Midsummer evening

Midsummer evening

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Not waving, but not drowning either...

I know there is an assumption that if you go quiet, you're falling off the waggon. Well, that's sometimes the case but this time not. My waggon is trundling forward with me still firmly at the reins; it has not shed a great deal of its load and still feels pretty ponderous and slow but at least it has not gained any new baggage!

Right, let me leave that metaphor before it trips me up.....

I've just been really busy and circumstances have conspired against me. So, lets catch up.

We went to dancing on Monday evening and had yet another revision session with the female half of the teaching pair, Tony still being on his holidays. It was better in that we seem to have re-mastered the quickstep but she spent ages on the samba which Rich is not keen on (I quite like it!) and she just isn't as inspirational a teacher as Tony. She speaks very quietly and, to be heard, has the music on low so, even when you're doing well, you miss the sensation of being "part of" the music. Anyway, Tony will be back on Monday so hopefully things will move on then.

I went swimming with a skip in my step on Tuesday lunchtime and managed a sprightly 56 lengths. I was very pleased with that and found that I enjoyed swimming more on Tuesdays than Monday as the fast lane is full width. So maybe cutting back on my personal training will not be too bad. Also Rich is talking seriously about joining the gym for a few months to train for the walk so I'll have a gym partner soon which will help plug the gap.

Tuesday evening found us at Hillsborough for a league match against the mighty Yeovil Town. They brought a massive following of about 40 but fairplay to them for travelling all the way to Sheffield on a Tuesday night in January!! After the debacle at Leyton Orient on Saturday (an abject 4-nil defeat) the crowd was edgy and demanding. The team selection was bizarre and the players didn't seem to have met each other before so our play was hesitant, error-prone and dispiriting. We were 2-1 down when the referee sent 2 of Yeovil's players off and awarded us a penalty. Phew! Then the penalty which we scored had to be retaken and was promptly sky-ed over the bar and our 11 men spent the next 25 minutes desperately trying to beat their 9! They eventually managed an equaliser but made such hard work of it and played so so badly that the boos were ringing out (which I loathe) and the crowd was getting more and more frustrated and aggrieved. Not a pleasant atmosphere. We're meant to be supporters but sounded more like hectorers.

Hey ho

My bad mood which had come on over Tuesday evening (both before the game and after) continued and deepened. I didn't sleep well and started to fret about all sorts of things. I just felt glum and low and blue. I made one big change to my usual MO for dealing with occasional black spells which was to tell Rich. To say that I needed him to help me and to point out some of his actions which were contributing to my feeling low. I didn't used to do this and took everything on myself which led to bottling up, eating and generally wallowing.

I also wrote a long post about about grim I felt. But didn't post it 'cos, on re-reading, it was too much - too much navel-gazing, too intimate, too "woe-is-me". But it was useful for me to really analyse why I felt grim. It's not a habitual state for me!! In conclusion, many factors but mainly I was tired, stressed and have been doing too much and not having enough downtime. And maybe real life is setting in between Rich and me too soon and he needed a gentle hint to show his appreciation of me a bit more!!

Through the grimness which was Wednesday I soldiered on. I forced myself and my reluctant chimp to the swimming pool but it was not one of those occasions where we end up enjoying it despite being reluctant to go. We went, struggled through 44 lengths (40 being my minimum) and came back, still in a foul mood!!

Went home to cuddles, promises of a nice meal (liver and bacon with onion gravy and mash - heaven.....) and a night on the sofa watching 2 episodes Silent Witness. My mood lifted immediately. That's how easy it was...all the navel-gazing, angst and ennui and all I needed was for someone to recognise my tiredness and offer a comfy shoulder to snuggle into.

But alas, it was not to be. We had a small house fire instead!

It was not that dramatic to be fair, I just couldn't resist exaggerating for effect. A bulb blew and tripped the fuse while I was cooking supper and Rich was in the shower. Wandered through with a torch to flip the fuse switch back up and saw nasty smelling electrical fumes/smoke coming from the fusebox. Erm..... Cleared the cupboard out of flammable objects and reached in to shut the power off just as the fusebox gently burst into flames with a mellow "wuuff". Erm...... Yelling for Rich to get out of the shower and come and sort this out, grabbing a towel smother it while wondering about the possiblity of electrocution....but thankfully the flames gradually died down of their own accord, starved of oxygen in their little box before they managed to burn through the plastic casing. Nasty smell, no power, half cooked supper on the stove. Not quite the restful evening I had in mind.

We finished supper by candlelight discussing our logistical next moves. Things are never simple are they? Without electricity we have no mobile signal, no landline and no internet. Ended up having to rootle round in the dark for my old mobile phone to find the landlady's number, then stand out in a freezing cold, howling gale with 1 bar of signal calling her. She was a star. She arranged for an electrician to come out first thing this morning and was off work so dealt with it all herself. Yay!

