Thursday, 30 September 2010

Muddy fun

So after last week’s cancellation (on my part), I finally got to go biking today with Lindsay.  The sun was shining, and I was out waiting with my bike and kit on the drive when she rocked up at 10am.  Not that I was eager or anything.  Everything in the car, and we were off up the M5 to Cannock Chase in high spirits.

After yesterday’s run (and still from Circuits on Tuesday), I was feeling a little stiff in my legs (and frankly my abs are killing!), so I was hoping that wasn’t going put any kind of dampener on the fun.  And it didn’t. 

24km of muddy, twisty, technical, uppy, downy, swoopy, rooty, puddly, sunny, breezy, bermy, roller-coastering single-track goodness later and we arrived back at the car with big grins and not a small amount of mud, grit and general forest-floor plastered all over us.  Good times.

I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again just in case it sticks in my thick skull this time:  I love that shit, so why do I leave it so long between rides????  Long enough that it takes me a while to warm up and regain my confidence each time, and then it’s one huge (tired) grin for the rest of the ride.

We did the full newly-extended loop today of Follow The Dog + The Monkey trail, and I have to say that I was pretty near done-in by the time we were finishing up.  My fitness ain’t bad these days, but I need to be fitter still to make best use of these beautiful trails.  The ride took just shy of 3 hours start to finish, and since I was wearing my heart-rate monitor I’m able to tell you that my heart-rate was averaging 156 over the entire time, maxing at 178 (one of the big switchback hills I should imagine), and I apparently burnt a whopping 1800+ calories.

As we’d missed lunchtime sometime out in the woods, we dived on the cake (toffee-apple and treacle muffins - *drool*) and hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows at the centre’s cafe.  Well earned I’d say.

I have shall have to hi-jack someone into riding with me again soon – it’s too much fun not to.

So that’s the end of this week.  I’ve put in a hell of a lot of activity (46.5 points according to my tracker, but the bike ride was pointed on the conservative side as all “cycling gently” because I can’t be arsed to work out how much should be counted as “cycling strenuously” – just seems too much effort), and I’m in bonus points for the week, thanks to all that activity which nicely eliminated the weekend’s excess.  I haven’t been near a scale all week, so I’m fingers crossed for something nice tomorrow.  Anything would be nice.  Half a lb.  Anything.  I’m not expecting a certain number, just hoping for more validation that being honest works.  A fourth week losing in a row would be fantastic.

Tune in tomorrow to see how that goes!  In the meantime, I give myself permission to take a day off the activity tomorrow, as I have pretty much beasted myself for the last 4 days straight, and I ache …

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Getting my run on

It took a while, due to the weather being non-cooperative, but I finally managed to get out and go for a run today.  I was dressed and ready to go at lunchtime, but the rain … well, it poureth down.  I drove up to the hill, to see how bad it was, but no dice.  I’d have been drenched within a couple of minutes.  So I grumpily came home, had some lunch and kept one eye on the weather whilst I chilled for a while.  Around half 3 I noticed it seemed to be clearing, so gear back on and out I went.  It was a good run – a bit muddy but a smile at the end.

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If I’m going to do this 10k, then I need to get some serious trail-pounding in as I need a bit more distance under my belt.  I’ve got about 2 and a half weeks get my legs (and heart) to a point where I won’t collapse in an embarrassing heap somewhere near (or even not near) the end.  Not a bad start today – 7.5k on the hills, and I could probably have run some more if my circular route hadn’t already bought me back to the car.  I think that’s probably the longest I’ve run to date, and I seem to be coping with the hills ok.  I’m still horribly slow – that run took me 58 mins, which is pretty much in line with my 37 min best for a 5k – I guess I’m aiming for a sub 1hr 20 time for this, which is a little depressing as that’s slower than most people.  To complete with minimal walking is more my main aim at the moment.

Other than that, I’ve had another fairly average day.  Food’s good, I’ve run around giving lifts to my Dad.  I gave myself a treat after the run – not food, but an icy cold Diet Coke, and a trashy magazine for a little Me Time.  All good.

In other news, the blind date is not happening.  Ironically, I said yes, but I’ve just received a text from Kirsty (matchmaker extraordinaire) to say that the other matchmakee has chickened out, as he was alcohol-fuelled when he accepted and now he’s sober he’s a bit embarrassed.  I’ll try not to take it personally! 

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Plyometrically challenged

Oh yeah – cos circuits weren’t hard enough, Wendy (evil genius instructor) introduced plyometrics into the mix tonight.

  • Plyometric step ups - step up (high cardio step) and jump, arms in the air – 3 in a row on the same leg (a triple bounce), then swap leading leg.
  • Bicep curls 8.5kg bar.
  • Plyometric lunges – lunges on alternate legs with a jumping switch between the two.
  • Forward bend, walk-down on hands in to plank, tricep dip, walk back up to standing.
  • Shuttle runs.
  • Ab crunches – feet in air.
  • Plyometric squats – jump forward into squats, and jump back to starting position.
  • Abs – lying on back, overhead extension with 5kg medicine ball, and then reach up in a crunch.
  • Traditional squats 22kg bar.
  • Abs – lie on back, 5kg weight on chest and legs in the air bent at the knees.  Extend the weight over head and away and push one leg away in extension.  Pull back and repeat with other leg.  Keep alternating.
  • Standing sideways to the wall, jump up and touch as high as possible and then immediately touch the floor same hand.  Repeat for 5 and then switch sides.
  • Shuttle runs.
  • Straight arm shoulder raise to the front, with 3kg hand-weights.

Each station for 60 seconds, 5 second interval to move, one 2 minute break at the end of the circuit. Second round, 40 second stations, third time 20 seconds.

Surprisingly, I didn’t fall over dead half-way through.

I think I might well hurt quite a lot in the morning though.

When it all comes together ….

Yeah, I just love those days, when everything works and the health shit looks after itself.  I ate awesomely yesterday … by which I mean awesome quantities of food, but all super-healthy and delicious (bacon, leek and mushroom risotto anyone?).  That even left me points to make up, just to get to my minimum for the day (I’m on 21 points a day, so Weightwatchers says I have to eat a minimum of 17) – guess which lucky girl got to enjoy half a giant triple chocolate chip cookie last night.  Mmmmmmmm … that would be me.  It was goooooooood.

I hit the gym for spinning too.  Side note:  how does someone who’s been home all day with nothing to do, still manage to be late for her class??  It’s one of the finer mysteries in life!  Sweaty goodness for 45 mins dialled in – all present and correct :o)

With all of yesterday’s cooking, I have the luxury of a feast of leftovers to eat today – more soup, more risotto (and the other half of the cookie).  I can tell I’m really mentally present with this eating thing at the moment, as I did my food shop yesterday lunchtime whilst I was starving, and didn’t buy all the stupid things that break a week.  Normally, that would be a recipe for me buying lots of things that I want to eat right there on the spot, i.e. all the things that just aren’t healthy for you, but I caught myself before I could make those mistakes and left with what I needed and no more.

