Tag Archives: exercise

Too Easily Persuaded

sweating

Hands up who’s ever made a prosecco-related decision which turned out not to be your smartest move? Yeah, me too. I had a lovely evening on Saturday, you know one of those unplanned evenings that springs up out of nowhere and turns into something unexpected..? There was a beer and prosecco festival in the next town that a few of my friends had been involved in arranging, and having been invited along my intention was to go and have a couple of scoops late afternoon and then head home for my usual Saturday evening in front of the TV with my four-legged fur baby.

It certainly wasn’t my intention to drink my own bodyweight in prosecco before leading the charge to a local Indian restaurant where I proceeded to work my way through their menu. That wasn’t on the cards at all when I left home. But…well, that’s what happened. The prosecco flowed until after dark, everybody left  except me and one of my friends and a bunch of her friends who I’d met for the first time that evening, and when someone said I fancy some food, my tipsy asshole voice was on it like a car bonnet. Indian! Let’s go for Indian food! 

Actually if it’d come into being on the back of a solid week I could probably have got away with it, but for some reason last week it was a tough dieting week so my fizz-fuelled decision to throw caution to the wind and nosh my way through poppadoms with a full pickle tray, onion bhajis and a chicken korma with pilau rice didn’t strictly correspond to the number of smart points I had available in my food budget. Like, not at all.

Saturday night is the very end of my dieting week remember, so it was down to the wire…I’d left home with 12 points available to me, which probably equated to three glasses of prosecco. I definitely had at least six of those after trying the local cider which nearly took the enamel off my teeth, and my ability to keep a count got a little compromised after that so there may have been more if I’m honest.

So, philosophically speaking I don’t regret the evening at all…it was fun, we laughed a lot and it was good to meet some new people. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Sunday morning however, well that was a different story. I wasn’t hungover as such, to be honest by the time I got in on Saturday the food had pretty much soaked up the prosecco. But I felt sluggish. Like I’d eaten a big rich meal just before bed…oh, hang on a minute that’s because I did eat a big rich meal just before bed. Doh.

Safe to say then that an hour of circuit training followed by an hour of boxing didn’t appeal much when I opened my eyes. Or at all. But you know what, I went. I dragged my sorry ass around those circuits through gritted teeth, because it was the start of a brand shiny new week and I’m on it. God help those poor people who had to witness me sweating turmeric out of every pore…I thought I was going to die.

I don’t know why last week was a difficult week, food wise…I think perhaps front-loading my points didn’t help. Last Sunday I had a bit of a blow-out so I had to manage my food budget pretty carefully for the rest of the week, which is guaranteed to make me want to rebel… I know this, it’s not like it’s new news but I guess there are some lessons that need to be learned over and again before they’re baked in, right? The whole week felt like an uphill slog, and I struggled to keep focus so the Indian meal on Saturday was sort of king turd of turd mountain as far as dodgy food choices were concerned.

I’m determined this week will be different. According to the bitch in the bathroom I lost no weight last week, but I didn’t gain any either, so I’ve dodged a bullet and I’m pulling out all the stops. Lets see how much of this arse I can offload in the nineteen days before we set off for Cuba, eh?

Onwards 🙂

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Fare Thee Well Old Friend

waving

I woke up this morning to the most beautiful view. As I opened my eyes and greeted the day, for the first time in a long time I didn’t see a gleaming steel contraption staring right back at me. All I saw was an expanse of oatmeal carpet, with an indentation where four steel feet used to sit…the hurt machine is gone.

It happened by pure chance. Earlier in the week one of my friends at work asked me what type of cross-trainer mine was because she was looking to buy one. Before I had chance to think about it, the words You can buy mine of you like..? jumped right out of my mouth, and with a bit of jiggery pokery the deal was done.

You know me…I never loved it. In fact I couldn’t stand it. I persevered with it, and around the time I joined the Kingdom of Pain I’d built my time up to an hour or more most days…thing is, there was never a time where my workout was done with a light heart, or any sense whatsoever that I was enjoying myself. It bored me rigid, so I learned to do it, but I never learned to love it. And don’t even get me started about the fact that this cold hard steel beast stood in the middle of my beautiful shabby chic bedroom looking stupidly out of place.

But now it’s gone, I can look back fondly. For all my moaning, it served its purpose, you know? I remember writing Buns of Steel after my first attempt at a workout, having expected it to be much easier than it was…my legs were like jelly for a week. But I kept plugging away, and slowly but surely my body started to respond. It got me off the base line and it’s a good job it did…my first session at the Kingdom of Pain almost killed me, so I can’t even imagine how things would’ve worked out if I’d rocked up there without the foundation of five months’ worth of daily cross-training under my belt.

