Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Developing 38 - Weigh in time!

As you can see I had a good week and lost 4lbs taking me tantalisingly close to the 7 stone mark: 6 stone 12lbs of blubber gone forever!

I was really pleased with that as I have been tempted quite a bit this week and have had a few nibbles but have really worked hard at minimising the damage and it has obviously worked.

Quite a few people in my group had not been as sucessful and we had a gain and 2 maintains. They all said that the rainy weekend and boredom had been their undoing. Well, it was very nearly mine what with the feeling unsettled and antsy but I didn't give in and managed to fill my time productively and not revert to type and eat so pat on the back for me. I noticed that of the 4 or 5 of us who had had this problem over the weekend, we were all single (well, I'm not single as such but D is away so was on my own for the weekend). So I thought that company must be a useful tool in keeping to the straight and narrow. Arranging things to do and not letting yourself get bored and restless.

Our LLC gave us a very stern talking to about the dangers of getting complacent at this stage in the diet and the need to be vigilant and stick to the plan. She reminded us of all the coping tactics we learned during Foundation and said we should continue to use these even if we think we know it all now. Very good advice. We didn't do an exercise this week, she just gave us all our wake-up call and tried to get us to remind ourselves why we're doing the diet in the first place. Timely I think as I could feel myself slipping and now feel much more focussed.

On the plus side, I played golf this morning and, although I didn't break handicap, I played a lot better and only missed by a couple of shots. There is hope for my summer's golf! I can finally hit the damn ball properly with this new swing and, when it goes right, I can hit it miles! The new swing will come good, I can feel it. Yaaay! Sorry to all you non-golfers but it really is the most amazing feeling when you belt one down the middle of the fairway - the sweetest thing.

What else? Oh yes, my friend Becky rang this evening to report that she had her introduction session today and she's all systems go to start on Foundation next Wednesday! I'm so pleased for her and she sounds as if she's got the right attitude for it - really fired up and committed. If you're reading this Becky - drop in and say hi and Good Luck!!!

I think I've got over my BMI rant. Everyone seems to agree that, beyond being a vague indicator, it's a load of rubbish so I will stop stressing about being technically obese still. Actually that is now out of date anyway. As of this evening I slipped into the Overweight category and now have a '2' at the beginning of my BMI. Go Me...

Have a great diet day everyone. I'm going to bed now as I must get in for an early morning tomorrow. Have loads to do but still want to leave on time for training with the lovely Huw. Keep it up and keep drinking the water...

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Developing 37 - We got it!!

I put the offer in for the cottage this morning and after a little bit of horsetrading it was accepted and we've agreed to buy all the furniture and equipment too so we'll be up and running in the holiday cottage business in a few weeks or months!! Now comes the hard stuff - all those forms and paperwork which I used to dish out as a solicitor - now I'm going to be on the receiving end.....aaaargh!

D is pretty relaxed considering he hasn't even seen the place!! I'm going to arrange a viewing for him for the day after he gets back which is also the day before we go off to Canada...fingers crossed he agrees with me that it's a good buy. He's checked it out on the Sykes Cottages website (it's called Green Edge View in Bradwell in the Peak District if you're curious) and the reviews were all pretty positive so I think he's reasonably happy about it.

Anyway, what else? Bones - I seem to be obsessed with them. Not only do I love the Sky One programme of that name with the luscious David Boreanas (although didn;t like him in Buffy or Angel), I also noticed that I could feel my ribs last night and my hip bones. A very strange experience. Normally they're hidden beneath a squishy layer of lard but not any more...actual bones.

This revelation prompted me to re-measure myself so here goes (in inches):

Original measurements:

Height 5'7"
BMI 45
Chest 50
Waist 44
Hips 56
Arm 18
Thigh 33
Knee 20
Calf 18

New measurements:

BMI 30.07 (of which more later!)
Chest 37
Waist 34
Hips 41
Arm 13
Thigh 24
Knee 16
Calf 17

Man, that is some serious inches to have disappeared off me!! Apart from my calf - what is that about? I must be destined to have chunky calves forever. Dammit - I've been fantasizing about gorgeous leather knee high boots for winter and it turns out I have naturally chunky calves.... Oh well, I'll live...

Seriously though, when I see the measurements like that it makes me think about how big I was and how much better it is being smaller.

I met up with my friend Becky this evening for a walk with the dogs (she of the injured knee and thinking about LL). I'm so pleased to report that she said she has been totally inspired and is going for her introduction session tomorrow and hoping to start on Foundation (all being well) on 6 June. She's as excited as I was before Christmas and I'm just praying that it works as well for her as it has done for me.

I took my camera on our walk as it was a lovely sunny evening and the walk is gorgeous, all summery meadows and pretty woods with streams. I thought I could take before piccies of Becky and have her take a couple of me as I haven't posted any this weekend. So, where are they, you ask? I was ebaying last night and left the memory card in the computer so lugged the camera all the way round the walk this evening for no purpose whatsoever....Doh!!

For the record, it was lovely.

Anyway, I have golf tomorrow morning so had better get some shuteye. Night night all. Oh, and thanks for all your good wishes re the cottage: I'm really happy that we've got it.

Monday, 28 May 2007

Developing 36 - Quiet Bank Holiday Monday

It's not often I have a Bank Holiday Monday with nothing planned. I had hoped that the weather would be good so I could get out into the garden but it really was not. Not as bad as yesterday but still rainy and cold. The gaps between the rain showers were longer, that is all. Harrumph...

I was up really early and got straight into chores and rainy day jobs like clearing out cupboards etc etc but for some reason couldn't get really stuck into anything for any length of time. I think it was because the day stretched out ahead of me with no structure to it so I felt a bit antsy and flitted from one thing to the next. I was quite happy but a bit unsettled. Very strange.

Pre-LL, if I had had a day like this (and there were many more), I would have given up totally and just settled into eating and watching a film or reading a book. By the end of the day I would have felt slightly guilty, as though i had wasted a day and also probably angry with myself for eating too much. Giving up and having a lazy day didn't feel right today so I persevered with looking for more gainful employment! And succeeded for the large part - so Go Me!

Kate rang and asked if I'd babysit for an hour or so so she could out for another run! That was lovely as I just sat in her newly decorated sitting room listening to lovely mellow Sunday morning type music with baby George snoring away next to me on the sofa and with a good book in hand. We had a good chat when she got back too which was nice. We don't spend enough time together so it was good to catch up.

After that I was still antsy but decided to stop stressing about it, go with the flow and not put any pressure on myself to achieve stuff today - just to do what I fancied and hope for the best. After that I was fine. Did a couple of hours of gardening and took the dog for a good long walk round the river. It was freezing and a bit drizzley but she still went for a swim so, now she's dry and combed out, she's all fluffy and soft!

I did manage to watch a bit of the Play-Off Final - well done Derby County!! - not my team but pretty local so pleased for them nonetheless!!

I also had a really good chat with D too and discussed all sorts of things, which we don't usually do while he's out on the rig (too many distractions). I felt I had to check with him one last time before we go ahead with the purchae of this cottage that he is dead set on moving to France and has discounted the possibility of moving back to Ireland. There has long been an understanding from his parents that they would give us plot of land and we could build a house (think Grand Designs - in my wilder day dreams!) in the field above his parents' place. It would be a good move financially and (if we ever have children) we'd have built in child care but for some reason neither of us are that keen. I just wanted to make sure that we had considered it for one last time in the light of the France move before we go fullsteam ahead with the France plan.

We talked it through methodically and with no axes being ground on either side and at the end I'm really happy that were both on the same page and really want to do the France move. We both used the same word - "adventure". We're obviously ready to do something new and spread our wings rather than making what could be a backwards move to Ireland or staying this country. It's exciting to contemplate.

So, I have to speak to the estates agents tomorrow about the cottage and then everything is in motion. Yikes!

I finished the day with a flurry of ebaying which I'm really pleased about as I have LOADs of clothes to sell and haven't been on ebay for a couple of months!! I was pretty good for a while but then the good weather of April sent me outdoors and I abandoned the ebay scheme. Now I'm not that far away from my goal I need to make sure that my new clothes fund is as healthy as possible. Once I'm down to a size 12, I really want to have a good chunk of dosh to enable me to spend spend spend!!!

Have a good week - I'm sure the sun'll start shining now that the Bank Holiday is over....grrr

Developing 35 (ii)

Well, I survived the rainy run. It was really good to get but, more importantly, to want to get out and run, even in the nasty weather. I rang my friend just before we were due to meet to slightly change the arrangements and she immediately said "you're not ringing to cancel are you?" so I was pleased that I wasn't and had had no intention of it.