I’m trying very hard to get out of the habit of “treating” or “rewarding” myself with food.  Firstly, because a treat is only a treat if you have it rarely, and that’s not how it tends to go with me.  Secondly, because food should hardly ever be a reward for something.  That’s just setting yourself up for failure.  I’m thinking that a treat should be something I have once a month or less, if I’m going to put a number on it.  That’s all the stuff like takeaways, chocolate and fudge (my own personal nemesis), and probably eating out too …. which as anyone who’s been around here a while knows, does not happen only once a month.  Or even once a week.  Hell, not even once a day sometimes.  Definitely something that needs working on.

Anyhoo, with all the good eating, and Spin last night, and Brutal Circuits tonight, I’ve whittled Sunday night’s post-weekend points deficit from 21 points, to 4.

Inspiration Time

I stumbled on this earlier, via The Anti-Jared’s daily post (you can see him over there in my blog roll).  Did I get a lump in my throat watching it?  Hell, yes.  Did I feel inspired to get my lazy (and still pyjama-clad at 12 noon, I might add) ass off the sofa and go do something.  Yep (but not so much that I’m not here typing to you).  See what you think:

And then there was this post this morning too: Bitch Cakes kicking it in New York, in remembrance of something special.  More lumps in my throat.  More inspiration.

And a decision nearly made, to do something I’ve been scared of in support of a good friend of mine.  10km.  17 October.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Going girly in Bath

Ola chicas!

It’s Monday, which must mean that another weekend has flown past and fun things have happened :o)

I had a quiet night on Friday, just heading to the pub with some friends, and after a day of on-target eating I managed to save some points.  One thing I most definitely didn’t save was any money, as the garage finished with my car repairs and relieved my purse of £460!!!  Ouch – greedy bastards!!  It never rains but it pours when you’re out of work and money is tight.  Just another hit to my credit cards that I didn’t need at all.  But on the upside getting my car back on Friday meant that at least I was saved from having to rent a car for my trip down South.

I headed down to Bristol on Saturday (my new home-to-be!) for some belated birthday celebrating with Hannah.  It’s been a decadently enjoyable weekend, with the focus being on cheering Hannah up and having some fun, since she’s still reeling from a rather nasty break-up with Jonny-boy next door (which is a whole other story of The Stupidity of Boys – some other time, huh?).

We spent Saturday in beautiful Bath (soon to be only a short train ride away from my new home …. mmmm, the excitement), and had lunch at the amazing Hall and Wood House, which we stumbled on by accident.  After searching out some loos in department store Jolly’s, we were winding our way back down the stairs to the ground floor, when we spotted the amazing roof terrace full of diners from the window.  It was pretty much decided, then and there, that we would hunt it down for a lunch-time drink, and then it turned out their menu was amazing!  A glass of prosecco later and a delicious home-made egg mayo and cress sandwich (doorstep bread courtesy of Hobbs House Bakery – heavenly), and we decided a walk through the city and parks was a good way to digest.

We may then have pit-stopped for ice-cream from the Real Italian Ice Cream Company after that (it’d be rude not to really!), before wending our leisurely way to the Thermae Spa.  We watched the sun set over the city from the roof-top pool (only thing lacking was a glass of bubbly – why is there no bar – Thermae:  sort it out!), before working our way down through the building via the lavender scented steam-room to the indoor heated pool.  By the time we emerged with prune-like fingers several hours later, we were about as relaxed as two happy little girls can be.  On a side-note – going to the spa soon after a month’s travelling is totally the way to go – no pastiness for me!!

Back in Bristol and home at the flat, we did a quick change for more girly glam trappings, and taxi’d up to the Clifton Triangle for a late Wagamamas tea, then rolled down the hill (yep, after a couple of glasses of wine, it was close to rolling for me), to Goldbrick House for expensively amazing cocktails.

Several observations come to mind about the evening:

  • Hannah looked happy and there was laughter to be heard – my mission was a success;
  • Goldbrick House is a very friendly type of place as we ended up chatting and bantering with three different sets of random guys;
  • Their cocktails are lethal – if you can’t taste the alcohol in your third one, and it’s a short so you know it’s mostly alcohol, something has definitely gone wrong.
  • I’m now an alcoholically-challenged light-weight, and in view of my third observation I should have guessed I’d be really quite ill afterwards!
  • Bacon sandwiches in the morning rock.

After a very slow start to the morning yesterday (and a bacon sandwich to help the morning-after reboot along), we wandered over to Brisfest on the harbour-side, for a couple of hours of live music, dance and general entertainment.  We rounded off with a very late lunch that turned into dinner, and then some trashy tv, til it was home-time for me.

It was a lovely weekend, and although I’ve eaten a lot (well, we did eat out for 3 of the meals), I’m happy that I struck a balance between enjoying myself, and making some health-conscious choices, where possible.  I am over on my points for the weekend, but lots of little choices, like:

  • A sandwich instead of something heavier at Hall and Wood House, a single glass of prosecco and then water, and a shared (smallish) portion of fries;
  • A single scoop of ice-cream in a pot instead of a waffle cone;
  • Chicken, rice and stir-fried veg at Wagamamas rather than a Katsu curry, and edamame instead of gyoza;
  • A shared dessert;
  • A small bacon sandwich, and 2 rashers of bacon, not more; and
  • Lots of walking

have added up to a manageable deficit that I can get back this week, rather than a complete derailment. 

I’ve eaten right today, having made a giant batch of very tasty Autumn veg soup (carrots, cabbage, broad beans, courgette, a tin of tomatoes and stock, left chunky, if anyone’s interested) and pre-planned my food.  I’ve still got a couple of points unplanned for a snack or dessert after dinner to take me to my minimum points for the day, so I’ll save 8.5 pts after my spin class as well.

Oh yes, and my friend Kirsty wants to set me up on a blind date – do I go??

Friday, 24 September 2010

Weekly weigh-in

First things first – I did lose something this week.  So that’s the good news.  It was the smallest amount I could possibly have lost (0.5lb), but as I keep reminding myself – a loss is a loss.

So, I hear you ask, after your super-duper week on track, why only half a lb???

Well …. let me tell you a story.

Somebody (namely me), thought it would be a good great fabulous idea to go out to dinner last night with friends Katherine and Jo, and eat rather more than her points allowed for.

Yup – Genius went and had a heavy dinner the night before weigh-in.  Very clever indeed.

However, gnocchi, garlic bread, amazing ice-cream and chocolate sauce, and a couple of glasses of wine aside (what’s that between friends, huh?), I actually wasn’t too far off where I should have been points wise -  I was 6 points over for the day, and 11 over for the whole week.

Ok, so if I’d kept my head last night, I’d have been none over for the week instead, and probably would have registered a proper loss on the scales, but that’s life. 

Positive things to take away:

  • I tracked it all honestly, even though I was annoyed with myself, and it was the last day of the week and therefore has no impact of today at all.
  • It is, by hook or by crook, a third loss in a row for me, and therefore proof that even with a few slip-ups along the way, persistence will keep you moving in the right direction.

Persistence Not Perfection

This is what I’m focusing on at the moment.  The concept that you don’t have to be absolutely 100% perfect all the time to get results; you don’t need to make the right decisions every time, you just have to keep trying to make the right decision.

