Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Forecast - generally fine with slight hiccups

As the title suggests things seem to be going a bit more smoothly on the eating front of late. I negotiated last week's eating-out-fest fairly well, including an unexpected Indian meal on Friday night and lunch out on Saturday, and the scales were slowly trickling downwards.

I'd done a couple of good runs, and on Saturday I was so restless in the evening, that despite having traipsed round town for several hours during the day, I took myself off up the hills for a walk while the sun set.

The hiccup came on Sunday, when I got together with friends to watch the football, followed by a BBQ.

Yes, the dreaded BBQs again.

I baked on Saturday, because I knew I could safely take the result to the BBQ and get the majority of it eaten by other people. A guilty pleasure indeed. The result was my first attempt at any kind of pie or pastry, and I have to say, I was really pleased!

See how pretty my pecan pie was:

However, we ate so much at the BBQ it was physically painful afterwards. Ouch. Interestingly though, because I'd eaten very little earlier in the day, and because although we ate a lot, not much apart from the pie was truly bad, I wasn't nearly as over on points as I'd thought I'd be. More that I'd grazed my way through a lot of lean, grilled meat, salad, couscous and some potatoes. Even though I ate past where I was comfortable, I still retained some sense and turned down things I didn't need and made some conscious choices in terms of what I ate - things like knowing I wanted a mango chicken skewer because it would be tastier and lower points so not having a beef-burger, and not having any bread.

Monday, I picked up where I left off pre-BBQ and went straight back on the good eating. I've made it super easy for myself this week - I went shopping last night and stocked the fridge and cupboards with everything that's low-point, healthy, quick or pre-prepared. A bit cheaty, but useful.

So I've got a couple of ready meals and soups, lots of ready-cut, ready to steam veg, cold lean meats or fish, and fruit. No excuses.

Last night I was meant to be having a first lesson at playing squash with Jon. Cue work going shittily manic and me not getting to leave the office til gone 7 and therefore missing our booking for the court. We ended up with Jon cooking me dinner instead and me falling asleep on the sofa while watching Shrek.

I allowed the crappiness of the day to get to me yesterday and ate a bit out of stress - not ideal as then I was annoyed as I was over on my points too. By contrast my friend Jo went on a bootcamp over the weekend and lost 7lbs!!!!! I'm incredibly proud of how much hard work she must have put into that but at the same time frustrated that I don't seem to be able to do the same.

Tomorrow I have my first counselling session. Eeeeek! I'm suddenly nervous that I won't know what to talk about when I get there. I guess there should be plenty though, given that I found myself tearful and emotional on Monday whilst watching Letters to Juliet at the cinema, and talking to Bec afterwards - just watching a chick flick should not be making me so depressed about my own life!

Anyway - back to taking things one day at a time for me, since that got me through last week so well (spot that Sunday and the BBQ was the one day I didn't make a plan for last week). Aims are to eat on points for my food and get some exercise tonight. Maybe a run. I also want to try and find some of the menus for places I know I'll be eating on this weekend's hen party. Planning is key for me.

Finally: I promised some pictures of all the dresses I bought at Bicester Village. Well, here they are!

This one will hopefully be for Rob and Caz's 30th bash in a couple of weeks - a black-tie affair in Loughborough:

A steal from on eBay - original Coast price £195, and I picked it up for £30. It's a size 14 and still pretty tight around the bust, but I couldn't do it up at all initially, so that's cool.

This one's for Katherine's wedding in 3 weeks:

Another great bargain - £70 reduced from £150. I love the bright acid yellow-green colour of the top, and the detailing of the band under the bust (it's all beaded), but I'm a bit worried that it seems to be a bit loose around the bust and the ribs already - might have to wear with a really padded bra! I tried on the 14 in the shop and it was sodding tight so I went for the 16, but that might have been an error.

If all else fails and it's too big, then I'll be wearing this one instead:

I luuuuurve this dress!! This is also my option for the Cartier Polo at the end of July. Another Coast size 14, but this one fits nicely already. Super bargainous: £45 reduced from £160.

And finally, for playtime:

This little number from French Connection - and half price too. This dress makes me feel properly skinny, so it's my friend. I wore it out in London a couple weekends ago, and got lots of compliments, so I'm thinking it's going to the hen weekend with me - nothing like feeling pretty to boost a girl's confidence!

- Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, 24 June 2010


Hey guys,

The mini eating out marathon is now over for the week. Yesterday, I finished work early and then rushed off to the doctors for my travel appointment. After a chat about the options available, and being told that apparently all of my vaccination records since birth have disappeared, I got jabbed once in each arm, with a promise of more to come next week. Oh, what a lucky little girl I am!!!

I got the combi-shot for tetanus, diphtheria and polio in one arm, and Hep A in the other. Both are now sore. I also need typhoid, because of our exposure to potentially contaminated water (mostly due to our intention to surf whilst we're away). And I have to get anti-malarials (joy). Also, as of yesterday, Costa Rica has issued a travel warning that dengue fever has broken out, for which there is no vaccination or specific treatment. Extra joy!

