Tag Archives: goals

The Ground Beneath My Feet

You know I’d forgotten how good it feels to have solid ground beneath my feet. I walked into the bathroom yesterday morning ready to face the Shitbird Scale and I was bordering on excited to see the number…it reminded me of being in school and walking into the classroom to take a test that I’d studied for, as opposed to my usual adolescent approach of winging it and hoping for the best.

As a child, I was naturally bright which is a double-edged sword in a lot of respects. Deploying half an ear in the classroom whilst daydreaming about Duran Duran, and a cursory flick through my exercise books the night before an exam usually saw me scrape through with middle-of-the-road marks and a could do better on my school reports but hey, a pass is a pass, right? I didn’t learn to apply myself until much later in life but I have to admit, much of the last year has been about winging it…the last 3 months in particular.

Last week – with the exception of Sunday’s false start – saw me really colouring inside the lines. I pointed everything, wrote it down and added it up. I didn’t buy any naughties when I did the food shop so there’s been nothing in the cupboards to tempt me. I ate clean – well, with the exception of one Chinese takeaway which I chose carefully so I could stay within points – and I planned well. Shitbird Scale handed me a 2.5lbs loss, which when you consider that I had to write last Sunday off as a disaster and had only 6 days to shine wasn’t half bad. Worth an A on the old report card for sure.

The process of photographing the number on the scale as I stand on it then posting it on here is working beautifully, because there’s nowhere to hide. It’s about as accountable as you can get, right? Honestly, I hate that it’s out there, I mean even skinny string beans mostly like to keep the actual number a secret, but by the same token I’m finding it’s a great way of focusing the mind.

Better than that, yesterday morning I found myself deciding what I wanted to weigh in at next weekend, and I even wrote it down…I’m hoping the thought of that mini-goal will help to add another layer of gatekeeping to support the cause this week. Every little helps, and it goes right back to the concept of the article I shared with you back in the early days on the aggregation of marginal gains…it might be just a little thing, but lots of little things gather momentum and make a big difference.

I feel happy, positive and incredibly upbeat as we go into this week. I’ve gotten over last week’s Diva moment, where life felt unfair because I was being forced against my will to pass up food opportunities which should have been mine for the taking. In hindsight, I made wise choices. I can look back and celebrate my self-control, instead of regretting my decision to give into the need for short-term gratification. I laid in bed last night thinking about the lunch I’ve carefully prepared to take to work today, and the big plump grapes which are washed and ready to eat, and I felt almost euphoric.

May I be so bold as to declare that I’ve reclaimed my place in the sweet spot..? I know I’m taking it one day at a time and today is only day eight… but already, the ground beneath my feet feels more solid 🙂

 

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The Myth Of Straight And Narrow

It’s the sole topic of conversation right now, this dieting malarkey. Just about every bit of small talk and chatter I’ve overheard relating to the festive season has involved folk exchanging war stories about the obscene amount of food and drink they’ve consumed, and how they need to drop the additional pounds now it’s all over. I’ve got to say,  most of the people I know don’t actually look any different despite pretending that they ate as much as I did. Me, well…the party going on in my pants tells its own story.

Its also impossible to dodge the multitude of programmes on the telly about this diet or that fitness regime, to the point where normal people must surely be getting pissed off with it all. I know from experience that fat classes up and down the country will be bursting at the seams for the next few weeks, and gym regulars will be muttering under their breath as the latest batch of fatties adjust their brand-new-out-of-the-box fitbits and form an orderly queue for the exercise bikes. There’s definitely more traffic than usual on this road to Skinny Town.

What I’m beginning to realise, is that this isn’t the long straight road I’d imagined as I embarked on this journey, you know? On the 17th August 2015 I set off thinking there’s no reason why I can’t achieve a steady loss of 2lbs per week, so that’s… *screws face up, thinks for a minute then gives up and reaches for a calculator* …175lbs too heavy divided by 2lbs per week is 88 weeks, and 88 weeks from now takes me up to…15th March 2017. Ta Daaah!

That’s the day I’ll shimmy into my skinny jeans and sashay down the road with my neat and tidy tushie, right?

Hang on a minute… *looks down at buddha body still encased in elasticated waistband* …that’s only 10 weeks from now. Fuck. How did that happen? To get back on track I’ll need to lose 12lbs per week every week between now and then. Yeah, good luck with that, Dee. Way to go.

So maybe there were some weeks where I didn’t lose two pounds…yeah, like the last three months where you’ve been fannying around and regained a bunch of weight. Theres been a distinct absence of solid 2lb losses in recent times, in fact most weeks out of the last twelve I’ve either clung on by my fingertips and maintained, or I’ve hurtled backwards at an alarming rate of knots. I didn’t account for that when I was doing my calculations.

Still. I am where I am but you know what, I refuse to get down about it. I could so easily have been sat here, dying a little bit inside and polishing the wing mirror on my mobility scooter with a tear-stained sleeve as I saw only failure behind me and reflected on the fact that I was now 70lbs heavier and knocking on the door of 400lbs because the 22nd August 2015 was just another false start that went nowhere, you know? My dieting life is peppered with false starts that went nowhere.