I can’t say that this is my own original thought, because it’s not – it’s something I picked up from the awesome Sheryl at *Bitch Cakes*: A Neurotic Glamour Girl's Weight Watchers Experience and Fitness Adventures.  She is beyond fabulous, and although I’m sure most of you have already heard about her at some point, you really should go and check her out if not.

I could probably credit most of my stubbornness to get through the first wretched (eating-wise at any rate) 6 months of this year to her.  Every time I felt like just throwing in the towel when I wasn’t making any progress I’d read something on her blog that would make me think just maybe I could keep going.  The fact that she was stuck on a weight-loss plateau for two whole years, made me learn a little patience, and she was right – eventually it all just clicked back into place again.

Which isn’t to say that this thing is easy.  I could smack myself for last night and I could look at it as ruining what would otherwise have been a perfect Weightwatchers week.  But surely it’s better to look at it as an enjoyable evening out with friends, and I’ve experienced life, laughter and good times, whilst still losing a little bit?

Patience, my young followers, patience.  I don’t have enough of it.  I’ve been saying to myself all week that I’d be happy just to lose a lb.  Surely, I should be happy to lose anything at all!  Every little step gets me closer to my goal of being healthy and slim, and there’s no time limit for when I get there.  My frustration that I didn’t get back to specifically 4 stone off and my lowest to date, by half a freaking little lb is stupid, because, geez – it’s only half a freaking little lb!!!!!


Concentration is key, and looking backwards isn’t going to help anyone, unless it’s a quick glance to learn the lessons, and then look forward and apply them.

I’m heading off to Bristol this weekend to see the lovely Hannah and do a belated birthday celebration for her.  I think there’s going to be some combination of wandering round Bristol and seeing what’s on at BrisFest and meandering over to Bath for some soaking in the rooftop baths of the new spa and drinking cocktails.  Or biking.  Some combination of some of that anyway.

As always I shall be trying keeping an eye on my eating, as the weekend is likely to throw up lots of opportunities to eat out, drink, and slide right off track.  Instead, I shall have to make it work for me, and take advantage of all the opportunities it should also throw up for activity and exercise.

Onwards, comrades, to victory! :o)

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Making the best of things

Sometimes, life throws you a small curveball, and you just have to put the best spin on it that you can.

I was booked to go to Body Balance this morning, but needed to drop my car keys down to the garage after last night. 

Plan 1 was to jump on the bike, spin down there and back and then go to my class at 10.30 as usual.

Plan 1 was foiled because Jon still has my garage key after he borrowed it at the weekend.

Well, fine!  If I don’t have time to walk there and back before my class, I’ll just make the trip itself my work out and run instead.

Surprisingly, I plodded all the way up the hill home without stopping – one small bit of satisfaction in an otherwise mildly frustrating morning.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Not the end to the day I wanted ….

….. also entitled “How my sodding car broke down again” …..

….. or “The time I went to dinner with Jo, and she was lovely enough to bring it to me on the side of the road, and sit on the pavement with me for 2 hours”.

Friends rock – have I mentioned that before?

I went to have dinner with the girls, and swap all our holiday pics, but somewhere en route my beautiful faithful ridiculously unreliable car decided to konk out again.  I’ll leave you to picture the We Are Not Amused look on my face at the time.

Jo’s a legend and after she’d eaten her tea, she bought me mine doggy-bag style, and sat to wait with me for the rescue truck.  We might not have got the photos sorted, but we had a nice chat.

I think she’s actually quite bummed I’m moving to Bristol, which is really sweet (yay – somebody loves me!). 

Anyhoo – my impromptu packed dinner meant I didn’t save as many points as I wanted, but I still squeezed a half point to bank out of the whole debacle.

Tomorrow I shall mostly be shouting at the garage, who had the car at great length to fix this same problem last year.



Weekly Meanderings

Isn’t it interesting how you can settle into a new (lazier) life so easily?  God help me when I start work again, because I don’t think I’ll know what hit me!

I didn’t get out for my bike ride with Lindsay on Monday, because like the total idiot that I am, I had double-booked myself.  Late Sunday night, I got a text from my old friend Kate, reminding me that she would be town the following day and asking where we should meet.  Given that I get to see Kate approximately once every 6 months, I figured that she had to take precedence over biking (and anyway, I did say yes to her first), so biking has now been delayed til next week …. but never fear – it will still be happening!!

So anyway, Kate and I met for lunch in Worcester, at a gorgeous  place called the Little Ginger Pig.  Organic food, locally sourced where possible, and everything made fresh on site – in short, a seriously drool-worthy menu.  Over home-made soup and bread, and a slice of the most heavenly coconut and lime cake ever, we chatted, caught up, pulled the world apart and put it to rights again … everything ladies what lunch do best!

We had a little wander round the shops afterwards (I’m not kidding – in my current impoverished state, that’s like pure torture), and I had the best find in T K Maxx.  Normally I hate going in there because, unless you’re in the mood for a proper rummage, it’s hopeless.  But I was browsing the winter coats for something smart, and I found this lovely:


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It’s Roxy, and was £28 reduced from £85!!!  I love it, and yes, I totally feel like Little Red Riding Hood in it!  With the hood on, it’s the perfect weekend coat, and with it off, it’s a good smart trench-style coat for work.

I also bought my first pair of tights for running and biking over the autumn / spring when it’s chillier.  They’re not full-on winter ones – I might get those later, or I might just wuss out if it’s that damn cold!

Monday night was spin class, which seemed tougher than normal (or so my legs told me on Tuesday), but was fun anyway.

Yesterday was a fairly quiet day of running errands.  I sold a couple of pairs of shoes on eBay, so it was time to get them posted off.  As it was a lovely day yesterday, I walked into town in the morning to go and buy packaging for the parcels, and then wandered back in in the afternoon to post them.  Both times, I stared longingly at the display of death lovely chocolate on the Thorntons concession in the Post Office, but turned away without buying.  Chocolate and confectionary is a treat in the new world, and I had some recently so I really don’t need any more.  Plus, there’s a bag of Cadbury’s Buttons in my cupboard already if I want them.

Ah yes – the chocolate Buttons.  So, I bought those at the supermarket on Monday night when I did my weekly shop.  I wanted a small chocolate hit I could have in the cupboard for when I really wanted it.  After much perusal of the chocolate shelves, I selected a small bag of Giant Buttons.  Pretty much a treat-size bag.  Therefore, imagine my grumpiness when I went to point them (before eating them) yesterday evening, and discovered that that little bag is 5 flipping points.  Not happy.  Not happy at all.  Needless to say they went back in the cupboard and I had something else instead.

Last night also featured the latest instalment of the Circuits From Hell class.  I swear Wendy The Instructor, gets more gruesomely inventive each week.  Amongst last night’s delights we had:

  • double leg squat thrusts (unpleasant);
  • press-ups with (on) hand-weights, where at the top of the press-up you raise one arm in the air, with the weight, then another press-up and repeat with the other arm (I think they’re called pyramid press-ups and they’re the spawn of Satan); and
  • a “fabulous” station where you do a press-up, jump up and sideways over an aerobics step, and then do a burpee (squat thrust, jump in the air) and jump back the other way and repeat (hell on earth).

