Thursday, 26 January 2012

Advertising what works? - On a business Note

As you may or may not know 'KidzGrab' was set up by my parents and I.  I am a single Mum with two little girls Charlotte and Rosie and my parents are both 'retired' (however they seem more busy these days than before they retired!!)

Our start-up has been challenging  but not necessarily in the ways I expected.  We now have businesses coming to us which is absolutely fabulous and we have deals planned for the next two months, with some of the bigger companies joining our site too (so excited!!).  The technology which at first seemed intimidating is now second nature and I have rediscovered my love for talking to people and writing!

The hardest part is letting people know we are here, that 'KidzGrab' exists.  We don't have a huge advertising budget so we are limited in our options.  Social media is our main avenue and thanks to the Auckland Parent & child show we certainly put ourselves on the Daily Deal map but now we have to think bigger and on a budget that's hard.

Advertising is insanely expensive whether that's rag advertising, radio or television, it is all so limiting.  I know that word of mouth is the great advertising and I just hope when parents discover us they tell their friends too.  It's so hard though when you have all these fab ideas running through your brain and you are limited by what you can afford, especially when you have put so much passion and work into a project.

Like so many businesses I am sure,  I just wish I had a limitless budget for advertising.  Of course the other problem is where do you actually choose to spend the advertising dollars you do have?  There is so much choice, so many avenues to explore. 

In what ways do you get your business out there?  What works and doesn't work for you? 

Kate x

Golden Arches are Calling!

I went to my meeting yesterday and reached my 5% body loss goal and got my first 'award' from weight watchers, my bookmark.  I felt like I deserved a holiday to the Bahamas but my little green bookmark was the award and I am grateful to have it!

After my meeting I went to a Ministry of Education meeting about filling in the dreaded forms for home schooling my eldest Charlotte (It was brilliant!!)  On my way home I could feel myself falling off the wagon, I mean literally falling off the wagon.  I could see breakfast bacon bagels in my head, chips and chicken burgers.  The want to eat something with grease all over it was absolutely consuming.  I drove home with nothing but that in my brain.  Having reached my first goal why was my own body trying to let me down, sabotage my efforts...I was doing so well.  This had to be what everyone had warned me about and it seemed inevitable.

Everywhere I seemed to drive those bloody Golden arches were staring at me.  Beckoning me in, tempting my taste buds, I felt like I had been possessed!  I put my music on really loud in the car and tried to concentrate on the drive home, thinking about all the 'yummy' foods I could make myself if I could just make it home.

I would like to tell you that the voices didn't win but they did I pulled in after the third set of Golden arches and bought chips and a chicken burger.   However this is when it gets weird and very unlike me.  I ate about four chips and had a mouthful of burger and suddenly stopped.  Flashing before I saw my miserable self dying through the workouts I had done for the past week.  The constant salads, vegetables and fruit.  Then I thought about Charlotte and how excited I am about homeschooling this year and how part of my decision to lose weight is so I can be a better Mum....and it stopped me in my tracks. 

I wrapped the burger up put it all back in the bag and with great purpose almost ceremoniallly dumped it in the bin outside Maccas.

I got back in my car and drove home thoroughly ashamed of my lack of will power but very proud that I had stopped myself in time.

I did however penalise myself 10 points just for a mouthful just to make sure!!!

The human body is amazing isn't it, when you get something in your head it can really be such a battle.  I learned something yesterday though that I think will help me through situations like this again and lets face it this will happen again!  I need to keep those powerful images at the forefront of my brain on hard days - the images of how much hard work I have put in so far, how painful the exercise has been but most of my two beautiful children and the difference this is already making in our lives.

To other people out there trying to make this same change - We can do it, it is possible we just need to believe in ourselves.

'A goal without a plan is really just a wish'  that's what my WW lady said to us last night and she is totally right but it's not just about planning what you are going to eat it's about planning what to think when you own self tries to get in the way of your goals.

Have a great day

Kate x

Monday, 23 January 2012

High on Life!

I am feeling so healthy after just three weeks.  I can't believe what a difference I have noticed in different areas of my life - I am sleeping better, my clothes fit better, I have more energy, I am not as grumpy(!), my hair and nails seems brighter and stronger, I am more motivated and far less stressed out.

I am finding it hard to believe it myself that a change of diet albeit a massive change in diet could impact so many different areas of my life is such a positive way.  There are simply no negative aspects to this lifestyle change at all.

Yes of course I could moan about the lack of junk food and how I miss chocolate but that's not a negative because it has actually been making me feel pretty awful. I just didn't realise how awful till I got rid of it all.  Missing it doesn't match how good I feel without it!

I have been struggling with the exercise but something unexpected happened there too last night.  I have been doing Tae bo on You Tube and I finished the work out and at the end the guy who runs it whilst doing the warm down exercises talks to you really calmly about taking care of yourself.  By the end I found myself on the floor weeping into the floor overcome by the changes I was making and I realised how awful I have been feeling about myself for an awfully long time.  My confidence has taken such a battering over the last few years with the break up of my marriage, the weight gain, singledom but most of all the illness that has plagued my life for the last three years of my life.

