Monthly Archives: January 2016

Decision Time

If you are a long distance commuter by car you either spend a lot of time listening to the radio or a lot of time thinking. Sometimes both. Therefore after about 10 years of travelling up and down the M40 I like to think that I probably know myself quite well having spent rather a lot of time inside my own head.

For example I know that if given the choice between exercise and staying in the warm on the sofa I will choose the sofa everytime… unless someone gives me a really good reason as to why I should go out.

I also know that if you give me a timetable or programme and say “it’s your job to follow these instructions” I know that I will do so, and being pigheaded and stubborn I will keep going until the programme is either complete or pretty much complete.

Do not EVER give me free will over whether to do or not do exercise because it just won’t happen.

This is why, having completed the C25K I now have a bit of a problem. According to the plan and goals for 2016 I have decided by June to have completed both the Matt Roberts Fat Loss programme and the Bike your Butt Off book with the cycling being first up.

But the BYBO programme does not include running and I know, because I can’t see a reason to run that this means that I won’t take a step outside in running shoes for the next 12 weeks…which will be a bit of a problem for me later in the year when I have to run.

So I am contemplating swapping the 2 programmes around. But I have procrastinated and wasted a week by not doing anything. So instead, for reasons I will explain another day, I have decided to take a weeks holiday from most activities apart from the Spin classes which I enjoy.

The other main decision I have to take is whether to enter the Bristol Night Ride or not.  Having originally decided to do it on my own I was then quite pleased when a colleague said he thought he might do it too.  I then got used to the idea of having company, someone who would be there in case of mechanical break down. So it came as a bit of a blow when on Monday he said he might not after all and would decide one way or the other by the end of April.

It’s alright for him. He could easily cycle 60 miles and not notice it but if I want to do this I need to start training and building up my mileage and my informal plan has me completing a 10 mile ride by the end of January. So I have about 2 days to make a decision.

Here’s hoping next week will be more certain…


NHS 12 Week Review

I am a little behind with reviewing this… I am almost at the end of the C25K which I started after I finished the 12 weeks of the NHS weight loss programme

I don’t really have a lot to say about it. It’s basic premise is move more and eat a healthy diet with lots of vegetables, some fruit and not too much saturated fat or over processed carbs.

It, like a lot of such programmes, majors on a healthy way of life rather than a fixed “diet”. Change the way you live for weight loss and keeping the weight off… with 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 times a week.

It didn’t work for me because on the food side of things I was mostly there already. There were no quick wins for me such as cutting out junk food or fizzy drinks.

It wasn’t until after I finished the 12 weeks and moved on to something else which placed more emphasis on the exercise and made me focus on counting calories and portion control that my size started to reduce.

I’m not saying this is a bad programme. The advice, same as the advice in the Diet Doctors (which I tried the year before), is sensible and will in most people lead to weight loss and fitness. It’s just that those of us who are already following this advice won’t see any quick results and at the start of a programme you need some sort of reduction to keep the momentum going.

Yes. Diets don’t work, the only way you keep weight off for good is a regime such as this… but you need a kick start to make you feel that it is actually worth adopting a healthy life style.

The C25K leaves me aching and in mild pain most days… but I can see results and therefore I keep going with it!  This didn’t and to be honest all I felt was deprived of some of the things that make the winter bearable such as carbohydrates especially cheese, mashed potato and pasta…


This has not been as good a week for “moving more”. I caught a cold at the start of the week and, having learned from the last where I suspect too much exercise contributed to a chest infection lasting for 6 weeks, decided not to push things too much.

But there has still been a bit of a reduction in the numbers including 0.5% in fat % which now stands at 36.5%.

No print out this morning as we were a bit rushed. The Boy had karate grading as well as swimming today…I think I have lost a further 2lbs as my home scales which are nicer to me than the Gym ones give me a reading of 11st 6lb…

I am still 4 pints of water a day and keeping a food log plus….(see previous 2 weeks).

This week I also tried Eating more unrefined carbs although this did end up being mostly beans and some pearl barley as I had a cupboard clear out…this may continue into next week as there is a big bag of brown rice that also needs using up. The FitBit has been assisting me with counting calories and I suspect this is the aspect of this week which will continue for the rest of the year.

Less successful was the use smaller plates which only really applies to the evening meal but on the other hand the Man (who did most of the cooking this week) is attempting portion control. Also less successful was weight or resistance exercise this was due to the cold I mentioned earlier which meant I only managed 1 session… however I hope to build this in as a regular thing over the next 8 weeks.

The final tip was better sleep.  I have been trying to get at least 7 solid hours in but as a light sleeper at the best of times I find this difficult.

