Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011. A year in review

At the start of 2011 I was pulling together a marathon training plan and gearing up to run the Brighton Marathon.  Training did not go to plan.  I lacked motivation and couldn't find the right head space.  I think this may have been down to the fact that this was my third consecutive year of marathon training and I needed a rest. Mentally mainly.  In any case the net result was that I missed an awful lot of sessions and hit the start line in April woefully under prepared.  I made it round the course, running the last 16 miles on what turned out to be an enormous blood blister on the bottom of my left foot.   Ouch.

The very next day, I started a new job.  I had been headhunted through LinkedIn and went to one of our competitors for what sounded like a fantastic opportunity. And in some ways it was.  Despite the fact that I left that new job within a few months and returned to my original place of work, it was the catalyst that started the biggest change to my life this year.  The new job was based in London and I had to resolve Murdoch's aggression towards other dogs so that I could get him walked while I was at work.  I'd tried other trainers and behaviourists in the past, but I finally found some people that were able to help us and after six years of walking on the lead, Murdoch is finally able to run around with other dogs.  I can't describe how wonderful this is, both for Murdoch and for me.  For the first time, dog walking has become a sociable activity that I can do with other people rather than dragging Murdoch around by myself.

The other big thing that happened in spring was that I became an aunt for the first time.  I love my niece so much and it's wonderful to see how much she has grown and changed each time I see her.  She's a really cheerful little girl and always has a smile for me.  She also currently loves to blow raspberries. Waterproof clothing is advised.

The summer was not so great. After not really running since the marathon, I foolishly went and did some sprint training in July straight after a 6 mile run.  In hindsight [:)] this may have been a leeeeetle bit too much and I injured my heel.  One heck of a lot of physio and many cumulative hours of stretching later and I have just been able to start running again over the past couple of weeks.  I've signed up for #Janathon and have planned out an exercise schedule to do something every day in January - most of it running, which feels pretty exciting.

The weight issue reared its ugly head again.  I've gained a lot of weight this year, partly down to the lack of running and massive lack of motivation that accompanied it and partly because I've failed to address my issues with food.  But the good news is that I've started to figure a few things out about myself and I'm getting some help to figure out the rest.  So as the year draws to a close, I'm in a pretty good place.  

All in all it's been an interesting year and we'll have to wait and see what 2012 brings!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Baby Steps

I've been trying to pull my thoughts together for this post for a while and it's been a real struggle.  Partly because I'm wrestling with the guilt that comes with marking your line in the sand and then completely failing to jump over it, but also because I'm failing to put my finger on the precise reasons why I'm failing so spectacularly.   Fail fail fail. Epic fail.  So I'm going to get straight to the point.  Deep breath and dive in.

For the past couple of months, I've been eating whatever I want with glorious, gleeful abandon.  Crisps and sweets and chocolate and everything in between.  Except that you come to realise that what you're really doing is desperately cramming food in your mouth, trying to.... I'm not sure really.  Trying to avoid dealing with emotion?  Trying to keep myself safe in my cocoon of fat so I don't have to try?  Trying to committ a slow drawn out suicide by coating my arteries with a cheese flavoured layer of sludge? All sounds a bit melodramatic, doesn't it, but bear with me, this train of thought may be on the verge of pulling into a station.

There are any number of reasons excuses for the way I've been eating.  I could write a giant boo hoo poor me blog post about how hard it is to be me.  Except, really it isn't.  I've strolled my way through life, always taking the path of least resistance, rarely feeling really strongly passionate about anything.  Please don't misunderstand, I love my friends and family but sometimes I realise that days or weeks have gone past without me speaking to them and I hadn't really noticed, like the time had just folded from one spot to another.  Most of the time I feel disconnected to the point that I now have to make a concerted effort to accept invitations to go places.  My first instinct is always, without exception, to decline.  Even if it's to see people that I love or to do something fun.  I'm not sure why it should be this way, but it is.

So sometimes it all seems a bit pointless and of course the easiest thing to do is not to try and make it all mean something, but to drown it all in a sea of crisps and other assorted snack foods.  As a result, I've actually put on weight since I last posted. Oh the shame of it.

I can't think of the bigger picture at the moment because it's making me freak out and dive for the crisps, so for now I'm settling for making better decisions for myself, one at a time.  So for example, today I decided not to go out to the snack van and buy crisps. And I didn't do it.  I know that I'll need to deal with my wider issues at some point.  But right now I'm taking baby steps in an effort to head in the right direction, because I figured out that it's not about big declarations and goal setting, it's about the thousands of little choices that we make every single day. I think that's progress of sorts.

I think we're at that station now, please feel free to get off.  Sorry that this post is a bit of a downer.  I hope you had a chuckle at my last one to make up for it.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

This One's Mostly Filler

I haven't blogged since September.  I've been really struggling with knowing what to write.  I'm going to put some considerable effort into this and in the meantime, please see below one from the Facebook archives from 2007......


Confession time. I have, for the past 2.5 years allowed the hound to sleep in my bed. And I do mean IN the bed, he snuggles under the covers and makes himself comfortable whilst I endeavour to pull off some contortionist moves in order to gain some bed space. I'm not sure how this happens - I do have a king size bed, but he somehow throws himself across the very centre of the bed and makes it his own.

Last night I decided it was time to reclaim my territory - who pays the bloody bills? That would be me then, and surely earns me the right to make myself comfortable in my own bed.

10.30pm - bed time. I move M's bed (soft and squooshy) into my room and make him lie on it. Turn out the lights. 

10.30pm + 5 seconds - first attempt from hound to gain access to my bed. A bold frontal attack jumping on my stomach. Oof. Dog is returned to his bed.

10.31pm - as above

10.32pm as above 

10.35pm - dog attempts first stealth attack - quietly and casually strolling to the end of the bed and gently pulling himself up onto the bed and hiding at the end. It actually took me a moment to realise that he was there. Heart swelled with pride at him being so clever before I realised that he was making me look stupid. Dog is removed from my bed into his.

11pm - M starts to cry gently in his bed. Manipulative little beggar. My heart melts, but then I steel myself for the job in hand. Dog stomps out of bedroom in a huff and I drift off to sleep.

1am - Wake up as am a little bit too warm. Why? Because the sneaky little chap waited till I was asleep, crawled under the duvet and made himself comfy. Dog is roused and thrown off onto his own bed.

3am - ditto 

5am ditto - persistent little fella ain't he? As a sidebar, he really is very stealthy. If the Americans had had him in 'nam then things may have worked very differently.

More of the same tonight I'm sure - am very tired today from all the waking up in the night - but need to stick with it - just need to prove that I am more stubborn than the hound. I fear that he may be made of stronger stuff than me though - I'll probably be sleeping in his bed by the end of the week.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Goals

Image: pixtawan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was catching up on several weeks of the MarathonTalk podcast while I was on holiday and there was a great section about setting goals.  The context was putting together a five year plan, but for now, given that I'm still on the injury bench, I've decided to be a bit more short term about it and set some goals up to the end of this year.

