Sunday 10 October 2010

Slimming World's Woman Of The Year 2010 Semi-finals

Today was the day of Slimming World's Woman Of The Year 2010 finals. It was a busy day and I might get the order of things slightly out of place, but I'll try and give a general idea here of what happened throughout the day.

The night before, I tried on the two dresses I brought with me. The blue one was lighter and would weigh less when I stood on the scale, but the black one was even more flattering to my figure because of its cut, so I wore the black one.

I got hardly any sleep the night before. I kept waking up every hour or so. I think I was subconciously worried about not waking early enough. My Slimming World consultant Sharon Painter (who drove me to the hotel and Slimming World headquarters) came over early in the morning to help me straighten my hair again. Then we left for Slimming World headquarters.

We had our photos taken with Ricky Whittle from the show "Hollyoaks." I have never watched Hollyoaks, but Ricky seemed like a really nice guy. He gave a little speech to us all. We took individual pictures with him, a picture with him and our consultants, and then a picture of all of us with him in the middle. (Slimming World will send us copies.)

Here are a couple of pictures I took while he was talking to us all.
Caroline & Ricky Whittle Woman Of The Year Finals 2010

Ricky Whittle Woman Of The Year 2010

Then we all were measured and weighed. I have lost ten stone (140 lbs), but when I weighed, it showed me as having lost 9 stone 13 1/2 lbs (1/2 pound up). I was actually really upset about that because I know I have lost 10 stone and I'm very proud of that 10 stone. It wasn't until after I had a cup of coffee and some fruit that I realized that I had forgotten to take off my jewelery before being weighed, and my bracelet-watch always adds half a pound to my weight all by itself. I wanted the scale to say I'd lost 10 stone, but I know that, at my official weigh-in tomorrow night in group, I will either be back at ten stone down or will be even lower in weight.

There were 42 of us there. We were divided into groups of nine to tell our stories. Then we got to have lunch. Lunch was provided by Slimming World's chef Jeff and his staff and all of the food was Slimming World friendly with the syn-values listed beside it. The food was delicious!

Then we went into the main room where we were all given our framed certificates. We waited while the ten finalists were announced. My name wasn't announced until around the seventh person, right as I was beginning to believe I wasn't in the final ten.

It was very exciting to be chosen for the final ten! We each got a check for £500. We will have to buy ball gowns to wear to the ball on November 13th.

Rebecca Wheatley (from the tv show "Casualty") was last year's winner and she was there to present us with our checks. Sharon took some photos with my camera of the ten of us being called to the front.

The finalists getting their checks Woman Of the Year 2010

The finalists getting their checks1 Woman Of the Year 2010

Announcing the Finalists with Rebecca Wheatly Woman Of the Year 2010

Then we had a short break and the ten of us returned to sit in a circle and tell our stories again. I feel as if I told two completely different parts of my story each time I told it. Five minutes is not enough time to tell the whole story. The second time around, I had to stop and take a breath and collect my thoughts for a moment part-way through telling my story. I always feel as if I have blown it by the time my time is up.

Sharon took a photo of us in the circle.

Telling our stories in the circle Woman Of The Year 2010

We had some profesional photos taken of the ten of us, and again, Sharon grabbed my camera and snapped a few photos for me.

The Finalists Woman Of The Year 2010

The Finalists1 Woman Of The Year 2010

The Finalists2 Woman Of The Year 2010

Then we had quick make-overs with our make-up. That's when the long wait for my turn to be videoed began. Slimming World was making a quick video of each of us telling a small part of our stories, and they had to make the video clips one at a time. I don't think I even got in to make my video until around 7:30pm. In the meantime, we, the ten finalists and our consultants, all sat around chatting with one another and getting to know each other.

Sharon took a close-up of me after my make-up had been done.

Becky Woman Of the Year 2010

Some great things that happened during the day:
1 - I got to see a lot of the people I remember from the Couple of the Year competition like Caroline and others and it was good to see them again. Some of them even remembered me.
2 - Our district manager (regional?) Tracey Hill sat at the lunch table with us and she is a very likeable person. It was nice getting to know her.
3 - I got to meet Julie Cummings in person who, until today, I had only known on-line. The irony is that we were put into the first group together and I hated the idea of being in competition with her (especially since she has lost more weight than me). The good news is that she was the other person in my group to make it through to the final ten! And she is absolutely lovely!
4 - I got to meet up with Jackie Ferguson who is someone else I knew from on-line. She works for Slimming World and she is an absolute sweetheart!
5 - I got to see Megan, Nicala and others from Slimming world headquearters who I usually just speak to on the phone.
6 - I got to hear some incredible stories from some amazing women who have lost a huge amount of weight and changed their own lives for the better.

Apparently, the winner has already been chosen. I really hope it is me, despite the fact that I met and liked every woman there and every woman there deserves to win!

We were told it is not decided on weight loss alone, but I think the amount of weight each of us has lost will play a big factor in the choice regardless, and there were about four women there who had lost more weight than me. I lost half of my weight while pregnant, but I still only lost 10 stone. (I can't believe I just used the word "only" in connection with a weight loss of that much!)

