Exercise, Life Journey, Running, Targets, Weight Loss

Quarter Challenge and Being a Hobbit

I’ve now completed week four of my Quarter challenge – the time is going in so quickly. But so far, so good. Six and a half lbs down, it’s not looking likely that I’ll make the rather ambitious goal of 13st for my holiday, but I won’t be too far off.

This could be an ideal opportunity for me to revert to the old ways of being negative and reminding myself of what a useless failure I am, and that I’m going to struggle all the way and that I can’t even set myself realistic goals. I did mention before that I am getting better at being kinder to myself, and I definitely feel in a much more positive frame of mind. Rather than dwelling on the coveted number that I may not meet (there’s time yet!), I’ve pulled my focus closer. Half a lb this week will see a silver seven and take me to within four and a half lbs of my ‘safe’ running weight. Although this particular goal is light years away from even being a healthy weight, it is one of my major milestones.

Running changes everything. It makes each and every pound I lose have purpose. It makes my step lighter, my knee better, my recovery faster and my times quicker. It makes me not want to ruin a ‘good’ day of eating after sweating like hell. The chances are too, that my first few weeks back out in my trainers will see an increased loss at the scales as my body adjusts to the extra exercise. Just what the doctor ordered.

lambWe are now full swing in lambing season, which translates as very, very busy. There are babies EVERYWHERE. It’s an interesting time as sleep is minimal and a pretty intensive schedule piles up on top of all the normal work. Regular eating patterns disappear out the window and this can go either way – some days there literally isn’t time to eat, and others I find myself shovelling in anything I can see because I’m so hungry. This may balance out in terms of weight loss, but I’m trying to remain mindful and track where and when I can.

 

One of the things that has struck me in the last few weeks is my similarity to Bilbo Baggins and his chums. And I’m not talking about the hairy feet. Hobbits are a race who thoroughly enjoy their grub, and are more than partial to a second breakfast. I too am now an advocate of the second breakfast. For long and weary a cup of tea and a banana have been my meal of choice first thing, which is a throwback to going out running early in the mornings. I don’t have a particularly harmonious running/digestive relationship, and I was amazed at how far you can go on a humble banana and sugarless tea. I find now that if I eat porridge/eggs/crumpets somewhere between 10 and 11am as well, my body seems a whole lot happier and I eat less at a later lunchtime, which then rolls into the afternoon and omits any snacking. So you can eat more to eat less. (Does that make sense?)

So in the coming weeks if I maintain my hobbit-ness and my positivity, I’ll make it through lambing and be back running in no time.

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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.

Exercise, Mental Wellbeing, Targets

What does a ‘Good’ Day look like?

I’ve talked a lot about coping with anxiety and stress, and what to do with a ‘bad’ day. Following on from my post last week on staying positive, I’d like to continue that theme.

On a good day I feel awesome. I feel like a superhero. I feel like I could be sociable. Happiness and warmth radiates from me all day and I climb into bed at night content and satisfied with how I have spent my day. I look forward to the next day being more of the same. I wish most days were like this.

So what does a good day actually mean? Here’s what mine looks like right now:

Wake up early, fresh after a decent night’s sleep. Have breakfast and whizz through morning chores. Wash and BRUSH THE TEETH (A huge hurdle for me when I’m depressed). Check work emails, make good coffee and get dressed. Do hair and makeup. Although I work from home, I still get in to ‘work mode’ with my appearance on good days.

Have a productive work-day with my good coffee, squeeze in lunch with James when he comes in. Walk dogs after work, do yoga and then enjoy an hour or two of ‘me time’ (writing in my journal, playing Xbox, meditating, whatever) before preparing dinner. Eat with partner, spend a few hours with him and then write for the last part of the day. Double-check my WWs app to make sure I’ve filled everything in. Climb into bed, read for an hour and fall into a content slumber.

I’m easily pleased. I’ve found the things that make me tick. What you see above may look like the motions of an incredibly tedious day. I get that, and it probably is tedious to some. But productivity and covering all bases whilst doing enjoyable things does it for me.

I heard a quote recently along the lines of  ‘you are trading your life for today – so use it wisely.’ The above feels like a ‘wise’ day to me. I spend time making money. I make time for the person I love. I spend time outdoors in amazing scenery with three little animals that love me unconditionally. I exercise my body and my mind. I get to cook, read and create worlds for others to enjoy. And play computer games.