So here we go:

Next three weeks
To increase my calf stretch to 10cm on each leg.  This is the shortest stretch measurement of normal range of movement.  There are a couple of reasons that this is my initial goal,  Firstly because my physio has told me that if we can't get rid of the pain (my heel still hurts) then I'll need to think about going for scans etc.  My next physio appointment is on 10th October and I want to do everything possible to get my calf muscles stretched out by then.  If it's still not good, then at least I'll know that I've made every effort and will let the NHS do its thing.  The other (secret) reason for achieving this goal is because I'm (secretly) convinced that my physio will tell me that I can run again if I do it.

In order to achieve this I need to do as much stretching as possible (hourly!) and also need to do my strengthening exercises (2 x 15 reps three times daily).  I also now have some Superfeet orthotics which should help support my arches and take the pressure off my heel.  Keep your fingers crossed everyone!

To end of 2011
My main goal is to hit my interim goal weight of 11st5lb.  This is the top end of a healthy BMI for my height.  Not sure that I agree with BMI as a measurement, but it'll do for now, as I've got to aim for something.  This means that I need to lose an average of 1.6lb per week between now and the end of the year.  I think that this is challenging, but possible.  There are a few obvious reasons for this goal.  Firstly because I've been banging on about it for ages.  But also because the less I weigh (within normal healthy limits of course!) the less impact will go through my heel whenever I run.  There's no doubt that the fact that I'm overweight has been a contributory factor in my injury, so I need to get this sorted out if I want to continue running long term.

In order to achieve this weight loss, I've put a little exercise plan together.  Essentially I'll be swimming Monday, Wednesday & Friday in the mornings (after dog walking and before work) and going to the gym those same evenings straight from work.  This fits in well with my dog care on those days.  Tuesday and Thursday I look after Murdoch, so they'll be rest days, with dog walking as some gentle exercise.  On Saturday the plan is to rest up and maybe have a little fun! Sunday is a longer gym session.

I will also be taking more care with my food intake - no use exercising if you're going to go home and stuff yourself full of crisps. Or wine. Or chocolate.  Or pie. Mmmmmmmm pie....... *ahem* sorry drifted off for a moment there.

My other (secret) goal is to have started running again by the end of the year. Don't care about distance or speed, just want to be able to run!  Especially as in a couple of weeks I'll know whether I got lucky in the London Marathon ballot.............

Monday, 19 September 2011

The Curious Incident of the Dog under the Duvet

From the archives.  I used to write Facebook notes about some of the mutt's more comedic exploits.  This one is from June 2007........

More dog related happenings this week.

On Wednesday the idiotic creature hurled himself forward so hard on his rope (whilst tied to a tree in the garden) that he has lost his voice. As I write this his bark is starting to come back a bit but it's been a quiet couple of days.

Then yesterday, he was rolling around under the duvet (this pastime seems to be the height of fun for him, giving rise to all manor of happy growly noises). I lent over to lift the duvet off him, but unfortunately he chose that moment to rear up from under the duvet and nutted me. Seriously it hurt so much that I cried a little bit.

I now have a small egg shaped lump on my forehead and look like a Klingon warrior. Nice.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Four reasons to love holidaying in Madeira

I'm back from my holiday! And didn't I have a lovely time? Yes, yes I did.

I'd heartily recommend Madeira to anyone.  Especially a slightly plump thirtysomething that likes to lie in the sun.  There are several reasons for this.

1.  It is very sunny. We had pretty much 28c sunny weather every day. Verrrrry nice.
2.  98% of the other tourists there are retired which means that..
3.  Even if you're a bit fat, you still look better in a bikini than the vast majority of the other people there and...
4.  Even if you don't, it doesn't matter, it's not like you're on the pull; they are all pensioners!

There's nothing like lying in the sun surrounded by many old people (bless them) to make you feel like a glamorous young thing.

Unfortunately I got back to reality with a bump this morning when I weighed myself and discovered I gained 6lb over the course of the holiday.  Oops.  I mainly blame the amount of wine that I drank.  Much more than usual, but I was on holiday so I'm not going to beat myself up over it.

Back on track - I plan to lose that weight over the next couple of weeks and then full speed ahead. 

Saturday, 10 September 2011

From Madeira with love

I was supposed to weigh in on Tuesday but unfortunately I didn't. The good news is that I didn't weigh myself because I'm on holiday!



I landed in Madeira with B on Monday and have been having a wonderful time ever since. It's a beautiful island, although not one to come to if you're after crazy drunken adventures. B and I have lowered the average tourist age by about two decades just by turning up.

We've been on a jeep safari which included a great offroad section. In fact even the roads here are pretty crazy. They don't tend to zig zag up the hills and mountains - they tend to go straight up! We also did a sailboat tour (with no sailing, just motor unfortunately) where we saw a quite large group of pilot whales which was awesome.

Other than that we've just been wandering about the place and lazing in the sun, either at the nearby lido (it's seawater! There are fishes in there!) or at the hotel pool. I've really been getting the sun into my bones which is exactly what I needed after a pretty stressful year so far.

See you on the flipside x

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

A dog's understanding of trousers


Murdoch understands trousers. Now I don't mean to suggest that he is some kind of fashion guru or anything silly like that. He's not lying in his bed weighing up the relative merits of bootleg jeans (good) against harem pants (bad) and wondering whether a pair of high waisted slacks really is the best option for a long, slim silhouette (like a little furry Gok Wan). I just mean that Murdoch understands trousers insofar as they relate to his own life.  Specifically, he knows that if I put on a pair of trousers it means that I am leaving the flat at some point in the near future.  

As a result he has learned to recognise the sound of me putting some on.  So when I get up at stupid o'clock in the morning to walk Murdoch, he remains curled up in his bed, all comfy and snug until the exact moment that I pull my walking trousers up over my knees.  At which point he comes hurtling into my bedroom to see what's going on. From then on my morning becomes dedicated to the avoidance of an excited dog dancing around my ankles, looking up at me with a hopeful expression on his face.  "Are you going out?  Are you going walking? Can I come? CAN I COME?!?!".  

I'm sure you understand why I leave it till the very last minute to put them on before going for a walk.  Otherwise he'd combust with the excitement of it all before we even got to the front door.

Isn't he a clever boy?  I wonder if other pets have similar abilities......

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Happiness


When Murdoch and I started on our latest adventure in dog training, my biggest hope was that we would be able to get Murdoch walking calmly on a lead without lunging to attack other dogs while we were out and about.  However within a matter of days Murdoch had progressed from lead, through long line to being off lead with a muzzle on.  We'd already exceeded my expectations and I thought we'd reached the limit of what we'd be able to do.  And I was so proud of my boy.  I can't describe the happiness that I felt every time I saw his fat little staffie bottom running away from me with his tail in the air, making his crazy little noises as he ran about with the other dogs.  

The one downside was that I couldn't see his staffie smile as he ran back to me; it was covered by a muzzle.  And he just couldn't let that muzzle be, he was dragging his face along the ground, using branches to try and hook it off, nuzzling his face against peoples' legs (bruising them in the process - you should see the state my calfs were in!).  It was starting to damage his face, which had constant red marks where he had rubbed the muzzle, desperately trying to get it off. 

