Friday, 30 September 2011

Still cold-ridden but carrying on!

A selection of shots showing the amazing shapes and textures of the beach and rocks....I found them fascinating and beautiful.
The moody lighting and brooding skies...
Look at the light shining on Minty!! And grumpy Shelagh having slurped yet more seawater!

And look at the colours in that sea....aaaah

I had booked a day's leave today ages ago to play golf in the afternoon so I'm really pleased that my day's rest allowed me to have a good night's sleep and feel that I could just about stagger around the course. I would have hated to have to cancel.

The weather was just SO heavenly that I was going to go out even if I was felt like death. As it happened, I felt a lot better than that but still a bit weak and feeble.

We had a great round - couldn't believe that it's October tomorrow!! I didn't play brilliantly but had some great holes and a really good laugh with the lads. We've played as a 4 a couple of times now and it's always fun.

So now I just have to get through tomorrow and I'm in the clear. We're on a coach trip to the Hartlepool away game...leaving at 8am and probably getting home around 10! Help!!

I'm going to be drinking tomorrow but think I'll use the cold as an excuse not to go mad....don't want to undo all my good work and am aware that this cold is preventing me from doing my usual level of exercise. So - let's see if that works - a few fewer pints and maybe say no to the chips - can this be done!!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Day off sick....the good, the bad and the ugly...

Fun on the sands at Bamburgh Castle. The dogs find a smelly old piece of seaweed.... Minty likes to bark at it, Shelagh has other plans....
Jumping, and more jumping....
She becomes the amazing bouncing cocker spaniel. Not bad for a slightly portly, middle-aged old girl!
Minty can't really get the hang of the jumping as you can see...
But she can't half run...Shelagh doesn't stand a chance!

As I suspected I felt much worse this morning so rang in sick, not something I do often so it felt a bit strange. Rearranging meetings with a fuzzy head and then falling happily back to sleep with the dogs squashing me from either side.
That's the thing with colds; you don't sleep properly but then, once you've caught up on sleep and all the snot has disappeared for the day, you don't feel too bad. You know you would have felt absolutely dreadful had you dragged your sorry carcass to the offcie but, in the comfort of your own home, you don't feel that bad.
So, I had a very pleasant day mooching (slowly) round the house and garden, catching up on chores, reducing the percentage of recorded items in our Sky Plus box and then, around 3 eventually taking the dogs out for a short but very sweet walk in the hills above Hathersage.
It was such a beautiful afternoon - just breathtaking. The late summer sunshine, the mellow, gentle heat, flowers, animals, the dogs having a swim and a run around. I took my camera to slow me down as I didn't want to push myself physically and it was just lovely.
So, not a bad day despite the aches and pains and general weakness. I know the sore throat and snottiness will return tonight but hopefully I've got over the hump and another day off will see me right.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Quick WI Update

I'm coming down with a horrid cold, felt achy and knackered last night and stiff as a board this morning. Still, the news from the scales is positive - I managed 0.5lb off!

I'm pleased with a small result after a week's holiday that means that whatever I gained in my week off I made up for by being good before I went and getting straight back onto the plan when I returned home.

I hope this cold doesn't linger and allows me to keep up with some exercise even if I have to tone it down a bit.

Still not FEELING a great deal slimmer though which is weird. I suppose that on previous diets I've gone hell for leather and have probably lost a bit quicker (albeit risking early dropout) so the changes have been more noticeable. This time round I'm giving my body and mind chance to adjust together so not getting that body dysmorphia thing. I know that my clothes are looser and look better so I must be smaller overall, I just don't feel greatly thinner round the tum/bum/thighs etc.

It'll come.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

First batch of piccies

My first set of photos from our holidays. These were taken on our dog walks around Seahouses itself. Above is the harbour with views in the background towards the beach and Bamburgh Castle in the distance.
Walking along the headland in the evening sunshine towards the golf course. There was a static caravan site to our left and the front row of caravans had the most gorgeous views out towards the Farne Islands! They must have been pricey though as each one seem to be occupied by the owners of various posh cars - big shiny Audis, Porsches, Mercs....not your normal caravan park fayre!!

The path crossed the gofl course so we had a sneak preview of some of the holes - very daunting - one par 3 shot straight over the sea! And a lovely rainbow to light up our first walk of the holiday.
I always find these shots funny - the leads going out of shot so you wonder what was on the other end of the line!
A bit of fresh water for the dogs. Shelagh in particular is a pain for drinking sea water and then coughing and spluttering as though surprised by the saltiness every time!
Collecting lost golf balls on the beach! Only one was mine....

A perfect circular rock pool. Isnt nature amazing?

And back to the harbour where the various tourist boats were tucked up for the night. A lot of boats do trips out to the Farne Islands during the summer but we didn't have time and were told that most of the bird life had left anyway. Lots of puffins during the summer. The seal pups will be born around now though so it might have been a good trip. You can't fit everything in though.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Holiday and Holiday Fallout

I've just realised that today's title is a bit misleading; it sounds as though there has been major fallout from our holiday or something. And there hasn't. That's the point!

As you may have gathered from my last post, we spent a week up in Seahouses on the Northumberland coast. We rented a cottage in the village which was spot on (despite the lumpy sofas) and we did LOADS. But we also had a lovely relaxing holiday. It's our first holiday away together so it's nice to know that we're on the same page in terms of what we enjoy doing. You can, I believe, have nasty surprises where one person likes late nights or going out all the time and the other wants to be up early and out and about during the day. As it happened we seemed to work to the same clock and were both happy with a couple of nights out and a few early evening visits to the pub as well as a few nights in (on the lumpy sofa) watching telly or a film. Bliss.

The scenery in that part of the world is spectacular so, I warn you now, you WILL be bombarded with photos. Well, I took over 350 in a week; I have to do SOMETHING with them! Thankfully, we were blessed with some gorgeous, photogenic weather too. A couple of our day trips were accompanied by sparkling sunlight on glistening seascapes, an amateur photographer's Brucie Bonus.