I'm glad I had bought the wind and waterproof top though - it would have been freezing without it. Technology is a great thing - it was a perfect product, designed to do exactly what you need of it and worked brilliantly. Light, not sweaty, just took the worst of the wind and rain away frm your clever.

Anyway, we ran for about 6 and 1/2 miles up some really steep hills but also with a fair bit of downhill in there too so not too bad. Kate rang me afterwards while I was in the shower and left a lovely message congratulating me on increasing my range and making it up the hills without stopping. I felt like really proud of myself when I listened to it. Next time I will start at Kate's house and do the extra mile and the extra big hill. I really have caught the running bug which I thought would never happen to me.

Apart from that, French was great fun - I love the feeling of learning new stuff and making progress towards a goal. We do a diary section every week where I prepare a little piece in french about what I did last week (a bit like at primary school...). That's good because you're talking about the sort of things you'll want to talk about to real people in France. Better than all the ordering in restaurants and booking hotel rooms which lessons often get bogged down in.

I couldn't do any gardening because of the incessant rain which is a shame but I suppose I can do some today, even though it's spitting on and off now...sigh... I know I'll enjoy it when I get out there but getting started is hard for me. I wish I'd catch the gardening bug as well as the running one...

Went to the pub last night and had a good long chat with my friend Eric. He's a bit of a deep thinker so, when you catch him away from other people, you can often get into quite intersting converations. The sort I like, espeically when you're not drinking and the usual pub fayre of bullshit rubbish can get a bit wearing. Anyway, he was telling me about what he and his fiancee think about me losing weight. Surprised me in the first place that they had obviously had such in depth converstion about my weight! It was all positive and really nice of him to say and then led into a conversaton about relationships and specifically the power balance between D and I now that I'm emerging as a slim, attractive woman.

It was very thought provoking but a bit too involved to go into . I think the conclusions I took away from it were that - yes, the power has shifted between us, but I shouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater and get carried away with being a strong, confident woman, and should let D in a bit more. This wasn't what Eric actually said - it was what I realised following on from our conversation.

He basically told me how he and others perceived me before I lost the weight - which was as a strong attractive, confident woman who occasonally let the weight thing get on top of her. (I felt that I was perceived as a bit of failure and was desperate to please and win approval so i was out a bit there!)

He said that I had been quite sharp on occasion before (which i was unaware of) and thinks that that was as a result of my inner unhappiness but that that unhappiness didn't really show so I just came across as me being short. He wasn't having a go and said it wasn't frequent or anything. Made me think though! Once again, my perception of how I came across was as rather soft and weak but apparently I've always been seen as a bit of a toughie!!

He also said, that since I've lost weight, I'm much more attractive, not just because I'm thinner but because I'm more relaxed and more confident to let go a bit. That chimed with me as Ive become aware of little things like that. I'm happier not always to wear flattering smart clothes. Before I would always wear flattering jeans and high heels and make-up to the pub and generally be a little overdresed to compensate for being fat. Now I revel in wearing slouchy jean and cool trainers and not necessarily the most flattering outfits which means I can be mroe stylish and fashionable.

I sit in a different way - I can cross my legs or sling one leg over the other. I can stand at the bar without my feet hurting. I know that I just look more relaxed and confident and that gives me inner confidence. Also, I dance more in public, even just in the pub when there's a good song on. Just feeling happier in my own skin.

I'm also less likely to nag at D or snipe with him If we have an argument, it is about something now, not just general bithciness. I'm not saying that they were always my fault but it's easier to let things go sometimes and walk away for a bit until the urge to snipe passes.

So, all in all, Eric was very thought provoking. He's a really larger than life character and sometimes I think people write him off as a bit of a clown/entertainer but there's obviously a lot going on in there. He's also very louche so the chat was mixed with much sexual innuendo and general flirtation but I'm totally happy that it was not going anywhere so could relax and enjoy. He's absolutely mad about his fiancee and missing her like crazy. She's the one over in Lithuania at the moment. Very sweet.

Anyway, that's enough of that. The rain has eased and I'm going to drag my sorry carcass out into the garden....

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Developing 35 - Jogging in the rain!!

It's chucking it down here and I can't believe that I'm actaully going out in it for a long and hilly run!! I even had to stop on the way back from French to buy a windpoof and slightly waterproof top to run in! What is the world coming to? It's a Brave New World!!!

Will let you know how I got on later. A bientot!

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Developing 34 - the budding property magnate

I spent all morning and part of the afternoon looking at cottages in our area. Because of these Home Information Packs, there are loads of cottages on the market at the moment and some decent prices. So D and I have decied to buy the cottage element of our "Moving to France Plan" early so we can get it up and running as a holiday let and iron out any problems before we leave.

It was quite an eye opener and confirmed that you really don't get much for your money round this area. But, by the end of a big trawl and several viewings, there are 2 that we're interested in. I spoke to D (who's on the rig) and he's agreed that we should put the offer in as soon as the estate agents are next open. Quite exciting. Watch this space! It's already set up as a holiday let so I don't feel guilty about removing a house from locals, which is a big issue round here and there is a booking diary already in place which is helpful. We'll probably buy all the furniture and fittings as well which will make it an even easier transition. Fingers crossed for me please...

Ater that, I took Shelagh and a friend's dog for a walk round the river. It was pretty chilly today and a bit rainy too (not a patch on Headingly yesterday) so I didn't fancy a massive hike but we still managed an hour or so. The other dog has really piled on the lbs! I'm going to have to mention LL to her owner although I suspect if they walked the poor mutt a bit more often she wouldn't be so fat! It's a shame to see a fat dog and, I know she's labrador and they do have a propensity for eating, but even so, they need to be walked!

So, she had a brisk trot round and a good swim and I threw many sticks and maybe that'll help bit!

After the walk I fully intended to have lunch and then do chores and gardening but, for some reason, I just crashed. I think I've been a bit short of sleep recently so maybe that was it. Also, being cold hasn't helped. So I ended up curling up on the sofa with the dog and a hot drink and watching "The Devil Wears Prada" which I really enjoyed (for a rubbish film!). It was a very pleasant evening.

I did nip out to the pub and had a quiet drink with Sammy and Andy but came home early and hopefulyl will be bright and breezy ready for French in the morning.

Night night all and have a good weekend.

Developing 34 - Day at the cricket

We had a great day out at the cricket. I had no idea what to expect and even thought that we might be a bit bored spending such a long time there. But - it was fab. A proper day out. I don't think the cricket itself had a great deal to do with it - the game seemed to be trundling along in the centre without much attention being paid by anyone - but the crowd, the company and the weather were all great!!

Actually that is a bit harsh on the poor old cricketers - they put on a great show. I saw Michael Vaughn get a much needed century in Yorkshire (which was a great moment) and Kevin Pietersen also scpred over 100. The competition from the West Indies was, sadly, quite poor though so maybe that took away the competitive edge.

The crowd was hilarious - loads of fancy dress and stag do's. It got louder and more boisterous as the afternoon progressed and the amount of beer consumed reached reservoir-like proportions. The making of plastic beer glass snakes (as illustrated in one of the photos above) became a pressing pastime and, at one stage, completely overtook the cricket - I looked round and the whole West Stand was facing away from the game watching the progrss of joining 2 particularly huge "snakes" accompanied by chants of "Join em up, Join'em up, Join'em up"! Very funny if you like that sort of thing and, being bit of a football hooligan at heart, I do!

For the more romantically inclined, I would report that there are a lot better looking blokes at cricket games than at footie matches and, if you're really shallow, wealthier looking too!! They would definitely be my hunting ground of choice if I hadn't already snared the lovely Mr D!! Very tasty surroundings.... My mate Jim was resigned yet exasperated at my appreciative comments...LOL!

For the dieter though - NOT a good venue. I have never seen so much food!! Apart from the beer, food counts as the number 2 pastime of the cricket watching public. And not just scrubby pies like at the football. There were pizzas, pork roasts, the usual burgers, cheesy chips, a wine stand, muffins, sandwiches, and then loads of people brought their own hampers with even better stuff. Everywhere I looked there were plates of lovely looking food being passed round. The (rather large I must admit) bloke in front of us had a seemingly bottomless coolbox from which he kept trying to press titbits on us - chilli and coriander prawns, chicken satays, sandwiches, quiches. It was a bit of a nightmare but I remained strong. On the food front at least...

I did have a pint of lager though! I thought about it and, honestly, really fancied one and decided that I would go for it. It was great too - made the day. It was the first beer I've had since before Christmas and I was a little bit woozy by the end of it. No guilt either as I had made a conscious decision to go for it. It wasn't a giving in to temptation thing and I knew I would stop at the one. It enhanced my day and I loved every sip. You can see that from the photo!!

