Sunday, 30 November 2008

Diet vs hangover!

I know I know. I'm on a VCLD so should not be able to have a hangover but my friends were up from London for a visit and I fancied a break.

We went to Castleton which is a lovely picturesque village a few miles from where I live. It was a really cold and frosty afternoon and the village is decked out with loads of Christmas Trees and lights for the tourists so it felt like it was the embodiment of the Christmassy spirit. Very nice just trotting round the little lanes and popping into the shops selling tourist stuff. But of course, after a hours or so of that, thoughts turn to the pub. So, mulled wine (although I managed to turn down the free mince pie!) followed by a winter warming meal and then more wine and assorted drinks. All this topped off by a birthday party complete with disco and much dancing!

I was quite restrained on the food selection, didn't visit the buffet at the birthday party and kept off the more fattening drinks but I was most definitely NOT on a diet yesterday.

Still, I had a great time and it was good to see my pals and have a lark around. I'm back on the wagon today so hopefuly it won't spoil my week too much. Just slow me down a bit.

Today has been good too. The hangover is not bad at all so we've been for a crisp and frosty walk with the dogs and, once the Londoners left to get back to the big bad city, I headed into the garden to do more tidying up and raking of the last leaves. Only an hour or so but I felt very virtuous. I have also potted up some herbs before they get killed by the frost so I have those on my window sill looking fresh and green and making the kitchen smell nice. Domestic Goddess or what!

I haven't made my Christmas cake yet though....marks off on the Goddess-O-Meter there....tut tut

Hope you've all had a great weekend and are going to have a good diet week too. Sending much love to Mrs L and her poor sick pets (and husband too!). I thinking of you sweets. xxx

Friday, 28 November 2008


Minty in the frosty fields this morning. I did go out but for a walk with D and the dogs not a run. I wanted to take some piccies and it was beautiful but quite tricky with the low sun.

Minty barking at ducks on the river and Shelagh just doin' her thaang...

The heavenly view towards Hathersage.

So, why do I keep wandering into the kitchen for a look around?? Tell me that!

It's very annoying.
I must want something but it can't be food because I know I'm not hungry. All this "wandering" business achieves is a feeling of deprivation and dissatisfaction.

I also feel quite proud as I have managed to resist. The worst I've done was to take a piece of flabby white bread from the crock (D's not mine, I wouldn't buy that crap) and actually eating a single bite before smushing it into a lump in my fist and throwing it away. After that, I made a cup of tea and then came up here to blog while my bath is running.

I think it must be that time of the month when I usually hit the carbs because I'm feeling quite fat too which is the other sign.

Grrrr....anyway, I'm going up to the pub after my bath so that should distract me.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

The beach

The Lion's Head (on the left) and the Twelve Apostle (on the right).

D in contemplative mood on Clifton Beach.

Clifton Beach , well, durr.....

Me gritting my teeth against the biting shards of sand being blasted into my bare legs.

I just spouted off on Mrs L's blog about being positive and how, this time, it has really helped me to draw a line under why I gained and how much I gained and just focus on the desired result.

So, that's what I'm doing. Trying to make choices and focus on what I'm going for, ie. being slim and fit again and getting back into those lovely size 12 and 14 clothes which are currently clogging up my wardrobe!

Hopefully the pictures of the gorgeous Clifton beach near Cape Town above will inspire me too. It was too windy to even think about swimming then (the sand was whipping into my bare legs and really hurting!) but I want to be able to think about beaches and cossies next summer!! I mean it!