We did one big walk along the beach from Seahouses to Bamburgh and then back over the fields, a medium walk around Warkworth and several shorter beach and clifftop dog walks. We spent 3 days out and about sight-seeing at Holy Island, Warkworth and Alnwick respectively and played golf twice, although one round had to be aborted due to howling gales and lashing rain. That was the only disappointment really, we had been really looking forward to that course (Dunstanburgh Castle) and it was great for 5 holes but the wind and then rain quickly made it impossible to actually play golf so we were forced to give in and walked back to the clubhouse! Of course, after 45 minutes, once we got back to Seahouses, the rain stopped and it turned into a glorious evening.....sigh......

I couldn't pick out a favourite, I've been trying, but think it's a tie between the Bamburgh walk (at the beginning of the week so the scenery made the biggest impact); Holy Island and Lindisfarne Castle; and Warkworth Castle. Now I feel mean to Alnwick which was also lovely and the castle is spectacular.... nope......I genuinely can't pick out a favourite.

As you can see, we were extremely active. Even when we weren't on a big walk or playing golf, the sight-seeing takes it out of you. You spend hours wandering about, climbing up and down stairs and walking round towns and grounds in the endless fresh air. As a consequence, our appetites were pretty massive too. A few cooked breakfasts, hearty sandwich lunches, generous home-cooked suppers. We ate out a few times - 2 of the most gorgeous curries I've ever had and fish and chips (well, it would have been rude not to in a fishing village...). We also seemed to drink a fair bit - several bottle of wine, 2 or 3 pints of bitter on several evenings. No blow-outs or big sessions just a steady stream on a daily basis.

But, despite all that, I DID exercise restraint. It wasn't a free-for-all. I didn't use the fact that we were on holiday to eat anything I fancied just for the sake of it. We didn't do any of the nipping into a cafe for calorific coffees and cake, buying of chunks of "holiday" fudge, desserts, sweets, only a small pack of biscuits. And, amazingly, I have been rewarded for my "restraint" (that word makes me feel like a fraud as I did not exercise restraint, just made one or 2 sensible choices and didn't go mad!). I was, frankly, terrified of stepping onto the scales when we got home. There was NO way I was going to be leaving it until my SW weigh-in tomorrow evenig but I couldn't make myself step on the home scales on Sunday either. I only felt strong enough today before work (I suppose the logic was that I was miserable enough about our holiday being over so I couldn't be made any more miserable by what the scales told me!)

As it was, they told me that I have stayed the same since I last weighed myself before we went away!! This is excellent news. I had dropped a lb or so between the Tuesday WI and leaving for hols so I MIGHT (just might, note) even manage to lose an ounce or so by tomorrow. That might well be thwarted by the Tuesday Scales Syndrome of course but, either way, I know I haven't piled a load on so know I can get straight back to losing ways without the dispiriting retracing of weighty steps. I hate that "I've already lost these lbs, what am I doing having to lose them again?" feeling. (Then again, when you think how many times I must have lost and regained the same weight it is truly frightening!)

So, I'm now back, nose to the grindstone. Happily, my return to work has been one of the most stress-free I can ever remember. No traumas, no emergencies, just hundreds of smooth and, in some cases, helpful emails to plow through. We went dancing this evening which was a nice way to get back into the everyday groove. I have my weigh-in tomorrow evening and am hopeful of a positive or at least neutral result and am overjoyed about that. It has really helped me get straight back into it; food has been stellar today - sushi, fruit and yoghurt and a healthy supper of stir fry. So - as my blog say, Bring It On!!!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Quick hello from Seahouses

We landed yesterday afternoon and I think it's going to be a great holiday. The village is lovely, the coast and countryside beautiful and the cottage pretty good for a last minute effort. There are a few oddities as with every holiday let - no upstairs loo and lumpy sofa - but it's pretty, well-equipped, and in a great location. We only had a 2 minute stagger back from the gooorgeous Indian restaurant for example and there are 5 pubs within a 10 minute walk!! The curry last night was heavenly a real cut above the norm. Not SW by any means but delicious!!

We went for an evening stroll yesterday along the cliffs and back across the golf course last night. It was STUNNING. A brilliant rainbow stayed over the Farne islands out to sea and we could see the majestic Bamburgh castle in the distance as we walked back into town.

Rich's night was made in the pub though. He had just heard at the bar that Chris Waddle was in the village on a golf weekend and 30 seconds after he told me, I said "Yes, I know....he's right behind you!". We got chatting to him helped by the fact that he happened to be with some members of MY golf club. What a coincidence. He was a lovely bloke, really gracious and friendly, chatted about golf and where they and we are planning on playing and Wednesday's result that day. As Rich's all-time Sheffield Wednesday hero, it really made his night. He was like a kid afterwards...grinning from ear to ear.

So that's all for now. No idea what we're doing today. Walking to Bamburgh maybe... Have a great weekend all.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Letter to Myself

How weird! I logged onto my computer this morning and, as usual, a list of tasks, meetings and reminders popped up. But one of them jumped out at me. It was headed "Letter to Myself". I had totally forgotten about it. It was, to state the bleeding obvious, a letter I had written to myself a few weeks ago when I was in the first flush of dieting enthusiasm, under the influence of The Zeal! I had, cleverly, though I say so myself, timed it to arrive the morning before my holiday. Here it is:

"Hi Lesley

This is just a quick note before you go on holiday to say - remember that this diet is not the be all and end all but you do WANT to stick to it. Enjoy the week but don't let go. I'm hoping you've lost a few more lbs since I wrote this (5lbs in 2 weeks - 14 stone 11lbs on the scale this morning) but even if you have not, it's never too late to make another start.