After the match we went into Leeds and met up with Jim's girlfriend after her work. Had a drink and then went to Wagamamas for a meal (well they did). I was fine - had my bar, green tea and water and didn't feel bad at all. Jim's GF is a bit of a dullard (don't think she'll last long to be honest) but very slim. She went on and on about eating properly and nagged Jim (who isn't fat) about what he eats. It was a bit of overkill I thought so I hope I don't turn into one of those sort of thin women!!

Then a long drive home from Leeds via Holmfirth to drop Jim off (somewhat sozzled after God knows how much beer) and then home.

A really lovely day and one I hope we do again sometime.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Developing 33

Bit of a quiet day overall. Head down at work and plowed through a fair bit. I had my trials and tribulations to cope with though: it was Lyn's birthday so that entailed sausage rolls, pork pies, chocolate cake, quiche, tarts etc etc all sitting on the table to my left for most of the day and a constant stream of greedy guts colleagues chowing down too. Then Dave was leaving and he ordered 2 monstrous platters of mini pizzas from a local Italian restaurant. Now that really was too much! I loooove pizza, especially proper Italian pizza and these looked and smelled gorgeous!

So, all in all, it was pretty tricky to avoid food today and I needed a fair bit of willpower. I don't know how you lot who don't tell anyone you're on LL cope? At least all my colleagues know that I can't eat and, as well as teasing me, they also keep an eye out that I'm not tempted. I'm sure if people didn't know they'd be asking why I wasn't partaking of such scrummy fare and leaving little offerngs on my desk.

Which leads me to Vicki. She's a woman I sit next to who is recently back from having a baby. She and I were a similar weight before she got pregnant although I'd guess that I was slightly smaller and certainly carried the weight better and did more exercise. Since she's come back from her maternity leave she has definitely gained quite a bit (understandably). She was obviously very interested in LL when she first got back but I don't think she's going to go for it. I know it must hurt her somehow seeing me having lost so much weight. Not in a nasty way but in that way you have that at least there's someone else in the same boat - well, now she's lost that.

I can see in her all the downfalls of great weight that I used to live with daily - how slowly she walks, her limited clothes shopping, her wheezing after even a short walk ino town. That was me (well, nearly!) but somehow she isn't inspired to go for it!! What can you do? Nothing...

I can also see how her being fat affects the way other treat her. Since she left on maternity, 3 young lads have joined her department. They're all fresh out of Uni and are trainee surveyors like Vicki. They're only a few years younger than her (23 to her 28) but about 14 years younger than me. Yet, they all have a laugh and a joke with me and don't interact with Vicki much at all. It's as though she's in the Mummy camp and much much older than them, even though she's only about 28. I'm sure her weight has a lot to do with it as they all have a laugh with other (slim) young Mums in the department. You know what lads are like, they're not nasty or anything just seem to have written her off.

She ate quite a bit today and I just kept thinking - "that was me!". I'm so glad I'm not eating and not wheezing and have made the change for good. I really wish Vicki would too but it has to be her choice...

I had personal training again this evening. He really rang the changes tonight and I did a whole hour's worth of new exercises. Some of them were really challenging involving balance and doing daft things like standing on one leg and stretching up in the air and then down to touch the floor (harder than it sounds!). It was great. I'm glad he listened to me when I said I like variety. It keeps everything fresh and makes me feel that I'm developing. Not only that we did quite a few things that, with my fatgirl head on, I would have been quite scared of Sprinting intervals on the treadmill. I mean really pounding and lifting my knees for a full minute at a time before reducing to a brisk walk for a minute and then repeating. I can't remember when I last ran that fast. High step ups - the enemy of the fat. I did it without major difficulty. It's a brave new world as I think I've mentioned a few times before!!

Then home and cleaned the damn car! Well, washed the outside and hoovered the interior but balked at polishing the leather and the dash so will finish taht tomorrow. I have been shamed into it by the thought that I've got to pick up my mate Jim (footie buddy) tomorrow morning and take him to Headingley for the first day of the Second Test against the West Indies! Yay - a day at the cricket with me mate!! Should be a laugh. I haven't been to a cricket match for years so am quite excited. Hope the weather is good. Jim asked me today by email whether I was still on the "no-food-no-drink-no-fun" diet?? I said I was and would he like a lift to and from Leeds which shut him up pretty rapidly!!!

No doubt I'll get the next instalment of his tortuous lovelife which should take us 'til lunch at least...

I'll take my cmera and see what i can see too. I've no idea what to wear as I think the weather is set to be changeable so layers it is. But, I'm not blessed with many clothes at the moment (you know what it's like) so I'll not be the soignee chick I was hoping to be. What happens if the TV cameras catch me?? Shall I wear a Monty Panesar headscarf of paint a little St Georges flag on my cheeks?? Probably not, but I might....

Have a good day tomorrow bloggers and watch out for me on the highlights show!!

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Developing 32 - Weigh in time again

Yay! I'm nearly up-to-date with my blog!!

Apart from that - Yay! I've lost 4lbs this week!!

So, I'm down to 13 stone 3lbs (12 stone 12 on my home scales) and have lost 6 stone 8lbs now. It feels good to be back to proper losing ways again. My group seems to be in a bit of a lull though; several people lost only 1 or 2lbs so it seems that Development is a bit more of a moveable feast (if you'll pardon the pun!) than Foundation.

Our exercise was to draw a circle divided into 16 segments and to allocate each segment to the various roles we take on throughout our life - cook, cleaner, wife, mother (not me obviously), colleague, gym bunny etc etc. The idea was to assess whether the balance in your life is what you'd like it to be. Ie. is there enough time devoted to you or your interests or too much time devoted to being a cook, cleaner or general dogsbody? I was reasonably happy with my balance but I suppose it's lot easier as a woman without children. It brought it home to me that I really want this move to France. A lot of things I'd like to be doing with my time can be achieved by the move: making time to spend with D, exercise, creativity, friends, family and no work!! Can't go wrong.

One other thing that came out of it for me is that I DO want to spend more time with D and that is probably why I'm irritated by the pub issue. I will really try and make him devote time to us next trip - although I've just realised that that won't be hard as we'll be in Canada together for 3 weeks - maybe the trip after!!

Anyway, it wasn't a very deep lesson but useful I suppose.

I was invited to the pub to watch the Champions League game but, although I was flattered to be invited by the lads even though D is away, I couldn't be bothered to go out. I've had much more fun, listening to it on the radio and updating my blog. Feels a much happier use of my time and doggie has been curled up on my lap for ages now so she's happy too...

Night night all. I'll check you all out tomorrow butl in the meantime, hope you're all shrinking away out there in blogland!

Developing 31 - Toned Tuesday

Aaaargh! I'd forgotten that I'd arranged to go to personal training at 7.45 this morning!! Actually it was pretty good. The first 10 minutes or so warm up was rather stiff and clunky but, once I warmed up, I felt great and Huw really put me through my paces. I can still feel some sort of muscle thing deep in my buttocks from the squats and I'm really sore across my chest, sort of under my armpits!! I presume that means something is happening to me and I hope it goes away soon!!

After training I had my doctor's appointment for the BP test. As you may recall, I've had a freaky BP reaction to the diet. Whereas most peoples' blood pressure goes down when they lose weight, mine strangely has gone up! It increased from 135/85 to 160/110 (which I have to say was rather worrying at the time!). My doctor has been very supportive throughout and didn't knee-jerk me off the diet, preferring to keep a watching brief. I'm pleaed to report that my BP has now decreased part of the way back and I'm at 140/92. I hope that it will continue to come down and return to a safe level soon.

Apart from the BP thing though, my doctor was amazingly impressed. He even gave me a big pat on the shoulder and seemed almost emotional in his congratulations. I think we definitely have a LL fan there.

Work was routine but uneventful - I really need to get my head down before me hols but no great panic as yet.

we had a mortgage adviser round when I got home as we're hoping to press ahead with our plans to remortgage so that we can finish the loft conversion on our house and also buy a smaller cottage locally before our big move to France (hopefully) next year. It was all very positive and we've high hopes that, if we manage to find a cottage to buy, we'll get the lending we need. It makes the plans to move to France seem much more real somehow, just talking about it to a third party.

Then, wait for it, off to the pub - again!! It was D's last night at home before going back to the rig so I had to go out really. We ended up staying out 'til after 10. I don't know why but he was a bit grumpy and almost picked a fight - on his last night!! Very strange man! We managed to avert that and we had a decent talk but I could have done with a more relaxed last night.

