I’m Back!

Yes, been a while, ain’t it? ^_^

I’ve been thinking about this blog for a long time, feeling awful that I let it slip. There are so many reasons why this blog was a good idea that I feel the need to pick up again.

So . . . this is me doing that!

Catch Up – Exercise

So what have I been doing since April? Hmm, it’s been a busy few months, that’s for sure. My freebie membership with the gym ended and left me happily running in the park, but of course, I hurt my ankle didn’t I, and was unable to go on? Well, I’m still doing physio for it and finding that I’m not keeping up with the exercises as well as I should be. As a result that ankle (the left one) is still incredible weak and prone to buckling under me at odd moments. I don’t need to be doing something complex, merely walking will do it. That’s something I need to work on.

Beyond that, I’ve found two things I want to try as soon as I gather together the peripherals: 1) hula hooping and 2) 20 minute HIIT routines that I can do in the living room. That second one shouldn’t be too hard (sure I’ll want some weights, but some bottles filled with water will surely be enough for now), but the first? Hmm.

But it looks like so much fun! And it’s something I can do while I’m watching TV. Y’know, stand there, watching Pokémon (don’t judge me!) and spend ten minutes hooping clockwise and the other hooping anti-clockwise.

Meh, I dunno. We’ll see.

Catch Up – Mental Health

Soooooooooooooo much better. I am taking meds now, nearly six months in. It’s great and I feel so much more like myself. I haven’t had any chance to speak with a therapist yet (I’m on a waiting list *grumble grumble*) but the fact that I can function and smile and work is so positive.

Catch Up – Eating Habits

Eeeeerm. Okay.

I’m doing well. I’m taking my time over saying this and doing so in a very public way because it’s necessary for me.

I joined a Slimming World group back in October and have since that date dropped 2st 1lb. Can’t complain about that. And it has all been through changing how I eat.

This morning, however, I had a very emotional moment and spend a good half hour chatting with other members of my group through our Facebook group. They did a great job of reminding me that I am doing well and that I should be more gentle with myself insofar as my expectations. Especially at this time of year.

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And that’s another reason why this blog has been on my mind. It’s the holiday season, Christmas (and a heap of other holidays!). A time of over indulgence, food, drink and everything else in between. No one would be surprised to hear how much people are able to eat and/or put on during December, but I don’t want to be one of those people. I’ve come a long way since October and it’s important that I protect that.

This blog was a brilliant way of keeping me accountable and measuring my efforts. So I’m going to keep it up.

No idea, at this point, how regular posts will be, but at the very least I’ll post after each of my Slimming World meetings which happen on Thursday mornings. As I work more exercise into my day (beyond running around chasing Pokémon, which just doesn’t count . . . don’t judge me! :p) I’ll talk about that too.

For now, thanks for reading, I’m glad to be back. Hope you’re up for joining me on this continued journey.

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Weight Loss/Management Is In The Mind

Experience is teaching me the truth of this thought. Yes, there are physical things that need to be done to manage weight, but so much of the ‘fight’ for want of a better word, is mental.

Take yesterday. What I call a ‘low day.’ I woke up feeling terrible about myself and my efforts and went to bed feeling the same way. I ate terribly, all day, including a heft wedge of Stilton and half a pot of Pringles. I followed that up with a trip to the cinema (Civil War is AMAZING by the way!) during which I ate a little bag of pick’n’mix and a couple of Minstrels.

This is significant because by the time I reached the cinema (7.30pm) the worst parts of my day were over. I felt calmer and more in control and, as a result, able to make sensible decisions guided by my brain rather than my stress. I bought a third of the pick’n’mix I might normally buy and made them last into the last half hour of the movie. By the time I got to the Minstrels, I didn’t particularly want them and only ate a handful before re-sealing the bag.

Today, another rough morning, but the act of stepping out of the house, sitting down and thinking calmly took me to my favourite coffee shop. There I ordered a single pot of fruity tea and no crisps or cake accompaniment. 

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The trend is easy to see the more I look. The calmer I am, the less stressed I am, the better I become at steering clear of those troublesome foods.

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but the battle is up in my head and I only lose it, when I let myself get tired, run down, or over stressed. I’m not entirely sure of how to do away with the stress aspect (I’m not able to relax in the same way I once was, and I’m also not sure of what soothes me these days—beyond snarfing a bag of popcorn) but again, as I always say, being aware of the facts makes it easier to deal with. Being vocal and public about it is also a help.

I’ve decided to make one change at a time. As small as possible. Small changes lead to big results (eventually) and the biggest challenge here won’t be the changes themselves but the patience to let them take hold. I’m not known for my patience . . . ask the other half.

These are the things I want to do in very broad terms:

  • Eat less in general
  • Make more sensible food choices in general and in particular in times of stress
  • Exercise more
  • Sleep more
  • Be happier

Yes, that last one is a big vague and wishy washy, but knowing what I want, even in those terms is more than I did yesterday.

I’ll probably break these down into actionable SMART goals another time, but for now, I’m going to focus on just one. Sleep.

