Category Archives: motivation


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.


The best laid plans…

Mostly I write my posts about a month after the event as a) I am basically lazy and b) I prefer to think my posts over and have space to decide whether what I am writing about is actually interesting or just me moaning…

This works ok most of the time but not when you end up being off work due to illness and your draft posts are 25 miles away on your work computer.

So yes, after getting to a nice place with this exercise and diet lark my plans were suddenly completely derailed by a serious chest infection that laid me low and off work for a number of days…I then went back to work (and exercise) too early and ended up being off again as I was still having trouble breathing and there was “no fuel in the tank” (spoilers: yes at the start of November I was in despair that the weight was going up rather than down but come  the end of November and the situation is much much different)

But being off has given me time to think and to plan.

I am pretty useless at following a diet and exercise plan unless I am doing it for a reason. For example I can give up alcohol quite easily but can also be easily persuaded to have a glass of wine if my abstinence is because I choose to for weight loss reasons. But tell me I am doing the Dryathlon to raise money for charity then I am steadfast in my refusal to touch a drop…

Give me a series of exercises to follow and I will find reasons not to do it but sign me up to a 6 week programme with a weekly check in then I will even drag my sick self in for the weigh in.

So I am going to set myself some targets…some are quite vague such as aim to start cycling to the station twice a week by the end of March or get down to 11.5 stone by the end of November (I failed this one incidentally because of the chest infection by 1lb !) but others are actual events… I have 3 of these in mind but I need more information about them as I have a nasty feeling that at least one of them will clash with something the Man already has tickets for…so I may have to have a rethink…

So keep your eyes out for an extra page appearing on this blog shortly setting out my goals for next year.

In other news I reached the end of the NHS weight loss programme…it was not an unqualified success but on the other hand it has lead me to changing my sluggish lifestyle for the better so it may work but with a timescale a lot longer than 12 weeks.

Tuesday – The first cut is the deepest

So today was the first bike ride since the holiday and I was feeling seriously rusty.  Although we had cycled quite a bit the first week it had tailed off a bit in the second, mainly because I got fed up of having to reassemble my bike everytime.

We only have two slots on the bike carrier so the Man insisted that my bike be the one that gets disassembled and travels inside the van. This meant that before I went for a ride I had to reattch the quick release wheels…easy… and then clip the brakes back… not so easy. Even less easy when you cut the top of your thumb when making the evening meal… everytime I tried to put the back brake cables back into the requisite position I bled everywhere…

Then on the second but last night the heavens opened and all the bikes got soaked (mine goes out at night) and my gear shifters filled with sandy/grit because the bike was upside down…

The soaking and the constant dismantling didn’t seem to have left any permanent issues but it wasn’t the best of rides. I probably shouldn’t have decided to list the 19 possible routes by length and then decide to tackle them in order as the 2 shortest rides are the hardest ones.

Perversely these are some of my favourite rides but in a love hate way. I love it when I am out there cycling, I especially love it when I am lying on the floor by the back door having achieved it…but there is a definite reluctance on my part to get my butt off the sofa and out the door because I know I will have to face those hills…

Still feeling a lack of direction…

Why do you run/walk/swim/climb ? How do you motivate yourself ?

Shortly after I got my bike through the cycle to work scheme my brother was inspired to do the same… and whereas my cycling came to a shuddering stop when the local office was closed he kept going…

When I started again he gave me some time myself; because half the fun is from trying to beat your personal best…

I mentioned this to a friend in our Reading office, this friend Will, is Mr Bike as far as I am concerned. This is a man who cycles to work most days (from Newbury), thinks nothing of getting on his bike to visit his parents in Derbyshire, was delighted to attend a trial in Luton as he could have the fun of cycling back over the Chilterns and a couple of years ago took 2 weeks off work to raise money cycling Lands End to John o Groats

He disagreed. He said it is not about challenging yourself. It’s about the journey. About enjoying the things around you that you miss when whizzing along in a car. Slow down and listen to the grass grow.

I think I may be closer to Will’s philosophy than my brother…the ride of failure on Tuesday was vastly improved by the sight of a fox trotting across the road in front of me as I panted and pushed my sorry way home.  The second time I was out I think I was happier by the fact I’d seen a fox cub, something small yellow and feathery possibly a yellowhammer and a heron all in one ride rather than the fact that I’d knocked 5 minutes off my previous time (not had such an improvement since though… but there has been plenty of good wildlife).

It’s not confined to cycling however, you can see it in most sports. Back when I used to climb (when the Man and I first met and before the Boy) you could divide the climbing community between those who were happy to push the E numbers and had their own Gym/climbing wall in the garage and the happy thuggers like myself and the Man whose idea of a good time was slugging our way to the top of a vaguely interesting bit of rock followed by a picnic in the sunshine with the rest of the group.