As you can probably tell from the last few posts, I'm concerned that D is drinking too much and is spending too much time in the pub. I've said so (gently) and asked him to think on while he's away. It's just more obvious when you're not drinking yourself and are making major change to your own life but hard to say without coming acros as a bit of a killjoy. I didn't want to wade in with a big nag but needed to get it off my chest...D is usually good at thinking things through so hopefully it'll sink in over the next couple of weeks and he'll take action to get a bit more healthy over the next few months. I have faith in him.

Developing 30 - Moody Monday

A busy day at work and felt pretty grumpy all day. Don't know why, maybe TOTM but no real rhyme or reason to it.

Still, didn't fall foul of any nibbling temptations and still went for a good long run in the evening with Kate and Suzanne. We went round the 5.5 mile route and I felt so much stronger than I did when I started running properly about 3 months ago. The big hill didn't phase me and I even managed to speed up going up it. The only trouble with the run was that Suzanne is quite a bit slower than me and Kate is a fair bit faster so we didn't have a great rhythm going due to the running back or stopping and waiting for Suzanne etc.

The run really cheered me up; I'm finally getting the endorphin thing that is meant to happen to runners! You feel really strong and serene - great stuff.

Once we got back, we discovered that Nick and Charlotte were up for the evening and out in the pub so I went out (again!). It was a really nice evening though so I'm not complaining at yet another evening in the boozer, well not much!

Charlotte is pregnant so, when she walked in, I was eyeing her belly and then noticed that she was eyeing mine, for opposite reasons obviously! She looks great for a 7 month pregnant woman and I must admit to feeling a bit of a pang (especially as Vicky, who is also pregnant, was out too). I'm beginning to hope that it happens for us and to be slightly impatient that I'm not trying until I've reached goal!!

There was another family out too and what a contrast in their reaction to me. The husband, Alistair, was full of praise and obviously genuinely pleased for me. He asked about the running, was impressed by the non-drinking etc. Really nice. His wife though, despite congratulating me on the weight loss launched into a lecture about how unhealthy the diet is and dangerous and how I shouldn't go too far and on and on and on and on...

This, while she guzzles down her 5th glass of wine and smoked her way through a couple of fags!!! Really cheeses me off, especially as sh clearly didn't know what she was talking about. I find this reaction usually comes from people who don't know me that well. I'd rather they'd keep their negative opinions to themselves and must rememer to do likewise if I'm ever in a similar situation!! I suppose real friends are a bit more suppotrive than casual acquaintances..

So, that was my excuse for not posting on Monday nigth!!!

Developing 29 - Sunny Sunday in the garden

Hi all. Can't believe how long it's been since I last posted! That's not like me is it? There's no particular reason, I've just been really busy and have tried to get to the computer but without sucess. I have checked in with everyone elses' blogs a fair bit but haven't had time to do mine. Of course, once you're a day or so behind, you need even more time to catch up so there's a proper Catch 22 situation!

SO, think back Lesley - what has happened?

Sunday was a lovely day - I had an unexpected reprieve from french due to the tutor cancelling. Now, I enjoy french but it was lovely suddenly to have a day off with no plans and just be able to spend the day with D.

We got straight out into the garden and the garden centre and were determined to finish one bed - the ornamental grasses bed seen in the before and after pictures above. So, we weeded, cleared it, pinned down an anti-weed membrane, bought the grasses, planted the grasses and put down the slate mulch and, ta daaa, I think it looks pretty damn good. It will look a lot better when it's surrounded by a lush newly turfed lawn rather than a wilderness, but it's a good start!

We didn't have much energy left after all that but managed a nice walk round the stepping stones and the Mill so Shelagh could have a good swim. We've been a bit slack on walks recently - I think the garden has taken it's toll - so it was nice to get out in the sunshine. Soon the swallows will be low-flying and then Shelagh will enter her favourite time of year - she absolutely loves chasing the swallows round the fields, races round after them, yipping a high pitched yippy bark, for hours and I'm sure the birds tease her too. She will only just return when we call her but, to be honest, it's such fun watching her going mental that we let her on. She certainly sleeps in swallow season!!

I've been under pressure from D to go out to the pub with him more hence the difficulty of getting to the computer. I've enjoyed it but, now he's away back to the rig, I must say that I'm really looking forward to being acountable to no-one for my time. Does anyone else feel as though they're torn into pieces sometimes re demands on their time??

On the diet front, it's going pretty well. Not bad on the nibbles and excellent on the exercise so can't complain. The compliments are still flowing when I meet people I haven't seen for a while so that keeps me going a bit. I'm pretty solidly into size 14's now which hasn't happened for years!! They're still a bit tight so I'm waiting for a couple of weeks to buy new stuff for our Canada holiday.....can't wait!!

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Developing 28 - Strange weather Saturday

I was full of plans to garden today and do loads of chores but then remembered that my father was due to visit! So, tidied up instead and just spent some time with him. He was only over for the day to measure up a cupboard/shelves that he's making for me and really to check up on us!! I know he loves seeing where we're up to on the garden projest and how I'm doing with the weight loss. He hasn't seen me for 7 weeks so was well impressed by how little I've got. He said he could put his arm all the way round me which, funnily enough, is what D has noticed too!!

So, although I didn't do anything in the garden, we did have a lovely day. We did pop to the garden centre which was nice and D managed a couple of hours of work while Dad and I chatted and surfed the net. He say the internet is a step too far for him - he refuses to become a silver surfer and asks what the point of having daughter is if I won't be his internet operator! Actually it works quite well that way so what harm??

I cooked him and D a nice supper - a proper Irish standard of boiled bacon and cabbage with mashed spuds (God, my Irishman loves his spuds!). It sounds weird but is really tasty and pretty healthy too as no fat!

Off to the pub later but am determined to have an early night - I've got french tomorrow and still haven't done my usual.

That leads me to a few answers for Mrs of The Lard Arms (please visit her She's great!):

  • What are your plans re the move to France?

    We're hoping to move to France (at the moment we're thinking of Limousin or Auvergne but that's not settled) around this time next year. Before we can go we have to finish off the renovations we've started to ths house including a loft extension in order to sell for the max value we can get. We also want to buy a smaller cottage round here to rent as an investment, holiday let and a base to return to for the odd holiday and weekend. That's all going to take time so this time next year is probably slightly ambitious but it's always worth setting goals etc.

    Once in France D will carry on working on the rigs and just come back to France instead of the UK and I won't work at all, at least not initially. We might have kids (who knows??) or I might eventually find something to keep me interested but I'm sure I'll find plenty to do running the gite (we're assuming that we'll have a gite or something to convert into one) and looking after the land and dogs and chickens and goats and horses and donkeys and God know what else that D has in mind for me!! Sounds worse than the bloody Good Life out there!

    Hopefully I'll play golf in the summer and ski in the winter and have loads of mates (from real life and blog land??!) visiting so Diarmuid's menagerie might never materialise - just a couple of dogs and maybe a few chickens.....

  • When are you going to Canada?

    We're off to Canada on June 9th for 3 weeks and we're going to visit friends, cousins of mine and my brother and his family who moved over there in February. We're going to Toronot, Nova Scotia and Ottawa. Can't wait. Will try and be healthy and outdoorsy - whale-watching, hiking, kayaking etc and also the usual sightseeing and Niagara Falls too.

    I'm going to take 3 weeks' worth of packs with me and intend to stay on the diet nearly all the time. I may allow myself off it very occasionally but only for something special, not just for run of the mill meals and even then will try and be low carb and sensible. I'll be so close then to my goal that it seems daft to come off it for no real benefit.

  • What does my LLC say about strenuous exercise? LL only recommend gentle exercise. What are my general thoughts on exercise?

    Re the exercise - you may regret asking!! I think LL's attitude to exercise is a bit low key. I personally think they should encourage it more. At the end of Foundation, we were asked what we think LL should do differently and I said basically, that. My LLC said: "Yes well but, although this group is quite youngish and reasonably active, there are others where the members are absolutely massive and for whom even walking is too much - for these people being told to exercsie would put them off". Now I think this is a bit of a cop out- even if you are chair bound you can do some tiny exercise and what's the harm in tailoring the advice depending on the group. Basically they're going for the lowest common denominator which is not really fair to those for whom more exercise would be beneficial.

    I don't find that I get overtired when I've done a hard workout. I try and have a pack before I start to make sure I have something to go on and I drink water throughout as you would normally do. I think it'll help with the sagginess and I feel great. It can only help me keep the weight off when I reach goal and is always going to be a major part of my life so I may as well start now rather than waiting 'til I'm thin. I just love it and know that I wouldn't be enjoying it nearly as much if I hadn't lost 6 stone. It's just too hard to lug all that weight around with you.