I actually think she’s trying to kill us.

The only good thing to any of that, is that I realised I might be just about able to do full press-ups now, rather than just on knees.  I tried it last night on the second circuit, but since my arms were close to falling out of their sockets by then, I nearly nose-planted into the floor near the bottom of the dip.  Out of curiosity, I tried it again at home this morning, and Oh, Good Grief, if I couldn’t just about manage them!  They’re not quite as perfect form as my kneeling ones, but I honestly never thought I’d see the day I’d do a full press-up on my toes!  Whoooop!

Eating is on track this week, and I’ve got my weekend indiscretion whittled down to 5 points now, which is good.  I haven’t got a gym class today, so I’m just chilling a little bit.  I’m still doing the not-stepping-on-the-scales-daily thing, so I don’t know where my weight stands currently, but I feel a little hopeful for a good result, since my clothes have been feeling a tiny bit looser this week.  Interestingly, as the week has rolled round, I’m back to wanting to step on the scales, but for a different reason to last week.  Then it was all about the reassurance as I felt like I hadn’t lost anything.  This week it’s impatience because I feel like I have.  However, I’m still not going to step on for the same reasons – if it’s not as good as I’m hoping, I’ll get demoralised, and if it is, I might lose focus.  I need to stay honest and straight. 

Which is irritatingly why I had to track a whole 5 points for cereal eaten from the box yesterday.  I know it’s not a good idea to sit down with that stuff, but still I did it while I was reading yesterday.  Ackk!!  What a stupid thing to do.  Still, it’s been tracked, and I (luckily) had points to spare yesterday, but I think of all the better things I could have used my points on instead!

But that’s another post ….

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Ahaaaa - me hearties!!!

Arrrrrrrrr - Cap'n Sue here, reporting in!

How is it, than when I'm off work, I still don't manage to write on here every day? Shocking!

Soooooo - let's think, I last tagged in on Friday morning after my weigh in, so what have I been up to since then?

I took my bike out as planned on Friday. As always, a simple plan actually turned out to involve much faffing around, so I was far later leaving the house than I had planned. First my baggy bike shorts turned out to be far baggier than I remember - I guess I haven't worn them in a while and I've lost a few more inches since then! The liner shorts still fit, but the outers are like grand-daddy shorts now that, I can practically pull up to my boobs! Guess, I need to get some new ones.

It was also painfully obvious that my poor bike hasn't been out the garage in far too long, as it had rather a lot of cobwebs on the handlebars, and only 10 psi in the tyres - oh dear. At least I put it away clean though after the last ride. After a quick bit of sorting out, I jumped on and did the easy couple of miles to dad's. Actually, I was pretty pleased as the first mile or so is uphill, including quite a steep section, and actually flowed past quite nicely - my fitness obviously hasn't dropped too much.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day out - perfect biking weather - blue skies, a breeze, some warm sun. I got to test out my new merino t-shirt from Howies, which I bought in sales before I went away - super-comfy!

Had a nice lunch over with Dad, and he showed me some of his new paintings he's been working on (he's an artist and rather good one if I say so myself), and then he showed off his new electric bike. He was an happy amateur cyclist in his youth, and now he's retired and has more time, he turned to an electric bike to get out and about with his camera. It's a great compromise for him, as his health and fitness is definitely not what it used to be. I had a little ride round on it - I find it quite scary, having all that extra power, so I think I'll stick to my own little legs to get me around, but I can see how one would be great if you lived in a hilly city like Bath and needed an easy way to get round without getting in a muck sweat all the time!

I was going to head on out after lunch for a proper (easy) ride around, since it was such a lovely day, so Dad suggested he come out with me for the first couple of miles. It was really lovely riding along through the lanes with my Dad, even if I was having to spin my little legs off to keep up with him! After a while he headed back, and I continued along, meandering and exploring through the lanes (at a slightly gentler pace) and all the while wondering why I don't do this more often!

Then came the sound that all cyclists dread. The pssst pssst pssst sound of air escaping rapidly from something it shouldn't. Sure enough, my rear tyre was rapidly deflating, and when I got off to look, there was a large spear of gravel sticking out of the tyre. It might sound stupid, but I've sort of been waiting for this day nervously, as all novice bikers do - the first time you get a puncture and there's no one else around to sort you out. Thanks to Tim, I knew what to do as he'd shown me sometime last year, and I always carry a spare tube and patches with me, so it was with a glow of competent smugness that I hopped back on 20 mins later and pedalled off. Not the fastest change in the world, but it all worked first time, so that's that challenge out the way, and now I know I can deal with it.

The rest of the ride passed without adventure, aside from gathering clouds overhead, so I upped the pace on the way back and tried to beat the rain home (I did). An easy 15.5 miles.

Went to the pub in the evening for a few drinks for a friend's birthday, and cleverly forgot to put my cash and cards back in my purse after the ride, so got to the bar to find I was penniless! D'oh! One of my friends very kindly bought me a drink, but I did feel like a bit of a muppet!

Ah well - it must be the first Friday in a very long time where I've actually banked points rather than going over - I wish that happened more often!

Yesterday, was a bit of a lazy day, getting costumes finished off for the Pirate Party. I already had all the accessories from previous years, so the only thing I needed to do was construct a new stripy t-shirt as my existing one is obviously rather on the loose side these days! Rather than buy one, it's far more fun to buy a plain one and paint wonky red lines all over it, so that's exactly what I did. Black jeans, long boots (although I couldn't find my proper pirate-y ones - I seem to have thrown them out somewhere along the line ... booooo), stripy t-shirt, black waistcoat, big leather belt with sword tucked in, pirate hat, eye-patch, and big black kohl eye-liner, and I was ready to go.

Much fun was had, many cars honked at us, we nearly caused a car-crash because people were so busy staring, much "shanty" singing, and arrrrrrrrrrr-ing, good Thai food, a lot of drinks, 3 different pubs, back to Rob's house, more drinking, an ill-thought out game of Highest Card Drinks, live-action Buck-a-roo with Jon when he passed out (how much crap can we stealthily pile on him until he wakes up), more silliness, get the drunk people home as they start to fade, burn mouth on late night potato wedges (only 4 of them though), fall into bed at 4.

Wake up this morning with a horrible head.

Good things from yesterday - I tried on a pair of jeans that I bought in January, which have been too tight since I put that 7lbs back on, and they fit again. Yay!!

Today's been quiet due to a lot of sore heads all round, we've just popped up to the pub for a quiet lunch - I kept it healthy with broccoli soup and some bread, which means I can stay on track for today. It's not shaping up to be a terrible weekend so far, diet-wise. Yesterday was over on points, although not terrible, but purely because we ate out and there was drinking.