I was due to have dinner with Jo after the needle trauma was over (she had to appt immediately before mine to get jabbed), and I had it all planned out that we would go to Ask and I could eat healthy pasta sitting in their courtyard garden.

Instead, Lissa decided that she wanted to come for dinner too, but didn't want to drive all the way over to Malvern where we were, so it was all change on the plans. We ended up going to a very nice pub with a garden, but I was a bit dismayed to see that their menu was not only quite small, but almost entirely consisted of the words cream and chips. Arrrrrgh!!!!

After a bit of indecisiveness, I ordered a starter of prawns, salad and tomato mayonnaise with, a slice of homemade bread and butter (thankfully, spread thinly) and a small side of their chips, which are at least thick cut and not particularly greasy. I ended up about 4 points over for the day, but that's no catastrophe.

The best bit? My aim for the last two days was to come out with the scales a bit lower than I went in. Achieved? Yep. A little bit back down.

Today's goal was simply to finish the week on track. I wanted to stick to my points for the day, and go for a run this evening to a) stretch my legs, and b) bank a couple of activity points. So far, today is turning into a bit of a trial. Grrrrrr.

I went to get breakfast this morning, only to find we had no milk, no bread, no eggs and no fruit juice. So all breakfast options were out. I stopped to grab a skinny muffin and a small fruit salad on the way to work instead. Then my plan for a healthy lunch out in the sun was scuppered by being told that we had a compulsory lunch to celebrate a colleague's 10 years with work. Not too bad - 3/4 of a sandwich, a couple of breaded chicken fingers and a mini-sausage roll. Feeling full, but a baby flapjack sneaked in. I've got a couple of points left for dinner now (salad or soup then), so not a total disaster, just not exactly what I'd planned. I'm still able to meet my goals for the day though, so I'm happy.

- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Shattered but happy so far

Oh my lord - 4 hours sleep is not enough when you're 29 years old. My eyes feel like sandpaper today!!

My eating went pretty well yesterday considering. By the afternoon I was getting really stressed at work, in an "I want to hit things" kind of way. Chocolate biscuits on the cabinets didn't help but I managed not to go crazy on them.

After abandoning the fight with my work and downing tools at 5pm sharp, I had just enough time to drive home, ditch the car and my work bags, and walk down to the station whilst munching on a treat-size bag of Cadbury Buttons to keep the hunger-monster at bay - the only portable food I could find in the house.

After unwinding over a couple of drinks with friends in a gorgeous pub garden I knew nothing about previously (how'd I miss that??), we sauntered round to the restaurant for tea.

I am SO glad I'd decided what to eat beforehand, as I adore Mexican food, and trying to make a healthy choice whilst starving hungry would have been pure torture!!! As it was we had a jug of Margerita and two starters to nibble on between 6 of us - which was great as it meant no chance to get carried away on the nachos, and then I had my swordfish as planned, with stir-fry veg and new potatoes. Not a delicious, deep-fried burrito, or a pile of guacamole, sour cream and cheese in sight. My plate came with half a field of potatoes on it, which I'd kind of suspected it might, so I decided right away to only eat half of them. I finished the meal feeling comfortably full and more than a little bit smug with myself. And only 2 points over for the day.

We had another drink afterwards in a bar, then wandered home, where I stupidly proceded to stay up til 2am watching tv with Jon. Hence the cheesegrater eyes this morning!

Today is Round 2 of eating out. I've got to leave work early to head to the doctors for my holiday jabs (ouch!), and then I'm going for drinks and dinner with Jo. Part catch-up, part holiday planning and part celebration of yet another promotion for her at work (she's now a director at her company, aged just 29!!).

I'm going to suggest we eat at Ask, as we can eat in their courtyard garden and enjoy the nice weather, plus I can make a safe choice there and have pasta with a tomato and veg sauce, to stay on track.

It's nice to not be feeling bloated and sick the morning after a meal out, so I'm enjoying this healthy choices thing. Bizarrely, I'm also missing the opportunity to run or work out in the evenings because I've been busy the last couple of nights - I think probably because I'm appreciating now how they make physical changes to my body. Tomorrow evening I'll be able to work out though.

Hope you're all enjoying this gorgeous summer weather! I definitely am - skirts and dresses all the way these days, and I've been told I look "very glam" today ... just as well as there's an absolute stunner of a new guy started in the VAT office this week ... believe me I'm thinking up excuses to wander over there so I can stare in awe and appreciation ;o)

- Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Screw you, Scales!

ALSO ENTITLED: sometimes my body talks to me, and occasionally, I listen.

So far, so good on this plan of attack for the next couple of days. My eating yesterday was stellar ... and unexpectedly small. I'd had about 10 points of my allotted 21 by the time I left work yesterday. Ultra-low point food and me being careful saw me through the day, as I was intending to save my maximum allowed 4 points for the day.

