me time” approach. This can work in two ways. One way is to read a book, take a bath or go for a walk but the other side to “me time” is to remove yourself from a stressful situation. Take time to breathe, think about what has happened in a stressful situation (or argument) and then be able to move on from it as well. We are aware that it is easier said than done but trust us.

Family events

2 Spuds is fully aware that family events can be a stressful experience. You have your great Aunt Joan asking you when you are settling down to start a family and you have just broken up with your partner. You could have your Uncle Lenny asking you what you are doing with your life now that you seem to be unemployed (again!). Your parents are doing their best to welcome your new fiancée to the family but have gone so far over the top that it is just embarrassing. You could have a child who has decided that now is the best time to come down with a chest infection/chicken pox/the flu and many different people are giving you their top tips to help soothe them. The list is endless of scenarios and that is before we have gotten to the dinner table where the chef has prepared all day and last minute finds out that Tony has become vegan and forgot to mention it. Or Sandra is now allergic to turkey.

NB: All names and scenarios have been changed to protect people in the story.

NB (again): My parents were fantastic with my fiancée and 2 Spuds enjoys a full Christmas meal with all the trimmings and extra chocolate.

The point

The point of the above is that it could be you on Christmas Day. All you want to do is huddle under the duvet cover with Christmassy films, a massive box of chocolates, glass of wine and for someone to wake you up when it is all over. However, you find yourself in your best dress, with a paper hat, pulling a cracker and saying oooo when the turkey arrives on the table.

What do you do?

Well the short answer is to try and get on with it as best you can or alternatively try and see the funny side of it. I personally find that if I am laughing at the situation it can’t be that bad. Be upfront with people and don’t be afraid to say, I’m sorry I don’t want to discuss the inner workings of my relationship over the Christmas Pudding. Remember also to take some time out. Again don’t be afraid to say I am going for a walk, I am stepping outside for a few minutes or I am going to go and read a book for an hour and so on. This is your Christmas as well as everyone else.

Alcohol

Not being much of a drinker these days (I am sure there is a certain ex work manager who will recount a Christmas story of the River Thames and a glass of Whisky back in my youth but I will leave that story for another day!) I can’t say too much here. However, what I am aware of is a lot of alcohol and a stressful environment is not a good combination. You have more confidence when tipsy but that may not be a good thing. You don’t want to be remembered the following Christmas for standing up on the table and ranting about how much you would like to be in sunnier climes or found crying under the Christmas tree.

What happens if we have an argument or someone makes me cry?

Don’t panic is the first step here. The second is to remove yourself from whatever the situation is and breathe. These steps are simple yet effective. Take time to recover, call a friend or speak to a family member as well. Also try and draw a line under the situation and carry on having fun.

Side note into loneliness

I know we are talking about families but there are two more sides to a family event. One may be that you are surrounded by family on a big holiday and you have never felt more alone. It is that weird thing when surrounded by people that sometimes you feel like you are on an island. I would say talk to someone about this. Try and talk to a family member about you feel or in any doubt call the Samaritans helpline.

The other side to loneliness

Some people may be on their own this Christmas. Either through choice or through a situation which is out with their control. Again try and speak to someone. A friend, relative, neighbour, Samaritans or equivalent.

The bottom line with loneliness

There is no need to suffer through loneliness this Christmas. There are many people out there who can help you. You are welcome to drop 2 Spuds an email as well to say hello.

Boxing Day

Try and go for a walk to blow away any dramas from Christmas Day. Go out with your friends or your favourite uncle. Go to the local pub for a pint of orange juice. Watch Christmassy films on TV. The list is endless but the point is Christmas is one day a year, make the most of it and most importantly look after yourselves.

-Helen

PS. If you do need support over the festive period please visit our support page or contact 2 Spuds in a Pod.

Change unhelpful thinking habits

I am starting to enjoy my CBT sessions. During the last session we started looking at unhelpful thinking habits, and this was again an eye-opener. It is obvious that if you keep thinking these negative thoughts, nothing good will happen. It is a learnt behaviour, so in order to get out of it you need to re-train your thinking habits.

