Friday, 30 April 2010

On the move again

.... And thank god - this time it's downwards. A solitary lb gone at weigh in this morning, but a quick check of the graphs reveals that this is the lowest I've managed since returning from skiing in January, so woohoo for that!!! This week's weight - 12st 10lbs.

Points deficit at the end of the week? A very small 4.5!!!! MILES better than anything I've managed recently. And pretty damn honest to boot with very little sliding under the radar and not getting recorded.

It's the start of a long weekend, kicking off tonight with dinner and a night out. Jo and I have already promised to look out for each other's dinner choices, stick to the spirits and avoid the wine (and in fact just generally take it easy on the booze) and to maybe get some dancing in. I'm keeping my food choices light today to try and leave something for later.

I REALLY want to lose even just 0.5lb this coming week to bust that 12st 10lb barrier out of the water and get heading back to my 12st 6lb lowest weight to date. That's going to mean some serious committment to my eating and moving - particularly over the weekend. I'm thinking as much incidental walking as I can fit in is a good thing!

I'll check in tomorrow and let you know how it started!

Oh - and Combat last night kicked my ass. Literally. My butt aches something chronic from all the back kicks! If it's not super-toned when all this is done, I might have to go and kick something. Again.

Have an amazing weekend all!!! And I promise to come back with a photo post soon - it's been too long!!

Mwah!!! XXX

-- Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Feeling on top of the world

Good morning troopers - how's it going?

Why the over-exuberant title you ask?

No huge achievements, but something smaller that I'm proud of. Something I've been meaning to do for ages.

Something so simple, but that I've not been managing.


I'm talking about making sacrifices, making good decisions and staying on track.

I know - not a huge deal is it? But it's been eluding me for a while now.

As I mentioned in my last post, I had a working lunch with a buffet yesterday, and then a shopping trip last night with Bec. My solution? I manned up, decided to ignore whatever anyone else thought, and took my own sandwich and a yoghurt into the meeting. Ironically, the other participants were just impressed that I was sticking to my guns.

And to deal with last night, I took 15 mins whilst I was getting ready to research my options. I knew from experience that it usually ends up being fast food because we shop til the mall closes and then suddenly realise we're starving. I don't know about you, but that scenario rings alarm bells with me.

And you know what? Being forewarned totally helped. I was hungry when we hit the drive-thru but I knew my options and didn't want to mess up ..... so I totally didn't!

This week's gone well so far, and it shows. I'm on track to finish my week within about 5 points of my weekly total. I can't tell you when that last happened. I'm being far more honest with myself and my tracker, which has meant that I've had to make some sacrifices to get there. But what I realised is that those sacrifices don't have to be that hard. That having a little of what you fancy instead if a whacking great portion of it stops me feeling sick or guilty after, but doesn't leave me feeling particularly deprived either. Mostly it leaves me feeling good and in control.

Oh, and the scales are finally reflecting a little of my effort. This morning I was bang on 12 st 10 lbs - that barrier I've been banging my head on for 3 months. And I have no intention of messing up today.

What do the rest of you do when you feel like you've lost track of your goals and the path to get you there? Because I'm totally in the mood to take all available tips at the moment to keep me going forward!

-- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Almost got it right

Yep, I'm still struggling a bit here. I feel like I'm slowly moving in the right direction, but I often come to the right decision too late.

Last night was a prime example. I ate well during the day, filled up on stir-fry at dinner - just veg, chicken breast, soy sauce and ginger. I managed to complete a very healthy food shop whilst starving hungry (which believe you me is a massive exercise is self-will all on its own!), but didn't quite get the cinema right in the evening.

I thought ahead at the supermarket and thought about grabbing a little pack of Malteserd to take with me. But that little voice in my head still whispered that it wasn't enough of a treat. So I ended up getting pic'n'mix again - and while it was nice, it was too much (and it wasn't even a big portion) and I ende up wishing I'd gone with the Maltesers. Next time I'll make thr right decision. I hope.

Still - I think I was near as damnit on my points yesterday. I just need to get this eyes bigger than stomach thing of mine under control.

Today I'm shopping after work with Bec, and in an all day meeting with a working lunch. I look on this as an opportunity not a pitfall. I can't snack in all day meetings, I've bought my own lunch to eat instead of the evil buffet and I don't snack if I'm busy doing something fun like shopping.

Now I've just got to make sure I don't spend too much money and that I've looked up the possible options for tea.

-- Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Champagne picnics and trying a little moderation

Wow - so I had a lovely weekend, but yet another points deficit at the end of it. Same old story, huh?

After getting my car serviced on Friday and it turning out to be traumatically expensive (think £88 ballpark) I was in need of a drink and some cheering up on Friday night. I met friends in the pub garden and after that we all trailed off to try a new Indian restaurant that had opened locally.

It was absolutely gorgeous food (I had Goan king prawns ina tomato and coconut sauce, which came with some crab rice, and shared a peshwari naan with a friend), but I am quickly coming to realise that even if you keep an eye on your food points, it's pretty pointless if you then allow yourself to be talked into sharing bottles of wine!

This became a recurring theme on Saturday, but more of that in a sec. Saturday was my friend lissa's birthday celebration, and she'd opted for a long sunny walk in the countryside with a picnic en route and some beers in thr sun on the hills. We got an absolutely glorious day for it, and I thoroughly enjoyed our little romp through the countryside. I don't if it's just me, but my walking fitness seems to have improved rapidly over the last couple of weeks, to the point where I'm now enjoying a 10.5 mile walk with energy still to spare at the end.

At lunchtime we found ourselves a peaceful grassy field with views of the hills to come, and Lissa whipped out both a proper picnic rug and a bottle of champagne - luxury indeed! It was a lovely, lovely day out, and we rounded off the evening with another meal out.

Hello Recurring Theme - nice to see you again! As with Friday night - I was quite conservative with my food choices, but let myself get talked into sharing a bottle of wine. On the second round, I finally spoke up and asked for a vodka and slimline tonic instead, but I felt awkward about being so, well, awkward. This is definitely something I need to get over, as the wine has accounted for a lot of my extra points in the last couple of weeks, and I need to be more selfish about what I want and need. It doesn't help that I actually really like wine, so there's no particular motivation to turn it down, apart from how bad it is for me!

Sunday and yesterday have been quiet days where I ate consciously and saved some points. I was pleased on Sunday that I was really craving fresh bread, and managed to stop at half of the baguette for lunch and keep the other half for tea. A step in the right direction.

I also went to spin last night, which was a particularly brutal session - but I actually relished that as it was exactly what I needed. I'm a bit gutte though that there aren't any more intermediate rides scheduled at the moment with the mountain bike club, so I'm going to have to wait my turn to put my legs to good use again. I'm trying to talk myself into going out alone but it just doesn't have the same appeal.

The rest of this week is pretty manic. I'm out for the cinema to night (I've cancelled the dinner I was supposed to be going to beforehand, and I'm trying to work out my snacks in advance), tomorrow I'm catching up with Bec who wants to go shopping (note to self - try and avoid fast food for dinner afterwards) and I'm having a girly evening with Bridget on Thursday. Friday I'm on a night out in Cheltenham with Jo - but we've already agreed - no wine, spirits and diet mixers and a healthy option for dinner. Will have to see how it goes!

-- Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Time to dig deep

This is the time for me to grit my teeth and keep going .... which is presumably exactly what I haven't been doing do far this year.

I've been eating very clean for the past couple of days and the scales continue to rise.

Little bastards!

So I must council myself to have patience and persevere now I'm on a streak. It's so frustrating though that this looks like yet another week where I'll bounce back up.

I know, I know - same old rant, and it's time for me to get off my arse and do what I need to do .... namely hold it together over the weekend.

Wish me luck, fellow bloggers!

-- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Determination and a little accountability

... is a wonderful thing. My eating is slowly getting a bit cleaner and I feel a bit more motivated to keep things going. Regular emails and texts have been flying backwards and forwards between myself and my co-challenger, Jo, listing the temptations, the errors and the accomplishments.

Yesterday I did what Weightwatchers tell you not to (and something I wouldn't normally advocate but I needed a kickstart) and I saved about 10 points from daily food allowance plus another 5 or so from exercise.

I ate plenty - proving that such a thing is possible on about 11 points for the day, and hit the gym after work to churn out 15 mins on the cross-trainer and a 30 min run on the treadmill.

I'm eating super-low again today and tomorrow (but on the same principle of plenty of low point foods rather than going hungry), and I'm currently debating whether to walk up the Beacon tonight for my exercise or get my bike out and peddle somewhere instead.

I'm super fingers-crossed for some kind of loss on Friday to break through this blasted mental barrier I'm stuck at - it's spring, optimism is in the air and (dieting) hope springs eternal.

