AT 59 I AM READY TO TAKE THE PLUNGE
How are you? It is so good to be writing to you once again and thought it was time for a brief catch up.
I have had a birthday since my last post and I am now 59, my hair is thicker and longer than when I was a teenager (towel on head pretending to have long hair), I have had time to reconnect with the way my wardrobe makes me feel and look. June will be a year since I started walking, then trotting and now jogging, my hemlines on occasion have got shorter (it’s the Tina Turner in me coming through), the physical changes in my body since June 2020 is evident in my compare photos, I embrace bright colours in my wardrobe, my mind has finally caught up with my new body shape and with every inch I lose my confidence goes up.
Are you able to relate? The last year of quarantine has provided a rare glimpse at the beauty of stillness and what it's like not to live life at warp speed and with an endless thread of "To-Do Lists". My lifestyle has not reverted to the "hamster wheel" because I have used exercise and meditation to establish the right boundaries and shift my mind.Even if it is for just a few minutes a day, I try to relax whenever I can. For me, meditation is the equivalent of cranking the chill out dial-up to the max. My intention at this time in my life is to soak up every moment.
As a surprise, my fiancé has just gifted me a weekend getaway to Bodelwyddan Castle, a Grade II listed building on the North Wales coast. This luxuriously designed suite is set within landscaped grounds, a separate living room and patio that opens up to the gardens and a fountain.
The downside of having such a view is that I have to pack repellent, as standing water, such as ponds and fountains, is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. It is common for mosquitoes to thrive throughout the UK, from warm spring showers in April through to damp and mild conditions in October. Here's where my "Zero In" 60 Day Citronella Diffuser comes into play.
After a year of lockdown the excitement is palpable. A live band and a Festival of Gin are part of this weekend's festivities. There are so many outfit ideas circling in my head that I cannot sleep. For the first time in my life, I'm not concerned with the clothing in my wardrobe fitting or the heat or chafing stopping me from exploring and enjoying our 22 acre park, as well as walking the 6 acres of a walled garden.
The patio is the perfect place to dine al fresco or if we are in a mood for an intimate dinner. For our traditional tea on Saturday afternoon, I anticipate sharing finger sandwiches, fruit or plain scones with clotted cream and preserves, and bite-sized cakes with tea or coffee.
I am so excited. I cannot sleep because there are so many outfit ideas swimming around in my head. For the first time in my life, I don't have to worry about any of the clothes in my wardrobe fitting me, or "chub rub" as a reason not to enjoy and explore the 6 acre walled garden.
My greatest accomplishment is not feeling frustrated for not addressing my weight gain sooner. I am one of the lucky ones, I have not fallen victim to the "lockdown weight gain"! Instead exercising during lockdown helped me get closer to my health goals.
My wardrobe is a treasure trove of pieces I invested in over the years in the hope that one day I would be able to wear them. Items that will make me look and feel glamorous, costumes and throws to enjoy the swimming pool and spa facilities to the fullest.
I cannot wait to be tucking into a hearty breakfast on the patio wearing silk pyjamas and not having the urge to grab a dressing gown or cover-up. Dressing for dinner or for traditional afternoon tea. These are just a few examples of how exercising frees me to live my life without limitations.
In other words, the worst that could happen between now and the time we go away is that my clothes fit me even better!
Updated Advantages of trotting/Jogging & Inch Loss
A combination of lockdown, gym closures, and feeling a sense of mediocrity offered me the perfect opportunity to get more active at home, increase my metabolism, and emerge in 2021 looking younger than my 59-year-old age.
On a chilly New Year's Eve, I remember trotting along and thinking I couldn't recreate the crisp air that tingled my lungs at every breath.
It is always a memorable day when I put on one of my many skirts, pants, or dresses and I never notice my stomach as soon as I put them on. This is the memory I return to whenever I lack the motivation to exercise.
Staring into the mirror, I reflected on myself, and every exercise session that had brought me to the here and now. At that moment, I forget every doubt about the past and health worry about the future, and knew that exercise had been the best thing I have ever done for myself.
Sustained weight/inch loss means that at the end of each month:
I have not returned to my pre-lockdown state, and I am continuing my self-preservation program.
When I stretch out my legs, my inner thighs and knees touch.
As I jog, my body automatically regulates my breathing into "jogging mode", without my consciously trying to do so.
I am walking taller which not only makes me look leaner but automatically engages my stomach muscles as if I am wearing Spanx to hold it in place.
In addition to trying to get 8 hours of sleep a night, I also take power naps during the day. Lack of sleep causes your body to conserve energy by storing fat, (in my case a podgy stomach) rather than burning it off.
Regularly exfoliating folds of skin that haven’t seen the light of day in a while has resulted in the gradual loss of hyper-pigmentation and the steady return of an even tone to my skin.
I am able to support my body weight and hover for a while when lowering or raising myself out of the bath.
The drawstring of any PJ bottoms had to be tightened further, and rope had to be fed through the waistline of any jogging pants to ensure they stayed up while exercising.
I find it easier to support my body with my elbows when doing the plank and to twist to the side for good measure.
I have had time to reconnect with the way my wardrobe makes me feel and look.
My preference for loose tops to hide my stomach and the hip area continues to decrease.
In terms of my body, my frame continues to shrink every month - I use less moisturiser.
As a result of exercise, I continue to feel mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally nourished.
Shopping online leads to less returns – I am much better at not buying clothes in my old size.