Weigh in this evening...
Update: I really enjoyed the weigh in last night. I had a modest but reasonable loss (sorry - remember my no numbers rule this time round!) but wasn't disheartened. Everything counts and I'm heading in the right direction. The key thing is to keep going to class, to keep plugging away at the regime and to keep making positive choices.
I fought off the post-class eat-something urge when I got home too although I admit to having an extra pack which I think is the lesser of many evils.
The exercise we did was to write a letter or instructions to someone taking over our body for a few weeks. Like an owner's manual or instructions for looking after a pet except we were talking about our own body. It was quite revealing. Most people said, make sure "she" gets lots of rest, eats healthily etc and I was more about making sure that "she" keeps active, blogs, goes out, exercises, socialises. So it told me my that my worst times, the danger zone, is when I'm sitting on the sofa at home. Obviously that's nice to do once in a while, but not every night.
With D working away a lot, there is a danger that I could become introverted and stay in every night (mostly through choice - there's usually something I can do) but I need to fight against that as those are the times when I'm more likely to succumb to boredom and solace eating. Ho hum.
I also told this mythical guardian to make sure that I get out for some exercise "she make not want to go, but she'll enjoy it when she gets out there!" So now, as I sit here, on a day off, I really have no excuse for not getting out into the frosty morn for a gentle jog/walk. Grrrr, hoist by my own petard (whatever the hell that may be).

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Making good choices

No trip to Cape Town would be complete without a trip up Table Mountain. We were surprised how often the cable cars weren't running because of wind or fog but we got up there on a very changeable day, sunny one minute and foggy and freezing the next. Still, gorgeous views and lovely flora and fauna.

The island to the right of me is Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held for all those years. We didn't make it out there as you had to book in advance and we weren't organised enough but we'll go next time...

The view of Clifton beach (I'll post some pictures from the beach later).

Diarmuid looking cold and wondering whether we should go for a walk after all considering the fog closing in. We did but only an hour or so, it really was chilly and once you left the crowds behind, a bit eerie.

Yesterday (Tuesday) was a pretty good day. I got back to the proper regime mindset and I did some exercise. Sunday and Monday I had gone back onto the diet but been a bit "loose" about it. I'd had logistical difficulties (meetings and the quiz) and had taken the easy way out. Not eaten masses or bad stuff but not been stellar in my approach either. Yesterday I was back to normal and turned down some opportunities to eat and drink off plan.

I also did my personal training in the morning so feel a bit more lively.

This is good. I can feel my old hunger to get slim returning. It's not just "ah damn, I've put some weight back on, I need to shift it." It's more "I want to get back into my size 12's and 14's again and feel fit and go running without hurting." It's a more positive aim rather than an undoing a negative. Much easier to focus on too.

I've packed my swimming kit for work so, barring unforeseen meetings (of which I seem to have loads at the moment) I should be ble to do 50 lengths at lunchtime.

I need to take the good times when I can as D is home now too. He managed to get an early chopper yesterday so returned a couple of days early which was nice. The downside is that there is now food in the house, sigh. Also, I have a friend visiting from London at the weekend which will necessitate hospitality. I'm going to try and be restrained and only deviate for very special and nice things but I'm not planning on being a saint!

This time is definitely different to before. I'm not aiming for perfect abstinence, just reasonably speedy reducing. This has two added benefits. One, there's a chance I'll stick to it! And two, I'm having to make choices throughout the diet rather than just at the end so I'm hoping the transition to maintenance/management will be smoother.

Right off to work now. Hope you're all doing well. It's a bit quiet round here these day isn't it?

Tuesday, 25 November 2008


I really do feel that this time it IS different. Although I wasn't not strictly on plan over the weekend, there was no feeling of out of control eating. And it was not difficult to get back on the wagon on Sunday (none of this waiting-til-Monday business either!).

This time, I'm not expecting to be perfect but I'm making more choices as I go along. Hopefully this time, I will stick to it better and make the transition to maintaining better too because of all the choices.

I've learned that there is no magic on/off switch when sucess has been attained, it's still a process, but I do feel that I'm further along with the process than I was before.

Sometimes, when you feel fat and horrid, it's easy to think that you've actually gone backwards but I know I'm a different person and have made great strides. I would certainly never regret what I did last year and this and I'd never go back.

Now, just to cement the exercise back into my routine and everything will be fine!!!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Progress and patterns.

Me around my thinnest last summer. I love the flat tummy and slim arms.