On a very positive note, good things have happened to my Spring wardrobe this year. For one things heels are more comortable to wear now (less pressure on the same surface area of my foot I assume) and I've even found myself starting to wear them on nights out which I used to avoid like the plague.

I'm also starting to find that skirts without tights are a possibility which is great. It's not nice, but when you're overweight it's hot and uncomfortable to go bare-legged because there's too much flesh competing for the same space. Worse still, if you're walking any distance chafing becomes a real issue. Sorry - too much info, but it's true. Trim a couple of inches from each thigh though and it's WAY more comfortable. Which is great because there are so many cute summer skirts and dresses around this year!

And finally button-up shirts fit better - because the body's more of a standard shape without weird lumps and bumps in unexpected places. Sure, they make shirts in bigger sizes, but they're all just a bigger version of a normal healthy figure that has a waist. And the truth is that most overweight people don't have much of a waist - I didn't, so that shape just doesn't fit. Well, hooray for them fitting now.

Know what I'm wearing to work today? You guessed it - strappy suede heels, bare legs, a short skirt (well, above the knee anyway) and a fitted shirt.


-- Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, 20 April 2010


Ok - last night was not my finest hour. Having literally spat out what I was eating when I realised what I was doing, I decided that the best thing to do would be to have a shower and go to bed. I wasn't sure whether to go as far as throwing out the other half of the bar, but for the moment it's buried back in the baking cupboard.

I won't give up on this week. Yes, I've made a huge mistake, but I'm going to at least save as many points as I can for the rest of the week to balance it.

First thing this morning I went to the supermarket and bought all the things I'm going to need. I have no intention of starving myself for the rest of the week - in fact I intend to eat plenty and stay full, but what I will be eating will be ultra-low in points.

Bring on the fruit, the low fat yoghurts, the sugar-free jellies and the veg. Lots and lots of vegetables. I know it's not exactly what Weightwatchers recommends but this is more in aid of trying to teach myself that there are consequences.

What a mess, but let's see what can be recovered.

-- Posted from my iPhone

Monday, 19 April 2010


I had a really good first day of my challenge, except, I just sat here and ate near half a big bar of Galaxy. And I do mean a big bar. Like a 400g bar.

I feel sick with myself (if not physically sick) - what the hell was that? I suddenly realised what I was doing, and literally spat out what was in my mouth. I really don't want to think how many points that was.

I hate that I have to write this. I hate that I ate my dinner and had points left to bank, plus points earned from the gym, and I've just trashed all that. I wanted something sweet after dinner, but why get a flipping big bar of chocolate out? I should have just had the ice-cream I wanted, but didn't want to have because then I'd have used up my remaining points.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

What the hell is with my stupid self-sabotage?

Over and over again I do this.


A great weekend and new beginnings

Wow, what a fabulous weekend!

The weekend inventory of injuries is as follows: several mysterious bruises (from Friday - can't work out what caused these), a collection of bright red scratches and scrapes on my forearms and lower legs (from Saturday - collected from crashing through undergrowth at speed), and a serious case of sunburn across my chest and shoulders plus a large scratch to the back of my left shoulder (stupidly spending the whole day in the sun with no sunscreen on and a run in with a large thorn whilst climbing over a stile) - see a bloody brilliant weekend! :o)

Friday afternoon and evening was spent at the April meet at Cheltenham race course. It was a beautiful spring afternoon, and a lovely opportunity to better get to know people I enjoy working with, as well as meet some new folks. Better still - some of my horses came home in the right order, so the afternoon's betting and drinks paid for itself! After that we headed into town for some determined bar-hopping (although I wasn't drinking), and finally finished up dancing away in a club in the small hours of the morning.

At about 2am, I realised that if I was going to have any hope of making the ride out with the mountain bike club in the morning, I'd best be heading off home. I almost talked myself out of it, round about that point, as nerves about riding with a bunch of strangers took over, but thought I'd at least set my alarm for the right time and see how I was feeling in the morning.

7.30am. Alarm ringing. Not enough sleep, but I'm awake and the sun is shining. Well, if I'm awake I might as well get up and get on with it. Haul out of bed, very quick shower (when my flatmate finally vacates the bathroom - what were the chances of us both being up at 7.30 on a Saturday morning for different reasons????), and grab kit. Slight anxiety over the fact that I still haven't had a chance to look at my worn-out brakes, but no time to worry if I'm going to make the rendezvous.

