Saturday, 31 December 2016
2016 sure went quick, and here we are on it's final day already.
If there was one word that stood out for me this year, that summed up how it felt for me, then it would be "progress". It felt like many strands of my life, things that I've been working on for a while, suddenly took a leap forward, and it's been pretty amazing.
For a start, I sit here writing this from my dining table in my kitchen. My OWN kitchen in my OWN house because, guys - I finally got a foot on the property ladder! The house completed mid-way through December and I managed to get in before Christmas, and there is such a sense of accomplishment in that, especially when I look back on the years in the financial desert not that long ago.
In my career, I've continued contracting which has put me on a more positive cash footing for now, but I've also taken the first tentative step into where my career might go next and booked the first part of my coaching certification for early next year. I don't know yet how my career might unfold, but I've had some enchanting, frightening, exciting ideas on that this year and I have the sense of adventure to go looking, and we'll see what happens next. I know how I want my life to look, and I'm going to go and find the pieces that make that vision come to life.
My weight loss journey feels like it took a tiny but significant step forward in 2016, and particularly December, too. Having spent this year exploring my emotional eating and trying to figure out how to resolve and re-normalise my behaviours, something clicked in December. Despite the month holding the move out from my rented flat, a couple of weeks of long commutes and spare room surfing with friends, and the stress of completing on the new house, plus all the normal socialising around the festive season and Christmas itself, I lost 2lbs. To anyone else that might seem a non-achievement, but like a lot of people I normally put a few lbs on in December (or, you know, half a stone), and without even really trying I've done the opposite. If I can do it under the super-pressurised circumstances of December, then I hold a great deal of hope that I might have turned a corner and can do it in other months.
Of course, there's also been some amazing trips and holidays this year - skiing in France in February and March, my amazing trip to Borneo and Brunei in the summer and long weekends in Wales, Cornwall and the Peak District, and the wonderful friends that have accompanied me along the way.
All in all, I feel pretty grateful at the close of this year and throughly excited to see what lies in wait for me in 2017.
Thursday, 8 December 2016
I love this time of year! Christmas is approaching, I’ve just had my birthday so I’m usually still feeling the glow of the love I get from my friends around that time, and it’s a time for being cosy at home and enjoying the brisk chill in the air outside, and all the lovely twinkliness of Christmas lights and decorations.
Of course, this year – just to be different – I’m currently between homes so I’m a little like a long distance traveller in transit at a big airport. I don’t quite feel settled, and I can’t wait to get to my destination, but I can still enjoy all the festive feel-good spirit around me even if I can’t have my own tree and lights right now.
I decided to give up the lease on my rented flat at the end of November and, as my house purchase hasn’t quite completed yet, I’m bridging the gap by putting most of my stuff in storage and spending a few weeks staying at Dad’s home in Worcestershire. It means long drives to work in Bristol (nearly 70 miles each way), and living out of suitcases for a few weeks, but it’s worth it to avoid overlapping the two properties and having to double up on rent and mortgage for a month as well as not having to try and do a handover of a flat at New Year. With any luck my sale completes on 15th December and I’ll be living in my new house in time for Christmas!
In the meantime, I continue to look for the positive in the situation – saving money, spending some time with my Dad, having the opportunity to see friends at home, getting in the festive spirit with Christmas tunes in the car, taking advantage of the quieter shopping near Dad’s to avoid the Christmas Crazy in Bristol and having a handy parcel-collector at home for when the postman calls with my Christmas shopping. See: lots of positives!
I’ve had brilliant weekends away recently too. I had 3 night break in Cornwall at the end of October with one of my best friends which was heaven. Cornwall was full of Autumnal walks by the coast, exploring local towns and shopping for souvenirs in the little boutiques and gift shops, eating clotted cream teas and pasties, and enjoying quiet drinks and card games in the hotel bar each night whilst chatting rubbish and putting the world to rights. We meandered around Looe, Polperro, Fowey and Polruan, hopped over rivers on ferries and generally relaxed and unwound. We especially loved relaxing in the spa every evening before dinner.
Then at the end of November, just before my birthday, I went to the deepest, darkest Cotswolds for the Sacred Rascals retreat. I had been looking forward to it for months, ever since I had an unexpected tax refund and decided that I damn well deserved it, and it definitely lived up to expectations. The weekend was a mix of hardcore relaxing, being looked after in amazing style in a beautiful country house near Tetbury, and group coaching sessions with some amazing leaders and a fabulous bunch of fellow retreaters. The group work sessions were enlightening and empowering, and whilst I might not have had any earth-shattering revelations, I came away feeling like there had been a subtle but definite shift in my outlook.
I felt relaxed, more centred and balanced, enthused to follow up on some plans I’ve had brewing for a few months, and I’ve been sleeping better ever since. Pre-retreat I’ve had generally broken sleep and restless nights for months now, and could probably count on one hand the number of nights where I’ve slept right through and felt well rested in the morning. That started with shoulder niggle that made it uncomfortable to sleep on my right side last summer, but even after that slowly healed my sleeplessness remained. Since the retreat, I’ve been sleeping much better – most nights I drop right off and I’m pretty solidly out until the morning. I’m unsure what changed, but wonder if it’s because I’ve put some plans in action for a part of my life that has been really frustrating me and so my brain just feels calmer?
And what were the plans? Well, after some conversations with the coaches, I finally made a decision on whether to book on some coach training myself, and I did it! I had originally been looking at one of the American programmes that you attend long distance on the phone, but I’d had doubts about it which I couldn’t place my finger on. After some suggestions and research, I’ve found a programme that feels like a much better fit for me, for where I am in my life right now. And I booked it! I do my foundation course in February in London, and it’s a bit terrifying, because part of the homework is to do a practice coaching session straight away after the first day – eeeeeeek! BUT .... whilst that feels outside my comfort zone right now, I have faith that they won’t make me do anything I won’t have been given the tools for, and I have people in my life I can ask to be my guinea pigs.
I still don’t know what I intend to do with this coaching training in the long run, and I’ve decided not to worry about that yet. Hell, I might not even want to continue after this foundation part of the course, but it feels good and right to be exploring the options and trying something new out.
On a food front, I’m still exploring my eating demons and trying to find ways to deal with them. No recent moves on the weight front, up or down, but given I historically always gain most during periods of change and uncertainty, I’m happy that this house move hasn’t caused an upward trend. Nor has my birthday or my weekends away. I feel like I’m getting more comfortable with what my triggers are, even if I’m not perfect with dealing with them, and this increased awareness of my emotional state – whether it’s fatigue, boredom, frustration, or anxiety – feels like it should be the underpinning of learning to sit with them or respond more appropriately than just eating them.
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