Tag Archives: happy

Nailed On

I looked like I’d swallowed a beach ball when I went to bed last night, but at least I hit the mattress knowing that I have five days’ worth of self-control safely over the line. I felt fat, but actually that was more to do with the mountain of vegetables (and the resulting alchemy) that I had eaten for supper with my chicken. I still feel bloated this morning and it’s a bit of a nudge in the ribs – there are some in here somewhere, I swear – to remind me that eating late isn’t such a good idea.

Thing is, I didn’t get home from work until way after seven, and I was knackered and starving in equal measure. What I should have done was to have a light supper and an early night, but having failed to talk me into being naughty with all the free cookies available during our meetings yesterday, no way was the Asshole going to be talked out of the planned dinner. Not when a light snack would have been higher in points than the huge chicken and veggie plate…it was never going to happen. Hence me retiring last night feeling like Shamu.

I’m properly going for it this week, and knowing that I was going to wake up skinnier today than I did yesterday meant I wasn’t remotely offended when I caught sight of my Buddha belly as it led the way past my mirror. Once upon a time, catching sight of that reflection would’ve made me want to gauge my eyes out with a spoon, but I’m a bit less offended by it these days…now it just feels like I’m wearing my body like a fat suit on top of the real me. The picture I posted on Wednesday – and your reaction to it – has given me exactly the boost I needed. That skinny girl is in there somewhere, trying to break out.

I’ve even treated myself to a couple of new tops for the festive season – I did good this week so far, you know? I figured I deserved a reward 🙂 I mean I know it’s only five days but this run of five days have been hard-won and I’m celebrating it, so there. It’s been a while since I did five days on the bounce.

I mentioned the free cookies yesterday…there were dozens of twin-packs of cookies thrown in with the cost of our meeting room at an off-site venue, and once upon a time, any we had left at the end of the day would have come home with me ‘for my boy’. After all we’d paid for them, right? The reality is they probably wouldn’t have made it home at all, in fact by the time I’d left the car park the mobile cookie party would have been in full swing. I dodged that bullet yesterday, and it feels great.

How I’ve missed that feeling 🙂

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Pulling It Off


I’ve been trying to find the words to finish off the tale of my epic adventure but just between you and me, those words have proved incredibly elusive this week…perhaps they’re off somewhere partying with my willpower, which has also been AWOL.

I suppose writing this final post about my trip to Cuba was always going to be as much of a challenge as the challenge itself, purely because I can’t recall anything ever meaning more to me than this has, you know? The whole thing sort of became part of me as I strode through 2016 without once taking my eyes off the big red circle hovering over the 7th of October.

Waking up on day five felt weird. Day four had been so tough, and it was hard not to feel a sense of anti-climax even before we’d finished the trek, after all, the hard bit was done, wasn’t it? Rumour had it that day five was a breeze, in fact to quote our group leader, it was going to be a gentle walk downhill with a lunchtime finish.

Which wasn’t exactly unwelcome news, but by this time I’d grown quite attached to feeling like a rock star as I smashed one challenge after another. I imagine Bear Grills would feel similarly deflated if all he was required to do was to jump over a muddy puddle instead of traversing a set of rapids in an upside down canoe with no paddle…gentle strolls downhill were for pussies, not proper explorers like me.

Anyway, we rode out from our hotel on the support truck, which dropped us a couple of miles away at the edge of the jungle, next to a bloke selling bananas by the side of the road. As our pint-sized guide puffed out his chest and prepared to negotiate a good deal, it all seemed a bit unnecessary since we’d had a cracking breakfast at the hotel and we were going to be eating a restaurant lunch. We were hardly going to starve during the next couple of hours, right?

However, the bananas were soon forgotten as all eyes turned to the two tarantulas which the banana man had evicted from his stock. They were pacing up and down in a box on the floor looking not a little bit pissed off. Sweet Jesus they were enormous. They had more hairs on their body than your average kitten, and every hair on my body – and that’s a lot of body – was standing on end just looking at them.

