Targets, Weight Loss

Didn’t She Do Well?

That escalated quickly.

I sauntered in to my weigh-in this morning full of hope for my 5% goal of 14st 2. I stepped on the scales and my leader said:  “Oh my God!”…. I panicked. I’ve been really good this week, exercised and tracked everything. Surely I hadn’t put on? No, no, no. It was an exclamation of surprise, but for the right reasons. I’ve lost 5lbs – I’m 13st 12.5. Smashed my 5% target, into a new number and half a pound from my stone, and second silver seven. I couldn’t believe it. Cordelia was smiling proudly in the corner of my brain, clapping demurely.

My brain reacted quickly to the clapping – always one for a challenge, I immediately said, “Let me get off and on again to see if I can’t get this stone.” I took off my shirt and hopped back on.

Beep.

13st 12 on the button. Cordelia dispensed with the conservative clapping, whooped, and started dancing in circles, flashing her petticoat at all and sundry. I did a little dance too, and got a massive cuddle from my leader, accompanied by applause from the other WWs. Pleased as punch!

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Although I feel like I’ve achieved above my own expectations, the hard work needs to continue. I have still got a long way to go. I have 5lbs left to lose to get running again, and more hard work will need to follow to get my fitness level back to where it was this time last year. But I’m ready.

More pressing is the coming week. I have my partner home from work (he works away). It’s his birthday, and we will be eating out no fewer than four times before I next weigh in, as well as ‘socialising’ a few nights too. I’m being realistic, I don’t expect a loss next week, maybe even a gain. I’m not one of those people who goes out and orders a chicken salad with no dressing. Life is for living, but I’m taking a tempered approach. I’m going to stick to low-point foods and meals outside of these occasions. I’m going to plan ahead if I can with online menus from the restaurants. I’ll estimate Propoints for meals which I don’t know the value of, and continue tracking and walking as I have been. No beer, no wine. If I want to drink, spirits and diet mixers only. I’m hoping this all-encompassing approach will limit the amount of chaos this week will cause, and draw a line under it next Sunday when James leaves.

Wish me luck.

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Healthy Eating, Life Journey, Mental Wellbeing, Running, Targets

2013

It’s the 30th of December. What happened to 2013? I sit here and type, realising that my last post was on the 9th of December. That was 21 days ago. It’s a thing that seems to catch you up quickly and as you get older, soon overtakes you completely. I think I’m reaching that age where time disappears like sand through your fingers and there’s bugger all you can do about it. But this is also why it is important. I’ve posted many times about feeling guilty about eating/partying/living life over the last few months, and how that has affected my bid for a healthy lifestyle. And now as I sit here, swapping over diaries (yep, there’s at least 4 different lists in the new one already!) I look back over my year and have a think about all the stuff that’s happened.

In Review

Some pretty big stuff has happened this year. This time last year, James and I were already undertaking a huge gamble – packing up our life (some of it had never been unpacked) and getting ready to move 300 miles across the country just to get away from the nightmare we were in. At that point, we had one car, one working dog and only 1 job between us. If the move and James’ new job didn’t work out, we were penniless, jobless and homeless.

Thankfully, we’ve landed in a much better place, but you honestly couldn’t make up half the stuff that’s happened since. We’ve been snowed in for days, dug out, rescued sheep stuck in drifts, gained a dog, lost a dog, gained another one, lost an eye (dog, not us!) Been a midwife, adoption expert, had lambs in the dog’s beds, lambs in the cat’s litter tray, up doing night feeds, miracles, deaths, bought a vehicle, sold a vehicle, bought another one, baths full of silage instead of clean water, not to mention tackling the Indiana Jones House ( Everyone who enters needs to watch nothing falls on their head, or rolls out of cupboards!)

I’ve also had 3 jobs since moving, and the third is the one I wanted from the day we moved in early January. But I’m here, at the end of the year in one piece and in the best health (mentally and physically) that I’ve been in for years.

So why?

In amongst the madness, I took the decision to change my life for good. I’ve watched people’s health deteriorate, I’ve seen people pass away, and I’ve also seen people get fitter, stronger and healthier. It’s true that we will all meet our demise at some point, and that there are certain aspects of our life that we cannot control. But it is also true that there are many aspects we CAN control. I’ve been top of my game, I’ve been rock-bottom and a million shades in between, and in 2013 I decided to take control for once and for all and make the most of it – after all, life is for living and you only get one go at it.

I decided to regain control of my eating habits, and try and make healthy, calculated choices the norm. I actively worked on my knee injury to make running part of my life again. I’m more than a stone lighter than I was back in March when I started this blog, I’ve run further than I ever have in my entire life, and not only has it changed my attitude to life, but also been therapeutic too. It’s also thrown up the subject of marriage which may not have come to light otherwise. I feel strong, happy and determined, and ready to tackle 2014 head-on. It’s going to be a big year.

