Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Diet maths

I've been doing a LOT of diet maths this last week.  If I drop 1lb a week for the rest of the year, I'll be X by summer/Christmas etc. But, if I drop 1.25lbs a week I'll be X by then!!  In one sense it's good because it's helping me visualise success and giving me inspiration.  In another sense, not so good, as I'm obsessing about my weight and weight loss while I could be living my life!

On balance, as long as this is just a passing phase, I can use the inspiration and focus all this day dreaming about targets and future sizes etc gives me. I don't want it to go on too long though as, given how long I'm going to be dieting, I could turn into the most boring woman on the planet!

Also, realistically speaking it is going to take me many, many months so I can't put my life on hold until some mythical "day" when I'm finally there.

The positive thing about dieting slowly and steadily though is that it is really, deep down teaching me how I need to live AFTER the dieting.  I am slowly realising just how much I ate even when I thought my diet wasn't too bad.  The difference between 1lb off and maintaining is (I was told by my former personal trainer back in the day) 3,500 calories per week.  That is just 500 extra calories per day.  So, even when I hit that mythical "day", I will not be able to resume normal service.  I will be able to tuck into an extra piece of toast, maybe a little bit of cheese or an extra glass of wine here or there.


So this is basically it, forever.

But no amount of sighing and railing against the rules of biology will change the facts so I will just have to learn how to enjoy life on the measly allocation of calories which will maintain my weight.  And this next year is going to help me do just that.

I'm already feeling more positive about the future and 7 weeks of tracking has given me that perspective.  Can't think why I've never tried it before.  Well, to be honest, I have tried tracking before in my tried and tested half-assed way but have never lasted 7 weeks before.  I can't recommend it highly enough.  Go on - be a slave to the tracker!!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Another Monday weigh in

There are going to be a LOT of them given how long it's going take me to shed this lard so get used to it!!

It was a bit of a dodgy week dietwise.  A couple of days were seriously over on syns for no particular reason other than lack of organisation, we had another football away day on Saturday not to mention surviving the buffet of doom yesterday.  Eeeek.  However, I managed to up my exercise from 1 run and a loads of walks to 2 runs and a home workout plus a load of walks so I'm getting there.

To put you out of your suspense (yeah, right), I dropped 1.4lbs this week and my stats are as follows:

Starting weight    17.0.4
Week 7 drop        -1.4
Current weight     16.3.4
Total drop            -11

11!!  That's nearly a stone right??  I COULD do the rest in a week, couldn't I?  Or more likely in 3 (if I'm lucky).

Looking through my tracker for last week I can see the start of the "relaxation" process.  The "I've got this thing sorted so I can just have this X or Y and it'll be fine" thinking.  Where before I would have been fine with Flora, now the odd bit of butter has crept in; an extra piece of bread (counted) here; a chocolate there.  Nothing heinous but one day I hit 26 syns for no real reason and that can't happen too often.

Strangely the football away day probably did me a favour.  We went to Derby with the usual gang but also met up with one of Rich's old school friends, Kate.  We had had a bacon and egg sarnie before we left around 9ish and then I scarfed down 4 pints of delicious Castle Rock Elsie Mo bitter (yum).  The food situation in the pub was useless - flabby white breadcakes with ham or cheese or pork pies.  The match no better with pies or burgers so I just didn't eat.  After the game back to the pub where I switched to diet coke (not great I know but better than beer!) and then the train back to Sheffield.

We had an hour to wait before our connection home at 8.30pm and by this time I was RAVENOUS! The lads all piled into Burger King or the pub on the station.   Oh God - temptation!!  Thank God that Marks & Sparks was open.  I turned away from the evil temptress of a burger or a panini in favour of a ruinously expensive M&S salad and packet of chicken.  And I stuck to it despite shepherding 4 drunk boys home which requires serious patience and is not easy when you're hungry and irritable.  I realised that being hungry is not the worst thing in the world and sticking to a plan (albeit one which involved 4 pints of bitter?!) is more important than giving in to pies, burgers or crappy breadcakes filled with bland cheese.

The downside of being hungry is that the next day you're still dangerously empty and the temptation is to fill up quick.  Not great when you're heading to Widnes for a christening where you don't know many people and which will involve a buffet.... But, I ate sensibly and stuck to meat, salmon and salad at the buffet ignoring the pastry and fried goodies (evil little beggars).

