Exercise, Healthy Eating, Life Journey, Mental Wellbeing, Targets, Weight Loss, Weight Watchers

A Quarter-Challenge

I went to my new meeting. It was fabulous. It is indeed very small, and everyone is so supportive of each other. Because I’ve moved about a fair bit, I’ve attended a lot of different meetings. I can usually tell straight away whether I’m going to like it or not, and I knew the second I sat down in the little room that it was going to be splendid.

One of the things it did was lift my mood, and for the first time in weeks I’m beginning to feel better about myself. It feels nice. Getting up and getting on each day feels easier. I want to go out more and I’m becoming less irritable. In my normal pattern, this ‘up’ episode usually begins around the clocks changing at the end of March and I think the early turn is due to going back to Weight Watchers. That sounds a little dramatic, but sometimes isolation in large doses can skew your thinking more, and having a group of people who share your struggle can just be enough to knock you in the right direction.

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One of our farm walks – what’s not to like?

Having turned the proverbial corner, my mind has floated towards my weight loss and my holiday at the beginning of June. I tried on some of my holiday clothes that I kept from waaay back – I got rid of most of them when I started to slim down. The ones that were left were all too tight to put on. In most of the major/nice times in my life, I can tell you what weight I was, and my last holiday abroad was a long time ago and I was 13st dead.

That’s where we’re going.

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My last holiday ~ 13st

The funny thing about it was how big I remember feeling then. There are no bikini photos, any time I stood up I put a sarong on and even now I still can’t stand the sight of my legs in shorts in those pictures.

But I was healthy then and still in my 20s. I wasn’t even aware I had any problems with my reproductive organs, let alone in agony waiting for surgery. I’ve come through a lot since and the thought of being back at 13st right now is delicious.

So I have 12 weeks. A quarter of a year. My challenge is to get to 13st by the night before my flight. Funnily enough, my class happens to be the night before I go. Once again, I feel like the gods are trying to help me as best they can.

That works out at a little more than a 1lb per week for the next 12 weeks – a goal that is not unreasonable. Every week I will set a different intention to help me get there. If anyone wants to join me, feel free – I’d love to hear how you get on.

Week one for me is about assessing my fitness routine. At the moment most of my exercise is covered by walking my dogs round the farm and mixed yoga practice most days. At some point in the next twelve weeks I’m hoping that will change. I’m a keen runner but a old dodgy knee injury will not carry me up and down the rough trails on the farm at my current weight. If all goes to plan, I should reach my ‘safe’ running weight sometime in the course of this challenge.

If I can establish a baseline fitpoint achievement this week, that will allow me to set myself minimum standards and increase it as I get lighter and fitter (again).  So this week I aim to track all of my activity using my Weight Watchers app.

It’s so nice to have found a bit of hope and motivation again, and have someone tell you that yes, you can do it, yes, it is feasible and yes, help is at hand. We can all do this, one week at a time and with a little help from some friends.

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Exercise, Healthy Eating, Life Journey, Weight Loss, Weight Watchers

Someone is Listening

I’d been saying that I think some other-worldly force has been trying to send me a message. The breaking of the corkscrew was a hint – one that I should have heeded. Well, the cosmos hasn’t given up on me.

After last weeks’ corkscrew incident, I pretty much couldn’t get any lower. I’m hunkered down right now, fighting my way through a black episode and trying to function as best I can as a normal human being. For me, that means washing, brushing my teeth and making sure my animals are cared for, plus the absolute bare minimum obligation for work. If I manage all that, I’m done and usually knackered. I don’t even try to be socially acceptable in public. In fact, I try to avoid being in public at all.

Needless to say at times like this, watching what I eat and weight loss are the last things on my mind. It’s not that I don’t care. I do. I really, really do. It’s just that they are so far down the list of priorities that they get swallowed up, and it feels like and seems like I don’t care. When personal hygiene feels like a mountain to climb, there isn’t much hope for kale smoothies and 5-mile hikes.

Fate has definitely been listening and paying attention, if not, then definitely reading my blog. Two things have happened in the last few days that have helped me turn a corner. I’ve booked a holiday. This is a big deal –  James and I have never been abroad in nearly five years together. Being a farmer is sh*t for holidays, and we’ve always either been too skint, too busy, or moving house. I’m not excited about a holiday which is a shame, but my current mindset will not allow enthusiasm. However… I am happy. It gives me a focus, something to work towards and a really good, solid reason to lose weight.