We spent last night in Rich's flat which was a bit cold initially but at least got warmer rather than colder and had a working telly.... The dogs thought we were going on holiday - what a thrill - a late night packing operation in the dark and a trip to a "new place" which "smells of cat" (to their noses - not mine)!!

So I'm still very tired but not in the least glum or grumpy today. Getting to personal training was another logistical trial but we managed and work has been peaceful. French is cancelled - yay (I enjoy it but some nights really do not need to be traipsing round the countryside..). Vicky (with newborn twins) has asked me round for a legal consultation and a baby cuddle - yay! So things are looking up.

And I've lost a lb - yay!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Consequences and Folderol

Oh dear, we could have a problem - Shelagh has decided that today she likes both toy AND socks.... what will poor Minty do?
But Muuuuum, it s'not fair.....

Tough.

Peridot mentioned the difficulty of finding a balance between enjoying life and losing weight. I have been able to find the balance between enjoying life (to the full) and not gaining weight but translating this into actually losing is proving somewhat harder.

In the 3 weeks since I started my January push I have lost and re-gained the same 2 or 3 lbs a couple of times but, ultimately, my chart tells me unequivocably that I have neither lost nor gained anything. I weighed this morning exactly (to the decimal point) the same as I weighed 3 weeks ago.

Heyho - if this was a football match and we were drawing after a torrid first half I would be philosophical about it - we went ahead, lost our lead, went behind, equalised...oh well, it's all still to play for.

That is where I am now. No harm has been done. I have re-introduced regular exercise into my routine and learned about a few pitfalls to avoid and it's all still to play for.

I like that way of looking at it. But I can't allow complacency to set in. Although nothing (bar 3 weeks) has been lost, I really want to see progress towards my goals in the next few weeks. Especially as there is a real point to these goals - I will be hauling my body (whatever it weighs) up the 3 highests mountains of Scotland, England and Wales respectively in the space of 24 hours in July. I would rather that this hauling experience is a pleasant one....really.

I didn't go swimming this lunchtime. I was going to but really had to go shopping for Rich's birthday present. I couldn't see when else I might go as I'm away with my old schoolfriends, Jenny, Kirsten and Stephanie this coming weekend and will be with Rich for the following one. Also, there are still some sales left on at Meadowhall..... I was sucessful too so don't feel remotely guilty. It's nice when a plan comes together. I had something in mind and, not only could I get it, it was the right colour and the right size and it had been reduced in price twice....the Gods of Shopping NEVER work that felicitously in MY favour....

On a different note, I went to see "The King's Speech" last week with another schoolfriend, Louise, who only lives a couple of miles away from me now. Despite this, we hardly ever get together. She has kids and we have different social circles and busy lives. This is a shame as we get on well when we do make the effort. Anyway, we made it to the film and were calculating the last time we had a similar outing just the 2 of us (we have met at a few parties and 'do's and in passing). We worked out that it was to see "The Young Victoria"! So, we only get together to go and see films about the royal family apparently...although we missed Helen Mirren in "The Queen"!!

Anyway, partly because "The King's Speech" was so good and enjoyable (go and see it if you haven't!!) and partly because we feel guilty about not putting any effort into our friendship no doubt, Louise has suggested that we go and see "Black Swan". Hmmmmm. I heard Mark Kermode's review of this on 5 Live last Friday and he raved about it. This usually means that I will hate it with a passion. He mentioned that it is "as good as" "Mullholland Drive"!! That was a truly terrible film in my not very humble opinion. But, I don't want to turn her down as I would like to get into a semi-regular routine and keep up with a bit'o'culture like....

So, I mulled it over and decided that I would open my mind, swallow, grin, bear it and think of England....and, erm, go and see the film. Wish me luck! Has anyone else seen it yet?

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Big City for the Weekend

I went for a walk on Thursday lunch while working from home. What a beautiful day it was. Crisp, blue sky and glorious sunshine.

The White Peak countryside - limestone fields and endless dry stone walls.
I'm always drawn to lone trees in winter...no idea why.

Trying to get these 2 to pose for me is a nightmare - don't think they much like the sitting still part of it...


An isolated, hidden farmyard full of ancient cars in various states of scrap. That one is lovely and shiny though so there is still hope for the rest...

We went down to London for the weekend. I had arranged for us to stay with my old Uni mate, Natalie for the weekend. Rich and I were going to see Sheffield Wednesday against Leyton Orient. I had originally arranged to stay with another pal but that fell through so I rang Nat at short notice and begged a bed for the weekend. It suited her that we were occupied on Saturday as she was going to a Decorative Arts and Antiques fair in Battersea Park with her mum.

Made me chuckle. Her heading off to look at overpriced "decorative" geegaws and Rich and I hitting the tube to Leyton!!

