Thursday, 29 September 2011

Cold Comfort

I had a somewhat traumatic evening yesterday, and after putting myself through the emotional wringer, I found myself at the crossroads of Eat Or Just Feel Bad.

I compromised.  I didn't eat til dinner time, and I didn't open the wine until Hannah arrived for dinner.  We had fajitas for dinner, which is comfort food after a bad day, without being too excessive, but there was also a little too much wine, and a box of 5 millionaire slices between two of us.  I may have eaten 3 of them.  So there was a degree of comfort eating, but contained to a social environment and a single meal.  After all, it never really replaces the emotions and neutralises them, does it?

Thankfully, there was also much needed unloading and sage advice, and later on, somewhat tiddly laughter.  Breaking up with people is crap, but having friends close by makes it a bit better.

This morning is fresh, shiny and new.  Yes, I'm very single again, but I can look good in a pretty dress, eat right and go to a much needed spin class at lunch.  I haven't been to spin in aaaaages and I've missed it.  And it will help quell a little of the shortbread guilt from last night.

We are strong.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


I went back up to Malvern last night to go visit my dad, and to pick up my new phone handset which had been delivered there over the weekend.

One if the problems I always encounter at Dad's is the sheer amount of crappy food he keeps round the place. It's a sore subject for me, because he always moans about his weight but eats atrociously.

He confuses restricting his food for eating healthily, but what he eats is pure rubbish. Take yesterday for example, he told me he'd eaten tea before I got there, and when I guessed he'd just eaten toast (I could smell it in the kitchen) he admitted it was actually just a buttered teacake!!! In response to my sighed "oh Dad!", he said that it was fine because he'd had a bit of haggis and some tomatoes for lunch which was a "proper meal". He has no idea. At all.

No vegetables, no lean proteins. Too little fruit. Too much processed food. And far too much refined sugar. He thinks that if just eats less he'll lose weight, but instead of cutting out the junk, he cuts out the meals!! And then wonders why he gets hungry and snacks on biscuits and chocolate. The cupboards of full of them, but with very little real food to be seen. I utterly despair, because no matter what I say, he ignores me.

Of course, this means another challenge for me, because when I visit, I have to navigate the cupboards too. It's a smorgasbord of rubbish. If I make a decent dinner, it's still all sat in the cupboard singing its siren call all evening.

Last night, I wasn't too bad - not perfect but not terrible. I managed to get back to the flat to pack after work, and just grab a banana to tide me over til I got Dad's. Once there, I rustled up dome pasta with chicken and low fat creme fraiche. No veg other than onion, but a small portion was just enough. I did attack a couple of biscuits and a Tunnock's teacake, but it was all tracked. I just had to keep reminding myself why I need to be good: de-larding for the half-marathon while I have the time before training starts.

I managed to locate porridge with some frozen blueberries for breakfast this morning, and escaped the lure of the biscuit tin to make the drive back to Bristol. A mini-battle negotiated and won.

- Posted from my iPhone

Monday, 26 September 2011

Successful Weekend

I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself today as I've tracked fully over the weekend, and not come into Monday with a stupid deficit and a feeling of being bloated, like I have the last couple of weeks.  Hooorah!

I had a lovely relaxed Friday evening with friends from the surf club - we went for a few quiet drinks in a local (but new-to-us) pub, which turned out to be very nice, and ended up having tapas on a floating restaurant (Under The Stars in Bristol harbourside - I can recomend it!).  We sat on sofas around our table, which was a claw-foot bathtub with a glass top, and lots of black and white stones in the bottom with star-shaped fairy lights glowing gently up through the glass, and listened to the entertainment from the open-mic night which was happening.  We also had very tasty tapas platters, and just-maybe-possible some of the best Oreo brownie ever!  The evening ended quite early since we were all knackered, and some were working on Saturday morning, so I even got an early night out of it too.

I didn't quite get the lie-in I'd planned for on Saturday, as I ended up getting up to watch the England rugby game, and then stayed up to watch the France - NZ match rather than head back to bed.  Since it was looking like a beautiful day out by the time they'd both finished, my friend Hannah and I decided that a bike ride was in order.  Since I was stiff from circuits on Friday, and she's still recovering from a broken ankle, we took the bikes for a nice potter up the Bristol to Bath cycle trail and stopped off for lunch at The Jolly Sailor at Saltford Locks, where we had amazing chilli bowls with doorstep slices of home-made bread and butter on the side.  Who needs rice or chips, or even a jacket potato, when you can heap it on bread???  We finished off lunch with proper hot chocolates made with white chocolate with cream and all the toppings, and (very slowly due to full bellies) pottered back to Bristol.  The evening was passed with old 90's rom-coms on DVD and some chocolate.

Yesterday featured a proper lie-in, reading in bed for a bit, a light lunch, and a wander into town to the shops.  City Boy then cooked my Sunday roast for dinner and we chilled out and watched a film, before I had another early night.

All in all, it's been a very chilled out weekend, and a very pleasant reminder that it's possible to eat lovely food and relax properly, without trashing the diet or spending too much money.  The looming shadow of half-marathon training has definitely given me pause to consider my choices when I'm faced with yumminess, and as per usual, cutting back on the booze helps me with those choices an infinite amount.