I've been really craving sweet stuff recently, but I've held off having it, wanting to keep that sort of stuff for a treat. Yesterday, I finally let myself have some and bought a small pack of fudge. Oh my god it was good! I'm really happy that I also only had half yesterday, and the other half today, and I was totally honest with how many points it was. I love this new honest me! lol

Tomorrow I'm heading off biking with a friend from Malvern, Lyndsay. She's off work too at the moment, as she's just finished her PhD, and we were chatting last night about the new trail at Cannock Chase. I mentioned that I wanted to try it at some point, as I haven't had a chance to get up there yet, and she eagerly suggested a trip up there. So tomorrow morning we're going on a mini adventure. I haven't done any proper mountain-biking in aaaaages so I'm really excited to be going again. The ride out on Friday put me in the mood for more biking, but I have to admit that I still get nervous about trying out new trails on my own, so it's always great to find new people to explore with.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Weekly weigh in

Aaaah - the irony of it all.

After desperately wanting to get on the scales the last couple of mornings, when it came to weighing in this morning, I desperately didn't want to! I guess that feeling a little more in tune with my body meant that I knew I was still feeling a little bloated and like I hadn't lost anything, and didn't want to see that reflected on the scales after a week of trying to be really good.

The final result, after thinking initially that I hadn't lost anything at all, was that I'm roughly weighing in just under a lb down on last week. Back to 12st 7lbs, and a lb off my lowest weight. Which means I'm now 15lbs from goal.

It was funny the thoughts racing through my head though - when I thought I hadn't lost anything (and in fact the scales teetered into saying ever-so-slightly-up), I was so utterly disappointed. My primary reaction was "I've worked so hard, and there's nothing there - it doesn't work". It took a minute or so for logic to kick in and remind me that sometimes it doesn't just magically happen straight away in a week, but that's not to say it won't work and it's time to give up. Luckily, by that point the scales had resettled themselves anyway.

My other immediate thought was "this was why I should monitor myself daily" - to make sure it's all on track. I actually think this is why I shouldn't monitor myself daily though - I'm so fed up of the scale being able to have so much impact on my moods, and the ability to set the tone for the rest of the day. That's best reserved for day a week, don't you think? And I need to learn to trust myself the rest of the week.

SO - no more scale now til next week. I commit myself to that again.

Due to a small last minute slip up, I didn't finish the week perfectly on track as I'd planned, as I didn't resist a slice of pizza after the pub last night. That's a crying pity, as without that pizza I'd have been absolutely bang on, but I suppose I can live with a 6 point deficit for the whole week, and I just put that on the list of things to work on next week. I so nearly did resist it too - next time I just need to resist it for a tiny bit longer until someone else eats it! After all - that strategy worked well with The Great Banoffee Pie Crisis earlier in the week ;o)

Other than that, I took my very stiff self off to a Body Balance class yesterday morning in an attempt to a) do something useful with my morning, and b) try and force some degree of flexibility back into my aching muscles. It also had the benefit of being something I could do barefoot to save my blistered feet. I certainly did feel better afterwards, and remembered how much I actually like that class, so re-booked for next week.

In a minute I'm going to hop in the shower and make myself decent, and then go fish my bike out of retirement in the garage and cycle over to see my dad, and maybe go for a potter afterwards in the fresh air. At least my blisters shouldn't be able to complain too much about that either!

This weekend is a busy-ish one, as we're seeing a return of the annual event that is the Pirate Party. Basically, this features a lot of very immature adults who should know better (us) getting dressed up, speaking in idiotic pirate accents and terrorising a lot of pubs and bars in town, one by one. Photos to follow I'm sure. I know that that's going to involve a meal out tomorrow night, and "a few" drinks, so I shall try and plan for that and stay prepared!

And when I get stressed in the future with my weighty moments, I shall breathe deep and think of being here:

Looking at this sunset:

(Photo credit - me. Samara beach, Costa Rica)

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Footwear Fails and Scale Scares

Good things first - I'm really pleased with how well I'm staying on plan this week. I'm damn near perfect so far, and for once I feel comfortable that I'm also being pretty honest with myself, and not just quietly ignoring things I don't want to admit to eating.

So that's all very well and good.


So bearing in mind everything I've just said above, there is absolutely no good reason for my sudden irrational fear, mid-way through this week, that things are going wrong on the weight front.

Friday through Monday, I was content to not step on the scales. In fact, in some ways I didn't want to, as I thought that if it was good, I might slack off, and then get disappointed, and if it was bad then I might just get disheartened. All good - I was content to stick to plan and have a pleasant surprise at the end of the week. And I was confident that that was what it would be.

Tuesday? Different story. For some reason, I was suddenly back to doubting myself. True I don't suddenly feel any bigger, but I don't feel smaller either. What if it's not working? It's like my confidence just started draining away over night.

I have to confess that I really thought about standing on those damn scales yesterday morning, but in the end considered that there wasn't any benefit because of my Friday-Monday logic. Dammit though I really wanted the reassurance that those scales could have given me. This morning I was even more tempted, but resisted for the same reason. Only one more morning to get through, and then I can find out.

Logically, I still know that if I stick to the plan, I should lose weight, but I still find it hard to trust myself.


After a couple of days of not getting out the house, other than to go to the gym or running errands, I'm going a little stir-crazy. So I thought a couple of days ago that I should go out for a walk today and get some fresh air, given that I didn't have a gym class planned. I hadn't taken into account however that my evil genius of a circuits instructor would have induced total muscle lockdown this morning.

It was therefore with some reluctance (and difficulty) that I crawled out of bed this morning! My original plan was to climb the Worcestershire Beacon, and then along the hills to the Herefordshire Beacon. I thought I'd have lunch at the nice hotel at that end, and then wander on back.

Daypack on, shoes on, and a gentle stroll up the first hill. I'd worn these shoes on holiday and didn't have any problems with them then, so I assumed they'd be fine when I put them on, but by the time I was nearing the top of the Worcestershire Beacon, I could feel the beginnings of a big blister right on the back of my left heel. Did I soldier on, and know that I'd get my full walk, but probably trash my foot completely for a good week or so in the process, plus be limping painfully a considerabl way before the end of the walk, or shorten my walk? With a couple of weeks of free-time still to fill, I thought a shorter but enjoyable walk might be the better option, but it was a nice morning anyway.

You can tell Autumn is here when you see these on your walk:

But then, as always, the view from top is pretty, whatever the season or the weather:

Note to self - next time don't just trust to new footwear! Not that I could have worn my usual walking trainers anyway, due to a different set of blisters that are still healing .... I don't think my feet are in too good a state after a summer spent wearing flip-flops, as I appear to have no hard skin left at all .... boooooo.

Other than that I've spent the last couple of days putting some of this lot on eBay:

So in summary, tomorrow is just another day - in which I can make good decisions or not, but trust that if I do then I should continue, slowly but surely to lose weight. And without knowing what the scales say, then I have no choice really, but to stick to making those good decisions. I hate putting a number on these things, but if I could just see a lb, or even a 1/2 lb off on Friday, then I would be happier to continue on next week in the same vein.

On a non-scale related note, to add to my spin instructor's compliment on Monday night, last night my circuit's instructor also commented that she thought I'd lost weight (this being a lady who weighs all of 110lbs soaking wet most likely) - thank you Wendy!

And even more amazing, my ex-personal trainer said the following, and I quote: "You're looking great!". Firstly, since he probably hasn't said anything more than hi to me in the last 2 yeares (given he no longer trains me and doesn't have any particular reason to have to play nice with me anymore - which isn't to say he doesn't like me or is rude - just that we don't have any particular friends or stuff in common), that was something of a surprise in itself. But this is also a guy who is seriously into his workouts and appearance. Gym bunny doesn't even begin to describe him. So I take a compliment from him, to pretty much be a compliment of the highest order!

