Monday 12 July 2010

Eaty weekend

Not the best weekend ever.

We are still digesting the news about my husband's probable forthcoming redundancy, although we won't know for sure until sometime on Thursday. On the positive side, if there is a redundancy on the way, it will open up opportunities that we might otherwise have been too "comfortable" to go for or think about. So in some ways we're excited. Who knows what could be round the corner. In other ways, it's just insecurity, and I don't like that so much these days.

It wasn't only that which made it a bad weekend. Everything was on top of me - everything. House a mess, outstanding paperwork, dog didn't even get a walk yesterday, kids clothes and stuff all disorganised, and me wondering whether I'll ever finally get in control of it all one day, and manage to get myself a life.

I felt SO EATY this weekend. Constantly. So I did eat. The house being in a bad mess is always a danger sign for me, as it makes me feel out of control, and totally helpless. After Saturday night dinner there were loads of roast potatoes and roast sweet potatoes left in the pan, so I ate them all. Then I ate all the remaining chicken and sausage casserole. On Sunday, I ate all the left over kofte curry, including all the kids' remains from their plates. I was telling myself all the way through "I'm hungry! I'm still hungry, so I've got to do it!" When I'd finished, even though I hadn't got though half as much as I used to (finishing up leftovers was standard) I felt bloated, and this morning I have indigestion, and don't feel as full as energy as I have been doing of late.

So really, not the best weekend. This morning, I'd better recommit myself to starting again, I reckon. OK, let's get back on track ...

Friday 9 July 2010

Kick up the arse

I have just received an almighty kick up the arse.

Yesterday afternoon, my husband received a phone call to say that his role in the company he works for is no longer required. From today, he is on a week's "gardening leave" and next week will go in to work for a consultation as to whether he can fulfil another role, or should take redundancy instead. If he goes for the other role, it will be lesser paid. If he takes redundancy, we don't expect much of a golden handshake, as his employers tend to be cautious about what they pay out. This is all out of the blue. Totally unexpected. My husband even went for lunch with one of the company directors last week, who gave no inkling of an idea of what was happening.

Suddenly, things aren't as secure and comfortable as they were 24 hours ago. Our future is currently uncertain. I don't know what to do, or think.

Before the bombshell struck, the only real thoughts swimming around in my head were:
1. This weight loss and exercise thing is going well. And I feel so happy!
2. We're going to Thailand in 3 weeks!
3. I really should get down to some writing some time.

Now I'm just a bit dazed. The Thailand thing was always a bit more than we could afford. I don't regularly do that kind of trip. I've never been to the East before. This was a one off, a real treat. It seems like madness, but the kids and me are still going - the tickets are paid for, and staying in the UK for summer would achieve nothing. So off we go. In three weeks time. Three weeks from today, in fact.

When I get back, it'll be September, term time starting again, and it could be that my life will be very different. My inner Northerner has been snarling at me for a while to drop the arty-farty pretensions that one day I'll be a writer, get off my arse, and get a proper job. My inner Northerner has a point, and soon the choice might be made for me. It might not even be a bad thing.

When Bishop Brennan got kicked up the arse by Father Ted in what has to be the funniest episode ever of that series, his face was frozen in surprise for about the next three days. That's where I'm at right now. So is my husband. He's still in bed at the moment, and I'm wondering if I should urge him to get up and start looking at job ads, or whether that would be a bit too fascist-like of me. Maybe I'll leave him to do it in his own time. He knows what has to be done. Maybe I should just make him breakfast. Yes, that's a plan.

Keep calm and carry on! That's my motto for today, and for the forseeable future.

Thursday 8 July 2010

Rest Day

I am so having a rest day from exercise today. Even my husband has said I've been behaving in a ridiculously fit manner (which was perhaps gently patronising but I'll take it as a compliment anyway!!)

My one planned bike ride into town was on Monday, which I blogged about. Then I had to do the same again on Tuesday, as I'd forgotten something. What I didn't have to do was take the dog on a walk down to the cycle route beforehand, but I did it because I knew she'd love it - even thought it's quite far away. So on Tuesday, I did a walk of 4.4 miles with the dog, followed by a cycle ride of 8.82.

