31 March 2010

Gym success

Well, quaking in my boots and feeling a little bit like the new kid in town again, I returned to the gym this week, after a somewhat lengthy absence, to make the acquaintance of all the new kit they've installed in the meantime.

Job no. 1 was to ask one of the trainers for a quick 'Gym101' training session to actually figure out how to fly this high-tech fancy gizmo stuff. I reckon you need at least a degree in engineering just to switch it on and it has whizz-bang extras like iPod stations, USB connectors (why?), TV and radio which I certainly can't get to grips with! However, that over with I got stuck in and got on with it.

Considering I've been away from it for a loooong time now (for all sorts of reasons, but a whole lot to do with sheer inertia and laziness), I was amazed at how smoothly things went. I must admit though, as of today certain bits of me know they worked hard (sheepish grin).

Used the shiny new elliptical and the equally gleaming stepper for my cardio stuff (ouch... those new steppers are hard!) then it was on to my favourite bit - the weights section. With a few exceptions (leg press mainly as the knees are still grumbling at me), I used my old weights. That's the ones I'd worked up to when I went regularly, and even for the leg press it was only just a small step down. I certainly didn't go back down to the weights I used when I first started going to the gym... however long ago that was.

Know what? ...it was OK... actually, let me rephrase that... it was FANTASTIC!

For a start, I discovered that I now need a smaller exercise bra (support wasn't us!) and downsized sweat pants. What's more, I didn't feel like I stuck out like a sore thumb as 'that huge old one' amongst the young and skinny fitties. What a high!

I bounced out of there feeling a million dollars, and was so pleased that, in a moment of madness, I've put my name down for a personal fitness assessment.

29 March 2010

NSVs and other stories

OK, I was right. There hasn't been a noticeable weight loss in the last week. The scale needle 'may' be a shade closer to the next mark down... but I doubt it somehow as it could just be dodgy eyesight first thing in the morning. Still, not a problem as I knew last week was a devil. There have been some positives though.

The big one, from my point of view, is that I'm looking for an outfit for a summer wedding. I tried on a dress from a well known store (OK, it's called East) and I know the sizes are pretty stingy from having tried things on there in the past. If they say it's a size 12, you'd better be darned sure a 12 is what you are... a 12.1 = no no! So, I was pretty surprised when I tried on a size 12... and it was too big. Thought the size 10 would be too small... but it wasn't!

The other nice thing is people I don't see regularly noticing a definite difference from the last time they saw me (before Christmas). A small thing maybe, but it does one's self-esteem quite a lot of good!

And the other stories...
I see the GP this week about the menopause. Not before time as I am plagued by the Beach Boys again. Not enjoying that at all. But... being positive again... I'm off to the gym tonight as there's a hiatus until my Chi Kung classes start again. Really looking forward to seeing how I get on.

Hope everyone has a great week and holiday weekend, and that the lure of the Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies doesn't de-rail us all.

26 March 2010

Trying... in every sense!

This week has not quite gone as I'd hoped. Ho hum, she says... best laid plans, and all that jazz.

Don't expect to see any loss when I get on the scale on Monday. It's been 'one of those weeks' at work so I've been somewhat (!) tired by the time each day has ended and very sluggish getting out of bed in the mornings. Thankfully, even given 'times of stress', my eating has been fine but the exercise has gone to pot (with the exception of Chi Kung and my beloved walking).

We have a busy weekend planned so getting back to the 'formal' morning exercise routine is going to be a bit tricky until the start of next week, but all is not lost. The game plan is to start afresh on Monday and stick to my guns, whatever life chucks at me!

By the way... if you haven't yet come across the wonderful thing that Lyn (Escape from Obesity) has done in memory of a fellow blogger who sadly passed away recently, check out The Bethany McDonald Memorial Blogroll

22 March 2010

Promises, promises

Last week I promised myself that I would...

  • get on the rower every morning (min 300 strokes) - DONE (except for Sunday)
  • do a full set of abs crunches - DONE
  • beat 10,000 steps a day - DONE (blitzed it, actually)
  • go to Chi Kung - DONE
  • take time to enjoy what I put in my mouth - DONE
  • drink and refill my water bottle at least twice - hmmm, not exactly, but that's because I now have a new BIG water bottle on my desk
I'm very happy to have kept my promises to myself pretty well, and am also happy that the needle on the scales has rewarded me with a loss for doing so. As of this morning, I stand at 62kg, which suits me just fine.

Onwards ever downwards is the motto for this week!

19 March 2010

Me and the fat lass

It may sound funny, and all a tad 'science fiction', but I've come to the conclusion that I share my body.

One of us is 'me'. But the other person, my alter ego if you like, is the fat lass.

'Me' can make pretty good decisions about food and exercise most of the time. 'Me' doesn't automatically reach for the nibbles when times get tough. 'Me' remembers to drink lots of water. 'Me' takes her vitamins and looks after her body.