The second thing is my Weight Watchers class. I had to stop going to the only class in the area for a few reasons. I am a person that needs my class, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. During low periods it can prevent me from being a shut-in and improve my self-esteem (even if that translates as a half-lb loss!). I was toying with the idea of travelling further afield, but didn’t want to because I really like my leader. As if by magic, my leader tells me she has started an evening class in town and that she misses me! (how nice is that?)

Again, no enthusiasm. Relief. I feel relieved that I have a class to go to again. I’m not going to get any bigger. I’m not going to struggle on my own any more. If I am struggling, I’ll have support. I can do this. There is a tiny chink of light peeping through the crack at me, and I’m cautiously smiling.

Whoever or whatever is responsible, thank you from the deepest part of me. It’s just the motivation I need right now.

 

Healthy Eating, Targets, Weight Loss

Motivation Flotation

Motivation. One of the key ingredients to weight loss. Without it, it’s pretty difficult.

We all know that feeling whether our weight-loss journey has been (or is) long or short – the first few weeks of following a new plan or a ‘fresh start’ after a  period of indulgence. You’re fired up, ready to go, everything is precise, strict and you can visualize that sparkly, figure-hugging little dress on your smaller, tighter, more-toned body. The weight comes off quickly and you think you’ve got it in the bag and you CAN do this. Goal weight will happen. Some people even put a timescale on it. Some people achieve it without too many setbacks, although I’ve found those are a rare breed.

I’ve learned the hard way. What I’ve described above I realize is not motivation, it’s intention. I’m full of good intentions. Motivation is the ability to continuously follow through on those intentions and gather the strength to keep moving towards your goal even when you don’t want to.

My intention this year was to lose the weight I put on when I moved house and a little more, so that by the time Christmas rolled round (Yes. There. I said the C-word.) I would be at least a few pounds lighter than I was the previous year. My Christmas weigh-in last year put me just into a new number (12st 13) and no more. I thought that Christmas was my motivation.

Yet the other day with six weeks to go and weighing 13st 1.5, I stood in my kitchen stuffing handfuls of grated mozzarella into my mouth and washing it down with beer. I had no inclination whatsoever to cook, James was working late and I felt so fed up it was unreal. Beer lead to crisps, which then led to more beer. I knew what I was doing – I’m not stupid, and I’ve lost enough weight in my lifetime to know the difference between good and bad eating habits. My poor eating and mood continued for a few days and I’m now dreading the scales this week. My motivation had truly deserted me. Perhaps it was drowning in all the beer.

What’s wrong with me? I’m so close to that not-so-new number again – why would I not be motivated to eat well and get there? That’s the million-dollar question. I fee like answering that would give me the formula for motivation. I’d bottle it, sell it and be a very rich lady.

And that’s the point. I’m human. I’m not going to be 100% motivated one hundred per cent of the time. So what can I do to buoy it? Everything and anything I can. Draw a line. Change it up. Use support networks. I could do any one of those things.

I decided to use my journal and draw up a pretty page as a tracker, and use coloured pens to fill it in. It’s sitting open at my place on the kitchen table. This might sound like an odd course of action, but it works for me because I hate an incomplete page in my journal. On the opposite page I’ve stuck the photo of me last Christmas at weigh-in.

The other thing this whole episode reminded me to do was not beat myself up over it. So I’ve tried not to, I really have. It took some convincing, but I think I’ve managed. I’ve successfully steered my brain into thinking that every day I make better choices means a better chance at not gaining weight. If that’s what motivation looks like right now, then it’s bobbing at the top of the beer glass.

Exercise, Healthy Eating, Life Journey, Weight Loss

Progress Nonetheless

I don’t know what I was expecting. Miracles maybe? This week I focused on taking the path back to a more normal eating pattern and cutting out the junk food that has been my security blanket during the move.

This started with a trip to the supermarket to stock up on healthy staples to fill my now-numerous cupboards and a menu plan for the week ahead. Armed with a basic shopping list I toddled to my supermarket of choice and looked around to see what else would spring out at me. I’ve never felt so uninspired and demotivated. I don’t really know the reasons why, but it was not a good feeling. I like cooking. I like eating good food. Perhaps I’m not entirely engaged yet, not in the ‘zone’. It made me feel flat and fat and a little bit sad. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not getting somewhere, right?

I returned with a halfhearted shop and half an idea of what to cook for the coming week. Not really the ideal position to be in for reincarnating your healthy eating lifestyle. When I thought about it over the course of the week, it was a damn sight better than where I was the previous week. (Takeaways, white bread, biscuits and booze. Every day.) At least I managed to cut down on the grazing and the junk, so that was one success. I ate fruit, limited the munching and actually started cooking again. Hmm, see? Two successes. I reminded myself of last weeks’ post about keeping positive and not beating myself up.