The forgotten tool belt

Part of last weeks homework was to look at diary for challenging negative thinking, and to complete a few of these. I managed to come up with a great example as I unfortunately made a bit of a mistake at work. To me it was not anything really bad: I had forgotten my tool belt at a customer’s house so needed to go back and collect it.
I fully understand from the company’s view that it was time wasted. I had to pick something up that I should have remembered in the first place. There would be a knock on affect for the rest of the day. On the other hand, we all make mistakes and I do not have a habit of leaving things.
As soon as I realised I had forgotten it and that I needed to speak to my manager, my brain went into overdrive. The thing that worried me about all of this was how my manager would react. In my head I thought that he would shout at me, tell me off, put me on an action plan, have me fired, complain that I was not of any use, say bad things to me and be very disappointed in me. This would lead on to me feeling down and bad for the rest of the day.

Mindset

So this was my mindset when I called him. Of course, he reacted in several of the above anticipated ways. Not bad enough to have me fired, but certainly very disappointed in me which I could hear in his voice, telling me to learn from this which annoyed me as it’s the first time in a year I’ve done this, saying it’s just not good enough and so on. I was left feeling very down and bad about this, much like I had done before calling him. This then impacted the rest of my day in a negative way. I was also stuck in this negative way of thinking, and could not shift my thoughts.

Better way of thinking

The idea with CBT here is that you try to challenge your negative thinking in a particular situation and come up with an alternative and much more helpful thought. Using this example, a better thought would be: he is entitled to be annoyed, and how he puts that across is just his way of communicating. Do not take it personally.
My rational brain tells me this is obviously a good way of thinking. As I am typing this, I am no longer anxious about it and it is pretty obvious that this thought is a much better one. I understand it and agree with it. Of course he was annoyed, I would be too. I would not speak that way, which says more about him than me. I also do not take it personally. After all, it was only a forgotten tool belt and the impact of this meant an hour of my day was spent retrieving it. In the big scheme of things, it could be a lot worse.

Change your way of thinking

My way of thinking in the above example is a classic example of catastrophising, which is one of the unhelpful thinking habits. To think that I would get fired over this is just that: believing that the worst possible thing would happen. By becoming aware of your thinking habits, you can then start to challenge your way of thinking and look at the situation in another way. As with any habits, this requires work and consistency. It can be done.

Next time

When you notice the unhelpful thinking, take a few seconds to analyse the situation and identify the negative thought.
There are always better and more helpful thoughts, find them and replace the negative thought with the helpful ones. Then let it go. In order to get better, you need to change your way of thinking. Simple, yet so hard. But it can be done.

For a great source of CBT, head to https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/

-Rosita

Sitting still is tricky!

We are about one week on from my emergency surgery to fix two orange sized cysts on my ovaries. So far everything seems to be going in the right direction. The surgical sites are healing nicely and I am now on the lowest pain killers possible. Except for feeling tired a lot of the time I would say that I am doing very well.

Sitting still!

My main issue is this sitting still thing. I have never been very good at it and I am being less good at it now. Before last week I was doing an active job, making sure that at least six out of the seven week days I was in the gym and I was walking most places I could. I would happily go from one thing to another, to another and to another. I would plan lots into my day so everything was completed. Now I can do a few hours of activity before a sit down and then I can repeat.

It’s a good time of year!

That it is and I don’t mean that there are more colours around, trees looking fancy, mince pies everywhere you turn, music blaring from speakers and generally everyone seems to be in a better mood. I mean that there has been a lot for me to do. Friends and family have been coming over to the house to either take me down to the supermarket, taking me out for a drive, taking me for coffee and so on. I mean I have had small tasks to do most days.

The good thing!

The good thing about it is I am moving around. I have a theory that the more I move, the better I get and the quicker the recovery period so I can go back to Zumba and boxing. You may not think it is a big element to recovery but believe me it is. Little movement like walking from one room to the other, walking up the stairs, standing to seated and seated to standing, crouching down to pick something up (I can’t quite bend in the middle yet) and much more. All of this moves muscles, helps the cardiovascular system and more importantly the brain and my mental health. Yes, I would love to say that I am booked on to a Zumba and circuit class this evening but I have to wait. I have to wait until my core has healed.

