LEAP: Session Ten, The End

Well . . . there we are.

Didn’t think I’d make it at some points but I’m pleased to say that I’ve made it to the end of the LEAP and missed none of it but the (probably boring) introductory session. I’ve covered topics including portion size, fats, snacking and emotional eating and also enjoyed hard core, increasingly intense circuit workouts on the back of it.

I’ve had ups, downs, wobbles and downright hissy-fits, but I did it. And I’m thrilled.

Let’s look at some figures (because I like numbers).

Start End Difference
Weight 124.15 kg 117.85 kg 6.3 kg
Waist 146cm 125cm 21cm
BMI 42.96 40.80 2.16

When Aideen (I finally remembered her name! This is the lovely, lovely Irish lady who has looked after just he past two weeks) measured up my waist, her eyebrows did this little twitching thing. She’s an expressive person anyway, but she looked at me and said ‘Is that right?  I don’t know—I’m not sure. Let’s have another go.’

The difference to my waist size is such that she had to measure it twice just to be sure. Ha!

Now I just wish I could see it. Because I can’t. I don’t know if it’s because I spend so much time in leggings and generally loose clothing, but I’m not seeing this apparent 8 inch difference in my waist line. I can see it in my face, neck and shoulders, but nowhere else. Oh, and my calves (every now and then I still flop on the bed in front of the other half and demand that he ‘feel my calves!’). So the back of my mind has this stupid little ditty going round and round with pretty much says ‘That’s not good enough, that’s not good enough, that’s not good enough.’ Even though it clearly.is good enough. Not only is it ‘good enough’ but it’s amazing. The rational side of my brain knows that, and yet it still has to fight with the emotional side who wants to be wearing size twelve hipster jeans. -_-

fonz perpetual pessimism meme
Created on imgflip.com


But! Despite all that, I feel pretty good and further pleased by the other half’s reaction when I told him why  needed him to convert 21cm into inches (he was pretty close too, just off the top of his head). He gave me that big wide eyed expression that always makes me want to snog his face off . . . ahem. Anyway (!) I’m not the only one pleased about progress.

Next step as far as LEAP goes will be the check in after three months. Of course they’ll hope to see further weight loss (I will too!) and they’ll get us all together again to see how we’re coping, if we need any help and to top up our knowledge if we need it. So I’m unlikely to see any of the girls again until that point. A shame, but so many of them disappeared right after the session instead of staying for the exercise with Jit. And of the nine of us who stayed for the circuit work out, only five of us where there at the end.

Jit tells us that we are the ones who have what it takes to get to where we want to be, to stick it out even though it’s hard. To not give up.

I haven’t told him anything about how weight management has become tied up with my writing career, but I’ll tell you something: he’s got a point. I’ve come too far now to give up. According to LEAP stats I’ve reduced my body weight by 5% since I began at the end of the September. 5%! It doesn’t sound like much but the internal difference to my body is astounding. Imagine how I’ll feel when I reach my target weight of 83 kg (that’s my target btw: the NHS seems to think .I should aim for a maximum of 73 kg, but I’ve no intention of turning myself into a stick figure. I think that much weight lost would make me look and feel ill!). My body is already thanking me for these changes, so is my mind and so are my children. Why wouldn’t I want that to continue?

So no more LEAP posts for a while. But I’ll still do my usual check ins (probably weekly now, since I don’t have the free scales at the sessions) and I’ll continue to chart my gym days.
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LEAP: Session Nine

I know, I’ve been a bit quiet lately haven’t I? No Saturday post and nothing yesterday. Well the reason for that is plain: I didn’t go to the gym. I am I was incredibly pissed off that circumstances meant I couldn’t go, but it’s fine. Look forward, not back.

A combination of childcare, poor weather, British Gas and family conspired to keep me away. Given that this is the first time it’s happened, I should be pleased. I’ll pick it up tomorrow.