When I was a trainee manager I was taught the importance of learning what motivated people, and being objective with it. I’ve simply applied it to my own life. When we set goals for ourselves, it’s important to understand why we want it and what enjoyment we are going to get out of it, otherwise we might find it tough going to achieve what we desire. The worst part of my routine is getting ready. There’s no enjoyment in it, but I can’t walk about naked all day. (Well, I suppose I could…)

Even in a mental state of darkness, I try and adhere to these motivations because they might just make me feel a teeny-tiny bit better about my day. That’s why I set myself intentions last week to help me through. Here’s how I got on:

  1. Exercise and fresh air every day regardless of weather –I managed this 6 days out of 7, which included one day of freezing fog.
  2. Track food on my WWs app – Not so good here. I managed five days and bailed on a trip to the cinema on Sunday. Must try harder next week.
  3. Brain space – I haven’t ‘yoga’d’ every day, but I have meditated in between times or even taken a bit of quiet time to stare out the office window.
  4. Mid-Week weigh-in – Check! looking positive…
  5. Continue to Blog – Ta-daa….
  6. Take one day at a time –Still tryin’ 🙂

What goals and intentions have you set for yourself? Do you know the motivations behind them?

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.

Mental Wellbeing, Targets, Weight Loss, Weight Watchers

No Excuses

I was going to write a post about the new SmartPoint system that’s being rolled out for all Weight Watchers members this week to keep my blog ‘topical’ – but after the chaos and mayhem that has ensued around useless apps, websites being down and some not having been to their meeting yet, I’ve decided to give it a miss until the furore blows over.

I had a mediocre week last week, gaining a pound for no apparent reason whatsoever. It was one of those ones that wasn’t worth it. If I’d had a week of sheer debauchery then fair enough – at least I would have enjoyed it and deserved it! My petted lip was out.

After emerging from my sulk, I thought about my meeting and what was said. Maybe I needed to embrace the take-home message more. We talked about excuses for not doing things. I’ve already talked about ‘I’m too busy’…but that’s not what got me. ‘I’m too tired’ popped into my head straight away. I use that one a lot. I feel that I am justified in that I work silly hours that aren’t on any sort of shift pattern, and I don’t sleep well generally. HOWEVER. Should I really be using it to hinder my weight loss? No. Do I want to lose this weight for good, or would I rather not and be able to moan about being tired and lethargic all the time? I don’t need to tell you the answer to that.

So this week I’ve made a concentrated effort to omit ‘I’m too tired’ or ‘I can’t be arsed’ from my vocabulary – after all, I consider myself to be a productive and motivated person anyway, so technically those phrases shouldn’t be part of my repertoire. Twice this week I’ve caught myself – The first was on Sunday after merriment the previous night. I was all set for a snuggly day in pyjamas. James had other ideas and dragged me out down the beach with the dogs. I protested under various justifications for nearly an hour. He didn’t give up. He kept nudging. I gave in. ‘No excuses’ I thought. After a rough night on Monday with a 3am start, Tuesday was dead in the water. I was a bit more prepared second time round, making the effort to push out all images of cozy pyjamas and hot mugs of tea from my head, and embrace the sudden sunny day.

I have learned something from my week of no excuses. If I repeatedly envisage what is good (i.e walking the dogs)  and shut out the lazy alternative, I’m far more inclined to follow through with the positive choice. Secondly, when I return from work sleepy, stinky, hungry and grumpy (I’m beginning to sound like the seven dwarfs) as long as I keep going and don’t sit down, everything is fine.

Hopefully I’ve done enough this week to take off the weight that I put on with all my positive visualization and not-sitting-downiness. I was hoping to get my 25lbs certificate for Christmas Eve but looking at the calendar, I think I’m going to be pushing my luck. Let’s wait and see what the wonderful SmartPoints brings – maybe I’ll get a Christmas miracle after all.

 

Life Journey, Relationships, Targets, Weight Loss

Boom!

So I dropped into class with my Mum on Thursday. I stepped on the scales knowing that I definitely hadn’t put on any weight, and was feeling good about a STS. Having a handle on my eating habits makes all the difference when getting on the scales. I genuinely didn’t care if I didn’t see a loss, simply because I felt as if I had got my eating back under control. I was delighted to hear the ‘beep’ and see 13st 5 – my 10%! BOOM!