Anyway, we had a good time; found a rough and ready pub which welcomed away fans and sank a few before the game. The match started well - we bossed them in the first half - then deteriorated to dreadfulness. We ended up collapsing to a horrible 4-nil defeat. Just abject. The away crowd was singing for our own manager's job (Rich and I weren't but a section were....hate it) and our chances of promotion have nearly disappeared.

Blegh, blegh and double blegh!!

But apart from that it was a mostly a lovely weekend. It started badly for Nat though. She was burgled in the night of Thursday night. She lives alone and heard a crash at 2.30am followed by the smell of cigarette smoke. On investigating, she disturbed the burglars and found that they had simply pushed in her newly (and very poorly) installed window unit while the bars on the windows were removed during building works. The toerags had got away with her Apple Mac, 2 Blackberries, Ipod and bits and bobs. (She later recovered the laptop from a pawn broker round the corner...).


Grim though. With no landline, she was unable to call the cops without leaving the house and knocking up the neigbours and I could tell she was jumpy. I was pleased that we were there for a couple of nights anyway.
Made me thanks my lucky stars that I live in a village where bars on windows are not necessary and break ins are few and far between and not usually carried out by drug addicts breaking into 'house while one sleeps upstairs.

But after that, great. Good chats, nice meals out (she has no working kitchen while the building works are being laboured over) and much catching up. Rich passed the "friend test" with flying colours and I enjoyed being with them both.
So yay!

Food and exercise?? Erm, not so hot. Lots of walking of course, it being London but also lots of lovely food. Gastro pub on Friday night (rabbit casserole), trendy Indian on Saturday (Murgh Masala) and full English in caff on Sunday. Not to mention the chicken kebab after the football (strictly medicinal after the appalling result you understand) and the 4 pints and share of 3 bottles of red.....yikes!!

Weigh in tomorrow morning might be a bit or a worry......but onwards and upwards and plenty of exercise and healthy optoins next week Lesley, ok??!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Which is which??

Okay bloggers - there is no prize for this but who can tell Shelagh and Minty apart in my banner pic?? Which is which?

I think it's easy but some of my neighbours tell me they can't see the difference.....

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Me and My Chimp

Me and My Chimp
A short, one Act play

Featuring:

Me
Chimp

SCENE

Wednesday 19 January 2011. A lovely sunny day in Rotherham. Our heroine (Me) is at work but is planning to go swimming at lunchtime. She has had a quiet morning and has nothing in her diary over lunch which might interfere with her plans.

We join her at 11.55, working away and planning to leave for the pool at 12.10:

Enter Chimp, without fanfare but confidently.

Chimp: You know, I'm really very hungry now. In fact it's making me feel a bit weak. I'm not sure I'm quite up to swimming this lunchtime.
Me: Don't be silly we'll be fine. We had that apple not long ago.
Chimp: No really, I think I might be coming down with something. You should have brought something more substantial than an apple to eat mid-morning. I really don't want to go swimming now. Besides, we went swimming on Monday and training yesterday and we haven't lost anything this week, it's hardly worth the effort. You need a day off each week. We can go on Friday.
Me: But we really need to do lots of exercise if we're going to get fit for the Three Peaks Challenge and I want to lose weight. Look, there's my chart pinned up; we're doing really well. We can't just give up on swimming when there's no real reason not to go.....can we...?
Chimp: (whining) But I feel terrible now, really hungry and faint. We wouldn't enjoy it and it would put us off going next time. We're going to training tomorrow and you're working from home so we can go for an extra walk and we'll feel better on Friday. Look, those sandwiches you've made look great. We could just stay here and eat them and read this new book and surf the internet. [Then more virtuously] And we'll have a short lunchbreak so can do loads of work and still leave earlier tonight and get home to see Richard before you go out to the cinema this evening. It wouldn't be fair just to rush out without having supper together.... now would it.....?
Me: Weeeeell, I am really hungry and the sandwiches do look great and I would like to get home early and spend time with Richard this evening....and, is that a sore throat I can feel....?

Our Heroine reaches for the sandwiches and unwraps them then picks up her phone and logs onto the internet....

A few minutes later she sees a post on Facebook from Tom, the friend of Richard who is organising the group doing the Three Peaks Challenge. He has set up a special page so that the group can bond and share training tips etc. His post reads: "First cycle into work of the year went well. Not lost too much fitness from the lack of exercise, food and beer over Christmas."

Me: That's it! If he is getting up and cycling to work to get fit we need to do something. We don't want to be left behind walking up those mountains now do we? And it's not fair to hold the group back by being slow. And anyway, we SAID we were going swimming this lunchtime; we can't back out for no reason. Look at our chart! We've already lost 2lbs and we're making good progress but we need to stick to it. This sort of shilly shallying around is not helping!
Chimp: Yeah, s'pose...
Me: Besides, we've already had half a sandwich. That'll stop us feeling faint.
Chimp: 'kay....although, we've had something to eat; you're not meant to swim for an hour after eating. We'll get cramp....
Me: Put the other one and get moving.