Anyway. LEAP. Today was snacking. Something I’ve always had issues with but going through it and talking about why we snack was interesting. I’ve covered some of this with Deepa, but as ever, going through it in a group was very handy. It helped that we didn’t have our usual course leader (again, YES!). We had the Irish lady (sorry, still can’t remember her name . . . it begins with an A) and she’s just a joy to speak with and learn from. I’m also pleased that the scales showed another kilo down.

What I really needed though, was Jit. I’ve been looking forward to that session since Friday and to get in there and sweat, ache and grunt was the best therapy. The second I stepped into that room I felt all my anger start to lift. Circuits today, lots of squats, sitting presses, standing presses, resistance bands and crunches. We did the whole thing twice with a section in the middle for cardio.

Funny, but I much prefer sweating it out with him than by myself in the gym. Enough that I think I’ll need to fork out for some of his lessons when this is all over.

I love the way he thinks too. He tells us that our minds are all mixed up, that we walk into a restaurant or fast food place smiling and happy, about to eat food loaded with grease, saturates and sugars. Basically we’re thrilled about taking active steps towards harming our health. But when we go to the gym or a fitness class, with groan and moan, even though we’re paying to save our lives and improve our health.

Interesting, isn’t it?

I’ll be honest: if I get a chance to go to Nandos or KFC I’m going to jump at it. Such things don’t happen very often and when they do I love it. But the gym? Improving my health to extend my lifespan? Buying myself more time to be with my children, my other half, to write books? Hell, I’ll do that with a smile on my face too. ^_^
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LEAP: Session Eight

Different course leader again today. This lady called Nicki and the chirpiest figurehead we’ve had to date. She was pleasantly bonkers with a bright voice, big laugh and supportive attitude. Not only that but she brought in chocolate for us to eat (!!!).

. . . I know, right, but I’ll explain. Today’s session was emotional eating and we talked about all the different ways through which we don’t fully appreciate our food. Eating while moving, watching TV, standing up, working (a bit like I am now—naughty!), all of which can lead to over eating. She brought in a pack of Heros and had us take one each and put it on the table in front of us. Then look at the wrapping, the colours, the texture, the writing. Then open it and look at the chocolate. The shape, the colour, any markings. Then we sniffed it. Then we nibbled off the tiiiiiiiiiiinest piece . . .

It was vile. I hate Cadbury’s at the best of times, but lingering over the chocolate like that was gross. That stuff is too sweet, it tastes artificial and grainy and in some unpleasant cases, even salty. Don’t get me wrong, salted chocolate/caramel is lovely, but not when it has mega amounts of sugar in competition. It’s just . . . nasty.

Anyway, I’ll admit that by the time she told us to sniff the little brown squares I knew what was going on, but I appreciate the exercise because it validates something I’ve been doing for some time.

I buy expensive chocolate. I mean stupidly expensive chocolate from Hotel Chocolat. The boxes used to come to my house once every three months and I’d split the contents with a friend. Then I’d horde my share in the study and eat them. Since starting LEAP and Get Healthy and all manner of other things I’ve been doing to watch my weight since the summer, I’ve stopped the boxes. But one slipped through back in October.

Like before, I refused to share it. It was mine (damn it!!!) and the chocolate within too expensive to give to the kids (who just don’t get it) or to share with the other half who just inhales chocolate in seconds and then forgets about it. So I made the box last.

Three weeks passed before I even took it from the delivery packaging. Then I opened it up and the smells hit me. The spices, the subtle sweetness, the hints of wood and even alcohol lingering in some of the larger truffles. Then I took one, wrapped up the box, put it aside and made that single piece of chocolate last for fifteen minutes.