Whatever this man said to me via the strange world of cyber space hit a note for me.  I found myself dragging my (still rather large) butt off the floor and doing another 15 minutes on my cross trainer and I cried my way through it feeling like I was on the best high I have ever had from anything in ages!!!  Me high on exercise, can you even contemplate that thought!!!! 

Today I feel like I could take on the world!   For the first time in my life, losing weight actually seems really possible and totally within my grasp.

Have a great day

Kate x

P.s The picture is of me and my big brother at Spookers this week - What a great night we had running around like big kids!!!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

'Loyalty' incentives! - On a Business Note

It's hard being a little fish in a big pond.  You can have the best idea in the world but if you don't have the same resources available to you as the big fish it can make things a lot harder but in the same breathe a lot more interesting!!

I learned this week how the big fish in my industry are tying companies into 'paperless contracts'  by offering low commissions if they stick with them for a year but whack it up to a ridiculous commission if they choose to advertise elsewhere during that period.  Making it next to impossible to persuade a lot of companies to even contemplate trying a new type of deal site like ours.

We have had a couple of companies I am pleased to say coming to us once their 'contract's' are finished simply stating they don't like being tied up in this way.

We do things quite differently here at KidzGrab and charge one commission, very rarely does it change.  I am certainly not going to start tying people into contracts although technically they are not contracts but agreements!  I think businesses should be free to advertise their business where they want to and when they want to without penalties being inflicted on them.

The only thing we ask (not demand) here at KidzGrab is merchants don't do a deal similar or the same three weeks each side of their deal with us. 

The daily deal site business is definitely harder than I imagined but it's also very exciting and challenging. 

This year so far has been very slow for us but with some really exciting new merchants in the pipeline it is shaping up for an extraordinary year!

One of my greatest challenges is getting out there and putting us in front of every parent in New Zealand.  Unlike the big fish our advertising budget is small which means we are very limited in the ways we can get our business out there to our audience.  Another reason why our social networking is so important to us and word of mouth (so if you see another parent today don't forget to tell them about us!!)

With a focused mind, boat loads of enthusiasm and a big smile on my face we will get out there and be the premier Daily Deal site for families in New Zealand!

You Tube Exercise

This week seems to have flown by and I just haven't had time to write, some weeks I am not sure where the time goes!

Had another great week and the 'lifestyle' change is going well.  I went to Waiwera with the kids yesterday and treated them to dinner they both had hot chips as a special treat and what a mistake that was.  Here's me eating my salad although I would argue about whether cucumber and tomato covered in feta could really be described as a salad, for over $10 it would have been nice to have had at least one lettuce leaf but perhaps it's just me!  The hot chips were almost calling my name, I am quite sure I could hear them!  I ate four, then sat there feeling wracked with guilt - I am happy to say I ate no more.

When I got home I tried to work out the pro points of four chips....not easy but had plenty of points left yesterday so it was worth it and didn't send me over my points!!   They were totally yummy!

After not making it to Northern Arena last week as work commitments kept me tied to the office most of last week (I know it's an excuse!) I turned to You Tube discovering you can find full workouts in just about every type of exercise known to man.  This week I have been doing Tae bo which has actually been great fun.  I was pleased to find out that my leg can still make it past my waist line without me ending up flat on the floor!!

In this age of technology there simply isn't any excuse anymore, if we can even find free workouts on places like You Tube!

I am also quite sure that the African mango is doing it's stuff and has definitely accelerated my weight loss substantially.  I will definitely be purchasing a 2nd month of it.

Have a great Sunday folks!

Kate x

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Quick Update

On my way to bed with headache from hell but thought I would just update on my weigh in tonight!!  I lost 1.7 kg this week bringing my total to 3.7kg going to bed a very happy girl!!

Kate x

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Midnight Munchies

Nearly arrived at the weigh in for week two and just as nervous as I was last week!

I have had another fantastic week and sticking to all the new changes really well.  The only thing I am still finding difficult is the whole 10pm snacking thing I used to do.  I was forever sneaking off to bed with a plate of cheese and biscuits to watch a movie.  Going off to bed to watch my movie with mint tea in hand isn't quite so much fun and it's the only time I feel deprived on this new routine!

However my sensible side says I shouldn't have got into such an atrocious habit in the first place and even if you are an ideal weight you shouldn't be eating at that time of night!  Not even sure where or when these habits started.  I think for me probably it's loneliness comfort eating.  I have been split from my husband now for two and a half years now and bed time is still the hardest time of the day, when you are on your own. 

Even my eldest has finally found her way back to her own bed now, well most nights anyway! Being on your own takes a lot of getting used to.  I find myself wondering where to sleep in the bed, one set of pillows or two and the most dangerous time for me as far as eating is concerned are these times.  It somehow fills the void eating that bar of chocolate or buttering those biscuits.  Having picnics in bed I suppose I just got used to it.  Two weeks of not doing it has probably been my hardest test to date.