Holding my arm out and allowing one of them free rein to wander up and down it was not a plan that immediately sprang to mind, but seeing as everyone else was stepping up to the challenge and posing for selfies with these bad boys I figured what the hell…the day needed spicing up with something other than a gentle stroll and it was likely to be my only opportunity ever to face my fear of spiders in quite such a spectacular fashion. I’ve got to be honest, my smile for the camera was more like a grimace but I didn’t pass out and I didn’t shit my pants, and since both of those things were very real possibilities, I’m claiming it as a victory.

As it turns out, when we eventually set off walking the gentle stroll wasn’t quite as gentle as promised. I mean there was none of the insane climbing we’d done in the last few days but day five’s terrain brought with it its own unique set of challenges in the form of bushes that spilled onto the path and ripped leggings, scratched chunks out of legs and generally made life hard. The biting ants were out in force, and the carpet of stones under foot made walking very hard on the ankles. It was blisteringly hot, and humidity was very high…it was wretched.

I spend a good deal of time muttering under my breath about the person who’d written the itinerary and coined the phrase gentle stroll downhill, not to mention using those very words to lull us into a false sense of security. Eventually though, the walking got a little easier and we found ourselves following the trickle of a stream, which got gradually deeper and morphed into a river.

I remember smiling as someone took a picture of me by the edge of the water, in a spot under the trees where the colours were so vibrant it was one of those defining moments where you wonder whether you’ll ever be somewhere as beautiful as this ever again. It was magical. As the sunlight bounced off the water, and the leaves on the trees cast their dappled shadow over everything I imagined fairies under toadstools and mythical creatures hiding just out of sight. Time stood still for a while, and so did I…I just wanted to soak it all up, because I knew it was almost over.

It was probably only a few hundred yards past that spot where we came into a clearing, and right up ahead of us was a rickety old wooden suspension bridge over the river. And there it was. The end of the trek. I can’t even describe the emotions which hit me right in the solar plexus as my head started to process the fact that I’d actually done it.

I’d walked 90 kilometres in four and a half days.

Through the jungle.

Shit the bed!!!

It seemed fitting that I crossed the bridge last, in fact I even hung back a little and watched everyone celebrate at the other side so I could. I wanted to walk it on my own…well, me and my dad. It almost felt like I slipped my hand into his as we stepped out, and I walked into a wall of sheer emotion as I felt him right beside me.

My tears weren’t about the four and a half days, you know? They were about the nine months‘ worth of preparation. They were about setting a goal when it seemed impossible, and working every single day since then towards achieving it. They were about the hurt machine, and walking with Charlie-dog for miles in all kinds of weather, even back in the early days when everything still hurt. They were about the classes, and the effort, being supported and encouraged by old friends, new friends, and you lot, and just sheer dogged determination that I could make this fat old body climb a mountain to honour the memory of my dad.

And as he and I walked over that bridge together, I fell apart.

I was probably about halfway across when I realised that my fellow trekkers were stood on the other side of the bridge clapping for me. Some of them, the ones who knew my story were crying almost as hard as I was as I took those last few steps…I will never forget that moment as long as I live. Pure joy, enormous pride and a feeling of being truly connected to my body, for all its flaws. And love, you know? So much love for all the people who helped me get there…love for my dad, God rest his soul, and most surprisingly of all love for myself.

Who saw that one coming 🙂


The story of my trek came to you in stages, since I’ve been wrestling on a regular basis with my asshole voice since I came home. If you’ve caught the tail end of it and want to hear the rest, here are all the pieces for you to join together along with a link to all the photographs of those incredible few days…


So, where do I start!


Hiking In Rollerskates

Not Giving Up, Ever.

They Weren’t Kidding!

I’m beyond proud to say that I raised over two thousand pounds in my dad’s name to help support people struggling with mental heath issues. My sponsorship page is now officially closed, but for every single person who supported me with a donation I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart…your belief in my ability to pull this off surpassed my own and I can’t tell you how much it helped me!

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It’s Like Going Back In Time


Monday was a good day. So was Tuesday, and Wednesday and Thursday, and today’s going to be a good day…I can feel it in my water. It’s fragile, but my feet appear to be back in the sweet spot and they’ve held tight for four whole days. I nipped in through the back door when the asshole wasn’t looking and claimed squatters rights, and I can’t even tell you how good it feels at this point to have four days’ worth of skin in the game.