    So, my advice would be: start small; set achievable goals; if you can do it with friends or a partner that always helps; and find something you enjoy doing.

    I think the real reason is that our LLC is not keen on exercise herself hence doesn't push it much. She kind of chucked the fitballs and bands at us absentmindedly and very much gave the impression that they would be a waste of time!! We haven't watched the DVD's since about week 4 or 5 so haven't seen any of that stuff either.

    Which leads me onto the other strange thing about my LLC - she is massive! She lost about 10 stone when she LL herself but must have put most of that back on which is tragic. She is easiy a size 28/30. I don;t mean to sound mean saying this and I'm definitely not knocking her as I gather it's very hard to start again on LL once you've come off it. But it is kind of strange being told all this stuff about losing weight by a woman who is double the size of anyone in the room! Don't know what other peoples' LLC are like? Any thoughts?

    I do respect her as she is very shrewd and some of her instincts are pretty honed about people and their motivations but she and I don't really have anything in common. I can honestly say I've learned more from this blog, you (Mrs), Mel, Chris, Cath, Antonia, Claire, Sam et al than I have from my LLC. Our different attitudes to exercise are just one of the many aspects of life on which she and I don't agree. I also sometimes feel that she thinks I'm a bit of a bigmouth and we semi-clash because I take a pretty active part in our discussions. Don't think she likes there to be another Alpha Female in the house!! Still, she runs a tight ship and gets great results, so what do I know??!

    Bet you didn't think your innocent questions would elicit that sort of rant eh ? Thanks for the interest though, thequestions certainly made me think about a couple of things.

Developing 27

Friday was a bit quiet. Worked hard, had an early evening and then went for a killer run with Shelley. For various reasons we haven't been out together for a couple of weeks so it was a bit of a shock to the system to get back to it. We push each other quite hard - I make us go further than she'd like and, once we get started, she makes us run faster than I'd go on my own! Great combo eh?

My legs were a bit stiff from the PT on Thursday so the run was a good way to stretch out but it was a bit like hard work! Still, we did the 4 mile hilly route and by the end were really going for it. Poor old Shelagh slept well.

I was late to the pub but had a really nice evening. There was a good crowd out and a couple of people who I don't see often and who haven't seen me since I lost the weight. One of them, Pete, was comical - his jaw just dropped and he couldn't think of much to say. The other couple were more vocal, well, Sally was.

She is one of those (formerly) sickening women who remains slim through 3 kids and now, having gained half a stone from being just on the edge of too thin, looks fanstastic!! She was really interested in the diet which surprised me as I never expect naturally slim women to be bothered. We talked about her eatng habits and how I need to emulate them once I get back to food. She tries to eat healthily and bring up her kids that way, but she does have bad stuff too when she wants it. But, the crucial thing is - when she's eating chips or chocolate or whatever, she only has smallish amount and stops when she's no longer hungry or has been satisfied. She said that she often has a line of chocolate rather than a full bar! I think that's the difference between the old me and her - my former self would always want everything once I'd loosened the chains.

Now I'd be better to say that nothing is off limits but try to limit whatever I have to what I truly want/need.

Bit scary eh?

All in all though, a good evening and plenty of food for thought.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Developing 26

Back to work today both literally and figuratively. I think the navel gazing was good but don't have the energy for any more. I certainly feel re-energised and have had a much better day.

Did a good lot of work today and am making an impression into the mammoth To Do list. It's scary but I suppose you just do what you can.

After work I went straight to personal training. Now, that man must have been lulling me into a false sense of security the last couple of times, 'cos he worked me like a demon this evening!! 25 minutes on the cross trainer going from hard to really hard then back to hard for a rest! Followed by a load of weights but all done really carefully and slowly so each exercise feels like your muscles are burning. There was no place to run, no place to hide. I really enjoyed it and was insane enough to suggest upping the training from once a week to twice by including a morning session on Tuesday mornings!! Can't believe I suggested it. Must be a masochist.

Joined D in the pub for an hour or so and had a good time before heading back to watch a shite DVD - for the record it's The Holiday with Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black. The absolute definition of Chick Flick....rubbish but very entertaining....

Have a great diet day blogchums...

Developing 25 - Wednesday is weigh in day!

After a difficult week, I was relieved to get to my weigh in and, perversely, was hoping for a poor loss! I didn't want to "get away with" my snacking days and have that in my head for the future. I wanted to have concrete proof that it had affected my loss and be able to use that proof to reinforce my determination to stick more closely to the plan.

So, I'm pleased with a 2lb loss. It's not so bad that it makes me feel miserable but nor can I deny that it is lower than my usual loss of 4 or 5lbs and that my actions have affected my loss. So, hooray for 2lbs off. Only 38 to go!!

I feel much better now and have re-focussed on my goals. I have actually completed a Thought Record about my snacking a la Mrs of Lard Arms fame! I will type this out as a separate post. It was a revelation - I can't believe I haven't given proper house room to this incredibly useful tool, merely paid lipservice to it. As I typed, more thoughts and ideas came pulsing out and my eventual conclusions were far away from what I thought they would be. Just shows that I have been guilty of a bit of arrogance in thinking that I already knew it all and that you can, after all, teach old dogs new tricks (although I wouldn't try it with Shelagh...!).

In class we did an exercise regarding our core beliefs:

We were asked what female figure we admired as child and why. I said Sophia Loren (she's still a favourite of mine) as she had struggled through adversity and become a very human and glamourous woman, not a fake bimbo type.

Next up, what messages we had learned from imortant male figures in our childhood? This was tricky but I think that I learned the importance of education from my father and also the desire for security. I think this is why I have always been a little scared of being in business and chose a so-called "safe" profession in the law. He always encouraged me to aim high but at the back was not brave about sales or enterprise and influenced me towards a safe profession.

Dad also, without being critical, always let me know that he would prefer me to be slim. His love has never been conditional or anything and I'm very much a Daddy's girl, but I suspect that I have tried to please him and to live up to his expectations of me in quite a childlike manner.

Finally, we talked about what messages we received about being a woman from an important woman in our lives. I learned about being a good provider and hostess from my mother; how food and cooking create a home and equate to love!! I also learned, more positively I think, that it's ok to be different from the crowd and that risking embarassment is not the worst thing in the world.

Mum is a bit of a freethinker whereas Dad is much more conservative. Strange then that I should marry my Dad and turn into my mother (Freud - you were right mate!).

The idea is that we should go on to address our core beliefs, which we often lug around with us without critical thought and make sure that we really do agree with them. We should check whether any of them are damaging to our desire for a slim and healthy life.

So, what conclusions can I draw?

1. I should take the positivity I learned from Dad and the great education and brain I've got but ditch the fear of not having security. It is ok to not necessarily have a defined career path. Moving to France will be a risk but it's worth taking and if I rely on my own and D's abilities, there's no reason why we can't suceed out there.

2. While I will always love entertaining and cooking and providing food for those I love, I mustn't use that as an excuse to eat and drink more than I need. It can be done in moderation and healthily. People will enjoy your company without being plied with fatty food and drink. They don't expect to get stuff off me - I am enough sometimes!!

3. It is important to me to retain my eccentricity/freespirithood but I need to recognise that I chose a conservative man for a reason. A lot of our clashes have been over his desire for everything to be "normal" - euugh, how I hate that word! - and my willingness to be different. But at heart, I wasn't willing to be different in my weight was I? Being fat upset me a lot so I must have a conservative core as well. So, don't always rush in with the headstrong desire to do things your way Les - sometimes, think about it first - maybe the "normal" way might be ok or even make you happier?? (I'm, not saying that I'm going to be giving in to D on everything though and turning into a proper little wifie - I don't think he'd want that whatever he says!!)

This has turned into quite an exploration and there seems to be some more issues about me and D to go through too. I'll leave those for a later date though - well, I'm not a procrastinator for nothing you know!!

Have a good day diet-fiends and thanks for bearing with me through the navel gazing!!

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Developing 24

Had a good productive day at work today and got through some stuff that I haven't been looking forwrad to. Still lots to go if I'm to clear the decks properly before we go on holiday but, if I keep this pace up and don't get distracted, I should be able to manage it without major effort.

D caught a fish today!! His first since he took up fishing. I fear this means that he will take to fishing and we'll never see each other again!! Oh well, it was nice while it lasted... I don't mind really - I think every man should have a hobby and fishing is nice and outdoorsy - a bit heavy on the expensive-gear buying but what blokes' hobby isn't?