Now I have thoroughly depressed myself I will move on to tell you my good news!!!  I love trademe, total addict although feel they are getting a bit greedy with their commission though.  I put a load of $1 auctions on this week which unfortunately went for $1 I then discover that they take 50cents from each!!!!  So not really worth it me thinks!  However on the other hand got myself an amazing deal this week a really lovely lady sold me 24 copies of the weight watchers magazine plus she threw in two cookbooks for $5.00 !!  I couldn't believe my luck, considering Mum bought me this months weight watchers mag for $6.95 it was the deal of the century.

I have fulfilled the promise I made myself last week and found something to join. I searched high and low for something new to get me exercising.  It turns out the new Northern Arena are giving away free 10 day passes so I thought why not try something completely new.  You can try their gym, take a class or two even go to the aqua aerobics class.  So wish me good luck I am going today before I pick Charlotte up from her holiday fun day (Which I will tell you about tomorrow - totally awesome Kelly Sports!!)

Have a great day!

Kate x

Reason 10 for wanting to lose weight

I want to be able to walk to the beach and back without being out of breath

Sunday, 15 January 2012

'In the Sand' I'm not helping much am I Mum!

My exercise for yesterday as I discovered this morning when I tried to move my sore aching body, was digging a massive hole in the sand for my daughters down at Wenderholm beach yesterday.

We decided to ignore the threatening rain and head to the beach for the day.  It was absolutely glorious even when the rain came for a few minutes at a time to be honest it was a welcome relief from the heat.  It was so good to get out of the house and just relax on the beach.  The kids absolutely loved it.  When I was a child my Dad used to dig me these huge holes that I then used to turn into a house, with sand beds and chairs...I would spend hours playing in these holes.   It was so funny to see history repeating itself with my two little girls faces peeping over the top of their hole yesterday. 

I have realised that no extra exercise was needed for me yesterday so it did more than just entertain my kids!  I built up a huge sweat in the heat digging and my arm muscles, well I feel like Michelin woman this morning!! 

We packed a picnic which would usually have been full of crisps and 'special treats' and instead had fresh fruit, ww bars and salads.  It was a little strange but the kids just enjoyed having a picnic and didn't seem to mind the lack of crap!!  Only slightly annoying thing was I forgot to bring a fork to actually eat my salad!! Good job I have such a lovely Mum who dropped one down to me and we sat chatting together, something I always love and treasure every second of.

The 'lifestyle change' is going really well and so far I am really enjoying sticking to my new life.  I can already see the changes when I look in the mirror and my slightly too tight trousers are already feeling a little less uncomfortable.  I do struggle at dinner time knowing what to cook, I do get stuck for ideas.

I have an allergy to eggs, lamb and pork which really limits choice.  I have found a couple of recipes I really like but know I need to find some more recipes if I don't want to get bored and stray. I have just purchased a job lot of weight watchers magazines from good old trademe so I am hoping there will be lots of good ideas in there for me.  There wasn't enough recipes I would cook in their cookbook to tempt me to buy it, not because it wasn't a beautiful book but because I am limited by the allergies.

I also got back on my cross trainer.  I was really worried about my back so I have started off very gently, I thought perhaps if I could get those core muscles back in shape ( I say that like they once were!!) then it would support my back better and I might be able to do more.

The weather has helped so much in helping me to get more motivated and get moving.  The rain made me want to give up!

The very big upside to our day at the beach yesterday was the kids came home and were in bed by 6.30 soundo.  Mind you I followed by 8pm!!!!!  

Have a great Sunday folks!

Kate x

Reason 9 for losing weight

Being a good example to my two girls

Social Media and your Business

Did you know that over 30 billion pieces of information are shared through facebook a month??!!  Twitter is tweeting messages 25 billion times a month!  I think it's safe to say social media sites are here to stay and impossible to ignore if you own a business.

Question is how can we harness these powerful tools for our businesses? 

To start with you are building your own community, you want to become the 'go to' resource for the product or service you are offering.  You need to be visible not only to the people who know you but to people who are yet to use you or your company.  Engaging in social media and blogging keeps you in peoples minds and keeps you visible. 

People who are engaged in your social media will visit your business more often and need less convincing to purchase what you are selling because you have made yourself more available by sharing information, connections and earning their trust.

More obviously social media gives you a chance to highlight your products or services and talk about what you do without it being a hard sell.  This is of course if you make sure that you have a balance. It's no good if every post is a sales pitch but when mixed in with interesting articles on your subject matter, news, views, resources it becomes a great way of getting your business out there and not in peoples faces.  It is also a tool to use for customer service,  answering questions about products and for your audience to review and share their experiences.

Social media is having a huge impact on my company, KidzGrab.  We have referrals and leads every week as a direct result of our social media presence.  We are contacted by customers, merchants and also people wanting to partner with us because of something we have 'tweeted' or written in a blog post.  Make yourself part of your brand, get yourself noticed.

Give your brand a face - so many companies hide behind their logos and brands.  Give your company the personal touch let them know who you are.  Tell your story, let your consumers become a part of it, let them share in your success.  Actively ask for opinions and comments about your business and working practices so you can constantly improve and move with the times and stay fresh and in tune with what your consumers want.  You won't always like what people say but if you know what people think then you can make positive changes.  Many of the wonderful ideas that we have implemented since we first went 'live' have come from our customers.  I am not saying you should use every idea that comes in, I am saying that you should listen to your audience and that you are fulfilling their needs and expectations as far as is possible for your company.