The dog did love it - but through consideration to cyclists, we went right off the cycle path, going mainly along by the side of the river. See that bridge in the background, with its gentle incline upwards? The cycle path goes along it, and it doesn't seem so gentle when you're on it. Makes my thigh muscles BURN - even without any Jane Fonda involvement!

Then on Wednesday, I had an optician's appointment, for contact lenses. Did I take the bus? Nope, I cycled into town again. A true Yorkshire woman (I'm also part Scottish which makes it no better) my fist clamps on to my cash quite tightly, and if it means I can save the £3 I have to pay for a return bus fare to town, then I'll cycle there, dammit! This week I've saved £9 on bus fares so far. And cycled a cumulative total of 26.46 miles.

So like I said - today I'm putting my feet up! What you doin' today? Exercising or resting?

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Weigh Day #6

Please forgive the stupid grin. But this morning I was a very happy girl, having just weighed in at 13 st 3. That's 2lbs gone again, and more importantly, my BMI has dropped to 29.76, meaning I am NOT OBESE any more!

If you look at that colour bar above, I have a long way to go through pink "overweight" before I reach the yellow "ideal" section, but a long journey made up of little steps is fine by me. The last time I posted a photo of myself was a month ago, and I've lost 9lbs since then. Not sure if it shows much - but the haircut and colour change does!

Tuesday 6 July 2010

Why have I never done this before?

Probably because I was too fat and unfit, that's why. Not that I'm particularly sylph like now, but to my amazement, yesterday I managed to cycle into town. And back. For the first time ever.

It wasn't as far as I thought, just 4.4 miles each way (I'd reckoned about 6) and each journey took me just over half an hour. Here's the stats:

Distance: 8.82 miles
Cals burned: 313
Time taken: 1 hr 12 mins
Av speed: 7.4 mph
To see map of my route, click here.

There was of course a gap half way through that given time of 1hr12, where I went to the post office, which was today's mission. Passport renewal form needed checking so it can be sent off, ready for our stay in Thailand next month.

None of the route to town was on the road (apart from through our village, but I don't mind that because there are hardly ever any cars about anyway). It was cycle paths all the way. Why have I never done this before? Oh yes, I remember why. The fat and unfit thing. And because I didn't quite believe how traffic free the route would be.

This bit was really nice. Most of the route goes by the side of the river. The only problem was that there were very often people with dogs sauntering right down the middle of the cycle path. Bloody dog walkers.

I was amazed at how quickly I got into town. It's actually a bit quicker than going by bus.

Parked my bike in York's Museum Gardens, which is where the cycle path took me to, and I didn't have to cycle in town through traffic, to my great relief.

But then, guess what? When I got to the post office, it was pointed out to me that I'd forgotten a document which needed to be enclosed with the passport renewal form. So rather sooner than expected - like, not long after this post's gone up - I'll be doing this ride all over again!

Monday 5 July 2010

The dog ate my pedometer

This week, the dog ate my pedometer.

No, it's not an excuse. She really did. While said pedometer wasn't actually devoured and digested, it was chewed enough to stop it functioning and I am a bit pissed off about this. There probably isn't even a lot of point buying another, as when the dog develops a taste for a certain kind of item, she tends to repeat offend. You only need to leave something lying around unattended once, and SNAP! Tooth marks and big dents dot com, forward slash dog slobber. We have no hair brushes left in the house to speak of (chewed up plastic handles with a bristle or two attached don't really count) apart from the one I bought last week, currently hidden in my handbag, but I don't kid myself it will last. And yes, she does have plenty of chewy toys of her own, but our stuff (which she takes hold of slyly and slowly with her head on one side) is apparently much better. I wonder if my pedometer tasted nice?