As intended, I got home, pulled on my running gear and ventured out into the still warm evening to stetch my legs on the hills. I thought I'd try a new route and keep it varied, so as I reached my halfway point along the East side of the hills, I crossed the ridgeline and tried to find a route back on the West.

Somebody call me a dumb-ass please, as I should know from my biking on the hills, that the path I took goes DOOOOOOOOWN. Easy running as I dropped lower and lower, but always aware that what goes down has to come back UP again.

Still, I told myself I could walk if I needed to. Better than that though - I walked a few sections but ran all that I could, and I'm really quite proud of myself. Not that my couple of 100m ascending / descending is anything compared to what some of you guys run - but it's a lot for me - and I know when to award myself a pat on the back. Just under 6k of rolling (and occasionally steep) hills in 45 mins.

After my run, I found mself totally unenthusiastic about food. I don't know whether it was the heat, the later time or just a side-effect of running, but food wasn't appealing. I compromised by cooking a healthy dinner of venison grills (super-low fat and tastey) and veg in a tomato sauce (I gave up on carbs though - that wasn't happening) and told myself I'd have a dessert to take me up to my minimum points limit for the day. Again, my body said "no, don't want it" and I just shrugged and gave up. No point forcing it.

So I ended the day on a total of 14 points and a good run.

Are the scales down this morning? Are they hell!!

2lbs up.

Screw 'em.

Dinner's picked out for tonight - we're eating Mexican, so I'm staying off the fajitas / enchiladas / deadly diet-killing dishes and have picked Cajun swordfish with veg from the menu. Sorted.

Catch ya later, dudes.

- Posted from my iPhone

Monday, 21 June 2010

Game on!

I am hearby branding this weekend a success. I ran when I said I would, and this morning's scales were down on Friday's, so I hit all my targets. I had a bit of a sweet tooth last night, but nothing that a run this evening won't cure. I'm on track for a good day of eating today too.

Now for the challenging bit - I've got invites for dinner over the next 2 nights. I'm going to try and check the menus out beforehand and decide what to have so I can plan my points. I prob won't have any time for exercise over the next couple of days, so I shall content myself with goals of planning my food and a catch-up run on Thursday (and tonight's run of course). If I can get the scales down another tiny little bit I'll be well-pleased!!

- Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, 20 June 2010


Is it possible for just over a week of running (4 x 5k runs) to make a difference to your shape?

I don't know, all I know is this: the scales haven't particularly budged anywhere yet, but when I went to put on my jeans yesterday (jeans I only bought about 2 weeks ago) instead of fitting comfortably / snugly the way jeans should, they appeared to be a bit baggy all around the whole bum / thigh area. I wasn't sure, but to double-check the jeans hadn't just stretched somehow, I grabbed my skinny jeans out of the wardrobe to try. These are my benchmark, I'm-feeling-small jeans as they only started to comfortably fit me when I was at my smallest over Xmas, and then after skiing they were seriously snug. Yesterday though? Yesterday they went on waaaaay easier and for the first time in 6 months I wore them out the house!

That definitely gives me a kick up the ass to keep doing a couple of 5k runs a week! If I see a change in my shape after just 4 runs then surely the scales would have to start moving if I keep it up?

Yesterday morning (before the jeans incident) I did what I'd promised and got up and went straight out for a run. I'm not a huge fan of first thing in the morning runs, as I always feel very sluggish before I've eaten breakfast, so I had to take lots of little walking breaks - especially on the big hill. But it was done.

After a quick breakfast and some packing I set off for London. I did a detour via Bicester Village again and picked up a new dress to wear out last night, and a back up dress for the black-tie event next month. It's gorgeous - navy silk with a big flower at the waist -I did promise some photos of the dresses so I'll try and do those later this evening for you!

After keeping my points low during the day and running I knew I could afford to eat something nice for dinner last night, but I'd still need to remain conscious of what I was eating so I didn't go crazy. Our eating plans had changed, so we ended up going to Belgo, which is a Belgian restaurant specialising in mussels. I had a lovely dish called Florentine mussels which was a mussels in a spinach sauce with Gruyere cheese on top, and a small bowel of chips. I stuck my drinking to two short cocktails (caiprinhas) and some vodka and slimline tonics. I actually couldn't physically eat or drink any more than that as I was sooooooo full afterwards!

So in terms of the challenges I set myself: I ran when I said I would, and the scales were down a little bit yesterday morning, so if I can keep them there or a little bit lower tomorrow morning I'll be happy. I want to do some gentle exercise this evening when I get back, whether that's a walk, or bike over to my dad's or just a swim.

Catch ya later, kids.

- Posted from my iPhone

Friday, 18 June 2010

Happy smiley running people

Amazing what a little positive self-talk can do. Got back from lunch and as planned slung on my running gear and went out in the drizzle. Feeling slow and sluggish after eating and probably running a little too soon too. I started talking myself up somewhere just after the half-way point - telling myself I could keep going. Slowly, slowly I sped up and got stronger and ended up storming the last part with a smile.