I also remembered my telly days and harnessed my chimp by telling the people we were with that I was dieting.  This helped a great deal as cake after cake was brought round and just about forced on us!  If I hadn't nailed my colours to the mast early, I'm sure I would have given in and had a slice of something.

So, despite having a bit of a dodgy week, I have earned my 1.4lb drop and I'm proud of it.

Thursday, 19 February 2015


It rained today.  All day.  I was working from home but the dogs and I didn't fancy a run in the rain and the forecast was not promising. What to do?? I dug out my old workout books and vowed to do a proper workout.  Then I spent the next hour or so trying to think of excuses not to and hoping that the rain would disappear and we could go for a run instead.

No such luck.  I sweated through a warm up and nearly all of the Week 3 legs, abs and bum workout which I had been up to this time last year.  I faltered at the last to be honest but only missed one set of reps of 2 of the exercises.  When it came to it I just couldn't make myself do any more burpees - I detest them!  I did extra abs though in penance.

It is telling how far my fitness for that sort of exercise has fallen away.  Once upon a time I steamed through these!  But the only way I'll improve my strength and fitness is to make a start so that is what I've done. It's quite nice to have a low benchmark so I can work on improvement.....I say bravely....

In other news, my weight is stagnating again.  Despite that, I feel positive that I'll manage a drop this week though as that does seem to be the pattern.  I so want that first stone off but appreciate that it will probably take another 2 or 3 weeks so I'm just having to be patient....aaargh!!

In other, other news (if you can possibly equate such tedious fayre with "news"), I've been experiencing more stomach pain than I'm used to.  I'm fine all day, then hungry for my supper, eat that feeling great and then, in the evening after my meal, develop stomach cramps and, erm sorry, wind.  It's not like me as I usually have a pretty cast iron constitution. It doesn't seem to bear much correlation to what I'm eating as it happens after all different meals.  The only thing I'm wondering about is my post-meal orange.  I have been having an orange after my meal most evenings for a few weeks.  Has anyone heard anything about these causing stomach pain after food??

I will try to remember to cut out my orange for a few days and see if that changes things.

I'm noticing a lot more about my body now that I'm tracking my food intake.  I have generally, for the last 45 years, been fairly oblivious to its cycles and moods; don't have regular periods so never knew what was going on with those.  Probably also that cast iron constitution didn't help with my self-awareness.  But, once you start weighing every morning and writing down food and exercise, you start seeing more of what is going on.  Can't be a bad thing in the long run.

I just hope that the walk up to the pub this evening for darts and dominoes settles my tum as I don't fancy a growling stomach through a tense dominoes battle!  I'm already heartily relieved that Rich received a text a few minutes ago reassuring him that we do have a full darts team as, otherwise, I was throwing darts and I'm RUBBISH!! We would have been there all night.

Hope you're all enjoying life and looking forward to lovely weekends!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Virtuosity is...

Going for a run along the canal at lunchtime (into a howling gale I might add) and then choosing plain ham salad for lunch. Go me!!

I really want to speed this up and exercise and sensible food choices must be the key. Come on first stone off!!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Monday is weigh in day

And today's is marginally happier than the last few have been.  I had been hopeful of a more impressive drop but suspect that my cake/beer/wine fest on Saturday put paid to "impressive".  So, just the 1.6lbs off and I'm quite happy with that.

Starting weight    17.0.4
Week 6 drop        -1.6
Current weight     16.4.8
Total drop             -9.6

It's beginning to look healthy.  I'm closing in on that all important first stone off.  It may take a while but I will get there and, in the meantime, I'm enjoying life.

I was going through some paperwork and found my SW book from this time last year.  It made for interesting perusal. Last time round (with the mad Russian lady - Jovita) I started on 8 January at 16.7.5.  I missed several week's weigh ins but, by 20 February, I had dropped 6lbs.  Hmmmm, so NOT as good as this time around.

I know that I was not tracking as I am using the tracking sheets this time around.  I now have 6 completed sheets with plenty of information about food, exercise, how I feel and weight neatly recorded.  Last time around, nothing.