I've just had a gorgeous salad for lunch - tortilla with hard boiled eggs and salad and a bit of mayo. It was lovely, filling and has done no damage on the scales. it would not be difficult to have a few of those while on holiday and limit the treats to things you will really appreciate.

And exercise. Hopefully there'll be lots of that and I'm looking forward to those lie-ins but golf, walking and maybe even take your trainers and do some running??

Got it??!

Lesley xx"

Short, sweet and very motivating as it happens. I'm so pleased that I still have The Zeal and had said pretty much all those things to myself on my drive into work anyway. But, if I HAD been wavering, I think this little reminder would have been a great help. Not only to kick me up the backside, but also to remind me how much I was ENJOYING the diet back then, to remind me of the The Zeal.

For your information, I've dropped at least another 6lbs according to the scales this morning, taking me to an overall 11/12lb loss (it's not an exact science due to different scales and weighing times).

I note that I've already put in another letter for October and, although I'm very tempted to see what I have to say to myself, I'm not going to peek. I'm definitely going to write one for November too - maybe a birthday message. The technology is there and I wold recommend it to anyone who suspects they may be faltering 'cos today's little surprise was helpful. (Of course, I don't know how I would have felt if I had just had a huge blowout or fallen spectacularly off the wagon.....I hope that it would have been helpful in re-positioning me. I hope I wouldn't dismiss my message as the deluded ravings of a Pollyanna or feel dispirited by the contrast between my lapse and my former enthusiasm.)

So - one day of work to go, then a load of packing and organising tonight while Rich is out at the S*x Pistols (what is he like?!) then we're off tomorrow for a whole week!! I'm so excited. I'm glad I got over my grim mood from yesterday. Rich was so sweet and loving last night. Even though we haven't had time to talk so he had no idea why, he knew I was upset and tired and I came back from french to find that the house had been hoovered, tidied, the kitchen cleaned, dishwasher emptied and re-loaded, table set, supper cooked, dogs walked and washing in the machine. Heaven.

He went out shortly afterwards and left me to a blissful evening of doing nothing in front of the telly. I had a retro extravaganza of 3 back-to-back episodes of The House of Elliot!! Do you remember that series from the early 1990's?? I loved it then (even went to see an exhibition of the gowns from the series in the Victoria and Albert Museum!) and am pleasantly surprised by how little dated it is on repeat. Also, how little I remember about the actual plot!! I must be a real goldfish brain - I didn't remember that I had written myself a letter only a few weeks ago and I have not the faintest idea what is going to happen on a show I'm sure I watched avidly!

Tonight will be a lot busier though - no lolling round on the sofa for me. Packing and organising and, if I have time, making some soup! Then a late night trip to Buxton to pick up a couple of over-excited overgrown teenagers from a punk gig....43 and 50 respectively and should know better!!

AS an update - I'm really pleased how I've kept to the straight and narrow today. The last day at work before a holiday is alwasy stressful for me but I've managed to make sure I went swimming, work hard and eat a sensible supper. After my food I was casting around for a snack - something biscuit-y. But didn't go made, just remembered that I had a Go-Ahead bar in my golf bag. Not bad at all and satisfied my craving for something sweet and comforting but not fruity. Much as I love it, sometimes fruit will just NOT DO!

Blue (although not anymore...)

I posted this entry yesterday but have only just spotted that it didn't publish so it's now out-of-date (thankfully). But, having typed it up, I may as well publish and be damned!!

How can that be?? I was happy, content, proud of myself yesterday and now I feel tired, blue and just generally under the weather. Not really physically although feeling grumpy usually adds extra weight to one's shoulders I find. Just out of sorts.

I'm ready for my holiday I suppose. And, as it approaches, feeling more aware of just how ready.

The catalyst was a silly, relatively inconsequential series of events between Rich and I yesterday evening and just before going to sleep. Nothing serious, no-one's fault, not even a row. But the issues weren't sorted out because it was late and we needed to sleep and therefore they must have festered away in my over-active brain, causing me to wake extra early for added festering time. I lay there, feeling achingly conscious that I would be tired all day if I didn't go back to sleep but unable to stop thinking about the problem, getting more and more frustrated and upset and working myself into a bad mood. He eventually woke up and cuddled me back to calmness but still the issues have not been spoken about. There just hasn't been time between getting to work and training for 7am.

And then this evening I have french straight from work and he is going out later. Then tomorrow he is going to Buxton to see the S*x Pistols (not sure if a sucessor band to the real band or a tribute act) and then we're on holiday.

I used to HATE the D approach to dealing with his issues (note - HIS issues, never mine) which comprised a simmering mood of tension which would build up over days, causing me to walk on egg shells for fear of causing it to erupt. Then the inevitable eruption at a moment which I could not predict as a result of a random trigger. Followed by an hour or so of vicious rowing, usually late at night and under the influence of drink (him, not me) almost always when I had work in the morning.

I am thankful that Rich is not like that. He often doesn't notice that there IS an issue but, when there is, is happy to talk. But he also adopts the "least said, soonest mended" avoidance/easy life tack. And he is not willing to talk things through late at night when we're tired or have had a drink. This all makes sense for the most part, but it can be frustrating when you just want to express yourself. I feel as though I can't always do it at the time when I'm most hurt/upset and then, if I want to talk it out, have to raise it at a time when we're happy and potentially spoil that evening as well. It probably wouldn't spoil it, as he does listen to anything I have to say, but I get stressed about raising things and don't always explain myself very well.

Hence the festering and the internal conversations building silly issues into something they are not and the resulting lack of sleep and therefore feeling cr*p. Blegh! Blegh blegh blegh....

It all goes back to my chimp - she is terrified of upsetting what she sees as her male "protector". Having a man around is extremely important to chimps and they will go to great lengths to avoid upsetting, angering and possibly losing them. This attitude is probably what allowed D to manipulate me into being such a doormat over so many years. That is not what is happening now but the vestiges of that behaviour are still there and I still find any differences or discord disproportionately unsettling.