That Old Chestnut

Everyone talks about how we all make resolutions for the New Year and what a waste of time it is. I always make resolutions. Some stick, some don’t. I want to continue experiencing positive things in my life and achieve things to be proud of. So, resolutions are a must. (Plus it means I have another list to work off 😀 ) One thing I do know is that I need to be patient. As long as I keep fighting and chipping away, the things I want will become a reality, perhaps not as quickly as I’d like, but I’m willing to take a hit for that in order to enjoy myself along the way.

With that in mind, here’s what my year is going to look like:

Non-health Resolutions –

  1. Play more guitar. I’ve got a lovely little acoustic number called Betty Blue, and I love to sing. Not because I think I’m any good at it, just because it makes me happy. Betty needs more loving, and I certainly need to do her justice by being able to play well. Maybe I’ll start a Youtube channel or something?
  2. Keep in touch with people that matter. I’m pretty good at keeping in touch with my family, but my friends seem to languish by the wayside. Even if they don’t reciprocate, I’m going to try harder to be there for them, chat regularly and generally take an interest in their lives. After all, there is a reason that these people are my friends, and life is short.
  3. Get Engaged! This is technically linked to losing weight, but I think it deserves a slot on it’s own. And it’s not my fault – I never cut the deal. I WILL achieve this in the first half of 2014. (Do I sound like a bunny boiler yet??)

Health-related Resolutions –

  1. Stop Smoking. I’m at a point now where it’s just ridiculous. It’s expensive, I don’t really need it, and I feel like I’m cheating myself out of a decent set of lungs for running. I’ve signed up for a 12-week programme to help me quit, and I’m starting on the 1st January. The patches are sitting waiting patiently on the sideboard.
  2. Complete a Half Marathon. My race is now less than 9 weeks away, and I’m ready to do it. I can do it, I just need to do it well and finish in the upright position.
  3. Complete a Marathon. I ‘m leaving this as a latter-half resolution, as I may have other races to sort out and would also like to see what happens with my Half!
  4. Beast the Weight-Loss. I don’t think I’ll hit target in 2014. Being realistic. Getting engaged is the halfway-point for me, and I’d like to think that by the time I post a blog this time next year I’ll have surpassed that and hopefully be in my final stone-bracket.

I’ve had some excellent times this year, more so in the last few months with my running. I’m glad to have made the decisions that I have, and am proud to be where I am in the space of a year (no amount of mince pies, mulled wine and chocolate over Christmas can negate that) – and I’m proud to come out fighting in 2014.

Life Journey, Targets

Walter the Gatecrasher

Still triumphant after my 5k time, I’ve been jollying along this week embracing the Christmas Spirit. I’m a self-confessed Christmas junkie, and the only thing ruining it for me this year is the lack of crispy, cold weather. I can’t attend weigh-in before Christmas now due to work, so it’s kind of screwed up my thought processes a bit, and makes me worry about all my merry-making. I’ve decided to weigh-in at home, and keep myself as sensible as possible.

An Aside

Off my original train of thought here but still on the subject of sensible,  I was reading a popular running magazine last night and I often like to read about all the new scientific breakthrough reports. (I get really excited when they use proper sciency words, just because I know what they’re talking about!) I was HORRIFIED to read a segment on self-weighing. A woman who is a lead author for a study published in ‘Obesity’ (A leading scientific journal on fighting weight problems) suggests that ‘DAILY self-weighing can produce clinically significant weight loss’

This is typical of the scientific community and also of the media. And it makes me VERY annoyed. Scientific studies are very stark, controlled and black and white. They have to be in order to assess the effect of one factor, so they can say for certain one way or another, or prove or disprove. All other variables have to be controlled in order to achieve this. But in real life, when is this actually true? Never. There are always variables, and when it comes to losing weight, we can rarely control all of them. I think our obesity specialist needs to team up with a psychologist. Anyone who has ever had concerns about their weight knows that stepping on the scales every day is unhealthy, and often counter-productive.

I realise that this particular publication is not aimed at people who have food issues/weight problems, but, many readers of running magazines are running to lose weight, this statement was printed in the ‘fat-burning’ section of the magazine, and comes from a journal focusing on obesity. It’s exactly this type of sly placement that encourages obsessive behaviours (and maybe even more so in people who are a healthy weight) and is NOT the key to successful weight loss. There is no information on how, where or why this experiment was conducted, just this sensational claim  marked as ‘Instant Wisdom’. Do not implement everything you read.

 

I Digress….

