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book

This Is Me, my next book. How you can be the real you, sober, happy and free

I am working on my second book, **This Is Me** It is a follow up, a natural progression, from my first book, This Isn’t Me, which I finished and published three months ago  That book was my honest account of my 27 years of addiction to both drugs and alcohol, my sudden easy, recovery when I thought all was lost and my relationship with my son both during that time and now. I wrote it to help my son heal, as an apology and because I just had to.

It has become such an unexpected success.  It is as though by writing my story, by exposing my life, I had given ‘permission’ to others to break their self-imposed silence on a subject that is causing them huge pain. By admitting the devastation of my own battles, I opened up a dialogue on the despair, confusion, hopelessness and pain that all alcoholics feel.  Often to those who are free from addiction, the drinker seems unaware or uncaring of the hurt they are causing.  Believe me we rarely are.  Most of us absolutely know but feel completely and hopelessy trapped in our addiction.

I wish I could bottle what I now know and hand it out as a gift to anyone who is suffering – although most of us don’t want any more ‘bottles’ in our lives.  But I can’t. There are not magic potions to end addiction, only the addict can do that.  However, what I can do, in response to all those who write and ask “Well done you, but what next? How can I get sober? and How do you go forward?”, is write another book, in which I share what I absolutely know to be the truth about my addictions and recovery.

In *This Is Me* I have written, in the simplest possible terms how I came to be me, not a ‘new’ me, but the real me, and how I stay me. I will give you a snap shot of where I am now, and how life is for me on the other side of booze, as well as the strategies and routines, including self-care and nutritionally that enable me to enjoy the quality of life that we all deserve.  I am not a psychologist, there is no science in this book, I write as an addict. An addict set free, an addict now sober.

Please believe me when I say that life doesn’t have to be that way.  I live a life with my son I could only ever have dreamed of for so many painful years, and I live it every, single, sober day. xxx

 

hangovers

Sugar Hangovers – They do exist!

As a recovering alcoholic of over 27 years, I know more than most how debilitating hangovers can be.  Not just physically, but emotionally as well.  It feels now as though I awoke, almost every week, of every month of every year for 27 years with a pounding headache, swollen eyes, parched dry mouth, dehydrated yet profusely sweating, unrefreshed as well as with no energy or zest for the day ahead. Now though, just over 2 gloriously, easy years of sobriety, which is not dependant on any interventions, support or therapies, I wake almost every morning refreshed, with a clear brain and eyes, fresh skinned and raring to go.  Not so great for my son, who is not a morning person, but perfect for my puppy, Gorby, who is!

In short, my life has changed completely and I feel amazing. Until recently. Since I started to research sugar and its affects on our weight and physical and emotional health, I have made an astounding discovery.  If I eat too much sugar regularly, I wake up with almost the exact same symptoms as a vodka binge! I am experiencing sugar hangovers.  This is incredible to me.

I started my nutrition and weight loss practice, YOUtrition, after realizing that making simple, easy and straightforward changes to the foods I ate made a huge difference on every level to my health (at the beginning this was as a rear-guard action to counter balance the damage caused by my drinking), as well as my weight. And whilst this has now become a way of life that keeps me slim and in tip top physical shape, I have also noticed a huge shift in my emotional wellbeing.

Then of course, the better I feel, the better able I am to make the best food/lifestyle choices, as I love the way I feel now and I am thriving on every level.  So, sugar has been relegated to a small corner of my nutritional intake, a small slice of birthday cake or slice of occasional pizza – I am very  sociable.  Becoming sugar free was not even a conscious decision, it just came about because the wholefoods I choose to eat and love, don’t come with any pre-packed, processed nasties.

That is all well and good, but to write about sugar and its affects, I needed to actually eat the stuff, so I made a deliberate decision to include in my daily diet, for just one week, some of the food products I rarely eat.  Bread, shop bought cakes with my coffee on dates with friends, refined pasta, shop bought sauces etc.  I didn’t over eat, I just can’t, my body knows when to stop and sends very clear signals, which I cannot ignore, but still I ate differently and my God, the change I felt was almost immediate.