I did however manage to get out on three walks and a bike ride this week. The bike ride was the one I reported on earlier. The walks were good - two around my usual circuit of just under 2.5 miles, and the third which was longer than usual, and I had to plot on map my walk to find out the details (I WONDER WHY, MRS DOG-FACE?) It came up at 4.24 miles, which I was quite pleased with. Not bad for an evening dog walk - although she clearly didn't deserve it!

So the exercise goals went well this week, and food continues to go OK too. Have I written anything this week? Nope. Bugger all. Feel a bit like a comedy character in that respect - the writer with permanent writer's block, LOL! At least I'm writing this blog. And I do feel like things are coming together, I'm not sure how, but I am sure that they are :-)

This weeks goals:
3 x walks
1 x bike ride
Keep important stuff out of way of dog.

Thursday 1 July 2010


Yesterday, I sat down on a bench by York Minster, and realised ho much I've changed in the past month and a half. I have no real explanation as to why it's happened now, and not sooner or later, but I'm glad that it has.

It was my birthday yesterday, and I decided to treat myself to a new pair of glasses. The ones I wear at the moment are held together at the corner by a piece of tape, like Jack Duckworth. So I got a sight test, ordered some snazzy specs, and when I was done I treated myself to some lunch items from M&S, and I sat on my bench.

And as I sat there, I realised I was happy. Not worrying or stressing about anything at all. Just happy. It was only 10.30am, but I was peckish, so I opened my sandwich. Lochmuir poached salmon and watercress on oatmeal bread. Quite a lot of dill mayonnaise on there, but what the hell, birthday girls rule and they can have dill mayo. I sat and I ate. I ate and I sat.

How long does it take you to eat a sandwich? I used to eat one in about a minute flat before moving on to a samosa or pack of sushi. Then dessert. But I don't eat like that any more. My Lochmuir salmon sandwich took me around ten minutes to eat, as I sat there, savouring every mouthful. I really enjoyed it, and wasn't ashamed of enjoying it. There's nothing wrong, after all, with appreciating food. I also wasn't ashamed of eating in public, or imagining that people going past were thinking "Look at that fat woman eating at only half ten in the morning!" I didn't even know I used to have thoughts like that all the time, till I've managed to stop having them. It feels so different.

I don't think I've ever been quite as at peace with myself as I was sitting on that bench yesterday. Not since I was a kid.

I also realised that slowing down with my eating and changing my attitude towards food is also paying of in other areas of my life. Just as I was enjoying every bite of my sandwich, I was also enjoying every minute of being there, by the Minster, on my bench. I didn't feel like I was wasting time. I wasn't convinced I should actually be doing something else. I even felt that my use of time was productive. Do you know how long it is, since I've actually felt productive? Too long.

In the afternoon I treated myself to a look round one of my favourite York places, Treasurer's House, and generally had a me-day, till it was after school time and normal life was resumed. But what a great day. I like that my birthday falls exactly half way through the year. This year, I'm pretty happy with the way things are going :-)

Weigh Day #5

Another 2lbs gone. People are noticing I've lost weight now, which is quite rewarding. Watch me go! Next week I'll be standing sideways and you won't even see me ;-)

It's weird how THIN my current weight of 13st 5 feels on the "way down" so to speak. On the way up, weight-wise, it would have been quite the opposite, as my heaviest weight had always been about 12st 4, and to gain a whole stone on top of that was a disaster. Not that I was looking on the way up. But now, at 13st 5, I feel like I could turn cartwheels (but don't worry, I'm not going to try, I don't want to put my back out at this stage).

Wii Fit, you are very clever, yesterday was indeed my birthday. Shame I can't slim the age down as well as the weight ...!

Tuesday 29 June 2010

A Ride in the Rain

Distance: 10.12 miles
Time taken: 1 hr 11 mins
Cals burned: 436

When I said my last bike ride was mainly off road, I was wrong. It was mainly on road, but the on road bit goes by so fast in comparison with the other, that you hardly notice it.

Last night's bike ride however, was about 50% off road, and I was utterly knackered by it. When I stopped to take the above photo, I had just belted it like the clappers through a field of bullocks, then through a field of sheep (scared the bulls might be following) and up this little hill in the foreground - although I will admit to getting off and pushing the bike at this point!