BUT… I’m not sure that this is reflected in sport literature. Climbing, Swimming and Cycling all have inspirational books about how someone took on the odds, pushed their own envelopes and improved their performance but there doesn’t seem to be much about the flabby majority of us (apart perhaps from the Ascent of Rum Doodle or the Owl and the Cragrat)…except in running literature

Which is why although I am unlikely to put Run Fat Bitch Run into practice I am reading it for motivation along with “It’s only 4 times round the village” and “Running Like a Girl”

Tonight’s ride is the standard 4 mile circuit I started with, complete with the need to open two gates…the penalty for quite country roads is that some of them are Gated…

Then home to pack

Run Fat Bitch Run by Ruth Field

Following on from yesterday’s dismal attempt I guess it is appropriate to talk about Run Fat Bitch Run by the Grit Doctor aka Ruth Field

I bought the book on the same day as I bought Eat Nourish Glow. It was one of those “you bought this; we thought you might also be interested in this…”

I can tell you now, this book won’t get me running as the “set up time” is too much of a commitment… I can spare 30-60 mines for a cycle ride or a run but not the 90 minutes or more it would take to do the initial “walking the route” but I am leaping ahead of myself.

The books aim is to get people out running including people like myself who don’t believe they are capable or running. It takes as its start point the idea that the biggest hurdle to running is actually leaving the house. Once you get into a routine of leaving the house and make yourself do it at least 3 times a week then you can slowly build up your stamina and your ability until you can run at least 5km…

You start by choosing a route, preferably circular of about 4-5km. You get to know the route and when you are comfortable with the route you gradually start running and walking it and gradually you end up spending more time running than walking.

The book is big on being tough with yourself. About stopping making obstacles as to why you can’t do it and find solutions to the obstacles.  It emphasises that by just leaving the house it’s a win. Every run is a win whether you performed well or not. Be tough on yourself but not hard.

After talking about running generally and how to get started it then has sections on post baby running and nudging it up a bit to marathon running.

The book takes a fun, tongue in cheek approach to just getting you out there. It can be gently bullying and is definitely no nonsense. Either this approach will appeal or it won’t.

The section on dieting and weight loss is similar to the section on running – in short stop making excuses, only you are in control of what you eat and either you want to be thinner or you don’t.

As far as diet is concerned the rules are broadly the same as Eat. Nourish. Glow namely get rid of bad habits towards food and develop good; throw temptation out of the house, drink more water; eat vegetables; with an emphasis on the fact that movement should happen first rather than the diet…

This is probably the most important point because lets face it most of us find it easier to tinker around with the diet (a not doing, a negative) than to get out an exercise (a positive act).

The list of 7 deadly sins is very similar to Eat Nourish Glow too. Sugar is bad. Avoid processed food. No more snacking.

There is a reasonably good section on motivation but by and large the book is not saying anything new but is saying it in a slightly different way.

Although I am not going to be using the book in order to get me running I am applying the philosophy to the cycling as there doesn’t seem to be anything out there similar for flabby wanna be cyclists like myself… there is no-one writing books encouraging people just to get “on yer bike” and pedal. The majority of cycling literature is either travelogues, improving your training techniques or biographies of cyclists…not very inspirational…


Today is declaration day for Thin Club. Thin Club is like Fight Club except the first rule is that you tell everyone about it.

I know it’s not the done thing to talk about trying to lose weight because it bores the pants of people. Telling people though can be useful because if you have told the right people then they remind you when temptation is put in your path… they can reinforce your will power.

Thin Club is a virtual club based on self declaration. All the members work in different offices of the same organisation. It has struggled to get off the ground… some people committed to Thin Club only to then confess  they didn’t actually own a pair of scales.

For the past 2 weeks then it’s been mostly me and a colleague talking about avoiding or not avoiding temptation over the email. We have come to the conclusion that all birthdays should be banned and no colleagues should be allowed to go on holiday… there is too much cake in the office.

This week we are both “calling it orange” No one has a green light (indicating a reduction from the week before). We agree that this is probably the downside of a warm weekend in the UK that we all rush out to do barbeques and drink wine

Today is Friday… I’ll explain why Fridays are a problem another time… at least this evening I won’t be going home and splitting a bottle of wine with the Man… but there will be Steak and Chips and some wine at my parents… but its ok because breakfast and lunch involved fruit and vegetables… and NOT, I promise NOT giving in to the temptation of Italian biscuits from a colleagues trip to Italy…