Food

I thought I would add a quick note in here about food. I mean it would be great to kick back and eat all those sugary foods to make us “feel better”. But I am not. Having come so far in my weight loss journey it would be a great shame to start going backwards. I am aware that I may gain a little from in-activity but I am doing what I can to counter-act that. I have allowed myself the odd Christmas biscuit but I am also mindful that I don’t want to go over board with it either. I am sticking to the good foods. The proteins that will help my muscles recover. The fruit and vegetables (vitamins) so my whole body can recover and the water to flush out all the bad toxins.

Exercise

As mentioned above I am moving as much as I can. I am also going for walks. Nothing too big at the minute but I can now happily manage anything from a half hour to an hour. I have been to the gym once since last week. I did a half hour cycle and a half hour walk on the treadmill. I vary my days to walking outside to gym days and make sure when I feel tired that I remember it is my body telling me it has had enough for that day. I will increase these times (and resistances) as I come through the rest of December and hopefully post festive season will be back at the gym to start building my strength back up, Zumba and boxing.

Conclusion

Be kind to yourself. Let the body heal. Try not to rush into anything and be aware that if something doesn’t feel right or a twinge is a bit too much then stop. There is no harm in taking a break (I am trying, I really am!).

-Helen

Then it went a bit pear-shaped!

My week this week was meant to have loads of fun and exciting things in it. We had tickets to the cinema on Monday evening to see a live performance streamed from London’s West End of Les Misérables. We also had tickets to go and see the rescheduled John Barrowman Fabulous Christmas Tour. A trip to see Frozen 2 and ice climbing was for Friday and then away for the weekend for Rosie and my first-year anniversary treat. On top of that we had PT booked at the gym, many Zumba classes, some of my favourite clients where I work and a routine that would have made the week amazing.

8 in total

As I write this blog, I currently have four keyhole marks on the abdomen, two jab marks on my elbow from where bloods were taken, one in my hand from an IV and a further one in my bum from medicine. If you haven’t guessed already, I had another emergency surgery on my ovaries.

What happened?

A good question. I had woken up on Monday in the wee small hours with my ovaries playing tennis (pain), took some pain killers and had gone back to sleep. I woke in the morning to a non-existent appetite. Not thinking too much at this point I ate what I could of breakfast and toddled off to work in Glasgow. Later in the afternoon I started to feel sick, had a sore stomach and after my lunch felt even worse than I had previously. Alarm bells were starting to ring as I had had similar symptoms the last two years when this had happened.

Rosie took one look at me!

I called Rosie and warned her that something wasn’t right and then called my Mother to talk things over. Rosie came home from work a few hours later, took one look at me and had me in the car up to our local A&E. I was prodded and poked there for a couple of hours before it was decided to transfer me to the specialist unit in another hospital a good half hour drive away. It was getting late at this point, but we did what we were told. The consultant in the next hospital again took a look and I was admitted for scans the following day. The diagnosis was a possible cyst rupture again.

The next day

The next day we discovered there were no specialists for that specific scan, so we had a new consultant do a trans vaginal up in a little room off the ward. I walked down to the room in my Harry Potter pj’s, Doc Marten Boots and black t-shirt. Excellent combination and I am sure London Fashion Week will be calling me any day now. With the help of my Mother the consultant had a good look around. Now considering they had done the finger check for the ovaries the previous day which left me doubled over you can imagine my response to the probe. My Mum helped me to stay calm, keep my breathing under control and issue words of comfort.

The diagnosis

They had found two cysts, one on the right and one on the left which were both the size of an orange. The right one had grown since it was last scanned in August and that was the main suspect. We had mentioned to the consultant that we were in the middle of IVF tests so they had suggested I had the coil removed, the Hy-Co-Sy scan complete and a general look around whilst I was asleep. Answering any questions, I had the consultant put me on the surgical list for the next day. I was an emergency but could be controlled on the ward. My main concern was if the cyst was a pain in the ass, I was at risk of losing a one or both ovaries. Not want you want to hear if you are sitting at the start of IVF.