All in all I am still feeling reasonably upbeat but I know that the next 5 weeks will be tougher simply because it’s cold and grey out there at the moment and I do not cope well in the winter as my normally positive attitude to life takes a severe dip when light levels are low.

Haven’t decided what tips to try for the week to come yet… I try and mix the sensible in with at least one slightly quirky suggestion if I can but I am having problems of focusing on a plan for the week.

 My Partner in Crime

They say it is easier to lose weight if you have a fitness buddy. Someone who either is exercising with you and is there to bolster your resolve or someone who knows what you are planning on doing and can keep you on track…

I guess I have Mrs 54… she is there for at least one of my weekly runs and she does keep me going when we are struggling to complete our snails pace 5ks…

But it would appear that I have more than one “cheer leader” on my side.

The Man was not happy when I posted my list of challenges up on Facebook on New Year’s Day… which is why I quickly took it down again.  He considered that I was “trying to kill myself”… he may be right. It is quite a list for someone who has only just climbed off the sofa and… and… well he lives with me, he has hill walked with me and he has seen what happens when my batteries go flat… I come to a grinding halt and just have to go to bed to sleep until I have recovered…and it just happens, without any warning.

He is also a little worried that I might be campaigning to get the rest of the family exercising… there is a set of children books that we used to read to the Boy when he was small about a family of elephants called The Large Family and one day Mrs Large decides they all need to get fit so she has them all involved in a fitness regime “there is a sardine and some grated carrot for tea followed by a nice healthy run round the park…”  It ends happily (with cake) and one of the children saying “I think Elephants are meant to be big Mum”

Anyway, the Man has slowly, bit by bit come round to the idea. It started with “We need to sit down tonight and work out our commitments for the year; we need to put the dates of what we both want to do onto the calendar…”

Slightly later after a trip to the sales he hands me a book he has picked up called “The running log”… “It’s so you can keep track of what you have done whilst you train for your events…”

And finally he bought me a FitBit… I had asked for a simple pedometer as a replacement for a Christmas present that went back to the shop, one that would clip on to my bra as I was fed up of my cheap pedometer which pinged off everytime I went to the toilet…

When he asked about them it turned out that the shop in question had pretty much sold out of the pedometer FitBits due to “New Years resolutions… everyone wants to get fit after Christmas”… We “only have 2 left” said the girl in the shop “this one which is purple and quite small and…”

“I’ll take it” said the Man. “Purple is my wife’s favourite colour and she has incredibly small wrists…” he considered it to be serendipity.

So that was that. I became a slave to the FitBit and late night walks to bring my step count up to 10,000… but if the other week was anything to go by I would say it is working as I do seem to have broke through the plateau… Finally.


(a post from just before Christmas…which I meant to publish last week but pressed the wrong buttons)

I ran officially for 3 minutes without stopping… and then to make sure I ran for 3 minutes more some 6 minutes later…

Then later that day I took a train into Birmingham for our works Christmas Dinner. Unfortunately the usual confusion over how much each person needed to put in to settle the bill meant that myself and a colleague just, by a matter of a few seconds missed the train back to the office in Solihull where my car was parked… the guard saw us standing by the train door pushing the open button and refused to open the doors… despite the fact that the train then didn’t depart for another minute… not very Christmas spirited…so we had to stand on the platform and wave bye bye to our colleagues who had run that little bit quicker than us and had made it on to the train

The next train didn’t leave for another 40 minutes and wasn’t much use to my colleague as she was travelling on to Banbury and this one finished at Leamington Spa.  I suggested we caught that one anyway as I would be heading down towards Banbury and it would only be another 15 minute drive.

On reaching the office we discovered that neither my card nor hers would activate the car park barrier so it was fortunate that a concerned colleague who wanted to make sure we got back safely had stayed behind and seemed to have an “access all areas pass”…

An hour and thirty minutes later I finally crawled into bed at 12.25am in the morning…

This morning I forced myself to do the core and barre as I have been a bit lax this week but my heart wasn’t in it… I needed to be back in bed…

Fortunately my team leader shared this view and said if there was nothing urgent I could go home at 3pm… so I ditched the planned lunchtime run, tied up the urgent stuff and headed home…

The truth is I only came into work because my trainers were here…

I think I may be pushing things a bit much…some people claim they exercise as a release from the stress of the day… perhaps it will someday work for me…work is a bit stressful at the moment, I probably came back from my chest infection a bit too soon because I was worried about things I hadn’t done and getting behind… not exercising also causes me stress because I am worried about not keeping on target.

I have to remind myself that it is mostly the journey… the aiming and trying and that even if I don’t quite make it the fact that I tried better and perhaps improved on what went before is sufficient

Note to self: Don’t beat yourself up quite so much when you can’t because you don’t feel up to it, Do beat yourself up if you don’t do it because you can’t be bothered !