Me as I am now give or take a lb or so. Not too bad but getting chunkier and the tummy and arms showing the strain.

Me as I was at my heaviest. Nuff said.

Well, the old pattern is beginning to assert itself. I do well, stick to the regime and then experience some sucess. I feel thinner and a little fitter and then I start to relax and stray from the regime before I reach my goals.

Only this time, it is going to be different.

Yesterday, though, I had the day of "relaxation" and, if I were to let it, I might continue to stray from the regime. But I'm not going to let it.

I went to the football and thought I could handle a brief departure from the regime in the form of a couple of pints and a bacon sandwich. It appears that I can't I as I also had some Toblerone when I got home (not too much, threw the rest away once I'd opened the pack) and a tin of tuna with mayo. So, not a massive departure but significant unless I get my act together today.

Which is what I'm doing by posting this first thing.

Next up, I'm going to get out into the garden and rake some leaves and just generally tidy up. Walk the dogs. Then, If I have any more energy, I'll tackle the inside of the house. So, a busy day and I'm NOT going to stray any more.

Send me strong thoughts please.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Ancient wisdom

Me by the river of leopard prints and skinny dippers..

An ancient rambler complete with rucksack...

I liked this one 'cos D looks like a giant next to the little succulent.
Yay. They had fat-bottomed girls 20,000 ago! But did they make the rockin' world go round I wonder??

Towering red sandstone cliffs.

While I was looking through some of the few South African photos I haven't already posted, I spotted these from a walk out in the Cederberg Wilderness. It was a Rock Art Trail on a slightly hippified farm out in the middle of nowhere.

We turned up at the farm place, having driven for well over an hour and seen more baboons than cars, paid our few rand and got our little map and explanation and then set off. According to the visitors book they'd had about 20 people this year so not exactly a booming business but they were nice people and I think they had a few very basic chalets for retreats further down the river. With warnings about not running over the tortoises on the drive (quite difficult to avoid actually) we headed out into the scorching heat and the feeling that no-one was around. It was fantastic.

There 10 sites of ancient rock art painted by the San Bushmen over 20,000 years ago. These were marked on the map and at various points on the ground too (very discreetly). A small number meant you had to spend the next 10 minutes scrabbling round rocks until you found the painting then there was a brief explanantion on the map leaflet to help you decode it. I must admit we didn't find 2 of them and didn't want to scramble around too much in case of snakes or scorpions or sprained ankles.

On our way back we had a cooling dip in the river (no-one around so skinny dipping it was...) and I noticed a set of cat prints on a sandbank. When I described them to a local later he confirmed that they would have been leopard. how cool is that? The leopard must have jumped down from a tree onto the sand bank, padded across the 10 feet or so into the river and then swum to the other side as there were no return prints.

It was glorious to be out in the middle of nowhere. How often can you really feel alone? I love our landscape in England, engineered by humans as it is, but the African bush really spoke to me. I suppose being brought up in West Africa will have left its mark. The Cederbergs were the closest landscape I could remember to the Nigerian bush so I felt very nostalgic. I will be back.

Of diet talk, there is very little. I managed to resist temptation once I got home last night despite a couple of forays into the kitchen looking for "something". Both times, I managed to either take a glass of water or cup of tea and return empty handed. I also distracted myself going through photos for some frames I have bought. It's about time I get some of my piccies up on the wall but there are so many to choose from it is a very time-consuming process.
Well, it's sunny now and I'm going to the football later so I'm going to head out with the dogs asap. Have fun!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Tired - busy day

The only picture I managed to get of a male kudu not hiding behind the bushes. Magnificent isn't he?

I love these mucky chaps. Apparently buffalo can be very dangerous and unpredictable but I thought they just looked like muddy cows!

Another gorgeous crew of elephants at a waterhole..I could have watched them all day.

This lone male was fantastic. Slightly excitable as he was in "must" and therefore on the lookout for a female (with no chance of getting one as he's only around 25 so not old enough, poor lad). We watched him for a while and then he walked so close to the vehicle on my side that I had to bring my arm into the jeep. Then he stopped level with me and stared right into my about shiver down your spine time.