One particular thing for me was when someone on Twitter said to me and I quote 'If you want to be taken seriously on here then you need to join in and your timeline needs to look less like a spam feed'  It really grated on me at the time, we had only been running a few weeks and social media was so new to me.  He was completely right though, I had got lazy and was just letting my Facebook automatically update my twitter with usually just our daily deal news, people were bored and rightly so!  I took the advice and made time for twitter...what happened?  Our fan base went up exponentially over the next week and people stated interacting with me.  

For businesses it's also a great way to keep up with your own industry news and views, absolutely vital if you want to stay at the top of your game. 

My only real problem with social media is the inordinate amount of time it takes to upkeep, I know it's time well spent but it does take a lot of it!!  The other problem is the choice - facebook, twitter, linkedin, myspace, bebo, G+  the list goes on and on!  How do you decide which to get involved in and which to leave alone!  It's certainly not possible to do all of them unless of course you have a person at your company who's sole job is for social media, which I expect larger companies I am guessing do perhaps!

For us we have stuck to the main avenues facebook, twitter, linkedin and blogger.  I did try out Google + but to date it still presents a bit of a mystery to me!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

To Sweeten or not to Sweeten that is the question

The first thing I notice about my shopping trip up to Countdown is the extraordinary amount of money I saved.  It is definitely a myth that eating healthier costs more!

I looked around the supermarket with a new set of eyes yesterday. Examining every label, reading every ingredient, counting up pro points and doing my sums! 

One of the things that does bother me though hugely is the ‘diet foods’ and the amount of artificial sweeteners in them.  I am making a conscious decision to avoid these foods after some years ago reading a horrifying article about sweeteners and how they believed that not enough research had been done on them and they were being linked to everything from cancer to depression.

Some information below from a website called Fitday about sweeteners, their contents and some of the concerns regarding them.

Aspartame - Phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol.
Reported side effects - Headaches, fibromyalgia, anxiety, memory loss, arthritis, abdominal pain, nausea, depression, heart palpitations, irritable bowel syndrome, seizures, neurological disorders, vision problems, brain tumours and weight gain.
Concerns: Phenylalanine and aspartic acid directly impact brain and central nervous system functions; evidence shows they play a role in mood disorders, memory problems and other neurological illnesses.
Methanol is converted into formaldehyde when metabolized.  Makers of aspartame say methanol and its by-products are quickly excreted.  But research has found measurable amounts of formaldehyde in the livers, kidneys and brains of test subjects after ingestion of aspartame.
At high temperatures, phenylalanine breaks down into diketopiperazine (DPK), a known carcinogen. Phenylalanine is especially dangerous for people with the hereditary disease, phenylketonuria.

Aceslulfame-K -Acesulfame-K is a potassium salt containing methylene chloride, a known carcinogen.
Reported side effects: Long-term exposure to methylene chloride can cause nausea, headaches, mood problems, impairment of the liver and kidneys, problems with eyesight and possibly cancer. Acesulfame-K may contribute to hypoglemica. 
Concerns: Of all artificial sweeteners, acesulfame-K has undergone the least scientific scrutiny. Early studies showed a potential link between the sweetener and development of multiple cancers in laboratory animals. 

What's in it: Sucralose is a synthetic additive created by chlorinating sugar. Manufacturers say the chlorine in sucralose is no different from that in table salt. Fact: the chemical structure of the chlorine in sucralose is almost the same as that in the now-banned pesticide DDT.
Reported side effects: Head and muscle aches, stomach cramps and diarrhoea, bladder issues, skin irritation, dizziness and inflammation.
Concerns: Research has shown sucralose can cause shrinking of the thymus gland, an important immune system regulator, and liver and kidney dysfunction. A recent study by Duke University found sucralose reduces healthy intestinal bacteria, which are needed for proper digestion and can impact the effectiveness of prescription and other drugs.
Saccharin - Saccharin is a sulfa-based sweetener; its primary ingredient is benzoic sulfimide.
Reported side effects: For those with sulfa allergies, saccharin may cause nausea, diarrhoea, skin problems or other allergy-related symptoms.
Concerns: Early safety studies of saccharin showed the sweetener caused bladder cancer in rats. The FDA recently lifted the requirement that saccharin be labelled as a probable carcinogen on food packaging. 
The link between saccharin and bladder cancer has contributed to saccharin being the most investigated of all artificial sweeteners. To date, no connection between saccharin and bladder cancer in humans has been proven.
Switching out artificial sweeteners for all-natural, low-sugar substitutes is a smart option; you just might feel better.  

If you Google sweeteners you will find a huge amount of information come up about the dangers, with numerous YouTube videos with well-respected doctors almost begging people to steer clear.