We went a different route last night, along the side of the river Ouse, following it round to the village of Moor Monkton. Sometimes there was barely a path through long, overgrown grass and nettles. Other times, there was just a narrow ridge in the ground which it was hard to keep the wheels in. It started raining heavily half way through, which made me regret my inappropriate attire - a long, cotton summer dress. It was soon saturated and clinging to me. More than once, it occurred to me how nice it would be to take it off, and continue in my bra and knickers, but for the sake of decency I remained clothed. We only passed one solitary dog walker along the way, but he was fortunately spared the disturbing sight of a semi-naked fat woman on a bike in the middle of nowhere.

When we finally got on to tarmac, I hitched up my wet skirt, put my gears up a notch or two, and started to go as fast as I could for the hell of it. It felt fantastic, and as we hurtled along, I realised that although I was on a level with my husband, he was pedalling like mad to keep up, whereas I was just gliding along. Did I have some sort of superior athletic ability, finally beginning to emerge? "Why are you having to pedal twice as fast as me?" I asked. His reply brought me back down to earth: "I keep on a low gear when I'm out with you, so I can get a decent work out." LOL!

Last night's ride was harder than last week's. I initially decided to go off road because as a non-driver (and a wuss) I hate traffic, and I especially hate being pinned to the side of the road with cars going past. For some reason I can't fathom, I do actually like off road cycling, but since York has a lot of really great cycle paths, as well as being near a Sustrans route or two, I think I'll check try for something a bit less bumpy next time.

Goals - and other stuff

Last week's exercise goal was 3 x walks and a bike ride, and I achieved 1 recorded walk and a bike ride. I didn't get my other walks in, in the usual way, as I've been dashing around a bit and the dog walks have been squeezed in as and when, in various locations. On Saturday night I was just going to fit a walk in around my usual circuit, when my mother announced that she was coming with me! So although we did the walk, it was at a very slow pace.

I'm not setting any goals for this week. I just intend to keep active, do a bike ride or two, and keep to the food plan.

The weekend was tough food wise. My father-in-law has been staying with us, and insisted on cooking. Normally I'd have been thrilled as he makes traditional Punjabi Indian food and he does it well. The way he cooks is a bit like an art form, but one very important ingredient in that style of cooking is ghee or oil, and lots of it. This doesn't make for greasy food, like some Indian takeaways can be - but actually results in quite delicate dishes which are easy on the palate. At a certain point in the cooking process, the oil separates from the rest of the food, and is beautifully flavoured with spices. There's nothing better than some of that oil on basmati rice, or soaked up with a chapatti. I will add however, that many of the older people in my husband's family have cholesterol related problems :-(

The food he made was delicious. I did allow myself to eat some, but I did stress about it a bit, and probably compensated for the masses of calories in each bite, by not having enough to satisfy me. As a result, when he'd gone on Sunday night, I made myself another dinner. It was a much more balanced dinner, but a dinner nonetheless. Once I'd eaten it, my blood sugar still felt at rock bottom, so I had a slice of the chocolate cake he'd brought, and a couple of the mini-chocolate bars my brother in law had brought.

Apart from that, my father-in-law's stay went well, although it was also very sad. I mentioned before that he was an alcoholic, and has been for years. As a sportsman who once played in four lots of Olympic games, I can only think it must be mega fitness that allowed him to survive as long as he has, although now that fitness is gone, totally. As my husband put it, "He's done a bit of a George Best on us, hasn't he?" He managed to keep off whiskey while he stayed with us, surviving on beer, but had the DTs so bad most of the time that he could hardly hold anything in his hands, and needed our help in the kitchen for chopping and opening things. We were also shocked to find out that he can barely walk as far as the end of the street and back, and sometimes has trouble keeping his balance. Last time I stayed with my in-laws, he was still going out jogging.

So it's been a strange old week. My resolve to keep myself in control of making my own life choices is definitely stronger for it - and so is my determination to live life to the full. Time flies - let's keep on flying alongside.