Last Friday I wrote that I'd clocked my fastest 5k to date - 5.1k in 40 mins.

Today I ran the same route in 38 mins.

Proof of my happy (sweaty) face.

- Posted from my iPhone

Winding up for the weekend

Another fresh week - another opportunity to do something nice and look after myself.

Unfortunately the scale gods do not love me this morning as last night was one of those rare occasions when, with the best will in the world, I actually had to eat at least a little badly. Boooo.

Pretty unavoidable as it was my dad's birthday yesterday and there's only me and him to celebrate it, so when he asks for Chinese takeaway and a slice if birthday cake, there's not a lot of wiggle room to get out of it. I tried to keep a lid on it and stop when I was full, and I ate well during the day to save some points for dinner, but even so, Chinese food does not love me and I feel sick this morning, plus the scales have rocketed sky high over night. Ironically I really didn't want Chinese last night but I guess it's one of those times when there's not a lot you can do.

I didn't have time to bake him a cake, so I opted to buy a plain one and decorate it for him! I couldn't decide whether he'd prefer ginger with vanilla icing or chocolate and chocolate so I decided to get both and the spare cake went to my friends once I'd decided. Aren't they pretty?

Given the scales were so against me this morning I'm making it my weekend challenge to simply finish the weekend with them down a bit.

I need to be careful this weekend as I've got a lunch out after work today with some colleagues and then I'm heading down to London tomorrow for a night on the tiles with friends.

I don't mind lunches out as there tend to be lots of light options on the menu like jacket potatoes or soups, so as long as I'm sensible I should be fine. After that I'm planning on another run on the hills this afternoon and then my dad's talked me into going to some kind of village fĂȘte-y type thing this evening with him for a couple of hours.

Tomorrow I need to head off just before lunch, so I was planning on putting in another run in the morning and then grabbing an early, light lunch and heading off in the car. We're off for posh dinner out tomorrow night at Four O Nine in Clapham - I think it's a 2 course deal so I need to be careful - I'm planning on staying well away from the wine at dinner and avoiding more than one cocktail - stick to the spirits and I should be ok. I've no committments on Sunday apart from getting home at some point so that makes things easier.

I just wanted to say thankyou for all the supportive comments I've received over the last week or so - it definitely helps me feel more normal and less alone!

Have a good weekend guys.

- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


I made the decision yesterday to stop procrastinating and make the call to a counsellor. I found that the decision to pick up the phone was easy enough in the end, but I was surprisingly emotional as I waited for the answerphone to kick in. I guess I find it upsetting that I'm having to turn to someone else for help as I hate doing it, even with close friends. Upsetting enough that I found myself at a loss for words and with a wobble in my voice as I left my details.

Whilst I have never thought to judge anyone else for seeking this kind of help, just a sympathy for whatever situation has bought them to that place, I never thought it would be me, and now I feel like a failure for not being able to deal with my own life.

I caught up with the counsellor later and made an appointment for 1 July as we were struggling to make our diaries match (family commitments for me this week and holiday for her next week).

I went home afterwards and I ate. Not unhealthily but more than I needed. Just comforting.

Typically, once the appointment was made I started to think that I'd over-reacted and didn't really have a reason to see her - equilibrium returning again. I know I do have stuff I could do with talking through, but suspect I'll be tempted to downplay everything initially, but then reasoned that if nothing else I have various guilt and self-esteem issues that could definitely do with an airing.

Looking at my life it's probably no wonder I'm teetering:

• my mum died 3 years ago, and I had to hold my Dad together. I'm not sure that I ever really grieved properly - I'd just started a brand new job (she died on my 3rd day), I was studying every weekend at college for my accountancy finals, and I'd hidden from a lot of my friends how bad her illness had been. Over the next 3 months I had just two days off work / college and in between I was revising frantically, organising the funeral, and supporting Dad. Time to think didn't come top of the list. And I didn't want to. I haven't visited the grave since the day we buried her - I don't want to face it.

• I worry about my Dad and the way our relationship has changed. He's depressed, morbidly so, and has had health problems and an extreme aversion to visiting doctors. He's withdrawn and lonely, but what I feel is resentment and guilt. Not good.

• For the last 3.5 years I've had high pressure jobs with a fair amount of overtime and long commutes morning and night. I don't love them and recently I've been reduced to crying in the toilets at work as well as the constant uncertainty and poisonous atmosphere of repeated redundancy / takeover crises.

• I'm imminently jobless in 12 weeks. Through my own choice, admittedly, but it's still a worry.

• My money's a mess. Not having a job in 12 weeks is not helping my piece of mind.

• Im terrible at saying no to anything. My need to feel wanted by my friends drives to accept every invite I receive, so I end up running from pillar to post trying fit everything in and disappointing people as I go. I'm exhausted and don't get enough sleep and I'm late to stuff because when I do get to sit down all I want is an hour or so to myself.

• Im struggling to come to terms with my weight loss. My self-image and self-esteem are all over the place. It didn't solve all the problems I thought it would.

