Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Monday, 30 April 2007

Developing 8

Back to work after a hectic weekend. Got my head straight and did a really good day's work so that was good. Tried to get the remortgage sorted and keep hitting brick walls so not so good but I'll get there.

Worked through my lunch as I was leaving early for a golf lesson. I've been so inconsistent this year and know in my heart that I should be shooting much better scores than I do. So wanted to see if the pro could sort me out. Well, what a revelation! He has totally changed my swing and has promised that, if I work at it, it will eventually be natural and that I could be a really good golfer!! He was praising bits of my game to the heavens and saying stuff like, if I wasn't such a talented player I wouldn't even be able to hit the ball the way I have been doing it. Basically I've been making some fundamental mistakes in my swing and everything else has had to compromise and compensate to make up for the basic mistake thus allowing the inconsistencies in and hence the wildly erratic shots.

When he showed me the new way (just some simple changes) it felt so sweet and easy. Of course it's going to take time for the new way to come naturally and I'll probably get frustrated in the meantime but when it goes right, it's just so simple! A bit like the diet really - it'll take a while to get the new habits embedded but, once there, they should make life easier and become natural to us!!

If I get this sorted he reckons I should be a single figure handicapper in a couple of years!!! This is huge! I'm so fired up and excited - I'm going to put a couple of clubs in the boot and stop off at the driving range on the way home a few times a week and just hit a basket of balls to try and get the new swing bedded in. It probably sounds mad to you but this could be amazing for me.

Anyway, calm down Lesley! After that Epiphany I went for a solitary jog. Shelley couldn't make it and I had just missed the other 2. I went round the long route which I haven't done for a few weeks and it was really smooth. Tried to push myself a bit but was just enjoying the evening so much that I settled into a nice steady lope and relaxed. Met half the village on the way back in but I don't mind now - I'm not thinking "Oh God - what will they think about a great fat lump like me trying to run??" or "Damn my top's too short, you can see my backside" which I would have been thinking before. Now I'm thinking "I bet you couldn't run what I've just run!!" or "Hey, check out my bum - not too shabby eh?"

Now home and cosy and about to watch a film, eat my last pack and cuddle the dog (D is in the pub or I'd cuddle him!). Didn't fancy the pub tonight which is a shame 'cos there's usually a pub quiz on a Monday night.

Night night all.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Developing 7

Not the greatest set of piccies this time - we weren't really concentrating. will try harder on my new camera!!

Another busy day in the lovely sunshine. I had my french lesson this morning and unlike last week, I had not done my homework early so had to get up early to do it and then get to class. It's going really well, I'm speaking much more easily now - we'r almost having proper conversations. It's very pleasing and reassuring for the big move.

When I got home, my friends, Kirsten and Jenny with Jen's 2 kids came over. We went for a walk behind Hathersage up to a ruined paper mill and North Lees Hall. We had some fun with the kids and the dogs. I chickened out of using my new camera as I didn't want to slow us all down with the kids and all. I'll get my head round it next week.

D went out fishing on the Ladybower Reservoir with the lads. He's only just getting into the fishing and today was his second excursion - I've just heard that they were all, once again, fishless!! D must be a jinx.

Anyway, off to the pub soon but looking forward to an early night in as want to be a bit more productive at work next week.

Have a good evening and keep on keeping everyone.

Developing 6 - New Camera Day!

I seem to be so busy at the moment - always on the go. It's tricky to find time to get to my blog and then, when I do, I have so much to say and am so excited it takes even longer than it used to. I've been reading everyone else's blogs as I haven't had time to post mine!

Had a great day yesterday (Saturday). I was up early to meet Steph (Kittycat) in Glossop where I had arranged to buy her old camera and lenses and other kit from her. As you can probably tell, I have been bitten by the photography bug but have not yet taken the plunge with a Digital SLR. So now I have! Steph was great (and very slim looking!) and brought her boyfriend too (also very slim looking). They were very helpful regarding the workings of the camera but frankly are so far ahead of me in terms of photography ability that it was all terribly bewhildering. Still, I hae managed to retain a couple of tiny morsels of information and am very excited about really getting into it.

The above pictures will mean absolutely nothing beyond the fact that they were my first tentative forays into it so I thought I would post them as a historical marker - I mean,when I'm a famous photographer (LOL!) these will be priceless - you'll all be able to say you saw my work when.....!!

Check out the wilderness that is our garden behind the decrepit little tractor thing. We have some task ahead of us. I will post stuff on the garden when we're nealy there as it has been such a major endeavour in our lives.

Anyway, after Steph, I met up with the very hunky Huw who is to be my new (and very expensive!) personal trainer. He looks exactly like a scaled up Action Man! Perfect physique. tall with short cropped brown har and bright blue eyes. I had to restrain myself from checking whether there is a little button at the back of his head to make his eyes!

He is frighteningly fit and professonal but really nice and sort of caring and seemed very positive about the diet. He already has one LL client so knows the drill. He remembered me from the gym where he used to work and I used to go and was well impressed by the weightloss. He tried to work out what would be good weight target for me using a series of complicated mathematical calcultions and it kept coming out at 12 1/2 stone! Now I know I will probably be a size 14 then but I'm not willing to stop there. Want to be genuinely slim and toned, not just nearly there. So we've agreed to tkae it as it goes and he will keep on measuring my stats like body fat and lean mass etc etc to check my progress.

So I'm going to Huw once a week and will then try and add a shorter version of his workout into my home routine on top of the running 3 times a week - sounds a bit daunting when I put it like that!

Next stop - John Lewis (Cole Brothers) in Sheffield to swap my evening dress. I really needed a second opinion but the sales assistants were well into chocolate fireguard territory "yes, that looks lovely Madam" - "no it doesn't - it doesn't fit properly you dozy mare..."! Still, I eventually bought the va va voom one from Friday even though it needs a bit of pinnng round the bust. I just love the overall look and think I can make it work. Didn't want to go for a safe old black dress this time!

Then onto the curtain and cushions dept - much more my scene. Have ordered some fab slightly retro print curtains and complimentary cushions for the bedroom - curtains are oatmealy background with lime and chocolate print and some zinging kiwi/lime/floral print cushions. Think the scheme is going to be really exciting which, if you could see the current drabness which we have put up with for FAR TOO LONG, is a very welcome change. Will post before and afters of that room too.

Then home, gardened for a couple of hours, took the dog for a walk/swim and then to the pub for a marathon session (well it feels like it on water and coffee!) with Kate and Pete. As I've mentioned, Kate hasn't been coming out as much due to the kids so was great to have an evening with the pair of them - like old times. We saw others too but had a lovely time. Kate is very excited about a big shopping session in Manchester when I'm down to goal - she's got great style so I think she wants to whip me into shape. She dresses very dramatically so I'm looking forward to being inspired and joining her.

She has also lost a fair bit of weight last year although hasn't had the lifetime of being overweight that I have. She knows what it means to feel slim and was inspiring about how determined she is to stay slim and how she doesn't find it that hard. I know she has been a big eater so it was heartening to hear that being slim feels better than tucking into big meals.

So, that was my Saturday - very hectic and I've got another big day going down today too. It's brilliant to have all this energy and feel so positive and happy. Just brilliant.

Have a great day everyone!

Friday, 27 April 2007

Developing 6

Had a good day today. Up early for a breakfast seminar in Sheffield at the law firm where I used to work. I still know quite a few people there so it was great to wear some slinky jeans and go and surprise them. Petra, a friend who I haven't seen since Day 3 of Foundation (we went for a walk on Bamford Edge when I was full of trepidation about the diet!) was stunned by the transformation and says she's inspired to start LL herself. I hope she does as I know she struggles with energy (being so very busy at work) and is trying for a baby too so it would be great to lose weight for both of those reasons.

What was funnier though were the parters who came over to butter me up (now I'm a potential client...!) and who couldn't help checking me out but were too PC to actually comment on my weight loss. Also, it was amusing when Petra had me twirling round so she could admire the full effect and was pinching my bum and squeezing my waist - at 8am in a room full of suits at a seminar on Construction Law!!