Just a four-day week this week, before I head off surfing in Cornwall this weekend - yeehaa!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Keeping It Real

The Scales of Doom have decreed that I have officially put on a lb this week.  After a quick glance at my tracker, I think I can say I deserve that.  I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago, saying exactly the same thing, and whilst my eating has been better this week, I think this is the cumulative effect of weeks of not very clever eating.  I'm just being honest.  With myself and with you.

Here's what I realised looking back at my tracker:
  • a month ago, I got down to 12st 4.8lbs after 4 weeks of conscientious eating.
  • at the beginning of that run of conscientious eating, I had a frustrating couple of weeks when the scales only moved by tiny increments, despite the effort I was putting in, and we all concluded (yet again) that these things take a while to show up on the scale.
  • in the past 4 weeks, I've eaten badly, and gotten away with it at the scale in a pretty light fashion - any one else thinking "yeah, but it takes a while to show up, dumbass"?.
It's not all doom and gloom though - whilst I might have put on a lb this week, my tracker has been significantly better than the previous weeks.  In fact, when I looked back, I basically had one spectacularly bad week and then each week has gotten a tiny bit better since.  That first week, when I had the giant gain after the hen party, I didn't even track for half the week - I think I knew it was very bad and I pretty much wrote the week off before it was finished.  As we all know, that's not a clever attitude, but I would hazard a guess that it was easily worse than any of the weeks that followed.  The week after, I realised that I had to be honest, and started tracking all of it, and it wasn't pretty - I still had a 65 point deficit at the end of the week.  The next week a 47 point deficit.  Last week was down to 25 points.  Still a deficit, but an honest one.  And now you can see why I can shrug my shoulders over my little gain this week and say "I deserved that".  I did.

So continuing that pattern - this week will be a good one.  Limit the silly weekend excesses.  Get in the exercise.  Aim for a clean week on my tracker.  I've got two really clean days of eating behind me, since my H-M Revelation of Fear.  It's a good place to start from.

And to finish on a positive note - I may have gained this week, but last night's 5k run shaved another 15 seconds off my pace per mile, and it felt pretty strong.  And I didn't eat the entire contents of the fridge when I got home whilst I waited for my dinner to cook.  Good stuff :-)

Thursday, 22 September 2011


Funny enough, when I first started losing weight, I found I'd set a trend amongst my friends.  My flatmate jumped on the bandwagon, her boyfriend jumped on the wagon, my best mates both jumped on the wagon, my next door neighbour joined in too.  All in their own ways; some did Weightwatchers, same as me, others did their own thing whether it was copious salad eating, cutting the booze or hard-core exercise.  The best thing was that they were all successful to some degree or another.

Sadly, all except 2 of us, later stopped and put it all back on. 

Since signing up for the half-marathon yesterday (is it weird that those 2 little hyphenated words still cause me little heart palpitations?), I seem to have started the same thing again.  Several people I've spoken to have said they might sign up too.  Mostly after using the word "crazy" in varying degrees to describe me.  I have to admit that the idea of running the race, and all the training leading up to it, seems marginally less fearsome if there's other people doing it too.  So finger's crossed they decide to join me!

I'm not sure I feel crazy though, just a bit over-whelmed.  The 12 week training plan officially begins in mid-December.  Until that time, I just intend to keep the exercise steady, and continue running once or twice a week for my normal distances, which is roughly a 5km round the harbour.

I've been tracking my running and exercise all this year in an Excel spreadsheet I keep at work.  At the moment, I've clocked about 250km of running (249.7km if you're feeling pernickety - I'm not), over some 28.5 hours of running.  Last week I finally got round to opening an account on GMAP Pedometer, which is where I measure all my runs for distance - this means that I can now track my runs directly into their online log, and they give me all kinds of cool statistics back about my runs.  For instance, my last run on Tuesday felt tiring.  I really felt like I was struggling a bit, and walked once or twice.  But I did push on to do the full circuit of the harbour and not the shorter version.  And, as per usual, when I logged it, I found that the reason it was harder was that I'd actually run it at a slightly quicker pace than the last 2.  Each run had been a tiny bit quicker than the last. 

Whilst I do love GMAP, it's a bit of a pain logging all your runs and routes manually, so what I'd really love for my half-marathon training is one of these beauties - the Garmin Forerunner, so I could geek it up completely over how I'm doing, and even where I've been when I'm biking too, but that might have to wait til my birthday or Xmas, since it's money I don't have right now (unless Garmin fancy giving me, in which case I'd love them forever, but somehow I doubt that will happen!)

I also love seeing how my exercise has built up over the year.  Here's another little stat for you - since I've started tracking all my exercise, I've averaged 4.2 workouts a week this year (that's since 24/01/11).  I include any walks or bike-rides over an hour in my tally, but most of those workouts are gym, running, or proper outdoor hiking / biking / surfing.

That's fantastic, but also tells me that I've been eating quite a lot, if I'm doing all that and still effectively maintaining my weight.  As has been mentioned before, my weight has been within a constant 7-8lb zone for the last 2 years - 3 or 4lbs above or below 12.5st.  It doesn't seem to vary much outside of there.  But with the amount of exercise I do, it really shouldn't be hard for me to lose some more, and move myself into a new ball-park.  As I said last night, I'm sure this is something that I'd find hugely beneficial for my run.  In fact, I'm so damn scared about the run, that I think I'm going to find hiterto untapped reserves of determination to lose.