I need to start to apply the management techniques I use on her re food and exercise on relationship (and work) matters as well.

I don't enjoy being an emotionally frail girlfriend and would much prefer being the strong, loving partner that Rich thinks I already am and would definitely much prefer!!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Learning from the Past

Minty found a discarded beanie baby on a recent walk - she LOVED it, right until she buried it deep in the undergrowth....never to be seen again.

This time last week I was about to go off-piste with PIE! I had failed to appreciate that I was entering a danger zone and walked straight into a few beartraps. I didn't go mad though and I was rewarded with a lovely drop on the scales last night.

However, I am not so complacent as to think that I can continue to have weeks like last week without ramifications. The good loss could have been caused by anything. Perhaps the fact that in some cases I didn't actually eat a lot of anything, albeit that I was largely off-plan. Last Sunday, for example, I had a grilled breakfast and a modest sandwich and that was it all day. It was probably also influenced by time of the month issues.

So, I'm not going to take things for granted by any means.

Hence the "learning from the past" title. Today I have been much more focussed and organised and, so far, have avoided the beartraps. I had a sensible breakfast (bacon and eggs with 1 slice of toast), tea and fruit snacks during the morning and then, on the dot of 12, headed out for a lunchtime run with the dogs. It was lovely. 45 minutes over fields and lanes; not flat but not toooo hilly. I'm pleased with the route as it is about the right length and hilliness and allows the dogs to be off the lead for the bulk of the run.

Lunch was equally sensible - cold meat and egg salad followed by yoghurt - and I'm feeling motivated and chirpy.

It's amazing the difference from last week. I was extremely happy with the 3.5lb drop last night and that sense of satisfaction persisted all evening and into today as well.

I've been thinking about any tips I glean from my SW class which I might be able to pass to Peridot (and other SW'ers). Last night the Leader passed out a list of common mistakes which might cause people to stick or not lose quickly enough where they think they are following the plan. Being brutally honest I do pretty much all of these and I'm still losing fine so I'm lucky. If the rate of loss falls away or I stick at some stage I'll have to address these but at the moment, if I can get away with it, why not? Perhaps the fact that I do lots of exercise helps me??!

Anyway, back to the list of "errors":
  • Not removing fat from meat
  • Not measuring your daily allowance of milk and "guessing"
  • Not eating the exact Healthy Extras but substituting with other nicer (and higher syn) breads and cereals.
  • Not weighing or measuring synned items and guessing instead.
  • Not keeping track of the number of syns you're having each week.
  • Eating too little and not using some syns - "loosen up" she said!
  • Not checking the syn value of new products. She has warned us that some yoghurts which were free have now changed their recipe and are NOT free. Even the reliable Muller Lights...
  • Using semi-skimmed or fullfat milk instead of skimmed milk but still having the skimmed allowance.

I can't remember any more but, as you can see, they're not keen on guessing, substituting and not tracking stuff!! As you may also guess, I don't do ANY of this. I guess, substitute, don't look things up and certainly don't write things down. Eeek. I'm quite lucky in that regard but, who knows, perhaps I will have to at some stage.

One tip I have is to focus on what you CAN eat, not what you can't. You can have such delicious meals without any syns and with very little compromises in taste that I don't really miss the things I can't have much of like cheese. I have had to put certain weekday favourite meals away for the time being - fajitas, enchiladas and pizzas being the main losses. But I can still have such a huge selection of good meals that it would be churlish to mourn these. It's not like I'm NEVER going to have these meals again, just a lot less often for the time being.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Ch ch ch ch chaaanges...

Although I'm very happy with how SW is going, I worry that it is making me a bit of a one trick pony on the blogging front. I try not to be a diet bore in real life but I'm afraid you lot are going to have to pick up the slack!!

I genuinely feel different on this diet to how I have been in the past. I feel calmer about it all, more committed. I'm writing this post BEFORE my weigh-in this Tuesday evening. I am, as I mentioned in my last couple of posts, somewhat concerned about how this week has gone and suspect that I will not be beaming happily at a lovely loss on the scales this evening (although I hope I'm wrong of course). But this concern is not eating me up; I'm not contemplating chucking it all in; and I'm not disheartened or derailed.

I just think - "okay, so this week has been a bit chaotic, you weren't very organised at times, there are things you might have done differently but there are also things you've wouldn't have changed because you had a good time. So carry on with what you're doing and you'll see the benefits in the next few weeks and months."

I would really, hand on heart, be happy with a nice 7-10 lbs by Christmas, a rate of less than a lb a week. In the past this rate of loss would not have been enough for me. I would have either re-doubled my efforts and started getting silly about what I can and can't do or, more likely, the diet would have quietly petered out.

But I don't want to be a diet bore at home. I want to enjoy life, go to the pub with Rich from time to time and sink into a lush pint of bitter like I used to. Not be a whiner when the food choices are tricky as they will be occasionally. Cook nice meals and share the odd bottle of wine.

This all sounds like a "cheaters charter" to me. So I need to make sure that, when I'm NOT enjoying the odd treat as above, I am saying "No" to unnecessary extras and eating sensibly. And to that end I have been quite good this week, even through the chaos. I have turned down LOTS of stuff.

As an aside, Peridot and I agree on this point (and many others) - it is not fair that you don't automatically lose some weight just by saying "No" to something nice. I think that when I turn down a kebab or a couple of pints or chips or sweets or cake or biscuits or cheese (all of which I have done in the past week - GO ME!!!), I should get some form of credit for the item which has been denied. It would be tricky to fit into the SW plan I suppose.....

Update ..... Update..... Update.....

I've just come back from weigh-in and I lost!! This is good news. But, do you want to know what the really great news is??? I LOST 3.5LBS!! That takes me to 10.5lbs in 5 weeks. I'm very chuffed. I had no idea how I'd done as I've not been weighing myself so it was a lovely surprise.