Friday 25 June 2010

Whirling mind on the morning walk!

Time taken: 55 mins
Distance covered: 2.45 miles
Steps: 4869
Cals burned: 269

My mind was flitting about like crazy on this morning's walk. I'm in that horrible place where I feel I have too much to do and not enough time to do it. There are essential preparations for Thailand that need to be sorted now, and my father-in-law is coming to stay this weekend, arriving tonight. He's a difficult man, and an alcoholic - a pretty dire one at that. I haven't seen him since 2003. What's more, I haven't written anything yet this week - again. Maybe I should write about my father-in-law! The house is in a mess - I spent all day yesterday on it, but there's another day's work left. And I need to change the beds. Aaaargh!

So anyway, my mind was flitting about, and although the walk was invigorating, it wasn't relaxing. I managed to focus on planning some of this blog post for a few minutes, but I've forgotten what it was now - I don't think it was this!

What do you think about or focus on when you're walking / cycling / getting your exercise in?

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Weigh Day #4

That's another 3lbs gone this week. And my BMI is shrinking too.

A difference I've noticed this week is when I'm on the bus. My bum actually fits in just one seat, instead of taking up an inch or two of the next one as well, and I don't have to worry about rubbing arms with the person next to me because I can manage to keep my arms to myself - within the confines of my own allocated seat! Just a little thing, but it makes me feel a lot better.

The weight loss is happening more quickly than I thought it would. I feel like I'm eating plenty though, and the rate I'm exercising feels sustainable too. I originally set myself 6 months to lose the first stone and a half (as a goal on the Wii fit), but it's going to happen before that. I have to say that now 13st is in sight, I'm eager to get there.

The First Bike Ride

Distance: 9.2 miles
Time taken: 1hr 5 mins
Cals burned: 418

It has been done. The first bike ride. Yesterday evening, my hubby took me over part of one of his usual routes, and consequently I went much further for a first ride than I would have done if I'd been on my own.

Respect to all bike riders, it was really hard. Most of the ride was off road, and although as I've said before, the vale of York is flat, I have found out that there are different types of flat, not all of them particularly easy to ride on. There's stony flat, bumpy flat, flat with unexpected holes in (owch!), flat covered in cow pats, and even flat that has all of the above. Not to mention flat with a herd of bullocks charging over it.

I was knackered by the end, and very hot and sweaty, but I don't think I've enjoyed myself quite so much for a while. It was a real eye opener too, as we were mostly riding on public bridleways over farmland. I saw places I never knew existed before!

One track was very overgrown, and so bumpy that it made everything judder like crazy. You can get beauty treatments where your fat is blasted with an electric current to get rid of cellulite etc. Riding over that track had the same effect, I'm sure - and it was free!

The last leg was back on a proper tarmac road and it felt like bliss being back on a smooth surface. All things considered though, I think I could get to like offroad cycling. Loads of fun - and a good penance to pay after that angus burger!

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Christie and the Angus Burger

Yesterday afternoon, I realised I was craving red meat.

The only other time that's happened to me, was when I was pregnant (no, I'm not!). It was 1998, I'd been vegetarian for about 4 years, yet all I wanted was steak. With blood in the middle. Yesterday afternoon - same thing. I was on my way to pick up my youngest son from school. I knew my husband was cooking rainbow trout for dinner but reasoned that if I picked up a pack of steak from the Co-Op, I might be able to hang on till tomorrow and have it then. I'd cook it, fat free in a non-stick pan, only a minute on each side so that it'd be (as my ex-mother-in-law who is French used to say) "still cold in the middle." My mouth was watering at the thought.

The journey to pick up my son involves a double bus ride, both there and back. When I got off the first bus at York Station, I could only think about red meat. I tried to distract myself, and thought I'd take a few photos, but there was no memory card in my camera - damn! So I stood there, looking at the entrance to the station, knowing that there were 20 minutes to wait before my next bus arrived, and thinking about meat. There was nowhere I was going to be able to go and get a rare steak within the next 20 minutes anyway, so I might as well forget it. But then I thought of Burger King in the station. They do Angus Burgers, which are rather nicer than ordinary ones. Nice and meaty. Red meaty.

