On the 20th November 2008 my Mentor and my Father, Paul Henry Redhead, died at the age of 69 of chronic heart disease and it rocked my world!
If you were lucky enough to have known my Dad you'd probably remember his wicked sense of humour, his eyebrows, his conversation (or lack of it!) or maybe even the fact that he just loved his whisky! I also still remember his smell, his smile and the way he would look at me when I walked in the room; the chatting we used to do until silly o'clock in the morning and the advice and support he gave me unconditionally.
People deal with loss in very different ways. As a family we grew ever closer trying to close a huge void in our lives that, lets face it, will never be closed. Dad was too much of a big part in all of our lives to be able to do that. They say families are a unit. Ours certainly was - he adored us as much as we adored him and we had so much respect for him I cannot begin to tell you. He bestowed values in us that we are bestowing in our own children and he is still with us in so many ways.
The love that both he and Mum showed to us and to our children is even stronger now Mum is dealing it out for both of them! We know it's ten times harder for her, she was married to Dad for 40 years. Hopefully the love we give her in return helps just a little to ease her pain.
My brother has inherited Dad's work ethic - he is so hard working and will not falter until the job is done. John and I have grown even closer and he really has got Dads sense of humour - and his taste for whisky!
And me? I'm just a stubborn mule like my Dad. When I put my mind to something I always do it to the best of my ability and get a little rattled if things don't work out quite right.
So, how did I get here? . . . . . . . On the 4th January I saw an advert in the local paper for a 13 week calorie controlled eating plan. Feeling lower than I had ever felt in my life before, I decided that the time had come for me to do something about my own weight and general level of health and not end up just like my Dad. Like him, my health was suffering and therefore so was my life. . . . . and indirectly so were my wonderful husband and beautiful son. I couldn't bring my Dad back but with him as my inspiration, I could lose weight and earn money for The British Heart Foundation whilst doing it by making my weight loss a sponsored slim.
So I set myself the task of losing 4 stone before my 40th birthday.
What a journey I've had. I've done my first marathon, ran my first "race for life", entered my first 10k run and even applied for the "London Marathon" next year. I've laughed, cried, gained friends and even lost a few but in the long run it has made me a better person and most definitely a healthier one!
I'm not sorry for talking calories and healthy eating! If you're not interested or do not want to know then tell me to stop or don't ask me any questions!! I do not know the calorie content of a grape - what I do know is that grapes are healthy and I can have more of them the jelly tots!!
People are calling me an inspiration! I really don't think I am. I am simply a 40 year old woman who took a tragedy and turned it around. I channelled my sadness into a desire for healthy eating and found it was relatively easy. I adore food, I adore socialising and I adore my family and friends so it has rubbed off on them too. If I can help any one of them to feel as healthy as me then I'm happy.
As a Birthday treat, Ray sent me off with three of my best friends to a luxury pamper day on Thursday. What I didn't know was that he was arranging a surprise party for me at home whilst we were gone. We had a wonderful day and laughed and giggled like the little girls we are at heart. When we returned home there were over 80 people in full party swing and we had a fantastic night. Thank you to everyone for turning up and apologies if you never got an invite. It was all arranged behind my back and Ray had to stop somewhere - he did a fantastic job. Thank you I love you xx
He had a Gilet 'doctored' so that it would hold lead weights to the amount I had lost in the 8 months since January. IT WAS HEAVY!! After I'd put it on, it took two of them to help lift me off the chair and I really struggled to walk! How on earth did I carry that extra amount of weight daily? Until I donned that jacket I never truly realised just how far I had come and how well I had done
I can now officially tell you it contained . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66lb!!
That is 4stone 10lb!
I've lost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24% of myself!
I've lost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 inches from my chest!
I've lost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 inches from my waist!
I've lost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 inches from my hips!!
(this is a pircture of me (left) on my 40th birthday holding a full size photo of me (right) taken exactly a year ago, on my 39th birthday!
I look like a different me and I feel like a different me and I am so proud of myself. I can't begin to tell you how different I truly feel although it doesn't make losing Dad any easier to bear! In some ways it makes it a little harder.
I want him to tell me how well I've done!!!
I want to see the look of pride in his eyes like the time I sang my first song dedicated to him!!!
I want him to tell me everything will be OK!!
I want to see the smile on his face like the one he gave me on the day I got married!!
I WANT HIM BACK!!!!!!!
But. . . . . . . . . . . . . I can't have him back. I have to live my life without him but with the knowledge that he has taught me well and has indirectly helped me on my journey of the last 8 months. What I wouldn't do to see his face now - but all I have is photographs. Wonderful memories of a wonderful man that will never leave me. Memories that have been captured on a piece of photographic paper because we will never be able to see him in person again. I love you Dad and I thank you from the bottom of my heart . You really did give me more than you will ever know.
By you losing your life it helped me gain mine. It made me open my eyes wide to what was ahead of me. I hope you're as proud of me as I am of you. God Bless, Sleep tight and have a drink on me. Your little girl is 40!!
I would just like to say at this point that whilst my official blog ends, this isn't the end of my weight loss programme!! I still have over 2 stone to lose and lets face it, this is just the beginning. They say life begins at 40, well I'm starting my 40's healthier than I have been for well over 10 years. Let's hope this weekend's partying hasn't done too much damage - it's going to be a busy training week in the Birch Camp!!