But don't get me wrong. I am happy right now and will be happy no matter what the result is. Everyone there deserves to win this and I do not envy the judges the choice they had to make.

None of us will know the decision until November 13th. The waiting will be fun because I will be finding and buying myself a ball gown, preferably something in princess (because I feel like one).

And I can't wait to share with you all about the ball when it happens!

(I just know I am going to post this and then realize a bunch of stuff I have forgotten to mention!)

Saturday 9 October 2010

Interview With BBC Wiltshire & New Hairstyle

Today has been a busy one for me. It started with Robert and I getting up early to walk to Old Town where I was interviewed about my weight loss by Graham Rogers on BBC Wiltshire radio at 7:45am. It was a short interview, and afterward Robert took a couple of pictures of me with Graham in the studio.

Becky With Graham Rogers at BBC Wiltshire

Becky With Graham Rogers at BBC Wiltshire1

One thing that caught my attention was that, when he was announcing that he would soon be speaking with me, he asked his audience if they would be getting in a little exercise today or relaxing with a full English fry-up of eggs, bacon and sausages. It caught my attention because it really isn't an either or question. People always seem to make the mistaken assumption that, in order to be healthy, they have to give up eating the things they love. Robert and I have a full English breakfast every weekend though. We grill our low-fat sausages and extra lean thick-cut bacon, and we "dry fry" our eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes. ("Dry fry" meaning that we use Fry Light instead of oil.) It's a delicious meal and we have never had to give it up in order to lose weight and be healthy.

Shortly after we had walked home from the interview, Paula came over. Paula is a Slimming World consultant. Her group meets in Abbey Meads (at the Abbey Meads school) on Tuesdays. She's also a hairstylist, so Sharon (my group's consultant) asked her if she would come and do my hair, preparing me for tomorrow's competition, and she kindly agreed.

I don't think I will be able to keep my hair looking as nice as she got it to look, so I made sure that my daughter Kayla took a picture of Paula and me once my hair was finished. She cut, styled and straightened it. I'm sure it will be completely frizzy by morning though. Paula is lovely and I am really thankful to her for coming over and cutting my hair. (I'll be sending the hair that was cut off to Little Princess Trust.)

Becky With Abbey Meads Slimming Worlds Paula & new hairstyle

Looking at my hair in the photo, I actually think I wouldn't have minded letting it get cut a little shorter, but I am happy with the results. I just wish I could take Paula with me to the competition to style my hair tomorrow morning! (I am so very NOT good at styling my own hair.)

Sharon will be coming by at 4:30pm to take me to the hotel near Slimming World headquarters in Derbyshire, so I can be ready for the finals in the morning.

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Ten Ways To Exercise With Your Child


This is an article I wrote for Beverly Hills Child Magazine in their September 2010 issue.

As parents, we can be full of excuses for why we aren’t getting enough exercise. One of those excuses, often enough, is our children. We say that we don’t have enough time to exercise because our children take up so much of our time. We complain that we don’t get enough time to spend with our children as it is so how are we supposed to give some of that time up in order to go to a gym?

But we aren’t the only ones for whom getting enough exercise is important. Obesity is becoming a growing epidemic in many first world countries, and it is up to us as parents, to make sure that our children don’t become one of those statistics.

So how do we give up the excuses and make sure that we, and our children, get enough exercise? Here are ten suggestions.

1. Take your child on a picnic at the park. Bring along healthy snacks. Picnics at the park are the perfect environment for playing, running and being active.

2. Take nature walks with your child. Children love to go for walks and try to spot different animals and birds along the way. It’s also a great way to spend some real quality time with your child while she talks to you.

3. Dance with your child. Turn on the radio or find a music channel on the television and let yourself be silly. It will get your child moving and also create a wonderful memory for your child in the process.

4. Plant a garden with your child. Digging in the soil, watering the plants, pulling weeds and pruning the plants is all physical activity that helps to raise the heart rate and makes a great way to exercise while helping the environment and, if growing your own fruit and vegetables, saving money too.

5. Play ball with your child. Something as simple as throwing a ball back and forth with your child is a great way to get him exercising without him even realizing that he is doing any.

6. Sign you and your child up to learn something new such as dance or karate. These clubs are great ways to exercise while learning a new skill and spending time with your child.

7. Have your child join a sports team such as soccer or baseball. Team sports are a great way for kids to get some exercise. Many team sports allow parents to volunteer as coaches, team moms or just to help out during practices, and going to your child’s games will show your child you support her. Don’t just sit and watch her play though. Follow your child up and down the field from the sidelines and cheer for her!

8. Walk your child to and from school each day. Walking your child to school each morning is a great way to spend some time with your child before the school and workday begins, and you will also get to hear about your child’s day while walking home. Not only that, but by not driving, you will be cutting down on pollution and creating less traffic congestion near the school.

9. Take your child swimming. Not everyone has a pool in their backyard, but there are many public places where you and your child can go swimming. If neither of you know how, then you can take lessons together. Swimming is a fun way to get some exercise that works out the whole body.

10. Just play. Kids love it when a parent is willing to run around and play games with them. Play a game of tag or “Duck, Duck, Goose.” There are so many children’s games that will get both of you active. Just get out there and PLAY!