The week so far has been full of little victories. Yesterday I turned down a festive bakewell tart at the last minute even after I’d set up my surroundings to enjoy it, how about that? My friend had bought them at lunchtime to have with a mid-afternoon cup of tea. I’d eaten oats for breakfast, and chicken and ham salad with a banana at lunchtime so I was primed and ready for a little treat.

And they were little so I figured it’d be fine, slipping one into my food plan, you know? My tea was in the cup and my mouth was actually watering in anticipation as I picked up the box and zapped the barcode with my phone…then almost fell over when it proclaimed they were nine smart points each. Nine! I only get thirty six in a day. So I drank my cuppa and said no, thank you. Without drama. No asshole voice jumping up and down like rumplestiltskin demanding that I change my mind…just no, without a fight.

Now I’ve got to be honest, last week I would’ve had my head in that box faster than the speed of light, without a second thought about barcodes or points. I’d have vaporised the first one, and then spent the rest of the afternoon hoping for seconds, I mean who can stop at one, really?

Except yesterday I stopped before I’d even started. It wasn’t worth it. The last four nights I’ve gone to bed feeling strong, and I’ve woken up the next morning a few ounces lighter than I’d been the night before. Too many times recently it’s been the opposite way around, going to bed feeling disappointed with myself and waking up at least a few ounces heavier than the day before. It’s such a fine line between the two, right?

Putting all those reflections together earlier in the week and finding the right words to play them back so they were crystal clear in my mind was exactly what I needed to help me pull my head out of my arse, where it’s been languishing for the last few weeks. And I feel like the crisis has passed.

I’m aware that I left you hanging and never finished my jungle tales, in fact I think I only got as far as day two…sorry, I got sidetracked by the asshole in my head. I’m looking forward to filling you in on the rest of it now I’m no longer having to spend all my energy clinging on for dear life.

There are a couple of things that will test me over the next few days but I’m feeling up to the task, in fact it’s a bit like going back in time. This time last year I was feeling strong, invincible and utterly convinced that nothing would knock me off course. And right here, right now I feel the same. I could weep with relief that the storm appears to have passed…it was a nasty one, but I appear to have weathered it. I survived.

Game on 🙂

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Challenge By Challenge


So the first half of the week hasn’t been bad, in fact I went to bed on Tuesday night with a chunk of food budget left in the bank. I know! I stood in front of the fridge wondering what I could have with my remaining daily Smart Point and it struck me that I didn’t really want anything. I could’ve licked the corner of a Malteser, you know? Mind you, I’d just eaten a huge portion of melon and was nursing a significant food baby at the time, but even so it’s the first time in a while where I’ve underspent my budget.

Maybe it’s because I’d just been mooching on-line and totally blown my actual budget on another handbag, which I didn’t need and couldn’t really afford…maybe I just needed to demonstrate to myself that I AM in fact capable of acting with restraint..? Whatever the reason I’m claiming it as a victory. And the handbag is gorgeous (shoot me now) 🙂

I was in a full day off-site meeting yesterday where lunch was provided, and being familiar with the venue I know it’s never very healthy so I’d prepared a boxed salad to take with me, and I just asked the restaurant manager for a little bit of ham. I’m trying to get right back into the discipline of proper planning, you know? Last week I was in the same venue and I almost broke my neck at lunchtime getting to the sandwiches and chips but this week I headed my fat thinking off at the pass and it was no drama at all, the guy was happy to help.

My challenge is going to come this weekend…it’s our bi-annual girly get together. If you’ve been reading along for a while you’ll remember the last time, where all my friends turned up with exercise gear for the first time ever in support of my training regime. It was a real departure from our usual drink-your-own-bodyweight-in-prosecco and eat naughties ‘till your eyes pop out kind of weekend, and don’t get me wrong, the bottle bank saw a fair bit of action as we left, but their support made it easier for me to stay in the right mindset all weekend – I made it work for me.