I will need to try harder with alcohol this week. This has sort-of been thwarted with the arrival of my mother. I’m not blaming her in the slightest, but when she comes to visit, I seem to go into ‘holiday beer mode’; however, my overall consumption is still a lot lower than it used to be – it’s more the frequency rather than the volumes.

The exercise front has fared slightly better. A combination of work and exploring my new surroundings with the canine proportion of our tribe has lead to that success. Part of the enterprise at the new farm encompasses dog-friendly holiday cottages. Trails have been carved into the landscape to provide walks for the holiday-goers, which give me perfect routes to expand my exercise regime. I’ve been tramping these trails most of the week. This coming week, I’m going to mile out these routes using my Garmin and plan some 5k runs to get me started again. I think that there will be more walking than running to begin with, but hey – no shame in that.

I suppose this week has been what the cool kids would call ‘meh’. Something tells me I should be gung-ho and throwing myself into an all-encapsulating healthy-lifestyle bubble. Truthfully, I fare much better at making healthy habits routine if I introduce them one at a time. Patience, grasshopper. I still need to set myself little goals though. By doing so, I have a focus. By mentioning them here, I make myself accountable.

This coming week, my aims are as follows:

  • Lower alcohol consumption to no more than 2 nights a week
  • Plan out trails and set a 5k route
  • Continue to exercise with dogs

Despite a considerably mediocre week, I hopped on the scales to find myself two and a half lbs down from the uncomfortable truth of last week. So my little successes are having an impact. I’m hoping that with the enforcement of the above goals, I’ll see another loss this week. It’s still progress after all.

Exercise, Healthy Eating, Life Journey, Mental Wellbeing, Weight Loss

Ready To Go

Most of the chaos has passed. All six of us are now firmly installed in the new place, complete with almost all of our furniture and creature comforts. We’re minus a full set of dinner plates which were kindly broken by the removals men and our new bed is being worked on. Aside from that, we’re good.

I mentioned in my last post about the longing to feel secure and settled – the key aspect of me being healthy, happy and taking good care of myself. On another of my meanderings with the dogs, that’s exactly what my mind turned to. I feel now I can focus on myself again and actually give it 100%. Unfortunately I’m the type of person in a crisis whose brain locks on and I can’t move past it until the situation is dealt with. It’s such a lovely feeling to know that the ‘moving phase’ stressor is starting to ebb away.

Fighting through a sea of bubblewrap, I managed to locate my bathroom scales. I figured things must be heading in the right direction inside my head for me to even contemplate weighing myself. half of me is glad I did, half of me really isn’t. I fully expected to have gained weight on account of my food and alcohol consumption rising in accordance with my stress levels. What I didn’t expect was to have put on 14lbs. I did think I might be sick in my mouth a little.

Once I got over this initial shock, I started to look at it objectively. After all, that was the point of weighing myself, wasn’t it? So I had something measurable and tangible to base my new routines on. I reasoned with myself. It wasn’t like I’d put back on ALL of the weight I lost post-surgery. I knew there was no way I’d get through another move without gaining, so why be shocked, horrified, whatever?

So I decided to stop myself right there. I wasn’t about to beat myself up and get into that horrible negative head-space that I’m so good at occupying. Nope. This week is about getting back into a more positive routine. Cutting back on the junk food that’s crept in, scaling down the alcohol consumption to a normal level, and getting out in the fresh air on a daily basis for some exercise. That sounds like a good place to start.

In my head I know I’m really thinking “Lose x-amount of lbs to get back running” – the new place is screaming to be belted round in trail shoes, and I’ve been mapping out various routes and circuits in my head nearly every time I go out. But right now it’s not about that. It’s about getting back into those normal habits and building some momentum. Making healthy choices second nature.

I’m amazed at my attitude towards my weight, and I think a lot of it is to do with my surroundings. I’m genuinely at ease and happy to be in such a great place – even the view from my office as I write is spectacular.IMG_1658 What’s the point in beating yourself up over something that’s already done? Most of us have had that time in their lives when the healthy lifestyle has gone out the window for one reason or another and then berated ourselves repeatedly. I say, don’t do it. I say, be kind to yourself. Draw a line and move on.

So onwards and downwards, and maybe if I’m feeling brave in a few weeks, I’ll try and find myself a new WWs meeting.