And, for those of you who have had the pleasure of a SW class, I won Slimmer of the Week and walked out with a bag full of fruit and other slimming goodies. Yay!!

Life is not always compatible with Dieting!

I had high hopes for this week but these have not materialised. I was initially derailed by a silly Wednesday (which I blogged about in an earlier confession); got it back together at the end of last week after a fashion although not sufficiently well to make up for a hectic weekend. So that's where I am, not having given up or gone mad by any means but not having had a dedicated, stellar dieting week in advance of my week's holidays either.

I suppose I still have a good half a week before I go away on holiday anyway so all is not lost. And there is no reason why I can't exercise some restraint on holiday either so this is what I will have to focus on doing.

In terms of exercise, it has been patchy. Training on Thursday and Zumba Friday was good. No time to run on Saturday and only a walk on Sunday not great. I had meetings back-to-back yesterday so couldn't go to Pump at lunchtime but I went to dancing which is some sort of activity. I WILL be back on the straight and narrow with swimming today at lunchtime. I WILL find something to do on Wednesday while working from home, even if it's just marching up Bradwell Edge!!

Drinking has been somewhat excessive. A bit too much to drink on Saturday - 2.5 pints before the game and 2 glasses of wine afterwards. More drink on Sunday - 2 pints of extortionately priced cider at the Kaiser Chiefs gig in Leeds. I thought it was worse, actually, but when written down is not heinous over a week.

Food though has been more chaotic. I just don't seem to have got into the SW swing this week. Too many meals which, while not particularly bad, were not great on the SW counter.

Sunday for example - a big grilled breakfast, sensibly cooked but involving bacon and eggs etc not too bad and it set us up for a nice long dog walk. Then a sandwich snack before we left for Leeds; not wonderful but also not bad either. Then nothing. The food at the gig was ridiculously priced, not great looking and there were huge queues for everything so we just didn't bother. Rich picked up a kebab at midnight on our way through Sheffield but I virtuously declined. Partly because of the calories and partly because I couldn't face greasy rubbish at that time of night. I was starving though from all the jumping up and down and standing on my hinds legs for hours.

The Kaiser Chiefs themselves were great though. A proper showman as a frontman and a good set. Being old and crotchety, I could have done without the hours of support bands at the beginning. Too much standing around. Thankfully it didn't rain and wasn't too cold and the wind hadn't hit as that could have made standing in a field next to Kirkstall Abbey for hours most unappealing!

Saturday was another off-piste sort of day. Nothing for brekkie then hungry and a very difficult choice in the pub so a cheeseburger and no chips. Then a sensible supper. But it was disjointed and unplanned. I should have had breakfast, gone for a run and then grabbed a salad before going out which would have avoided the pub choices. Silly laziness really. I would have enjoyed the salad more.

So - I hope that no real damage has been done; I hope that I might scrape a modest loss or STS. And I will get back on track for the rest of this week so that I can go into our holiday week in a sensible frame of mind. I'm fully intending to have some nice treats but also don't see the point of going mad or anything. We will be cooking in the cottage several nights so that should help. The Fry Light will be coming with us!! And we'll be walking and golfing too so that will help.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Zumba Zumba!!

Well, the momentous day has arrived. Months, nay years, after the rest of the world has embraced Zumba, I finally make it to a class. I went yesterday lunchtime with 2 women from work who had also, amazingly, not been to a Zumba class before. One, about my age, tall (6 ft odd) model slender in a pale and interesting, wraithlike, manner and somewhat fey. The other, young (20's for God's sake) yummy mummy of 2, dancer's physique, slender, fit, toned...gorgeous to be honest....sigh.... It was not a promising start but I gambled that my sheer energetic enthusiasm would blind them to the likely sweatfest and my general lack of fitness.

As it happened, it was not too bad. The steps weren't toooo difficult to pick up after years of aerobics, step, body pump etc etc. If I couldn't quite get it, I just dropped the arms and wriggled in the approximate direction. I didn't find it exhausting at all. I was very sweaty round the head and neck, but that is my personal curse which I have long made my peace with. I felt as though I was working but not working really hard. It was, what's the word, "moderate" perhaps. I'm not very good with moderate; it's not really my scene. I tend to like to know that I've pushed myself to the limit and be able to feel my muscles screaming.

That said, I enjoyed it and it flew by. It was not painful in the way that Pump class is. I did not want to weep. I liked the music - latin, reggae, afro, salsa, samba etc very joyous. The sound system wasn't up to much though - I could have done with a bit more "ooomff". The teacher was a short, stocky black woman who could really move - I caught her smirking (in a nice way) a few times at our collective efforts to shake our booties - but I didn't feel that she connected much and she didn't foster much spirit in the camp.

On the plus side, I have been reminded of my African youth and I feel a step closer to being able to perform in a gangsta rap video! There was lots of hip rotating, bottom slapping and general wiggling of backsides. I'm told that other classes are totally different - some more complicated, some more rap/hip hop oriented, some more latino. it was also nice to see a really broad range of ages, shapes and sizes taking part.

I will definitely go back and might try to find a different class for contrast too.

But I won't be giving up on my swimming or Pump.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

On the Edge....and my Chimp is standing behind me pushing!!

Oh yes, here I am, teetering on the brink of sabotaging my success. It's as if a switch was flicked once I officially hit the half stone mark which enabled me to forget about the dieting rules which have led me to that success. My chimp is well and truly on a roll with the justificatory excuses and false rationalisations. And I fell for at least part of it!