Last week, as we neared the end of our Friday morning walk at the Dog House, G suggested that I take Murdoch's muzzle off so that we could see how he reacted.  I nervously agreed and my boy did not let me down, he was just great.  Veered a little close to his arch nemesis Nico a couple of times, but was corrected and didn't do anything stupid.  He then did the remainder of his walks that day without his muzzle and was the very model of a well behaved dog.  Had a good chat on Friday evening and G made it clear that I couldn't use the muzzle any more, otherwise I risked setting Murdoch back.  

I'm not going to lie.  This makes me nervous. Murdoch's behaviour is still a bit of a worry to me; he behaves much better at the Dog House than he does out and about alone with me.  This is because I get nervous and he feeds off that energy, so I need to build some confidence to make sure that we continue to succeed.  To help me get started with this, I spent quite a lot of time with the Dog House guys over the weekend, walking Murdoch without his muzzle, both in the usual walking location and in a couple of new places.  On Saturday afternoon we did a walk at Blackheath near Wonersh.  This is a regular walk, but it was our first time there.  I knew some of the people, but most of the people were new to me, so Murdoch didn't know their dogs either.  At the end of the walk, G confiscated the muzzle.  I am not allowed to have it any more.  I don't need it.

We also did a Sunday morning walk at Ockham Common which we've done before.  This walk is very German Shepherd heavy and Murdoch had issues with this breed after his run in with Nico so I thought it would be a pretty good test of his behaviour.  On both walks he was a perfect gentleman and had a great recall too.

This morning I did my first solo walk without the muzzle.  I took Murdoch to one of our local haunts in Farncombe which is part of the Surrey Wildlife Trust's McAlmont Reserves.  It's a mix of fields and woodland and we usually encounter other dogs there.  Today was no exception.  And when he saw a dog ahead of us, Murdoch did his usual full pelt hurtle towards it.  I didn't much like this, as by this time we were at the corner of a field and I couldn't see what was going on.  So I really don't know what happened, but when I called Murdoch in, he came back to me and the other dog walker waved at me as I entered the next field, so Murdoch clearly hadn't tried to eat his dog!  We encountered another staffie as we headed back towards home and Murdoch again went hurtling off.  Both Murdoch and the other staffie came running back to me and she jumped up a bit which made Murdoch a little hackly and growly.  Instead of correcting him, I grabbed his collar and guided him away from the dog.  That wasn't the right thing to do, but I didn't panic and I'm learning on the job here, so bear with!

I can't adequately explain how happy all of this makes me.  I never thought that we'd be able to achieve this and while I'm still a little bit nervous, we're just going to keep at it and take each situation as it comes.  Life is good.

Also, today is weigh in day.  Over the past two weeks I've managed to drop 3.5lb.  Huzzah!  This is very good news, especially with my holiday less than two weeks away (GAAHHH IMPENDING HOLIDAY WEIGHT LOSS PANIC SPIRAL OF DOOM!).  I have bought a new bikini, but I don't look very nice in it - too much podge and not much I can do about it in the time available.  But it doesn't really matter.  I'll do what I can in the next two weeks and then I'm going to go and enjoy my holiday, which I've been looking forward to for ages.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

An odd dream


Had another really weird dream last night.  I dreamed that I was in France with my family and it was the day of my sister's wedding (she didn't get married in France).  She got into a car to take her to the wedding venue.  I was about to get in the car but realised that I'd forgotten my fags (I don't smoke), so I did a dive and roll manoeuvre (in my bridesmaid dress!) through the automatically closing garage door to get back into the house to find them.  I eventually located them down the back of the toilet.  

I came out of the house again to find my parents waiting outside.  They had sent away the car that was supposed to take them to the wedding venue as they didn't want it waiting around.  This meant that we had to go and find a car to take us to the wedding, so we walked out front and waited on the street.  Within minutes we were surrounded by crowds of people; they appeared from everywhere.  Unfortunately, French people don't understand the concept of queuing, so every time a taxi pulled up someone shoved in front of us and got in it.

Then I saw that mum and dad had got into a child's toy car but it wasn't getting them anywhere, especially when I jumped on the back to hitch a ride.  I was trying to explain to all the people why we needed to get into a car - we were going to miss my sister's wedding! But I couldn't remember the French word for wedding.

The End

All this and I didn't even eat any cheese before bed. Sometimes my brain confuses me; is this what it's like to be Karl Pilkington?

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Yum!



Monsieur, wiz zis second post in one day you are really spoiling us!

I just had to share my super delicious dinner with everyone - mostly courtesy of my dad and the excessive crop of runner beans his garden has produced this year. Seriously, he's drowning in them, especially with mum away in Costa Rica and therefore not doing her share of bean eating.  He's had to put about a hundred weight of them into the freezer.  However, I digress.

According to my calorie calculator each serving is about 535kcal, so it doesn't break the bank as evening meals go.

Runner bean & parma ham risotto (courtesy of tastes of summer)

Serves 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients:

250g runner beans, topped and tailed, side strings removed if necessary and sliced thinly on the diagonal 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
25g butter 
1 medium onion, finely chopped 
350g arborio rice (or other risotto rice) 
1 – 1.2 litres hot chicken or vegetable stock 
6 slices Parma ham, cut into ribbons 
75g Parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra to serve 
Small handful of basil leaves, shredded 
Salt and pepper

Method:

1. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the prepared runner beans and cook the beans for about 4 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and set aside while you cook the rice.

2. Heat the olive oil and the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion and gently fry for a few minutes until softened but not coloured.

3. Add the rice to the pan and stir for a couple of minutes. Have the hot stock in a separate pan and keep it at a gentle simmer. Add a couple of ladles of the hot stock to the rice and cook over a gentle heat, stirring frequently, until the stock has been absorbed into the rice. Continue to add the stock to the rice, one ladle at a time, stirring after each addition until it has been absorbed. After 18-20 minutes the risotto should be cooked – it should be creamy and the rice grains tender but retaining a little ‘bite’. You may not need to use all the stock.

4. Add the cooked runner beans, Parma ham, Parmesan and basil to the cooked risotto. Add a little more stock, if necessary, and season to taste.

5. Serve the risotto with shavings of Parmesan and black pepper.

6. ENJOY!

Comme Ci, Comme Ça


Went to physio again on Monday morning and despite a great deal of stretching throughout the past week, my calf extension has not increased one bit on either leg.  Curses! I swear the more I stretch them, the tighter they get.  Am hoping that it is a "it gets worse before it gets better" type scenario otherwise I'll be on crutches by the weekend*

I tentatively asked her whether it would be possible for me to do the Hever Castle triathlon at the end of September.  She said no.  I winced and asked her whether I might, possibly, be able to do the Great South Run (10 miles) at the end of October.  She said hell no.  Curses!  I'm now starting to wonder whether I'll be able to do the London Marathon next year (assuming that I even get a place).  I shall worry about that if I get lucky in the ballot.

She did however give me the go ahead to start using the cross trainer again, so on Monday lunchtime I headed to the gym and did 25 minutes on it, followed by some strengthening exercises that the physio gave me, followed by yet more stretching.  And yesterday morning I woke up with even tighter calf muscles than ever before. WHHHHYYYYYYY?!