There seems to be a rash of forgetfulness at the moment. First Sandra, then Aimee then Mrs (of Lard Arms fame) and today me have all forgotten our packs. Luckily I had had breakfast (sometimes I have it at work) so I decided that I could manage all day and also luckily I had a couple of Savoury drinks in the office. I drank a fair bit of water and had the 2 drinks and it wasn't too bad. I suppose I don't work really long hours so I was home by 5.30 and could scoff a bar down within 5 minutes of walking through the door. Still, I'm pleased that I didn't succumb to temptation or use it as an excuse to stary. I might have done if I hadn't already had a shake though!!

Went for a run with Kate this evening. She's faster than my other running buddies so we kept up a good pace. After the circuit I decided that it wasn't long enough so carried on for another shorter loop and now feel qutie virtuous. It's good as I can forget about running for the weekend now as we're going out on Monday night and concentrate on gardening and shopping!

After the seminar I nipped into Coles (the Sheffield John Lweis) and tried on evening dresses for the Rugby Club dinner in a fortnight's time. I'm definitely a 16, the 18's were hanging off me. A couple of the 16's were gaping at the side too though but I'm not quite into 14's. I bought one black dress which was on sale but that is more as a "safety" dress. There is another much nicer one but want to try it with a proper bra to make sure it works. It's pretty va va voom round the bust! Am taking D into town tomomrrow to look at the dress and get started on the decoration stuff for our bedroom. Order curtains, buy paint etc . Want to get started on that very soon.

So, it's all go in our household. I'm about to get ready and join D in the pub so I hope you all have a great weekend.

Random extra courtesy of Sandra (Kiwirevo)

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

Hope this works...

Apparently Snapdragons are characterised as follows and there are a few of us about so watch out!!:

"Mischief is your middle name, but your first is friend. You are quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh."

Developing 5

I've been thinking a lot about the class yesterday and digesting the various comments too - very helpful, ta. I think it was a bit about scaring us into submission but also about making us realise that there's a long while left on this diet - ie the rest of our lives and, the sooner we click out of the "quick win" mindset and accept a permanent change, the better.

One thing the LLC said which chimed with me as I had used the word only recently (in my head while thinking about this diet as I do a lot of!), was that we have to "mourn" our old eating habits. Grieve for them, accept that they are gone forever and then move on. Only then will we able to be truly in control of our eating and know that we're not going to slip back to where we were and even the we still have to be vigilant forever.

So, in the spirit of mourning, I'm going to think about what I find sad about "losing" my old ways. I'm then going to toast them, as if it were a wake and maybe think how it was their time to go and see if I can stop thinking about them too wistfully and certainly not as if they're ever coming back.

Haven't got time for all that now, but am setting myself an exercise to complete.

Back to yesterday, had a quiet day at work and back home early to see D who was just back from the airport. The dog goes crazy when D gets in. She's so excited she can't even greet him but has to run up and down the stairs and get her teddy (think she feels in control of him so needs him when she feels out of control elsewhere or something). She stands with teddy in her mouth whimpering and alternately running up and down the stairs for ages before she will even approach him. It's really funny.

D said he could see a massive difference in me even in the fortnight he's been away and said something like:- (adopting strong Irish brogue) "You've fairly lost the beef there missus!". Which I think translates as - I've lost few lbs...

He was knackered so slept on the sofa while I went for a run with the girls. Not very long but very hilly. We were very impressed by our progress as, apart from one really big hill, we chatted most of the way round and put on quite a sprint at the end. I think that means that we have to stretch ourselves a little further now or we'll end up staying in our comfort zone. We've agreed to sign up for the Worksop Half marathon in October which is round Clumber Park (massive NT country park and woodland) and reasonably flat so very pretty and pleasant. We'll keep doing the running over the summer then start a proper structured training programme for it with 10 or 12 weeks to go. I should be at goal then which will be good. A proper celebration of my achievement!!

After that D and I went out for a few drinks. I mainly sat with a lovely older woman called Margaret and we chatted through the CBT aspects of the diet and our blokes' various foibles. She has lost weight on SW before but a lot has gone back on and I think she's interested in the cerebral aspects of LL as well as the weight loss side. Whether she's do it I don't know but I know she's wanting to lose a bit. Her husband could do with doing it though as he's got that scary beer belly red-faced look about him which on an older man is pretty worrying health wise. Still, you can't say anything can you??

I also encountered that "you're not going to go too far?" thing from another woman in the pub. I've had that a lot recently. I mean - as if I'm going to get to Kate Moss stage - and I'm nowhere near it but women keep on saying "oh don't go all skinny..." "don't take it too far" etc etc. It's very strange. I'm currently well over 13 stone and a size 16/18 so I'm hardly in danger of wastng away and there's still plemty of flesh, not to mention flab on my bones! I'm convinced that this is nothing to do with my health or looks but all about not wanting change and not wanting me to be thinner than them'cos then they'd have to admit that they might need to lose a bit! But what does my weight have to do with their self-esteem anyway?? I heard a saying recently which made me smile. It's something like: "with every achievement of a friend, a little piece of you dies..."

I just smile and agree and mentally say - "I'm going to lose as much as I want to lose, matey"!!

So yes, Chris, I'm up for a challenge - thanks for setting it for me. And thanks to the other commenters yesterday as I needed some fresh heads to make sense of it all. Much appreciated.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Developing 3 and 4 - Weigh in time again

As you can see I lost another 4lbs taking me to a total loss of 5 stone 10lbs. I'm pretty pleased with that and hope the 4lb average can continue for a while to come.

My first class in Development was interesting. There were 6 of us from my Foundation class although a couple of others are going to be coming but couldn't make this evening. There were only 2 other women both of whom have been coming for a while. They seem nice but the class was unsettling.

I suppose anything outside your comfort zone is bound to be but I hadn't anticipated that it would be to this extent. I just thought - well, we're carrying on as before so what's there to worry about? Apparently there's loads to worry about! Both the LLC (who is not our normal one - she's at a LL conference inLondon) and the 2 experienced hands came out with a load of stuff about how quite a few women in their respective groups had "fallen by the wayside". Which seemed to encompass anything from reching goal and not doing Maintenance to just stopping. They implied that they were all struggling to "hold" their weight losses. It all seemed a massive struggle to be brutally honest.

I think the 6 of us from our cosy little Foundation class were a bit shell-shocked by the casual discussion of people failing and re-gaining weight etc. We're still all determined that it's not going to happen to us.

I probed a bit to try and find out why Development seems much harder than Foundation when on the face of it, it's the same and it seemed to come down to the fact that it's more fluid; you're not in your supported cosy little class and the target is not as clearly defined. I suppose I can relate to the latter - in Foundation it's allfocussed on finishing the 100 days etc now it's more of a moveable feast.

So - I'm going to set a clearly defined goal(which I may re-evaluate at a later date) in order to have something tangible to aim at and stop the headf**k ('scuse the language - couldn't think of another more apt word!) that just meandering through Development could turn into.

That goal is to get to a size 12 in all the mainstream shops - Next, M&S, Oasis etc; have lost more than 9 stone (I think 91/2 stone) and be fit enough to run/be in training for a half marathon. I want to go further than just being slim - I want to be toned, and have a good figure too so think my BMI will have to be quite a bit less than the 25 healthy-range limit.

Just to catch up from yesterday - I was too grumpy to post. Think it must be TOTM as I was a bear and had a go at D on the phone (probably justifiably but still not like me). Anyway, we made up and it was back to normal on the phone this evening so tht's good.

I played golf this morning which was gorgeous - playing much better though still haven't beaten par yet this year but I'm only a few shots away now and have booked a lesson for next Monday evening so that might help. Aftr golf did loads of chores and "moving to France" type investigations nd then took the dog for a much deserved walk along the river as you can see from the photos. She loved it - but however much she loves me (and I'm defintiely her favourite although D will swear blind it's the other way around) she was not going to be giving up that stick in a hurry - there's a very nasty glint in her eye in that photo!!

So, much food for thought about Devleopment but I think I can cope with the uncertainty for the time being anyway. I'll let you know if it gets harder - who am I kidding - I'll be shouting for help that's for sure!!