We all know how important sleep is and yet it’s the one thing that drops off the list of priorities pretty darn quickly. I’m going to see what happens with a concentrated effort to get more sleep each night and work from there.

Next time . . . an actionable list of goals and/or checkpoints.

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The Benefits of Personal Training

Today I had a consultation with one of the personal trainers at my gym. His name is Umar and he’s a six foot fellah with broad shoulders, a tiny waist and a bit of a cheeky grin. He’s also very, very good.

He approached me last week and said he’d like to talk to me about what I’m doing on the machines and, of course, I agreed. Earlier this week he showed me one of his clients and explained that he could give me a free consultation to talk about what he offers, how he works and what he could do for me in terms of fitness and body transformation.

. . . well, you know I’m all over that sort of thing, right?

So today, in I go and spend a good 40 minutes with him, doing a mini version of one of his full sessions. Lunges, squats, tricep-pully-things (can’t remember the actual name) and pull ups (fuck, that was tough!). I’m sitting here now, feeling the ache across my thighs, knowing that what I did in those 30 mins (the last ten was us chatting about prices and meal plans) was far more effective than the entire 90 mins I spent in that place on Monday.

So, personal training; what does it give you, just from what I saw today?

  • One on one, tailored support and exercise plans.
  • Encouragement and support (the amount of times I thought I had to stop doing those pull ups and yet I got to the end).
  • Accountability (not only do I know that there’s someone else waiting for me at the gym each session, but there is a cost involved too)
  • Structure (someone who knows what they’re doing in place to offer advise on reps, sets and weights is bloody helpful)
  • Measurable inputs and outputs (Umar’s meal plans all have weighed food and he ensures clients have before/after photos to look at)

So . . . yeah. All in all, the idea of a personal trainer is very attractive to me. Previous to this, I had thought that PTs were only for celebrities or other otherwise rich folk and I won’t deny that cost is a major factor here. But the fact that he and the other trainers frequent my local gym means that they are always accessible and not as aloof as I may otherwise have considered.

Basically, this is something I need to do a lot of thinking about, because it isn’t cheap. On top of finding the money to use the gym in the first place, this would be an additional wedge of cash to book the sessions. Balance that with my up and down relationship with food (more on that another time) I’ll have to think long and hard about whether or not this is something I can pursue.

For now however, the knee-jerk reaction is, ‘hell yes, that would be a great thing to try.’

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Check In: 15

I’m still not  quite back in the habit of doing this regularly. Not that it’s a problem as such, but it does make my updates here pretty sporadic.

Ho hum. Let’s see how it looks.

Last Time This Time
Date 02 April 2016 18 April 2016
Time 3:02 pm 10:40 am
Weight 18st 8lb (118.2kg) 18st 8lb (118.1kg)
Height 5’7.7 (1.72m) 5’7.3 (1.71m)
BMI 40.0 40.4
Body Fat 43.9% 45.0%
Body Fat Mass 51.8kg 53.1kg

Eh.

I’m stunned that these figures haven’t leapt about more than this. I guess it just goes to show how much of a difference the gym makes, even if everything else isn’t quite where I want it to be. The three weekly exercise is keeping things in check rather than letting me spiral back towards where I was. So . . . good stuff (?).

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So. Much. Pain.

So . . . I went to the gym on Sunday. The one ten mins from my house, no cycling required. I had a quick induction then fell back onto my old loves: elliptical trainer, rowing machine, resistance machines. 20160403_144846.jpgIt felt so much like going home that I nearly cried.

I can’t believe how much I missed it. I can’t believe that I missed it at all!

Anyway, come Tuesday I decide to take advantage of the 24/7 schedule and take myself to an early class. By early we’re talking 6.30am.

No joke.

Tuesday morning, 6.30am I stood in the studio of my local gym with twelve other lunatics, ready to sweat it out for half an hour in a Pure Fat Burn session. 20160403_143914.jpgSomething burned alright, but I’m not sure it was fat. >.<

I left the session sweaty, stinky and jelly legged, feeling pretty damn proud of myself.
Hyped up enough at 7am to hop onto the treadmill for a very gentle walk to calm myself down and then a good 20 minutes across my usual resistance machines.

No problem. My body can handle that. I know it can. The urge to run was huge (the treadmills are so puuurdy!) but I resisted since I don’t want to bugger up my ankle.

However, what my body couldn’t handle was the subsequent two hours in the park with the sprogs (it’s hard work pushing swings) and the further hour and a half on foot after that, pushing the double pram (mostly uphill) to buy fabric for my latest sewing project.

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Can you tell what it is yet? ^_^

So. Much. Pain.

By 6.30pm I was wobbling around the house like a cripple, begging for bedtime. By 8pm I could barely get off the sofa.

Cue this morning, trying to get out of bed? Not pretty. Though I did—finally—get  to the hospital for my physio referral. I now have plenty of exercises to do for my ankle and appointments for other bits and bobs that should make life on my feet easier. All hail the NHS! ^_^

Now . . . I’m going to sit down. Again. I’d clocked 10,000 steps before midday given all the running around I had to do for various bits n bobs and the day hasn’t slowed much since then. I’m actually grateful that most of tomorrow will be spent in a car. o.O

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Check In: 14

I feel like it’s ages since I’ve done this. Ages since I managed to pull myself together enough to just pop into Boots and measure up. On the flip side, I’ve been using my food diary religiously (!) so I’m clearly still paying attention. Even if I’m not quite in a place where I can make sensible decisions on a regular basis.