I also woke up feeling very pissed off.  At 4am.  I can't remember exactly what I was dreaming about, but whatever it was, I was quite incredibly cross about it.  Then I slept through my alarm and had to choose between washing my hair and walking the dog.  I dragged the somewhat ungrateful mutt around the block and got ready for work.  Got into the car and the leaky sunroof pissed rain water all over my head.  At that point felt glad that I had not chosen to do my hair.  Got to work and my drink bottle exploded all over my desk. WHY GOD? WHHHHHHHHYYYYY?!  To make matters even worse, I felt quite ropey all day yesterday - I've had a cold floating around me for ages and I can't quite seem to get rid of it.  Yesterday started with a sore throat and by the time I went home it had progressed to a sinus throbbing stinker of a head cold.  Yesterday was not a good day, cheered up only by rereading this old blog post which made me cry actual tears of laughter.

And yet today I feel pretty much back to normal again in terms of the cold, although throat is still a little scratchy.  Don't know what that's about.  I took Murdoch to the Dog House for our morning walk and as we walked to meet the rest of the pack, the unthinkable happened.  As we reached the edge of the field, Murdoch caught sight of a deer and he was off!  Full pelt!  I've never seen him chase something like that before, usually he sees a rabbit, goes after it a bit halfheartedly, loses sight of it and gives up.  Meh.  But this time he was hot on the trail and determined to get that deer.  Hot pursuit Flash!  Not entirely sure what he would have done with it, bemuzzled as he was, but after a few minutes of crashing through the woods, he emerged, looking quite pleased with himself.  Naughty boy had to go straight on the lead. That'll learn him**  

I meant to go straight to the swimming pool for a quick pre-work swim, but forgot my wallet and once I'd gone home to retrieve it, I didn't have enough time.  Might go after work instead.  In any event I went to the gym at lunchtime again but had even less time than usual to workout because of an illtimed callback from my pet insurance company.  Useless bastards couldn't process a claim properly if lives depended on it.  Christ, sometimes they probably do depend on it. Awful.  Anyway, I did 20 mins on the bike and then stretched out my calf muscles.  They feel much looser now; long may that continue.  

You may notice the renewed enthusiasm for exercise.  This is partly because I really needed to get on track and partly a panicked reaction to the fact that my holiday in Madeira is actually a week earlier than I had thought.  So it's now only 3 weeks away.  I am therefore involved in a frantic "Jeeeeeeeeeeezuz I've got to fit my giant ass into a bikini soon" desperate spiral of DOOM.  Well I may not be able to make myself a size ten in the time available, but I can sure as heck drop a few pounds between now and then so I don't frighten the other tourists ("Looooook mummy a beached whale" "Don't be unkind sweetie, that's just a giant fat lady").

*Possibly exaggerated for comic effect
** It won't

Friday, 12 August 2011

*WARNING* Boring blog post

I've sat and stared at this blog post since Tuesday and have been unable to think of a single thing to say to make it less boring. So here it is. Sorry.

It's been two weeks since I last posted and quite a bit has happened in that time (both personally and in the world generally!). I guess the biggest personal news is that I have now returned to work for the company that I left five months or so ago. I was in a really frustrating situation with the new job - I'm not sure that they were ready for someone in my role just yet - so when my old company contacted me and asked if I'd like to come back, I was really happy to do it! I've had a bit of a promotion and given that the company has been bought and is now part of a wider group, there is more room for advancement, which was my only real gripe with the company in the first place.  I'm sad that I won't be seeing some of the lovely new people I met on a daily basis anymore, but this is the right move for me. 

It's been quite a stressful time and as a result the diet went completely off the rails. In all honesty, I've not been giving it the focus that it deserves since I got started. Frankly I've had much bigger things to worry about. Now that I feel so much happier and more settled it's time to get the rest of my life in order!

I weighed in on Tuesday at 13st 0lb. It doesn't take a maths genius to work out that I gained 3lb over the past couple of weeks and that I'm now almost back to where I started.

But this is a fresh start and I'm going to give this some welly. In addition to more focus, I also have more time again now that I'm not commuting to London every day. The downside is that I am officially not allowed to run at the moment. Have had two sessions with a physio and I'm not currently allowed to do any weightbearing exercise, including things like the crosstrainer at the gym. My problem is that I have very poor range of movement in my calf muscles - they are very tight. Apparently the usual range is 10 - 20cm and I had 6cm in my left leg (the one with the ouchy heel) and 8.5cm in the right. Oops. So for now it's only gentle walking, swimming and cycling, core work at the gym & many, many calf stretches for me. I'm also going to try and fit in a body balance class - that should help with the stretching.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Ten Steps to a Nice Clean Dog

I would like to make one thing clear from the start.  My dog is a lovely little chap and quite the looker too.  Any girl dog would be proud to be seen out and about with him, were it not that I'd had his balls snipped off after an unfortunate pissing up the ironing board incident when he was a nipper.  He is, in the usual run of things, mostly brindle with white bits here and there - notably on his face and the end of his tail, which wags along like a little beacon allowing me to see where he is even in the long grass.

So imagine my confusion yesterday when I went to pick up my dog from his lovely daycare types over at the Dog House and was handed over a brown smelly little dog.

Me: Uurgh, Who is this?
DH: It's Murdoch
Me (outraged): It most certainly is not.  Murdoch is a fine specimen of a dog and you are trying to fob me off with a substandard stinker of a mutt.
DH: No really, that's Murdoch
Me (dubious): Really?
DH : [shrug]

At that point I noticed his little white beacon of a tail wagging at me and I was forced to acknowledge, that yes, my lovely soft and furry little buddy had somehow been transformed into a grubby (slightly smelly) mud caked mutt.  Reluctantly, I popped him in the boot of my car and headed for home.

Dog ownership is not glamorous, unless you're a pampered celebrity who has people to do stuff for you.  I've often wondered who empties the chihuahua poo out of Paris Hilton's handbag.  Because that dog is pooing in there for sure.  It has nowhere else to go.  Anyway, most dogs fall into one or several of the following major categories.  You've got your chasers (can't help going after deer, rabbits, birds, bikes, leaves blowing along the ground etc), you've got your yappers, poo munchers, crotch sniffers, face lickers (usually just a nanosecond after you have observed them licking their *ahem* delicate areas) and shoe chewers.  Murdoch however is a mud roller.  He sees a mud puddle and cannot resist rolling around in it like a little furry hippo.  As a result, I had the misfortune yesterday evening of having to clean him up and this is how it went.

Step One: Lure dog into garden.  This is not hard to do - dog is currently clueless about the terrible events about to unfold.

Happily posing next to the bucket, clueless
Step Two: Pick up bucket of water (warm, if you're feeling kind) and throw it at dog

Step Three: Wait patiently as dog runs to end of garden and shakes like fury

Shake it, shake it baby
Step Four: Shampoo dog.  Try not to use too much shampoo (like I did last night) as it makes the following steps much harder
Frothy

Step Five: Rinse dog.  I did this by throwing more buckets of water at the dog so I therefore had to repeat steps two & three quite a few times at this point.

Bedraggled

Step Six: Towel dry dog (who by this point is pathetically grateful that you have stopped throwing water at him and is nuzzling your ankles)

Step Seven: Open back door and allow damp dog back into flat.  Try not to think about the fact that your home is going to smell of damp dog for the foreseeable future.  Order dog into bed

Waaaah! I've had enough! Let me in!
Step Eight: Endure sad and sulky looks from dog as he sits in his bed pondering the fact that he would totally call the RSPCA on you right now, if only he had thumbs and knew how to operate the phone.