Last time around I still attended meetings sporadically until April.  By 3 April I had dropped 9.5lbs. That is exactly what I have dropped this time except this time it has taken me 6 weeks rather than 3 months.

For the record, my final entry last time around was on 24 April when I had gained 3.5lbs leaving a total drop of 6 lbs, most of which I gained back during our holiday in Malaysia.  The extra half stone appeared gradually over last summer.  Aaaargh!!

To be clear, with myself, the difference is that this time I am following the diet but not attending the classes whereas, last time, I barely followed the diet and only sporadically attended class.  My head was not in the right place.  What a waste of time and money.

This has been really helpful.  How many times have I moaned about how slow the lard is in leaving me?  I have been thinking that it usually happens faster.  Well, I was wrong.  I must have mentally deleted the rubbish weeks with my rose-tinted memory eraser.  Objectively, this IS working and I'm going to stick with it for as long as it takes.

The other good thing about this time around is how healthily we're eating.  Hardly any packet foods or chemical-y stuff.  Almost everything we eat is from scratch and bursting with veggies.


Sunday, 15 February 2015

Fingers crossed

Well the scales have been moving and in the right direction too.  I'm frantically crossing my fingers that they continue with that pleasing behaviour at least until tomorrow morning's weigh in.  I certainly feel a little slimmer and my clothes are a teeny bit more roomy so all good.

I'm also pleased that I'm still as determined to stick to it as I was at the beginning.  That's not to say that I'm expecting perfection as I don't but it is bedded in now as "what I do".

Having said that, that lack of perfection I mentioned above came to the fore yesterday.  I had been challenged by a chap from our Sheffield local to bring in a cake for Richard's birthday (which was last weekend).  Much banter on Facebook so I had to rise to the challenge.  I didn't have any time for baking until Saturday morning so I was up bright and early to create a chocolate and Guinness cake from a Delia recipe.  I had been threatening them with all sorts on Facebook - beetroot and walnut loaf etc etc

It was looking and smelling delicious right up until the moment I dropped one of the sponges while taking it out the oven!  It tipped over and, being soft and hot, crumbled into pieces.  Disaster.  I just about had time (and ingredients) to rustle up a quick replacement carrot cake but I was cursing Kenny by the time we raced into Sheffield with a still warm sponge and icing in tupperware which I applied to the cake on the boot of the car in the street outside the pub!!  As a stress buster, far too many fingerfuls of cake batter, icing and rejected cake made their way into my mouth (tasty though).

The match was dull and frustrating.  0-0 again!  We are now the second lowest scoring club in the whole league, beaten only by Aston Villa and we've only scored 8 goals out of 16 homes games.  We made some chances in the second half but somehow contrived not to score from them - gah!!

Then back home and a healthy supper of spaghetti bolognese before heading out to the Anglers in Bamford for a band and 50th birthday do and far too much wine!  5 glasses of white wine and soda made for a fun evening but makes counting syns tricky!

So, I pushed my luck SW wise yesterday but didn't use that as an excuse to go crazy and made sure that, first thing this morning, I'm right back on the straight and narrow.  We're just having a quiet day today: chores, football on the telly, dog walking, trying to book a holiday and the quiz later.

We're not really Valentines people, Rich and I, can't be bothered with the meals out and flowers etc but I do like it.  I always receive a loving, "just right" card and affirmation that I'm loved.  It makes you reflect and I've reflected again on how chilled and (for the most part) happy I am.  I hope you are too.  Or, if you're struggling a bit in life, I hope you find the key to turning it around.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

I hate this cold!

It makes me feel weak and crappy and stops me exercising when I really want to.  So, when I felt okay, the paths and fields were all covered with treacherous snow and ice. As soon as that disappeared I relapse into cold and cough.  Come on Universe - get with the programme!!

I feel even more hemmed in as I'm working from home at Mum and Dad's to give dad a break and let him to do his shopping and pottering around.  Usually I would head out for a walk or run at lunchtime but mum is being quite active today and talking about "going home to Grimsby to see her Mummy" so I daren't even lease her for 20 minutes in case she decides to head up to the bus stop or something!

God knows how Dad feels being stuck here day after day.  Although, to be fair, he is slowing down himself and doesn't seem to mind not being as active and he could always take her with him is he needed to go somewhere.