He was out fishing when I got home and I was meeting my friend Becky for a walk. Haven't seen her since before Christmas (coincidentally at the fateful party where I saw Kate and decided to start LL!) although she is one of the few who has seen this blog so she knew what to expect. She hurt her knee badly while skiing this winter and seems to have had a nightmare time recovering over the last few months. I didn't know as we haven't been in close touch much so I feel a bit bad that I wasn't there for her. Still, we're back in touch now and hopefully we can do lots of walking to try and get the knee stronger. She's in a pretty bad way though - we only managed a mile and a half and she was wincing at times and said it was sore when we finished. The doctor has said gentle walking is the best thing for it so she'll have to persevere.

Really makes you appreciate being fit and strong.

Becky wants to lose weight herself and I was half wondering whether she would take to LL but, once we'd discussed it, she said it was not for her. It's one of those things isn't it? You have to be absolutely committed and it has to be the right thing for you at the right time or you're just not going to put yourself through it. I didn't push although I want to shout it out from the rooftops - "just DO it!!"; "It's great!!". You have to try and restrain yourself.

I remember another friend doing CD a years or so ago and me being totally against the idea yet a year later I sign up to LL and it'a changed my life - Go figure - as the Yanks alledgedly say!!

Anyway, got to wrestle with photo sites tonight so will stop now. Hope you're all losing big time and not struggling with rogue desires to eat as I am. I've had to escape upstairs and type to ward off the desire to stand drooling in front of the fridge. There's nothing in it but I'm still drooling...

I'll brave the kitchen in a minute for another Lithuanina tea which is remarkably filling for some reason. Thinks it's the slightly dry texture and the heady fragrance. Have a good night all.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Developing 23 - Virtuous Monday

Seems like I'm back on the straight and narrow. No nibbling and no real desire to. Slight pangs this evening when back from the pub but have distracted myself with the blog and a savoury drink. Gold star Lesley!!

Was a pretty ordinary day although I have booked our flights from Toronto to Halifax as part of our Canada holiday which makes it all the more real.

Got back and helped D do a mountain of washing up - he's an unhappy bunny as his beloved dishwasher has packed in and the engineer couldn't come out until Wednesday!! There was a full load in the machine making it even worse.

Then off for a run. The first in a week due to various reasons - Lithuania, getting back late and being tired, personal training and then having a nasty cold over the weekend and not wanting to push my luck. Anyway, I did the long 5 plus miles cicuit and it went nice and smoothly, even added a little loop onto the end and felt good. The dog and I finished up in the pub thinking it would be a quick visit and quiet. Then there were loads of people and I felt a bit daft in my jogging kit. Oh well, nice to see everyone....

So, bit of a dull post, sorry peeps. Will try and come up with something a bit more exciting tomorrow!!

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Developing 22 - Rainy Sunday

Up early to finish my french homework and then off to Matlock for my class. I felt really sorry for my tutor as she told me that her final chance at IVF had not suceeded. She has one child (through IVF) so I suppose it's not the worst thing in the world but the effort they have put into it and the financial commitment must make it very hard for them to come out of it all with nothing. She said she was just relieved to know and to be clear that that is that. They can concentrate on what they have and enjoy life now.

Very admirable. Look at the good in your life and make the most of it.

Horrible rainy afternoon so D and I ended up cleaning and doing chores all day. I suppose that is why we both seem to have been a ratty moods all afternoon too. Nipping at each others' heads and being generally grumpy. Weird when we'd had such a fantastic evening yesterday!.

Anyway, it was much happier this evening when I joined him the local for a quiet drink. I didn't stay out (hence the post now) but we were much cheerier.

Trouble is - I have experienced a relapse to self-destructive behaviour. Have nibbled quite a bit this afternoon/evening. I have been feeling very hungry and wanted to eat a lot this afternoon. But I know it was not real hunger - definitely of the emotional variety. And, I've given in to it. In the full knowledge of what it was!!

Why?? Why do it when you're so close and doing so well? Must be the demon crooked thinking - reward myself for doing well and looking good at the Rugby Club Dinner; it won't hurt, I'll keep losing; D's being a pain; its rainy; I'm cleaning the bathroom. All the nasty excuses came tumbling out and I gave in to them.

So, what did I eat? A few mouthfuls of D's mash. A couple of mouthfuls of meat (D's roast lamb). A handful of sultanas and an inch of french bread. Not exactly a wild binge or anything but it was the thought process that has pissed me off. It was the fact that I wasn't having a good time and I turned to food, knowing what I was doing and I still went on with it.

Not good enough.

So - I will turn it around tonight and tomorrow and make sure to have a good few days. I'm also going to do a thought record about this incident to see if I can make more sense of it and try and work out what to do differently next time (for a next time there will surely be).

I also wonder if the fact that my scales are out of batteries and I'm therefore not currently accountable to the home scales is also a factor. I think it may be - I won't be able to see the damage caused (if any) tomorrow morning on the scales and that may have loosened the mental reins. Hey ho. Not beating myself up or anything drastic but need to get it sorted.

How can I be so positive and even think of extending my goals and decreasing my target weight one day and then be eating extra mouthfuls purely for the sake of it the next? It's a rollercoaster ride this food business...

Developing 21 - Saturday means Mr Loaf!!

As I mentioned, D has struggled massively with his hangover but he came round by the afternoon and I was not letting him even think about passing up on Meatloaf at MEN Arena. We set off quite late though and didn't bother with shopping or sightseeing or anything before the gig. I'm not bothered about that anyway as I don't want to shop properly until I can't buy target weight clothes. The shops in Manchester are just too good and too expensive to worry about now.

Meatloaf was "". He rocked! Actually I mean that. I used to like his stuff years ago and realise how brilliant it is now, having not listened to it for ages.

He's a bit knackered and you feel as though he may collapse at any time during the performance (Mr Healthy he is not!). His voice and timing weren't 100% either although he always got it together by the middle of the song and built up to amazing finales. But that didn't matter at all - it was all about the show and the music, the guitar playing, the lyrics, the loudness of it all, the gorgeous women with great voices. Randy Flowers (one of the guitarists - yum, yum, hubba hubba, ruff!!).

Paradise By The Dashboard Light went on for about half an hour and was great theatre. Bat Out Of Hell was simply amazing - like your whole youth rolled into one song and belted back at you with flames and great lighting to acompany it - everyone was up singing and dancing. Great stuff.

One of the backing singers was a beutiful blonde with a figure to die for. Not incredibly scrawny like the brunette one - slim, fit looking and shapely. She was wearing the usual rock chick stuff - tight jeans, hotpants, corset tops, cut out, midriff baring tops and thigh high boots etc. I was totally inspired. Now I know that I'm never going to look like her - I'd need to grow another 6 inches for starters and shed a few years too - but I do want to have a really good go at losing enough weight to be able to wear short skirts, knee high boots, tight tops etc. I'm not that tarty or anything but think with loads of exercise and sticking to the diet, it could be achieved. So, I'm not going to settle for OK, I want to aim high is what I think I'm trying to say!! A strange thing to come out of the evening perhaps - usually I'd just want to stab her or something, but positive I think. I feel like I owe it to myself to give this the best shot I can.

D and I had a great evening - we stayed for a couple of drinks in town after the concert (I didn't want to have to manouvre his great big jeep thing out of the car park, which was clearly designed for Smart cars, in a crowd). So we didn't get back 'til late but even the drive home over the hills was a laugh. It was nice to do something, just the 2 of us. Sometimes I think we're too sociable and everything becomes a team event - it's good to be a pair occasionally.

Diet was fine - D had a hot dog which, while it looked revolting in the way they do, was also incredibly appealing (what is it about them??). Didn't have any. We then stopped for a kebab on the way home which also smelled devine but I resisted bar a teeny corner....really teeny. The dog ate the rest on our return! She's a strange beast and loves kebab. Apart fromt hat, took my bar and had water or black coffee all night. The black coffee is such a boon. I take my sweeteners everywhere and it warms me up when I'm just too cold from all the water.

Hope you all had a good weekend. Take care!

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Developing 20 - Rugby Club Dinner

Well, all my fears were unfounded. I was quite happy to stay 'til the end and it wasn't bitter. I think the day resting set me up nicely so I didn't feel bad cold-wise all night although I started sneezing again while driving home - how weird is that?

D and Eric had a bit of a boozy session on the Lithuanian vodka but D was really good fun - loads of dancing (which is just not like him) and telling me that I looked hot and that the dress was a Marilyn Monroe dress!! You can't really see from the piccies but it was a proper curvy girl dress with a killer cleavage!!

I really enjoyed it and was happy with my soup and bar and all the water. The only slight pang was the fact that most people had Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert which is my absolute fave - mmmmmm so sweeeet and gloopy..... Luckily although it looked nice, it didn't look like the best STP I've ever seen so a dip of the finger into the sauce sufficed!