Well, I've been very busy over the last few days and feel a bit jaded. The diet is not the cause though. If anything, it is helping me keep my energy levels up. It is also helping me from turning to food as I'm sure I would have done were it not for the certainty of being on a regime.

My weigh in went very well last night. I'm trying to keep away from numbers and my obsession with them so I'm not going report actual weights and measures though, sorry. I didn't find out what I weigh anyway, merely what I lost.

The class was very helpful too although there is one woman who tends to dominate (isn't there always...). We were talking about resistance to change which I remember we covered in Foundation. I was surprised how resistant I still am to the thought of permanently giving up certain foods. I can go through all the pro's and con's and logically accept that it will make me happier and healthier but, when it comes down to it, I don't ever want to say a final no to certain things. The Counsellor suggested that I don't then, that it might be a more general resistance to denying myself and cutting off possibilities and that I should reframe and try to limit the foods rather than denying them completely. This makes sense although I know some people do totally cut out certain things forever. Like giving up smoking, I imagine there's a certain "freedom" to knowing you just can't have it.

Anyway, with this going on in the background, I found myself having a conversation with 2 women from my team at work this morning about treats and chocolate. Both are extremely slim and look like they've never had to diet a day in their lives. (One is a part time dance instructor and the other a former model!) It surprised me how much they talked about "treats" and "denying themselves" and "resisting". Both agreed between themselves (I was listening more than talking in this conversation!) that it was not a good idea to deny yourself as it only made you want it more. Both used distraction techniques to avoid eating too much and both had a little taste of something to avoid a bigger binge later.

Hmmmm, interesting. So it comes down to whether you trust yourself to stop I suppose.

Anyway, apart from a small foray to the snack table which I'm quite annoyed with myself about, I've not done too badly today. I know that this type of tiredness is a trigger for me and could feel myself formulating excuses to eat as I drove home. But, I came straight up here to blog rather than heading to the kitchen and think that I'll be strong enough to stick to the plan. Weird how all the coping strategies come back to you isn't it? I'm rusty but getting there.

Exercise is a bit thin on the ground though. I'm managing to go to personal training twice a week and that is about it. Sometimes you have to accept that work does intrude on life but I'm going to make a big effort to do something nice tomorrow. Either a leisurely jog or a walk, depending on the weather of course.

Good luck over the weekend everyone.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Joy of movement

Shelagh running. She's much more cautious than her daughter.

I thought this was an atmospheric shot for the season. Don't know why.

An irritating pheasant who crouched in the shadows rather than walking into the perfect sun for his photo and then, when I was too far away, immediately left the shadown and looked magnificent.

Mad Minty running for her life...... I wish I had her energy

I took the dogs out for a lovely walk in the winter sunshine on Tuesday and had a ball watching them hurtling across the fields. Minty expecially just steams down slopes and often ends of in a heap at the fence at the bottom. It's lovely to watch.
Anyway, this'll be short 'cos I'm heading off for my first proper weigh in. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Still 39 today!

Actually I've had a nice day today. I always think this about birthdays....that I don't really care and it won't matter if there's no fuss....then there is a nice bit of fuss (just cards and calls and stuff at work and D sent me some gorgeous flowers) and I really like it and somehow the day does feel special after all.

So, I'm just about to have a bath and then get down to the pub for the quiz...God, I know how to live....but wanted to post and say that I like being 39 so far. And D's flowers were gorgeous even though they did fall off my desk and I had to remove a couple of the green chrysanths.

Also, although I didn't make it to the gym at lunchtime due to yet another meeting, I have been very good foodwise and fully intend to stick to the plan in the pub too. I tryuly am a very good birthday girl.