I hate you right now
Step Nine: Ponder the fact that this was all an ENORMOUS waste of time and energy as dog is likely to roll around in giant pile of yuck again tomorrow.

Step Ten: Give up on life for the day and go to bed.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

I feel like such a heel

Goodness me, where does the time go, doesn't it fly when you're having fun etc etc.  Two weeks have positively zipped by and yesterday was the big day - the fortnightly weigh in.  So how did I do?  Well I am now down to 12st11lb which means I've lost just over 4lb in the past four weeks. Overall I'm happy with this - 1lb a week is fairly steady measured weight loss, but really I wanted a bit more of a kick start to the process.  I don't see any reason why I can't lose 1.5 - 2lb per week, at least at first while I still have quite a bit to lose.

The past week has been a bit difficult in terms of exercise.  As I mentioned in last Monday's post, I had got a touch of plantar fasciitis following the sprint training / long(ish) run combo I did at the weekend.  This meant that I did not exercise at all last week, until Saturday when all felt ok again and I decided to head to the track.  We were doing 2 sets of 8 x 200m - to be run at around the mile pace that we're aiming for.  My aim was 60secs, but I was comfortably and consistently coming in at 50 - 52secs, so I was feeling really pleased with my performance and despite a bit of heaviness on my chest (more on that later), I was feeling strong for the entire first set.  The heel was niggling a little, but nothing that concerned me until I started the second set and had to give up after 3 reps.  The heel was really complaining now and given that I was down to run in a league 10k race the following morning, I decided that discretion was the better part of valour and called it a day.

Woke up on Sunday morning.  Got out of bed.  Fell back onto bed yelping.  OOOOOOOOOOUUUUUCCCCCHH! Serious amounts of pain when I put any weight on my left foot.  Much hissing, swearing and hopping about the flat later, I realise that I'm out of the 10k for that morning.  Boo.  I then spent the rest of the day sunbathing *ahem* keeping the weight off my foot and rolling it on a frozen water bottle as recommended by my good friend Andy.  Thanks mate, it really helped and by the end of the day, the foot was comfortable enough to take Murdoch for a decent walk.  

On Monday I already had an appointment scheduled at the doctors' surgery, so mentioned my heel.  The doc looked at me as though I was an idiot for having run on it (has she never met a runner before? Surely we're FAMED for running when we probably shouldn't?!) and told me to ice, stretch and most importantly REST the foot.  So no weight bearing exercise for me for the next week or so and longer term I'm looking at some physio - I found out that I'm covered for it under my Dad's private health insurance, which means no NHS wait list for me - phew!

So I now need to think about how I'm going to exercise if I can't run.  Usually my best time for exercising is a fairly intense 30min session in the gym at lunchtime.  I usually go and pound out some swift intervals on tbe treadmill or sometimes just a plain old simple run.  So if anyone has some suggestions on half hour gym sessions that I can do which do not involve any weight bearing stuff, I'd love to hear them.  I guess I could do some interval stuff on the bike / cross trainer?  And it's probably time that I started doing some core work too.  So I'm trying to look at this as a positive thing that's going to expand my exercise repertoire, rather than something that is imposing limits on me.

On Monday evening I went to the pool and did 70 laps, felt pretty good, but then yesterday morning I woke up feeling pretty terrible.  Everytime I stood up, I got really dizzy and felt all congested and tired and horrible - really difficult to breathe,  Spent most of the day lying in bed doing intervals of feeling sorry for myself mixed with some intensive rest periods (Zzzzzzz).  

I had a really weird dream late morning.  I dreamed that Murdoch was not a real dog, but a sad tattered soft toy that I dragged around everywhere with me.  Everyone humoured me because I was a mad person and to me he was a real dog.  So I'd look down and see my little waggy tailed piglet, but to everyone else he was just a soft toy.  I woke up in a bit of a panic and had to run (oops stop slow down dizzyhead) and check out the situation.  Murdoch is definitely real (and didn't appreciate being woken up so I could check). Or, if he's not real, then I'm still crazy and I'd appreciate it if you could leave me to it :)

Friday, 22 July 2011

Going to the dogs

Murdoch has been engaging in some pyschological warfare recently.  He has various weapons in his armoury, including 2am vomiting (he sleeps in the other room - how does he manage to wake me up with it??!?!?), a dry cough that culminates in a noise that sounds like a cat coughing up a giant furball and waking me up at 5am (at the weekend!!!!) by standing beside my bed and staring at me.  As you can see, a couple of his ploys involve interrupting my sleep.  I think he knows that I'm shit if I don't get enough shut-eye and he thinks he can use this to his advantage.  Good luck with that my little furry nemesis.

However this week his weapon of choice has changed.  As if it's not stressful enough having a dog named Murdoch at the moment ("Did you name him after Rupert?" "No I effing didn't - who would do that?!") this week he has decided to worry me half to death by deliberately running through vegetation that he is allergic to until his entire head puffs up in hives. I've had to buy jumbo packs of Piriton to keep him from combusting.  I'm serious, his right eye swelled up so much last night he could hardly see out of it and he gets all sad and floppy with it too, wanting to come and sit next to me and lean against my leg.  Poor little guy.  See, my heart is melting - damn dog is playing me for a fool!


Well not tonight he's not - he's got a sleepover at the Dog House while I glam up and go to our corporate summer party this evening.  I had an accidental dress buying incident yesterday lunchtime which I have since managed to justify in my head (it was in the sale etc etc,) and I'm ready for some fun times tonight, although I do need to be a little bit sensible and get on the last train home.  If anyone sees me staggering drunk at Waterloo later tonight, can they gently pop me onto a train and hang a sign saying Farncombe around my neck?

Monday, 18 July 2011

Self criticism

Here's my thought for the day. Throughout the many and varied conversations I've had recently on the topic of being fat, a lot of people have said that I'm being too hard on myself.  This is probably true.  I'm not morbidly obese, nor do I have (so far as I am aware) any scary obesity related diseases.  In fact all I'm really suffering from is poor self image and a bit too much lard around my stomach, hips and thighs.  

The other morning I walked along Moorgate on the way to work and decided to be as critical of all the people I passed in the street as I am of myself (in my head, of course, I didn't want to get stabbed or somesuch).  My interior monologue went a little bit like this:

Spotty
Fat
Faaaarrrr too old to be wearing that skirt
Terrible skin
Dear God woman have you never heard of Frizz Eaze?
Greasy hair
Horrible ill fitting suit
Overdid it on the make up this morning, didn't we dear?
Please, please, please put your boobs away
etc
etc
etc

And you know what?  I felt like an utter bitch for even thinking those things.  It feels horrible to be that bitchy towards other people, yet oddly we find it perfectly acceptable to be that awful to ourselves.  We probably could all do with having a bit of a think about that one.