Monday, 23 April 2007

Developing 2

I feel really sad this evening 'cos I had an unsatisfactory telephone conversation with OH. Didn't row exactly but he was snappy and critical and I got cheesed off and distant. It wasn't resolved because there were people in the office with him and I was going jogging. I'm sue he'll phone later and we'll sort it out then. It is difficult sometimes when you're far apart and don't know what other things are affecting each other.

Also, I've just read Steph's latest post (Kittycat) and feel really sad for her about her dog Mya.

But, when I analyse the day, I've had a really good day and achieved loads so I think my teariness must a result of TOTM or something.

Went shopping at lunchtime (it's getting far too frequent this shopping business - I never used to do it this often!). Need some new bras as mine (purchased in mid February) are hanging off me and doing nothing for me at all. I was originally a 42DD or E and am now a 36E!! 36!! It's a long time since I've been one of those. I noticed that when you come down below 38, the bras go from having 3 hooks to 2 - much neater and less industrial looking!

While out and about, I also picked up a new pair of running leggings and a matching vest. They're both Nike and very fitted (size 16's), much cooler than the baggy polo shirt and saggy leggings I've been running in to date.

Went out with Shelley and Fran on a longish circuit and we seemed to be going quite a bit faster than we have been going. We were talking as we ran up the hills even and at the end were discussing whether we shold sign up for a 10km run so as to have something to aim for. Think we'll try for the Worksop 10km which is run round Clumber Park and is reasonably flat. The runs round our way are more like fell races!!

Well, I seem to have talked myself into a better mood so I think it's safe to go downstairs, make up my last foodpack of the day and watch what I think is the finale of The Biggest Loser (unless they're going to string it out over 2 episodes...).

Have a good night everybody and big hugs to Steph.

Lesley x

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Developing 1!!

It seems the April showers have arrived just in time! It's been a bit cold here and alternately sunny and cloudy but with the odd little shower. I find it quite reassuring when the weather does what it's supposed to!

Had my french class this morning which went well. She's a really nice woman and always comments on the changes she can see - I haven't been for a couple of weeks and she said it's very noticeable. The french is going well, I just feel like I'm coming on and words and phrases come to me more naturally now.

Got home and arranged to meet Jenny and the kids in Buxton. Kirsten couldn't make it as she has what sounds like a killer cold (which I didn't fancy catching!!). Now, I thought I knew Buxton, having lived only half an hour away from it for over 12 years! It appears not. How can I never have been to the Pavilion Gardens and wandered through all the little poncey shops and galleries? It was great. We had a lovely time buying moderately expensive knick knacks and prints and keeping the childrens' fingers out of even more expensive places!

Then, when their patience with shopping was exhausted (after a surprisingly long time in my opinion) we walked back through the Gardens to the playground and had a chat while they played. I had a bit of fun with the camera too. Jen is like most mums, lax in getting her camera out, but likes it when I take piccies of her chicks.

Jen was also a total star and brought a big bag of clothes that she wore after her kids and before she lost the baby weight. She wasn't hopeful that I'd like anything but I had a good pick through and found some good bits which will really pad out my wardrobe for another few weeks. The exciting thing about the selection is that it's all in size 16!!

I'm officially a size 16!! There's clothes from M&S, Tesco, Next, Debenhams, all sorts, and I can fit into all the 16's. Wow. It has been one hell of a long time.

Went to the pub this evening and had a nice quiet Sunday evening drink which was very enjoyable. It was all blokes this evening and I was getting one or two inappropriate questions by the end - concerning the reduction in my bra size!! Apparently a source of some regret although there seemed to be a consensus that other improvements outweigh the downside. It was very funny though - not seedy or anything.

I think it's because I've been really open about the diet and what I'm doing and have told people what I've lost as I've gone along (although not my start weight - although it wouldn't be beyond the wit of man to work it out roughly). So my mates and the locals feel they have some investment or interest in the results. It keeps me on the straight and narrow, that's for sure. If I so much looked at a packet of crisps (which, of course, I would never do!) I would be wrestled to the ground I reckon. That's village life for you!

So, work tomorrow but it's been a lovely weekend and I feel really content and serene. D's back on Thursday which I'm looking froward to as well. We should then be able to really get motoring on the DIY and garden projects.

Have a good one everyone.

A big hello to "About to Slim"!

ATS left a comment on my last post but doesn't have a blog for me to reply direct to so I was typing a comment to her (or him??) but thought it would be better as a post so maybe others could join in and add some encouragement:

Hi "About to Slim"! I hope you are, too..

Everyone has to start somewhere and I started when I met an acquaintance (just before Christmas) who I hadn't seen for a few months and who had lost nearly 6 stone in less than 20 weeks. I was stunned by the physical changes in her and how happy she seemed. I was impressed by how easy she said she had found it (although I doubted that bit to be honest!!) and I thought to myself "I can do anything for 20 weeks if I'm guaranteed a loss like that".

I started my classes in January and was prepared for it to be absolutely horrible; to have to turn down invitations; not go to functions (even weddings) or weekends away; and basically to become a hermit for the duration. I thought that I would have to do that to avoid food and drink and that I couldn't live a normal life while I did the programme. But I was preapred to do all that anyway - that's how much I wanted it.

As you can see from my blog, I haven't had to go to those lengths at all. In fact my life has become both fuller and better since I started the programme (irrespective of the weight loss). The strength of it is that you learn to enjoy life without food and drink and realise that the important things aren't always edible or drinkable!!

I'm not saying that it is easy, because you do need a lot of determination and there will be hard times but, overall, it is nowhere near as bad as you think it will be and the highs by far outweigh (sorry, bad pun) the lows.

Blogging and tapping into the strength, humour and sheer loveliness of all these other women is also, in my opinion, a major asset and aid both when you're feeling down (it pulls you up) and when you floating (it reinforces your happiness).

So, I have fingers crossed for you that you are able to join up and that, if you are, it works as well for you as it has worked for me and for so many others around here.

Take care and keep us posted.

Lesley x

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Day 100!!!!

Hi there all. It's been a lovely day 100 and Sheffield Wednesday joined me in celebrating with a nice win over Coventry to keep our faint hopes of reaching the Play-Offs alive and kicking too so thanks to them! I know it's unrealistic but as a diehard fan you can never let go of even the forlornest of hopes...

I had a brilliant night out last night. I was in such a good mood that I didn't even notice that I was only drinking water and felt that I must be on champers or that someone was spiking my drink or something.

First up, I went to my local and met some locals from the village and was really pleased to see one of my jogging pals, Kate, out for an hour or so too. She has 2 kids and doesn't come out very often but had made Pete take them on and popped out to join me. Like old times (without the rum and diet coke!).

Then at 10pm, off to another pub down the Valley where there was a band on. It was really cheesy - a Ricky Martin "Latino Sensation" tribute act. But really good fun. Packed out and everyone up dancing. After a while the Latino Sensation dropped the pretence and moved on from "La Vida Loca" to proper Cheez and us oldies were all up dancing and head banging (I kid you not) to anything from soul/pop covers to old Bon Jovi hits. I think that's why I like living in the country - there's no pretence at being cool or trendy, everyone just gets down and has a good time. Also there is all ages in the one place so you're sharing a dancefloor with a group of grandmothers on one side and a gaggle of 18 year olds trying to get off with each other on the other! Hilarious.

Up early this morning trying to get chores done. Was woken at 8am by a bloke coming round to quote for doing our driveway which was a shock to the system aftr a 2am bedtime! Thank God I'm not drinking these days - that would have killed me in the old days. Worked like stink all morning but was still late for the pre-footie drink and haven't got nearly through what I thought I'd do. No time to catch up tomorrow because of french and friends coming over though so it'll just have to wait.

Pre-footie drinks were good as always. When we move to France I think the football and the ritual drinks with my mate Jim are going to be the things I miss most out of everything. Next season is going to be really sad. I'm already beginning to think - this might be the last time I see Coventry or this'll be my second last last game of the season. Pathetic I know but I really miss the football during the summer - I thnk I have a syndrome or something...