PS. Didn't eat at the quiz but did have a small glass of red wine which I can live with (my sole birthday treat). But, I also won the quiz and received - a big bar of Toblerone! Which is now lurking in my cupboard. Part of me wants to take it to work tomorrow and give it away but part of me wants to see how long it lasts and whether I can keep it 'til Christmas. Will she? Won't she? I must admit that I nearly ripped open that wrapper as soon as I got into the car to come home before realising what a stupid thing that would be. Weigh in tomorrow.

I'm 39 today!

It's the dogs' turn. They're tired of all these glamorous and exotic beasties dominating my pages so here are a few of Shelagh and Minty in the garden.

Doggie business at the bottom of the garden, no doubt of utmost importance.

Next door's alsatian, Boo, looks on. She is a nice dog (to humans) but I do feel a bit sorry for her stuck in the garden day after day with no-one to play with. Trouble is, I don't trust her with my 2 as she has been aggressive towards them in the past, so now it's look but don't touch.

You can see that Minty is looking back, is that trepidation? They seem to get on okay through the fence, much playing and barking and destroying of shrubs and beds goes on so I suppose it's alright.

It's the sort of birthday which makes you stop and look at it. Strangely 'cos, I'm not usually one to worry about getting older, this one has made me do a bit of stock taking.

My main thought has been that I do not want to be fat and forty. I'm not saying I'm particularly fat now, but if I were to gain weight next year at the same rate as I did this year, I would be heading that way. So, you can see my point.
I have been reading a lot of blogs recently and, in particular, some of the old ones. Does anyone remember Guinea? I wonder how he's getting on after he lost so much? Anyway, in one somewhat depressing post, he quoted some spurious stat that 98% of people who lose over 100lbs put it back on in 3 years and 70% do so within 1 year. Now I don't think that is strictly true but I know stats for keeping weight off are poor. I am determined to make this stick and keep battling at it.
I repeat, I am not going to be fat and forty!!!
I'd better go to work now. It's not going to a very exciting birthday. D is away and I have to attend a Council meeting this evening. Also, I'm dieting so not eating or drinking so the height of my thrills will be going to the pub quiz later this evening. I've told my mates to get their asses out so hopefully there'll be few people out and about.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

So far so good

I apologise for the gore but maybe you might find the image helpful when trying to avoid eating too much. This is a female black backed jackal chowing down on the putrid carcass of a large male kudu in a water hole. Tasty eh? Our guide said the kudu would probably have been killed by hyenas.

We saw several jackals while we were there and they were normally incredibly shy and very fast. My other photos were just blurry blobs heading into the scrub. This one was really strange. Once she had finished her fine dining, she moseyed around, totally aware of us and gradually made her way up the slope to the low wall on which we were standing (we were at one of the few places where you're allowed to get out of your vehicle).

She stared right at us and then slowly wandered off. It was magical. Even our guide was holding his breath and said he had never seen that happen before.

This is my last photo of her. You can see how close she was as I couldn't go back any further without falling off the wall so it's a bit blurry!