Anyway, I had a lovely weekend starting with a spa day on Friday with my mum and sister.  Me & mum had a serrail treatment which consisted of coating ourselves in mud and then sitting in a steam room for a bit.  Then the "rainforest shower" started and hosed all the mud off.  Very good fun.  We spent most of the day lounging around the spa and I pretty much dozed off until my sister pinched my nose to stop me snoring.  Oooppppssss.

On Saturday morning I grabbed B and headed to the track to do some sprint training with my running club.  This is to work towards the Marathon Talk Magic Mile Challenge.  We did a couple of laps of the field to warm up (much needed as the rain was torrential) and then did  6 x 2 minute reps.  The aim was to hit our mile pace (for me this was 30secs per 100m) and remain consistent throughout all reps.  We managed this well, so I'm pleased with that.  We then had 6 x 200m reps, but we had to leave after two as we had to get back to Godalming.

Sunday morning saw me get up and out early to walk Murdoch before heading to Grayshott for another running club session.  They've just started organising a monthly social Sunday run - to start and finish at a pub.  I did a very rainy 5.5 miles around Ludshott Common followed by a cup of tea to warm up in the Fox & Pelican.  Very nice.

Unfortunately today I'm suffering from a touch of plantar fasciitis in my left heel, causing me a little discomfort when I get up and start walking, although it eases off a little once I'm up and about.

I think I'm starting to waffle, so all that remains to tell you is that I'm moving to fortnightly weigh ins on professional advice - should even out some of the fluctuations and stop me from getting disheartened.  So I won't be weighing in tomorrow, but will update you all on 26th July.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Better late than never...

Well clearly this post should have gone live on Tuesday directly after my weigh in, but it's been quite a busy week.  Yesterday was Haslemere Border AC's annual race - the Gibbet Hill 10k.  It's quite an epic course, about 6k of steady uphill, followed by a nice freewheel down to the finish.  Here is a picture of our finishers t-shirt (first year we've ever had them - usually just a medal).  I'm posting it firstly because it looks awesome, and secondly because the logo is actually a representation of the course elevation profile.  We'll be there same time next year if you fancy your chances!


So yesterday was crazy busy, marking out the course, sending last minute instructions out to the marshalls, setting up the finish area, dealing with a couple of minor issues during the course of the race.  Phew, was so relieved when it was over.  It was a brilliant event, we had so many positive comments about our marshalls, the medals, t-shirts - not to mention the free cake that we gave out at the end!

Enough of that, I guess the big question is, how did I get on with the weign in on Tuesday.  Oh dear.  Sorry to tell that I put a pound back on.  Oops.  I could make a million excuses, but what it boils down to is that I haven't yet learned not to stuff my face when I'm feeling stressed.  Anyway, sticking with the positives - I'm still down on where I started from and this week has been great - I've hit my calorie targets and have got some great exercise in, so expect to see a loss next Tuesday morning.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Upsetting Chain of Events: An Epic Fail from Santander

7th July 22:00 Get home from work to discover a letter from Santander.  In fact it isn't a letter at all, rather a somewhat threatening Default Notice.  I won't bore you with the details, but essentially there was some talk of claiming my first born child should I fail to cough up the £310.00 that I owe them.  Nearly fell over.  My Alliance & Leicester account (now with Santander) has lain dormant with a zero balance for a couple of years.  I have not received any correspondence (including bank statements) from them for quite some time and frankly wasn't expecting to with a zero balance.  My first thought was that I must be the victim of identity theft, but then I start to wonder why I have a default notice without having received any prior notifications of charges?

8th July 09:50 Attempt to call the Santander complaints line.  It rings.  And it rings.  Then it rings some more. Etc. No-one picks up the damn phone

09:51 Put down the (still ringing) phone and start to feel a little cross.

10:00 Call the main customer service line and have to go through a highly painful automated "press 2 if your arse is on fire" rigmarole.  Eventually I realise that my only remaining options are to repeatedly club my phone on my desk in hopes of randomly hitting the magic sequence of numbers that will grant me access to a member of the customer services team, or to hit none at all and hope that they put me through to someone.  I pick the latter course of action and in time, the automated voice gives up and puts me through.

I then go through some security questions and get to detail my complaint.  I explain that the account has sat dormant for a couple of years and that there is no possible reason for the charges.  The lady explains to me that the T&Cs of my account state that if I do not pay in a minimum of £500 a month, then I would be charged for having the account.  She told me that these charges had been applied to my account since August last year and that in fact I had benefited from a grace period due to the changeover from A&L to Santander. She also informs me that the balance owing is in fact £410. Nice.

By this point I am incandescent.  I point out that at no time had I been made aware that these charges were about to be applied to my account.  At no time since August 2010 have I received a letter or a bank statement informing me that these charges were being applied to my account.  In fact I have heard nothing at all from Santander since they sent me an email on the 18th September 2009 informing me that my internet banking access was about to be deactivated.  I have no idea how they feel it appropriate to apply these charges and to not send me any statements to inform me.  The lady tells me that she cannot deal with this complaint and that she will have to put me through to the Collections dept.  Fine.

Am on hold for a couple of minutes, during which time I assume that the customer service lady is explaining my predicament to Collections.  This is clearly not the case as the really "friendly" woman in the collections department needed me to explain my problem AGAIN, seemed surprised that I was not willing to just pay up and told me that I'd need to ring the complaints department.  I explained that I had already tried that and got no response, could she not put me through?  No.  She just supplied me with the number as though I were a simpleton that probably had failed to dial it correctly the first time.  Then she told me that I would need to call the Collections department back once I'd spoken to Complaints.  I was astounded.  Would the Complaints department not call Collections?  Do they not have that internal process? No. I wail hopelessly and hang up on the woman.

10:15 Try Complaints again.  No answer.  Bang head on desk.

10:20 Complete a complaints form online detailing my issue and pointing out exactly how angry I am.

10:35 Get an automated response telling me that Santander have received my form and will contact me as soon as possible.

12:35 Still no response from Santander.

12:45 My phone rings *excitement*!!!! It is unrelated sales call *utter disappointment*

13:18 Nothing further to report

14:19 No more news

Stuff it, I'm getting cross now, so am going to post this blog and try to call them again later.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Danger Zone

Oh dear. Yesterday was a disaster. Instead of having a calorie deficit, I actually went over my daily calories by 200kcal.  Oh dear indeed.  I've done this before you know.  Had a positive first week - yaaaay! I lost weight! And then an abyssmal second week.  As you can imagine, week three doesn't even happen.  Why do I do this? I'm not 100% sure. Why would any right minded human being sabotage themselves in goals that we set for ourselves?  

I listen to a podcast done by Jillian Michaels - an American personal trainer.  In these situations, she asks, what does it afford you to stay fat?  What are you getting out of it?  I think she's asking the right question.  Clearly remaining fat has appeal for me on some level, I think I use it as my excuse, my reason why.  Why I don't do stuff.  Why I haven't met the right guy.  Why I don't have to try.  So what happens when my reason why is taken away?  I'll actually have to do all of the things that I've been hiding away from.  This is scary stuff and when you think about it, it isn't so surprising that a little bit of self-sabotage creeps in. Take away my security blanket?! Not likely!

But this time I'm going to nip it in the bud, I'm going to try asking myself, what will I gain by losing weight?  And trying to create enough positives to take away some of the fear.  Not an easy task, but one day at a time, I'll chip away at it.