With me working from home I only have a limited time to do something else so definitely feel the shackles!

Anyway, I've been quite good on the dieting front.  Often being at The Parentals is a licence to, erm, relax somewhat but I resisted fried fish and chips last night (the fishman from Grimsby always calls round on a Wednesday) in favour of fish poached in milk and new potatoes which was absolutely delicious.  I struggle to find stuff to eat which does not involve bread but, with some effort, have resisted on this trip.

So, I'm hopeful of a decent drop this week after the last 3 weeks of meagre rewards.  Even 2lbs would be cause for celebration!  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Snowy Mam Tor

 I took the hounds for a snowy walk up Mam Tor last Thursday.  The snow on the high hills had melted a little where the sun was on it for longest.  But, where not melted there was plenty left!  And the views were amazing.

It felt like we were on top of the world looking down on everything.

Looking over the edge into Edale Valley and up toward Kinder Scout.  It's white over there!

Looking back towards Rushup Edge with Manchester in the far distance.

 The view towards Castleton and the hole of Winnats Pass.

Minty looking down over the Great Ridge towards Hollins Cross and Lose Hill.

My lovely girls with the Hope Valley behind them.

Someone has some digging to do.

Richard's birthday weekend and Monday Weigh In results

Not mine, Richard's.  But it did mean a bit of wavering away from strict compliance with the SW plan. I did not go off the rails by any means, just eased up a bit in order to be able to enjoy our weekend to the full.

Friday night we went to a local posh pub for a birthday meal.  The Plough.  We haven't been there together (apart from for a snack in the beer garden) and it was lovely,  Very romantic - warm, fire, cosy furniture and decor, gorgeous food, live pianist, friendly staff and cracking wine.  I ate what I fancied (scallops and pork belly with puy lentils to start and duck breast with confit duck leg and celeriac wellington which was gorgeous!).  I didn't drink much as was driving and didn't fancy a sweet (I know - what was wrong with me??) so just a coffee and a glass of dessert wine .  Although I went over on syns, it was not crazy bad.

Saturday was all about the football.  Off to our local but didn't drink before the game.  Then an emotional thank you and farewell to our outgoing Chairman, Milan Mandaric.  It is pretty rare in footie for supporters to have so much love for the Chairman, they are usually at loggerheads but Milan saved our club 4 years ago and has steered us to stability and, now, a sale to a mega rich, Thai businessman, Mr Chansiri.  Milan came onto the pitch before kick off and gave an emotional speech about how much he loves us and won't forget us an isn't leaving, just stepping back.  Honestly, not a dry eye in the house....

After the game we went back to the pub and I sank into a couple or 4 (small) red wines.  What bliss.  What was NOT bliss though was being thwarted while trying to eat healthily.  The menu at our football local is NOT helpful to the dieter.  No jacket spuds, no soup, no salads. Everything is served in a giant yorkshire pudding, with chips, smothered in cheese, burgers, or pie-based! I spied one exception - beef chilli with rice.  Yay!  But none made - Booo!!  I had a serious discussion about this deficiency with the landlord but although he promised to see what he could do in the future, there nothing was to be done that day.

So I didn't eat between 11am when we'd had a big (SW compliant) cooked breakfast and 9.30pm.  I was ravenous and, frankly, grumpy and cheesed off.  It didn't help that Richard scarfed down a rather tasty looking kebab at the bus station on the way home.  Aaaaargh!

Sunday was fine - healthy food, long walk in the icy snow and the quiz which we lost narrowly but which was a proper laugh.  I was captain in Dave's absence on holiday which is always trying  but this time most of my choices went the right way.

And then came Monday's weigh in - a rather disappointing 0.4lbs off.  This is very slow and I don't really know why.  In the past I have not followed the regime as well as I am doing and I have tended to drop the weight (at least at the start) much faster.  I'm not losing heart and weirdly it's not causing me to stray.  I'm just going to stick to it and try (when I eventually feel better) to do more exercise as, apart from the dog walks, I'm only managing one run a week so far.