But that’s not where I am, is it? I ended 2016 around 60lbs lighter than my starting point and I’m still fucking hanging in there. So what,  I might be only one third of the way towards my goal instead of almost there but shit happens and the important thing is never taking your eye off the end game and getting up when your feet get knocked out from underneath you.

I’ve already clocked the tiger waiting for me when I’ve clawed my way out of this valley, I suspect he’ll actually come in the shape of my forthcoming holiday. And beyond that there appears to be shark-infested waters and the odd cyclone but fuck it, at least life won’t be boring, right? I’ve got you lot to keep me company, and it’s all good.

Come on then, let’s crack on 🙂

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Not Giving Up. Ever.

never

I’d love to give you an update on my weight loss, given that I’m six days into season two with my head fully back in the game but you’ll never guess what…the bitch in my bathroom has conked out. Kaput! I’m not exactly heartbroken, in fact if I’m honest that scale was in the bin before I’d even finished doing my happy dance. I had a cheeky little mooch around Amazon, and there’ll be a new bitch in town by Wednesday.

So I thought I’d continue with my jungle tales this week – I was planning to anyway, but something rather extraordinary and totally unexpected happened on Friday (for those of you in the know, shhhh in the thoughts thread!) which I don’t want to tell you about until I’ve shared with you all the highs and lows of the trip.

Can you believe I’ve been home from Cuba for six weeks and I’ve still only gotten around to telling you about the first two days? It’s ridiculous how time flies, but I’ve been somewhat preoccupied by the power struggle raging between me and my asshole voice. I’ve had a handful of emails from folk in the posse eager to hear about the rest of the trip, so I’ll pick up where I left off in Hiking In Rollerskates, which saw us marching into our second camp.

I cannot even begin to tell you how awesome that place was. The camp on our first night had been very pretty, and we’d had a great night as we all started to get to know each other but the facilities were a bit hit and miss, and if you didn’t like beer, your only other option was water. I’m not being funny right, but when you’ve drunk three fucking litres of the stuff during the day, it’s never going to be your tipple of choice when you’re trying to kick back and relax, you know?

This camp was different. Still pretty, still rustic and still very basic, but it had a proper bar. And better than that, when we arrived, hot and sweaty and wiped out from what had been a really tough day of walking there were ice-cold drinks lined up on that bar waiting for us. And they had coke! I mean it wasn’t exactly coca-cola, it was their locally produced version which had at least a tablespoon of sugar in every mouthful but in that moment it was like nectar. Especially when it had a large slug of Havana Club thrown in for good measure… 🙂

They’d pulled out all the stops with a hog roast, and that night will stay with me for a very long time. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much. I was one of the first to bed at around 11pm, even though I desperately wanted to stay up…I was knackered. My Cuba Libra tab at the bar was already flirting with double figures, and no way could I have managed day three with a hangover so I turned in, and fell asleep smiling in my tent to the sound of raucous laughter floating on the breeze. I think the more hardcore contingent were up till around 4am. Hats off, right?

Our guide, the pint-sized action man who still wasn’t convinced that fat old women had any place on the trip was busy multi-tasking as I emerged the next morning, doing one-armed press-ups outside the tent of our lady doctor (who was young and very attractive) whilst simultaneously ogling her bum as she bent down to tie her laces. I barely registered on his radar as I walked past, which amused me no end…even his peripheral vision was tuned into her impressive norks.

After a breakfast of rice and green beans and yet more prison bread washed down with great coffee, we walked out of camp and almost immediately went underground into some caves. We walked for maybe 500 metres through the tunnels, passing lots of bats and the resident owl. It was a really tight squeeze in some parts, and we had to crouch down and walk bent in two but I fitted in all the tight spots and didn’t get stuck, not even a little bit.

I didn’t feel like a fat girl…I was doing it, just like everyone else and I couldn’t stop grinning. Me, in a cave with a head torch and everything, I mean this was verging on extreme sport, right?

Day three wasn’t bad at all. There were some challenging climbs of course, and some descents but nothing quite as steep as day two, and it was a bit less muddy so the walking was a little bit easier. And I think we’d all started to acclimatise to the heat too, and find our rhythm. The folk up ahead at the front of the pack set their own pace, and stopped every couple of kilometres to wait for those of us at the back.

When we caught up they’d set off again, and repeat. They walked with pace, and had several rest stops, where me and one or two others at the back walked steadily but hardly stopped at all beyond a couple of minutes here and there to have a drink, or take a picture, so we must have looked like a big unwieldy caterpillar as we made our way through the jungle.

We trekked for maybe five or six hours, and then met the truck, which took us to an amazing place for lunch, a restaurant with tables open to the elements on one side and incredible views across the valley.  And although you don’t much feel like moving when you’ve had a good lunch, we weren’t quite done. The truck dropped us back at the edge of the rainforest and we trekked for another couple of hours…this is the point that I had my second wobble of the trip.