The woman who inspired me onto LL in the first place was there (the one in the bright pink - a colour she would not have worn pre-LL) and she was as excited to see me as I was to see her. We disappeared off into a huddle to compare notes and have a proper chinwag. She was just not able to go back onto the diet proper once she came off it for Christmas (first lesson to learn as I have heard that so many times). She didn't finish Maintenance and she's now gone onto CD for price reasons. She has gained about 1/2 stone since she finished just before Christmas but still looks awesome. So - a toast to Kate Tann - I hope I am eternally grateful to her for setting me off on this road to a longlasting life of slimness.

That said - I'm going to learn from this that this journey has to be seen through to the very end. I'm going to take all your lovely comments on board re Canada (and very sensible they have been) and limit any damage to the absolute minimum. A very occasional low-carb meal in strictly controlled circumstances and only for the best of reasons. Not a full-on blowout because "I'm on me holidays..."

What else? We stayed 'til the disco stopped as I was having a good time dancing with Stacey, Eric and D. I then had the task of driving 7 very drunk people round the countryside to their various homes. It was a case of steering carefully through the waters of "Lets all go back to someone's for more booze" and depositing them firmly at their respective doors. We did pop into Russ and Abby's but I haven't seen the house since it was done up and they have a gorgeous collie so that was ok. By then, D and Eric were flagging badly so they were meek as lambs when I said it was time to go.

Abby was very funny as her beloved dog Charlie took a massive shine to me and sat on my lap staring soulfully into my eyes while I scratched him or even rested his noble head on my shoulder. Apparently he hardly ever deigns to do that with her!! He was a pet but I then had to endure the doggie interrogation from Shelagh when I got home, you know the one:- "where have you been....sniff sniff sniff.... Who's he? I mean it, you've been unfaithful to me Mum....sniff sniff sniff".

D is now stretched out on the bed in the computer room struggling with his head - good enough for him!! The dog is barking wildly at the window cleaners which is just making it worse. It's time like this when I really don't miss drinking. I would have been in as bad a state as D if I wasn't on the wagon!

Anyway, enough blathering. Chores to do and then we're going to Manchester to see Meatloaf this evening. A Christmas treat which we'd both almost forgotten about.

Have nice day all and thanks for the many comments on my Lithuanian epic and "The Canada Question", especially Chris's tome - all very helpful in getting my head straight well in advance.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Developing 19 - off sick

I feel a bit of a fraud as I don't feel too bad while lounging around here at home. I have even been quite productive. Trouble is, I know I would have felt dreadful had I gone to work. It's one thing to wander round the house doing non-taxing chores and stopping for a cup of tea when you feel a bit feeble, quite another to have to drive over an hour to work and then sit in a bright, noisy office and try be productive.

So, I've been catching up on blogs and doing some financial type jobs and a few bits of laundry. Very pleasant. The laundry kicked off a major de-clutter of my wardrobe (again!) which is now pleasingly empty. 3 big bags to the recycling and another pile to put on ebay if I ever get motivated again.

We're due to go to the Rugby Club dinner tonight. I'm going to give it a go seeing as I have paid £130 for a dress and more for the tickets but don't know how long I'll last. No doubt that will kick off another whinge from D if I dare to want to leave early! He's been a bit of a bear these last few weeks. I think he's threatened by the changes but I'm really sick of having to hang around to the bitter end (and I mean bitter - we're squeezing the last dregs here..) in order to keep the peace. If i try and warn him that I might want to go early that sets off another whinge so that doesn' work either. Think I'll just have to firm or faint or something to actually leave at a decent hour!! It must be the Irishman in him - can't bear to leave the craic behind (not to mention the beer!).

Heyho - we're not bad or anything but anyone who tells you that losing weight will be the path to a bicker-free life is lying!!! You just carry the same issues forward, just with less fat. Fat-free bickering, I wonder if it burns calories??

Have a good Friday everyone.

Developing 18 - back to work

It was pretty quiet day yesterday. Diarmuid engaged me (somewaht unwillingly) in a discussion about the rights and wrongs of terrorism, including that old chestnut - one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter!! Now, I've thought out my views on this one years ago but D was obviously affected by the Lithuanian experience (as well as his anti-Empirical feelings as an Irishman) and was fired up. A bit irritating as I really wanted to sleep!!

I suppose it was fun, ultimately, but I wish we could talk at a time other than the middle of the night!!

So, I was exhausted all day and even fell asleep while having my nails done! The Vietnamese man who does them kept on tugging at my paw to wake me up and I had to concentrate like mad while he was doing the painting as they're very down on smudgers in the super speedy salon I go to!! While I was drying them (under a UV light thing) I rested my temple against the sharp-edged formica counter and was out like a light - way better than the usual impatient frustration at how slow it is to dry nails...

My head felt like it was full of cotton wool and my colleagues clearly thought I had a screw loose as I chatted away about one deal when they had quite clearly asked me about another. Aaaargh!

Back home and off to personal training. It went really well and the exercises felt much smoother than last week. He's putting together my home workout for next week now so I should be up and running soon.

Trouble is, as soon as I got home, the reason for the exhaustion becamse apparent as I fell into a nasty cold/coughing fit! Aaaaah...

An early night with no political discussions and straight to sleep like a log.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Developing 17 - weigh in time!

Thank God I had arranged to work from home yesterday! We didn't get in 'til after 2am which is 4am Lithunaian time. I was cream crackered! Still, dragged my carcass out of bed for 9 (ish) and did some desultory work and checking of blogs!! A few loads of washing too. It's great WFH for all those little chores you can fit in while making tea or lunch.

Then, off to class. As you can see I had a good week and lost 5lbs taking me over the magical 6 stones lost marker!! I now weigh 13 stone 9lbs on LL scales or 5lbs lighter than that at home, first thing in the morning, with no clothes on, having had a pee!!!

That is roughly the weight I was when I got married and, yes, I can fit into my wedding dress although to be honest wasn't keen on it when I tried it recently although loved when I got hitched!!

Only 40lbs to goal which just seems soooo manageable. I feel like I'm racing towards goal now that I'm over halfway, every week seems to be accelerating even though I know in my head that the rate of loss is lsightly slower if anything (not much in it!).

There was a woman in clas who tipped over the 8 stone lost last night so she was really chuffed too. She's been doing it since September though and has had a few self-confessed blips ( for a few weeks I think). I'd rather avoid that and stick it out - getting back on the straight and narrow is just too hard.

We were talking about boundaries and how, on a normal diet, this is the time when you would start to stretch them and creep away from the plan (how true!). Our LLC said that LL is stricter than it needs to be for a reason and that abstinence is a purpose in itself not just a means to an end. She is right of course but you can't help wanting to sneak a couple of non-harmful goodies in when you know they'll not make a difference!! She was emphasizing that it's the head work we're doing that will save us the dreaded regain, not just the losing weight.

One woman in my class had just come back from St Petersburg for the weekend (spookily she was also called Lesley, had curly hair and lives a miles away from me!!!). She, though, had eaten while over there and had had a gain - not sure it's worth it really so am wrestling with what to do on my much bigger trip to Canada in June. Want to stick to the plan but maybe allow myself a very few meals?? Will ask the LLC and would be interested on your thoughts? It's a big trip for 3 weeks so don't want to ruin it but also don't want to ruin this amazing journey.....seesawing wildly....

Anyway, I'm nearly caught up with my blog - just today (Thursday) to do which will be short and sweet due to the extreme dullness of the day!

Bye for now - the bubbly bath awaits me...

Developing 16 - Lithuania pictures (2)

Aboe is the last of my Vilnius piccies. It was a really good trip. The place is interesting but not overwhelming. The old town is quite a bit like Prague although not as big but, on the plus side, there are way fewer tourists. Luckily what tourism there is seems to be aimed at UK or US visitors so a lot of signs or menus etc are translated into English - very helpful as my Lithuanian is poor...!!

We spent a couple of days just wandering around and taking in the sights but on the last day it was rainy so, instead of heading out to a National Park with a fairytale castle set in a lake out in the country, we stayed in town and took in a couple of museums. The National Museum was lovely, not too big but well laid out and fascinating (well, apart from the historical/religious stuff about ancient kings etc which got a bit tired).

But the stuff about the Soviet occupation and the deportations in the 1940's and 1950'2 was fascinating and heart breaking. I knew theoretically that being occupied by Stalinist Russia would not be "a good thing" but seeing the photographs from the partisan fighters and the pictures of life in the labour camps of Mongolia and Siberia was very moving.

Apparently over 120,000 Lithuanians were deported to labour camps all over the Soviet bloc between 1944 and 1953 only returning from 1956 onwards. We have it easy over here - really!