Our Heroine replies with thanks to the FB post and then stands and starts putting on her coat.

Chimp: But, I've just remembered, you don't have any cash on you as you had to leave it all out for the dog walker. We don't have time now to walk into town and get cash out before swimming; lane swimming ends at 1. Oh, what a shame, we can't go after all. Oh well, we'll go on Friday.
Me: Oh no. You're right....NO! We can borrow some cash and walk into town after our swim to pay it back. Get your coat and shut it!!

Chimp and Me exit to pool to tumultuous (and imaginary) applause

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

4 Years

Both Jennette (Pastaqueen) and Shauna (Dietgirl) are celebrating major milestones in their dieting and blogging life this week, or "fativersaries" as PQ styles it. PQ has been at it for 7 years and DG 10! They are inspirations and very funny, intelligent women so hats off to both of them.

As I am a bear with very little brain, these anniversaires have set me off thinking about my own, wait for it, "journey". I, in common with nearly every dieter I know, started my serious (Lighter Life) diet in the month of January, 12 January 2007 to be exact. So it has been just over 4 years of dieting, exercising, blogging and learning.

I had a look back at some early posts to see what I had been thinking back then. 3 main things struck me. Firstly, how certain I was that this time the diet was going to work - that it would be a long road and a hard one but that I would get there! This is strange considering how many diets I had done before LL and how, although I'd usually lost some weight, I had never become slim or changed my way of life. I wonder where that confidence came from?

Secondly, why did I start this blog that night, the day before I went to my first LL meeting? I had never before even read a blog and was only dimly aware what they were. Had not been on any weight loss forums. I think I heard something on the radio about someone keeping a diary of trying to get pregnant and thought I'd do the same re losing weight. I'm so glad I did as I'm sure it has been a major factor in succeeding and keeping most of the weight off and I've met (both virtually and in real life) so many great people through it.

Finally, right from the start I can see that the problems between D and I were uppermost in my mind even back then. I talk often about rows and niggles in the early months. Later on, when I found out that D was reading my blog, I began to self-censor a bit, especially after he went ballistic about me being on the TV show and insisted that I must delete everything about him!! But at the beginning, what I was saying was just part and parcel of my dieting experience. Part of me being honest about what helped and hindered me. It's not all bad obviously and there are often good times but the mentions of rows and niggles leap out at me now and make me remember how bad some of hte bad times were. I realise that the foundations of us splitting up have been there for years, years and years. I wonder if we could have saved us but suspect for this to have happened, we would have had to have taken steps a long time ago.

So - a summary of the last 4 years in weight terms:

I started out at 19 stone 11lbs in January 2007
I lost 9 stone and at my lowest reached 10 stone 10 lbs
I gradually gained weight, "peaking" at 14 stones 12 lbs
I settled into my longest period of stability last year at between 13 stone 7-11lbs
I'm currently just over that at 14 stone dead.

In other measures:

I wore size 22/24 clothes in 2007
I got down to a slim 12 and occasional 10 (which looked a bit too thin on me to be honest)
I ran the Bamford Fell race up Win Hill in 2007 and a half marathon in 2008
I took part in a reality TV programme in 2009 and learned how to cycle on a velodrome and all about my chimp and healthier mental patterns

I left my husband in 2010 and started a new relationship with a lovely bloke (not quite in that order to be fair...)
I now exercise fairly consistently, walking, personal training, swimming, occasional runs, the gym
I'm training for the Three Peak Challenge in July with Richard
I'm now a 16 (well, a 14 in Wallis....)

Where would I like to be in a year's time?

The divorce sorted, house sold (for a massive profit preferably...) and financially stable
Rich and I happy and healthy and still having loads of fun together
A slim size 14 (well, 12 in Wallis...) and weighing around 12 stone 7-11lbs
Golf handicap down to 16 (currently 19 so that is quite ambitious)
I want to be able to waltz, quickstep, foxtrot and tango (better than I can at present)

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Not so ropey

Luckily Tuesday's ropiness did not herald a return to full lurgy mode. Was just a rough afternoon. Phew! Don't mind the odd cough/cold but don't like 2 in a row.

For the record, I don't exercise through a bad illness but, if I just feel a bit off, I will try to do something as otherwise my chimp learns to make me feel ropey in order to evade exercise. She's a sneaky cow my chimp (somewhat confusingly).

Peridot has quite rightly pulled me up on possible anti-short-person rhetoric. In my defence, I never indicated that the 2 men being short had anything to do with their bad dancing! (The jury is still out on whether the wearing of bouffy hair and blouson leather jackets while dancing has any effect.) I just said that they were very short and that, when they stopped dead in the middle of the floor, it was quite easy to trip over them. Their wives (equally short) were pretty good dancers though....