Imagine a ridiculously speeded up film, like the way the vampires move in Twilight. That was me flitting across the road, into the station, round the corner, and before you could even blink, standing in front of the Burger King Cashier.

"An Angus burger please."
"Do you want a drink with that?"
"Yes please. A diet Coke."
"If you want a drink with it, it's cheaper if you order the full meal with fries."
Excruciating five seconds while I consider.
"Could I pay for the full meal, but not have the fries?"
"Of course."

So there I am, a minute or two later, in York City Station, holding a fizzy drink and a Burger King carton. It's half past two. Not lunch time, not dinner time. This is my afternoon snack. Looking around the station, no-one else is eating, apart from three Japanese tourists, who I immediately excuse as clearly having a late lunch. I try to excuse myself. Yes, I know I've had lunch already but ... this isn't a junk food binge! My body obviously wants red meat. I'm listening to my body! I'm in tune with my body! Isn't that great? Well kind of yes and no. It would have been good to have waited till tea time, and not to have gone for burger.

I looked for a bench to sit down, and studiously avoided the space next to a slim, well dressed older lady, who looked happy, alert, and who wasn't eating. I eventually slunk into an empty bench near the stall of a flower seller who was busy watching the world cup on a portable telly.

I opened the Angus Burger. The item I pulled out was a masterpiece of comfort food design technology. The burger buns are like two huge soft sponges. If you could shrink yourself and lie down on top of it, it'd be like sleeping on a warm, fluffy cloud. The burger itself is very meaty, not fatty, and on top of it is tomato and lettuce, coated almost completely in lashings of thick, creamy mayonnaise. Summoning up most of my remaining will power, I pulled out most of the salad. I didnt have enough to just eat the meat and discard the bread bun.

Biting in to the Angus Burger, to my disappointment, did not quell the red meat craving. It wasn't quite right. Not quite what I wanted. It was however, stifling my worries with every mouthful. I tried to eat slowly like I've been doing over the past weeks, but it was hard. This sort of food lends itself somehow to being crammed in. My world was having the edge taken off it, and suddenly I was in bouncy mattress land, getting a real hit from starting to feel a bit too full, and from getting full fast.

Walking out of York Station, I felt good. I'd like to tell you I felt sick, or felt suddenly repulsed, but I didn't. I think my red meat craving was eventually satisfied by the burger, and for the rest of the day I ate normally as though that blip didn't actually happen.

Comfort food and comfort eating is a weird thing. I wonder if anyone totally understands it, and why we "go wrong" in that way? I certainly don't know the answer to those questions, but be assured, I am watching what I eat, in more ways than one. The more we understand why we do what we do, and are aware what's going on, the more we can fight it, I guess.

Monday 21 June 2010

Goals for this week

Exercise goals
This week I'm just going to concentrate on the exercise.
3x walks of around 2 miles each.

A first bike ride.

The food is sorting itself out, as I'm finding my tastes are changing. So there's no food goal. Towards the end of last week there was no point planning anything as I'd find I was craving specific things (red meat at the moment, yesterday I wanted to drink milk!!) so I've been changing the day's food accordingly. It's weird, but interesting. I never used to really care what the dinner was as long as there was lots of it and I could pig out. Now I'm fancying stuff that's very plain - but very specific.

Writing goals
The writing is still a total pain in the arse and I didn't manage to finish off. So last week's writing goals are carried over to become this week's goals.

Weekly goals feedback

Exercise Goal
This was to do three dog walks around my usual route of just over 1.5 miles. As I changed to a new route the second time, I managed to cover even more in terms of distance, so I exceeded the goal on this one! A huge improvement on last week, where I didn't manage any.

Monday 14th June
Distance:1.76 miles
Steps: 3487
Cals burned: 199
Time taken: 45 mins
Didn't feel remotely like going out, but as soon as I stepped into the fresh air with the dog, I felt fab. Instant mood change. Just over half way through I got a bit bored though. Not tired, just bored. I find the village leg of the walk tiresome, whereas I like the countryside bit.