In May, I invested in an oversize plastic hoodie and was able to jog without being hampered by rain.
I no longer break out into a sweat when dyeing or washing my hair.
My hair is growing fast, is long, thick and healthy – all the things I tried to emulate as a teenager with a hand towel on my head swinging it from left to right lolol;
Reconnect with your style & wear what you love
Get back in touch with your style by wearing what you love. Your wardrobe must reflect your personality and lifestyle. When we try to categorize ourselves or fit into specific boxes, that's when things go wrong! As a result of Lockdown, I was able to "shop my wardrobe" and create new outfits by mixing classic pieces that I can't bear to part with and more modern pieces that work together.
The easy breezy summer time vibe! To me, a dress that is timeless and ageless is the perfect dress. I have been inspired to pull out dresses I already own that fit that description. Dresses are the most versatile items of clothing you can own. Dresses are versatile because you can wear them all year round and easy to wear because they make an outfit in themselves; you simply put them on, and off you go.
As lockdown eased, I decided to purchase a few dresses to update my wardrobe, and the number one dress on my list was a maxi dress. It looks beautiful, is easy to wear and comfortable. The un-restricted floaty nature of maxi dresses makes me feel feminine. I can give my outfit an edgy look simply by pairing it with chunky trainers/sandals or with biker boots and a jacket to give it a high low mix (as above).
Shirt Dresses - I opted for a shirt dress as my birthday outfit, as they are universally flattering. The shirt dress comes in many lengths, styles, and patterns, making it a good option for anybody shape. You can wear a shirt dress open like a kimono or style it as a layering piece and perfect if you want to cover your arms. In the past, I might wear a shirt dress over leggings or skinny jeans, but on my 59th birthday, I posted this picture, captioned, "sometimes I just want to throw on a shirt, heels, and go". I would recommend giving the shirt dress a try.
Short dresses – Get your legs out, says YouTuber - Style Insider. After winter and now lockdown, we can feel exposed without our joggers. Find your comfortable definition of "short" and don't overlook these dresses as an alternative for shorts this summer.
The Suit & Trainers Trend
After spending so many months indoors, I am making up for lost time by dressing up every chance I get. What little warm weather we have experienced here in the UK provides an opportunity to dig out some of my favourite dresses and summer sandals that haven't been weather appropriate for months.
Although the world is slowly opening again, the "comfy route" remains the way to go. Many celebrities, models, and designers have switched from jogging bottoms and sweatshirts to conventional pants suits, and from heels to sneakers. In the reverse trend, a suit is paired with trainers to bring fashion back down to earth with an element of comfort and practicality and long may it reign. You only need to look to Naomi Campbell, Rita Ora, Kendall Jenner, Charlotte De Carle, Zendaya and Gigi Hadid for direction on how to take the trainer from the streets to the runway, no matter the vibe you want to create.
Fashionistas like me who are always looking to be comfortable and put together while travelling will love this pastel straight-leg trouser suit with a longer blazer and trainers. When checking into any hotel, this suit paired with trainers looks chic but comfortable enough to wear all day. Personally I hope the deconstructed trouser suit and trainer trend is here to stay. The cool woman can still mean business and, I may never want to wear heels again.
As can be seen from this photo, exercise and weight loss have given me the confidence to break from tradition and wear my black trouser suit without a shirt, blouse, necklace, or bralette underneath.
Guidelines to Dressing Slimmer
My first step was be to re-examine everything I believed about myself.
1. If you want to create the illusion that you have a shorter torso and longer legs, tuck your top in. Tops that cut off your legs at the thighs will make you look shorter.
2. If you want to cover your tummy, wear a short top or camisole underneath your jacket.
3. Wide leg trousers elongate your legs more than skinny jeans or dark bottoms that are too narrow at the ankle so High Rise straight, fit & flare, or wide-leg bottoms will do the trick.
4. Shoes play a great role in elevating or detracting from an outfit by cutting you off at the ankles or shortening you rather than making you appear streamlined, long and lean. Think carefully about your shoe choices.
My health and weight loss journey continues, and I feel peaceful, happy, and rested. I am able to live a fulfilling life while working from home. I never feel rushed or on the go with a 30-second commute from my bedroom to desk each morning. There is nothing more liberating than being unburdened by schedules or emails and to remind me of health dangers that are caused by stress.
The time is now for exploration, for reconnecting, for doing the little things. To burn scented candles still remains one of my favourite ways of relaxing. Audible provides eight 11 hour books of escapism into a time and world of “the Bridgerton” family.
For me, lockdown has been a year of growth and improved health, and I end this blog with a quote from my most recent Audible purchase, A Radical Awakening by Dr Shefali Tsabary. The most profound statement to me is “There comes a time in the life of a woman when...”! Wow!!!
Fundamental phrases that resonated with me were:
“… She discards her old ways…
Shreds her lists of should and obligations…
Impossible expectations are burnt…
The opinion of others once jewels are now…
The hunt for another is now replaced with the hunt for myself…
When her manic compulsion to be perfect vaporises…
When she simply says no more…
When she guards her authenticity as fiercely as she guards her babies…
When she drops the roll of saviour…
When she finally feels ready to claim her space in the world…
When she redefines compassion as unequivocal self-love…
When she dares to re-write a new mandate of living for herself…
THAT TIME IS NOW, I AM READY TO AWAKEN…”
Until the next time, BE SAFE. X