Must remember those and chant it like a mantra should something go awry at the scales on Friday!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Wish I was here still ....

Sometimes, gloomy old Britain on a windy Monday night just doesn't cut it.

(Photo credits - me. Starfish Beach, Isla Colon in Bocas del Toro, Panama)

Day-to-day routine

It's been a quiet kind of day today, which has been rather pleasant. I got up this morning to find that I'd successfully out-waited the banoffee remnants, and my flatmate had apparently either had a late night snack or a very sweet breakfast. It was gone - that was all that mattered.

My own eating today has been glued to plan, although annoyingly I didn't save quite as many points as I'd planned, as I am trying to be ultra-honest with my tracking and that meant having to own up to extra points on things when I actually checked portion sizes. Since the foods in question were sweetcorn and strawberries (no ... obviously not together!) I'm not exactly worried - it just means I only got to bank 4.5 points today instead of 6. No worries.

It's mostly been a day of pottering round the house. The big rucksack has finally been emptied completely and stashed back in the cupboard to await my next adventure. I had a little rummage through my wardrobes and found a few more things that were too big, and then wonder of wonders, I found a whole stash of black-tie dresses at the back of my wardrobe and 2 good quality suits, that are not only too big, but potentially saleable on eBay to try and raise a bit of cash. Always nice when that happens!

I've also come to the tragically sad conclusion that I need to do some serious shoe culling.

Excuse me while I just go and sob quietly in the corner.

*Sniff*. One side effect of my weight loss has been that my feet had shrunk around a full size; while a lot of my boots and shoes with straps have survived intact, more than a few of my courts have fallen foul of the shrinkage, and won't bloody stay on my feet. Gut-ted. I luuuuurve my shoes, and often spend quite a lot on them. It was bad enough when I had to replace an expensive pair of knee-high boots last year because they fitted approximately as well as a pair of waders, but having shoes getting too big just takes the biscuit. Bah!!!

So .... out they're all going to have come, blinking into the light of day, and I'm going to have to (try and) be ruthless with them.

Oh well ... more fodder for eBay I guess!

Other than that adventure, the day has mostly been filled with chores (washing up: dull, doing the clothes washing: dull), trying to cobble together a lunch out of the total dearth of veg in my fridge (apparently I eat a lot of it, and demolished the last lot already!), and strolling up to the supermarket to get more veggies and fruit. Two fresh mangoes are now dissected and boxed ready for delicious and easy consumption over the next couple of days.

After that, I went to spin tonight for the first time in 5 weeks. Oooooooh - either it got harder or my legs have degraded a bit in the interim! Sweat, and more sweat, was pouring off me! Done and dusted though (and I even found time to fix my cleats beforehand!). Tim (my instructor) valiantly said he thought I'd lost more weight whilst I've been away, so I think that having a tan must be a flattering look for me!

Leftover lasagne with lots of leafy spinach for tea when I got home, and strawberries for pudding.

Tomorrow's fun and exciting plans involve Brutal Circuits and trying to put a few things on eBay I think, and some more wardrobe rummaging / clothes clearance.

Gee - isn't life exciting???

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Feeling guilty

Ha! How many of you saw that heading and are questioning how badly I've eaten?

As we all know, in Sue-world, weekends are far more treacherous than the week. It's the way of the world, and this one was no different to most in that respect. However, I'm not feeling too bad about it.

Let's just clarify, and get it out the way: I am currently in points deficit for the week. 10 points. Not too bad at all, as some of my past weekends go, and given how truly excellent I was last week (if I do say so myself), I'm not at all worried about making up that ground very quickly. That however is not what I'm feeling guilty about.

All of that deficit stems from Friday, when I cooked dinner for my flatmate and we had a girly night in (which was gate-crashed by my neighbour Jon). Friday's dinner was a particularly good example of why some foods are worth busting most of your day's points on, and others definitely aren't.

I've promised Sheena for ages that I would make my lasagne for her, as it's a dish she loves, but she doesn't really do much in the kitchen except heat soup. It's not something I cook often, as I tend to remember it as being really heavy on the calories and fat, and therefore difficult to fit into a healthy-eating day. Since I'm not eating so much during the day at the moment though, it's a perfect time to make it - plus it's a labour of love in the kitchen for me, as I make absolutely everything from scratch, so not having to do a full day of work first is also a bonus.

In fact, when I sat down and worked it out, a big ol' wedge of my lovely, cheesey, boozey, tastey lasagne actually only came out to 8 points - not bad when you consider that that is pretty much all the meal you need apart from some salad or veg of choice. Sheena provided dessert as her end of the deal: banoffee pie. Which is probably one of my all-time favourite puddings due to all that sweet, gooey, creamy deliciousness (apologies for the food-porn-like nature of this post - we'll be moving right along shortly).

In the vein of tracking honesty, I sat down with the box and worked out the points on the slice I'd had. A fairly small pie, split into quarters - a whopping 11 points a slice. Ouch. The pie, incidentally, was meant to be split into sixths according to the box. Whatever way you look at it, I was pretty shocked that a slice of that wicked (but tasty none-the-less) pie - had more points by nearly 50% than a piece of lasagne twice the size.

Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed every last lip smacking moment of it, but would I eat some more? Errrrr - no. Not worth it. Damn this knowledge of what I eat!!!!!

So: lasagne + banoffee + a couple of glasses of wine = a bit of a splurge. Not disastrous though as I'd only had some cereal and a bowl of broccoli soup with some toast for the rest of the day.

I would just like to say though - the over-riding theme of this weekend is this:


Yesterday was taken up with lounging in the park in the last of the sun with a shandy, hot chocolate and a cookie in the coffee shop, and then the pub where there were crisps and people trying to persuade me to a) leave the car and drink, and b) get Indian takeaway with them and go back to theirs for further drinking. Saintliness is mine as I considered my wallet / waistline and drove home after several diet cokes to eat my broccoli soup. Good job really, that in a further fit of virtuousness, I'd also gone to the gym for a session as soon as I got up in the morning. No points saved, but none lost either.

Today I've been out shopping with Bec in Cheltenham. Nice to get out the house, and the guarantee of some exercise whilst mooching round the shops, but torture because I'm so broke I can't afford anything. Rather than eat out for lunch, we raided M & S and sat on a park bench in the sun eating sushi, so that worked out rather well. After that I headed round to my Dad's for tea - yep - here we go again with the feeding.

A pile of sandwiches, just for 3 of us (I had one and stopped), jelly with fruit and ice-cream (so a small portion of jelly then, hold the ice-cream) and strawberry cheesecake (miniscule portion for me please).

HA!!! Smug! I've done it on my terms and have points to bank for the day.

But nooooooooooo - dad's not finished yet. "I've put the other half of the cheesecake in a box for you to take home". Peachy. I explained that I'm trying to watch what I eat, and have deliberately de-toxed the fridge. "Well, you can share it out with your friends then". Gaaaaah - not listening!!! I took it with good grace.