And that, is how I eat chocolate now. I won’t deny that every now and then I go mad and just by the (nicest) cheap crap I can find, but largely, if I want chocolate I’ll go for the stash hidden in the study, take one and savour it. The stuff costs so damn much that by the time I eat that one piece I don’t dare have another. It’s a really good way of keeping track. 😉

Oh and I put 2lbs back on. Hardly surprising since I went nutty at the weekend for my sister’s birthday and ate too many sweets. Oh, and last night I devoured an entire bag of Kettle chips while watching Jessica Jones. I know, I know, it’s bad, right, but I’m getting better. At least I’m not doing it four times a week like I used to.
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LEAP: Session Seven

Back to our usual course leader today but, given that I arrived in a reasonably good mood which continued when I read from the scales, nothing she said seemed to bother me today. It’s great. ^_^

Given that I already had some good news via my last Check In, I wasn’t surprised to see that the figures had dipped still further. Since LEAP is only concerned about weight I’ll tell you that I’m currently sitting at 119.4kg. My 5% goal is 117.9kg so if I’m able to replicate this last week in next week’s results, I’ll have hit the goal.

That . . . is a magical thought. Enough to make me put aside the packet of wine gums and keep me away from the fridge. I’m so keen to meet that goal as it will be my first major milestone. 5% of my body weight . . . that’s no mean feat and, even against the app I’m using that’s just over a stone. A full stone of weight lost!

Exercise with Jit was nice too, more circuits and I’m finding it easier and easier every time. I also find I’m getting somewhat addicted to the feel good experience I get afterwards. That feel of a job well done just . . . it seems me up for the whole day!

Today should have been about ’emotional eating’ which is a big one for me and something I’m keen to cover, but instead we covered sugar. A bit depressing as I know I have a sweet tooth and I know there is too much of it in my diet. But on the flip side of that, it’s good to know that I long ago sussed that Weight Watchers, Special K and Belvita may say their fat free/low calorie/low blah, blah, blah, but they’re rammed with sugar, which is just as bad as the calories and/or fat.

Forgive me, but I’d rather have a small amount of something I know is fatty (like the Pringles I just polished off half an hour ago) then loads of something supposedly good for me (Special K breakfast bar) only to figure out (much) later that the sugar I’ve consumed through doing so was worse than just having the plain old fat!

But that’s just me. 😉
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LEAP: Session Six

Well that was a revelation. THAT is what I feel a session of this course should feel like.

Our usual course leader is away on holiday and instead we had this lovely Irish lady (I adore the Irish accent) who smiled and actually made us feel good about our efforts. She was positive and bright and actually listened to us. She even asked about what we felt was good/bad about our weeks, something our usual course leader has never taken the time to do. More than that, I felt that this lady actually cared about us as people, rather than numbers on a sheet. Example:

I was the first one there, as usual and got weighed before everyone showed up. When she asked if I was ready to step on the scales, I said ‘No,’ which, to be honest is my usual response. Y’know what she said? Words to the effect of: ‘You shouldn’t let these things rule your life. So long as you’ve made the effort and put the work in, your body will feel the benefit.’

*huff huff huff*

I swear, if our normal course leader had been fractionally supportive or positive, even once without seeing the results she wanted then I, and other members of the group, wouldn’t be so miserable each time we step through the door to that room.

Oh, AND this woman let me (and members of her usual group!) take pictures of the course materials. Something I personally feel is very helpful as a reminder of what we talked about (takeaways today).


Anyway, so that was that. Oh, and the weight I put on last week? Gone again. I’m back to where I was a fortnight ago, so I guess I can safely call that a blip in my otherwise steady progress. Yey me.

Circuits after that. Jit worked us hard. The sweat was POURING off me and my clothes were soaked afterwards. But I felt so, so, so good. No anger this time, just teeth gritted in determination and a vocal shriek of ‘YES!’ when I made it to the end without quitting.

That, ladies and gents, that is the feeling worth giving up the crisps for.da shared brain signature

LEAP: Session Five

I’ve spent a lot of time angry today. And I’m not talking about weak, everyday frustration either: I mean blind, snarling fury.