Take yesterday (Wednesday) the day after my weigh-in: I was working from home so the usual work routines were not in place. Not only that but I was not playing golf in the morning. It was a foul and rainy day and my workload was boring. And I ate more than I should have done and didn't do the exercise I had planned. (This sounds like the confession from the C of E order of service...) It started with toast. I came down in the morning to smell Rich's toast (he usually has breakfast at work so this is out of the ordinary). I immediately thought "I could have toast for breakfast" and did. Without really thinking it through. Of course I CAN have toast for breakfast on the SW plan but you do have to be a bit careful and I have been trying to avoid bread where possible, have it as an occasional treat or emergency measure.

Hey ho, so far, so not-so-bad. Nothing bad through the morning, just teas and coffees and fruit snacks. Lunch was some leftover rice with veggies and a couple of slices of bacon, all fine. And then....PIE!

The curse of leftovers again. Fruit pie from last week which I should have thrown away as Rich has not been interested in finishing it off. I did throw it out, right into my stomach along with a slug of double cream to wash it down. Pure chimp-induced impulse. And I bet I wouldn't have done it if I'd either played golf in the morning or not had the toast. It was as though the chink of daylight let in by the toast and not exercising, allowed her to get her meaty shoulder into the fridge and find something bad.....aaah, what have we here??.....PIE!!

I suppose the good thing is that I didn't then go on to compound the mistake too badly. Despite my chimp being frantic with sugar-fuelled excitement, I resisted biscuits and more toast and cooked a SW compliant supper (of which more later). I actually got so far as taking the lid off the biscuit tin before shoving it away. I was hunting round the kitchen for nameless "somethings". But, I did stop the rot, sort of. I did have one biscuit after supper because Rich brought it through with his dessert. I could have said no ta but I didn't. Oh, and a small glass of wine with my friend Vicky later. Which I'd always planned on.

Exercise wise, I had been intending to go for a run. Somehow the intermittent heavy rain showers put me off that idea. That and the boring day and off-piste eating. In the end I went for an intentionally brisk 45 minute dog walk and that is IT.

Not great but better than I thought it was going to be. So - it wasn't a great day but it wasn't a terrible one. And as long as I learn from it how to do better next time and don't let it carry on into the rest of this week, it's unlikely that much harm will have been done.

To that end, what have I learned?

Working from home is potentially dangerous. It has hitherto been fine when I have been up and onto the golf course but, with the advent of autumn and winter soon to follow, this will not always be possible. I think I should sort out some exercise early in the day rather than heading straight from bed to desk. This would wake me up (a bit like the morning commute) and set me on the right track. It would also minimise the chimp's "persuasion" time. Failing that, I need to research some sort of class to commit to on a Wedneday. I have just sent a text to my personal trainer to see if he can suggest something. I seem to recall that he used to do a pilates class on a Wednesday, maybe he still does...

It's all about planning for me. Our SW leader has a wealth of sayings and this one has hit home for me: "You don't plan to fail, but you can fail to plan". If I fail to plan, I often fall flat on my face.

Re food in the fridge, I do NOT need to save everything. I was raised by parents who were brought up during the Second World War and hence remember rationing vividly. Everything was saved and put in the fridge to be recycled later. Now, I'm all for leftovers but only where they're going to be sensibly incorporated into a tasty and healthy meal. NOT where they sit in the fridge causing needless temptation and end up being "finished off" as a pointless extra. I need to lose the WWII mindset and only save what I need. If Rich is not going to eat the pie, then chuck it out. It was only one (generous) slice out of a large pie, not wholesale wastage.

So, although it wasn't a great day, I hope that I have gleaned something useful from it. I was at training first thing this morning and back on the straight and narrow with a healthy breakfast and fruit snacks in the morning.

One thing I did notice this morning though was how active my chimp was. She tried to talk me into having a McDonalds cappucino on my drive in - "it's only 120 calories, you haven't had one in ages, it'd only be this morning, you REALLY want one today, more than usual....". I recognised the wheedling for what it was and drove past. Then in the office, I was STARVING....ravenous for snacks. Repeatedly peering at the snack table where there is STILL chocolate fudge cake (must be a bit dry by now!). I resisted and sent a text to Rich saying how hungry I was which seemed to take the sting out of it. I intended to a jacket spud and beans for lunch to assuage the hunger as I knew I was going to french after work so would be eating late but was thwarted 'cos the cafe "did not have beans"! How is this possible? Ended up having a salad and bag of popcorn from Boots (only 80 cals but very salty).

And it worked....but I was definitely on the edge. If I hadn't had the tools which Steve Peters taught us as part of that long ago TV show, I think I would be tumbling by now!!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Keeeeeep dancing!

Well, it's that time of year again....Strictly Come Dancing is going to be gracing our screen again soon with its selection of half-baked celebrities and corny judges and I will be loving every minute!!

This time last year (well, yesterday if we're talking to the day) Rich and I got together properly. We'd had a few mis-starts but we count yesterday as our official anniversary. The last year seems to be inextricably entwined with dancing. Shortly after we got together, we were watching Strictly and Rich idly mentioned that he'd love to be able to dance like that, you know proper ballroom or jive... Well, I wasn't letting an opportunity like that pass me by! I have been on the mailing list of a dance studio in Sheffield for ages but for some reason had never been able to find a class to suit. As luck would have it, they were starting a beginners' ballroom and latin dance class that very Monday evening!! We went, loved it and have been going pretty much every Monday ever since.

Inevitably, the class has dwindled in size somewhat over the last year. There was an initial drop-off of people who discovered that one or other of them had 2 left feet or no sense of rhythm or who just found that dancing was not for them. Then a few more couples have moved cities or jobs and not been able to make Monday nights any more. Now there is a hard core of 8-10 couples left and there is a really good atmosphere amongst us. We've tackled the waltz, quickstep, tango, jive, cha cha, rumba, samba and latterly the foxtrot (which is difficult!). Our favourites have changed over the year. We started off loving the waltz and quickstep but not really liking the rumba or samba. Now I have a lot of time for the tango and the both the samba and the rumba. The jive is a laugh but I do find the cha cha a bit boring....