As Badger pointed out on last night's post - once I'm into the training, I may not find that much comes off me although I might change shape at that point.  So I've got about 11 weeks before then to make a real effort to lose a bit, and make the whole endeavour as painless as possible. 

I've got the fear, people!  The FEAR!

(so much so that I didn't even finish my jacket potato with tuna and cheese at lunch ......unheard of!)

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Have Just Realised ....

.... that entering the stupid half marathon is going to be very good reason / motivation to get some of this remaining lard shifted - surely carting around a stone less of me round the 2 and a I-don't-know-how-long hour course has got to be better?  My knees and quads will surely thank me mightily for it.

Must remember that, when I'm next looking at a piece of cake or glass of wine and pondering how good it will really taste!

Other realisations include:

  • it's probably definitely time I finally got round to treating my feet to some new trainers
  • if the weather's going to be as cold as they say this winter, I might want a new sports fleece and possibly a running jacket too to minimuse excuse-making opportunities ... or I'm going to have to learn to love the treadmill
  • I must get in the habit of getting more sleep - too little sleep is meant to affect your metabilism negatively, and those two nights I had earlier in the week where I tucked myself in at 10pm were kinda blissful, and I had sooooooo much more energy the next day.


Holy CRAP!!!!!

I've just done something epic-ally stupid.  I've just entered for this.  Paid and confirmed.

My sanity has officially left the building.

I'm not sure what I was thinking, but ever since I spectated the Bristol Half a couple of weekends ago - the one that I thought I might do then utterly chickened out of - I've been regretting not doing it.  All those people had such a sense of achievement on their faces.  And bling round their necks that they'd well and truly earned.  And as much as I'm terrified by the idea of trying to run 13.1 miles (holy crap, holy crap, that's a reeeeeeeally long way!!!), I'm also terrified of not trying.

Before I started all this, I thought I'd never be able to run properly.  I longed to be able to do a 5k - my holy grail that I aimed for whistfully when I first started plodding around the streets under the cover of darkness.  I never ever thought I'd manage a 10k - that was just stupid.  And here I am - signed up to attempt 21.1k in just under 6 months time.

You've come a long way, baby.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Black Tie and Neoprene

Ooooh – that feels nice – I’ve actually managed a day perfectly on track, in spite of the mystery lunch I was provided with today.  The little geek in me loves to be able to fill in a perfect 29 point day on the tracker :o)

There are a few photos floating round from the weekend, and I saw this one and it made me laugh.  For some reason it’s made me look totally elongated like some crazy red-carpet regular.  Not that I’m complaining, but I’m fairly sure I don’t actually look like that in real life!!!!



I also downloaded this from my camera at the same time, from a couple of weeks ago in Saunton …. I might not look great in a wetsuit, but at least I don’t feel like I have too much to fear anymore!


A Little More Control

I feel like this whole weekend was a bit more controlled than the last couple of have been.  Less a major foody debacle, and more a little edible slip-up here and there.  Not perfect, by any means, but within sight of where I should have been, instead of far over the hill.

After posting Saturday, from my comfy perch in my local coffee-shop, where I whiled away a couple of lazy afternoon hours with my book and a couple of phone calls, I pottered home to pack and (almost on time) rolled up to collect Phil, my fellow traveller to the party.  Since I'd had brunch so late, I just added a chai latte and a piece of cake to that at the coffee shop to make lunch, rather than starting all over again. 

We drove up to a little village near Salisbury for the evening's festivities, arriving just before 7, to be greeted by delicious bowls of bolognaise and fresh baguette for a little light supper.  The healthy wagon derailed a little round this point, as I was heavily plied with bubbly from 7pm onwards, which lead to a little unauthorised snacking as the night and my inebriation levels progressed, but actually nothing tooooooo terrible.

We were soon into our finery for the "black and white with a twist" theme, and as the house filled up with beautifully turned out people, much fun was had.  Along with more bubbly.  I eventually progressed to white wine spritzers, before realising that I was actually quite drunk and reigning it back to lemonade and water for the remainder of the evening.  And finally turned in about half 3, I think.

I didn't get much sleep as I got woken up at 8, and my wine hangover meant that going back to sleep wasn't happening, so I eventually crawled out at 9am.  Somehow, my appearance in the kitchen co-incided with the tail end of the main tidy-up, and that progressed to me taking responsibility for whipping up bacon rolls for 20.  That at least distracted me from my hangover, because I was quite surprised when somebody pointed out that my hands were shaking when I leaned over to grab my drink off the kitchen table, and also stopped me from eating far too much whilst sitting around feeling sorry for myself.  I had my bacon roll at the end, added some scrambled egg, and retreated to the garden to sit in an errant bit of sunshine and eat it in peace.  After some further lounging and suitable muted dsicussion, I headed for a good shower and we started the drive home. 

For some reason, I'm finding it easier this week to cope with eating at odd times, and skipping meals because I'm busy.  There's less of the but-I-might-get-horribly-hungry panic, and more well-I'll-deal-with-that-when-it-happens laissez-faire attitude.  Yesterday afternoon saw me arrive at the sofa and stay there until an early night at 10am.  Even with all the drinking and Saturday night nibbling over the weekend, my deficit going into today has been much less than half those of previous weeks, and something I can defnitely work with this week.