It’s the only thing I don’t like about weight watchers so far is the amount of artificial sweeteners in products, when there are natural sweeteners like stevia on the market.  I notice that Equal a brand that has been slated in the news regarding sweeteners and their detrimental effects now has their new ‘Stevia Sweetener’ out and wonder if this is something we will see more and more artificial sweeteners being replaced with the natural versions.

I believe at some point in the not to distant future we will see a spat of court cases appearing as people link their illness to the overuse of sweeteners.  I read one article not so long ago about a person who had been misdiagnosed with MS and only through one clever doctor they discovered it was in fact that they drank 15 cans of diet cola a day and had effectively been poisoning themselves.  Within 3 weeks they were up out of their wheelchair and within six months living a normal life once more, free of pain and free of the depression that had accompanied it.   It’s definitely all food for thought.

Let’s face it, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise you shouldn’t put chemicals in your body and that we should be eating less processed food, chemical and addictive free foods and as much organic as you can afford. The problem I find with organic of course is the price. 

I am seriously considering kick-starting my vege patch back into existence as not only is it cheaper but it tastes so much better.  The kids really enjoy the gardening too.  We grew sweetcorn from seed last year and the joy on Charlotte’s face when she actually sat down to eat one was awesome.

 So in answer to my own question and after a lot of reading a research it’s a no brainer for me…not to sweeten.

We finally got back out and walking today thank goodness and dug a huge pit on the beach.  Something my Dad used to do with me when I was little.  They we made sand chairs and beds and happily laid in our large hole before marching back to work!  The weather has stayed reasonably fine today...dare we hope the Summer is arriving?

Reason 8 for losing weight

I want to wear a bikini (or even a swimming costume would do) on the beach instead of a pair of shorts and t-shirt!

Interesting sites I found you might like to read more about sweeteners and associated dangers –

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

My new Secret Weapon - African Mango

I slept well last night for the second night in a row.  I think I am finally learning how to sleep again.  You see my children up till now haven't really been that great at night.  It fact it would be fair to say they were both nightmarish! After nearly six years and only two years for the little one they are finally sleeping in their own beds (most of the time!) and sleeping all through the night.

For the first few months in fact I would go as far as to say these last six months I have not been able to sleep.  I have been so used to being woken up on the hour every hour for years that I had forgotten how to sleep.  I don't know if the change of diet, lack of caffeine, extra exercise but for the last two nights I have slept and I mean really slept.  I can't believe it, it felt like I would never sleep properly again, it's bloody wonderful!

Yesterday was my first weigh in at weight watchers.  I was so nervous as I stood in the queue I even wimped out at one point pretended I needed to get something just so I could move to the back of the queue again!! (How ridiculous is that!!)  I stepped up to the scales feeling like I was on trial, not that the ladies made me feel like that, they are just lovely but I made me feel like that.  Suddenly I felt like I hadn't done enough, hadn't tried hard enough and I was bound to have failed.  As I watched the scales flutter about and rest gently 2 KG under my starting weight I could have jumped round the room yelling 'YES' at the top of my voice - instead I calmly stepped off the scale and gratefully accepted the lovely 'well done' from the lady behind the desk.  I just can't believe it, I feel so ready to carry on!

I suspect though a little bit like a relationship this is the 'honeymoon period' and in a few months I will hit that brick wall where the going gets tough but for the time being I am going to enjoy the ride because right now I am flying high and feel unstoppable!

Researching my change of life I have been reading about supplements, vitamins, minerals that sort of thing.  I have started taking garlic for the pain in my joints which my Dad reckons helped his similar pain and of course it's also a great natural antibiotic if I remember rightly.  Plus I have found a good multivitamin with evening primrose to help me through that 'time of the month' and now a new one in my arsenal which is 'Super African Mango'  I have read heaps about it's effects on weight loss and that as part of a diet it can be hugely beneficial as well as claiming to lower cholesterol (so my Mum is trying it to!!) found this awesome company that does a huge range of natural health products here in NZ at really good prices.  My Mango supplement arrived just 24 hours after I ordered it!! Pretty amazing service I thought to myself!

Read some incredible testimonials about this product, yet to know for myself but according to my research African mango is indigenous to coastal west Africa. It is an age-old Cameroonian bush medicine, its amazing properties apparently helping to budge fat and even lower blood fat levels.

The African mango, Irvingia gabonesis, is unlike other mangoes in that it produces an edible protein-rich seed that is commonly used in Cameroonian cooking. Extracts from the seeds are available in a tablet form, dubbed the 'breakthrough supplement.'

The capsules were given the boost they needed when Oprah's Doctor Oz gave the capsules his endorsement last year.  He then boasted to losing 7 pounds without making any changes at all to his diet or routine.  Studies that I have found on my google (good old google! What did we actually do before Google??!!)  searches are the same.  So is this just another fad supplement? or the real deal?   It is being hailed as the new wonder diet supplement and when used at the same time as a sensible lifestyle change can achieve amazing results.....will let you know!!

With the break in the weather I have a feeling my 'it's raining' excuse won't cut it with my daughter Charlotte tomorrow and we will be back to walking!

I have completed yesterdays task or perhaps the day before's and found an aqua aerobics class to join in Silverdale and Whangapaoroa just waiting on times.  North Arena is letting you try their facilities for free for a week at the moment so though I might try that first!