Gret match - end to end and exciting. Then dashed back to the Valley, quick drink in the Derwent and onto meet Shelley and Martin for an evening walk. Martin is working so hard on their little farmplace that he's hardly been out at all so Shelley and I were showing him the new walks we've found during our jogging excursions. He was fascinated - kept stopping and looking at the views and exclaiming on verious house and streams etc. It was like taking a tourist for a walk even though he's meant to be a local!!

It was a lovely evening though and the dogs were in heaven. Now home checking the blogs.

I'm glad I'm not eating, I don't think I would have had time today!! It really frees up your day just grabbing a quick shake or bar doesn't it?

Have a lovely Sunday everyone.

PS: - in case you're wondering, I'm dressed as if I'm going out to the pub on a country walk because I thought we were going to the pub, not going for a country walk!! Also, I liked the sheep in a row, they look as though they're queuing for something.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Day 99 -2

Not bad for a Friday. Had a quiet morning at work and then went out to Rother Valley Country Park to meet a consultant for a meeting. It was great - we ended up having a site visit and meeting which was more like a weekend walk but without the crowds. As part of a development of land adjacent to the Park which the COuncil is doing, we had to walk round the Park and up to the site which meant walking alongside the lakes and rivers, looking at the swans and wildlife and listening to the birds sing! I could handle doing that every Friday afternoon. We finished off by sitting at a picnic table next to the lake surrounded by swans and ducks going through some papers. Very civilised.

I was sensibly dressed in jeans and trainers but my 2 colleagues were in work suits etc so I had a great time but I think the boys' feet were a little sore!!

Once back home I rang my friend to arrange a run for tomorrow morning but she said she couldn't make it as she'd promised her little girl a trip to Gullivers Kingdom in Matlock (lucky woman eh??) but she was going this evening instead - so off we went!!

Kate runs much faster than me and although she either waits for me at gates or comes back to me, I still end up running faster than usual so as not to hold her up. Not only that, but she took me the "wrong" way round the route which involved 3 massive hills!! Then the damn dog got herself lost for the first time ever in her life. She often hangs back behind me then races to catch us up but I reckon she didn't realise how much further ahead we were because we were running and then lost us so turned round and went back to the farmplace where she goes during the day!! Little minx.

I had just run up the third of the masssive hills and then had to turn round and go and fetch her,e thn run it again! Knackered. I'll be watching her closely at that bend next time I can tell you.

Anyway, I'm off out to meet friends in the pub tonight so will go now- have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Day 98 -3 Last weigh in of Foundation!

We had a really lovely last class. I've lost 4lbs taking me to 5 stone 5lbs in total during the Foundation section. Everyone looks great - so much brighter and slimmer than they did 14 weeks ago and our mental attitudes have undergone a sea change too.

We did an exercise on our first night where we had to describe ourselves in terms of a colour, a vehicle, a shoe, a bird/animal or fish and a famous person. Now I've never been really down on myself so my choices weren't too negative - red; a volvo; a trendy trainer; a labrador and Edwina Currie (!) ('cos she's bright, challenging, cerebral and, underneath it all, a bit of a girl, in case you're wondering!).

We repeated the exercise again this evening and my choices were: red (some things don't change, always was red and always will be!); a BMW 4-door convertible (not quite a Ferrari but heading in the right direction); wedge heeled strappy sandals (once again, not quite shag-me shoes but heading for them!); a leopard - sleek, strong and a bit of a huntress (not as skinny as a Cheetah yet though); and Sophia Loren (I know I'm not an international sex symbol - don't get me wrong, my ego is well-developed but I'm not deranged!). She's dramatic, voluptuous, natural, enjoys her food, loves her family, hasn't bowed down to fashion, a real woman. A real role model for me - what I would like to be.

What was striking was how upbeat we all were even though most of us are continuing for at least another few weeks if not months. Most peoples' choices had changed far more dramatically than mine - from battered old transit vans to Mercedes Kompressors; slippers to stilettos; elephants to kittens; black to yellow; grey to pink; Dawn French to Shirley Bassey; Miriam Margoles to Sharon Stone. The transformations in our moods and our opinions of ourselves were nothing short of amazing.

One woman told us how she had been standing up for herself at work for the first time ever - and she is heading for 60. Another has changed her job and looks like a different woman. Another got into a size 14 bright pink bridesmaid dress in a proper society wedding down in London and looked stunning next to the model-like bride and other bridesmaid. Great stories.

Anyway, I think this week has been quite exciting even though I'm just continuing with the 4 foodpacks in Development - I'm sure next week will be back to the norm but I'm not depressed about that. It's a really positive journey where I'm not just focussed on the finish line but am enjoying at the scenery on the way as well.

Anyway, I'm getting so much attention at work I feel like a celebrity or something - I've had 7 or 8 people stopping me and commenting on my weight today alone. People are making jokes about it - how I have to go shopping at lunchtime 'cos my trousers don't fit by then - or someone was showing another woman a top she'd bought for her toddler and a passing bloke asked if she'd bought it for Lesley! I even got a very non-PC wolf whistle from the Exec Director in town today!! Gave me a bit of a lift...

It's probably because I've bought a few new clothes so they always make you look slimmer but it really keeps you going.

Anyway -I've been doing well on the no nibbling and the drinking plenty of water so everything is positive tonight. I have a busy weekend coming up so shall float off to bed now. I really hope you all have this euphoria ahead of you (although I know you're feeling the good stuff already in many cases). Keep on doing the hard work and you'll enjoy the rewards - it is soooo worth it!

Night night all and thanks for the great messages.

Day 97 (2)

After posting last night and planning a quiet night in I ended up with a surprise visitor! I was in the shower when the dog started going crazy so finished up quickly and went to see who it was: Julian, an old neighbour from years ago who moved down to Cheltenham and who I haven't seen for 2 or 3 years at least. As he was hungry and it was nearly 9 I got dressed and ready in double quick time so we could get to a pub before they all stop serving food at 9pm (the country you know - it's like a desert after 9pm).

It was lovely to see him and catch up but really funny. Firstly he was impressed with the weight loss and obviously surprised about all the jogging etc as we were definitely not really healthy types when he used to live next door! Then again - he is training for a major cycling road race so wasn't drinking and was eating a low GI diet (he only had a Greek salad with no carbs!) which was also a major sea-change.

Our bodies were well and truly Temples last night.

We were laughing as when he and his girlfriend used to live next door we virtually lived in the local pub and our weekend drinking session used to start on Wednesday nights!! Times change eh. He lso revealed that his girlfriend is pregnant with their first which made me feel a bit wistful so maybe the baby bug is catching up with me??

They're also thinking of moving to France for the lifestyle and space so we might have coompany depending on where they end up.

It was a real tonic and brought it home to me how much I have changed over the years and how much happier I am with the new me. While we had a great time when we were pubbing it every night - I had no energy and D and I were not terribly happy (masked it with all the socialising) so I feel that our life is much more "real" now.

Anyway, I just wanted to record that feeling in case I forget. Always nice to realise that you're content. There was a survey recently about the Happiest People in Europe (the Danes) and how 90% of them reported that they were happy or very happy - well I'd put myself in that bracket at the moment so maybe we should move to Denmark not France!!

Got my last Foundation weigh in tonight - yikes, hope I'm still content after that!! We'll get our interim "after" photos too which should be interesting...

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Day 97 -4

Had a solid day at work. I'm in sleep mode at the moment so am really struggling to wake up in the mornings however early I go to bed! Still, I have flexitime so it's not fatal if I'm a little later in than usual.

I had one major thing to do today (a million other things siting on my desk but I was determined to wade through this one document). It was long and quite dull and dry (well, I'm a solicitor so what do I expect, James Bond??). I had to force myself to sit still and not check blogs every few minutes but eventually I crawled my way through this deadly dull agreement and by 4pm had a letter typed up and various other attachments neatly copied and in an envelope to go out. I felt very pleased with myself as that document has been hanging over my head for a week now and it could have still been there for a lot longer if I hadn't taken the bull by the horns.

That is one of my major failings - I'm a procrastinator. Hence why I'm so proud that I didn't let myself wriggle out of this one or make the task linger on for another day!!