• I've cleverly ploughed myself into a stupid man-related situation. Believe me when I say I'm trying to find the way out without hurting anyone, but it's unfinished business at the moment.

Shoot me.

Other than that I'm determined to succeed with life!

My eating's fine today - I have a veritable fruit salad on my desk - and I'm debating what to do this evening.

EDIT - before anyone thinks I'm an ungrateful wretch I should just like to say that I realise I also have a lot to be thankful for: that I still have my dad at all, that I'm healthy and have managed to lose some weight, that I have a fabulous bunch of friends and a social life that lots of people would be envious of. I'm not badly paid by any means, I have a nice roof over my head and the opportunities to travel. More than anything I need the counselling to learn how to appreciate and be happy with what I have.
- Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Awww pants

In my usual manner of approaching life - no sooner have I had a giant wallow in the self-pity pool and a punched myself in the face for my guilt (metaphorically speaking of course) than I bounce back.

You can't keep a Sue down!

So, following the most wise advice of yesterday's lovely commenters (the fabulous Peddling Polarcherry and Anni - hi guys) I sucked it up. I was due for a spin class last night but oddly the hills in the last of the evening sun looked too tempting. So as soon as I got home, on went the running kit, and out the door I went.

Same starting point as Friday but a hillier start - I went up and over the ridgeline for a change. Slightly tired legs from Friday (they're trying to remember what this "running" thing is I'm asking them to do), but a nice evening and very quiet up there - just 2 other runners and a pair of dog-walkers to keep me company.

5k later I came back down feeling happier, if more tired and sweaty. Still slow, but at least fairly consistent and once my legs had warmed up I started to enjoy it a bit.

Here's a question though? Given that I do quite a lot of outdoor / sports activities, I've accumulated a fair amount of tech kit by now. And when I say a fair amount I mean that everything I wear, head to toe is sports / activity designed - wicking fabrics, sports cut, etc.

Apart from my pants!

Not so much a problem for running, or the gym, although an hour of kicking the shit out of an imaginary opponent does tend to test the positioning powers of most pants, but long bike rides and walks - not so nice. You get a bit hot, a bit sweaty or rained on - everything else dries out leaving you with damp knickers - lovely!

So - advice please, because I know there's some of you hard-core cases out there and I'm hoping you're going to tell me good news on this front (behind?) :-)

After the run I was back home, a veg-heavy dinner and an evening with a trashy book and the Internet. Happier.


(warning - stop here if you're only after the happy, shiny stuff ... it gets weird ahead)

I also spent a bit of time yesterday looking at local councilling services. I'm aware, although it might not always come across on here, that I have a history of destructive or just plain odd behaviours from time to time. Most of the time I catch myself before they're a problem or can control them, and I can squash my concern regarding them, but they're still there. When I have a bad day like yesterday though, I feel like maybe I should talk to someone about them.

I don't know if they're displacement activities or controlling behaviours, or something else, but I know they're weird.

The eating, leading to weight gain, is just the tip of the iceburg. I'm careful around alcohol, avoid more than occasional gambling and don't touch drugs or cigarettes because I have a tendency towards an addictive personality. I obsess. If I didn't have such a strong gag reflex I'd probably have been bulimic years ago. I've toyed with laxatives to control weight loss, but thankfully, care too much for what it might do to my body.

More worryingly, I harmed myself in minor ways as a teenager, and have had flash impulses to do crazy things like drive off the road to see what would happen. I don't always respond to situations with the emotions you'd expect - especially my responses to guilt and grief situations and I often feel emotionally detached. I used to hide in dark corners as a child because I literally found them physically comforting and probably still would if that wasn't such a weird thing for an adult to do. I often wake up totally disorientated and don't know where I am for a good minute or so (frightening).

In short - I think my brain might be wired a bit wrong! Normally, I can squash all of that down and act like a normal person should, but occasionally I think I'd love to know what the hell is behind it all, if anything. Obviously none of it is individually serious enough to stop me leading a normal life, but I worry that as is strip away some of the protective behaviours like the over-eating I run out of places to hide from myself.

So I got some names of local councillers yesterday. Just not quite sure I'm ready to use them yet.

Whoah - that got deep.

- Posted from my iPhone

Monday, 14 June 2010

Weekend washout

I had the makings of a fabulous weekend food-wise - I held it together through BBQ's and lunches out and the pub.

Until yesterday evening when I inexplicably derailed in style. Dinner out at a Chinese restaurant followed by a Krispy Kreme doughnut.

I hate myself. I despise my complete lack of willpower, or even apparently desire to change.

I literally wanted to hurt myself this morning I was so frustrated, except I already have because the scales tell the story of another week destroyed in terms of potential to lose something, and the MSG has made me feel sick to my stomach.

I'd take it back in a heartbeat if I could - that dinner. Why, why, why didn't I just go home to have tea there? What a waste.

- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Running and chocolate

I did something I hadn't done in a very long time yesterday - I went for a run (well, yes, I know I don't do that often enough, but shhhhh, that wasn't the news!) ... on the hills!!! Yes, folks, I officially took it cross-country. Kind of.

After work, I spent a couple of hours with my dad in the afternoon (heroically resisting the offer of apricot pie - still thinking about that lovely pizza for tea), but my (yet again) homonally-crazed body was feeling tetchy and sore by the time I got home and I wanted to do SOMETHING to make it feel better.

I'd been debating the gym, but the sun was shining and it just seemed far too nice to be wasting an hour sweating it out and being bored indoors, so my eyes turned to the hills. One of the arguments I have always had with running is that I loathe running on the treadmill - BORING!!! But I'm not an enormous fan of pounding the pavements either. There's only so many times you can spot new and interesting things about the houses you're passing before they're boring too. On the other hand, up on the hills, the view is panoramic and ever-changing.

I don't think I really had much of an idea which route I was going to take until I was in the car on the short drive up to the car-parks, but I suddenly spotted the perfect starting point as I was driving and pulled in. A long, quiet, almost flat path that rolls along the side of hills for a couple of miles - awesome! (I'm also lucky enough to have a residents permit to park on the hills all year round and not have to pay the parking fees, which makes things easier.)

I set out just intending to run for 20 - 25 mins given I've not run much recently, but got cocky somewhere along the way and decided to go UUUUP the hills instead and run down (steep ..... climb ...... can't ..... breathe), and then ran straight past my proposed turning point because I still felt good.

You know what? I wasn't even the slowest runner out there! I overtook another woman on my way back, which then gave me added incentive to keep going right til the end.

Just over 5k in 40 mins - not particularly fast but I actually think it might be a PB for me! More to the point I actually really enjoyed it (as much as you can enjoy running), and it also meant I could have a cookie after my pizza for tea :-)

I met friends for a late drink after dinner as they'd been out for the meal I'd turned down earlier in the week. I didn't really want to drink so debated driving up to the pub, but I was feeling so full after my tea that I thought another little walk and some fresh air would do me some good.

It was nice to finish a Friday, which is usually one of my worst days in the week, on track, having had some food that I often consider forbidden.

Oh my God!!! I nearly forgot - excellent news for any chocolate lovers out there!!!! Green & Blacks have started doing variety packs of their chocolates as miniatures. All the best flavours individually wrapped. Whilst I appreciate that this is good news in itself for people like me who need someone else to deal with the portion control, that's not the best bit!! Guess how many points?? I was thinking 2, or more likely 3, for each mini bar. I pointed them last night to be sure - 1. 1 point each!!!!!! Yep, my new favourite treat is a measley one point a day!!! And there's 2 each of about 6 different flavoured in each box - whoooop!

- Posted from my iPhone

Friday, 11 June 2010

Climbing my mountain

Yesterday I talked about reaching the point in your weight-loss journey where the short cuts run out and the only way forward is total committment.

It's a hard time for most dieters, I should think, as you've been at it a long time and the end is in sight, but not within touching distance yet. You probably feel like this should be the easy bit - the cruise to the end - like cresting the top of a hill and seeing it flatten out at the top, but instead you've suddenly come over the top to find that the summit is still above you and an even steeper scramble. Worse, you're slowly realising as you look up, that the summit is narrow and exposed and is going to be bloody easy to fall off and slip back. That final bit is the scree slope of the dieting world - 2 steps forward and 1 slide back when you least feel like tackling it.

Liking the analogies today?? :-)

So here's the question fellow dieting-mountaineers: how happy are you to settle?

Is within sight of the top good enough, or do you need your picture taken by that sign at summit, just to prove you made it?

The first (and only time to date) I climbed Snowdon I was so bloody shattered by the top that I couldn't be bothered to scramble up that last rocky outcrop just so I could say I'd made it. I went to the cafe instead, where it was warm and comfy, and had food whilst Jo and Lissa finished off the climb.

That is sooooooo reflective of my life as a whole! Go find the food and warmth rather than struggle an extra 10 metres for the sense of achievement.

So, I guess this is me stood near the cafe on top of my own personal Snowdon. I'm feeling pretty pleased with what I've done so far, but so far I haven't been able to find the path up that last bit. I keep starting the climb, but I need to watch where I put my feet, because one wrong step sends me sliding backwards.

And this is where the day-at-a-time, 100% committment comes in.

Although still occasionally putting a foot wrong, over the last couple of weeks I've been gradually re-introducing all the tricks dieters use to stay on track. Pots of sugar-free jelly in my desk at work and a bowl of it in the fridge at home. More fruit at work to snack on for low points. Turning down dinner invites and being more selfish about drinking something different to everyone else or turning down food.

Today's re-introduction is the self-bargain. I know I have a Pizza Express goody in the fridge which I want for dinner tonight. That's 10 points I need to leave. So this morning I've sacrificed my ritual morning (small, skinny) hot chocolate from the coffee shop and I've slimmed down my lunch.