Week  5 Day 3

I haven’t written much about the C25k as to be honest one session has been much like another involving much procrastination and self negotiation to get me to put my trainers on and get out the door.

Each time I complete a session I am elated that I manage to run for that number of minutes followed by a day or 2 of despair as I contemplate the next session and wondering how I am going to run for even that miniscule extra amount of time…

Yes, the increases do seem small to someone who is not trying to go from a standstill to running in 9 weeks but believe me each extra minute seem an impossible task when you are in the process of trying to achieve.

An example of the difference of perception both a seasoned runner and a non runner can have compared to a learner is the conversation I had with 2 colleagues who run. They don’t run at work because they find the terrain around the office flat dull and boring “What do you mean flat?” I exclaimed “I can tell you exactly where each incline starts and finishes and how steep it is!”

Week 5 Day 3 however is in a different league of increase. Whereas most days you get a couple of extra minutes W5D3 goes from a longest run of 8 minutes straight up to 20… it is, according to the internet where most people falter.

I expected to be amongst the fallen. At the start of Week 5 I seriously expected that I would still be trying to complete W5D3 well into the New Year and as a result kept putting the first attempt off.  I was meant to make the attempt on Christmas Day. Well. I knew that wasn’t going to happen so decided to run after we were kicked out of work on Christmas Eve…however I managed to find other urgent things that needed to be done… like wrapping. Christmas Day I contemplated my trainers… for about 30 seconds. Boxing Day  I woke up early, stared very hard at my trainers but decided that there was far too much preparation needed for dinner  (This was 7.30am, dinner was at 2pm…)

It was not until latish on the Sunday morning that myself and Mrs 54 managed to guilt each other out of the house and down the road as part of a dog walk. Both agreed we would just give it our best shot and that there was no shame in failure… and maybe to improve our chances we would walk for longer than 5 minutes so that we didn’t set off on the hill…

And you know what, despite the rain, we kept going…and even, due to a glitch in the App, ran for 25 minutes… so next week should be a breeze.

You cannot believe the sense of euphoria that enveloped us. We kept stopping and grinning at each other not being able to believe that we had managed it on the very first attempt… albeit an attempt that was probably slower than if we had been going at our normal dog walking speed…

Of course after that we started googling races under the delusion that we were now runners and basically the next stop was the London Marathon.

Didn’t last for long though as Week 6 Day 1 then kicked my sorry bottom because despite the longest session being only 8 minutes it wore me out… I also used Strava to time the run and measure distance. Boy was that an eye opener (Yes, if I had walked the whole 2.7 miles it would have been quicker than the run/walk!)


 This week I tried a whole host of new things partly because some of them were quite small and partly because I wasn’t sure I would be able to implement them during the week and that may have to revisit them on another occasion.

I decided this week I would try

  • Drinking more coffee
  • Drinking green tea
  • Cooking with coconut oil
  • Take a glucomonnon supplement
  • Cut back on added sugar
  • Count steps/wear a pedometer
  • Start a food diary

So yes, quite a list and it turns out that I needed a long list as I was quickly crossing things out as not feasible or not sensible.

The tip of drinking more coffee is because coffee amongst other things act as an appetite supressent… I lived on coffee during my 20’s, drunk strong and black and its probably why I in my 40’s I find it hard to recognise when I am hungry.

Anyway last January I switched to black coffee to reduce the calorie content of my caffeine addiction so this week I decided that I would try drinking better quality coffee because…. But then failed to find my coffer press and a bag of ground coffee until Thursday night.

Drinking green tea was a failure too. I don’t actually like green tea (believe me I have tried) so I wasn’t particularly active in looking for the tea bags and found them by accident when looking for the coffee press.

I ditched the idea of the coconut oil. It was too expensive and decided it was probably better to just cut down on the amount of oil used in cooking

The glucommon supplement was axed once I finally found out what is was namely a fibre supplement that swells after being swallowed which is supposed to make you feel full for longer. Well since feeling hungry is not actually a problem for me (see above) and there are the risk of blockages if it swells in the wrong palce I decided to that this was a definite no-no….

The no added sugar didn’t really work either as apart from a bit of maple syrup on porridge there isn’t a great deal of sugar in my life at the moment…

Not doing too well am I this week am I ?

The food diary was a good option and I have been keeping it diligently in combination with the pedometer which ended up being a FitBit and which deserves a post of its own… I think these 2 items must have helped because the Weigh in this week was pretty impressive.


Yep…that’s a whole 3lbs and 2% reduction in fat…

Other stats…well I could get boring with them now I have a fitbit so I will just share that I am now reaching the final of the couch to 5k…and still managing 2 spin class a week…