The fat lass is way too good at saying 'yes' to the wrong things. She'll say 'yes' to being lazy, sitting on her ass and not putting an effort into exercise. She'll say 'yes' to choosing all those foods I used to crave so much. She'll say 'yes' to having seconds or to a bigger portion. She'll bypass the water with some excuse about having no time to go to the loo. She isn't that bothered about the body. What she wants is satisfaction... and she wants it now!

When I was still gaining weight and failing regularly at 'diets' the fat lass had a firm hand on the reins. 'Me' was still in there somewhere, but she got buried under the fat and pretty much pushed aside and forgotten. She spent too many years hidden away. She never liked it, but she didn't know how to fight her way back out.

I can't ever get rid of the fat lass and she won't leave me alone, because she is a part of who I am. This whole weight loss journey has been about listening to the little voice of 'me' and beginning to make my partner, the fat lass, a silent partner. I don't always succeed in this and sometimes the fat lass gets her own way.

But I am so glad that 'me' finally figured out a way to flourish and to become the leader in this strange co-habitation for more of the time. More power to her. I hope everyone finds their 'me'. She really is in there somewhere and she's worth looking for.

18 March 2010

Alecto and the Beach Boys

Who'd be female and fifty, huh?

Hormonal rant coming up - those of the alternative gender, readers of tender youth and anyone of a sensitive disposition may like to navigate somewhere else!

Yeah, so I'm probably getting ahead of myself here. News on the blood test not back yet from the GP, so I don't know whether she will confirm that the blasted menopause process IS actually underway, despite me being fairly convinced that that's where I stand. However, I think all this 'stuff' going on with my body and my emotions is, in common with the sudden and overwhelming hot sweats and the disturbed nights, merely a few more delightful symptoms of the menopause related c**p!

There are two major things bothering me at the moment. Both of these are taking over my life and affecting my concentration and, to some extent, the combination makes my weight-loss efforts much, much more challenging. Actually, they are making life in general pretty challenging right now and relationships are getting a tad strained because I'm soooo very cranky, soooo very often.

The first is something the GP was quite happy to acknowledge is hormone-driven. I'm experiencing some pretty serious mood swings. Did I say swings? Hmmm, think again - there's one 'mood' which is pretty much a constant, right now... and this is?

Well, the aspect of this emotional imbalance which is getting me down more than all the other parts (e.g. the blue meanie miseries or sudden tearfulness) is that I seem to switch in a nanosecond from being my usual 'relatively' calm self to a close comrade of the Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil.

It can (and does) happen over the silliest, tiniest, most irrelevant things, and it it this which makes it so crazy and so utterly annoying. I don't seem to be particularly phased by life's bigger worries (well, not any more than usual) but so often recently the most minor of silly irritations instantly transforms me, à la Jekyll & Hyde, into a hissing, spitting fury.

And it's happening a lot! It's pretty embarassing to be honest - it takes me a long time to settle back to normality and I don't feel like 'me' at all.

So why does my title mention Alecto? Well, she is one of the three Greek goddesses of vengeance, often called the Furies... with Alecto being the sister characterised by constant, unceasing anger. Ooooh, sounds familiar, huh?

Then we get to the Beach Boys... and this one is a real doozy! For the last several months I've been plagued by what I can only describe as 'internal vibrations'. A sort of intermittent buzzing, like the tic of a muscle or the twitching of an eyelid, and it's both disturbing and unsettling in a BIG way. Mine happens about an inch and a half down from my belly button and an inch and a half in. Some days (and most nights) the vibrations drive me to distraction.

Lovely hubby thought it was quite amusing to begin with, when I described it, and nicknamed these episodes as my 'Good Vibrations'. Humph! 'Good' they are most definitely not. Sadly, I've lost my sense of humour after this length of time and the GP had never heard of anything like it, menopause related or not. In fact, she looked askance and seemed to think this was a very odd thing to mention. I'm not certain she actually believed me - sceptics 'r us, methinks!

So, good old Google search to the rescue and it seems I'm not alone in suffering this, nor indeed am I nuts (thank you Lord). If this is another little fringe benefit of the menopause, which seems a strong possibility, it could be as simple as messed up hormones affecting nerve transmissions... or messing with levels of B vitamins... or something. Whatever it is I do wish it would go away.

Between all the different types of 'fun' which seem to be happening to me recently, deciding to go for the HRT option is looking rather more and more likely. The hell with the long-term risks if it gives me my life back. From what the GP explained the risks don't sound terribly high anyway and, heck, when it comes to risks I could always get hit by the number 9 bus on my way to work, couldn't I.

17 March 2010

A new treat

I've been reading what several people have had to say about including some protein with fruit or veggie snacks to make them satisfy for longer. It sounds like a good plan.

I absolutely love Greek (or Turkish) yoghurt so that's one option, especially with fruit. But I also adore savoury flavours and miss eating my beloved Marmite as it is near to impossible to spread on bread/toast without butter, which I will not do (and yeah, I know Marmite's full of salt but, hey, it's a Brit thing).

Enter the new treat...

With my chopped up veggies, I now include a small (about 100ml) pot of yoghurt, mixed with a small serving of Marmite. It's just enough to colour the yoghurt a delicate shade of cafe au lait and just enough to get the wonderful savoury flavour but without the salt-overload.