So off I head on a glorious, cool, sunny morning, over to deepest Gloucestershire and a rather large hill. The rendezvous's at Birdlip (Hill), which as anyone local to the area knows is rather steep. We're talking about an area that hosts the cheese-rolling annually on 1:1 gradient slope (it actually looks even steeper than that when we ride round it later on!). I find the start point on the first attempt, and easily locate the other ride members. They seem friendly enough, but I'm feeling shy as there seem to be a lot of very shiny bikes being unloaded - these guys have some serious kit (and it's nearly all alarmingly fit looking guys too)! I couldn't even see any other hardtails for the first 10 mins so I'm having minor kittens that I'm seriously out of my depth, but finally catch sight of a couple and calm down a bit. By the time the ride leaders have come over and introduced themselves (and turn out to be easy-going and non-judgmental), I'm feeling up for giving it a good shot.

After the inevitable faffing, about 14 of us pile out of the car-park, and almost immediately straight into home-made, twisty but flat singletrack in the beech woods. Riding on leaves is a new thing for me, and I chicken out of one bowl that has a virtually vertical 6ft drop into it, but other than that I'm keeping up, and no-one's judging me for bottling the one bit. As we continue, I discover I'm not the slowest, and although the pace is quite testing for me, it's doable and I'm relatively comfortable. Relaxed chatting at the frequent halts to regroup, soon have me realising that others are new-ish to the group, or are regaining fitness, and I'm soon feeling more settled. I even find out that one of the guys windsurfs the same resort we do in the winter in Dahab, so we have quite a chat as we're bowling along a section of the Cotswold Way later.

Over the top of Coopers Hill (of the cheese-rolling fame), and there's a bloody steep straight down round the side of the hill, where my lack of brakes becomes quite apparent, but I arrive at the bottom in one piece. I'm confidently riding behind the saddle on the drops, and feeling pretty good. The closeness of the singletrack means I've got some scratches from whipping through bushes and brambles, but it's also good to focus on my bike-handling on the close "gates" through the trees (some of which are barely handle-bar width), and we've had some fun with riding along logs and through naturally occurring bowls and drops. One final slog back up the hill on the Cotswold Way brings us back out by the cars.

1 hour 50 mins of fast riding, average heart rate 165, maxed at 195 (I didn't know my heart could beat that fast - bloody hills!), and 1300 calories burnt according the HRM! And it isn't even lunch time yet!

After a leisurely lunch, I actually get round to cleaning my bike (hallelujah!) and tinker with the brakes to get them sharper (and nearly somersault off the bike as result - maybe not quite that tight), and suddenly I'm late to get changed and meet Jo for the cinema!

We went to see Kick-ass, which was really good, and then headed back to Kidderminster to chill with a glass of wine, since both our flatmates were away for the weekend. I was spark out on her sofa by about half 10. Lame!!!

Yesterday, we decided a long walk was in order and mooched round from the North of Kidderminster to Bewdley, via some very pretty countryside. It was a glorious day, and we detoured through the very pretty Habberly Edge to enjoy the views. Lunch followed in Bewdley (well, we'd earned it) and very delicious fish and chips at a table with an umbrella by the river. A little ice-cream to follow and a saunter back through town the catch the steam-train home. About 10 miles covered on foot, and a rather interesting case of sunburn by the time I get home - d'oh!!!!

Note to self - if you're going on long walks or bike rides - sun protection is vital!!!!

Whilst we were walking and chatting yesterday, Jo and I were both bemoaning the fact that we're both stuck about 6lbs above our lowest weights from last year's challenge. It was Jo whom I kicked off the original 2009 challenge with, but we've both stalled, so we've decided to kick off a new challenge 2010.

We're both going to Costa Rica in August, so we've got equal motivation - for the first part we've committed to 4 weeks, and a solid attempt to lose the 6lbs to get us back to our lowest weights to date. Jo has just re-joined Weight Watchers, so we're on equal pegging. The specific challenge to achieve 4 weeks perfectly on points for the week, and we'll see where we get with the weight .... which means I've got some legwork to do after the weekend if I'm going to get this first week right.

Having someone else I'm accountable to really helps though - I went home and made soup last night, which I've also had for lunch today. I've got about 25 points to get back this week (mostly from Friday's shenanigans), so I'm thinking about eating a lot of fresh soup over the next couple of days to kick me off. On top of that, the ride on Sat has got me in the mood to get back into spinning which will have the double bonus of not just earning me activity points, but also getting me some useful cycle-specific fitness.

