Category Archives: Life

Where I’ve been and where I’m going

You may be surprised to hear, in view of my woeful inability to make regular posts to this blog that I actually achieved pretty much all of my goals in 2016. Let me rephrase that, I achieved almost all of the exercise related goals but fell down miserably on the weight targets… but then once you miss one weight milestone it can be difficult to get back on track unless you make them flexible…

The only exercise goal I did not achieve was the ambition to cycle to the train station regularly but failure here was down to circumstances (dropping the Boy off with his grandparents) not being compatible with the train timetable. Hopefully this year the Boy will start being more organised and will be able to walk to the bus stop on his own after having remembered to lock the front door !

I am a Wolf Runner, a Metric Centurion and a Warwickshire Triathlete, I have the medals to prove it and at some point there will be a blog post on here and photographic evidence too.

I have achieved part of the purpose of this blog. In 2016 I got fitter and I think a little bit healthier. The weight has gone down but I hit a plateau and just can’t seem to get past the 11 stone barrier and since the summer I have yoyo-ed between 11 and 11 stone 7lbs.

Part of the problem I think is I lost focus. The idea of the challenges was to find something to keep me incentivised to exercise but I found that instead of exercising to get fit and lose weight I was training to the challenge… and collecting a fine crop of medals although exceedingly gratifying was not the point.  It also failed to impress the Boy or get him enthused about the idea of being outside.

The Man on the other hand is very keen on the idea of cycling to work and after one expensive false start of buying the wrong bike now has quite a sporty roadbike/hybrid… The garage is suffering from N+1++ a number of our bikes are recondition/rebuilds which makes me quite happy. The Raleigh Candice is finished save for some new bar tape, the Boy has a reconditioned Trek as a temporary bike and we have promised him a new bike when he is a little taller (he is growing like a weed at the moment).

So I am going to make things easier on myself this year. The only target is to lose 1lb a week and to weigh at least 1 stone less this time next year…

There are some fun challenges along the way such as a run from Lands End to John O Groats (no, not really…I have a living to earn) plus a walk from the Shire to Rivendell and then either to  the Mines of Moria or Mount Doom…

There will be photos.. there will be retrospective blog posts about last year… there will be bike related musings… after all there are now 6 bikes in the garage (only 2 belong to me) and there will be some thoughts on eating (as if I genuinely want to get down to 10 stone I will have to address what I eat as well as what I do)… in short, there will be a lot more blogging than last year… although that’s not going to be difficult !

The Ups and downs of the Heart Rate Monitor

My Fitbit is one of those that monitors your heart rate… how accurate this is god only knows but whether it is accurate or not I think there are benefits of being able to see how your heart rate changes during activity and during periods of sloth.

I felt quite chuffed when I first got my Fitbit to discover that my resting heart rate was actually quite good…it was between 57-64 bpm. Not bad I thought for a fat girl who has only really been exercising since the summer and only taking a real interest in being healthier since October (so 3 months at that time).

I started to get quite alarmed therefore when I noticed an upward trend in my resting bpm from about the end of January. Pretty much every day from the end of January until the end of February I saw a daily increase in the resting level… and then it plummeted back to early January levels.

It was only when it started to go up again that I realised what the trigger was… stress… and some of the things that go hand in hand with stress. It was at the end of January that things started to get stressful at work as I started to prepare for the Court case at the end of January…

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post as I got busier and more stressed my exercise went out of the window. I drank more coffee (caffeinated), cut back on the amount of water I drank (because I didn’t have time to leave my desk to get it), started missing lunch and not going for a walk or a run as I was working through.

It also coincided with the end of dry January and my intake of red wine went up quite a lot too…

Up and up it went until the date of the court case… and then 2 days after it dropped…

Googling later it revealed that yes stress, alcohol and not drinking enough water can dramatically affect your resting heart rate…

So there you are then… lesson learned… or perhaps not as since the end of April I’ve been dealing with a Judicial Review… once again diet and exercise have gone out the window and my resting heart rate has gone up.

I’m not going to let it happen a third time.

 

Pressing the Reset Button

It’s been awhile…I didn’t mean to be away for so long… it’s just when things get busy it’s hard to keep all the balls in the air…

When you are part of a family, yes you have a right from time to time to do what you want to do but you also owe certain obligations to that family, to pull your weight, do your share of the chores and make sure the household functions… kinda like society in miniature !

I try not to let my keep fit/health goals impinge too much on family life… I also try very hard not to let work interfere with family life or family intrude into the work sphere…

…and when things get busy or stressful then something has to “give”…

I think I have mentioned before that I’m a lawyer. Well before I went “in-house” I used to be a high street litigation lawyer; mostly personal injury and debt action but also breach of contracts, general disputes and occasionally a repossession.

We don’t tend to do much civil litigation ourselves at work (except judicial reviews), mostly disputes get farmed out to external solicitors but occasionally for small claims court stuff or possession claims I have to revive my litigation skills.

Anyway as I got to the end of the Couch25k my work life suddenly started to get busy. This was the end of January. I had started preparing for the court hearing due at the end of February of the case I’d started last October to remove some trespassers from our land. Trespass cases are meant to be over and done within about 10 days of issuing… not this one though as at the hearing last November our case was adjourned for a longer hearing…

Suddenly out of nowhere a firm of solicitors started writing to me claiming they were acting on behalf of one of the Defendants who had somehow managed to get Legal Aid

After that it all got very complicated and very very busy. I had so many things that needed to be resolved. And well, the one rule in my job is that litigation comes first. You have to meet the Court imposed deadlines, no excuses.