This time, given my recent wobble I’m planning very carefully. I’m going to walk on Saturday…it’s a beautiful spot and if I get three or four miles in I’ll go some way to counteracting the prosecco and an odd treat here or there. I’m going to take masses of fruit, and try not to eat loads of chocolate. And Sunday, as we leave, is a brand new shiny week so any indiscretions can be wiped off the map, right?

Being in this for the long haul goes right back to finding some kind of balance…it has to work for me. If I’m sat there resenting the fact that all my friends can have things I can’t it’s going to piss me right off and I’m likely to face-plant into the naughties at warp speed without a second thought.

I know I planned a super-clean eating week this week, but actually these weekends with my friends are precious and no way do I intend to sit off to the side sipping water and nibbling a fucking carrot stick. Of course it’s about the company not the food and lets be honest, if I can go to Las Vegas for five days with this gorgeous lot and lose a pound, managing a weekend in a log cabin without the wheels coming off should be a walk in the park. Even when my head’s had a wobble and the Asshole who lives in there has had a higher than average strike rate over recent weeks.

I’m playing the long game. I always come home from these weekends with my soul lifted by gossip and giggles and the joy of spending time with friends who get me and whose company is effortless. I’m planning to step out of the weekend on the other side without regrets and if I’ve consumed my own bodyweight in crap I won’t be able to. So I’m not going to. Challenge by challenge eh? I can do this.

I’m posting early because I’m tied up tomorrow and then I’m scooting off to the middle of nowhere with my besties for two days of R&R. Have a great weekend everyone and see you on the other side 🙂

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So I wasn’t feeling quite so accomplished by the time dawn broke….walk the route on day one and survive, tick. Get a good night’s kip ready for day two, which if the rumours were to be believed was harder than the day before…epic fail.

It didn’t help that after dispensing antibiotics for my chest infection (the diagnosis of which involved me saying I think I’ve got a chest infection and the lady doctor who was accompanying our trek nodding wisely and saying ok I geev you peels) the group leader had decreed me and my roomie should have the tent nearest to the camp buildings. I suspect when I made it into camp at the end of day one they thought maybe I wouldn’t be able to stagger any further up the field.

And it was fine, you know being near to everything. Except maybe the chicken coop, which was right next door. And when I say next door, I mean had I been so inclined I could have reached under the tent and strangled that fucking cockerel, which set off cock-a-doodle-doing at about 3am. I’d like to say just after I’d fallen asleep, but I’m not entirely sure when that was. I must have fallen asleep, in fact judging by the number of times I woke up in the night I’d clearly been very effective at falling asleep. I don’t really remember the sleeping bits….just the waking up bits.

And every time I did wake up, my body sort of had this sort of Mexican wave of pain vibe going on. Turning over from one position to another with my body in shock from everything I’d thrown at it the day before would’ve been a challenge in itself if I’d been sleeping on a pocket sprung mattress with feather pillows. Sleeping on a ground mat in a two man tent with no pillow and nothing sqishy underneath me except for my own arse magnified every ache and pain several times over.

Still, by the time I crawled out of bed and stretched out my bones, my fellow campers were at various stages of stretching and limbering up after an equally uncomfortable night, and spirits were high. Whilst I’d stayed in camp in the early evening as we’d arrived the day before due to feeling as rough as toast, most of the group had gone on an optional walk out of camp to a waterfall before dinner, and had been caught on the hop when the heavens opened.

Dinner had been a very damp affair but with lots of laughing…the beer was cold and despite the rain we were still all very hot, and euphoric from getting through a really tough day. I wasn’t the only one who’d been a bit shocked at how hard it was, you know?

I’m sure my asshole voice was in very good company that night, I know for a fact that at that point, at least a couple of the others were wondering whether they’d get through the week.

So morning of day two saw the field littered with wet boots and damp clothes in the hope that whilst we breakfasted on more of what we’d affectionately nicknamed prison bread and green beans – yes, really – everything would start to dry out as the heat caught hold of the day.

We were excited. Yesterday we’d walked along jeep tracks, and flirted with the rainforest as we stood at the top of hills and look out across it all. Today…well, today we were going in 😊

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