Later that afternoon

Back on the ward I was told to start eating and drinking as I had been fasted until this point, this was as the operation would take place the next day. I had a few sips of water but nothing more. A lucky move.

Then it really kicked off!

Within about an hour of being back on the ward I had the consultant, the consultant’s colleague, a surgeon, an anaesthetist, two nurses and two surgery porters ready to take me to theatre (and I don’t mean the all singing, all dancing kind). There was a gap in the schedule, and they were going to use it. I was changed from my pj’s into a sexy hospital gown complete with very sexy hospital stockings, tucked into bed and wheeled down to theatre. Rosie came with me and I had the two porters cracking jokes which put me somewhat at ease. I was taken into the surgical waiting room and it was the coldest I had felt since I had arrived. I was then wheeled into theatre.

The theatre

At this point I wish it was the all singing and all dancing variety. There were lights, surgeons with big cloaks and masks on, a black table, lots of other machines, I had people moving me, prodding me, hooking me up to various and bits and pieces and straps put on to my legs. The porter said to jump from my comfy bed to the table. I took one look at it and crumbled. I was scared. A nurse stuck out her hand and said you can hold on to that for as long as you need. I held on good and tight until I was put to sleep. So, to that theatre nurse, thank you so much and I hope I didn’t crush your hand too much.

Recovery

Surgery is weird. You are put to sleep and then after what feels like a massive nap you wake up again. My first questions apparently were:

  • Where was buddy? (Rosie) – she was upstairs waiting for me
  • Did I still have both ovaries? – yes
  • Are you Tony (I was to ask for Tony when I got to recovery so I was just checking) – he was Tony

I wasn’t in recovery for long before I was taken back to the ward and to Rosie.

The surgical diagnosis

I apparently had endometriosis cysts which were drained and burnt. I had the coil removed and I had the Hy-Co-Sy scan completed. We are still a little confused as to the PCOS/Endometriosis diagnoses. I have been told for years it was PCOS and now it may be something completely different. It is one of our questions for January when we see yet another consultant. Apparently, the thing with endometriosis cysts is they can come back. Now the fact they are in my ovaries only means I have a good chance of falling pregnant but what are they to do in the meantime? They have given me a jab in my bum to shut down my ovaries temporarily. The side effect, I may experience menopausal type symptoms. So, at 35 years old I may get hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings. Something to look forward to.

The next day

The next day a nurse popped by my bed to say I was going down for my scan at lunchtime. I lifted my t-shirt and said erm, I think they did it already. It was a small funny moment in the grand scheme of things.

Rehab

I am now back at home and being looked after by my family. I am sore and swollen but doing well. Stairs are tricky but we will get there. With regards to rehab, I feel very lucky as I went through a similar surgery three years ago, so I know what to do with regards to rehabbing me back to normal. I am currently banned from high intensity training, weights, heavy gym work, boxing and my favourite, Zumba. The ban is in place for the next six weeks. I can walk and when the swelling in my abdomen subsides, I can start stationary cycling in the gym.

Thank you

A massive thank you to Rosie and my Mum who saw me through the hospital procedures, you were both superstars. My friends and family for their well wishes. The theatre nurse whose hand I could hold on to. My work colleagues who have re-arranged all my schedule and classes.

-Helen

Speak up when it is not right

I started the CBT sessions a few weeks ago now however, it hasn’t quite happened the way it should have. The therapist cancelled the second appointment with very little notice then disappeared off the radar for days. This meant my anxiety went up because that is what it does. It may sound like nothing but it is a big thing to me. Not knowing what is going to happen and when means my brain goes into overdrive with questions and I struggle to get it to stop.

Putting a stop to it

Although my anxiety increased over this, which is quite ironic as the main aim of the CBT is to get help to reduce it, I did not feel that I could do anything about the situation. I would have just waited for her to get in contact with a new appointment and that would have been it. Having Helen in my life means I have someone always fighting my corner, so she stepped in as she thought it was very poorly handled by the therapist, and wanted to send her a well worded email. My initial thought was that of course we can’t do that, we can’t rock the boat, who am I to question what is happening. As you can see speaking up for myself is something I struggle with.