Today's work day has been punctuated by a very pleasant lunch mini-adventure, when City Boy took me for a walk up through Brandon Park to the newly reopened Cabot Tower, where we wound our way up the spiral stairs to the top to admire the views.  This was followed by the home-made picnic he'd bought for us of a couscous salad with feta and cherry tomatoes and sandwiches with home-made bread.  Terrible.  Don't know how I coped ;o)

Friday, 16 September 2011

Undoing the Damage

The verdict from the scales today is just over a lb down from last week, taking me back to 12st 7.8lb.  That's not at all bad considering that I've been nowhere close to angelic with the eating this week, but moving my ass and tracking obsessively has obviously counted for something.  Since I gained 2 weeks in a row from my recent low, I've now undone one week of that damage, and just have the hen party gain to reverse now.  I can do it.

After the dramas earlier in the week with the car, 2 of my friends came to my rescue last night to come and get it started again.  Annoyingly, it's such a little thing jump-starting it, so it's seems disproportionate the amount of stress and organisation involved in getting someone to come and do it.  Anyway, it started fine first time once Andy had applied his Beamer's might to the battery, and I took it on a little drive out to Cribbs Causeway after that to recharge the battery a bit.  And then apologised to Dan who was also on his way to fix it, but I'd forgotten to contact to say all way well!  I'm not really supposed to be shopping this week, given that I don't get paid til Tuesday, and I am broke, broke, broke, but I did pick up some much needed work trousers from Dorothy Perkins for £12 in the sale, and a concealer pen to replace the one I managed to misplace, so I feel that was quite restrained.

I have another date with City Boy tonight, he's popping round to mine straight after work, and I'll cook us something quick like pasta, and then we're going to the cinema and maybe for a few drinks afterwards.  He's turning into a real sweetie, as he wants to take me to go and see the view from the top of the newly re-opened Cabot Tower one lunchtime next week, and has said he'll bring a surprise picnic for us that day!  I mean, seriously, how cute is that?  He's also already booked the cinema tickets for tonight online, and insists that me cooking him dinner is enough and I don't need to pay him back for them.

Which just makes it all the more confusing that I also really like Aussie Surfer guy (aka - Mr Bike Date last weekend).  They're totally different - polar opposite would be more accurate - but both lovely.  I sense there's going to be a really tough decision ahead at some point, unless one of them makes that decision for me.  I'm not day-dreaming long-term off into the future or anything, but I think I could be happy spending significant amounts of time with both of them, and I have no idea how to try and make that decision.

You know - when they said men were like buses, I didn't really believe anyone, but this has got a little ridiculous!

Aside from that, I'm off up near Milton Keynes tomorrow night for a black tie party with friends - a welcome home for my friend Hannah and her sister Maddie from their respective recent travels.  No boys to worry about, just a nice black dress, some booze and lots of friends.

Have a fab weekend all!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Recipe: Sauteed Chicken with Cider and Lovage

So this is new for me - I don't usually post up recipes on here.  Mostly because I don't tend to cook much new stuff, or just make it up as I go along.  But this is a great recipe -  fantastic for the autumn and winter, super tasty, and perfect for casual dinner parties where you want something that looks and tastes great, but actually doesn't require too much effort or super-expensive ingredients, and doesn't take hours and hours to prepare.

The super-taste does come with a bit of a penalty if you're watching your waist-line, as I calculate the chicken and sauce comes to 10 PP on Weightwatchers, but frankly it's the sort of recipe you cook on an evening when you're not worrying about that. 

Sauteed Chicken with Cider and Lovage

Serves 4
  • 8 chicken thigh fillets (or 4 chicken breasts)
  • 2 Cox's apples
  • 500 ml cider - the recipe suggests Leckford Cox's Cider from Waitrose, but any good medium dry cider will be fine
  • 250g mushrooms
  • 40g butter
  • Ground allspice (I use whole and crush it in a pestle and mortar)
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • 25g fresh lovage.  If lovage isn't available, fresh tarragon is great substitute (and actually, I used dried tarragon because I was being a lazy arse).
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Bring the cider to the boil in a saucepan and then turn down to a simmer, and leave to reduce by half.

Whilst the cider is bubbling away, core and chop the apples into wedges and slice the mushrooms.  Heat half the butter in a large flat-bottomed pan or frying pan, and gently fry the apples and mushrooms until golden.  Put them aside and cover them to stay warm for later.

Dredge the chicken in the allspice and a little salt (I tend to just add them to a bowl and do it by hand, but putting them it all in a large plastic bag and shaking it up will work just as well).  Heat the rest of the butter in the pan, and add the chicken fillets to seal and turn a light brown  Leave the chicken whole - no need for chopping for this recipe.  Fry in batches if needed, and you'll probably need a few extra minutes if using breast instead of fillets.

For the next stage you'll need to cover the pan, so transfer to a saucepan with a lid if needed.  Add the reduced cider to the chicken, cover and turn to low-medium heat for 20 - 25 mins.  Finally, add the reserved mushrooms and apples, the cream and the lovage to the pan, season to taste, stir and heat for a few minutes.

