Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Monday, 30 November 2009

What happened??

Over the last few weeks I've been a bit subdue: staying in more, lacking in energy, my eating hasn't been great and my exercise has been lacklustre. I've stuck with it but really only doing the minimum required rather than pushing myslef and I haven't enjoyed it. So yesterday, I had a bit of an epiphany and now I feel like a different person!!

What am I? Split personality or what? No problem sticking to a modect healthy breakfast. No complaints from my chimp about going swimming at lunchtime. Walked into town first to buy my lunch and picked up my formerly "usual" lunch which has of late been supplemented with fruit and energy bars etc. Again, no complaints from old Chimpetta. And then straight off to the pool with a spring in my step. Bizarre.

And swimming was a joy. Usually on a Monday it's a bit of a nightmare - too many people in the fast lane who don't actually swim fast and to make matters worse don't let me on at the turns etc etc But today, hardly anyone there, a lovely empty lane and I felt silky smooth and strong. So much so that I increased my usual top limit from 52 to 56 lengths!

And I sprinted for 4 laps at the end - really pushed it as though I was in a race! I felt a little silly arriving at the end of each length puffing and kicking for no apparent reason but it's very liberating. It reminded me of being on the track at the velodrome. Then we had to really push ourselves to the point of exhaustion and had a team of trainers exhorting us on. I used to enjoy it in a perverse kind of way and reflected that it's rare for grown up women to push themselves to that stage. I couldn't run far or fast enough to generate that sensation due to my weight and foot injury but swimming is very forgiving - as long as you have sufficient technique to go fast you can do it.

I felt young and powerful which is good way to feel on a cold Monday afternoon. Long may this positive phase continue.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

That's better

I'm already feeling much more focussed and on top of things. I have had a few weeks of drifting: spending a bit too much time on the sofa and not enough exercising or eating properly. It has not been really bad, just sub-par.

And I began to feel it on my thighs and hips and tummy. Just that little bit of extra coverage which makes exercising less comfortable, clothes less flattering and one's morale dip.

So, rather than let that go from not great to bad to worse, I determined to do something about it. Of course the weather this morning did NOT help. My chimp had the best excuse ever for not going out on a mountain bike ride - it was freezing and absolutely chucking it down for solidly several hours. Even when I'm feeling motivated, I'm no match for that sort of challenge.

But I didn't give in to doing nothing. First of all, I thought I'd have a go at going to church. I used to go relatively regularly but my attendance has dwindled to almost never over the last 5 or 6 years. My friends' daughter's christening last week reminded me how much I used to like it so I thought I'd go this morning. Dashed up there only to find that where there should have been a Family Communion at 11am there was in fact a joint service in Hathersage at 10am. Thwarted!!

This could have been a good excuse to do nothing but I still didn't yeild. Back home - chores and keeping a steady eye on the rain.

Eventually it started to lighten in intensity so at around 12.30 so I got changed, grabbed the dogs and headed out for a quick walk. This was an exercise in chimp management - I kept saying that I would only do a short walk round the block, then it was a 45 minute crcuit; then Shelagh pulled to the right so I extended it to the river circuit which is about an hour and includes hills and eventuallly I extended it right to the top of Shatton and had a good solid, muddy and very hilly 2 hour tramp!

If I had set out to do route that I would not have made it past the front door!! But, just pushing onwards and waiting 'til I was already cold and wet but enjoying myself did the trick.

Once back home I have been much more productive - paperwork, washing, hoovering and not eating. I have targets too - to lose 2 lbs next week and to do some exercise every day, Monday to Friday.

I was in a little "Fog" for a while there but I seem to have got myself out of it without too much damage. Now to keep up with the good intentions.

I'll let you know how I get on.


Only time for a quick post - I might try again later. But I wanted to sit down and write these words.

I'm feeling fat and I've gained some weight and I am going to do something to sort this situation out.

There are many reasons to sort this out but one is pressing - there is a strong possibility that there may be a TV follow-up programme in April and I'm NOT going to admit to not having kept the weight off!!!

Now is the time before it becomes a big task. NOW, while it is still eminently manageable.

So, on this kind of cryptic and ill-explained note, I'm going to go out into the cold for a bike ride! Wish me luck.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

At last

Me and Jen hamming it up on my birthday. We've been best friends (yes I know - I sound like a school girl!) since September 1980 when we met on our first night at boarding school - she was in the bunk above me and we shared a dorm for 7 years straight! I've got a picture of us taken on holiday when we were 18 in Torremolinos (yes I know that too!!) and I don't think we've changed much!! I also know that I'm lying here but you can't prove it !!

Oh, and I've learned another thing from this pic - it's not flattering for the person taking the shot, you should always get the other person to hold the camera - mental note!!