We went on Monday night after a couple of Mondays off. It was great. We learned some new steps in the samba which we danced, at one stage, to the "cricket theme tune song". You know the one - the steel band playing, "dum dum dum der dum dum da dum dum, dum dum dum der dum dum, der der der da dum"!!? (Yes, I know this makes no sense if you don't know which music I'm referring to...he he he) It was so joyful and uplifting; you can't fail to be happy dancing a samba to that!! I'm smiling just thinking about it.

The samba steps are a tad "silly" perhaps. I think the new steps we learned last night were the volta and the spot volta and, to be honest, they reminded me of that game you play as a child with a brush between your legs pretending to ride a horse ("Horsey" we called it with stunning imagination). Lots of trotting on the spot or in a circular motion. But, when you put the steps into the sequence with your partner and the music, it all comes together and you really appreciate the carnival, happy, summer, Brazilian exuberance of it all. A good thing to do on a stormy Monday night in Sheffield!!

So, it's been a good year and we're still dancing and smiling and learning new things together. What's not to like?

Weight wise, I'm sticking to the straight and narrow and did not weigh myself yesterday morning in advance of to my weigh-in in the evening. What difference would it have made?? Supper Monday night was little off-piste as we were rushing back from dancing to watch the Sheffield Wednesday game on TV (recorded) and didn't want to be too late to bed. I slammed together seafood pasta but in a carbonara sauce rather than a tomato based one (Rich doesn't really like tomato sauces for pasta) and I will admit to a couple of slices of garlic bread (a heinous SW crime taking into account the delicious melted, garlicky butter and the crust of parmesan I chucked on it.....drooool). But lots of veggies in the pasta and no beer or wine or dessert and lots of exercise over the day.

I didn't think it would derail my efforts but I took a virtuous salad for lunch which I scoffed after swimming. I'm pretty tired to be honest, wonder if I'm fighting off some form of lurgy. So I didn't do my new "usual" distance of 60 lengths but powered through a reasonably fast 50. I then had a tiring series of meetings and dashing off to weigh-in in heavy "back to school" traffic followed by racing home to cook and give free legal advice to Rich's brother. Knackering. Luckily the advice required didn't take as long as I thought it might and we were all done and eaten in time to watch the football and the cricket (yes, at the same time with Maestro Rich weilding the remote!).

So, are you waiting to hear how I got on at the weigh-in??

Thought so. Well, I am pleased to report that I've lost 2lbs taking me to 7.5lbs in 4 weeks. I got my sticker and award for having lost half a stone which is all very gratifying. Especially as my evening had been such a mess. I had hoped to dash to WI, get weighed and then leave so I could get home early. But my work meeting overran causing me to hit the traffic causing me to miss the weigh-in section of the class. I then had to sit through the talky bit until she had finished and get weighed at the end. It was sooooo slow. There were more people than I've ever seen in a class and everyone seemed to want to chat. I was starving, late and really conscious that I still had a full evening ahead of me. Gnashing my teeth with frustration. I hate being late!

Anyway, all was well when I found that I'd dropped 2lbs and when I got home to find a nice tidy house and kitchen and that the legal advice was not too onerous.

Monday, 5 September 2011

I weakened....

The trouble is, I was feeling fat. You know when your tummy is bloated out and, even if you're not eating much, you don't FEEL thin. So, on Saturday morning I hoiked the scales out from under the bed and hopped on. I had Stayed The Same!! Aaaaargh. Actually it was a bit of a relief because I was feeling soooo podgy I thought I might have gained!

I know that the SW Leader said I should steer clear of the scales but I still feel that it was helpful to me as the STS knowledge didn't depress me and kept me on the straight and narrow throughout a potentially difficult day. We had my parents visiting in the afternoon for lunch and a chat and that could have deteriorated into biscuits with coffee, dessert with lunch etc. As it was we went to a really nice country pub for lunch and had an excellent meal but I chose wisely. I had a gin and slimline tonic instead of beer or wine and a fish pie for main course. Now the pie did involve a lovely a creamy and no doubt calarofic sauce but there were plenty of vegetables and no dessert despite my Dad and Richard tucking into the most gorgeous looking and smelling sticky toffee pudding!

I have never intended this diet to be a total abstinence fest so, as long as any treats are worthwhile and in moderation, I'm not going to begrudge myself them. And the fish pie really was worthwhile....mmmm. Mum had the same as me and Rich and Dad had equally yummy looking lamb shanks on sweet potato mash - it's safe to say we'll be going back to the Bull's Head at Foolow!! And, as a bonus, it is a lovely White Peak village with a market cross and duck pond on the village green in the centre, perfect for a wander around once you've eaten!

So that was Saturday. I didn't get much in the way of exercise in although we went for a decent walk after Mum and Dad had left in the evening sunshine.

Sunday was much more energetic. My usual Sunday golfing partner Nigel (or the "Old One" as Rich is now calling him after the golf club dinner last Monday!) didn't fancy playing this weekend as he had played Thursday, Friday and Saturday so I had the morning off while Rich was at his course. And very pleasant it was too! I decided to go for my Saturday morning run on Sunday as I had been cleaning and tidying in honour of Mum and Dad's visit the day before.

I was up and dressed in my running gear nice and early and all set to go when it started to rain! Blegh. The rain didn't last long (and I WAS going to go out even if it had persisted) but it did make me re-think my route. I didn't fancy the usual fields if they were all wet so took the dogs over to Bamford and ran along the old railway track up to the Ladybower reservoir and back through the village. I used to do that route often and it's about 5 miles. It's mostly flat or gentle inclines but there is one big hill up to the top of the dam wall which is a killer. I'm really pleased to report that it was not too bad! It's about the same as my usual Bradwell run but, because it's on a track, there is less stopping for stiles or taking off/putting on dog leads due to sheep. I kept up a steady pace and really enjoyed it.