Wednesday 16th June
Distance: 2.703 miles
Steps: 5353
Cals burned: 306
Time taken: 1hr 5 mins
Lovely sunny day -glad to be out. Decided to vary my route as I got bored on the last walk, and took a left turn down a lane I hadn't explored before - very pretty, and I spent lots of time taking pics, especially of poppies in the fields. It lead eventually to a major road, so I doubled back for my return home. Longer walk than usual - no foot arch pain, no tiredness, yay!

Friday 18 June
Distance: 2.75 miles
Steps: 5461
Cals burned: 302 (less than last time as I've just input my new weight in the pedometer)
Time taken: 1hr
Grey chilly day, felt I didn't have time to walk as there's lots on my mind, but I went anyway. Stopped to talk to another dog walker for 10 mins and then belted along to make up time. Planned in my head what to do when I got back, and dictated some thoughts for a project idea I'm mulling over into the voice recorder on my phone. My calves ached in a good way on the way back! Saw a yellow wagtail, Britain's yellowest bird. Thought someone's canary had escaped at first!

Food Goal

My food goal was to be more organised with my food planning and to have at least one new recipe in my folder by the end of the week.

Blog friends, I tried. I managed the first bit OK, but the new recipes I tried out weren't that good. I thought the above bulgar wheat salad was going to be a keeper, but I hated the pomegranate seeds in it (I like them - but not mixed with bulgar wheat) and would rather have my salady bits served separately with a dressing on. Fussy girl, aren't I? So that goal will have to be carried over till next week, not for want of trying though.

Self Esteem Goal
This was to have a haircut, and I did it! I could so easily not have done, as they could only fit me in at an awkward time and normally I'd have left it. But I did it. That's the first time I've had a proper haircut in about a year, and it feels good. Soz no piccy yet, and you're not getting one off my webcam now as I'm still in my nightie (LOL) but you can see it a bit in the post below, where I'm having my head massage!

Writing Goals
Still struggling like crazy. Nearly done it, but not quite. Hope to have some positive feedback before the end of the day on that one.

All in all, I'm pleased with myself, especially for the exercise, which went better than expected. The writing's an ongoing battle.

Sunday 20 June 2010

Father's Day - York Cycle Show

My husband is a keen cyclist. As the York Cyle Show was on today, on the Knavesmire, you can guess what his Father's Day treat was!

I personally don't much rate tyres as a pressie, but apparently these were irresistible!

And there were some pretty good bargains to be had in the way of cycling gear too!

There was a really great atmosphere at the Knavesmire. What struck me was how friendly everyone was, and how people of all ages are interested in cycling. Most were men, but there were a good proportion of women too, and not necessarily very sporty types either.

This looks like a very civilised idea. I could put my hubby at the front and get sit and take pics of the scenery we pass from the back ;-)

Or how about this? Electric bikes! If you get fed up of pedalling up hill, just turn on the power and up you zoom. I wonder if you get electrocuted when it rains ...

The bike show was great fun. There was even a stall where you could make yourself a smoothie by hopping on a bike and pedalling to power the liquidiser! I opted for something altogether more restful though and had a ten minute head and shoulder massage.

I do actually have a secret yen though to do a bit more on my bike than my usual tootling around to the local shops, or to take the dog out. I used to love riding my bike as a kid - hey, I could even do wheelies once! Might try and investigate some of the local cyle paths sometime soon, I think!

Friday 18 June 2010

Temptation beckons

I'm not a cakes and biscuits girl, or one of those women who would kill for chocolate when she's feeling down. My own weight loss nemesis is Chinese food. In fact I love all types of oriental food. The above picture of sweet and sour chicken is making my mouth water. Gloopy, sugary sauce but with a sharp tang to it too, crispy deep fried batter, and piles and piles of rice with the sauce soaked in. If someone put a plateful in front of me RIGHT NOW, I would pig out on it, despite the fact that it's 8.30 in the morning. I know how to eat this kind of food till the rest of the world slowly fades away. Take me to Happy Orange City. This stuff is my vice, a love of my life.