I seem to have had a season of 40th birthday events over the last 3 weeks. A big party on 7 November which was fantastic; various lunches and meet-ups with pals following on from the party - either people who couldn't make it or people who made it but wanted to have a proper chat which was not possible with the big crowd (hark at me - all conceited there!!); works lunches; a night at my school friend, Jenny's house with 2 other school pals on my actual birthday and finally last night - village birthday drinks in the pub. I feel like the Queen!!

But it's been wonderful. I don't normally make a big fuss of my birthday. Even for my 30th I just had a few people to the pub and then back to mine for many many drinks. So it was great to make an effort and then be rewarded by so many friends making an effort back. Maybe 40 is that sort of age - the taking stock and looking back as well as forward sort of age?

All in all, I'm very happy with where I am at this pivotal age. I've learned so much about myself in the last few years and have even put quite a bit of it into practise. Would I have been as content with myself and my life if I had not started this losing weight and growing up malarkey at the beginning of 2007?? I doubt it very very much.

So, it's been great and this blog has been a huge part of it too. Recording what makes me happy and why I'm upset. Taking the photos and actually showing them to people. Meeting new friends and learning learning learning.

Now it's all over - I'm just 40 now and I've got someone else's do to go to - little Fallon Rose is being christened tomorrow and there's a big party in the pub this afternoon! I'm going to walk up through the wind and rain, catch the second half of Bamford FC vs Tideswell on the Rec and then enjoy being part of the crowd rather than the centre of attention. Good luck with your first 40 years Fallon - I hope you have as much fun as I've had!!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Am I still "me"??

We're back to Botswana - God I loved that place. Now that the nights are dark and it's cold and rainy I love the photos even more. the animals were amazing and the lovely dry heat....sigh... An African Fish Eagle

Male kudu
Baboons en masse at the river side - there must have been a hundred or more of them!

Pied kingfishers

warthogs often eat from their front knees - weird creatures!

We were caught up in a herd of elephants heading for the river at top speed - it was exciting but a little scary too when the adults fronted up to us to protect the babies!

This guy definitely had his scary face on!

Oxpicker on male impala

Ugly vulture - there were loads of them around here on the body of a dead elephant - the sky was black with them and marabou storks at one point.
female impala - so pretty

male warthogs rutting - spring is sprung etc

elegant male kudu

I read a comment from Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie on my last post which referred to something I said in a very early post - it must be from March 2007!!! She had gone back and read my early posts for background - very diligent eh?! Anyway, in this old post, I was talking about how people had reacted to my going on a diet and starting to lose serious weight. Most were positive but some expressed concerns and doubts and one, my friend Andy, said that he was worried I wouldn't be "me" if I lost weight.

So, in her comment, Debbie asked me if I thought I was still "me" after all this time (and weight) has passed and if not, who am I??

It's set me thinking which is excellent news, so thanks Debbie. The short answer is that I'm not the same person that Andy was speaking to all those years and months ago. I feel like a totally different person since Lighter Life ended and often think of my pre-LL self in the third person (bizarrely). I feel sometimes sad for "her"; proud of "her"; occasionally ashamed of "her"; occasionally frustrated for and by "her". It's weird. I know the past is a foreign country but this is full-on space travel - as though I moved out of one body and mind and into another but took a lot of the furniture and decorations with me.

So, I do feel as though I'm not that "me" anymore. (By the by, I suspect Andy would agree with me that this is NOT a bad thing.)

That's how I feel but I suspect the truth is a lot simpler. Although I think I'm totally different, I suspect the person I am now is the person I always was but without all the coping mechanisms and disguises I had learned to apply to my fat-girl self.

I suspect that my friends see some changes but not nearly as many as I do. I was much more of a people pleaser then, reluctant to turn others down, always arranging things and taking on responsibility for things. Now, I'm happy to arrange an outing or event once in a while but don't feel I need to do it to earn friendship or respect. I used to be always bubbly and "up", always wore make-up and dressed smartly. Now, I'll do that if I feel like it but if I don't want to go out or, if I'm out and don't feel like being the life and soul, I'm happier to sit back and feel confident that this won't affect whether people "like" me or not.

Also, a lot of people have been asking me recently whether the TV programme "worked". Which is very tricky to answer. Short answer - I lost one and a half stone and I'm less miserable now, so yes. Long answer - the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I have not managed to lose any weight since the programme finished filming. Well, I had lost a few lbs but a couple of bad weeks have reversed that. So that means that I have maintained my weight for 4 months. Not bad. I seem to be less up and down. Bad times are fewer and of a shorter duration. Exercise is a LOT more consistent. Weighing myself is less daunting and less fraught with anxiety and potential depression. Weight is not such a personal test of sucess or failure; it's just something I need to keep on top of. I'm happier.