With the Christmas Spirit comes, um, spirits. This weekend we had our Festive Party, inviting all our friends down to stay.Lots of tree-decorating, mulled wine, crackers and TONS of food (and drink!). I love cooking for people, and spent the whole of Saturday afternoon in my kitchen making lots of lovely tasty things. My halo was shining (even if it was propped up by an empty Jack Daniels’ bottle) as I made WWs recipe lasagne and a chicken arribiata pasta. Perfect.

Unfortunately, I am not a person of self control when it comes to parties, although I kept the main-course foodie-eating to a minimum, Walter basically sat on my shoulder all weekend shoving mince pies and beer down my throat. I tried to discreetly slide him onto my guests’ shoulders. Fail. Did I have fun? Yes. Would I do it again? Hell Yeah! BUT……. I have that usual nagging feeling on this here Monday morning. I could have been good. I feel guilty. I’m glad to be back to normal. I’ve put on loads of weight over the weekend. Think how much lighter I would be if I had more self control.

I was thinking about this in the car the other day. I think about my life over the last six months. If I omitted every social occasion and didn’t drink, what would I be left with? Working odd hours, running and feeding animals. That’s pretty much it. The only time I wouldn’t be on a farm is if I was out running or at the supermarket. To me, that’s pretty sad. When you pare it down like that, it’s pretty obvious that I NEED stuff like that in my life to keep a sense of balance. So what if it takes me two years to get to target? Life is for living, and the older I get the more I realise that life slips away so quickly. A friend of mine that lost weight and kept it off said to me once: “Enjoy the journey, the mini-goals and the triumphs, because maintaining your weight is not nearly as much fun as the changes you go through on the way”

I think she’s right. Much as I still enjoy having my party hat on, I think I’ll swap it back for my running shoes this afternoon – after all, my 10k PB isn’t going to beat itself, is it? 😉

Life Journey, Targets, Weight Loss

Goal Lists – A review

This week is looking good for me, I’m definitely back to being 100% focused and back running regularly.  I’m really pleased I was able to get  to class last week, it’s definitely something I need as part of my support network. In light of this and the fact that it’s only 4 weigh-ins ’til Christmas (eep!), I’ve been in a reflective mood, and have been looking over my numerous goals to remind myself how things are coming along.

Blog List

There are sixteen steps on this list, and I reckon I’ll  hit number 6 in the next 2 weigh-ins – although this is not particularly impressive, two of the most important steps in the weight-loss part of my journey are nearly dealt with. The first thing for me that made me feel huge was being heavier than James. This is entirely unnatural, particularly as he is nearly a whole foot taller and male! I was even frightened that after my non-weigh ins the last six weeks I’d be heavier than him again. When we compared, James had lost a little weight, and I was still a few lbs lighter than him. I don’t know why this is a concern of mine, but the wave of relief that washed over me when he put those big hairy feet on the scales was overwhelming!

The second part is number 6 – Getting over the stone hump into the Elevens is really important to me, as previously it was the realization that I was no longer fat – just carrying a bit of extra weight. It was also in the Elevens that I got into my first pair of size 12 (U.S 8) jeans, and all through the eleven stone bracket I felt fantastic, confident and much better about my body. It was the first time as an adult I was actually beginning to LIKE my body! To make it even better this time, the first part of James’ deal kicks in at the other end – my engagement ring. I’m hoping this will materialize for my 30th birthday at the beginning of March (If I make it to 11 stone by then!), although I’ve warned him he’s not allowed to propose at the finish line of the Half Marathon the day before…..I would be mortified……..

The final and probably most important goal on this list is number 13. That means officially, by ‘Clinical Standards’  I’ll no longer be overweight. As an adult, that has never happened before. It is also part of a longer-term game plan, which I’ll talk about nearer the time. The long-term implications of having a healthy BMI are so important, especially when I look at my Mother, Aunt, Nana to name but a few. I’ve always been told that old age doesn’t come on its’ own, and I’m not naive enough to think otherwise, but I watch these people who are dear to me struggle with ailments, injuries and diseases that could easily have been avoided if they hadn’t been porkers most of their lives. Hence the reason I’m doing this now.

Weight Watchers List

These  are pretty similar to my blog list goals, but just with more mini-stepping stones along the way. There are 21 in total, and I’ve completed six of them. Again, I’m hoping the next one will be in the bag within the next few weeks. When I initially set these goals, I tried to make a realistic endpoint that isn’t going to leave me floundering and starving myself to get to goal weight. My final weight is 9 and a half stone, and I’ve based this on my previous weight loss and where I’d like to be for running. I think ideally I’d like to be 9 stone at peak running weight for long distances, but I don’t think I’d be able to maintain this as a regular weight.  Only time will tell!

Non-Weight Goals

A while back I made a list of goals that had nothing to do with the scales. I’ve not mentioned these recently, and looking back, it makes for some interesting points. There are 8 in total, and I’m surprised at my progress here.