I also found that I couldn’t run or cycle or do any activity which would mean I would spend long periods of time inside my own head because I’d start to think and worry and fret about things… I guess the answer would have been to find someone to run with… instead I reduced my activity to spin class only

So yes pretty much the diet, exercise and trying to be health took a bit of a nose dive… I managed to do just about enough to mean that when I did my first 5k run at the beginning of March it wasn’t a complete disaster and I managed to avoid piling on loads of weight… it’s just it wasn’t coming off very quickly…

We were back in Court at the end of February which solved many things but we have still ended up with yet another court date (July) and a long list of directions which has meant me being busy for most of March and April but it hasn’t been quite so bad…

… and then just when I thought things were getting back to normal I ended up with a judicial review to deal with on another matter…

I will try and catch up over the next few weeks PLUS I finally have some updates on what is happening with the Raleigh Candice I was meant to be rebuildingV

 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.

EYES ON STALKS / PUSHING THE ENVELOPE

(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 !

Frustration (sometime in November)

When I joined the Gym several weeks ago I thought it would fit in nicely with the rest of the family’s plans. They could do what they do in an evening and I would be off messing around at the gym and then we would meet up back at home.

I did not want my desire to get fitter to interfere with family life. I did not want the Man feeling guilty or feeling that he should be doing the same…if he chooses to get out there then that is an entirely different matter.

Normally on a Tuesday the Man will take the Boy to Karate… this involves him leaving work by 5pm a short 10 minute journey back to collect the Boy from his grandparents house and then a slightly longer drive to the village hall where the Boy does his stuff.

Unfortunately they are upgrading the motorway junction which means the Man doesn’t always make it in time so sometimes I leave work early as a back up taxi.

So on this particular Tuesday I get a call from the Man as I enter the village, there is a traffic jam and would I mind doing the run over to our neighbouring village and if I drop the Boy off then the Man will collect an hour later.

So I collect my son. We rush the 7 miles over to Karate, I drop the Boy off and head home to get changed for Spin.  At 6.15pm I get a call from the Man. He hasn’t moved. He is still in his car in the same position he was in when he called me earlier.

I drive 7 miles, collect the Boy, drive back 7 miles.

By now it is 6.45pm. I have spin at  7.15pm…the Man is still not home and in fact is still in the same place he was at 6.15pm

I am in 2 minds whether to take the Boy back to his grandparents or to take him to the Leisure Centre and leave him to wait in the café outside the Cycling Studio until my lesson is over with my phone to keep him occupied and a warning about Stranger Danger

In the end I head towards the Leisure Centre as I need to put some fuel in my car at the local supermarket  as I am driving on fumes.  I decide “sod it” and took the opportunity to get some air in my car tyre (slow puncture) then the Boy and I pick up a few provisions and head home.

To be honest I took the whole series of events as fate telling me I wasn’t actually well enough to do Spin… after all I almost passed out at the “drop a Jeans size” session the day before.

After some discussion we decide that since the junction works are not due to be completed until March 2016 its probably best if I swap my days as making sure the Boy is able to participate in a form of physical exercise he enjoys is probably more important.

Along the way I seem to have ended up changing my single day to 2 sessions on Monday AND Wednesday which start an hour earlier than the Tuesday session so mean I actually get to spend more time with my family than less…!

Find a new plan Stan

Whenever I have tried to lose weight by exercise, at some point through the process I look down and fall in love with my legs…I suddenly realise that actually they look quite good, not slim but toned.

It’s those moments you have to hang on to when the scales are stubbornly refusing to budge… like this morning…or about a week ago.

After 3 months of exercise I have lost 4lbs… or I had before Christmas intervened.  I have lost inches off my thighs and bottom and about 2% of my body fat  (down to 37%).

The glacial rate of progress can be quite dispiriting and yes, probably lead to slightly more excess over Christmas than the restrained approach I had promised myself.

OK I do have a slight excuse of the chest infection which lasted a month but still I do have to grade myself with a “C-“ and “could do better”

So it’s time for a rethink and a new approach.

Firstly I am only going to weigh myself once a week on the scale at the Gym.

Secondly a more disciplined approach to eating including keeping a Food Diary because psychologically if you are having to record it then you are more likely to think twice before you eat it.

Thirdly I have drawn up a list of hints and tips from various web sites advising you of “why-you-are-not-losing-weigth-despite-the-fact-you-are-exercising-like it’s-going-out-of-fashion” and am going to try a new one a week… whilst continuing with the hint/tips from previous weeks if I think they are genuinely useful…  such as “drink water”

Finally I am going to relax and enjoy 2016 focusing not so much on the weight loss goals but on the other targets on my 2016 list so that in 12 months time I can look back on 2017 and think “I did that…I the Sofa Slug got out of the house and did THAT”

Because no matter how much blubber I manage to shift I am never going to be a whippet thin red carpet movie star but being happier healthier and fitter and being around to see the Boy reach 18 is good enough if not better. As is giving the Boy a good example as a parent.