I am bloated (though no extra weight yet), my waist is thicker, my skin is duller, my hair (never anyone’s idea of a crowning glory), lifeless, my eyes are puffy in the morning, I feel sluggish and dehydrated and worst of all, I have no energy, little enthusiasm and my mood is lower. In short,  I have woken every day this week sufffering from sugar hangovers and the only thing that shifts them is either a huge jolt of caffeine, or a “sugar hair of the dog” in the form of a sugary breakfast that then starts the depressing and depressive cyle all over again.

I am only aware of this change because this is not my natural way of living/eating. And  I know I can’t live like this. My body is under siege from the assault of rubbish it now has to process and get rid of –  this stuff has literally nowhere to go, or has any use in my poor body so can only be stored as fat, mainly around my waistline (just where I want it most!). Plus, and by far the worst aspect for me, my emotional wellbeing is struggling too.  This then is a complete no brainer, I eat rubbish, I feel like rubbish.  End of experiment.  End of the sugar hangovers.

One week later, back to my normal eating habits, I feel amazing again.  Fresh, relaxed, my humour intact again and raring to go. Up and ready for my early morning puppy walk – let’s do this Gorby.

Give yourself just five days of eliminating processed foods – and they are all sugar/salt drenched, they have to be for longevity on the shelves and to compensate for the taste that’s lost through processing, and you will see and feel an amazing difference.  Don’t just trust me, trust our body, it will literally change a gear and whiz you towards where you want to be with your weight and health.

If you need any help or support in ditching your sugar hangovers and living an easy sugar free life – and it is easy as well as much less expensive, contact me.  I want you to feel the way I do every single day. I deserve to feel this way and so do you!

me

This Isn’t Me – A painful, yet inspiring personal memoir on alcoholism and recovery.

This Isn’t Me details my journey into a heroin addiction and recovery, and then subsequent alcohol addiction that lasted 27 years.  It is about the  horrifying shock of realizing that my alcoholism was impossible to overcome, even with all the available interventions and professional support I engaged with for over 15 years, when I had successfully overcome heroin with none.

It details the relationship between myself and my now 19 year old son. It is about being a single mother and the absolute joy of the gift of him. A joy that turned into the crippling nightmare of severe post-natal depression, requiring in-house psychiatric care on two occasions, and my return to drinking and then self-harm to cope.

It tells of my despair on realizing that I would die an alcoholic after being informed that my liver was damaged. Of the deceptions and self-disgust, of my complete desperation to be different.  Of how it affected my son’s life before he realized it was alcohol that changed his mother from the daytime loving, caring one into the cold and emotionally unavailable shell I became in the evenings.  Of his realization, during his teenage years that alcohol came before him and that I was unable to stop, even when he begged me too.

It then details the miraculous, magenta moment just over two years ago when I just stopped drinking.  No last drink, I just stopped.  Of the “how” and “why” of my stopping.

It is about my son’s initial distrust in my sobriety and my determination to show him that I was sober, by changing my behaviour, by doing something different.  As part of my apology and acknowledgment of the damage I had done, I started my own nutrition and weight loss business YOUtrition and together we are building our brand.

It tells of my total commitment to helping him heal as much as possible in a healthy way where his hurts and confusion are discussed and talked through, as and when he needs those conversations.

I write about where I am now, where we are now in our relationship, our closeness, our friendship, our love and understanding.

My sobriety is easy and I do not attend any interventions or have any therapy or support.  I just don’t drink.  Even after my first sober, truly painful experience of loss of a loved one, alcohol did not enter my mind. I even have alcohol in the house, I just don’t see it.

My book is not a “woe is me” exercise. I do not attempt to deflect responsibility away from myself or to apportion blame to anyone else for my choices.  I own both my drunkenness and my sobriety.

It is simply honest, painful, uplifting and inspiring. It offers a different view on recovery, which works for me so easily where accepted interventions didn’t.

It is ultimately a letter of love to my son, an apology , which he can re-read as he grows stronger, one that will help him know and understand that he always was, and always will be my Number One.

 

 

good

Why Does It Feel So Hard To Make Good Food Choices On Bad Days?

 

On a good day when we are feeling confident, happy and in control it is easy to make the best food choices. The ones that will make us feel proud of ourselves, enhance our eyes, skin and hair and give us looser waistbands.