Got home and went for a jog with Shelley and Shelagh. We went on a new route which was quite long, nearly an hour with a few hills but not massive ones. I was pretty tired at the end but felt good. sshelley has just purchased new jogging gear (for her 40th!!) so all I could see were these skinny thighs just ahead of me- was good (no, I'm not that way inclined - lol!!) - I was thinking "hey - I can't be that slow, I can nearly keep up with those skinny thighs!! Go girl!!

Now home and going to have another quiet night catching up with the laundry and cuddling the dog as usual. Weigh in tomorrow and not feeling too hopeful of a big loss so might have to do my emergency last minute jog like I did last week!!

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Day 96 -5

Just 5 more days left of Foundation but I must admit that, beyond hitting the number, it's not that exciting as I know I'm just going to carry on with the 4 foodpacks for another few months until I've lost all the weight I want to. Still, my weigh-in night will change and so will the group so I'll probably meet some new women and share some new experiences so that'll be good.

Had a reasonable day at work - finally got round to re-potting my triffid-like pot plant which had grown giant arms which were taking over my desk so that felt good. Was surprising how many people commented on the newly potted plant - there can't be taht much going on in Rotherham if that is a topic of conversation - lol!

Got back and took the dog on a walk with a mission - booked a service at the local garage (my car, not me), sorted out my next few golf dates down at the club and dropped a card in to a friend who has been bereaved. Felt very efficient and nice doing things on foot rather than in the car. The dog enjoyed it too but not the part where she's left outside!

Back home, full of energy and cleared the kitchen; the plant re-potting must have opened a floodgate or something! I've even done my french homework which I usually leave 'til the morning of the class!!

Nothing much else to report so will get on with some checking of blogs before I veg in front of the TV show, "The Biggest Loser". Love it - love watch the lbs melting off them before our eyes!

Monday, 16 April 2007

Day 95 -6

Had a busy day at work but with the light traffic was home early. I was meant to be jogging with the girls but, while I was picking Shelagh up from the farmplace, I looked over the Valley and saw Win Hill calling to me. I don't walk up there very often in winter as the paths are soooo muddy but really fancied it tonight. So called Shlley up and cancelled and headed up there as you can see from the piccies.

It's a long walk and pretty big hill so set off by 6.15 and had to keep the pace up to make sure I ws off the hill before dark. Didn't get back down 'til after 8 but it was a gorgeous tramp.

I just fancied being alone for no apparent reason. I'm not in a bad mood and I didn't do any serious thinking or anything - just laughed at the dog and took a few piccies. I didn't meet anyone up there apart from a man and his son out mountain biking right on the top so he took the piccies of me and the dog and I took one of the pair of them in return.

He offered me a biscuit too but I turned it down!!

That reminds me - while I was driving into work this morning I reached into the glove compartment for something and found an untouched bar of Green & Blacks milk chocolate. There was a piece on the radio, just at that moment, going on about how scientists had found out that most people preferred chocolate to kissing their partners (Well, der!) (something to do with raised heart rates being measured or some such) and it was very hard to resist. So hard in fact that I didn't - I had a single piece and then left it on the passenger seat all the way into work where I took it out and threw it in the bin. I would have given it to colleagues but it had been melted and God knows how old it was! It tasted great though so while I'm p**sed off with myself for breaking my mini target - I'm not too distraught because I have learned that you CAN stop after one tiny piece of chocolate, not a fact I was previously acquainted with!!

I'm noticing a pattern here - I manage the hard stuff like the weekend to France and trips to London etc but then nibble when I get back to the familiar - must be on my guard for that next time.

Anyway, that's all for now. Hope you're all having a fab LL week.

Day 94 Ham House

I don't like thisi new Blogger thing when you upload photos - instead of seeing the piccies while you're typing, all you get is a load of computer goobledegook. You just have to trust that it'll be alright when you actually post it.

Anyway, these are the piccies from Sunday at Ham House in Richmond. It was a gorgeous place and the paintings, furniture and history stuff was fascinating too. I would highly recommend it for you southerners if you haven't already been. And the setting is gorgeous, right on the Thames so loads of places for picnics etc. Not as busy as Hampton Court but every bit as interesting (although no maze - booo).

Anyway, Nat and I had a really lovely day being cultured and walked miles so felt virtuous too. Then, of course, the bad bit - the 4 hour slog up the motorway. It wasn't so bad yesterday though - I had the top down on my little Peugeot 207cc and enjoyed the warmth and the sunshine.

Shelagh was pleased to see me which made me feel guilty but she does enjoy it where she goes when I go away. I drop her off at a retired farmer and his wife at the end of a lane in the hills just outside the village we live in. She goes there during the day when I'm at work and D is on the rig too so she knows them really well and they let her into their kitchen and living room so no nasty kennels or anything for our spoilt little princess!!

The farmer and his wife are quite funny actually. Their son has told us in the pub that they're dotty about Shelagh and how unusual that is for them as he said they have been totally unsentimental about animals throughout their lives. You know the country thing - "a dog is a working animal" etc etc He can't belive what they let Shelagh away with and apparently their daughter has been mortally offended as her Dad (the farmer) told her that he prefers our dog to her new puppy!! I can imagine how that went down! She sits on his chair in the kitchen and they even bought her a little doggie Christmas stocking which was more than we did!! Not what you'd expect of a proper old-school Derbyshire hill farmer at all!!

Today I came up to pick her up and found her in the utility room surrounded by 3 tiny little orphan lambs who are poorly and have to be hand fed. She's not keen as they take up her space but she doesn't bother them or anything and after a few days they play together.

Anyway, enough of this blathering about dogs. Diet was fine down in the smoke and am feeling much slimmer in my new kit (Matalan Queen, me). I've belatedly discovered Earl Gray too - much nicer than ordinary tea without milk so that's my new treat for when others around me are snacking. I took my bar to Ham House though so was able to join Nat in a tea and bar (she had a gorgeous looking flapjack but you can't have everything!).

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Day 94 -7 Ham House Richmond

Well, it was such a gorgeous day and Nat and I went to the National Trust property, Ham House in Richmond. Absolutely beautifdul and really fascinating. Took loads of great pics and have been trying to post a few here. There seems to be a problem with photos on Blogger today and I'm too tired to faff around much so will try again tomorrow.

A bit of a short post but I want to go and have my last foodpack and cuddle the dog!!

I'll catch up with you all later.

Night night...

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Day 93 -8 Spa Day!!

We had a lovely day. Met up in Covent Garden at 12 and did a bit of girly shopping - you know the sort - sunglasses, tee shirts, shoes. Didn't buy anything for me - don't want to spend proper money yet but popped into Ted Baker and bought an outrageously expensive polo shirt for D so he had better appreciate it!!

It was great to see Rachel again too as haven't seen her since before Christmas either and she too was impressed. It was funny though that they both said that, although objectively they knew I was overweight (Boy, was I ever??), when they think of me it's at about this weight (ie my post diet weight). That's very strange as I haven't been this slim for years! Quite a few people say that - that they dont think of me as fat - which I have always discounted as being polite but now not so sure. I think with Rach and Nat it's because we've known each other for years so they always hark back to Uni days for their mental image. Not that I was slim all the way through Uni either but for some of the time I was.

Anyway, onto the Sanctuary. Very nice. Not super plush like the really posh spas but also not ruinously expensve. Cost £77 for the day with treatments on top at about £60 for an hour long wrap or massage. It had everything, exercise pool, posing pool (with a big swing over the water which I think is the one from the Joan Collins film "The Stud"!), saunas, steam rooms, jacuzzis , restaurant and lounge, Koi Carp lounge (a lovely lounge with loads of loungers and chairs and mags and stuff around a massive pond with brdge over with a loads of massive Koi idling around) That was beautiful and so relaxing for just sitting around and chatting or sleeping. My treatment was a Kyshi Mud wrap and scalp massage and my skin feels so soft and firm its fab.

The therapist was a really nice Irish woman who said she had come across quite a few women with lots of excess skin after big diets but didn't think I would have any trouble from that quarter- YAY!!

All in all it was heaven and I think Rach (mother of twin girls of nearly 4!) who struggles with sometimes quite serious health problems enjoyed the peace and quiet and "me-time" even more, understandably!