And, dear reader, I binned it the moment I got home.

I know - it's a shocking waste of food, and I'm sorry I had to do it - I hate losing food when it's gone off, never mind throwing perfectly good food straight in the bin, but right now I do not want it in the house. There's still half a slice of banoffee that's haunting me in there for Christ's sake (that might be for the chop, aka the bin, tomorrow). I look at it this way - it was shop-bought cheesecake - nothing particularly special or homemade. I'm not missing anything, but if I leave it in the fridge I'll end up eating it, and even if it's pointed, I'll be wasting points on something a bit blah, when I could be having something lovely. So it's gone.

Points today are banked. I have a spinning class booked for tomorrow night, and the brutal circuits for Tuesday night. Plans of soup for tomorrow abound. Obviously, I've not stood on the scales since Friday morning, so I don't know how the Banoffee Pie of Doom affected things - and frankly it's nice not knowing. I've just got a goal of finishing the week on plan and I'll worry about the scales then.

Friday, 10 September 2010


So this is what I have learned this week.

1) Being sat around at home makes it far, far easier to keep a handle on your eating than when you're running round like a loon all day. Time to think, time to plan, time to cook.

2) Not jumping on the scales every day is possible - I guess having a break from them for a month is a good start.

3) Not jumping on the scales every day is also a very good incentive to glue your ass to that plan and stick to it. If you can't see what's going on, then the only hope you have of going in the right direction is to eat right and move right.

4) Even now I'm home, I'm finding I'm far more conscious day to day of how my clothes are fitting - this is a good thing as it stops me panicking about the scales, and gives me something to focus on other than a number.

And with that said, my first proper weigh in day since I got back sees me down 1.5lbs from Monday - back to 12st 8lbs and the lowest I've been since the fateful ski trip. I'm more than happy with that - it's a nice, steady, healthy number that shows that I'm not doing anything stupid. 2lbs more - hopefully over the next week or 2 - and I'll be back to my lowest to date overall, 4 stone gone, and into that last stone to lose!

Enough, talk of weight - let's talk the real world.

Tuesday was taken up with all things job-related. I was invited to attend an assessment centre for one of the big banks down in Bristol, where they were interviewing for 4 jobs. After a clothes stress before-hand, and then a navigational stress on the way there, I made it by the skin of my teeth, and turned in what I thought was a fairly mediocre performance for me. I was up against 15 other people on the day, and having met 6 of them during the group exercise, I wasn't feeling fantastically confident. Other joys during the 3 hour long session, were an unseen case study with 15 mins to analyse and produce a presentation which we then had to give to the interviewer, and a competency based interview.

We were told we'd hear back from the following week. Wednesday morning I got a phone call to say they'd really liked me and were going to offer me a choice of 2 of the roles! After a bit of panicked decision-making and a call to my dad for all important reassurance, I've accepted one of them and I'm no longer unemployed!

The upside - most definitely that I have a job, which looks like it should be quite interesting, has a pretty good reward package, and I've been told that there should be promotion pretty quickly down the line. I got on really well with the manager I interviewed with, who will be the one I work for, and everything I hear tells me they're a good company to work for and they really try and look after their staff.

Downside - I don't start for at least 4 weeks, so that's a further 4 weeks of sitting round being penniless at home - eeeeeek!

Massive change - I'll be moving to Bristol.


I've been talking about it, and thinking about it for a while, but being the queen of procrastination (and in fact, a great big scaredy cat) I haven't got any further than that. So this is a huge thing, as I've finally taken the move that puts everything in motion. I shall be leaving my lovely little town in a couple of months, and the majority of my friends to move back to the big scary city.

I'll be commuting for the first couple of months while I get used to the new job and get to know the city a bit - I've got an idea of where I'd like to look for flats, but it'll be good to get to know the place a bit first. That also gives Sheena time to look for a new flatmate too.

In other (much) smaller news, I went out for my first run in a month on Wednesday morning, and despite telling myself I'd be gentle and just do 20-30 mins, I ended up doing my whole 5k route, with hills. A bit slower than usual at 42 mins, but good to have done it, although my legs still ache a bit today.

Since I am now the world's poorest person, the plan over the next couple of weeks is to keep busy with lots of free activities. Walking, running, going to the gym (since it's already paid for), decluttering my flat, maybe try and sell some stuff on ebay and raise a bit of money, and make use of the library! If I'm not a fitter, healthier person in 4 weeks time, something's probably gone a bit wrong!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Straight back to it

Back on Track

I was right - having had a month off daily tracking, I was fresh and ready to get back to it - 2 days back; 2 days pretty much perfectly on track, and I'm feeling nice and fresh and motivated.

It's been an odd couple of days, as I've been waking up super-tired after heavy sleep in the mornings (stupid jet lag), and then I've been down to Bristol twice with an interview / assessment centre this afternoon.

I've not been eating much during the day, as I've been keeping relatively busy, and between that and not having the boredom I contend with at work, I find I don't snack much, if at all. So cereal for breakfast and some homemade soup and a couple of slices for toast for lunch is fine (on a side note - god I've missed fresh soup!). This has been handy as it's left me plenty of scope in the evening for enjoying a heavier meal. I had an impromptu dinner with my friend Hannah last night in Bristol, and then a nice, girly meal with Bridget and Bec this evening.

I found two rather excellent new food discoveries today in Waitrose - both WW friendly!! The first one was pizza, which is something I love but usually struggle with a bit on the WW plan. There's a new chicken and pesto thin-crust pizza in their own range - a 1/3 of the pizza, which is the recommended portion and is a pretty generous chunk at that, is just 6 points - bargain! And it's proper tasty too! The second discovery was one of the new Fru desserts - a mini mango and passion-fruit cheesecake pot is 4.5 points - another total bargain. They maybe small, but the pack a taste punch - absolutely yummy!

Positive Consequences

Do you remember before I went off travelling, I was really worried about how much I could potentially derail while I was away and wasn't in control? Linked to that, I've always been a little anxious about how I'll cope when I ever get to maintenance. Mostly, that I wouldn't be able to stick to the rigidity of the plan in the long-term

What being away has taught me is that I can balance my life-style without needing to be utterly rigid about it. I was more flexible while I was away than I would normally be at home. I didn't have exact details of what I was eating so I guessed, but I found a balance that still allowed me keep a stable weight. Aside from being a success in it's own right for me, I actually find this a huge relief, because I feel like there is hope for me to achieve a more normal relationship with food and my diet in the future.

Another plus point legacy of my trip away is that it's forced me to break my daily habit with the scale. I often feel that if I don't monitor my numbers daily then the scale could be sneaking up with out me being aware. I don't trust myself to be able to maintain my weight (loss), when I'm not monitoring it via numbers. In a deeper sense, I don't trust myself to not lie to myself if my weight starts going up and my clothes don't fit.

This stems from times in the past when just such a thing has happened. Times like going away to uni, and later moving to London, when I was in a new environment, threw the routine out the window and just "enjoyed" myself by indulging in anything and everything offered to me, with no thought for the consequences. Because I didn't have any hard physical evidence of my gains to check me, I just ignored the gradual indicators from my clothes. As a result, I now have it in my head that that is just what will happen again if I stop monitoring myself daily.