The good thing with the self-bargain (which I'd forgotten) is that it's not straight-up denial, but a smug feeling of balancing some numbers to get an answer I like.

Last night was my job interview, and I think it went ok - I won't hear about second round recalls until the end of next week. I wanted something quick when I got home so went for pitta bread and humous and experimented with veg dipping options too. Peppers grilled on the George Foreman were pretty nice (although could maybe do with a little seasoning of some sort); raw cucumber I wasn't feeling so much - they can remain relegated to my sandwiches or salad.

I'm heading to another BBQ tomorrow, but this time it's a big one with lots of people and everyone brings their own food. I'm going to put together some chicken and veg skewers and a cold couscous, pasta or potato salad I think. That should keep me on track.

I've got a bit of clothing incentive too - next month I've got a wedding and black-tie event. I've got only one possible dress for the wedding at present and it's super-tight right now. I didn't have anything suitable for the black-tie do so I've taken a punt and bought a Coast dress on eBay. Both are size 14's which is my smaller size at the moment. Both could benefit with a few lbs gone. I'll put some pictures of the dresses up on here hopefully so we can see what I'm up against.

Baby steps, people, baby steps.

- Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Slightly depressed

I have discovered two things in the last couple of weeks, as I've renewed my efforts to get out of this 6 month rut I've been in.

1) Despite all my growing paranoia of the previous 6 months Weight Watchers does still work for me when I do it properly.

2) The minute I stray from sticking to Weight Watchers 100% my weight bounces back up and I have to start over again.

100%. That's a big ol' number. And it's my downfall at the moment.

You see, I've never really stuck to the plan 100% right from the beginning. 80 or 90% maybe, but if you looked back over the history of my tracking you'd be hard-pressed to find a perfect week. When I started out it didn't matter though - I guess with so much to lose I had a bit of leeway on what I could eat, and so I lost steadily anyway. Sadly, that now seems to be history.

Take the last two weeks for example: 2 working weeks and 1 weekend of systematic stellar eating, and I finally manage to get the scales down to 12st 8.5lbs - I'd cracked that stupid 12 st 10lb barrier that's held me back for so long!!! Then this weekend I was 12 points over - straight back up to 13st. There is absolutely no tolerance between my body and my diet anymore for straying off plan.

And that's the crux of the problem. I desperately want to finish this thing off, and it seems the only way to do that is to stick to it absolutely 100% with no deviations at all. I wasn't even able to do that in the beginning when I had an extra 5 points a day!

On the positive side I'm more in the zone now than I have been for months. And I know that it does work when I stick to it properly as I've seen that recently.

One day at a time and tracking on the move helps. BBQs are the devil if I'm not paying attention. Weekends CAN be done if I exercise a bit of willpower.

This week as per usual I'm back on it and shooting back for that elusive 12st 8.5lb I saw at the end of last week - if I got there last week I can do it again.

On the downside we had a health fair at work yesterday and I went to get my BMI and my blood pressure checked - my blood pressure is in the optimum zone these days but the lady said I had to get down to 11 stone to even get into the top end of my healthy BMI. WTF???? I'm just shooting for 11st 6 at the moment which I thought was where I needed to be. 11 flat though? That's a very low weight for me (a stone lower than the lightest I can ever remember being, even at school) and that's barely at the top of the healthy weight range. I'm not sure I'm actually built to get that light.

Ah well - that's a long way from where I am now, so I guess I'll tackle that one when I get there.

Back to being good for today for me.

- Posted from my iPhone

Monday, 7 June 2010

Weekend shenanigans

Evening troopers, how are you all today?

I can't believe another weekend has flown past so quickly - I'm really going to have to pull my act together if I want to be seeing a difference in my weight by the time Costa Rica rolls round in 9 short weeks!

So, randomly, I thought I'd have another photo post today. A few of these shots are from the beach last week at Porthcaul, and the rest from Saturday's biking adventures. Enjoy!

I've stayed sort of on-track this weekend - I did religiously
track everything that went in my gob, but I was 15 points over by the end of yesterday, which leaves me a bit irritated with myself - BBQs!!!! They are still the spawn of the devil!!!

That was Friday night, and being my usual chaotic self, I managed to completely screw up the times I was meant to be places, and ended up being in a mad panic to get over to the girls' place for the weekend. Me being flustered is not normally known as being a good contributer to my healthy-eating efforts, and this proved to be no different to usual in that respect. I still let myself be rail-roaded into choices I wouldn't otherwise make. In fact Friday pretty much accounted for my entire deficit for the weekend. Boooooo!

Saturday was a nice day, but with the promise of rain later, but with Lissa stuck in the house marking exam papers (she's a teacher), Jo and I decided that taking the bikes out to explore was a good idea (thereby getting out from under Li's feet, and also not leaving her out of something she'd want to do too).

After a cursory look at the map, we decided to ignore it, and just wing it and see where we ended up. The first leg was down the canal to Stourport, then locate the riverside path up to Bewdley. That proved to be a slight error as the path, which was marked a national trail-type thing, turned out to be aimed at people on foot - kissing gates not exactly being conducive to an easy passage on a bike!