It isn’t the first time I’ve dabbled with an expensive piece of exercise equipment for a while and then turned my back on it in pursuit of something new…you name it, and I can pretty much guarantee that one of them has crossed my threshold at some point. One thing I’ve always been really good at is talking myself into believing that this new shiny thing – whatever it happened to be – was the silver bullet which would kill my fat life dead once and for all.  What I’ve never done however, is wave one off without a sense of guilt that the only real exercise has come from dusting it once in a while. This one did its job…I’ve just outgrown it.

It’s part of my story, an important part actually and I’m grateful for the way in which it helped me to get into the discipline of regular exercise, but I’ve moved on now and for me, the camaraderie, the encouragement and the sense of belonging that I’ve found at the Kingdom of Pain is making exercise enjoyable for the first time in my life. Even though it hurts…who knew! Well, you lot did actually, the wise old owls amongst you told me that would happen. I’ve just signed up for another twelve months, so the hurt machine is officially redundant.

I think the Gods of Skinny witnessed my happy dance on Saturday as I vacuumed over the expanse of oatmeal carpet where the hurt machine used to sit, and you know maybe they worried a little that I’d get complacent..? It seems too much of coincidence that God of Pain upped the ante yesterday morning by bumping me up to a whole new level of workout.

I felt like a rookie all over again, but it’s all progress, right? 🙂

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Some Kind Of Balance

balance

I woke up yesterday morning feeling very skinny, which is odd when you consider that I’m still one hundred and two pounds heavier than I intend to be this time next year. But then, don’t you think feeling skinny is a subjective thing anyway? I have a friend who often says I’m having a fat day today, as she stands there in all her skinniness looking for all the world like she needs to eat a meal. But in that skinny moment she feels fat, in the same way that I laid in bed yesterday morning with all my spare tyres feeling skinny.

The truth of the matter is that I’m nearer to skinny than I’ve been in recent years. I’m back at my pre-holiday weight, in fact I’m a pound under and you know what that means…the last couple of weeks have gone according to plan. Well, ish. I wanted to come back from holiday weighing the same as when I went, and if we discount the few days where my plumbing went into lockdown, I pretty much pulled it off.

I feel so proud of that. I’m proud of the fact that I managed to get straight back on track from the minute I came home – I’ve not managed to do that too many times in my life – yeah, try never – and I’ve spent the last few days trying to put my finger on exactly what’s been different this time.

I think it’s because although I spent a few days with my foot off the gas, I never actually disengaged my head from this journey. In the past, when I’ve pressed pause on a diet, it’s involved ripping up sensible altogether – if I’m not going to be very very good then sod it, I’m going to be very very bad…you get the picture. No point in being good at dinner when I’ve been wicked at lunch! No point in exercising because my diet’s gone to shit so what’s the point! All or nothing, which is the sort of crooked thinking which has derailed many weight-loss attempts over the years. My past is littered with them.

This time I managed to keep a watching brief on everything I ate, even though I ate a lot. Well, with the notable exception of the rocky road dessert. I still don’t have a scooby doo how many portions of that I actually ate. However, most other naughties were noted and enjoyed, without guilt but with acknowledgement that I’d have to work extra hard to deal with the consequences, whether that was on holiday or after I came home. My head accepted that…and it stayed in the game.

I squeezed in extra opportunities to exercise, like getting back off the ship to walk the steps in Alesund, and climbing up that waterfall on the morning of the day where I’d already booked a challenging hike in the afternoon. I didn’t have to do those things, but all the time I was focused on keeping some kind of balance. More food? Right then…more exercise too.

I didn’t need to get my head back in the game when I came home because the truth is, it never stepped out. And you know what, I’m feeling more sure footed than ever now I’ve proved to myself that thinking about things in a different way made me act in a different way. I pulled it off…how cool is that.

I’ve got this. One hundred and two pounds to go.

This time next year… 🙂

 

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Spending What I’ve Earned *Cough*

icecream

So, I was telling you about my holiday…we got as far as Tuesday, and the first sign of wobbly wheels if I recall. It was fine, I mean nothing disastrous. I’d climbed the steps which would have counteracted some of the naughtiness at dinner that evening. Just not all of it. It might have brought me safely over the line of three courses. Maybe. But not five, and definitely not the cheese board.