The email

Helen typed a well worded email, polite and to the point, which was sent to the therapist and the clinic. As a result of this, I now have a new therapist who I actually prefer. The clinic handled this very well too and were appreciative of my (Helen’s) feedback.
As an added bonus, I will also get a voucher for a very nice food store as a compensation for how this was handled.

The point

Sometimes we need to step outside our comfort zone, as uncomfortable as it may be. In this case, by telling someone that their actions were actually not acceptable, meant that I’m now in a much better place. Although it made me anxious at the time, I’m really glad now that I did just that.

And if I can do it, so can you. Don’t spend life being told what to do. If it doesn’t sit right with you, then you must say so.

-Rosita

Still feeling good!

The shift I talked about a few posts ago (read about it here) is continuing. I certainly feel that I am more efficient, I have more energy and I procrastinate less. Making decisions is also a lot easier, which in turn makes me more efficient and more energised. It is all connected.

Efficiency

I do have a list of things to do, well several in fact, depending on what it is and how soon it needs to get done. I started writing lists last year as I was struggling to remember things, and if it was written down then I didn’t have to waste time and energy on remembering what I needed to do. This also keeps the anxiety at bay as I’m not constantly worrying about remembering what I need to do, or forgetting those important things.
Helen talked about lists in her previous post (read it here), and we both swear by them. I find it very satisfying ticking things off my list as done, and this raises my overall feeling of feeling good.

Energy

It is one thing having all of these things to do, and another to have the energy to do them. I have just had a couple of days off, and I did not really sit down for long. Gone are the days of taking it as it comes, perhaps doing a thing or two in the afternoon after a lazy morning. Looking back at last year, I spent a lot of time doing just that. But that was ok too, because it was what I had to do at the time. Fast-forward to now, and by 0730 yesterday I was halfway through the second load of washing, the dishwasher was nearly done, the kitchen was sparkling, bed made, plants watered, I had had my breakfast and was on my second cup of coffee. This then continued for the rest of the day, and I got so much done.

Less procrastinating

This is a big one, and something the counsellor has brought up a few times too. He explains that procrastinating is when you are afraid of failing, that you don’t do things because you think you will fail at doing it. So you end up just avoiding it. It is better not to do something, than doing it and fail. Well it is to the procrastinator anyway…

However failing is not a bad thing! This is something I’m slowly coming to terms with. It is so obvious to me that I’ve not been doing what I want as I’ve been afraid of failing at it, or I might not get the results I want. This fear takes over. It sounds crazy, right?

I am setting you a challenge!

For the next week, have a look at what it is that is stopping you from moving forward. Grab the bull by the horn: what is it that you need to do? Break it down into small chunks then get it underway. Yes there might be a possibility of failing, but what is the alternative? That you don’t fail! If it turns out how you wanted then that is a tick in a box with great feeling of accomplishment, if not then maybe now is not the right time for that to happen, or it might not be for you at all. At least you tried.

-Rosita

Nutrition and much more

The vote

This months vote was:
Option 1
How nutrition helps mental and physical recovery.

Option 2
Food schedules and easy trips to the supermarket.

The votes have been counted and it is 50/50 with regards to results. This means I will do two blogs in one. I think they tie in nicely with one another as well so here we go.

Nutrition helping mental and physical recovery

Nutrition can play a big part in mental and physical recovery. I admit it is sometimes easier to grab the take out menu when you are sick than to heat some vegetable soup. I have done it in the past. The downside to a take out is that it is usually pizza, fish and chips, Indian or Chinese. Lots of fats and sugar in them with very little nutritional value. I mean yes they make us feel better. They are quick and easy too. But at the end of the day your body when sick needs nutrients. Proteins to help the muscles, vitamins and minerals to help fight infections, sustenance to help fight whatever you are fighting and the list goes on. So unfortunately, as much as we want those tasty things to make us feel better we also need to make sure we are getting the right nutritional value as well.