So, even by the long route, the answer has to be a heartfelt "Yes, the TV programme did work" with a big caveat "so far". I'm being vigilant to make sure bad weeks like the last couple don't happen often and are soon ended.

When I say "bad", it's all relative. I still did exercise, just less than I usually do. I ate too much, extras here and there but not packets of biscuits or binges or anything. Anyway, I'm going to be blogging a lot more too as a bad week is worse if I don't sit down here and think about things. But for now - I'm off to the pub quiz!!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


Pics taken on my mobile phone (hence the not great quality) from a mountain bike ride a few weeks ago with Vicky. It was our first "proper" ride and we were so excited about reaching the top of Win Hill on bikes!!

Note the rutted tracks - they made it tricky to ride, you were constantly having to pick a lane and then getting stuck!!

My bikey pal Vicky!

I've just been back in my blog and read my post from 13 October entitled "Me and my monkey". I realise that not a great deal has changed since then. I'm slightly less profligate with the extras I identified but there are still quite a few of these knocking around. Cappucinos from McDonalds in the morning; a biscuit at lunchtime; spuds with supper and glasses of wine when I would not previously have had one.

I need to tighten up a little bit more. Really ratchet the extras out of my life. So, tomorrow's mini-target is very simple - not to have a McDonalds capp in the morning and not to have any biscuits at work. I need to break the habits a couple at a time.

I've been working from home today as I had an appointment with a podiatrist near home in the middle of the day. She confirmed what I suspected - that I have developed plantar fascitis in my left heel. It's quite painful AFTER I've been running or for a long walk. Grrrr. This I do not need.

After my cold and rainy run on Monday night I felt fine, shower, supper and sit down in front of the telly. Then I got up to make a cup of tea - ow ow ow ow. So sore and it was sore all day on Tuesday.

The podiatrist was about 12. She looked so sweet, like a Sindy doll with massive blue eyes, so I wasn't initially hopeful but she seemed to be very competent. She's getting me some insoles to support my arch and correct a slight pro-nate (?) in that foot in the hope of relieving the pressure on the heel and preventing further damage to the ligament under my arch. She also said that, as long as I can stand the pain, I can continue to go running occasionally and recommended Ibuleve gel before running and ice massage afterwards. Is it worth it I ask myself?!

Yes. I'm loving the exercise at the moment and anything which gives me more choice and no excuse to skive if worth a little discomfort.

I went for a mountain bike ride at lunchtime today from home. It was the absolute worst timing! I could only go at lunchtime but just as I set off it began to rain; cold, icy, hard rain. I didn't falter but I do admit to cutting the ride slightly short after 45 minutes of splashing through muddy puddles and when I could no longer feel my thighs!! Then, as I stepped out of the shower I glanced out of the window to see a blue sky and even a hint of sunshine....thanks for that!!

The schedule for the rest of the weeks is - swimming tomorrow as I have an early meeting which has put paid to personal training. Swimming or a class on Friday. Mountain biking on Saturday (and dancing like a mad thing at my 40th birthday party of course!!) and R&R on Sunday (with a little light dog walking of course).

It's all good.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Running again

Some more pics from our sunset river cruise on the Chobe river. The highlight was being on the river when the elephants were crossing.

After a somewhat "loose" weekend which involved slightly too much food and drink and not quite enough exercise, I was determined to start the week well and for that I needed to do some aerobic exercise today. I intended to go swimming at lunchtime but was called into a last minute meeting so couldn't make it. So, that leaves the gym or running after work. The gym is boring and the only class I could make was weights based so not that aerobic-y. Running it was then.

My chimp was pretty quiet when I came to this conclusion. Surprisingly she didn't try and talk me out of it at all. Not even when it started to rain a cold, sleety rain just before we set off!!

I stopped running a few months ago because I had developed heel pain. I thought if I rested it for a while it might go away. Well, it hasn't so I'm seeing a bio-mechanical expert on Wednesday but in the meantime, figured I may as well run as long as I don't push it too hard.

So, 4 months off - what was it going to be like? Terrible probably.

Actually no. It was fine. Cold, wet, sludgy leaves underfoot, dark etc etc But fine. I must be reasonably fit because I did the 2.5 miles in the same time as before and I wasn't knackered when I finished.

It's a shame that I can't push the distances up much but at least I know that, if I'm stuck for exercise, I can always find 30 minutes to go out for a quick run in the evenings. No excuses! It's a bit like having the wattbike again.

I might even get myself sorted with an ipod and start listening to these newfangled podcast thingies eh Shauna!!