We found that the terrain was varied along the ride, but the path stayed directly by the river most of the way which was fun, and we got everything from grassy fields, to gravel trails and a long section of flat single-track which was fun.

Here's Jo and I being very cheesey on the canal path, near the start of the ride. Above I'm having a mid-afternoon break, after deciding the run up a (small) hill to see what was at the top (the reservoir) and because I thought the bench silhouetted against the sky would make a cool pic (which it does in other pictures I've got), and finally because I wanted to ride back down the hill!

After a quick phonecall we arranged for Li to meet us at Bewdley for lunch on the riverside. We had a phonecall while we were still a little way off to say that the rowing regatta was on and it was absolutely rammed, but by some fluke of luck she'd managed to secure us a riverside pub table!

The afternoon's riding bought more comedy trail choices - particular favourites of which were the steep uphill bridleway / stream which was so muddy that the rear wheel just span if you tried to pedal, hence Jo being pictured walking out of it in the picture on the left (it's actually the hidden trail in the treese and shadows on the far right of the picture), and the green lane so overgrown that pushing the bikes and goose-stepping over the nettles was the only option, and we needed to spend 5 mins at the end of it unwinding all the cow-parsley from the rear mech.

On the upside, the afternoon also featured a break for home-made icecream by the river at an awesome tearoom, and a descent that went on and on and on ... and on for a good mile or two, which was very nice for tired little legs.

We also stumbled across a company locally that does 2 day / overnight Canadian Canoe tours along the river: how excited were we about that possibility?

Answer: Very, very, very, very excited.

Finally, we tottered over the last ridgeline and coasted back down to the canal to find our way home. One last hill up (who put that there????) and we arrived. Not the world's fastest trip (and not the world's longest when we added it up as best we could on the maps - only about 25 miles), but it sure was fun!

The evening was spent eating fajitas on the patio (only 2 for me though - I'd worked out my points by then and was doing a better job of tracking on Saturday) and chilling in front of a film (The Box - please don't watch it if you haven't already as it's possible the singularly most perplexing and un-question-answering film I've ever watched!).

Yesterday was all about the Sunday park ritual and dodging epic thunderstorms. And mostly being lazy. Today I've just been starving - my appetite has been on speed! (Not literally). Hey ho, been to spin, tracked my food - job done.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Quick catch up

Gaaah - where does the time go some weeks? I held off posting about the remaining weekend adventures because I wanted to do a proper post with photos, which means using my laptop at home. Have I had time for that?

Have I heck!!!

So instead, you, my lovely readers, get a picture free post in a grabbed 10 mins of lunchtime a la office.

I had an absolutely fab day at the beach on Monday with Jo and Lissa. We ended up going to Porthcaul in Wales, and while the rest of the Midlands suffered a grey and fairly dreary day, we frolicked in the sun under a blue sky.

We had a picnic, bought Jo all the tacky beach games we could find (as she was complaining that she'd forgotten the aerobie or any other games to play on the beach - she got a £1 kite, a little bucket and spade and one of the cool torpedo things you play catch with!), played with said games, broke said games, took some ace pictures of us monkeying round on the beach and trying to remember how to do the gymnastics of our pre-teen years - turns out that I CAN still do cartwheels - sort of, had a dirty burger, went to the funfair, felt incredibly sick after the funfair / dirty burger combo, went for a walk along the beach and round the headland, discovered that we were all quite badly sunburned because the sea-breeze had masked how strong the sun was, and finally ..... *deep breath* ... drove slowly and sleepily home. Very contentedly.

It was a wonderful day, and made better by the fact that I tracked all day and stayed on my points (I know!!! Even with the dirty burger!!).

So, the bank holiday endeth with me just 11 points over after a packed social schedule. Whooop!! Tracking on my iPhone sooooo helped me over the weekend.

I've been eating solidly on plan since as well, with interludes for a crazy week at work, another stupid run-in with the next door neighbour (really Sue? Really??? That's not too smart), and a trip to see the new Sex and the City film last night (much needed wind-down time after work).

Hopefully, I'm going to make my Body Combat class tonight if I can leave work in time, if not I'll try and fit some alternative movement and activity in.

The scales have so far (and finally) rewarded me with a healthy drop - I'm liking the number I saw this morning, but official weigh for this week isn't til tomorrow.

Preliminary plans for this weekend involve a bike ride on Saturday and a BBQ in the evening for a Costa Rica planning session. Not wanting to repeat the mistakes of a couple of weeks ago, I've said I'll bring food along and drink - I'm thinking veg skewers and chicken / fish kebabs, maybe some cold couscous, not too much bread, plenty of salad. Planning, baby, planning!

In other news I'm officially handing in my notice to work tomorrow to go travelling, and have an interview next week for a new job when I return. Now I just need to go buy a suit for the interview as I have absolutely zero suitable clothes that fit me in my wardrobe!

- Posted from my iPhone