  1. Manage to run 5k without stopping to walk – Completed on the 12th Aug (Thanks, Jog Log)
  2. Fit back easily into my favourite jeans (currently too tight) – Gone, in the bin!
  3. Having to buy a new dress for my BFs 30th because everything is too big – I didn’t buy a new dress for this, I wore jeans instead. But THEY were new.
  4. Get rid of the jeans I wear all the time because they are too big – See 2 and 3.
  5. Run a 10 min mile – I now do this regularly as an average pace running 5k
  6. Be able to fasten my Star Belt (Favourite!) – I haven’t tried this yet, I’ll wait for the next Happy Wardrobe Dance 🙂
  7. Wear a short shirt without my ‘love handles’ poking out – These are, unfortunately still there!
  8. Lose the ‘love handles’! 😦

So there you have it. My non-scale progress has come along nicely, and I think I’ll review this into the New Year and set myself some fresh goals. In the meantime, let’s see if I can make it over the stone hump for Santa! I hope this inspires you all to think about your own goals, and maybe even set some new ones. After all, half the fun is the journey 🙂

Exercise, Targets, Weight Loss

The Happy Wardrobe Dance

Weigh in:  2.5lbs loss

I’ve made my first wardrobe goal! Last night I poured myself a large JD and diet, and spent an evening trying on a pile of clothes that didn’t fit me 15lbs ago. It was met with moderate success, fitting into a lot of my favourites that had been languishing at the back of the cupboard. (I did a little victory dance in a lovely red dress)  My two pairs of work trousers and favourite jeans were another matter. Have you ever tried something on that you can get fastened but it’s just too tight for comfort? That was me. I relegated one pair of work trousers to the next Happy Wardrobe  Dance (another 7lbs away) and the other I decided to promote to mainstream wardrobe. I reckon they will slacken off in two weeks or so, but in the meantime will be fine for shifts in the office when I’m not bending down to pick up boxes (rrriiiiip!) The same situation with the favourite jeans – just don’t think I’d be comfortable in them for a whole day.

Eating

Although I did well on the scales this week, I didn’t do well eating and tracking. My experiment was put straight out the window with the arrival of ‘time of the month’ (Cue cravings for bread, crisps, pasta) so I resorted to damage limitation and after getting the all-clear from the doc this week, strapped my knee up and ran like hell. I loved all of it (well, apart from the last uphill quarter mile on every run) and squeezed in 3 5k runs, a 3.5 miler and a 2 mile speed run. This is clearly what got me my loss. I realise that this kind of running isn’t sustainable at the moment, and need to address my eating this week. Easy Solution? Send my tracker to my mother every day via iMessage. She’ll kick my arse if I don’t behave!  Job Done!

Plans 

After talking at our meeting about making a commitment over the next few weeks, I realised I am 2.5 lbs away from my 10% goal. I’ve committed to getting there by James’ birthday, which is 2 weigh-ins away. This week we are having a party at home for all of our Uni friends, so realistically a 1lb loss will be enough for me. The following week I’m going for it and will get that 1.5lbs to get to 10%.

Immediately in my head, that makes me think about how close I am to the ‘stone hump’ and getting into the 11s – something I remember is feeling really good through my 11 stone bracket last time, because it was a transition from being ‘big’ to just carrying a little extra weight.

Reflection

Going through the clothes-sorting  process has been a huge motivator for me and I strongly urge anyone who still has ‘skinny clothes’ to put them somewhere visible, and use them as a Non-Scale Victory. Mine have been in a pile in my wardrobe with a label hanging from them saying ‘Try on at 12st 7’ – something I see every time I open that door. Directly underneath is my running gear.

Today I get to change that label to 11st 13 and think about the next pile of nice clothes I’m missing out on. It’s days like today I’m glad I never threw out my size 10 (U.S 6?) clothes from the first time, and that I have a steady stream of smaller clothes to try on. If you don’t have that luxury, why not buy a few items you love in various sizes and do it that way?

Go on, try it – maybe in a few weeks you can do a Happy Wardrobe Dance all of your own 🙂

 

Healthy Eating, Targets, Weight Loss

Just a quickie – Goals

Quick post – I’ve added a ‘goals’ page and given myself ‘baby steps’ to encourage me to keep going. Once some of these are ticked off, it can really help with motivation. Using ‘stepping stones’ weights (I’ve used both UK and US measurements to give me more choice, and like to have ’round’ figures – that’s the scientist in me :D) can really help, especially the weeks where losses can be as little as 0.5 lbs.

Do this for yourself- it really does help! If you look at the big picture all the time, you will get despondent (I’ve got 14 steps to get through!). ‘Baby steps’ are the way forward, after all, this change is for life, not just until you hit a target weight. Right now, I’m little over 1.5 lbs away from my first goal, and I have a whole week to work at it. I can taste victory!