So far so good for the week!

Friday, 16 April 2010

Converting to metric

Well, temporarily at least, as my scales seem to have inexplicably decided that the Imperial Way is no longer for them. Baaaaah humbug to them!!

That added an element of mathemathical challenge to this morning's weigh in, as I had to groggily try and work out what 81.4 kg translate to in stones and lbs. I THINK it's 12st 11lbs or there abouts, which puts me a lb down on last week.

This number seems to have been my sticking point for the last couple of months - the one I get down to before bouncing back up again like Tigger. I guess now's as good a time as any to try to get past it since I find myself so tantalisingly close again!

Last night we went to a charity poker evening, where I was amused to walk away with the runners up prize after clearing all the chips on my table in the last hand. And the reason it was so amusing - I've never played poker before and play with more style and panache than actual skill. Which vaguely translates as: I have suicidal betting tendencies and no poker face to speak of!

And the runners up prize? A 500g bar of Galaxy chocolate. Typical!!! It's now safely stowed in my baking cupboard where I can quietly forget about it, until I decide to do something useful with it like make it into cookies and give them away to my grateful friends :-)

I was more impressed with my raffle prize - USB fairy lights for my computer - the ultimate girly decoration!! Genius!

Today after work (my half day) I'm going to go and find a coffee shop to chill in for a couple of hours with my book and a healthy lunch then I'm off to the races at Cheltenham for the evening meet.

Tomorrow morning is then going to start bright and early with a 9.30 meet for a ride out with a local mountain biking club. Good times.

-- Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Gloomy like the weather

Just another day of trying to be honest with myself about what's going in my gob. Which is harder than it sounds at the moment!

I'm feeling a little bit bereft today as my scales have decided they've run out of batteries again (or at least I hope that's what the problem is), so I officially have no idea what my weight was this morning. That's pretty scary for a confirmed daily-weigher like myself! I'd best get myself some new batteries pronto otherwise my weekly weigh in tomorrow is going to be a tad tricky!

Other than that I'm trying to decide if I can be bothered to remove my ass from the house tonight to attend a charity poker night, when what I'd really rather do is curl in bed early and read my book which I'm rather addicted to (the Sookie Stackhouse series which True Blood is based on).

I'm also hacked off because after my iPhone collapsed completely last week and I had to make thr trip to Bristol to get a replacement from the Apple store, the new one they've given me is proving faulty as well. So that means I'm prob going to have to make the trip to Bristol AGAIN to get it looked at - a 100 mile round trip. Grrrrrrr.

Decisions decisions.

-- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Boring but steady

Not a bad day yesterday - I tracked everything and was only 1.5 points over at the end of the day. I had a day off the working out as I'm already on track for my aim of 4 sessions this week, so I went to the pub quiz instead.

A steady day - now if only I coul knock out a few more of these with a bit more consistency!

-- Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Playing in the sunshine

This gorgeous Spring weather we're having now, has definitely kicked my ass in to gear. Suddenly it's fun to get out and play in the sunshine again.

I spent a lot of last week, after getting back from Wales, being in a bit of an emotional funk, stewing over something I felt was unfair. The result of that was that whilst I jumped straight back on plan food-wise, the exercise portion wasn't happening.

Friday's weigh in had me 1/2 lb up on the previous week - not too bad for 4 days away and off plan.

Whilst I was being lazy on the couch last week and stewing, I did do one positive thing - I decided it was time I had something new and exciting to look forward to, so I looked up local biking clubs in my area. There weren't so many of them in Worcestershire, but there's one promising looking one just over the border in Gloucestershire. Their website looked fun and friendly, and specifically said they welcome riders of all abilities, and since I work over that way anyway, I dropped them an enquiry email ....

..... and a day or two later I got a very encouraging email from a lady called Janet, inviting me to a ride with them this coming Saturday!

This past weekend has rolled by in a blur of social stuff and sunshine. We had a birthday night out on Friday for my friend Alex, at a gorgeous local Indian place - very posh and a superb menu. Also - their food? NEVER oily or greasy which is great. Still, I was a fair whack over points by the end of the day, owing to a stressful day at work which threw my whole schedule out on my half day.

To make up for that, I decided to make the best of the weather and get some decent exercise in over the weekend.