Healthy Eating, Mental Wellbeing, Weight Loss

Enough is Enough (AKA When to say no)

I find it funny that its the one thing that not many of us are good at. Apparently it’s a very British thing. I’m not sure if it is politeness, fear of repercussion or some other imaginary voodoo factor, but the bulk of us are rubbish at drawing a line before things go too far.

I’ve made a conscious effort since the start of the year to be aware of how far things are going and willingly putting a stop to situations before they escalate to a point where I am unhappy.

Straight after the inevitable Christmas gain at the scales (5lbs!) was the first time I put my strategy in play. I had my festive fun and decided to call a halt to the decadent eating a few days before New Year. I gave away all remaining party food and rearranged my cupboards back to the ‘Gem friendly’ configuration, and dug my heels in. I said ‘no’ to beer. I said ‘no’ to takeaways and pleading puppy eyes from James. My first class in January resulted in a loss of 4lbs, putting me almost back to my pre-Christmas weight. The strategy seemed to be working.

Fast forward another week, and the world fell in on top of me (damn it, I lasted a whole week and a half of 2016 before getting my knickers in a knot) – everything just happened at once. Poor weather stopped my running. I had an extremely busy week with some difficult customers who caused me no end of grief. This just added insult to injury on top of my snotty, frostbitten nose and numb fingers covered in cow poop and raw milk. My new car arrived, and I had to familiarize myself with it on treacherous country roads at three in the morning. My collie came in to season which caused logistical issues with my other (entire) male dog, who howls the house down if you separate him and leave the premises. You get the picture.

I still tried to employ my ‘Keep calm and say no’ strategy, albeit with a higher level of difficulty. I said ‘no’ to trying to squeeze in runs on slippy roads. I said ‘no’ to going to class to weigh in. Enough was enough, and I had to make sure my work was completed to the usual high standard and I didn’t end up with a litter of unwanted puppies. I survived with only one meltdown on Thursday night.

I realize now that I said ‘no’ to the wrong things. Yes, I employed my strategy, but to all the wrong situations. I should have said ‘no’ to my farmer who wanted me to attend his farm late on a Friday night. I should have said ‘no’ to extra responsibilities. I should have said ‘no’ to convenience food and poor eating choices. Sometimes planning ahead isn’t enough, and I’ve definitely learned a lesson from this past week. Next time a heavy week looms, I’m going to say ‘Enough is enough – but what is not important? What should I say no to?’

It is important to manage the expectation of your abilities and goals. Sometimes you do have to say no to things. Be strong and do it, but consider carefully whether the impact will be positive or negative on yourself – after all that’s the reason for doing it in the first place.

 

Healthy Eating, Life Journey, Weight Loss, Weight Watchers

Goodbye, 2015

‘It’s definitely a good idea to get weighed in between Christmas and New Year’

Said me, pre-Christmas. Kind of regretting that decision now. I tip-toed onto the scales like they were going to bite me. I had horrible visions of a repercussion of Christmas 2013, where I’d put on a whopping 7lbs over the festive period, and that had included me running most days. This last week, I’ve done no running. At all.

It was bad, but not as bad as expected. 5lbs on, deservedly so. But guess what? I loved every minute of those 5lbs. For the first time since my partner and I got together, I had him at home on Christmas day. It was lovely, if slightly odd. I also had the pleasure of my gran and my parents company, and what a great feeling it was to sit round the table with them.

I’ve stopped panicking about things like putting on 5lbs at Christmas. I know my weight is on a downward trend and won’t take me long to get it back off. This is a revelation for me. In previous years, I’d have spent days and days berating myself for being a pig, and regretting everything that passed my lips. So in a way, I suppose I’ve turned a corner (shame you can see my Xmas Belly before the rest of me). I do kind-of feel like I’m cheating a bit because I’ve got a weeks’ head-start. But that’s good – it gives me the opportunity to put a sizeable dent in those 5lbs before the first weigh-in of 2016.

In the tradition of tying up loose ends for the year finishing, I’ve tweaked the blog to make it a bit more user-friendly, bumping up my social media links and ‘follow’ button. Other places on the web I like have a page all to themselves and you can now find this under ‘Helpful Links’ along the top tabs.

Thank you all once again for your support over the last year, and Best Wishes to all of you for the coming year. I’ll leave you with a few of my favourite posts from the past twelve months, and see you on the other side.

Keep on Truckin’!

2015 Selection

The Apple never falls… – A lot of self-realization went on here. A post about difficult family relationships.

The Beast Has Risen… – My first post-op blog, and moving back to Scotland

Fat Girl Who Runs… – On being big and exercising

SmartPoints 3… – Okay, this is a bit of a cheat because it’s last weeks post, but it’s one of my favourites 🙂