That said, I enjoyed every mouthful, and the Asshole voice talked me into being okay about it with a fine selection of reasons why…the steps, the walking, you’re on holiday, everybody deserves a treat, you can’t expect your friend to eat alone, you’re doing a big hike tomorrow, you’ve deprived yourself for a whole fucking year and you deserve this…

And it’s true, I was doing a big hike the next day. Which seemed to offset a whole host of eating opportunities, in fact it would be fair to say there was definitely a bit of creative accounting going on. Let’s count them…you’d better have a good breakfast, you’ll need the energy. (Number 1) – Cue full English breakfast, on account of the fact that we were meeting for the hike at 12.20pm and wouldn’t be eating lunch. That’s plausible, right? Most important meal of the day and all that.

And after that big breakfast we had a busy morning…Wednesday was Geirangerfjord, a stunning village at the foot of the enormous mountain I was going to hike up in the afternoon on an organised excursion. My friend and I walked a fair distance as we explored, climbing at least as many steps as I’d done the day before only this time it was up the side of a waterfall. It was so pretty I forgot to notice how much effort it took to get up there you know?

When we got back down to the village there was a little cafe selling ice-cream, and Asshole logic suggested that a small snack might be in order whilst I waited for my tour group, seeing as I’d used up quite a lot of energy climbing the waterfall. I’m not sure three scoops in a cone the size of a small hat was absolutely necessary but hey, I was hiking up a mountain, so I’d burn that off in no time, right? (Number 2).

And then the hike…man that was hardcore. We walked about three and a half miles, to a height of around 650m and it was challenging walking, with a guide who must have been some distant relative of Usain Bolt. At one point I thought perhaps my lungs were going to explode, but I just pushed through it, and powered as I was by mint choc-chip, pistachio and rum and raisin ice cream I made it to the top, and the waterfall we’d gone to see was spectacular.

I’ve got to be honest, it was worth the climb. We were looking down on the clouds as they blew in and out, and when they cleared the views were breathtaking. And I felt genuinely on top of the world, it was certainly the most physically challenging thing I’ve done to date but I did it, and what’s more there were younger fitter folk who took longer to get up there than I did. It seems I have some grit when it’s needed…who knew? Coming down was tough on the knees and I was glad to get back to the valley, but all in all it was an awesome experience.

Before we went back to the ship they took us to a little farm nestled against the hillside where they served us coffee and big fat waffles loaded with jam and cream. I was going to say no thanks, but before I had chance, yes please came out. Fuck. But it was okay, because I’d just climbed a mountain, right? I’d earned that waffle. (Number 3)

When I finally got back on the ship, my friend had bagged a table in the pool bar out on deck at the very back of the ship so we could enjoy the sail-away from the best seat in the house, and we ordered a bottle of wine, which to be honest barely touched the sides as it went down. Shall we have another..? Oh go on then…be rude not to…things got a little jumbled after that.

I remember us deciding that since the scenery was so stunning we’d forget about dressing for dinner and we’d stay up on deck, grabbing something from the buffet to eat where we were sitting. Never a good idea when you’ve got a couple of bottles of wine under your belt, especially when you fancy everything on the buffet and you can keep going back for more. And double especially when you’ve climbed a mountain and feel like you’ve earned a bit of what you fancy, having conveniently forgotten that you’ve already spent anything you’ve earned twice over, on the full English, the whopper ice-cream, the fully loaded waffle and two bottles of wine.

And best not get me started on the rocky road dessert. I had at least one whilst we were up on deck and I seem to remember taking one down to the cabin with me when we made our way to bed much, much later that night. Actually that’s not strictly true, I don’t remember doing that per se but the empty dish was there when I woke up and there was a spoon in bed with me.

I shall complete my holiday memoir in the next post. For now, let’s just say I’m in the process of dealing with the aftermath..  🙂

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Four Women, One Mountain, And A Wayward Dog

Saturday was an enormous day…I conquered my very first mountain. I use the word mountain in its loosest sense you understand, since technically Pen Y Ghent is a peak, but to me it looked like a mountain, so that’s what I’m calling it. I mean it’s bigger than a hill, right? It’s rumoured to be the most challenging of the three famous Yorkshire peaks, so let’s not split hairs…it was hard, and I did it. We did it, me and my three fellow mountaineers. Oh, and four dogs. I know I’m not normally big on photos in here, but this sort of feels like a special occasion, so I’ve included a few. Come on, I climbed a mountain!

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That’s it, way in the distance. I’ve got to be honest, I nearly did a load in my pants when I realised what we were actually climbing. I’ve heard the name Pen Y Ghent a lot…as a girl born and raised in Yorkshire the name is familiar to me, but I’ve only ever heard it in conjunction with somebody else’s adventure. Me and Pen Y Ghent have never moved in the same social circles, you know?  On the outside I was full of enthusiasm as we pulled into the car park – that’s where I took the photo from. The reality was, I wanted to turn and run, as fast as I could manage in the opposite direction. To a fat lass still in the early stages of recovery from a sofa-surfing lifestyle, it looked downright terrifying.