Work was a 'mare yesterday. I have advised on a matter for a while but had my advice consistently ignored. Now I have to deal with it and the people who ignored my advice are now expecting me to miraculously make it all better. From a position of weakness. They have tied my hands behind my back legally speaking and now are expecting me to fight the good fight and tacitly blaming me for having to do a bad deal. I was so hacked off with it. And it all happened at lunchtime too so I couldn't go swimming. Blegh!

I did that dangerous thing - fired off a snappy email to a boss. The minute I pressed send I started to worry. It wasn't rude or anything but definitely a bit stroppy. A colleague read it and said "oh yes, you told him off good and proper" which didn't make me feel any better, "him" being the second most senior officer in the Council....yikes. Anyway, it came good in the end. The boss explained that he hadn't done anything irrevocable so the work situation is not as bad as I had feared and I was able to spin my stroppy email as professional "concern" that we do the best deal possible etc...

But by then the moment for exercise had well and truly passed. I came out of the meeting late and found a text from Rich saying he was going to the pub (which he doesn't do often to be fair) and it just sounded so appealing! So, an hour's drive later, I joined him for a couple and we had a nice de-stressing evening. No targets met, no run, a couple of glasses of wine - on the face of it a poor diet day. But that is NOT the most important thing. Being happy and relaxed is much more important. And I am.

And, as it happened, I was not punished. I have now lost the pesky 3 lb (again) and am pushing to make sure that it is gone for good this time. I went to training this morning and felt much better than I did on Tuesday.

Sad though as I have come to the conclusion that I can't afford to continue with personal training twice a week. I'm going to have to cut back to once, at least for the time being and find some fail-safe substitute. The good thing about training (about from the lovely Huw) was that, whatever else was going on, it was a bare minimum of 2 strenuous exercise sessions every week. I have stuck to that for nearly 4 years which is the most consistent run of exercise I have ever managed. I have to hope that I have learned enough from Huw, the TV show and this blog not to need him twice a week but it is still sad and a little scary.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Ropey

How to stick to the straight and narrow when you're feeling ropey. I really hope that the cough/cold I had just after Christmas (which had receded but not quite disappeared) is not making a return fresh and re-vitalised. I'm feeling horrible this afternoon. All achy and hot-and-cold.

It could be that I pushed a bit hard at training this morning before I was properly ready so I hope a nice quiet night in will sort me out. It's always difficult to work out whether you're copping out or looking after yourself? Or, to put it another way, is it your chimp manipulating you or you being sensible? Mindful of my bloody chimp, I try to keep exercising when I'm ill and just lower the intensity. So, fingers crossed that I'm not in for back-to-back bouts of lurgy.

In happier news, we went dancing last night for the first time since mid-December. It was lovely to be back to it and clearly everyone else felt the same as the class was packed. Apart from a few couples who never really settled into it, very few couple have dropped out. There were 2 couples who came together (probably 2 brothers and their wives at a guess) who were all very short, Mediterranean looking and dressed in a rather 80's style (bouffy hair and blouson leather jackets anyone?? On the men....) But week after week they turned up and the blokes just could not seem to get the hang of it. It started off being funny but after a while it was a bit annoying as you kept on tripping over them (they're really very short) when they stopped, yet again, mid-waltz. Well, sadly but inevitably they seem to have given up on the dancing. They gave it a good go but it was not for them... I admired their commitment actually; I'm not sure whether I would have stuck to it as long for so little return. Maybe the wives were insistent - they did look a little formidable!

So now everyone is much of a muchness in terms of standard and we are just as likely to cause a crash as anyone else. We're starting to learn some back stories too and getting a little more friendly with more of the couples.

There are 2 all female couples. One could be a romantic couple or could be 2 mates learning to dance, especially as the older woman who takes the male role seems to be able to dance already so might just be tagging along for her friend's benefit. The other couple though was a bit of an enigma (and I'm very nosey about these things). 2 young, pretty girls who always arrive separately and the one who takes the male role is not a natural dancer at all and doesn't really seem to enjoy it. The "girl" though is well into it. Anyway, I got talking to her one evening and it was such a sad story. She looks about 12, slight and dark haired and appears very delicate and ethereal. She was pretty timid too. But once she got talking she couldn't be stopped, it all poured out. It turns out that she had been widowed by an accident within 8 weeks of getting married nearly 3 years ago now. Her husband had been a musician and they had always wanted to learn to dance so now she's giving it a go. She said she'd hardly been out since he died, just existed so the dance classes are her first new experience. Her mate must be a really good friend to commit to it week after week. But how sad. To be widowed so quickly and so young. I'd guess she's about 27 now if that.

Anyway, now it makes me think, everytime I see her, how important it is to make the most of what you've got and to keep learning, doing things, trying new stuff and not putting things off for another day.