Afterwards we schlepped all the way down to Tooting to see Rachel's new house and had a chat but we were all knackered - this relaxing is tiring business! So taxi back and I'm just posting this before an early night.

It was great - I would highly recommend. Night night.

Day 92 -9

Had a day working from home as I was due to leave for London in the evening and felt guity about leaving the dog all weekend how sad is that?! Worked quite hard but I must admit that I headed into town around lunchtime and hit Matalan!! Stocked up on the white jeans and a few tops, and some cropped khaki trousers and some shoes and some more shoes.....I couldn't seem to stop but only spent about £50 so not too bad!! It's a revelation being able to fit into anything I try on. In fact the white jeans were size 16!!!

I also had a quick hair cut and new nail polish so am proper girly now.

Then the long drive down to London town -which would have been fine if people hadn't kept phoning me everytime I made a quick stop for petrol or to check directions - had 3 conversations adding about an hour to my journey 'cos each time I had to stop as no hands free!

Natalie was well impressed by the weightloss as she hasn't seen me since before Christmas. We had a look as some serious chin laden photos from my last trip to the Smoke. Can't believe I didn't realise how bad I'd got.

She's just come back frm the trip of a lifetime in South-east Asia and Australia so we got about half way thorugh her fantastic photos. Awesome - I must go!! That is going to be the aim for a couple of years' time.

Anyway, got up early this morning, Saturday and went for a jog. Boring really 'cos no hills and no green - just pounding the streets of Kensington. Still 35 minutes and feel very fresh. Now checking out blogs while Nat gets herself up and ready (not a morning person). and then off to the spa!!

Small things to be happy about:- Nat's skimpy guest towel wrapped all the way round me!! And, I could fit into the Hilton bathrobe on the back of the door (don;t think she nicked - think she used to be a chambermaid there years ago....!!). Its a brave new world indeed

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Day 91 -10 Penultimate weigh-in.

Yaaaay!! I've now lost over 5 stone which was my (ambitious and private) target for Foundation. And I have one week left to go. I really wanted to get 4lbs off this week to hit that number and managed 5 so am doubly happy. I now have less than 4 stone to lose which sounds quite manageable! I must have really wanted it as I went for a really hilly 4.5km jog this evenig between work and the class. Daft but I wanted to give myself every chance... And it worked - oh no - does this mean I have to jogging every Thursday evening??

It was a good session. As it's our second last weigh in we wer photographed and she asked us a load of milestone questions about the programme and what we have got out of it. One I passed on to Karen (Last Chance Saloon) and I thought I'd mention it here too was about regrets. She asked us what we regretted about the programme. Not many of us did regret much, maybe the odd nibble or not doing enough exercise but very little really (apart from not finding it earlier!!). But one woman who has cheated all the way through said she really regretted doing it as she could have lost 4 stone something and she's only lost 2 stone something. I could see how disappointed she was too. Still, she's not giving up and said she had never had any sucess so this was the best diet she had found but I thought it was sad to see disappointment in a room otherwise full of joy and satisfction. So, I thought I'd share the cautionary tale from the far end of Foundaton.

The positives were much better. People mentioned being more confident; having more self-esteen; being happier; more able; wasting less time; taking repsonsibility for ourselves more; the list went on and on. Personally, I feel that the exercise is the big difference (apart from the not eating of course). Before I've always used a Personal trainer or Gym or friends and expected them to make me go which is fine for a while but then tapers off. Now, I don't need anyone to tell me get out - I want to go jogging or walking etc. for myself. I'm finally growing up Toto!!

The other thing to come out of tonight's meeting was that Maintenance is much harder than Foundation or Development! Yikes! I suppose that makes sense as you're having to live all the lessons and make good choices. Still, I have away to go before I have to worry about that.

When I got back this evening, I found that my sister has taken nearly half of the clothes I left out. I was really pleased as I know she hates shopping and clothes and hopefully that stash will really help her out. Her note sounded very excited about her freebie spree too.

At class this evening I had a spree of my own and came away with 3 tops and a pair of trousers which one of the other women has grown out of. I'm well chuffed as that puts off shopping and spending until I'm in size 16's. (Apart from a pair of white cropped jeans which I have promised myself for the weekend but they're only from Matalan so won't break the bank - lol!)

Anyway, I'm off to London for my spa weekend tomorrow evening after work and will see 2 friends who I haven't seen since before Christmas and before LL. Should be entertaining! Have a good weekend everyone!

Day 90 -11

Just a quick post to catch up on yesterday. I couldn't post as I had my sister and her husband staying in the afternoon/evening.

I played golf in the morning and had a great walk round the course but a slightly less good game of golf! My scores are improving gradually though so I may break handicap sometime this summer!! We started at 8am so I was at my desk at home by 11.30 which is a result!

D left to go back to the rig after lunch so we had a quick walk together (my aching legs protested a bit at that!) and he said that he'd had the best trip home he could remember for years, if not ever. That was really lovely to hear so I might even miss him when he's gone - lol! Actually I don't usually miss him much as we're both so used to the routine. It's usually just when something particularly good or bad happens. Like if something breaks round the house - I could do with D there then or, conversely, when I'm at a really nice event like a wedding or party or walk or something and think how much D would enjoy it. But in day-to-day life you just get on with it and I even enjoy those couple of weeks of independence and space.

Come on, if you're honest, most married women would agree!!

Anyway, back up to my desk and managed to negotiate a tricky "political" situation at work where I was in danger of being squashed between 2 bosses of equal stature. In the end came clean to both and pointed out that I was caught between a rock and hard place and could they please sort it out between themselves and let me know what they wanted me to do as I was getting diametrically opposed instructions from each of them on a multi-million £ transaction!! Took a bit of careful wording that phone call and email I can tell you!!

Hilary and Mike arrived in the evening and were impressed by my new svelte form! I feel a bit sorry for Hils as she is also big although a lot shorter than me and with 4 kids 'under her belt' so to speak!! Must be hard to have to listen to our Dad going on about how well I'm doing. She was great though, really pleased for me and quizzed me about the diet and I'm hopeful that she will give the Cambridge diet a whirl. She can't do LL as too time-consuming for a mother of 4 and as a GP she knows all the theory anyway.

Hilary and I went for another walk and caught up before I took them to a nice pub in Castleton and watched them plow through a 3 course meal and bottle of red wine! Drank my body weight in water and black coffee and it just wasn't bad! Felt good - like a french woman or something sipping on my black coffee.

I didn't nibble either today so another day ticked off towards my mini targets. Go Lesley!

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Day 89 -12 Back to skool/work

Well, I feel like this is actually Day 1 not Day 89. After my mini targets from this morning I feel a bit like I'm starting from scratch again!! It's a pretty good feeling though, not negative and I'm pleased to report that I've managed to resist temptations like roast chicken from last night when feeding the dog ; a finger full of fried swede (don't ask - D likes it. I find it too greasy but it smelt good sitting in the pan as I walked past), french bread out on the counter etc etc and have not nibbled AT ALL today.

Like I did at the start I'm working on a mixture of avoidance and willpower and the mini targets really have helped.

Just for completeness' sake, I have also drunk my full 4 litres and wil probably have another pint or so before I go to bed.

I had a good lunch break today. I suddenly realised that I'm going on my spa day at The Sanctuary in Covent Garden on Saturday and my swimming cossies are pretty ropey and not reaLly fit to be seen in in public. So, went shopping and founds myself trying on loads of clothes not just cossies. Size 18's are comfortable in all the shops I went in and I can get into quite a few 16's in skirts and tops!

The problem is going to be all the choice. I'm used to shopping in Evans or a very few other limited collections. Suddenly there are all these other shops full of stuff that will fit me. But what do I want? What suits me? How will I find the time for all the shopping and trying on to find out?? It's bit daunting actually. I don't want just to stick to my old ways of dressing. I would like to be a bit more adventurous. Still, there's plenty of time so hopefully I can get a couple of my more shopaholic friends intersted in me as a project and they can help me out!!

Trouble with the swimming costumes is, though, that the ones that fit my body (a size 16!!) are too small round the bust or too low cut so they show off an unpleasant wodge of cleavage (and not in a good way)! How do people fit into them?? I've never had a problem with costumes from Evans before. Still, I've found one in Boots that's ok and so will keep that in reserve while I try a few more shops. Might have to have a look at Bravissimmo or something if I have no luck.