Snacks

If you are struggling to eat a big meal or your appetite has done a disappearing act then keep it simple. A slice of wholemeal toast with honey, a piece of fruit or fruit juice (150ml), little porridge pot, banana on those wholemeal crackers or a handful of nuts, seeds and berries.

Water

Remember also to keep your water intake up. The water flushes out the toxins our body has and helps our digestive transit.

Ask a family member or neighbour

If you are really struggling then see if a family member, friend or neighbour would mind making you a little something. A healthy delivered meal for example. Unfortunately in these times this is few and far between but I like to live in hope. If you don’t ask then you don’t get I find. Alternatively get a supermarket to deliver healthy salads, soups and so on.

Hot chocolate to the rescue!

I can remember when I had my appendix out and my appetite had returned Rosie came to see me one day. She told me to walk with her to the end of the ward. Slow and steady we went. Rosie kept saying it would be worth it. I kept wondering how far it was. She had found the best cure. Hot chocolate, biscuits and fruit. Yum! If you needed an incentive to get out of bed then there was one right there. I had the best of both worlds. I had sugar to get my strength back up and I had vitamins and minerals in the fruit which helped my body recover. Once we had gone home it was soup and salad all the way.

Coughs and colds

Seeing as this is very seasonal I thought I would include it. It is rare that I take medicines during a cough or cold spell. I tend to go for the more natural items. Orange juice and oranges being a big one as they are full of vitamin C. The same goes for smoothies full of vegetable and the odd fruit for taste. Again full of vitamins and minerals. The drink of ginger, lemon, honey and hot water can work wonders for a cough and sore throat. Usually I make a big batch at the beginning of the cold and it sees me straight through. I can also recommend turmeric. I add a dash to the smoothie or drink and hey presto I have an anti-inflammatory.

Try it!

Next time you are sick or recovering from something try the above (with a chocolate bar now and then). You may find it helps you through.

Food schedules

Ah, the food schedule! That little white board on the wall which is going to tell me what I am eating. If it needs to be taken out of the freezer or needs preparation. The 2 Spud house hold does not seem to function incredibly well without that white board.

NB: Other writing materials can be used, for example, the good old pen and paper.

How to write a food schedule?

It is pretty easy to write one which is the good news. It could look something like this:
Dinners:
Monday
– Scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast with avocado and tomato
Tuesday – Dinner with friends/local restaurant
Wednesday – Spaghetti bolognaise from freezer (remember to take out in the morning)

Lunches:
Soup (remember to buy from supermarket), spaghetti bolognaise (from Wednesday), wholemeal sandwich.

And then you carry on for the rest of the week.

For the next week you take the past week, see what you had and then add in some different meals.

It is amazing once it is all written down how much it makes sense, you eat better options and you don’t grab that take out menu.

The shopping list

The best bit from a written down food schedule is you can make your shopping list. If you have a written list for when you enter that big building full of aisles you then know exactly what aisles you need to visit. It has been a long time since I have been down a biscuit, cake or crisp aisle. I don’t need to get anything from those aisles so I just don’t visit them. I go with my list, tick off once I have got them, circle the item if I cannot find it or it is out of stock and then go to pay.

The supermarket zapper thingy!

I find this is quite a useful tool for shopping. You get your zapper at the entrance to most big supermarkets. You go around and zap your products to put straight into your bag and then you go to pay. I find it useful if I am doing a big shop so I don’t up spending loads of money on things I do not need. If I can see the price in front of me totalling up as I go I know exactly what to expect at the checkout.

Online supermarket shopping

Shopping from the comfort of your own couch. What more could you want?! The best bit about this is the supermarket will remember what you have bought so next time all you need to do is check and confirm. You quite often get a two hour window so you can take your time as well. You can also check the kitchen cabinets to see if you do really need mayonnaise and there aren’t five bottles in the cupboard already.

Shopping on your own or with a buddy?

A good question. If I need a big shop then I tend to like to do it on my own. Rosie tends to muck up my filing system and then sneaks things into the trolley which are not on the list. If I am in the mood for a wander and chat when shopping then I take someone with me. On these trips I take time going up and down all of the aisles. This is especially exciting at this time of year. I get to see if I have missed anything in my quick trips. Lets just say these trips tend to happen once in a while and not every week.