Rich and I love the dancing. It's not always easy; we struggled with the quickstep last night, just could not get the steps right and we do get narky with each other on occasion but it's brilliant to be doing something so lovely together. I love it when a dance is going right, like the waltz did last night, and you just lock eyes and float round the room. Or where you get the giggles, start showing off or taking the mick out of each other. You feel like a proper couple. I'm really looking forward to the day when we find ourselves at a wedding or Christmas party or something and can just take to the floor and waltz or quickstep round the floor.

And finally, a quick update on my mini-targets:

1) I went swimming yesterday and personal training this morning. Tick.
2) No chocs or biccies have passed my lips at work. Tick
3) The chart is still not up.But am going to do the WiiFit thing suggested by
Liz in her comment. Will keep at it...
4) I haven't had a big heavy conversation about dieting with Rich - there is no need - but he knows I'm trying to cut back and lose weight and is down with that. Tick

New targets:

1) Go swimming tomorrow lunchtime (Wednesday)
2) Stick to the no snacks at work thing.
3) Use a smaller plate for suppers; this is meant to work and might be a good way of reducing my portions.
4) Set up Wiifit.

Ups and Downs...

[Note - I typed this up yesterday (Monday) but only managed to post it Tuesday morning hence the slightly out-of-sync timings...]

I am determined to get settled into this new challenge and really cement the sensible eating and increased exercise back into my life. Generally speaking it's been going well but progress does not follow a straightline course. And that is very frustrating!

I set out some mini-targets on Thursday so I may as well report back on how well I did with those.

1. Dig out and use the chart for my wall. Our survey says - XX. I have got the chart but it remains folded up in my handbag. I have weighed every morning though just not written the results (good or bad) up for public consumption. I am resisting doing this but don't know why as it helped me before and I'm not embarrassed in front of Rich as he knows what I weigh etc. Think I am frightened that I will fail and the chart will record that failure. But if I don't use it, I am more likely not to succeed - derrr...

2. Go swimming on Friday. I didn't do this because I was working from home miles away from a pool and it snowed. But I did go for a run in the snow so I would say that that counts!!

3. Do some form of exercise over the weekend. Partial success. I did not run, bike or gym but did go for 2 energetic, hilly walks. The Saturday one is a bit of a cop-out but the Sunday one up Win Hill in a howling gale certainly was not. Need to stop shying away from running though and keep the pressure on as one cuckoo does not a summer make....I've only been running once since the new push started.

4. Tighten up on food. Once again, partial success. Saturday was good but Sunday involved big cooked breakfast and roast chicken supper. Ideally, I would hope to be able to accommodate that sort of Sunday into my new regime but maybe not straight away, not until I know what I'm doing....

The upshot of this is that, while I initially lost 3 lbs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and felt great, this morning (Monday) saw all 3 back on again. I feel fat and full and my waistband is tight. Blegh! Now I know that this is all very short term and nothing is lost by one indulgent day, but really I could do without this lardy feeling. So, back to 14.2......grrrrr That's one whole week now for those pesky 3 lbs....

So, more mini-targets:

1. Go swimming today. Tick - am leaving right now!
2. NO picking at work. There are too many post-Christmas chocolates and biscuits hanging around so I am going to take a zero-tolerance approach for a few days, starting this afternoon (have already had a shortbread biscuit... and a Lindt choc....the slippery slope beckons)
3. Chart up. This evening. No excuses.
4. Talk to Rich about this challenge. Shauna made this part of her plan and it seemed to make sense to me. Don't know why it is so hard to talk about weight and dieting when I can open my soul to the internet but it is different in real life somehow.
Set more targets tomorrow

Update - I went swimming at lunchtime and it was great. I always say to myself when I go (one of the tricks I learned on the TV show - to make exercise more palatable for my chimp) that I only have to do 40 lengths which is pretty manageable for me. I will try to do more but can stop after 40 without pressure. I normally go on to do a face-saving 44 or maybe 46. Well today I carried on up to 56 non-stop laps of steady front crawl and only stopped then because I was running out of time. I reckon I'll be able to get my minimum up to 50 and my target up to 60.

Also, there has been no snacking this afternoon (okay it's only been 3 hours but those Lindt chocs are pretty damn tempting!!)

We're off dancing again this evening. It's been ages since our last class. We missed the last class of December due to a trip to the Panto and the studio was closed over Christmas and the New Year. I'm really looking forward to it but cannot remember much in the way of actual dance steps. Rich is frankly dreading it!! Suspect we'll be fine but a bit rusty. Once again, though, I could do without feeling so lardy!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Steady Sunday

Our walk up Win Hill in the cold and very breezy January sunshine.






Smiley Minty standing on a wall...

We'd just left the summit so this was out of the wind but still breezy enough. I couldn't take any pics at the very top as I couldn't stand up...