I look at these numbers and think ‘It could be a hella lot worse.’

Last Time This Time
Date 04 March 2016 02 April 2016
Time 01:41 pm 03:02 pm
Weight 18st 5lb (116.7kg) 18st 8lb (118.2kg)
Height 5’7.7 (1.72m) 5’7.7 (1.72m)
BMI 39.4 40.0
Body Fat 44.6% 43.9%
Body Fat Mass 52.0kg 51.8kg

So, in about a month I’ve regained 3lbs, which, frankly stated, could be dealt with by sitting on the toilet for ten minutes or so. 😉

I’m not as upset about this as I thought I might be. Rather I understand that the black place has knocked me back a little. But I am still working at it, chipping away slowly.

After all, it’s not just about these numbers, right? It’s about my overall mindset, my happiness and fitness.

On that note, I’ve rejoined a gym! ^_^

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Credit: SteveLambert

I did it last night, signed up for the newest Pure Gym just down the road from the house. I’m thrilled because I can walk there, meaning I’ve no need to depend on my bike. It also means I can go more often as I’ll be able to get to classes or use the machines while the boys are at school without worrying about if I can get back in time. More than that . . . there are classes! No pool unfortunately, but there are so many classes to choose from that I think it will take a good while for me to get bored.

I’m feeling particularly optimistic about the fact that we’re paying for this gym membership. I know that sounds like an odd thing to say, but it my obsession with money and never having enough of it, means that I’m even less likely to waste the ££s spent by not going. That monthly fee, probably more than my desire to be fitter, will pull me out of the house on cold, muggy mornings and put me in the gym.

I’m looking forward to this. I’m looking forward to this a great deal. ^_^

Oh, and, the other day, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror at my local coffee shop. I was stunned because, I didn’t hate my reflection. More than that, I actually . . . liked it. It might just be my awesome hate (!!!) but who cares? I took a picture to remind myself of that feeling.

Looking at it now, I still quite like it. That’s good too.

caught myself in the mirror
Credit: Moi

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Why Am I Doing This?

Given the numerous conversations I’ve had about my last blog post, I thought it might be good to talk about the why.

The question/observation I hear most is that my honest and candidness in these posts is that I’m very ‘brave’. I suppose making oneself vulnerable is a pretty scary thing, especially on the internet where people are savage and cruel in a way they rarely are face to face. But I don’t think about that much when I write these posts, mostly because I’m fairly certain no one is reading them!

I’ve made it ‘easy’ for me to share the way I do in several ways:

Credit: Moi
Credit: Moi

1) I consider this blog a diary

This means I’m as open and honest in my words here as I am in the small, dead trees version I have open beside me on my desk right now. The blog won’t work (for me) if I don’t treat it this way, because I’m writing this for myself and, there’s little, if any point at all, in lying or being half truthful with myself.

2) I’m finding patterns that I feel need to be discussed

Weight management, healthy living, mental health. All things that people all over the world struggle with. People close to me. People I love. Random strangers. Famous people. Poor people. Intelligent people. Young/older people. Everyone struggles with one, if not all of these things in their life time. And yet . . . beyond the myriad blogs/websites/books/articles promising quick fixes, ‘five incredible tips,’ ’10 amazing secrets’ and whatever else, I find very little discussion on what these things mean for people in a day to day context. No one talks about how hard it is to get up in the morning, or how tricky it might be to go out,  knowing that there will be people around. No one talks about how they hate looking in the mirror, or that, some days, they can’t find a single thing about themselves that they are happy with. And yet, in private conversations face to face and across instant messaging, people tell me these things all the time. So why don’t we talk about it?!

It would help everyone, so, so much if people felt freer to talk about how they felt. About not being okay. About needing help. And yet there seems to be this mad social taboo that prohibits people from doing so.

Facebook is the worst: it’s packed with smiling photos, chirpy status updates and inane surface stuff that often hides the wreckage underneath. Social media is a projection of how we want to be viewed, not how we actually feel. But because of that, it’s easy to believe that one’s own feelings of misery/depression/anxiety/fear/whatever are purely ours. That we are alone.

This is not the case.

So, I write this blog to do my small part to show people they are not alone.

3) I’m thinking ahead

I’ll be honest here: I’m a writer. I want to write a book about my experiences in managing my physical and mental health, weight and general happiness. I want to reach a point where I can help people, not with a ‘do this guide’, or even a ‘try it my way’ book. What I want to do is share my journey and open up a discussion about what I’ve been through and, by extension, what other people are going through. The book I have in mind will be biographical in the sense that it follows me, but (hopefully) helpful in the sense that I talk about things as they are, not sugar-coated by the need to appear perfect or an underlying desire to make money through promising people a solution to their problems.

So . . . that is the why.

Hmm. Feel better having that clear in my mind.

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