Have a Fab day !

Kate x

Reason 7 for losing weight

To stay with my kids and NOT end up in hospital this year for anything!

My First Weigh In

Sitting here sipping my mint tea (!!) contemplating is my first weigh in at weight watchers since I joined.  I feel like I have lost a couple of pounds definitely, I certainly deserve too, when I think of everything I have cut out of my life in just one week.  I half expect to get to the meeting and find I have gained because I didn't understand the instructions and ate more than I was supposed to or something awful like that!

I am really nervous for myself, quite mad really.  I can understand the psychology behind the meetings that you actually have to face up to yourself every week and be honest to yourself and in a public place just to make it doubly hard.  I wonder what the statistics are for success compared to people who try to go it alone without help.  I know myself that over the last 20 years I am yet to succeed on my own with weight loss.  I feel a lot more determined this time with all this support each week and advice.  I did once try slimming world in the UK and had some success with that but I couldn't maintain the whole green and red day deal.  Weight watchers does seem more like a lifestyle change you could actually do everyday of your life without it interfering too much or being too difficult - we shall see early days still.

There has been an interesting by product of this first week, I have found my interest in cooking returning.  New challenges mean time spent in the kitchen is more interesting again.  I wrote my shopping list with great excitement last night as I tried to plan my week (something totally alien to me...planning of any description!!) I used to work as a chef, which probably hasn't helped the weight gain and over the years I have become absolutely bored with cooking. Recently it had been a case of what was quickest and easiest. 

For the last six months since we started the set up for KidzGrab my lovely Mummy has been cooking for me and the girls.  My folks are so supportive to me and my girls I am so very lucky.  The only problem with my Mum's dinners however is that they taste too good and I have way more than I should!!  I have banned myself from eating from Mum's until I get my life under control and I can cope with everyone else eating a plate full of roasties without me!!!   I did manage on Sunday though, it wasn't too mouth did water as I watched everyone eat the yorkshire puds though fresh out of the oven but I managed it!!

Will check in later and let you know how I did at the meeting, keep everything crossed for me!!!!

Reason 6 for losing weight

I would like to take some pressure off my joints by not carrying around so much weight

Have a good one

Kate x

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Mint Tea My New Muse

Yesterday was easier than I expected, always nice when that happens!  I managed to get through the day without touching a single square of chocolate...for me quite miraculous so feeling awfully proud of myself this morning!

I got a whiff of some mint tea and it reminded me of my favourite chocolate 'Mint Aero' and it stirred my cravings so I thought what the hell I will try it you never know.  Not only do I absolutely love mint tea, it strangely dealt with my chocolate cravings perfectly it is like drinking liquid aeros bizarre!!!

Apparently mint tea is great for a plethora of different ailments including over the digestive system, causing a small anesthesia of the gastric mucous membrane. It also stimulates digestion.  Mint can treat diarrhea, gastric fever or toxic infections. It stimulates the biliary secretion and helps the digestion of fats. I particularly like the last one - digestion of fats!!!

Horrible weather again today and I have to admit to not being able to budge myself to go out for a walk in it.  Might have to resort to a 'Wiggles Workout' with the kids again later!!  Out of everything I am finding the exercise side of things more challenging than the food.  I might have a search through the local directory see if I can't find a class that interests me.  I enjoyed playing netball and doing Zumba but now my back won't allow me to do either.  I need to find something gentle but effective and most of all interesting preferably not Yoga or pilates as I tried both and found them as entertaining as watching paint dry!   I know, I know they are both so good for you and that should be reason enough but I just find it interminably boring !

The kids are getting used to the new meals in the house - Charlotte looked rather ominous when I gave her a wholemeal pita filled with salad instead of the usual ham sandwich but she really enjoyed it.  They are both adapting well to the change.  It's quite hard to find recipes that work for weight watchers and that a 2 and 5 year old will eat.  I think perhaps the challenge makes it more interesting though.  I am definitely going to buy the cook book from the meeting this week.  I am also going to get myself some electric scales, just wish I could afford the weight watchers ones but at $99 they are a bit out of my price range!

Quest for today find a new interest and join up!

Reason 5 for losing weight

I would be able to run around with the kids more and have more energy

Monday, 9 January 2012

PMT, Cravings and the Beast

I can't believe I have to face the 'period' challenge this early in my quest for the gorgeous healthy bod!  I realised yesterday it was that 'time of the month. I am completely useless of keeping track and it takes me by suprise every month and has done for the last 25 years!  I know not a great idea but I just simply forget to record it, I suppose I hate it so much I don't want to remember it!

It presents a huge challenge during this time because like so many women I am sure I get absolutely overwhelming cravings with my body wanting me to devour slabs and slabs of chocolate for the first few days.  It is absolutely unbearable it becomes all I think about, it has definitely got worse over the last few years.

I decided yesterday to do some research and find out whether other women find the same thing or whether anyone knows what causes it.  Get some tips  to deal with it.  You know you are suffering with PMT however when you are reading an article about how to deal with the cravings and the writer says 'Try using willpower' and you want to rip the page out, yell at it, stamp all over it, tear it into little pieces and then stick what's left down the waste disposal!!