Wish me luck.

Day 88 -13 Easter Monday

Another busy day so no time to post but I've also had issues regarding food and eating running through my head which I need to get down before they fester.

All the way through the diet I have had the very occasional mouthful of food from time to time. usually chicken or ham or a piece of veg while I'm cooking. Just lately those very occasional and non-harmful mouthfuls have been getting more frequent and the amount I've eaten has increased too. I'm sure that, in the scheme of things, these small amounts won't make a significant difference but I'm concerned about the whys and wherefores. Also, if I do see a downturn in my weight loss each week it will be very de-motivating and might cause me not to want to go to weigh-ins or not to want to stay for the counselling. Not good!

In the past, when I've lost a couple of stone, enough to make a difference, I've started getting complacent and nibbling, missing weigh-ins and generally drifting off whatever diet I was then following. I can see that happening now albeit I have lost much more weight and much quicker.

I feel different this time in that I have no intention of going off the diet or missing weigh-ins or anything but even the threat of drifting is worrying me.

So - some new targets:
  1. I will not nibble AT ALL between now and the end of Foundation on 21 April.
  2. I will ensure that I keep up my water intake until then, especially at weekends when I do struggle a bit.

I have deliberately made the targets short term as I want them to bite. I think if I can beat the nibbling for a week/10 days I can beat it going forward. If I set a longterm, unrealistic target it is more likely that I will ignore it. I'm doing plenty of exercise so that it good and I'm not giving in to temptation or eating meals or drinking or anything, it's just the opportunistic nibbling that is my downfall. I really don't need the mouthfuls of chicken etc so why do it??

Anyway, enough of that - send me good thoughts so I can stay strong over the next few days girls!!

I went for a great jog with Shelley in the morning. (This not drinking is great; unlike my husband I woke up feeling fresh and raring to go!) I thought I'd take the dog for the run as it was to be mostly off-road and D was going fishing so she might not have got much of a walk otherwise. Trouble is, she recognises my jogging gear and refuses to come with me! She jumped into bed with D and snuggled up to him as if he could protect her from the dreaded jogging. Honestly, her body language was comical - she could not have more craven if I was going to beat her or bath her (not sure which she thinks is worse!!). Anyway, I eventually lifted her bodily off the bed and put her in the car. Once at Shelley's place, which she absolutely loves, she was a different doggie. You would have thought that the expedition was all her idea. Not only that, the running was great, she was sniffing her way all over the fields and splashing through ditches - fickle little madam! We managed about 3 and 1/2 hilly miles in 35 minutes so next time will have to add a little loop onto that route or it will be too easy!

After the run, shower, change and off to the pub in Sheffield to meet my mate before the football. He is gutted with me for threatening to move to France and thus break up our little football club but needs must. We had a good laugh as always and the not eating or drinking is definitely easier than it was. The game was excellent with Sheffield Wednesday beating Ipswich 2-0. It won';t do us any good as our good run has come too late to get us into the Play-Offs but at least it gives us hope for next season.

Then back home, cooked D and his fishing buddy (who is currently alone as his girlfriend is abroad for a few months) a proper roast chicken with trifle for dessert. They wolfed it down in very satisfying style and (apart from the odd mouthful which I've discussed above) I felt great just providing a lovely Easter meal for hungry men. There's something good about that - must be the 1950's housewife in me!!

Anyway, all in all it was a great holiday weekend and I have had so many comments about my weight loss that my head has been expanding as my ass shrinks! I think the sucess has caused me to waver slightly in my focus but, on the positive side, I have recognised the danger and feel totally determined not to let it take over. That is a lesson for all of us - even great results are fragile and you must be vigilant and keep addressing your thought processes at all times!!

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Day 87 -14 Easter Sunday

You'd think from the photos that we were in the middle of summer but I'm writing this on the laptop in front of the fire!! It was gorgeous here all afternoon but with a bit of a cut to the wind and then it suddenly went cold and cloudy at around 5pm just when we were due to go to drinks at Sammy and Vickys' place (based in the garden of course!). So, in true British stylee, we've all been standing in the garden in coats and jumpers with freezing hands from holding cold drinks!

Luckily being on the diet I could have a hot drink rather than feeling honour bound to guzzle the free champers but, on the other hand, being on the diet I'm freezing all the time anyway. Win some, lose some.

It was a nice evening but I have spent too long in the pub this weekend so I left at 8.30 before the rest of them headed to the pub and am now enjoying checking out blogs and writing this in front of the the Masters (golf) on the telly. Bliss!

We've had a really good day today. Up late and then spent a few hours in the garden. D has nearly finished his path and I've cleared the herb bed and generally tidied up and swept the new patio. This is the first time since we started that I feel that the work we have done is actually making the garden better. When you're doing these remodelling jobs you spend ages making it worse, digging up and leaving great heaps of muck and rubble everywhere. Because we had to stop over winter I've been feeling as though this job will never end but today I can finally see the end in sight.

It's actually very similar to the diet - there's a long way to go but I'm definitely on the downward slope!

After gardening we headed out for a lovely walk at the back of Hathersage. The church in the picture is Hathersage church which, local legend has it, is where Little John is buried! He's not there of course but a nice story.

Shelagh had a lovely time swimming in this fairytake old mill pool at a ruined paper mill near Lees Hall just below Stanage Edge. It's really clear and deep and full of waving green weeds so it looks like one of those old Pre-Raphaelite paintings. It's a magical place - one of my favourites. Lees Hall is a great old NT country house. Charlotte Bronte was meant to have stayed there while writing 'Jane Eyre' and named her heroine after one of the local families. There are still loads of Eyres round here including 2 of our friends. Love that sort of history - where you can see and touch places where little things happened. Not dates and figures but houses and mills and quarries where people lived and worked and which are still around today seeing all the changes which have happened.

Anyway, getting a bit carried away there.

After the walk we went off to Sammy and Vickys' and now I'm home as I said before. It's great not feeling that I have to go out and stay 'til all hours as I would have done pre-LL. I've now got the self possession to stick to my guns with D and come home when I want to. Usually he would pester me and guilt me into staying out with him but I really didn't want to stay out late tonight and he's much more willing to let me do my own thing now without nagging. I suppose it helps that he can see the diet working and appreciates that I need to look after myself a bit. I must make sure that continues too!! Writing this has remined me of a post I wrote right at the beginning of LL where I was complaining about having to stay in the pub later than I wanted to. The times, they are a'changing...

Anyway, this has been a bit of a rambling one. Hope I haven't bored you into submissiion Also hope you're all having a nice Easter. No nibbling on any stray eggs!!

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Day 86 -15 Holy Saturday

Had to get up early and race to my french lesson this morning. It was a beautiful drive through the grounds of Chatsworth House as you can see and I managed to snap a pheasant in full sunshine before he raced off although unfortunately I snipped the end off his tail dammit! I got loads of him without cutting his tail off but none as good or with his face in full sunshine....grrr...must try harder. The lesson was good and I feel as though I'm making progress. She's always very complimentary about my weight so the lesson always starts well if nothing else!

Came back, worked in the garden and then finished off with a walk from Hope which you can also see above. I love it when the lambs are born and you can watch them playing together and badgering their mothers. Really cute and brings it home to you that summer is not far away.

I experimented by having 2 packs together for lunch as I had not had time for breakfast before french. Thought it would stave off hunger pangs but didn't - was peckish all day and still have this pesky urge to snack!!" Think it's because I'm really feeling the difference in my weight now and am feeling very happy at this weight. Historically, this is the stage where I start to get comlacent on a diet and to drift off it. I'm determined not to sabotage myself like that this time so must be stricter with myself. Really, all the gains I have made are so precarious and I must not let this great thing slip away!!

So, spring is here which is great, but don't get carried away Missus and forget that you still have a job to do! That's the message for myself this Holy Saturday! (Did you know that today isn't Easter Saturday but Holy Saturday - Easter Saturday is next week apparently - learn something new every day....)