I also bumped into a couple of old muckers from my former village and enjoyed a catch-up with them (thankfully at the end of the route when I was happy to stop); picked some blackberries; and let the dogs have a swim in the river above the weir! All in all a very pleasant wet and muddy morning.

The afternoon was family stuff with Rich. A trip into Sheffield to visit his brother's family and deliver a third birthday present to his niece. Much tea and chat and playing with birthday presents and, in my case, a bit of looking out the window longingly at the sunshine which appeared in the late afternoon!! I'm terrible at wanting to be outside every weekend, especially around now, towards the end of the summer when the good weather and long evenings are disappearing. Luckily I managed a quick dog walk round the block in the evening while the shoulder of lamb was roasting so I was not too deprived! Mmmmmm, roast was goooood (though I say so myself!).

So, after all that, I'm still feeling chubby round the tummy area and I weakened again this morning to see a hearteningly, and surprisingly, decent drop on the scales. I'm NOT going to let that affect me however, especially bearing in mind what has happened the last 2 Tuesday mornings!! I had a very sensible muesli breakfast, salad and fruit for lunch not to mention the killer that is Pump FX. It was soooo hard today, I can barely lift my arms which will make dancing tricky this evening! However, I'm not to be detered and supper will be diet-friendly too (no idea what but I'll find something). Then there's just tomorrow to negotiate before weighing in tomorrow evening. I really want a good drop this week and next so that I'm going on holiday on the back of a decent weight loss. But, steady as she goes, I'm still 5.5lbs lighter than I was 3 weeks ago and that is not to be sniffed at!!


After 2 weeks of pure, virgin nothingness there is now chocolate fudge cake and real Turkish 'Turkish Delight' on the snack table. I could really do without this.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Feeling The Fear But Doing It Anyway

I think that was a self-help book title from a while back?? Never read it but I agree with the message behind the title at least. In fact last year, around the time when I was leaving D and setting up with Rich my tear-off desktop calendar, which has a quotation or saying for each day (mostly rubbish ones), came up with this gem from Erica Jong:

"I have accepted fear as part of life, specifically the fear of change. I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says turn back."

It really struck a chord with me back on 3 September 2010. So much so that, when torn off, it did not make its way into the bin but was stuck up above my desk as a talisman, and is there still. I look at it less often now than I did in those scary days last autumn (especially as I hung the 2011 calendar on top of it!) but it has done its job. Just that random little phrase helped me stick to my decision and be less afraid of really moving on; made me feel less alone about being scared of change; made me realise that it is normal (especially for women) and that good things come from change as often as bad.

So, that Secret Santa gift of the desktop calendar (which I had been a little disappointed in to be honest) proved to be worth more than several sessions of counselling and a lot cheaper!! Who knew?

But anyway, back to my main point for today (if I can remember it). I'm feeling frightened (admittedly in a mild way) because I haven't weighed myself for 3 days now. I feel fat and out of control and fearful of what Tuesday's weigh in will bring. How bizarre is that?

Logically I tell myself that I'm no fatter than I was on Tuesday and I'm certainly not out of control. My food intake has been good and I exercised Wednesday, yesterday and will go for a run later today so no problems there. It is my chimp freaking out at my foiling her little game with the scales. She is acting up and making me insecure to try to scare me back to the scales. She knew how to deal with me when I was weighing myself every morning; what buttons to press to keep me eating a little too much and exercising a little less. At least now I recognise what is happening and have not given in to the stray, chimp generated, thoughts of taking the scales out from under the spare bed and "just seeing" how I'm getting on!! She's a wily one.

In other news, I cooked a meal for Rich and I and his half-brother and girlfriend on Wednesday night. Fully SW compliant and totally delicious. They did not even suspect that they had been SW'd! Cottage pie cooked with Fry Light, loads of veggies, no butter in the mash and strawberry and apricot pie cooked with sweetener not sugar. Same with the custard. I went very light on the pastry and custard and allowed syns for those but apart from that all good. I've always been suspicious about using canderel for cooking but, given that strawberries and apricots are quite sweet anyway, I only put a sprinkling on and it was gorgeous.

James is a notorious non-eater of veggies which horrifies me (how can you not eat vegetables?!) so I purposely loaded the cottage pie with carrots and celery which he happily munched down. It was only afterwards that his girlfriend (who had of course noticed) said "right, that's it, you've just happily eaten a load of veggies and had seconds so I'm going to do the same at home and you're not picking them out of the dishes I cook!" Fair enough. (Although I suspect she doesn't do much cooking from scratch, more of a ready meals and off to the gym sort of girl....miaow!)

Knowing that I was to be cooking a proper meal for supper I had changed my planned lunchtime jacket spud and beans/salad to a lighter option of seafood salad so I was ravenous by the time they finally arrived at 8.30pm! Family eh?! He needed some legal advice about an employment issue so I said pop over, and I'll cook you supper (thinking he'd split up from the girlfriend). "Great, but can we both come over (they're back together I see) and it'll be after Hannah's gym class is that ok"?! Grrrr So, not only did I cook, I had to wait to eat and then, after eating, had to start advising on legal issues and drafting letters for them. They didn't leave 'til after 11pm and that was only 'cos I chucked them out! Youth...they've got no idea. But I'm happy to help of course.

I really do like cooking for more than just Rich and I so I'm quite happy that we're going to do the same again next week (albeit I told them to come earlier!). It's a good excuse to plan and cook. This week I had no notice so it was simple but next week I might try something a little different, still simple but new....if I feel brave enough.....

It has been a week of Rich's family as his Mum came over for supper last night too! She is no trouble though so a sensible tea of lamb steaks, new potatoes and lashings of vegetables and me virtuously abstaining from the remains of the apricot and strawberry pie!! I always think you must be losing MORE weight when you sit and watch the offending item being scoffed by you get a "credit" for the calories you've virtuously missed out on.....what do you reckon??!