After running some errands on Saturday, I slung on my walking trainers and stuck a few essentials in my pockets and went off to explore up the hill. 2 hours and a hilly 5 miles later I was content. It was sunny enough to be out in a vest top, and I walked a mixture of the busy main paths (kind of unavoidable if you want to head over the Beacon), and explored new smaller ones, saw some of the prettiest cows you'll ever see (I'll post a pic later - they were so cute!) and generally cleared my head.

After a quick shower and change, I took up a last minute invitation to go over to Jo and Lissa's for a BBQ - the first of the year! It was so chilled out just sitting on their terrace, food on the grill, chiminea merrily burning away providing some heat as it got cooler and admiring their garden. Owing to the earlier walk and not having eaten much during the day, plus driving and not drinking, I didn't have to worry too much about what I was eating either. We chatted about Costa Rica, and stuff we want to do out there and other plans for the summer .... lovely!

Sunday I organised to go down to Bristol to go cycling with Hannah, on what turned out to be another lovely day. We finally opted for a gentle stroll down the Bristol to Bath cycle path on the bikes, which is along the route of the old railway.

Initially, we thought we'd bike the 15 miles to Bath and catch the train back, but after a glorious stop for some sneaky cake by the river at Saltford (at The Jolly Sailor by the weir - highly recommend it!), we decided that the remaining 4 miles to Bath wasn't enough of a finale so instead we'd bike it back. 20 and a bit miles and happy :-) In fact I think it might have been Hannah's longest ride to date!

And now for the only part of the weekend I regret. For some reason I talked myself in to getting takeaway on the way home. I don't know why, as I didn't particularly want it - I think it was more that I'd decided there was nothing I wanted to eat in the fridge at home. Needless to say I felt sick afterwards.

And cursed myself for a fool roundly.

Yesterday, spurred on with my disappointment in myself, I jumped straight back to it, and along the way reminded myself how much yummy but healthy food you can eat for so little points. Sweet potato, marrow, tomato, and mushrooms all featured in my tea. Yum!!!

I was also planning another expedition outside last night, but ended up working an hour over (again!) in the office. By the time I was driving home I was in a royal sulk, but somehow I talked myself into kicking my ass out the door anyway.

Not enough time to go walking on the hills, and not really feeling like running, so I compromised .... I walked partway up the Beacon as fast as was comfortable, and then ran round a swoopy path and on back down by a different route! Totally a revelation and the best of both worlds. No hideous hills to run up in my deeply unfit state, but way more fun and much prettier than running on the road, and with the added bonus of running on an unstable surface to concentrate on - very good for my stability.

Not a long outing - 16 mins rapid walking up and a 22 min run back round but I felt good and returned satisfied. I'll definitely play with this format again :-)

-- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Focus, brain, focus!!!!

Why, oh why, can I not stay focused for any length of time?

Come on, brain, keep your eye on the ball. It REALLY can't be this difficult.

Buffet lunch today and I let it throw me off track. Can't see me getting anything but another sodding gain this week. Especially as I have another dinner out tomorrow night.

Right, going to have to make the best of a bad job and at least try and make tomorrow right.

-- Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Damage report

First damage report after the weekend doesn't seem to be too bad - 2lbs up. I can live with that.

The weekend went a bit haywire after I last blogged, as I somehow inadvertantly caused an argument and big upset on Sunday night, without even realising it. I would say that it was a further case of my legendary foot-in-mouth, but it was more of a case of something I said being taken completely out of context and very misinterpreted.

I think it's mostly ironed out now, but unfortunately the person who did the misinterpretation is the girl one of my good friends, Sid, has just got together with (confusingly also called Sue, which was formed part of the misunderstanding) - since he stood silently by whilst she ranted at me in the small hours of Sunday, I think I can safely say he took her side over the whole thing - so I think I shall be keeping my nose out of next door for a little while to let everything settle. To be honest, I'm a little hurt that he's so besotted with her that I appear to have been temporarily dropped, but I guess that's the way life goes.

Today, is back to normal eating. After a long weekend away, I had a fridge full of fresh veg that was on the edge of being lost, and I also have a freezer full of stuff that needs to be whittled down, so I've concocted a sausage casserole for tea that helps solve both of those problems. And, mmmmmmmm, was it tastey. Plus, the added bonus that I now have three ready-made meals for the week - woohoo!

On a reckless note - since I enjoyed my bike ride so much at the weekend, I did a bit of research this evening, and dropped an impromptu enquiry email off to a local club. I'll have to wait and see if anything comes of that!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

A masochistic kind of pleasure

Hey guys,

Just thought I'd jump online whilst I've got a quiet moment and check in and see what's what.