It was towards the very end of day three, when we were almost at our hotel and the going got really hard. We were out of the jungle by this point walking on roads which were so steep it was hard to catch a breath. It was raining but still ridiculously hot, and the hills were relentless…for maybe 45 minutes or more it was just one after another after another. On the very last one I remember thinking that’s it, I’m done, I’ve got nothing left.

Ever since the start of the trip, the guides had said day four was the hardest, so I’m walking up these hills, utterly spent after two uncomfortable nights in a tent with hardly any sleep, hot, wet and fighting the urge to cry, knowing that it was going to be even harder than this tomorrow and wondering if I had enough in reserve to complete the trek…it was a real low point and I started to really doubt myself.

But then I started thinking about my dad, and what a fighter he was, and I thought about all the people who’d supported my journey. How much belief every single one of those folk had that I’d cross the line, and that somehow allowed me to tap into my reserve tank, you know? I was able to dig deep enough to push on because when I thought about all that stuff, I knew right there and then that I’d never give up. Never. When the hotel finally came into sight, with its hot showers and air-con and beds and pillows and better still all our main luggage lined up in the foyer I let go a few big fat tears out of sheer relief.

Day three of five, done. You don’t need me to tell you how awesome that hot shower was, or how comfortable the bed was…let’s just say that was the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had, and leave it there. And funnily enough, by the time I woke up the next morning I was full of optimism that day four’s ass belonged to me.

Hard? Maybe…but so am I 🙂

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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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A New Found Respect

I had such a good day yesterday…I can say with a degree of certainty that any residual pain  would barely qualify as a stiff neck, and even my legs worked okay…pity I couldn’t make the same claim on Monday, holy crap I was stiff after Saturday’s ten mile hike. More so on Monday than Sunday for some weird reason, it’s like they lulled me into a false sense of security before they pulled a big fat ouch out of the bag.

That worries me a bit, to be honest…its only nine weeks and three days until we depart for Cuba, and I’ve got to walk further than I did on Saturday, for five days on the bounce. With the added buggeration factor of heat and bugs…the Asshole voice keeps chipping away in the background as part of his business-as-usual campaign to undermine my confidence and make me doubt myself but he’s not really getting anywhere with it. Most of the time anyway. I’m throwing everything I’ve got at this, and I’m as determined as ever. I can do this.

Anyway, I mentioned that I’d spent a few hours at the hospital last weekend didn’t I..? I’d rocked up after taking advice from the NHS helpline with a serious pain in my neck and no ability to move my head at all, and in order to diagnose the problem they had to check me from head to toe, including all the usual observations.

They tried to take some blood, and I had to pre-warn them that my veins don’t like to give up so much as a drop without a fight. Apparently it’s because I’m fat. So sayeth the doctors anyway. That doctor. He was actually very nice, along with the medical student who was with him. And let’s be honest, he wasn’t wrong, I mean I am fat. If further proof was needed, they then attempted to take my blood pressure, and the cuff was too small…it kept pinging open. They had to go get the fat-girl cuff.

Cringe…I sat there trying to decide whether I had enough energy left to be offended/pissed off/mortified at the indignity of it all, but for once there was no voice in my head encouraging me down the road of self-pity. I suspect I was too focused on getting through the consultation, you know? They’d already told me that I wouldn’t get meds to wipe the pain until they’d ruled out non-muscular related issues, so I was very compliant in the hope that they’d just hurry the fuck up.

I couldn’t help thinking that this time last year I’d have been devastated when the young doctor stepped back into the cubicle with the fat-girl blood pressure cuff…it’s the ER equivalent of an airplane seatbelt extension, offered up to the fat lady by a young version of Doctor McDreamy. This time, I didn’t much care, to be honest – I even joked with my boy about it as I sat huddled in the cubicle trying to see the funny side of anything in order to take my mind off all the hurting.

What struck me was the change that washed over the young Doctor as he took my medical history.  As he went through his list of questions, I started talking to him about how I might have hurt myself – the day before I’d done two exercise classes, and I told him all about trying to get fit…about the circuit training, and the boxing, and the walking and about the trek and the reasons why I was doing it.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment he stopped looking at me as a fat old woman with a face screwed up in pain, and saw instead a strong determined woman who was turning her life inside out to achieve a goal, not to mention risking life and limb in the process. But there was a definite shift in his perception…it was tangible.

As I shuffled in, he probably thought I’d strained myself reaching for the hob-nobs but by the time we left, diagnosed and drugged up to the eyeballs, I felt like I’d earned his respect. He’d clocked the grit and the determination and suddenly it felt like I was forgiven for being fat.

I can’t really call him on it, right? It wasn’t until it dawned on me that I was really going to see this this through that I started to feel respect for myself…I’ve got to tell you though, when you’re used to folk looking at you with anything on a sliding scale from pity to contempt, seeing respect in someone’s eyes when they look at you is very powerful.

I quite like it 🙂

 

 

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