On a good day, it is easy to wander around the shops contented and un-tempted by the high sugar, high salt, frankly high rubbish, quick foods and sweets on offer.  On a good day, we don’t need to raise our hands to form the sign of a cross and hiss, “Temptation get behind me”.  Instead, although we see these “treats” as we pass by, all brightly packaged and maybe even on three for two offers, they don’t call to us. They might gently whisper or nudge at our consciousness, but on the whole, it is fairly easy to give ourselves a mental shake and move on to the real foods, the sweet, juicy fruits, fresh veg and unprocessed meats that we know will, a) make a delicious, nourishing meal in next to no time, b) keep us on our weight and health track, and c) actually enhance all our good feelings, both physically and mentally.  So, on a good day, healthy eating really does seem to be an easy no brainer.

Then comes a bad day.  A bad day can take many forms. Disturbed night’s sleep, stress at work, argument with husband/partner/kids – it is usually men though isn’t it (or maybe that’s just me). The car breaks down, you don’t get the job you went for, maybe the cat becomes worryingly unwell or something truly devastating happens.

What do we do then?  How does this affect our food choices, and more importantly why?

Well, we usually look for comfort and support.  Something to make us feel better, to fill the “hole” the bad day has created within us.  And our go to “hole” filler is usually sugar and fat saturated food products and/or drink, be it an overwhelmingly sweet latte with syrup and sugar or alcohol. Anything in fact that takes our minds off our distress/tiredness whatever is getting us down.  Then as we wander around the shops, feeling upset or low, the very same brightly packaged food products, sweets and so-called treats seem to jump straight into our line of vision and suddenly we crave them.

We want to feel better quickly and we think that these are the perfect quick fix solutions to all our woes. So, we buy the rubbish and eat the rubbish,  usually in a much larger quantity than is our norm, and expect to feel better.  But then how do we feel? In my experience with clients they feel exactly the opposite of what they were longing for.  They feel sick, more upset, depressed, disappointed, completely derailed and hopeless.  Basically, feeling as rubbish as the food products they have eaten.  They never, ever feel better, so mission is definitely NOT accomplished.

This is my absolute area of expertise, and my understanding is unique. As a former alcoholic, I also used to view booze as an answer.  Actually, the answer to everything.  I drank to feel better, happier, more confident, to help me sleep, to get me through the day, the tough times, whatever I didn’t want to deal with.  And I thought, like my clients who feel the same way about their food choices,  that I could never stop.  And then I did.  It took one simple thought shift.  I stopped thinking about what I thought it gave me, and focused on what it took away.  I suddenly knew that what I drank only ever made a situation worse.  No bad day was ever brightened by my drinking, instead it was darkened.

From the moment I understood this, I was able, after 27 years to stop drinking.

I get my clients to view food in the same way.  I ask them, “Did that slab of cake, ice cream, glass of wine, ready meal make you feel better?”. “Did it make your day happier? Did you feel more able to cope? Did it take you back to the contented confident feelings you have on a good day?  Ultimately, did it make your day better or worse?”  Never once has a client said “Yes, it did” to even one of those questions, let alone all of them.

There is no connection between a bad day and making a bad food choice.  None. Nada, Zilch.  We allow ourselves to justify our poor food choices – “I need something nice to eat/drink to cheer me up”, on a bad day, but they are just excuses which harm us.  They are choices that will make you feel worse, which then promotes further poor food choices because we feel discouraged and so give up on ourselves. Conversely, on a good day when you make good food choices, you are spurred on by the way you look and feel to make even better ones.

Once we break the connection between rubbish days and rubbish food, making healthier choices becomes easier, plus those healthier choices can actually make a rubbish day better, even if it’s just that you feel in control of at least one area.  Your food.

Certainly, a good food choice on a bad day will make it easier to cope with a bad day, because you will be giving your greatest support in life, your body, the fuel it needs to fight all your good fights. You just have to stop in the rubbish food aisle and ask yourself, “How will I feel after I have eaten this? Will I feel better 30 minutes after? Will my day seem brighter? Will my problems have gone away or will they feel worse? How will eating this improve any aspect of my day” If you answer any and all of these questions honestly, the answer will be NO!

Don’t let a bad day tip you into food chaos. Once in, it can be hard to get out.  If you do make a poorer choice, look at in as a one off, dust your self down and commit to making better choices for the rest of the day.

Contact me if you would like to chat about your bad day and bad food choices and let’s see how I can do to help you x