I was well prepared though. Well, I say that…I was well prepared for the heatwave promised by Yahoo weather on Friday night. I’d brought a lightweight waterproof jacket just in case it was a bit nippy at the top, and my sun-visor and sunglasses. Lots of suncream on my face you know? Didn’t want to get burned. As we arrived and got out of the car there was no evidence of any sunshine at all, and it occurred to me that perhaps the suncream might have been a bit premature.

The lightweight waterproof jacket bought with Cuba in mind a few weeks ago that I didn’t think I’d actually need to put on was a bit snug, in fact it’s safe to say that when zipped up it actually restricted the circulation to several bits of my body. To add insult to injury, when I did put it on, the navy blue and white spots clashed rather alarmingly with the black and white flowery pants I was wearing…I looked like I’d escaped from somewhere. Still, the rest of my prep had gone well…I’d brought some awesome sandwiches for our picnic at the top, and you know me…the promise of food was always going to help get my arse up to the summit.

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The first couple of miles were okay. We were climbing, but it was fairly gentle incline. We covered maybe two miles getting to the bit where it got steeper, and that’s about the time when all bits of blue disappeared from the sky altogether and the mist started to roll in, taking every bit of warmth out of the day. We didn’t feel the cold too badly at that point because we were starting to work hard…it had definitely stopped feeling like a walk and we were climbing. The marker saying Pen Y Ghent summit 1 & 3/4 miles frankly didn’t help. It might have even fleetingly brought on my for fuck’s sake face, but the thought of that roast chicken in seeded ciabatta rolls kept my feet moving.

I wish I’d taken pictures of the hardest bit, because I feel like I’m being a drama queen now when I remember how tough it was, but there was a point where we were actually climbing, like properly pulling ourselves up on rocks and everything, zig-zagging up what felt like a sheer rock face, I shit you not it was practically vertical. It was very foggy, very windy and absolutely bloody freezing by this point, and it had started to rain.

The Asshole voice was chipping in like mad every time I came to a bit that was particularly hard to navigate…you’re going to fall, stop this lunacy immediately, you’ll never make it, Just stay here, it’s almost the top and fat people shouldn’t really go past this point, in fact they’re probably not even allowed right at the top anyway in case they have a heart attack…

Weirdly enough, I didn’t feel miserable. Despite the cold and the wind and the fact that I’m scared of heights and I couldn’t see much beyond the next few yards. I just felt determined. And then, all of a sudden, the ground sort of evened out and there was a proper pathway paved with Yorkshire stone leading right up to this kind of monument thingy…we all looked at each other and the penny dropped. That was the summit. We’d done it. We were there.

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Check out those faces! This was us, at the top, hands on that monument at the summit…relief, elation, achievement…and for me, a burning desire to pillage my rucksack for the chicken sandwiches. And you bet your sweet ass we sat and had our picnic, in the cold and the rain…it didn’t matter. We’d earned it, right? Let me introduce you to these strong beautiful women…my friend in red was the experienced one, and led the way. My friend in black is amazing, do you know she’s lost over one hundred and forty pounds..? And my friend in purple on the right of the picture (check out @therealslimkayleigh on Instagram for some awesome recipe ideas) has dropped about seventy. Y’all know me, and my journey…I’m within touching distance of eighty pounds off now. How about them apples? We’ve lost over twenty stones between the three of us…if we’d still been living in Mooseville no way would Saturday ever have happened. We’ve all put in the hard yards to get to this point, and it’s beyond worth it.

Just to add a touch of drama to the day, one of the dogs fooled us on the way down the other side into thinking she’d hurled herself off the edge of the mountain, since one minute she was there and the next she wasn’t…it was so foggy and we lost her, only to be greeted about twenty minutes later by a very waggy tail further down the trail after we’d hollered, sweated, panicked and seriously considered calling out mountain rescue. As if that adventure wasn’t enough for one day, this one foot tall dog later went on to scale a six foot dry stone wall to go play with some very surprised sheep…she is an adventure on four legs.

So anyway I was expecting at least ten pounds off this week given yesterday’s expedition and last week’s sticky needle…not a chance. The bitch in the bathroom offered up one single solitary pound. Grrrr…but whatever. Not bothered, in fact I couldn’t care less.

I climbed a chuffing mountain 🙂

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