I'm staying in deepest, darkest Wales this weekend with a big bunch of friends, and for the most part I'm having a whale (Wales?? teehee) of a time.

Our beautiful converted church on the coast is quite quiet at the moment, as people are either still out walking and exploring, or are crashed on the couches upstairs sleeping and listening to the chilled music which I can just hear filtering down the stairs.

The place we're staying is gorgeous - seriously, I aspire to own somewhere like this when I'm grown-up (yeah, I know, god only knows when that will be), with all the bedrooms and bathrooms downstairs, and upstairs being the massive open-plan church - leaded, stained glass windows, open beams, still with the pulpit (now housing the DVD library) and big chunks of the old pews forming the kitchen island.

However, as I sit in my comfy chair in front of the thoughtfully provided Mac computer, my seat bones are complaining more than a little after my first foray out on the bike. The whole group, novices to nutters, turned out with mountain bikes at the ready yesterday, to explore the trails around nearby Machynllryh. Those wanting a gentle ride got sent off along the Mach 1 trail, whilst I somehow got bundled off with the 3 nutters to go test out the Climach-x trail.

With the other 3 all having ridden all Winter, plus just generally being light years ahead of me in terms of riding skills and general fitness, it was an interesting trip! As we span out of Machynlleth and along the back roads to the head of the trail, I was busy getting a technical re-cap from Katherine on technical climbing and descending, which believe you me, came in very handy later!

Starting up the trails away from the road and up into the forest, my legs weren't too shabby (thanks to my recent return to running I'd guess), but my heart was fit to burst out of my chest and take my lungs with it, which might have been a blissful relief to the rasping sensation in my throat as I attempted to get enough oxygen on board to both climb and think! Me thinks, not riding all Winter was a dumb idea!

After a brief stop for everyone to remove layers at the official start to the trail, we headed straight on up the next section of fire-road, and I slowly settled into a rhythm - slow being the operative word. I figured it would be better to let the big boys and girls race on ahead, and for me to arrive at the top of the first section, still conscious, vertical and breathing. I'm proud to say, that despite my ascent being snail-paced (several may well have passed me on the way up), it was at least continuous. First challenge accepted and completed. I was conflicted halfway up though, as a bunch of downhillers passed me on their bikes, grinning and getting towed up on ropes behind a Ford Escort - I couldn't decide whether it was entertaining or just cheating as I slogged my own way up. I returned their grins and kept spinning as I mulled it over.

On to the first sections of single-track and I'd forgotten how bloody narrow the trails are. And how much gorse stings. And the feeling of the first trickles of muddy water seeping down your socks and between your toes.

Bloody marvellous, it is! :o)

As the others patiently waited for me at appropriate points, I emerged from the descents grinning and adrenaline high, and all was going swimmingly until Tim had an almightly blow out on a slate strewn section of open moorland. A good half-inch gash in his tyre resulted in half an hour of faffing as we first tried re-sealing his tubeless tyres (too big a tear, and the latex couldn't hold) and then finding a spare inner to bolster it until a full repair could be done. By now throughly cold again, we wolfed down Haribo and set about re-warming up, with a handily placed muddy slog - sorry, climb. Yuck.

The rest of the ride was trouble-free, with the exception of me suddenly running completely out of energy on the penultimate section of single-track which had too much up-hill and not enough down-hill for my poor legs. After a quick walk though, and half a sandwich wolfed at a rest point, we headed up the last section of fire-road and into the mammoth final descent (longest in Wales, baby!!!).

Heading into that, and with Tim insisting he hang back behind me to check I was ok and that we pause before the tricky part, I was a bit nervous that my legs wouldn't get me through the final section, but as soon as we started swooping down the hill, it all went away. Adrenaline fired back up, I warmed up, my legs felt springy again, and there was inadvertent whooping as I fired down as fast as I dared.

Walking over the short black section in the middle (well, I would wouldn't I, as even 2 of the other 3 couldn't get over in one go, and the third commented it was the first time he'd ever managed it), and we hopped back on for round 2 of descent. Back down below the tree-line, and there were a few moment as I became more confident where I nearly over-cooked it and came completely unstuck (feet off the pedals-style, and Tim commenting afterwards that I "did well to stick that out"). Hanging off the back of the bike, sliding and slipping through the turns, soaking up the rollers and splattering muddy water everywhere, we emerged grinning at the bottom (and covered head to toe in mud).