Being away for a month, has obviously forced me to take a step back from that. I have tried to move away from scale obsession in the past, but without anything to make me do it, other than a vague desire, it's not worked. I'd become too paranoid within a day or too and go back to the scale. However, not having access to a scale at all for a 4 week continuous period, has made me go back to the basics. I've never been away from a scale before whilst actively pursuing a healthy eating programme, and it's made me do two things. Firstly, it's made me pay far more attention to other indicators - a weekly session with the tape measure, and how my clothes feel. The two of those, although more subtle that the scale, allowed me to reassure myself that, while I had been less disciplined than usual and might have a small gain, I couldn't be too far from my starting point. I also became far more conscious of the days I felt bloated or skinny, which made me more conscious of when I'd been eating well, or when it was time to have a more restrained day.

Coming back, and finding that my assumptions about any gain I might have were correct, has been liberating because, for the first time in a while, I feel like maybe I can trust my own judgement again. As long as I'm honest with myself.

So whilst I did step on the scale Sunday lunchtime, and yesterday morning, in order to ascertain the damage (yesterday morning for the real damage, since I'm a morning-weigher-inner, and Sunday, because I wanted a worst case scenario immediately - I knew that the morning wouldn't be any heavier, so at least it got the worst of it out the way), I forewent my morning weigh in this morning, and don't plan to step on them again until my formal weigh in on Friday. And you know what? I'm quite excited about doing it this way for a change!

I'll see how I go, but it's nice to not start this morning with my mood governed by what the scales said. I proved to myself (or more accurately re-proved to myself) in the 3 weeks before I went away, that if you stick to the plan honestly, and don't cheat yourself, then you get results. So I'm concentrating on sticking to the plan, and being totally honest, and instead of the scales, I had the knowledge that I had a good day yesterday to put a smile on my face this morning. I'll be content with any kind of loss at the end of the week - even if it's just half a lb. If I can re-enforce to myself that concentrating on having a good week produces results all on its own, then that's a great result for me. It's taken time to get to these conclusions, and it's been baby-steps all the way, but it's great to be making them.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Back to reality

Ola chicas!!

I'm back!!! Miss me much? Probably not, but I've returned to annoy you anyway :o)

I can't believe that a month has flown past so incredibly quickly - it feels very odd to be back at home again - I keep waking up and not having a clue where I am!

Over the last 4 weeks, our whistle-stop tour of Costa Rica has taken in 10 different stops, including the Central Valley, the Southern half of the Pacific coast, the Caribbean coast and a quick jaunt into Panama to go to the islands of Boca del Toro.

We've seen sloths, turtles, monkeys, dolphins, hump-back whales, caimans, crocodiles, gigantic spiders, iguanas, green parrots and McCaws, toucans, tree frogs, gigantic butterflies ... the list goes on and on!

We've walked, biked, horse-rode, white-water rafted, kayaked, swam, surfed, body-boarded, done zip-lines and snorkelled ... and lain on the beach quite a lot.

It's been the most amazing experience, and I'm so, so glad I went!

But more of that later, because this post is about reality and being back home. Over the last month, we've also eaten out continuously. Far, far more than we ever thought we would - it blew our budget out the water, because we'd assumed that there would be more places that would have a kitchen available to guests where we could rustle something up. We've had 3 home-cooked dinners in the entire 28 days of the trip, and maybe a handful of breakfasts where we had access to a fridge so were able to keep milk and therefore have cereal instead of having to eat out then as well.

The last 3 days coming home have been an absolute nightmare eating-wise - we were travelling all day Thursday to get back from Panama to San Jose - 9 hours of buses, plus a boat ride back from the islands and a taxi ride to the bus station. Then Friday was spend the last-of-the-money-on-food day as we had a blow-out meal to commomerate our last night. I didn't sleep at all on Friday night, and then we were up at 5am to get to the airport - we took of at 8am, and 2 flights later we touched down at Heathrow at 5.50am yesterday morning having flown right through the night due to the time difference, so absolutely zero sleep again. And 24 hours on a plane? Do you know how many times they attempt to feed you? I got back to the flat about 9am yesterday, and after a quick power nap to see me through to the evening, I had dinner with loads of friends last night as a welcome home - one last holiday dinner - lasagne, garlic bread and wine, with a slice of cake to follow. Yum.

So, you want to hear the evil numbers? The damage that a month of eating out has inflicted? You totally do don't you?

It is .....

..... deep breath ....


.... 1. Whole. Lb.

(runs off to go and do the happy dance in the corner and do several celebratory laps of the room).

Check me out!!!

Did I mention that I've been tracking everyday I've been away? It's been a bit hard work what with the constant temptations on the menu but I survived. I've eaten my fair share of bad food whilst we've been away - burgers, chips, burritos (they do a lot of "Mexican" food in Costa Rica), carbonara, and brownie and ice-cream, but I've done it in moderation. And in between I've eaten vegetable pasta, chicken sandwiches, toast and jam, and lots of fruit. Whilst the girls have drunk lots of the local Costa Rican and Panamanian beers, I've mostly avoided it - I've had one or two cold ones, but usually I switch back to Diet Coke quite quickly, or enjoy one of the local fresh fruit smoothies with water instead. Or if we've had brownie, we've had it as dinner instead of after. The real rescue point, has been that all those activities mentioned above add to up a lot of leeway - I don't think there's been a day when I've not been able to book some form of activitiy points, even if it's just been strolling round town for an hour exploring, or a walk on the beach, or lugging those flipping packs around when we're on the move and travelling.

And I'll tell you something else - those packs weigh a ton!!!! My main pack was actually a very meagre 14.5kg fully packed, with another 5kg or so in my smaller day-pack - but with one on your front and one on your back, you feel like a fully-laden pack pony ... which is to say pretty much flattened. So it was with constant relief (and surprise) that I kept being reminded that my two packs together still weighed less than the amount I've lost so far!

Another funny thing, was that after my plateau for the last 6 months, when I frequently felt frustrated that I was having to track food and make an effort, I very quickly got to the point whilst we were away that I was actively looking forward to coming home, just so I could control what I was eating and have access to healthy foods again, and the absolute freedom to eat what I want to eat when I want to. Oh the irony! I can't believe how much I missed vegetables whilst I was away - the Costa Ricans do like to do carbs, carbs and carbs, with carbs and maybe some fish or meat in their cooking. Chicken would come with rice, chips, and the beans they love so much. I can't wait to eat stir-fry and fresh soups again!

So anyway, that's me. When I finally went to bed last night, I properly crashed out - I woke up at 11am this morning after 10 hours of pure dead-to-the-world deep sleep. I'm feeling a lot less groggy now, and ready to start some of the dreaded washing and tidying, and make some soup for lunch in a bit. As I'm currently jobless, my timetable's a bit all over the place this week. I need to get back into a regular UK sleep-cycle as soon as possible to get past the jet-lag, and I want to make the best use of my time this week anyway. I've got a meeting with my recruitment consultants this afternoon in Bristol, and then a job interview tomorrow afternoon. Lots to keep me busy!