Any questions?

Feel free to drop 2 Spuds a line with any questions you have from this blog. We will try our best to answer them.

-Helen

That time of year (lists)

It’s getting to “that time of year” again. The time when we need lists. What to buy lists, what to get at the supermarket lists, a general “to do” list to make sure the Christmas decorations go up and I am sure a few more list ideas too.

This blog is to do with just that. Rosie and I are aware we covered this in June but thought as it was a very big topic for this time of year we would re-visit it.

Writing a list

Making a list can be a massive step forward but it can also help you de-stress. Jotting something down means you can remember it better and things tend to happen in the right order. I mean it would be a disaster if you cooked all the vegetables, made the gravy, the Yorkshire puds were baked and then you put the turkey in. As I say, not a good way forward. A list can make sure we get everything done we need to do so we can relax and enjoy.

Being accountable with a list

The other point to make here about lists is that you are then accountable for it. If you stick the list up on the fridge door at home, then other people are there to help you remember it too. It is amazing once you write something down how concrete it can be and therefore you remember it.

Rosie and I are both list people

After a sleepless night due to loads of tasks to complete for our Wedding we took to a list and had a very restful night the next time bedtime rolled around. We had highlighted sections on our list for different elements. We had flowers, cars, who had to be paid, who we had to confirm certain items with (like our photographer), we even had on our list to remember to eat on the night before the Wedding. The final item on our list was to turn up to the Wedding and have loads of fun. Now that was more a of comedy one, but it put a little bit of laughter amongst the tasks.

Try making a list right now and see if it empties your brain so you can then think about the basics of a good night’s sleep and that all important “me time”.

Lists

Just in case you have forgotten what a list may look like I have included a small one below. 

  • Get milk. 
  • Pick up dry cleaning. 
  • Invite Bob and Charlie for dinner. 
  • Call Sandra and check on her Mum’s health. 
  • Buy and wrap Billy’s Christmas present. 
  • Double check holiday insurance for February. 
  • Call GP and renew prescription. 
  • Be kind to myself and take some “me time”.

Let me do the list one more time with ticks, notes and so on.

  • Get milk.
  • Pick up dry cleaning.
  • Invite Bob and Charlie to dinner (called them and left a message, will try again tomorrow).
  • Call Sandra and check on her Mum’s health (texted Sandra as she said she was in the hospital).
  • Buy and wrap Billy’s Christmas present.
  • Double check holiday insurance for February.
  • Call GP and renew medication.
  • Be kind to myself and take some “me time” (booked in for a massage on Sunday morning).

The list looks a look less scary with a few completed tasks on it doesn’t it?

Simple yet effective

As I say a list is simple yet effective. I always start with the easier stuff as it is then ticked off before moving on to the more time consuming and harder items. Setting an hour allows you to complete some of the list but does not then take up your entire evening. I find this works best in my opinion. Try it and see what happens.

Pick the easiest option then build it from there (and don’t beat yourself up over it)

The most important element to remember is to start with a small task and work your up to the bigger ones. There is absolutely no point in beating yourself up over something that in the end is the smallest task of them all. The private counsellor that Rosie was working with said to her to take each task and think about it. She had to think what it would achieve and at the end of day would anyone suffer from her not doing it. I always thought that was a good way to look at a task.

A minor task

I have a mountain of washing up to do from dinner and the clothes from this morning are still in the washing machine which I forgot to take out this morning, I am exhausted and have no idea on where to start to sort all of this out. Now which task do you do first? You could leave the washing up (or stick it in a dishwasher if you have one) and deal with the clothes or you could leave both. The dishes will still need washing up the next morning and the clothes can be washed again. Do you see the difference? If you didn’t do either task not too much is going to change and more importantly no one is going to suffer from you not doing it.

An important task

Take this for example, you have run out of medication for your mental health condition, the new one is sitting at your local pharmacy and you need to go and get it. Now this is a more pressing task to get sorted. You need your medication at the end of the day, and you are going to suffer if you do not get it sorted.