Starting weight   17.0.4
Week 5 drop       -0.4
Current weight   16.6.4
Total drop           -8.0

Actually I'm sure I would have done more exercise if it wasn't for the snow.  It has been 12 days now of solid snow covering.  It's disappearing but still our lawns are white and many pavements are ice-covered. The fields are frozen and tricky to walk on let alone run.  Not long now hopefully as it is melting (and re-freezing) very gradually. Fingers crossed.

Trouble is, my violent cough has returned in the last couple of days which is maddening.  It very nearly left me but not quite and now I'm back hacking and spluttering away which is exhausting. Two steps forward, one back....ho hum....

I'm off to my parents tomorrow for a couple of days to work and to give Dad a break.  I haven't been since before Christmas due to ill-timed snow and others visiting him so it'll be good to check them out!  I might even manage a slow jog-ette on blessedly snow-free, flat, Lincolnshire roads.  Watch this space.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Not Fit For Purpose

It's a damning conclusion on the place I work and may be deserved but something doesn't quite add up. I know nothing about the ins and outs of Childcare or Children and Young Peoples' Services so possibly the conclusions relating to that Service are correct.  But to say that the whole Council is not fit for purpose seems to be overkill given that I'm not aware of any enquiry into any aspect of my Service at all.  How would they know?

Also, re CYPS, they say that the Council's response was inadequate but we've had nothing but updating emails since the Jay Report came out saying what changes are being made, how many new social workers are being appointed, additional funding for investigation and support and a complete restructure of the internal structure of the Council and Cabinet.  The Jay Report was 5 months ago and the Corporate Governance inspectors moved in barely a month later.  Could they really judge the efficacy of the response in this short timescale??

That said, I'm not an apologist for Rotherham councillors or senior management.  I know that what happened in Rotherham, between the Council, the Police and those members of the community who knew what was going on, was utterly shocking and horrific and serious steps need to be taken to make sure it doesn't happen again and that the evil bastards are brought to justice.

I also think that the fact that Rotherham has had single party rule for decades with no effective opposition has caused the Labour Group and senior Cabinet members in particular to become complacent.  They do not have their decisions challenged and there is little chance of them being kicked out at elections.  Quite simply, they do not need to defend themselves or their policies.  That will all change when UKIP sinks its fangs into us.  I would predict that there is a very good chance that we will be the first UKIP controlled Council very soon.  Oh goodie.

I'm just not sure that scapegoating this Council to the exclusion of all other responsible bodies is the way to go.  I can't help feeling that there will be other Councils where this has happened and who haven't addressed matters either but we will be the only Council treated in this way.  Pickles has his scalp and can appear strong and tough and decisive and everyone else will muddle on through.

I just wish they made it clear on the news that the report is referring to Cabinet Members and Councillors and very senior management leaders not the ordinary officers who are trying to carry on doing our jobs with no salary increase for 3 years, extensive job cuts so that there is no way we can service our work loads and now while being publicly branded "not fit for purpose".  Now I know how Customs Officers felt after Pickles laid into them.

So, you may be able to detect a degree of misery, irritation, frustration and unhappiness arising from all this.  I know it's only work but I do care about Rotherham and really try to make things better.  I hope the Commissioners get to grips with our problems and sorts our deficiencies out but I suspect we're just going to have more work, with less support, less trust and less fun.

I have not deviated from my dieting efforts.  In fact it has been easier because I'm avoiding the grimness of the office where possible by working from home.  My weight is staying stubbornly static but I'm hopeful of a small drop this week.  I have a bucket load of snowy pictures but have not yet sorted through them for publication so that will have to be saved for a later post.

So, on that grumpy note I'm off to darts and dominoes now and heaven helps and pub wag who decides to have a go... As the Wealdstone Raider would say - "You want some??  I'll give it yer!!"

Monday, 2 February 2015

Weighing Day

Well, I'm slightly happier this Monday morning. The scales have bestowed a grudging 1lb drop on me.  Taking me to a total of 7.6lbs off.  Yes, I've decided to be digital about this now.  I've been toying with the rounding up or down to the lb or half lb but think every little fraction of a lb is going to count so I'm claiming every teeny, tiny ounce!

And I've also decided to 'fess up about the actual weights involved. Euuurgh

Starting weight   17.0.4
Week 4 drop       -1.0
Current weight   16.6.8
Total drop           -7.6

It's slow but my head is in the right place so I'm confident I will crack this and not just drop the weight but learn (and remember) the skills I need to keep it off (while enjoying my life in the process).