Reading past this though I have discovered a couple of things that could be a possibility and certainly are worth trying.  One in particular that would actually tie in with something else I suffer with and that's too many headaches.  Apparently according to one scientist cravings for chocolate during your period can be caused by your body needing an extra intake of magnesium, something that also is apparently brilliant for headaches - got to be worth a try.

They say of course the reason you enjoy the chocolate is because it releases those feel good hormones serotonin and dopamine, which would make sense because I know I feel really miserable and moody for the first two days.  If I can somehow get through these first two days without giving in I know I will be alright.  It's so completely consuming though, far worse than anything I experienced during pregnancy and my need for lemonade ice blocks was pretty strong!!  I know I am not strong enough to even limit myself to a small Freddo but it just won't do the job and I will eat the whole packet.  I would need a combination safe to keep them in that I didn't know the code for!

Another writer says exercise through the craving but the way I am struggling with the whole exercise thing I think it's likely to tip me over the edge trying to exercise through cramping pain and misery.  If I didn't have two gorgeous kids I would take myself to bed and lock myself in there for two days and ride it out.  I know exercise also releases the same endorphines ( although something I have always doubted with me, just makes me growl! )  The rain has at least stopped for five minutes, I could start with a walk to the end of the road and back.....  :-( 

You can understand why in ancient times they called this time of a woman's cycle 'the curse' it sums it up pretty well for me.

Suggestions gratefully recieved for this one......I will try not to bite your head off and receive your suggestions in the spirit they are given to help!!!!  LOL :-) (and not imagine you in my waste disposal!!!)

I can do it, I can't undo all the good I have done, I can get through it, I  can find other things to focus on, this will not consume me, first weigh in only days away don't give in now, 48 hours and it will pass.

REASON 4 for wanting to lose weight

Confidence to start dating again and maybe meet a nice guy

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Biggest Challenge - Mum's Roast Dinner!

Day Four of my new life and feeling pretty good!  I was definitely less hungry yesterday than the day before.  Although note to myself I do not like weight watchers beef stroganoff recipe, it is not a good replacement for the real thing and it was the closest I have come to throwing a hissy fit!!

Today, being Sunday will present the weeks greatest challenge as I head over to Mum's for what is the traditional Sunday family lunch.  We all get together and usually have lunch at Mum's, it is basically Christmas lunch every Sunday.  My Mum is an awesome cook and her food is so hard to refuse.  I am going today and somehow I have to work out the values of everything, not quite sure how to do this.  I think I am going to have to just skip the yorkshire pudding and maybe one roast potato instead of the usual four or even five!! 

It is quite incredible what you realise when you start to anaylise how you eat.  I really didn't think I ate that badly I would have said I probably eat a little too much but in actual fact what I have learned in this four days so far is I reckon I have been eating double what my body actually needs. 

The exercise is harder than the food, my neck and back are sorely limiting what I can do.  I did some light stretchers this morning and set to on a work out I found only to stop five minutes in knowing I was about to put my back out.  A bit of history about me at this point is that I have two artificial discs in my neck and the discs up and down my back and have pretty much given up on life.  I find it really hard to do anything but walk and I know, walking is great and really good for you but I have to be truthful I find it an absolute bore.  Although walking along the beach is nice with the kids.....I just wish this rain would go away.

I played Wii fit yesterday with my eldest daughter which was quite good fun, not sure how much 'exercise' was had from it but enough to raise my heart rate a little.  I suppose anything from nothing is an improvement!

I swear when I got dressed this morning my jeans didn't feel quite so uncomfortable, I know it's probably my imagination at this point but I do feel better mentally already - I feel like I have a positivity in my attitude I haven't seen for years.  I just hope it lasts, I have been here so many times before!

Reason 3

I want to be able to wear nice clothes with shape and that fit well instead of tent like clothing that just 'hangs' to cover the lumps and bumps.

Have a great Sunday folks!

Kate x

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Stand Strong - On a business note!

I have been curiously watching the 'other' daily deal sites in particular the 'big one' and noticed that over the last two weeks they seem to have been consciously going out of their way to list deals from people who have used our site.  What a compliment although one does ask the question why?  All the companies out there why do all the deals that we are doing, doesn't make a lot of sense really. 

I wonder if it's bully boy tactics, are they trying perhaps to intimidate us, showing us they can make the retailers offer a better discount, a better deal.  The thing is though these smaller retailers can't afford huge discounts which is why we don't pressure them to, the big boys seem intent on really pushing these smaller retailers under the guise that it should be a loss leader, a marketing exercise whilst they pick up their tidy commission and merchants effectively make a loss. 

I really believe Daily deal sites will go under eventually if they don't address this issue.  The discounts are great but they are not sustainable for anyone, retailers are losing money hand over fist and cosumers will expect to be able to buy things for insanes discounts or not at all.

We are trying our best here at KidzGrab not to push our merchants but to work with them to find a deal that works for them and that they are comfortable with.