All that's left is to serve up and enjoy!  This is quite a hearty, rustic, winter warmer in my opinion, so I served with oven-baked jacket potatoes.  I salted the skins after washing them, so they were extra crispy but light and fluffy in the middle - about an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half on 150 degrees in the fan oven.  I also served tenderstem broccoli, fresh white baguette and salted butter, because that's how I roll.

The recipe suggests cider to accompany, but a nice crisp Sauvignan Blanc works just as well.

Bon appetite!

Full Speed Ahead

This week is continuing to pass me by at the speed of a charging rhinocerous, and I'm starting to feel like I've been run over by one too!

My eating is pretty out of whack at the moment - I'm eating too much, but I know I'm eating too much, and also exactly what I've eaten, because I'm still tracking 100% honestly.  Maybe this is causing me to actually think it's worse than it is, because I've probably eaten this much in the past but not tracked it all, so I think it's most likely that I'm feeling it's a lot worse than it is, just because I'm truly conscious of the numbers on my food tracker.

Since I don't seem to be able to get my eating fully back under control, I've taken to trying to counteract it a bit with exercise.  Because whilst I might have eaten too much this week, I've not really sat still whilst doing it.  Circuits on Friday, bike ride and walking on Sunday, yoga and some extra walking on Monday, and, since I was feeling like a sloth last night, a run yesterday evening.

Monday's dinner went pretty well.  I took a couple of hours off in the afternoon, because with the busyness of Sunday I hadn't quite finished tidying the flat and hadn't had a chance to go and get all the food.  I had a bit of a panic when I got to the car, with grand plans of hitting up Waitrose, and found the car had a battery flatter than the proverbial pancake.  Not even a whine out of it when I turned the key in the ignition.  Amidst much swearing, I therefore had to walk over to the local Asda superstore instead, which is luckily only about 15 mins away, and then cut back the shop to the bare minimum essentials so I could carry it back.  Carrying back several bottles of wine, a bottle of gin and a load of meat amongst other things, against the stupid wind, was a bit of an extra workout.

So I was a little bit flustered as I rushed round tidying like a fiend (it was already fairly tidy as I did a lot on Saturday, but City Boy is proper tidy - his batchelor pad was immaculate and I was freaking), and simultaneously trying to get dinner started, plus running round to the corner shop for the bits I'd missed or couldn't carry back from the supermarket.  Dinner was a success though, and once my heart-rate had returned to a normal rate and I'd sat down and inhaled the first glass of wine, a very pleasant evening was had.

Dinner was sauteed chicken with cider and lovage, served with some crispy jacket potatoes, tenderstem broccoli and fresh bread and butter.  He'd supplied dessert in the form of little pots of Gu Chocolate Ganache (good boy).  All very tasty, and if you want the recipe for the chicken, see the next post - it's pretty much fool proof and sounds a lot grander than the effort required to cook it!

Last night was due to be a dinner out with work, but I was actually quite grateful it got cancelled at the last moment, as a) it saved me money, and b) I was knackered.  Instead, I went home, scarfed down leftover chicken and crashed.  Then I felt like a pig for eating too much, and levered myself out for a run instead.  A very steady 5.5km on roads, because I fancied a change of route.  It felt easy and relaxed, and I definitely could have gone farther, but I'm concentrating on enjoying my running and building the distance back up slowly.  There's no rush, and it will come back in it's own time.  It turns out I love Autumn running, with its slightly cooler temperatures and all the lights glinting in dark - I had a beautiful view as I ran down the harbour last night of a bright, full moon hanging low over the water, little wisps of cloud around it, and the SS Great Britain flood lit just below.  Very pretty!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Bestest Date Ever

So one of the things that's been keeping me so busy recently is dating.  I'm kind of doing it New York-style, and have ended up seeing a couple of different guys, at least at this stage where it's all light-hearted and fun and non-serious.  I guess at some point I'll have to make some decisions, but right now, I'm just dating.  Quite a lot.

Today, I had a third date with one of the guys - he's very cool, an Aussie guy living over here permanently now, stupidly intelligent (he's a freaking university professor for God's sake!), and a surfer to boot.  Lucky me!  Anyhoo - he thought we should do something a bit different today, so we went on a bike ride.  Nothing too energetic - just a fun, chatty 10 miles or maybe a bit more of canal tow-path on hired bikes, with a drink in a pub garden at the turnaround .... and an absolute muddy drenching on the way home that had us giggling and laughing like a pair of kids as we raced the torrential downpour.  A very wet walk back to the car, some good banter, and he was gentleman enough to turn around so I could do a sneaky quick change on the side of the road.  He may not have seen anything, but I think I accidentally gave a Range Rover driver a cheap thrill as I wrestled clean jeans over wet legs!

Who says you have to sit in bars and look elegant on a date?  Drowned rat is the new black.

Other than that it's been a chilled weekend of rugby-watching, and relaxing with a take-away and a bit too much ice-cream, and Strictly Come Dancing watching, and flat-tidying, and mild panic that I've got to pull a romantic(-ish) dinner out my ass tomorrow night to repay a dinner last week (not the surfer - tomorrow's date is a software designer and ran the Bristol Half marathon today).