I'm off out again tonight but hopefully will be a bit quieter than last night when I ended up cramming 8 people of varying drunkenness into D's car (a big jeep which should only hold 7) and dropping them off round the countryside at 1am!

Friday, 6 April 2007

Day 85 -16 Good Friday

Hi all on this uncharacteristically gorgeous Good Friday! Hope you've all been out enjoying the sunshine.

I was up bright and early for a run with Shelley and Fran. We went round the long route which I have been doing for the last few weeks but which they haven't done before. It went very well and we all felt suitably virtuous by 11 when we'd finished. I then had a look through my summer stuff to see what if anything I can get into. I have to say the picking were decidedly poor. As you can see, D and I had a great laugh at the sight of me in my size 24 shorts from last summer!!

Thank God I'm not fitting those ever again! I think I had better get out and buy a mini capsule wardrobe for the summer or at least the next few weeks. I'm into cheap size 18's now (ie Primark/Matalan etc) so it shouldn't break the bank. You never know, I might even be able to find an M&S 16 I can squeeze into??

Anyway, I went shopping for nice food for D. He's said he doesn't want an Easter Egg (not a big chocolate fan) but he's bored of his own cooking and has made a request for some favourites - spaghetti, roast chicken and trifle. I'm sure that can be arranged so have purchased the necessaries and will cook for him (as he's being so good!) over the weekend.

We then spent the rest of the day in the garden - D making a start on the footpath and me trimming the hedge and generally tiding up. We're towards the end of a major re-landscaping of the garden and really want to get it done over the next couple of months. I will post before and after pictures at some stage as it has been a major endeavour and we've done it all ourselves (well, mostly D to be honest). It's a necessary step in the "Moving to France" project so we've got renewed vigour now that spring has arrived.

Anyway, off to the pub to see some people I haven't seen for a few weeks - hope they can see the difference. Charlotte is pregnant so we're going in opposite directions!

Have a great weekend everyone and keep it up.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Day 84 - 17 Weigh in time again

What a gorgeous day it's been. Went into work early as I was disappearing at lunchtime for a freebie game of golf! Could not have picked a better day for golf. It was a charity golf day up at a course I don't know near Bradford and it was a really lovely course. Quite hilly with fantastic view of the Calder Valley. Played terribly but marginally better than last Wednesday so there's hope for my summer. One of the guys I was playing with nearly didn't recognise me from various golf days last summer. He couldn't get over the difference in me which was pretty flattering.
Anyway, couldn't stay for the meal which was probably a blessing as the dining room looked good and the smells from the kitchen as I left were heavenly! Dashed down the M1 to my weigh in and have lost 3 lbs this week. Not remotely disappointed as I'm now on the downward slope and 3lbs is respectable.
We were talking about where we are on the line of our journey - and conveniently I know exactly where I am - just over halfway! Then we each talked about what it will mean to us to finish out journey and what we would feel if we didn't. Brought out some of our fears about Maintenance and also our fears tht we may regain the weight. The Counsellor kept saying that the best way not to regain it is to keep coming to be weighed and keep track of weight, not let it creep back on. I must say, for the first time I think I agree with her and am going to do just that! Also, I'm going to keep a Maintenance Blog.
My feelings about sucess are just intense - I'm so grateful tht I found this diet and the strength to start it and I'm so positive about the future. I don't think I would be facing the potential move to France with such equanimity without the additional confidence LL has brought. Also I'm hopeful that D and I will be able to start a family once I've lost the wieght. We've left it late and it has never been a good time but I think now may be our time and I hope biology doesn't put a stumbling block in the way. If it does though, I hope we can accept it with good grace. So, big stuff going on on this Maundy Thursday...
So, that's positive plans I've made to help me over the trauma of something that won't be happening for months!! Silly but it makes me feel a bit happier. She also told us to try and get our heads round the GI diet as she has found that the most effective way of maintaining once we're back to food. So will buy a book and absorb that too. Like doing my homework....a proper girly swot me...
Anyway, enough navel gazing - have a Happy Easter all (it can be good without chocolate!) and hope you have good weight losses! Karen - where are you hiding? Come on girl - you can do it!!

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Day 83 -18 Spring has sprung!

Well, I'm back to England and isn't it gorgeous? Lovely weather and beautiful scenery. We went for a walk this evening when I got back from work and the dog had a fine time swimming in the river after her sticks and ignoring the ducks and sheep. She's a bit of a coward so if a sheep looks at her a bit sideways she's right back to Mum and Dad!

I've been really hungry today but have powered through with my water and not given in to temptation. To be honest, I think it's my own fault. I had a few mouthfuls of chicken and a crust of bread last night when really tired with low resistance. Not sure why but suspect it was some crooked thinking around the idea that I've been really good in France and "deserved" a treat or something!!

Just goes to show that you can do the hard stuff like a weekend in France and then fall down in your own familiar kitchen!! Anyway, I'm not going to beat myself up about it. It wasn't exactly a big blowout or anything - but I'm going to make sure that it doesn't become a habit and that's why I'm pleased that I've resisted temptation today.

The thing is, once you've given in once, it's a lot harder to resist the next time the idea to snack pops into your head. Still, what doesn't break you makes you stronger... And, learning to cope with temptation is more important than losing weight fast in the long run.

Another strange thing happened today too: I was stopped today in the corridor by a youngish woman from work who I don't know at all. She's really pretty but a few stone overweight. She just launched straight into questions about the diet and that gave me the excuse to evangelise about Lighter Life. I think she may go for it and I hope so as she's young and only has 3 stone to go and it's her chance to save herself years if not decades of yoyo dieting. Fingers crossed eh?

Off to read some blogs and then bed....night night...

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Days 78 to 82 - Weekend in France

Bonjours tout le monde!!

We're back from France now and had a wonderful weekend and I stuck to the diet through thick and thin (but mostly thin...). We flew to Limoges and stayed there on Friday night then headed out into the countryside for the rest of the time. We were just getting a flavour of the region to see if it might be somewhere we want to live in. It really is. It's gorgeous and the houses are lovely. I think the lifestyle out there would be great and pretty healthy too. We would like to live in the countryside but near to a village with amenities and not too far away from a town (within an hour anyway). I think the problem will be picking a place 'cos there were so many fantastic places to look at!

We just drove round the little back roads and stopped where we fancied, mooched round markets and went for a few walks and just generally took it easy.

The photo of the old car and ruins is of a little village called Oradour-Sur-Glane near Limoges. It was where the Nazis committed a massacre of over 600 men, women and children in 1944. The village was burned down and the ruins have been left as a memorial and a Centre of Memories built next door. It was very moving as the birds were singing and you could see the photos of the familllies who were slaughtered on their graves. You could see what a great little village/town it would have been with all the butcher, bakers, cafe, restaurant, schools, Mairie etc - an absolute tragedy. The simple stuff that was left like rusty old bikes and sewing machines just made it all so human and even more shocking somehow.

The picture of Diarmuid on the bridge shows an old Mill building behind him. It was in a gorgeous valley with a fast flowing river. I could really see it as a smart restaurant with rooms above and a terrace outside - very Grand Designs....D had to drag me away before I got carried away!

Foodwise it was fine - I had a pang each time D sat down to a lovely French meal - entrecote and frites, salmon, pizza, even a kebab one night! But the pang only lasted a minute or so and then I just drank my water or black coffee (I love French coffees!) and drank my soups or shakes. My french is pretty rusty but I managed to get across the fact that I'm on a diet and wouldn't be eating and ask them to heat up soup so was pretty proud of myself! We only had one disaster where the woman added extra water to my soup and it all boiled over in the micorwave but I had some spares so no biggie.
Anyway - we had a great time and now I'm back and back into real life. I went for a run this evening and managed to keep up with Shelley and Fran quite well. We even had a sprint for the last few hundred yeards - don't think I've run that fast since I was a kid!
Anyway, it's only a short week this week and hopefully I'll have another good loss then the great Festival of Chocolate to survive. Have a great week everyone and keep it up.
By the way, it was really good to get back and read thorugh everyone's blogs and see how you've all got on. Nearly everyone had got on well so it was very uplifting. Come on Karen - cheer up chuck - you can do it!