Fresh cauliflower or broccoli stalks, carrot batons, celery and cherry tomatoes dipped into this wondrous mix makes me weak at the knees.

15 March 2010

Building on the good start

You can do it! Oh yes, dear old fat lass, you can. Using the 'consistency and mindfulness' you talked about last time, one day at a time, for the rest of this week you - OK, enough - this is about 'me' and should really say 'I', so here goes...
I can make the right choices to continue and build on the good start I made last week.

Let's get those eyes focused firmly on my next goal. The scales reported some progress this morning, and I'm down to 63.5kg again (the fat lass waves a jolly, brightly-coloured flag and takes a bow).

That's marvellous, and has put some nice firm foundations in place, but I mustn't let a little victory like this make me think I can rest on my laurels. I already know that I'm struggling with the emotional side of life right now so I'm right in the danger zone for resorting to 'a little treat' to make me feel better. That just won't do at all - it's time to get serious again!

So, the plan for the rest of this week...

Every morning I WILL get on the rower (for a minimum 300 strokes)
Every morning I WILL do a full set of abs crunches (yes, all of them)
Every day I WILL beat 10,000 steps (walking at lunchtime is the key)
Tonight I WILL go to Chi Kung (actually, I can hardly wait)
Every day I WILL take time to enjoy what I put in my mouth (no like it = bin it)
Every day I WILL drink and refill my water bottle at least twice

Let's see where that get me by this time next week.

11 March 2010

The needle swings... slowly

And... phew... it's back in the right direction this time. Please can I have my mojo back now?

For the whole of this year so far (and we are nearly a quarter of the way through it!) the lbs, no let's be honest, what I really mean is my degree of fatness, has been up and down, then up and down, and then, er... up and up (oh Lord!). I hit 66kg again at the start of the week which made me very unhappy with myself again. My trousers tell me this is definitely a true gain and I feel very sheepish and annoyed with myself for being so stoopid!

And yes, I know why it happened. It's all down to a complete lack of discipline and a fair old sprinkling of 'stress = food' days, coupled with limited exercise. I've talked the talk before and said this needs to change, but as to walking the walk...

This gain is a reminder of why doing that, just talking about it, is useless. Unless I do something decisive it'd be all too easy to keep going on upwards. I've done that so many times in the past and I don't want to do it again. Sooo, I've made a start (for the umpteenth time) and the scales are showing teensy-tiny, baby-steps results. There's a way to go before I get back down to my lowest this year (62.5kg) but I WILL get there.

So, looking for more positives to keep me going, one point in my favour is that although I've eaten too much, I've still eaten relatively healthily and it hasn't been a solid return to crisps and chocolate. A bit too heavy on the carbs, but at least I've been getting a good variety of vitamins and minerals into the old body. I need to keep my eye firmly on the choices I'm making and take time to savour every mouthful, slowly and thoughtfully again. That'll help with filling me up and stopping me at a reasonable portion size.

Positive too, I've kept on walking and I did the salsacise classes so I haven't completely abandoned 'being active'. But, I feel more comfortable (safer?) doing the Chi Kung again and much less likely to mess up my knees so I can try to build on this and fit in a bit more variety in my exercise.

Two words - consistency and mindfulness - that's what I need to have at the forefront of my mind whenever I'm stressed or near food, and about the exercise. I started this whole business as a plan for life, not a quick fix. I need to concentrate on that again.

I'm hoping to have got myself back under control and am feeling a little bit more positive, long may it continue. I've also finally been to talk to my GP about the menopause (!?*#!) and have had a blood test to see if that's one contributing factor to why I've been so emotional and cranky recently. Once the results are in, and if it's a resounding 'yes', then we can talk HRT. Any good (or bad) experiences, anyone?

09 March 2010

Going home

Wow! What a difference it made going back to Chi Kung last night.

The knees behaved impeccably throughout, bless 'em. Albeit they had still swelled a bit by the end of the day, particulary the left one, but never mind. It felt like I'd come home. It was lovely to be remembered and welcomed back by the tutor and some of the long-standing class members and such a treat to slip back into a well remembered routine and not have to worry about a joint giving way at an inconvenient moment and me ending up on the floor in agony. So comfortable and comforting - I just LOVED it and, with a peaceful smile on my face, almost floated out of there at the end. An hour just shot by!

Even better in some ways, the careful body posture visualisation, the measured, calm breathing and the intense concentration on precise and repetitive movements cleared my head of the usual daily work stresses and meant I slept right through the night, with no bad dreams or 3 a.m. fretting. Bliss!

It's funny, for all I loved the salsacise sessions I think my enjoyment must always have been tempered by an underlying fear that I was pushing the joints just a bit too much. I'll miss the music and the giggles when I got it wrong... yet again, but I think the Chi Kung probably suits me better. I can't wait to go back next week.

03 March 2010

A poorly bunny

Not a nice few days at all. But the bunny bounces back and feels loads better... and the scales say the bunny didn't put on any weight, despite forgetting completely about that 'starve a fever' business!

Onwards, ever downwards.

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