Today has been a good day so far, I'm on track to hit my deficit goal of 1,000kcal. One day at a time...

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Moment of Truth

The past few days have been so busy, especially the weekend when I didn't stop long enough to think too much about food - just grabbed something to eat on the run.

Saturday started off well with a nice 5k run with my friend B.  We took a nice route down the River Wey and did much less walking than we'd done the previous week, so progress there. Then spent the rest of the day dashing from one thing to the next; haircut, shopping, toddler's birthday party, impromptu visit to parents' house.  All very nice stuff, but was relieved to get home and relax a little before it was time to go to bed!

Sunday began with a 5 mile walk with Murdoch.  Again, went down the river, it's so lovely there in the sunshine, very peaceful but at the same time plenty going on with other dog walkers, runners, cyclists, fishers etc etc.  Then it was time to head out for a quick swim - and I do mean quick!  I did the swim leg of the Liss Triathlon as part of a team which saw me bashing out a quick 400m in Mill Chase swimming pool before driving over to Liss to cheer in my runner.  Out of the three teams that ran for my club, we brought up the rear, but we're still waiting to find out individual times so I don't yet know how I got on in the water.  One of our teams won the team prize, which was fantastic, but I had to leave before they got their prize as I had to head off to my next engagement.

Dog show! The guys who look after Murdoch while I'm at work do a lot of work with a local dog rescue organisation and they were at a local fun day where there were about a gazillion dogs.  G had asked me not to muzzle Murdoch, all dogs were to be kept on lead and I think he wanted to test Murdoch's reaction without muzzle.  My boy did not let me down - he went nose on to a variety of dogs and not a peep out of him, which was really lovely to see and such progress from where we started out.  Only problem was that he was so hot and overexcited that he had to have a bit of a timeout in the van to cool off!  Then it was off to the bandstand in Godalming to meet with friends and listen to the music, a really lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Anyway, enough waffle, let's get down to business.  This morning was my first weigh in.  So last night, I decided to do a little home workout.  I love watching the Biggest Loser and "last chance workout" is an integral part of any competitive weigh in - essentially a last minute effort to sweat out just a few extra ounces of weight before stepping on the scales.  My effort was probably a bit less panicked than it should have been, my intensity a little lower, thwarted as I was by Murdoch's continued efforts to join in.  Ever attempted a plank while your dog wriggles under your tummy so he can lick your face?  You haven't lived.  Anyway, the weigh in.  I weighed myself this morning and the result was .........
...
...
...
DRUM ROLL...
...
...
...BUILD SOME TENSION...
...
...
...
...
....... REALLY START TO ANNOY READERS WITH TENSION BUILD UP.....
...
...
...

12st12lb - that's a loss of 3.25lb for the first week.  So this week I need to put in extra effort to consolidate those results, but for now I'm very very happy!

Have a lovely day people x


Friday, 1 July 2011

The Domino Effect

Yesterday was a toughie.  Felt really demotivated from the get-go and wanted to eat lots and lots of bad things.  Temptation was thrown in my path by an email at 10.30 announcing the arrival of homemade tiramisu in the office kitchen.  I know if I just sit at my desk, there'll be none left for me in just a short while.  Just need to keep sitting at my desk...... did not eat any tiramisu.  RESULT.

Then it was lunchtime and I really didn't want to go to the gym.  And this was when the domino effect began.  I sat at my desk and pondered the option of just not going.  This led me to ponder the possibility that despite having brought a healthy lunch to the office, I could use my lunchbreak (newly liberated by NOT going to the gym) to go and buy something yummy from M&S.  A nice sandwich. And maybe some crisps.  And then maybe some sweets as well. And..... hang on a minute, do you see what happened there?  My thought process had leapt from a gym trip to an enormous junk food binge in a heart beat.

Does anyone else do this to themselves?  Get started down a bad path and then just blindly follow it to its inevitable conclusion, leaving a trail of discarded crisp packets along the way?

Luckily I was able to turn it around.  Instead I started thinking that I would go to the gym, just go to the gym and if you really hate it, if you're really as tired as you think you are, you can leave after 10 minutes.  And of course, I went there and did 30 minutes on the crosstrainer, burning 330 kcal.

The bad news is that there was no subsequent positive domino effect - I succumbed and had a Twix mid afternoon. Meh, you can't win 'em all and I still ended up within my calorie target for the day, partially thanks to not getting home till about 9.30 last night and having only yoghurt for dinner (spent two hours chatting to my dog guy while we scanned the horizon for a dog that had decided that 3 walks wasn't quite enough for him in one day and he wanted to keep running and running and running.... good news is that he did show up eventually and the even better news is that it wasn't my dog that had done the runner. What a good boy I have).

Daily summary (yesterday):
Calories eaten: 1,535
Calories burned: 595
Calorie deficit: 1,160

Today has been a bit better, although am already feeling a bit of diet fatigue. Which is stupid, because I've only just started!  It's the fact that I'm constantly thinking about it all day long.  What shall I eat today? Shall I go to the gym? I really fancy a snack. DoIhavetimetowalkbacktoWaterlooafterwork? ShallIgoforaswimthisevening? HowmanycaloriesdidIeattoday?!?!?! It literally becomes a stream of consciousness constantly running through my head.  I think I'd get bored of that after four days even if it were about Ryan Reynolds in those Hugo Boss ads.

Anyway, the net result of the day was this:

Daily summary (today):
Calories eaten: 1,670
Calories burned: 353 (walking and then a swim in the evening)
Calorie deficit: 783

So a little bit behind where I want to be in terms of calorie deficit for the day, but what the heck, it's Friday.

Quote of the day
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
Mark Twain

Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Perception Gap

When I first posted about the F Word earlier this week, I had an astonishing amount of responses from people, but one that really stopped me in my tracks came from my friend J.

"Not sure whether sexes has anything to do with it or whether my friends were all arse holes but I was always being called chunk, fatty etc. I think they call it banter but more like bullying to me! Anyway, family have always said to me, you're a jolly, big man and if you weren't then you wouldn't be you. So how does that inspire me to lose weight? Being told that if I become thin then I'm no longer going to be the person my family love? Oh well, back to the kitchen I go for a comfort snack in the form of wotsits!"

I actually cried when I read that because it made me realise the enormous gap that can exist between what our loved ones are trying to say to us (in this case "Don't listen to those bullies, we love you just as you are because you are AMAZING") and what we actually hear ("Doesn't matter how unhappy you are with your body, you musn't change otherwise we'll stop loving you").  It's a massive, Grand Canyon sized gap between intention and translation and I think it happens a lot.  

I know that in most cases, when people say "Don't be silly, you're not fat", it's not because they are trying to upset, annoy or derail me, it's probably because they are trying to make me stop feeling bad.  The problem with it is that it doesn't work and it's easy to read the subtext "I am not interested in your problem, I'm going to deny that it is happening" behind words that are most likely being said with the kindest of intent.  I still know that I'm overweight in the same way that J knows that he is, denying that there is a problem does not make it go away, we can see the fact of it in the mirror, in our reflection in every shop window that we pass, in the jeans that we don't fit into.