I worked from home today as I had a document to review. It can be a bit of a trial as the house is very quiet and there's always the temptation to snack. I have been a bit peckish too but think that is because I started the day with personal training. Despite that, I've been pretty good and stuck to my plan fairly closely.
I suppose I may as well 'fess up that SW was not really for me. After a few days of eating too many carbs and having too large portions, I started feeling sluggish and worrying about what this was teaching me for the future post-diet.
I had loads of packs left over so I've started a hybrid. Kind of like the first couple of weeks of RTM, 2 or 3 packs a day with a protein and veg meal. Milk in teas and coffees but no fruit or other snacks allowed. Occasionally I've done 4 packs a day if I'm in a hurry or don't have any food in.
I've also started going back to my Lighter Life Management class. I know I said I wouldn't race back into abstinence or onto the packs (or something very close to it) but, having started SW with all the right motivation but not really enjoyed the actual diet or got much from the classes, I thought maybe this time I was in the right frame of mind to make LL work for me.
So the plan is, that I will be strict with myself for the next 4 or 5 weeks and, thereafter, loosen up for Christmas but continue to go to classes and not go too mad so I don't undo my hard work for the sake of a few mince pies. Then, depending how I feel in January, I might go back to what I'm doing now or just carry on with Management.
The key thing is that, whatever I do, whether SW or LL, I do it wholeheartedly and carry on going to classes even if things are not going so well. In the past, when I've had a bad week, I've sometimes not gone to class saying that I'll catch up next week and not have the depression of knowing that I've gained. Totally counter-productive as I usually have an even worse week the following week and that is the beginning of the end for that diet.
Not this time.
I've made a pledge to go every Thursday night until Christmas and then rethink thereafter. I don't want to make the promise too big and overwhelming, hence the short timescale.
I hope you don't think I was being "economical with the truth" because I didn't mention LL before. I did go to SW and did make a start but then could feel that it wasn't for me. I had every intention of sticking it out when I saw a Lighter Life magazine in a newsagent one lunchtime and it just clicked that that is what I wanted to do. So I started on my old packs and rang my LLC that day and went to the first class on Thursday.
Luckily she had a class for refreshers just starting so it is a bit like Foundation in that there are 8 of us who have all committed to 4 weeks. It seems like a good group. Everyone has done Foundation and is now back wanting to lose some of what they have regained. That sounds a bit depressing but no-one has put anywhere near all their weight back on. Most people just want a bit of help in the run up to Christmas to get back on track and make sure they don't go crazy at Christmas.
I think not knowing my weight has been a big help too. I know I had slapped on a fair few lbs since we came back from SA abut the actual number would have depressed and angered me. This way is much better. Also, instead of spending ages getting on and off the scales in the morning and using the result to dictate my mood and bargaining with myself about whether I can snack or not, I just don't know how I'm getting on so I don't snack. It is hard to resist the siren scales but really helpful that I do, at least for now.
Anyway, I've waffled a bit here. Sorry. I'll try and be a bit more snappy next time...

Monday, 17 November 2008

Busy busy busy

This little chap is a Jackass penguin and he lives not far south of Cape Town on the Cape Peninsula. Cute eh? A bit weird seeing penguins with no snow or ice though...
Diarmuid on the way up to Cape Point, note the sign behind him pointing out that baboons are dangerous....I thought they were gorgeous.
The view from the southernmost tip of the Cape Peninsula with False Bay behind me.
The Lighthouse on top of Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope just peeking out behind it.

The other lighthouse on Cape Point (a tad confusing)

Our first family of baboons but not the last. I never managed to take a really good shot of any of them though. The ones which were close by were too fast and the slow ones were at the outer edges of my zoom, or it was too dark. V v frustrating.

I liked this little chap but he wouldn't smile for the camera...

I'm finding sticking to my plan surprisingly easy. Irritatingly, I don't feel any thinner but I'm sure that will come soon enough. In the meantime, it is "switch off brain and try to cruise through" time.

That's not to say that I'm being perfect, far from it but I'm not going very far off the rails and getting straight back on track.

There's one area where I'm not performing in a stellar manner and that is exercise. I had every intention of going to my step class this lunchtime, but when work intruded and put paid to that, I was frankly relieved. I suppose I could have nipped out for a quick run this evening but I chose not to have time. I can see what I'm doing and I'm not proud of myself here.
So, I need to try a bit harder to make sure that exercise doesn't get shoved out of the picture. I know it's rainy and miserable but that is no excuse!
Of course I'm confident that I won't skive off from seeing the lovely Huw tomorrow morning at 7am, that is a given. So there is a silver lining. I've been so consistent with my personal training for the last 18 months which is why I don't dare reduce the number of sessions per week even though he is ruinously expensive! Credit crunch be damned.
In other news, where does everyone stand on the John Sergeant vs the Judges flim flam on Strictly? I'm firmly against poor old John. Think he should be booted out unceremoniously and let the rest of us get back to enjoying pretty girls in nice frocks and hunky chaps with bulging biceps!! I'm so shallow..... Vote for anyone but John!!!