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I gladly posed for my little photo that my leader insists on taking and received my card and keyring. In ten years of trying to lose weight, that is now my third 10% keyring. I still have the other two, and I’ve kept them as a reminder. Not to remind myself that this is a third attempt or that my previous two attempts were a failure, but to serve as a testament of my stubbornness never to give up. Keep trying. Keep on truckin’. That’s all I can do. IMG_1375

The meeting itself was quite a deep and emotional affair, and I talked candidly about the effect a large weight loss has had on my mother. She’s lost 80lbs, and genuinely is a different person, inside and out – it’s changed her life. And she’s awesome. It made me think about myself. By the time I’m finished, I’ll have lost over 50lbs. Will it change me? I don’t have the lacking confidence like mum did, or the health issues. What else is there to change other than what I see in the mirror?  I had a little talk with myself and decided it doesn’t matter as long as the changes are positive ones –  but I’m not giving up until I find out.

I don’t often go to class with Mum because of my work schedule, but I’m really glad I did. The mutual support is a big help, and there are more connections than both of us realize. We should be there for each other as much as possible, and I’m going to go with her every chance I get. My next goal is my 25lb certificate, which is 4lbs away. I’ll get it at the same weight my mum was when she got her last certificate… I think the weight-loss gods are trying to tell us something?

 

 

Mental Wellbeing, Targets, Weight Loss

Working in the Background…

I talked a few weeks ago about ensuring enough ‘me’ time to look after yourself. I always try to make time, but the last little while I’ve felt it has become almost impossible. I’ve been off the radar for almost a month. When I’m stressed or things are getting on top of me, I go into lockdown. That’s pretty much where I have been recently. It’s self-preservation on a very basic level.

This, however, does not mean that I’ve ‘given up’ on one thing or another, nor am I ‘ill’ – it just boils down to the simple fact that I don’t have enough time or energy to focus on all of the things I would like to. Right now, work is very much a priority. I’m busy on-farm, which means early starts sometimes at three in the morning. Teamed with grandmothers in hospital, the return of James (Yay! We’re a family again!) and a run of unfortunate incidents with the canine portion of the tribe, something had to give. When I’m not at my best, I focus all my energy on functioning properly and getting through the things I need to do. (My concentration and energy levels are the first to suffer, and that’s a recipe for disaster in terms of doing my job properly.) Oddly, it’s at these times when I’m at my most organized. I have to be, or my days would be spent hiding under a blanket watching crappy T.V.

Over the years, I’ve found lots of coping mechanisms to deal with low or overwhelming times, and one of the best things is to get into a routine as quickly as possible. Getting up, meals, writing time, whatever. Just some sort of constant. It instantly makes me feel like I have regained control of my affairs and seems to have a natural knock-on effect into other areas of my life. It’s this routine mentality that has saved my ass the last few weeks. Having not weighed in or been to class in over a month, one would assume that I can’t be bothered, or I’ve lost my motivation, or that I’m simply going to have gained weight. Not so. In my latest lockdown, I have been mindful of my eating and while the chaos has been swirling around on a day-to-day basis, my good eating habits have been working away in the background, a little routine all of their own.

I know myself well enough to know that losing on a regular basis in this state is an unrealistic and unachievable goal. But now that I’m feeling calmer, I’m going to class. Tomorrow. I also know that in the five (maybe six?) weeks since I last weighed in, I’ve not put on any weight. I’m confident of that. I’d love to achieve my 10% goal, as that was next on the list, so fingers crossed I see that on the scales this week or next. I feel like it is some sort of vindication that anxiety/stress/whatever doesn’t make me useless, and that I can achieve what I want and I’m a perfectly normal human being. Which I am.

People mock me for my lists, goals and bits of paper. It doesn’t matter a jot because it’s what gets me through, and it works. Do what works. It gets results, and the proof will be on the scales in the morning.

I’m now in the process of letting the routine mentality wash over into the the other neglected areas of my life that have been ticking away quietly in the background. Writing and Running are next. And yes, I already have goals set.

A 5k and Chapter Ten, anyone?