My eldest son, who's 22, is in Thailand teaching English. He went out there in February. He frequently posts on his Facebook page, photos of meals he's had. I've just been looking back through some of them, and found that my comments underneath them are all things like I want that in my face! Now! or OMG, I want to eat your dinner, and other variations along the same theme. Who can blame me? There are Thai green curries in coconuty sauces, with that thick creaminess that slows down your world to a manageable pace. And there are cartons stuffed full of Pad Thai - fried noodles with meat, prawns, and sprinkled liberally with crushed peanuts. I could probably take two, at 600 cals each, and that would only be lunch.

I have stayed clean away from Chinese takeaways and the like, for the past few weeks now. One day however, on a Tuesday, while my daughter went to her dance class, I treated myself to sushi, which I love (I get my rice fix, and the deliciously punishing flavours of pickled ginger and wasabi) but I wouldn't want to overeat it. It came in a bento box with a generous portion of fresh salad, and nothing was fried. I made sure of that when I ordered. I was pleased with myself that day, and at the end of the week I'd lost weight. Sushi is good, and I can eat it in moderation.

And now guess what? A dream I've had for quite some time has just come true. Last week my husband said:
Him: "You know what? If you want to take the kids away this summer, I think we could just about afford it."
Me: "Yes, I was thinking a week in Whitby again. They love it there, and -"
Him: "No, not the week in Whitby. I was thinking more Thailand, to see Al."
Me: "WHAT?"
Him: "If we can get together the money for the tickets, once you're there the cost of living will be quite cheap. I think we can do it."

Blog friends, we did do it. This August will see me in Bangkok, surrounded by the food of my naughtiest dreams. There is healthy stuff to eat there too, of course, but it's still a bit like sending an alcoholic on holiday to a distillery with all kinds of different whiskies on offer, a water tap in the corner, and telling him "You'd better just drink that."

As much as I am over the moon about going to Thailand, I am worried. I will tell you now that I am determined to continue with this weight loss and lifestyle, because I feel better than I have done in years, like I'm finding myself again. But this will really really test me, and put me right in the middle of loads of the food that I'm most likely to stuff my face with. But that type of food is always going to be part of life, so what better way to learn to cope with it, than go leap right in there?

And so the countdown to Thailand begins. I make it about 39 days ...

Thursday 17 June 2010

Being active burns calories

It's not rocket science, is it? We all know that being active burns calories. So why was I so surprised to find out that yesterday, having been shopping in both Leeds and York city centres, I covered a total distance of 4.32 miles, took 8564 steps and burned 490 cals. That's not even including the walk I did with the dog in the morning. 490 calories! That's enough to have another dinner! However, I shall be good, and take the weight loss instead of the dinner!

The piccy is Leeds bus station. I have never driven, and have consequently always been quite active in the past. In fact the walking around I did yesterday wasn't a lot compared to how I used to be once, always scurrying round all over the place, taking buses and trains here and there, belting it along to the station if I was late. Could I be on the road to recapturing that? Hope so!

A load of tripe

So following on from my post yesterday where I mentioned I was going to procure a particular foodstuff as part of my research for the short story I'm writing, I am now pleased to announce that I have some! Tripe!

Actually I'm not that pleased. The stuff stinks. It's currently boiling in the kitchen and our entire house smells like someone's mucking out the cowshed. There are are apparently three different kinds of tripe, one of which is considered to be unfit for human consumption in the UK these days, although it is eaten in other parts of Europe, namely Italy. I think I must've got that kind. I will add that the dog is going wild with excitement, and has been ever since the tripe entered the house. When it's cooked, frankly, she can have it. There might be only 95kcal per 100g, but I'd rather eat nothing - and there are even less calories in that :-D

So has this been successful for my research purposes at least? Well, considering that I mainly wanted to find out whether tripe has a particular smell ... then yes. I think I need to know all I want to know about the smell of tripe now! Bleuch!!