I speak to so many companies who are not prepared to do more daily deals because of the dreadful experiences they have had, everything from all out bullying to their deal not being what they discussed at all and then having to deal with the consequences and losing money they simply can't afford.  One company I spoke to had been 'persuaded' to offer a huge amount of vouchers that all sold and then the company in question could barely cope with the resulting extra business on top of their regulars and the exercise nearly killed their business and cost them a fortune. 

Daily deal sites need to seriously address the way they deal with their merchants, they are afteral the hub of their business.

I didn't really expect this to be such a cut throat business.  I had an idea and just expected to get on and run my website minding my own business whilst doing it. 

Keep plodding on Kate, don't be intimidated - I have the backing of a fabulous team and  even more fabulous parents who are growing in number everyday and whose support and words of encouragement feed me constantly with courage and determination to walk my journey - Thanks folks you are all totally awesome - merchants and consumers totally awesome!


I truly believe the weather is intentionally sabotaging my weight loss effects and making sure we are inside again today! If it wasn't for the children I would brave it and stick my fingers up at the skies and say 'you're not going to beat me with a few raindrops...or torrential downpour!!' but can't see the two bubs being too happy about being dragged out in the rain for a brisk march!

Exercise at home...hmm a new concept.  I know somewhere in the DVD collections there are some fitness programs or maybe I should finally give the Nintendo balance board a go.  I actually managed to find the points for exercising on the Wii, wonder if it actually really counts.  I suppose the answer is to give it a go and see if I break out in a sweat, mind you walking down the road did that for me yesterday!! 

It is amazing how unfit we can get so quickly, how these things creep up on us without noticing.  I have never exactly been small but this extra weight has caught me off guard and I am actually uncomfortable.  I now know what 'back fat' is ! it's been bugging me for weeks, fat rubbing on fat...not good and it doesn't matter what top you where you can see it lurking below the fabric! As for my trousers that I am sure someone has stolen and replaced with smaller sizes!

Reason 2 for losing weight

I have injured my neck and back, did it years ago as a result I have titanium discs in my neck and discs that don't do a great job underneath and on top.  I am also rather largely proportioned on top shall we say. It was suggested some years ago that when I finished breast feeding that a breast reduction would help my neck and back hugely.  However with the extra weight I am carrying a reduction would at present be pointless as they would just get big again.  I need to get healthy and lose weight so I can get my boob job!!

Exhausted from all the exercise, Rosie fell asleep on the way home from the beach!

Friday, 6 January 2012

First Day Over and onto the next!

With day 1 of the diet or should I say the 'new life' in full swing I am relieved.  I woke up today and my eldest Charlotte instantly started badgering me to go to the beach.  I made her a promise yesterday knowing if I promised I couldn't break it!  Trying not to be exceedingly grumpy I put on my slacks and pumps and off we marched to the beach.  Charlotte was bemused by the speed we were walking at probably thinking that she had never seen her Mum walk faster than a snail's pace.

The kids play in the sand whilst I attempt to do some stretching and exercises which make my hamstrings feel like they are going to snap before collasping on the sand and building the biggest sand castle ever.

Looking at my girls I realised the bigger reason for being here was the awesome time we were all having laughing and playing, it was so lovely.   It's very hard when you work full time(even if your kids are at home with me like mine are) to find that time in the day for some really good quality time together without interuption from the telephone, texts, emails etc and I realised I was longing for it desperately.  Suddenly the exercise is secondry to being out which somehow makes it a hundred times easier.

We splashed around in the water until we were all soaked and marched home for good measure.  When we got home I told Charlotte that tomorrow if it wasn't raining we would go again and if I growled to remind me what fun we had today!!

I like the section in my weight watchers book that makes you list reasons why you want to lose weight and thought I might share them one by one each day!

Reason 1 - I want to be here for my girls for as long as possible

Have a great day!

Kate x

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Baby Weight

Can you still call it 'baby weight' if your baby is nearly 2 and a half?  That was my question to myself last week when I realised I do not have a single pair of trousers left that I can squeeze into! 

The reality of my situation has finally hit me and after a series of illnesses over the last couple of years I think I have finally woken up to the fact that if I don't do something about my weight issues my kids are not going to have their Mum around for as long as they should.

It seems like that for all of my adult life I have been overweight, one diet after another and one failure after another.  Somehow though this feels different and this time I have enlisted the help of the professionals rather than some dreadful fad diet found on my search for the easy option via Google! 

Yesterday I joined 'Weight Watchers' and today I took myself to the supermarket and bought things I have never even noticed on the shelves, it was a totally invigorating experience and an eye opener too.  I hadn't realised how much rubbish I normally buy, my shopping bill was half what it is usually!  I was suprised I imagined that with all these new foods and the like my bill would be more expensive.

So it is with love in my heart, courage in my walk that I journey once more in a quest for lost kg's and better health except this time I am going to change my lifestyle for good not just for a couple of weeks.  '

For me, For Charlotte and For my Little Rosie and setting a good example of how to eat properly, fresh food complimented with a good splattering of exercise for all of us.....wish me luck!!