After that, some flat-out descents back down the remaining fire-roads and a big gear to spin back along the roads to town. Quads just starting to spasm a bit by then, so just taking it easy and letting the lactic acid disperse, sipping water before full-blown cramp set in. All in all, a fab ride, and the shower afterwards never felt so good, as the water turned brown with all the mud sluicing off me!

Food-wise, there's been a lot of it this weekend, but I've tried to make some good decisions. Friday night, I went over some, as there was lasagne and garlic bread, and although I started with a small portion, I went back and had the other half. And then rather a lot of vodka, lime and lemonade to drink in the pub.

Last night and today have been better. We had pie last night, but I stopped when I was full and handed my plate to one of the boys to finish off. I also stayed off the booze, which I think helped. Today, we've mooched over to Barmouth to wander, whilst the 3 nutters have gone off to climb a rather snowy looking Cader Idris. I wasn't too tempted myself after yesterday's outing, and with the amount of cloud smouldering overhead.

Instead, we parked on our side of the estuary and strolled over the toll-bridge to Barmouth, and once there a food expedition was started upon. I can take or leave the whole cockles thing, so I left it. At the fish and chip shop I had fresh scampi and a cone of chips, but left the remaining chips once the scampi was done and handed it to one of the boys to finish for me. After that came the amazing Knickbockers - an emporium specializing in ice-cream sundaes - my personal downfall. I avoided a full-blown sundae in favour of picking three scoops of my own choice and a sauce ...... and where has the real Sue gone? because I didn't finish it all, and handed off to yet another of boys to deal with the leftovers. Yay me!!!!! Some nice strolling around town, and then a mooch back over the toll bridge to the car completed the outing.

It seems I don't mind not finishing, and just stopping when I'm full, if I've got someone else around who will polish it off and enjoy it! I definitely need a boyfriend! I know they say most people put on weight when they go into a relationship, but it seems like it might be the opposite for me! lol

Anyway, that's everything from me for the moment. I'm going to push off and chill with the others now.

Friday, 2 April 2010

A weekend in Wales

I haven't weighed in yet this morning, but despite pretty steady eating over the second half of the week and a not so bad weekend the scales had resolutely moved back up yesterday, so to be honest I'm not expecting great things. Frustrating as hell, but I need to stick with it.

I had an absolutely appalling day at work yesterday, rounding off the week from hell, but at least I didn't let it over-run in to my eating. Someone gave me a Cadbury Creme Egg as a little thankyou at lunchtime and it it was still on my desk at the end of the day. In fact, it's still in my handbag.

If I can just do the conscious eating (or not eating as the case may be) thing more often, that would be half my battle won, but I do wonder if that will ever become second nature?

I had healthy stir-fry when I finally got home, but having finished so late the last couple of nights I've missed several workouts which makes me grumpy. What I did get was some therapy time in the kitchen last night. I don't know why it is that I've found learning to bake so bloody enjoyable, but I find it highly relaxing to get in the kitchen, stick some music on and make a mess.

Maybe it's the making-something-out-of-nothingness of baking that calms me? Taking a load of disparate raw ingredients and watching it magically combine into something conpletely different? Well, I don't know, but it's nice to have found it! Hey, maybe it's the constant compliments I get on the results that does it for me? I am a total attention-whore after all!!! Whatever it is, it was time to learn how to bake cookies last night and oh. my. god. did they ever come out well!! I coudn't believe how those little round dollops of dough turned into big, wonderful soft cookies. Laced with chocolate chunks too! I had one and it was heaven, and the rest are in a big airtight box to take away with me today.

So, that brings us to the weekend, and it's going to be tough. I'm heading off today for 4 days in Wales with a big group of friends for Bridget's birthday. I really don't want to come back from this having put lbs back on, but that's going to require a lot of work to navigate it safely.

There's 10 of us staying in a beautiful converted church called the Writer's Retreat, somewhere wild and wooly in the middle of Wales. The plan was to climb Cader Idris tomorrow and go mountain biking on Sunday, but the current weather looks like it's going to put a stop on one or both of those. The thing is, I need that exercise to counteract all the cake and booze that's going to be flying round this weekend. I am going to have to be very careful what goes in my gob if I want to avoid further smack-downage at the scales.

Give me strength!!!!

*Edit - Phew!!!! The scales backed down, and I've stayed the same. I know how to pick my battles so I'll take that result. *

-- Posted from my iPhone