Why make anything simple when it can all be chaos??? Go big or go home I say ;o)

Friday, 9 September 2011

I Deserved That

Friday means weigh-day.  It's not as good as pay-day, and I'm still broke afterwards, but it does mean a requirement to post on here.  And I have to report that this week's number is up.  This morning saw the scale at 12st 9lbs.  Yesterday's was actually 12st 7.4lbs, which would have put me very slightly lower than last week, but if that had been my official weigh in, then I don't think it wouldn't have been a fair reflection of this week. 

So, I take that number and own, it because let's face it, I ate everything and then some at the weekend, and since I did keep tracking right to the end of the week, I know I'd eaten all my flex, all my activity and about 70 points over that.  So staying the same as last week, would have given me the impression that I could have got away with that.

This lunchtime I'm making my return to Brutal Circuits after a glorious 4 week hiatus.  I expect it will hurt.  I ma trying to get my eating back on track this week too, and in a way I'm kind of glad I've got the higher weight this week as it gives me a chance to get a good run up and have a decent loss next week ... no pressure there then!

This weekend is a fairly quiet one.  I'm going for some drinks after work with my team tonight, and on Sunday I'll be cheering on some friends in the Bristol half marathon and then meeting a friend in the afternoon, but that's all that's planned.  No excuses to go too far off the plantation with the eating, and a good time to not spend any money (since I don't have any at the moment!).

More anon, diet-persisters!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Still Here And Staying Here

I'm often surprised how you can be making progress even when you don't feel like you've put in enough effort.  Allow me to demonstrate:  I tend to think of the world in terms of black and white - either you're 100% on it and you succeed at whatever you're working on, or it's nothing and fail, fail, fail.

As always, my body reminds me that isn't necessarily so, and that 80% of the effort will indeed see some results.  A little patience and persistence goes a long way, as long as I can keep my current buttered toast obsession as least slightly in check. 

I think a lot of the success factor of "mostly" being on track, comes from compromise.  Nothing new there really, but you can get away with a lot if you make a few trade-offs.  For instance, on Tuesday I meant to run at lunchtime with my friend Liz from work.  As the appointed time rolled around (and it pissed it down outside), Liz didn't reappear from her meeting.  I waited for about 45 mins, but it was clear that she'd got caught up, and the run wasn't happening.  I could have gone out on my own, but by this point it was late lunch-hour, and I'd have both got drenched, and missed the opening hours at the canteen for my lunch.  I debated for a little while and decided to skip it, but it was nagging at me all afternoon.  How I wasn't going to be getting any exercise now, and I could do with it.  Since the sky was looking a little less threatening as the afternoon progressed, I ended up deciding to go straight from work instead, and as always, once the decision is made, you just kind of settle into it. 

That run turned out to be one of the best I've had in ages.  I know, I know, I've totally said that before, but the runs I'm reluctant to go on, nearly always turn out to be my best.  Having been off running for a while now, I ran two nice steady 4k's last week, and Tuesday night just felt .... nice.  So I tacked the extra loop on to take it up to 5k, and it still felt fine.  I honestly think I could have kept on going for another couple of k easily, but I wanted to keep the enjoyment, so that I don't feel overwhelmed by my next run - I'd rather finish strong this time, than so tired that I dread the next one.  It's all about the psychological games with me!

Other than that, life is pretty hectic at the moment, which is why I don't always get on here for a couple of days (sorry about that!).  I always come back to here though, because this is my accountability.  Not just to you, but to me - what I write here can't be unwritten - it's a record for me of my ups and downs and realisations.  I've seen a few blogs recently dying off, and it makes me sad.  I wonder what happens to those that go, but I have a horrible feeling that probably 75% of them will regain.  Yeah, so much faith in my fellow man!  But if you look through the last posts of most of those blogs that go quiet, you so often see that the writer is struggling, or just disinterested.  Maybe they didn't get to where they thought they would, or maybe they have and now that thing called life is getting in the way.  I don't know, but for both of those scenarios, I see that the disinterest in writing is most likely symptomatic of a growing disinterest in trying or maintaining.  Either they don't want to face the truth of why it's not working, or they've got comfortable and relaxed their vigilance.  I don't know. 

For me, I don't see a time when I will truly be able to relax around food, and maybe that sounds a little sad to you.  Sure, I can manage periods when I'm not tracking and blogging (see my month in Costa Rica last year for a successful example), but I still have to be conscientious in at least a small part about my eating and exercise, and I come back to tracking sooner or later.  Maybe I will eventually get to my original goal of 11 and a half stone.  Maybe I'll even go past it, or maybe I'll find that actually I'm comfortable somewhere this side of it.  What I am sure of, is that for me I don't want to be bigger than I am now, and I enjoy my health and fitness too much to give them up.  And part of what works for me, is talking about it, reading about it, and getting feedback.  One thing I don't want to do is give up.

I'm always particularly proud of the blogs that go quiet, but pop up again later.  They might be coming back 20 or 50lbs heavier, and it's a bittersweet moment reading that after you've seen someone do so well to begin with, but I admire them for doing it anyway.

So yes, my life might be hectic, but somebody please come and nag me if I start leaving it too long between posts!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Track, Track, Track!

I realised yesterday, that on the whole, the biggest mistake I made on the weekend wasn't eating too much, it was not tracking any of it at the time.  When I filled in my tracker for yesterday, there was a great big gaping hole since Thursday where I'd just merrily gone off and had my fun and ignored one of the most basic principles of Weightwatchers: track, track, track ... and track some more!