We were all affected by different items - my breaking point was a silk square embroidered with the outlines of 2 baby hands and 2 baby feet. It was done by a mother in the short time she had before her baby was taken away from her to an orphanage in Magadan (Mongolia)- unimaginable.

After that we went to the Museum of the Victims of Genocide - it was as cheery as it sounds! Set in the old KGB headquarters in the centre of town. In the basement there were the actualy cells, torture room and execution chamber. Grim grim grim. But, you might ask, why did we go? I suppose to see how the recent past has shaped the people of Lithuania and to appreciate how far they're coming with their modern shopping centres and smart developments - they are truly citizens of Europe now but their very recent past is a damn sight grimmer than ours.

Anyway, off my soap box now. Diet wise, I found it all quite easy after the first night when tiredness made me struggle. I loved the feeling healthy and fit in the mornings and being able to walk as long and as far as any in our party. I loved not baulking at climbing the steep hill to the castle or not nagging to take a taxi which I probably would have done if I had been carrying an extra 6 stone. I loved not feeling sweaty or even, God forbid, having the dreaded chafing!!

What have I learned about travelling abroad while dieting??

I have learned above all that I can do it and stay in the plan! I think the travelling, the sights and the company is what you go for, not the food. The food is nice part of every trip of course, but not the point of the trip.

I have found that slightly relaxing and saying to myself that, if I really struggle, I can have another pack or even eat something, really helps - I have never actually had the extra food it but the thought that I would let myself if I needed to, seems to release some of the panicky feeling.

What else? I have learned not to try to do too much - if you're tired stop for a tea before exhaustion sets in rather than after. If that means giving up on a plan, well, so be it. Drink warm drinks if you're feeling cold - they're reviving. the tea in Vilnius was gorgeous and I tried both peppermint and forbidden fruit tea!! The latter was a mistake but I thoroughly enjoyed it and refuse to feel guilty about one teeny fruit tea!

And finally - use the hotel gym if there is one - you feel unbearably smug - even better - go for an early morning run - you see loads of the town and can drop it into conversation for ages after and make your travelling companions feel like slugs!!!

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Developing 16 - Lithuania pictures (1)

I just haven't had time to post properly so am having to do it in fits and starts. I'll make a start with some piccies from the weekend, starting with photos from Sunday in Kaunas. We had gorgeous weather and it was a lovely little town. Not much there but definitely worth a looksee.

As you can see we were a mixed age group. We ranged from Sophia (the girl in the white jumper)in her 20's to Andy and Di in their 60's and all decades in between. still, we all get on really well and had a lovely time. I think it's quite healthy to mix with people of different ages to yourself anyway - new perspectives and all that.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Developing 15 - Monday in Vilnius

Unfortunately the weather wasn't as kind to us yesterday (Monday) as it has been. A bit grey and showery but mild and not too bad. As I mentioned in the last post I got up early and went for a good run along the river. It's a great way to see more of a new city as you move that much faster. Very enjoyable.

By the time I got back, the other slugs were crawling out of their scratchers and trying to shake off the hangovers. It was also beginning to rain and I don't have a light coat. So I raced off a bought a great heavy cotton Mod type coat complete with lace at the hem, hood and waist tie - absolutely love it! If I had been fat, I would not have been able to find something to fit in a strange town (especially as the women here are all tall and leggy!!) so would have had to struggle on and get cold and wet. What a change!

We went sight-seeing and just wandered round the Old Town and the Castle. Saw loads and really enjoyed it. Saw a bridge where newlyweds attach padlocks to the railings then throw the key into the river to show that they'll never be parted. Very sweet. I also made a few purchases - some amber (bracelet and pendant), some woodwork (just a bread board and potholder but very sweet) and a posh tea cup in the Lithuanian style and some tea. Very healthy - no milk and less caffeine than coffee.

I have taken loads of pictures on my new camera and worked out what works for me. A very useful dry run for our trip to Canada. I'll get a few on the blog when we get home.

We all went out for a meal to a traditional Lithuanian restaurant which had been recommended to Sophia. Well, it was absolutely terrible!! We were all in great order so laughed for ages but when the starters came out in dribs and drabs and the last 2 never made it even 2 1/2 hours after we ordered we started to get a bit cheesed off to say the least!! When the mains eventually came out they were cold, overcooked and pretty uninspiring. It was such a shame for Sophia who was spitting. there's no way you would have put up with that in England so I don't know why we did in Vilnius. Hey ho - live and learn. I got my hot water and made up a soup so I wasn't too bad!! There are some advantages to LL.

After that the evening didn't reach the heights of the night before but we still went out for a few and had a pretty good night. I flagged towards the end but not too bad.

So, all in all a pretty good introduction to Vilnius. It's a strange place - really reaching out to be modern and European but with omnipresent reminders of its communist past. There are loads of grumpy women at all the public venues like museums and churches etc. Barking orders etc at you. There's also a massive gap between rich and poor. Quite a few beggars but also loads of luxery cars and designer stores. I would recommend it for a weekend if you like city breaks.

Monday, 7 May 2007

Developing 14(ii) - Kaunas/Vilnius

Kaunas was lovely but a bit quiet as it was a Sunday. Gorgeous weather and a pretty old town. Then off to Vilnius which had a massive continental market/festival set up. Had a raucous and long evening with everyone else getting lashed on vodkas and liqueurs and God knows what else. I was much happier though last night and had a good time and took loads of photos as evidence.

Up bright and early and went this morning and went for a good long jog along the river.

It's rainy this morning but we have lots to do so will post later.

Have fun!!

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Developing 14 - Kaunas, Lithuania

Hi all, just a quick post to say that I feel like a different woman this morning. I've had a good (if brief) night's sleep and woke to a gorgeous sunny, blue sky day. I've already been down to the gym and worked out quite hard, had a swim and a sauna and feel on top of the world.

Which is more than can be said for my husbandwho had rather a lot of Lithuanian vodka last night!!

Have a great Bank Holiday weekend!!

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Developing 13 (ii)

A late one from Kaunas in Lithuania. It's been a long day and I'm feeling a bit glum. It started well with an early-ish start to Liverpool and meeting the gang at Albert Docks for lunch before going to the airport. Albert Docks and Liverpool in particular are great - the regeneration has been amazing and it was a gorgeous sunny day. I'm really pleased we got a chance to have a look around. Will definitely be back for a closer look.

It was fun being with the crowd, a real laugh-a-minute. Trouble is, the flight is 3 hours and the journey dragged after the early start - a good 11 hours from home to the hotel. It's not too bad travelling when it's just me and D but, in a big gang, I get very tired. I think I must be a bit of an independent soul as I find groups quite trying, even though I like all the individuals involved. D is much more nto groups and tolerant of peoples' foibles.

Also, when they're all drinking (only in moderation during the journey but with more dedication once we arrived), it's harder to motivate yourself to have a good time when you're stone cold sober.

So, the upshot is that I found the meal quite hard. I was hungry and the waiter served me last so by the time I had sorted out my soup I was thoroughly ratty but trying not to let it show which is initslef wearing. D noticed though and in trying to jolly me up sort of wound me up instead. I know he wasn't meaning to but it is hard to be fair and even tempered when you just want to be able to eat a nice meal and have a couple of drinks.

Hey ho. It is a lot harder to do this travelling thing with a big gang than with just me and D! France was a breeze compared to this. I'm hoping that the early start and the long day travelling set me back today and that tomorrow, with a good night's rest, I'll be able to chill out a bit more and not get ratty/moody.

I'll tell you how bad it was this evening - there were 2 chocolates in the room and when D left me to have a quick shower while he went downstairs to the restaurant to order, I opened one and ate a miniscule sliver of it (prob about 2mm - no exaggeration). I stopped myself nd re-wrapped it and went downstairs for supper. But when I came back up to the room, D was going out for a couple of beers with the boys and I wasn't - I knew the chocs had to go so put them in his pocket and told him to either eat them or throw them! I'm pleased with myself for doing that but it shows how hard it is for me here. Normally a couple of wrapped chocs wouldn't have troubled me like that!

Anyway, it's helping to vent all the frustrations of the evening out rather than saving it up to take out on D who hasn't done anything to deserve it!! I'm already feeling much stronger. So what if I have a tricky evening when I'm probably overtired?! It's not going to kill meis it? It won';t be forever and a good night's sleep will sort it.

Thanks readers for letting me get that off my chest. Blogging realy does help sometimes. As I typed I thought about what you lot would say and the warmth and sensible advice seeped into me even before you've said it. I know we're all in this together and it really makes me feel a lot less sorry for myself. So, I hope you're all having a lovely weekend and I'm sure I will too after this little blip.

Night night.