I guess the question becomes, how do you move past it?  Well, I clearly did it by posting on my blog and creating a minor shitstorm.  I honestly didn't see that coming (mainly because I didn't think anyone actually read my ramblings!) but what happened was that I was set on this path and given a healthy shove to get me started along it.  I don't know how J has started to move past the voices in his head.  I suspect that his first steps may have been taken with the support of his very lovely wife, but however it happened, I was really happy and encouraged to see this from him this morning:

got on the scales this morning, the big number has gone down by one. Next milestone within reach! 

Well done buddy, long may it continue.  Oh and if you're reading this, I've got something that I'd like to say to you and it is this.  You are awesome and amazing, one of the kindest and most generous people I've ever had the good fortune to encounter.  This is a true fact and would not change if you were 50 stone or 10 stone.  That is who you are, your body is just where you live.

This is my blog for the day, I'll do a calorie summary as part of tomorrow's blog.  This one had been playing on my mind since I read J's comment and I wanted to get it out there.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

How Do I Measure Up?

Good afternoon! Firstly, an answer to a question on yesterday's post.  My daily calorie allowance factors in my basal metabolic rate (BMR) which is the amount of calories that I burn whilst doing nothing at all through involuntary body function (breathing, blinking, farting, growing toenails, more farting etc).  So any calories that I burn through activity are in addition to that amount.  Wow I almost sounded like I knew what I was talking about there.

I measured myself last night and this is what it looks like:

Left arm 12 inches
Right arm 13 inches (Wwwwhhhhyyyy is my right arm fatter?! Is it because I'm left handed?  Poor lopsided arms)
Bust 37 inches (over my bust that is, not under)
Waist 41 inches (no wonder I have trouble doing up my jeans)
Hips 44 inches
Left thigh 24 inches
Right thigh 24 inches (at least my lopsidedness does not extend to my thighs)

Managed to get on the earlier train this morning which meant that I was able to walk to work (nr Liverpool St Station). It's quite a nice journey along the South Bank to Blackfriars before heading past St Pauls into the City.  It's about 2.5 miles to walk and on a lovely sunny morning like we had today, it's rather nice.

At lunchtime I headed to the gym.  Got on the bike and started to pedal.  Had planned on doing 25 mins on the bike, but the adjacent machine caught my eye and I had a go on that instead.  I now have a new most bestest favouritest gym machine.

My new gym BFF
It's a Wave machine and the movement of it is a bit like skating - I just looked it up online and found this video.  

Please note that I was not doing lots of arm actions etc and I sure as hell did not look all happy and smiley like these people (who look like they're enjoying it a little bit too much). In fact I was a sweaty mess, clinging onto the arms for dear life.  I also think the love affair may pale a little bit when I wake up tomorrow morning and hurt in places I didn't know I had.

Daily summary:
Calories eaten: 1,500
Calories burned: 670 (470 dog walk and walk to work + 200 lunchtime gym session)
Calorie deficit: 1,270
Status: So far, so good

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The science part

OK, I'm going to blind you all with science now (or possibly just make you fall asleep - up to you - I'm not judging).

For someone of my weight, the daily calorie guideline is approx 2,100 to maintain current weight.  In order to lose a couple of pounds a week, I need to create a calorie deficit of approx 1,000 calories a day.  Some of this will come from reducing my food, while some will come from increasing my activity.

So here's how it went for day one:

Got up, walked the dog, then headed to work. In total I burned 290 calories this morning, just from walking. Whoop!

For breakfast I had uncooked porridge oats, mixed up with a splash of skimmed milk and some Rachel's Organic low fat yoghurt. I love this yogurt, has anyone tried it?  Today I had the elderflower & apple flavour and it is delici0us.  This is a fairly typical breakfast for me (unless I pop into M&S on the way to the office and grab a cinnamon swirl - lovely, but quite a bit more naughty!) and you can always spice it up a bit by adding some fruit to it - raspberries, strawberries, anything really. A friend put me onto this breakfast some time ago and I've never looked back!

Mid morning snack - some edamame followed by a bag of sesame sticks. Case in point - not everything that you can buy from Holland & Barrett is good for you! I do love this snack though, and had a bag of them left in my desk drawer.  I'm not going to beat myself up over the fact that I ate them, I've factored them into my calories for the day.
Om nom nom - edamame

1pm arrived and I headed to the gym for a quick 30 minute lunchtime session.  I went on the crosstrainer and burned 340 calories. Whoop.

When I got back to the office I had a quick spot of lunch.  Today's lunch is not typical.  I usually have a sandwich, a salad or possibly some reheated leftovers. Today I had low fat Brussels paté on some water biscuits. The paté needed eating up, but I have a feeling that this v. light lunch will leave me feeling a bit peckish late afternoon.

4pm. Waaaaaah! I want to eat something! But I'm not actually hungry, so I won't.

I'm going to post this before I leave the office for the day, but I'll let you know that for dinner I'm having one of my favourites.  It's essentially spaghetti bolognese but instead of pasta, I have bulgar wheat.  I call it Beefy Bulgar and I made a big batch of it for dinner yesterday, so now have another three portions to work my way through for the remainder of the week.  If anyone ever wants a recipe for the things I mention here, just say the word and I'll post it.

Daily summary:
Calories eaten: 1,500
Calories burned: 630
Calorie deficit: 1,230

Quote of the day - from Kim Peek - the real guy that the film Rain Man was loosely based on:
"Learn to recognise differences in others and treat them like you would want them to treat you.  It will make this a better world to live in. Care and share and do your best. You don't have to be handicapped to be different - everybody is."

The Start

Soooooo. I weighed myself this morning and tipped the scales at 13st 1 1/4lb (yes, my scales measure quarter pounds - may use them to weigh a burger at some point). While this is not good, it's important to know where I'm starting from and from here the only way is DOWN.

So here's how it's going to work.  I'm going to weigh myself every Tuesday morning and will record the results here. I'm not going to provide exhaustive lists of everything that I've eaten.  That shit gets boring reeeeeaaal quick.  That said, I will at least initially note down my food - you'll soon see that I eat about the same five things over and over again, anyone else do that? :)

I have an app on my phone that I'll use to log my food - I've decided to take a simple calories in / calories out approach - no forbidden foods, no food groups excluded.  I want this to be simple and most importantly sustainable long term.  I also need to increase my activity levels - despite general perceptions I don't actually spend all of my time running / swimming / single handedly saving the rainforest.

In addition to the weekly weigh in, I'm going to measure myself when I get home this evening (as suggested by Tina) and will update these metrics monthly, so hopefully I should see some progress there even if the pounds aren't coming off as quickly as I'd like.

Which brings me neatly to my goals.  I'm not yet at a place where I know what success looks like - how I will know when I'm finished.  I don't know what my final goal weight should be, other than I have a vague hankering to be a size ten.  I don't know if that is possible (have you seen my hips?!).  So for now, I'm going to set an initial goal of getting down to 12 stone, which I hope to achieve by losing a fairly steady 2lb a week.

Finally I want to thank everyone that took a moment to comment here or on my Facebook or sent me a message.  The outpouring of solidarity and support literally reduced me to tears last night. It's great to have you on board and hopefully we can inspire each other towards our goals (whatever they may be!) along the way.

All comments are welcome and gratefully received.