It's been nice. We got up reasonably early (for us) and had a nice big cooked breakfast. Then off for our first training walk (well, not much different to our usual Sunday walk but now infused with added purpose!). We just went up Win Hill which I thought might be a bit tame but turned out to be knackering. The tough bit of the climb was into the teeth of a gale. I'm not exaggerating, on occasions you lifted your feet up to take a step and nearly fell over! So, although it was only a couple of hours, the exercise was well worth having.

We've got 6 months to get fit for our big walk. Having done some more reading on it, the Three Peak Challenge is quite taxing. We will be climbing Ben Nevis, Sca Fell Pike and then Snowdon all within 24 hours. You have a designated driver (in our case a hired minibus) and have to climb Sca Fell in the dark.

I'm determined that we will not be the weak links in the group so we are taking this training malarkey seriously. I think the main thing for me will be losing a stone of blubber so I'm not carrying so much weight up those big bloody mountains!! So I'll be combining general exercise like running, swimming and training with hillwalking at the weekend.

I know Rich is taking it seriously too as he's already planning ahead how he'll manage fitting both training and golf into his schedule once spring arrives.

I'm really looking forward to it. I suspect Shelagh and Minty will be quite happy too...lots of lovely walks for them.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Blogging works...

Setting off - all happy looking and warm....Shelagh confused as to why I might be leaving at all....and hopeful that she will not be required to attend too.....

Arriving home - knackered, cold, wet and slightly confused looking.....


After I typed up my post yesterday afternoon I knew I was going to get out there and go for a run. I know for a fact that, had I not set the targets the day before (saying I was going to go swimming) and posted about my dilemma re what exercise to substitute for swimming, I would NOT have done anything.

Just starting to write the excuses and think about not doing anything was enough to shame me into getting kitted out and getting out there. I felt so virtuous as it was not an ideal day for one's first run in a couple of months!! It was freezing cold, going dark and the footpaths were covered in icy slush. As I set off, it started to rain, a sort of light, icy drizzle. Nice.

Anyway, I felt great. Managed a solid 35 minutes running and even ran nearly all the way back up the hill. I had to stop at the very end as it is just too steep and slippery but I made it way much further than I thought I would.

So, blogging works.

So does writing down mini targets. I find they have to be quite specific and quite short-term or I find some way of avoiding or "forgetting" them but accountable mini-targets have really helped me in the past.

And so does quick success. I was rewarded with a drop on the scales this morning so am spurred on to keep it up. I will definitely be going for another run this afternoon unless our walk is more taxing than I'm anticipating.

The only downside is that it hurt my back! Lower back pain makes one feel like an old lady. Hopefully this nasty little side effect will recede as I loase the extra lbs... it usually does.

I was reflecting yesterday as I ran on how the cumulative effects of so many different influences can lead to a positive result. All the ads and articles about New Year diets and then reading all the blogs about people getting out there and exercising have made me feel less alone and inspired me that it can be done and without too much drama either.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Flexibility

I have not been able to achieve the first of those easy, bite-sized targets set in my last post! Typical.

I decided at the last minute to work from home today for a combination of reasons:

- I wanted to stay up and watch us stuff the Aussies in the Ashes (heaven....)
- I had a particularly knotty and frustrating document to finish and knew it would be a lot harder to finish it at work when coping with the distractions of colleagues and email etc
- the weather forecast had given snow and I didn't want to struggle through the traffic there or back
- Rich is off sick

It proved to be an excellent decision for precisely those reasons:

The Ashes victory was awesome but didn't happen until 1.30am so, after watching the celebrations and presentations, I didn't get to bed until after 2am. Not too bad if you're getting up at 8.30am to stagger downstairs but no joke if you have to drive to Rotherham.

The document was HORRIBLE. A total nightmare with all sorts of glitches and gremlins and I would never have finished it had I been at the office but from home I ploughed through and without any interruptions eventually got it done at 2pm.

The snow came harder and earlier than forecast. We currently have about 3 inches of rather intractable looking slushy but slippery stuff. I would not have enjoyed negotiating the hills of Sheffield to get to work and would have been fretting about my return journey. This is warmer, cheaper and safer.

Rich stayed in bed 'til lunch time but it's been nice going for a walk with the dogs together and he feels a lot better after his marathon sleep.

BUT, it has meant that I have not been able to go swimming as per my targets. We did go for a reasonably hilly walk after I got the document finished. I'm aware that I should do something else but am a little non-plussed as to what. My car is currently pretty stuck in the slush/snow so the gym is out. The roads are treacherous so I'm not sure about running and certainly couldn't take the bike out. Thought about the WiiFit but Rich is poorly on the sofa and stuck into the telly so that would mean chucking him off and, worse, exercising in front of him - blegh!!

I think, on reflection, I'm going to go for a purely symbolic run shortly. I will slither down the hill slowly and then run a couple of miles on the flat on the main road which will hopefully be clearer than the roads up here. That way, although the exercise won't count for much, I will know that I did not fall at the first hurdle and that I honoured my target in the breach so to speak.