My weight went up when I got measured today but, I’m pleased to say, that’s not what I’m so upset about. Frankly, I expected it because I know damn well that over the past week, despite the exercise, I’ve eaten far too much chocolate and way too many wine gums. Sugar. That stuff is a killer.

Anyway, I was angry because I knew that I’d  cocked up. That had forgotten the number one rule that, for me, leads my thoughts above all others:

All successes and foul ups are mine and I have to own them.

I was pissed because that’s not what I’ve done this week. I’ve let excuses guide me down the path I knew was only going to upset me later. I thought that I could ‘relax’ for a few days and slip back into old habits without consequences and, when those consequences reared up to bite me in my chunky arse, I was annoyed about that too.

Today at LEAP we talked about fats.

I swear, every time I come out of that room, despite the fun I have with the other girls, I want to pull everything out of the cupboards and fridge and toss it all in the bin. Nothing is safe to eat. Nothing. -_-

Again, the rational part of me knows that this is my knee-jerk reaction to understanding that my habits need to change still further, but it was still a(nother) rough wake up call. I thought I was doing quite well, but all this talk of mono-unsaturates, polyunsaturates, Omega 3 (and 6 and 9) made my head spin with how much I don’t know. Then we dived into triglycerides, cholesterol, saturated and trans-fats.


Let’s just say that the next time I shop, my usual list of items is going to get a HUGE overhaul.

But (!!!) and this is the important thing I have to keep telling myself: change is gradual. Doing things *bam!* all at once is just asking to fail because changing lifetime habits takes time. Also, I need to remember that I am doing good things and that the changes I’ve made so far are making a difference. Even if I can’t see them.

The one light in the day (as far as health and weight is concerned) was my time with Jit upstairs after the main session. That man made us work. He made us work haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard! I haven’t sweated like that at the gym for ages and the burning in my arms and legs told me I was doing a good job. I remember growling at him and silently begging for a break, but he didn’t let up. Not for a moment.

And I’m grateful for that.

He spent the whole session talking to us, buoying us up, cheering us on and talking about how ‘we’ve come to far to quit.’ And that’s kinda how I feel right now.

I’ve done too much and it’s been too long to quit. It’s hard . . . of course it is . . . it’s hard because I’m working. Because I’m pushing myself. Because I’m not giving up. I have to remember that when the sweat is pouring off me and I feel like I can’t lift that weight for one more rep. It hurts because I’m trying, because I’m pushing, because I’m holding myself up to a new standard: a standard that has one simple motto:

I. Won’t. Quit.

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LEAP: Session Four

Funny what a bit of exercise can do for you. 😉

woman working out siluoette
Credit: GDJ

I know I keep saying this, but I remain fascinated at how much better I feel after a work out. I woke up feeling grotty and yicky, with a cough that just wouldn’t go away. By the time Jit was done with us I was ready to go again and the cough was almost gone. ^_^

Today we talked about portion sizes.

This one has always been a problem for me because I like food. My problem in the past has not necessarily been that I eat the wrong food, but I eat too much of it. Today’s exercise was to measure what I’d normally have of a particular food and mark it against what the recommended guideline is.

Not too surprised to learn that my intake of things like crisps and dried fruits are waaaaaaaaaaaay over the recommended mark, while things like salad and veg are under (though significantly better than they might have been had I done the same exercise six months ago).

The highlight of the meet, however, realising that the hard work is paying off (in terms of weight) and that the over indulgence at the carvery for my grandmother’s birthday on Sunday hadn’t ruined it.

Scales from the session read 120.8 kg.

thumbs up smiley
Credit: skotan

I don’t want to get complacent though. I’ve noticed myself ‘slipping’ in terms of having that extra bag of crisps in the evening, or letting my daily 10,000 steps slip. Steady, sustainable weight loss is about permanent changes that I can carry forward for the rest of my life.

Saying that though, a dinner at the carvery four times a year isn’t going to wreck everything is it? 😉

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