So in the interests of honesty, I sucked it up and started tracking everything I could remember from the weekend, so that I could know exactly how bad the damage was.  And yeah, it wasn't great.

As per usual, I'd used my flex points over the weekend, but I could also see the pattern my eating was following with regard to activity .... and it was that I was eating roughly 2 - 3 times the amount of points I'd earned.  Hmmmm .... might want to rethink that approach.  But at least I know now.  On that basis, I've no idea what I'll be doing next weekend, but I'll be doing my darndest to track as I go, even if it's just at the end of each day.  I think if I'd tracked as I went this weekend, Saturday might still have been a heavy day on the points, but it would have bought me up short and stopped the over-spill into Sunday.

Yesterday, I whipped my ass back on track and really thought about my eating.  I've gotten very lazy recently and can't be bothered to cook properly, so there has been a lot of toast featuring in my eating.  Toast with butter, toast with mushrooms, eggs, spaghetti (yeah, I know, but I was craving it on Sunday night) ... toast, toast, toast.  So I actually bought a few vegetables on the way home last night and found some chicken lurking in the freezer and concocted a very simple dinner of grilled chicken with a load of sauteed veg in a little bit of stock and a dab of Garlic and Herb Philadelphia.  Better.

I also hit the gym yesterday for my Body Balance class.  It was an odd mix of being pleased on some poses that I hadn't lost flexibility over 4 weeks, and being so stiff on others that it was a real mix of pleasure and pain to attempt some of the moves.  Most of that was down to the ever-increasing stiffness in my arms, shoulders, chest and back from a weekend of surfing and then wakeboarding.  Mostly the wakeboarding I think. 

Let me tell a little story: when we were at the lake on Sunday, Jo and I were marvelling at the display of physical beauty perfection on view.  We were mightily impressed by the sheer number of total hotties at the lake ..... and I now know why!  It's not that wakeboarding naturally attracts the buff, it's that any prolonged exposure to that damn sport will whip you into shape quicker than it takes to blink, and since it was mostly guys there, it's no wonder the chests and arms on display were chiselled.  It was a good job we were already soaked and streaming lake-water, so nobody noticed us drooling with appreciation at the view!

Anyway, I digress.  I'm even stiffer today - even putting my rucksack on this morning to walk to work was an effort of supreme willpower over protesting muscles, but I'm going for a lunchtime plod / run round the harbour with Liz anyway.  Maybe if I could just lose some more lard, getting dragged round a lake at speed by the sole strength of my arms would be easier???

Monday, 5 September 2011

Watery Fun

I'm still alive!!  Wakeboarding did not in fact kill me - hoorah!

I've had a great weekend full of outdoors, fresh air, sunshine and a bit of rain.  And a lot of water.  The more time I spend outside doing fun stuff, the more I realise how much I enjoy it, even though I'm pretty rubbish at most of the things I do. 

I'm certainly no natural surfer, and definitely not an instinctive wakeboarder, but they were both fun anyway.  Well, apart from me nearly throwing a strop after I crashed straight off the dock for the 5th time in a row at the wakeboarding, and decided I couldn't do it.  Mind you, I also said that after the 3rd and 4th crashes, and just decided to try it one more time anyway.  Lucky I tried it for the 6th time too, as suddenly it clicked, and I was off flying round the lake.  They start you on a kneeboard, so you can learn to handle the cable and steering, and you can only progress to standing up once you've got that sorted - as it happened, I didn't get as far as trying standing up, because by the time I'd had my 5 crash attempts, plus 3 successful circuits, and then swimming back ashore after each one with the board, my arms were pretty tired, but it was a lot of fun anyway.

Surfing on Saturday was also in the fun but frustrating category.  We headed off quite early Saturday morning to Saunton, and hired soft boards when we got there.  A few of the guys from the surf club were already there and were just coming back from a very early morning session, and there were another 4 who arrived when we did, but were mucking around on long boards at the other end of the beach from us, so we all headed in the water or back home after a bit of chat in the car-park.  When I could catch the waves, I was standing up much easier, and that was great, but for some reason  I'd lost the knack of catching waves and loads of my take-off attempts just ended with the wave rolling right under me.  It was the same as the wakeboarding yesterday, getting frustrated and annoyed and then saying "just one more wave", and occasionally it would work, but more often not.  Saturday wasn't a coaching session, so there was no one around to ask, so I kept plugging away tweaking bits, but in the end I still hadn't figured it out.  Oh well, you win some, you lose some!

Other than that, I had 3 nights out (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) and spent Friday afternoon lounging round in the sun on a riverside restaurant terrace with my friend Clare (one of my newer friends from surf club).  One thing I really need to get a handle on is that I can't eat whatever I like just because I've been outside doing exercise.  I've noticed a bad habit of using the activity as an excuse to just chomp away with abandon afterwards.  In reality, even though I might be hungry afterwards, I know I won't have burnt as many calories as I'm stuffing in my mouth, so I need to watch that.  Also, buying "treat" food at the beach or even the wakeboarding centre is expensive!  They know they have a captive market and they milk that.  Clare and I were suggesting on Saturday, that we need to get in the habit of bringing a packed lunch from home for surfing trips.  I would use the word "picnic", but that implies "treat" food again, when really it just needs to be an adequate quantity of good healthy food.  Sandwiches, and maybe a flask of soup.  Bananas for energy.  Maybe one chocolate bar for instant energy, if needed. 