Ever since Cerulean "Keepoffthearse" commented a few weeks ago, I've been following her blog and watching her progress back on the Cambridge Diet.  It takes me back to those heady LL days of 2007 and part of me wants that speedy gratification.  Watching the lbs fall away and not having anything but restraint to think about.  I can hear it in her written words - the euphoria and commitment.  She WILL succeed.  I must admit that I've been quite jealous and slightly tempted to get on that merry-go-round myself.

But, having reflected on this (A LOT), I think that I'm going to do this the old-fashioned way.  Slowly and steadily.  I do not want to be gaining and losing for the rest of my life.  I need to really learn how to live, eat and not gain weight and think the process of dropping 4 or 5 stone will help with this in a way that doing a VCLD will not.  For me, the priority is not speed but longterm success.

That is not to say that I regret in any way doing LL back then or don't approve of VCLDs.  It is up to every individual to choose what works for them and everyone's priorities differ.

So, enough of the diet chat for now.  I'll back to wintry walks and blather soon.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The sky is blue. The snow is white. That's why God's a Wednesdayite!

I was desperate to get out into the sunshine on Friday but had to wait in for Richard's new phone to be delivered.  They confidently stated that they would give me an hour window at the beginning of the day.  When the text came it said that the phone would be delivered between 7am and 8pm, so not QUITE the hour then!

Rich was working until 3pm by which time it would be getting cold and cloudy!  Aaaargh.  Luckily they arrived at 1.30 so I was dressed and out by 2pm.  It was well worth the wait.  Pure heaven. 

I decided to head up to my old stomping ground of Hazelbadge (the massive field at the end of my old road where I used to walk the dogs nearly every day).  I knew the snow would be deep up there but thought the local dog walkers would have beaten down a track by now.  Erm, not so much!

There was a series of footprints heading halfway up the hill where the kids had been sledging but it was still knee deep and pleasingly crunchy.

But before we were even halfway up the hill, the footprints dwindled to one set.  It was knee deep and hard work but achingly beautiful.

The stunning Win Hill with Bradwell nestling in the foreground.

The single set of footprints had been wiped out by now so we were on our own. Minty forged on ahead of me, leaping like a dolphin, 2 pawed.  It must have been incredibly hard work for her.  Shelagh is a much wiser old girl and tucked in behind me taking advantage of my footprints.

Once we reached the brow of the hill, a stunning swathe of the aptly named White Peak lay before us.  The light was amazing, glancing off the wind-frozen snow making it look like polished silver.

And as we headed down hill Hazelbadge farm appeared, nestled in the fold of the Dale with the road to Tideswell snaking off behind it.

At the bottom of the hill was a track of tractor treads.  Minty went a bit crazy smearing herself into the compacted snow grunting to herself.

We cross the main road, avoiding the snarling and leaping farm dogs and headed up this lovely bridlepath

At the top of the track we turn right back towards Bradwell on a quiet (and almost impassable for cars) country lane.

This is one of the many fields that Minty loves to chase swallows in. Not today.

I wonder if that's what she's thinking about??

We met some old adversaries from the village.  They are usually high above us on their garden wall barking like crazy.  This time though the Weimeraner on the right proved to be a timid mouse!  Minty had a bark but kept her distance.

The sun is dipping and the clouds are appearing so I'm very pleased to have had the hour of blue skies.

Kids sledging on Hazelbadge over the valley.

Now we're back in the village with Bradwell Edge looming above us.

What a walk.  It made my heart sing to be honest which might sound cheesy but is no more than the truth.

In other news, the scales are co-operating a little better.  They have reverted back to the 0.4lb drop.  Woo hoo.....she says some what sarcastically.  Still, I might see a small drop at official weigh in tomorrow provided I stick to my guns when yesterday I was fearing a gain! Maybe next week I will risk NO daily weighing??  I'm not sure.  The gains have sort of motivated me to be extra vigilant.  Might not weighing in allow my chimp to become complacent.  I'm afeared of the dreaded complacency.  But I haven't enjoyed the feeling of being at the mercy of the scales either.  Oooh, I don't know...