By way of confession, I need to do this as last night's supper was a traditional "last supper" of fish and chips!!! In my defence, I wouldn't have chosen them but Rich suggested it and I was coming home late after my french class to a fairly unhelpful fridge so needed something quick and thought "sod it", targets start tomorrow. They were very nice (and I didn't have any bread.....tee hee).

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Right...!!

Shelagh loves her toy (well, actually it was Minty's Christmas present last year...)
She's very protective.....

And very suspicious......

But Minty only cares about my socks...

So eventually peace can reign....

So, I have been blithely bleeting on about staying the same over Christmas (which I did!) and feeling pretty smug. Behind the scenes, however, I had been gearing up to tightening up my diet and exercise routine and getting serious again so that I lose some proper weight in 2011. Well now my body has taken over and given me a kick up the arse so that I HAVE to get serious. It has piled on 3 lbs since Monday! How did that happen? I've not done anything different but there they are sitting somewhere about my now amply padded form. But not for long.

Luckily this is the season for dieting; it is EVERYWHERE! From Special K and their slinky woman in jeans to Martine McCutcheon exhorting us to detox with some form of yoghurt (uselessly I'm sure) to "Britain's Fattest Man" on the telly last night to the world of blogging (hello again Mrs Lard!!). The list goes on and on and there is scarcely an advert break, newspaper or billboard which does not contain some reference to "new year, new you".

So I'm clearly in good company. And I'm feeling ready for the challenge now. Before Christmas I just wanted to limit the damage (which I'd done up to this Tuesday morning!!). Last year, my priority was establishing and enjoying a balanced life where spending time with Richard and making a new social life was in equilibrium with working hard and keeping my job safe as well and being kind to myself through the inevitable trauma of the divorce. Well, I've done that but now it is time to nudge my health and fitness a bit higher up the scale. It's all very well spending lots of lovely time with Rich, cooking nice meals and snuggling on the sofa or going out and about eating and drinking but I need to balance that with exercise and sensible eating. I think I can just about tear myself away a couple of evenings a week to go to the gym or for a run now....

So, remembering what used to work for me: accountability, frequent blogging and bite-sized, short-term, achievable targets.

- I will dig out that chart for my wall. I made it before Christmas but didn't get it stuck up and used.
- I will go swimming at lunchtime tomorrow (Friday)
- I will do some form of "proper" exercise this weekend - either a run (ideally), a bike ride or a trip to the gym.
- Foodwise, I'm not going to go onto a "diet" as such but I'm going to cut out a lot of the bread, potatoes and fatty stuff. Lots of veggies and soups, casseroles and stir fries. I know what to do.

In the longer term, I've been toying around with finding some sort of fitness challenge to work towards but am not keen on making it a running one after the problems I had with my feet last year. Will have to give this some thought. A triathlon perhaps although I didn't have much luck getting to do one of those either last year or the year before!!

I feel as though I'm approaching this challenge as a totally different person. Last year (and every other New Year I can remember) I felt I HAD to lose weight. It was like a black cloud looming over my life, a dreaded but inevitable priority and the endeavour was tinged with fear. I would be kicking myself for gaining weight in the first place so there was the element of failure and guilt hanging over me and, all in all, the whole thing was a draining, negative experience. Obviously, once I got started on any regime I experienced that dieter's high and the zeal of the convert etc but the process of starting was always an emotional quagmire.

I don't feel like that now. I am doing this because it is the sensible thing to do. My waistbands are a little tighter than they were, I have put on 5 lbs over my acceptable level and now is the time to take action before those 5lbs settle and multiply. I'm looking forward to doing some running. I'd like to persuade Rich to come to the gym with me but he's hurt his arm (golfer's elbow - like tennis elbow just on the other side) and he's currently using that as an excuse.... But, either way, I know that this is what I want to do. I'm also enjoying the fact that there is no pressure on me to lose weight and that I feel as loved and wanted now as I was when I was half a stone thinner. Just writing that last sentence brought it home to me how ridiculous it was to feel that acceptance and love were dependant upon my weight and my eating habits. But, rightly or wrongly, that is how it was and it is liberating not to feel like that now.

As an aside, I have noticed that the second half of this post has been full of how I "feel" and "felt". Strange how one's emotions come to the fore when thinking about weight and exercise eh? I'm sure Dr Steve Peters would have something to say about it, probably that my chimp is taking over and manipulating me in some way. I haven't got time to go into that now though so am going to take this at face value and plough on with my targets. If I don't report back - nag me, peeps!!

How bizarre is that!! I have just had a text from Rich saying that one of his friends is organising a team to do the Three Peaks Challenge in July (Ben Nevis, Sca Fell Pike and Snowdon in 24 hours) and were we interested? I have said that, yes, I am very interested. Rich has replied to his friend and said we're up for it so, watch this space.... I now have a perfect challenge to work towards and one we can take on together. Serendipity.