I just need to do a bit more forward-planning, or I'll be un-doing a lot of good work - the scales have already jumped back up again after the weekend, and my hard-won weigh in of a week and a half ago suddenly seems a long way and in danger of sliding away from me again.  I'm no higher than I was last Tuesday after the hen-party indulgence, but up from where I'd fought back to on Friday just gone. 

First things first - after 4 weeks away from the gym, it's time to make a reappearance there this week - Balance today to loosen tight muscles, then some spin and maybe circuits over the next couple of days.  Another short run or two this week.  Careful eating.  And lots of sleep and early nights, because I'm feeling tired.  Less alcohol.  More thought.  There's a balance here somewhere - I know it.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Judgement Day

Well, the scales have been consulted and judgement has been passed:  3lbs on this week. 

If'I'm totally honest, that seems fair after the overkill of last weekend, and means I'm 3 lbs down from the high at the beginning of the week, so I have no hard feelings over it.  Just time to crack on with the new week. 

It's a gloriously sunny day here in Bristol, and I have yet another day off work, so after a lazy start, I'm meeting my friend Clare for lunch in the sun by the river, and it's going to be a leisurely kind of day.  Then tomorrow, we're cutting away early to grab some waves on the North coast of Devon, before heading back up to town for a date tomorrow night.  And Sunday is the wakeboarding - it's a nice kind of weekend!

I'm off to play in the sun - have fun!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Sunny Plodding

Actually went for my second run this week at lunchtime - just another 2 and a bit mile, plodded out over half an hour of chit-chat in the sun, but it feels nice to have it done. 

Good god - it's almost like a routine exercising twice in one week! :o)


Bloody hell - I've just seen my blog homepage, and realised that this will be my 700th post on here!  Who'd have ever thought that I would actually keep this blog alive and healthy so long.  More to the point, who'd have thought I'd actually still be here fighting the good fight 2 and bit half years after I started; still learning, still progressing, and still 50-odd lbs down from where I started.  I've surprised myself because, as regular readers will know, I have the worst habit of giving up on stuff.  Not this time, I guess!

Anyhoo, on a slightly less positive note, it's been a bit of a draggy week.  I've not quite been feeling my usual perky self, as I still feel knackered, and on top of that, it also turns out that it's the whole monthly hormonal thing (seriously, menfolk, you have no idea how lucky you are in that respect!), so I expect bad things from the scale tomorrow.  My eating since getting home hasn't been bad though, and I did go for my run on Tuesday - I took it slow and steady (and shorter than usual), and managed to roll out a relatively pain-free couple of miles non-stop.  My legs are now protesting though that they've not done much of that recently; they were wobbly all the way back up the stairs to my desk afterwards, and still ache a bit now. 

I'm going to head out again today for another run at lunchtime with Liz, and I'm actually quite looking forward to it.  A) it's sunny out, which always cheers me up, and B) as is sadly normal for this time of the month, my back aches and I feel like someone's tied a knot in something behind my right hip bone at the front, and I know that moving around helps relieve all that.  I haven't been near the gym for 3 nearly 4 straight weeks now, and that's probably not helping the sluggish feelings, so moving is good.

After the foodie debauchery of the weekend, I'm still finding myself avoiding anything too heavy to eat.  I'm mostly sticking to pasta with veg, mushrooms on toast, that kind of thing.  I've actually got dinner out tonight at a new place (for me) which has an amazing looking menu, but I have to say that right now I'm more interested in finding something light to eat, and just enjoying the conversation. 

This week has flown by, as I've only been in the office for 2 days of it, and I have tomorrow off work - whoooop!  The original plan was for a couple of us girls from the surf club to go on a quiet little learners' trip to somewhere like Woolacombe, and maybe come back Saturday.  However, it's looking flatter than the proverbial pancake on the forecasts for tomorrow, so I'm not quite sure what the game-plan is now.  Frankly, considering how much last weekend cost me, and how tired I still am, I'd be quite happy to have tomorrow and Saturday at home in Bristol, and just potter a bit.  I finally managed to tidy the flat a bit last night, and it's still a shock to see how much floor I actually have in my bedroom now the numerous kit and weekend bags have been removed and put away, but there's a lot more chores still waiting to be sorted, and the luxury of sleeping in is like a siren call.  On the fun and exciting front though, Sunday is a day for new things, as I try wakeboarding!

Yes, dear readers, there's nothing like the fantastic idea of sticking an accident-prone person on a snow board and dragging them across the surface of a lake via a high-speed cable .... what can possible go wrong??? :o)  I'm quite excited though, as I've wanted to try this for ages, and they do wakeboarding behind the power boats (next stage up) when we're out in Egypt.  I'm doing an introductory session on Sunday with Jo (good ol' Jo - she lets me talk her into all manner of things!) for 3 hours, and I'm sure there'll be a few funny stories to tell afterwards!

So that's me at the moment:  a bit sleep deprived, a bit grumpily hormonal, eating light and desperately trying to save some money so I don't over-spend too drastically this month (and telling myself that the gorgeous pink kit bag from Mountain Equipment is not a necessity even if it is in the sale and half price, dammit!).  Tediously normal service will be resumed shortly.  Probably.