I hope that all makes sense

As I say have a look at the situation you are involved with and the tasks that need to be accomplished. If no one is going to suffer then leave it. If you (or someone else) is going to suffer then do it. This is how we determine what to do and what not to do. You will get around to washing those dishes but not much is going to happen if they are not dealt with immediately.

Stop and think

Stop and think about it next time you feel yourself in a stressful situation and ask yourself these very questions. It is not a selfish act in any way. It is differentiating between right now and a few hours later.

Alternatively

Alternatively, if you have a friend, a partner, a husband, a wife, a mother, a father or anyone else who can help you out then ask them.

-Helen

Frustrating!

Why does life have to be so frustrating?! I mean sometimes we are only trying to get from point A to point B. In the way there are obstacles, hoops, wrong phone numbers, people who are no help at all. You find yourself three steps backwards and feeling down from doing such a simple task.

Customer Service

Now I could talk about customer service for hours and hours. However, for the point of this blog I will keep it short. Having worked in many a customer service role you could say I have a fair amount of experience. I also have a lot of people experience.

My current line of work

In my current line of work I deal with people who comes from all walks of life, from different careers, who have different illnesses or mental health conditions, who have different fitness goals and different life goals. Everyone in my book is treated with respect. A seven letter word that means so much but is quite often forgotten about, don’t you think? My point is with everyone I met I try to display professionalism, friendliness and a quirky sense of humour. The bottom line is that in my book everyone is treated the same. I try to give the best customer service that I can give.

When it goes bad!

I struggle when I have a big problem to solve and no one out of a customer service role is ready to help me. May be I am asking too much but then again may be I am not.

Let me paint you the picture!

Let me do just that. There is one more test I need to do for the IVF criteria and it something called a HyCoSy scan. Google can fill you in. In order to do this I need to have a Mirena coil removed.

Too many phone calls!

First of all I called my local GP but no, they apparently do not do such things. I was given another number to phone. But that number wasn’t recognised. I then got on to Google and had a search around other practices in the area to help us. But there were no phone numbers that I could see on their website. I tried the one number I could get and got through. But again no, they apparently stopped doing coil removal earlier this year. I was given yet another number. My poor phone was beginning to wonder what it had done to be calling so many different people. I got through to the last number and the lady asked had I spoken to the GP. My exact words were something like, “I have and they don’t do it, I have been sent on a wild goose chase, can you help?”.

I finally got a date!

After a few questions and a few calendar dates I finally have a date. It took about an hour to do all of that but I finally made it to the end. And here is my point. Did it really have to be that challenging to do such a simple thing?!

IVF

To me this is just another hoop we need to get through with a few obstacles thrown in. It is like we are being tested to make sure we are ready to progress down the children route. It is frustrating, it is challenging and it is darn right annoying as well. To do something so simple, which is to have children of my own, I need to go through many, many hoops.

What else do they want from me?

Exactly that. I have changed my diet, changed it again and finally changed it so it makes even more sense. I now eat a lot more than I did. The first few weeks were nerve-racking and scary while I looked at the amount I had to get through. Now I willingly make my own breakfasts and lunches making sure I have the correct meals and snacks. Admitting it now that I do like to snack. My appetite is back and I am not hangry as often. We have discovered that I have more muscle than fat and that is what is making my BMI and weight loss is challenging.

What else?

I changed my exercise regime and now run. Run! I do many more gym classes. In the rain, the sun and the cold I train. I do exercise when I really want to sit on the couch and eat cake. I do my own research into how best to go forward with IUI or IVF. Rosie and I ring many different people to try and get an answer. We have become massive Google fans as well. We read articles, forums and much more just to see if there is anything else I can do except wait.

I know it will be worth it!

Now, I know in the end it will all be worth while but I am also aware we are going through many different hoops. A lot of hoops before we even get to the massive ones that IUI or IVF will throw at us. I know I will have a little rant and then pick myself up and carry on. I have a goal to get to and I am going to try my hardest to get there.

-Helen

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