Sunday, 31 October 2010

Day 68 Carb day

Chilly evening tonight, and have had a carbfest of a dinner tonight. Am passing on the beer and getting an early night.

Food stats for the day: SW Green Day Syns 55.5, calories 2345. Again I've eaten a lot of bread products but I'm pleased that I've only had 14g of butter! And I've had my five-a-day.

Breakfast: croissants x2, butter, jam, caffe latte
Lunch: spicy potato & cauli soup, roobios tea with milk
Snack: wholemeal pittas x2, taramasalata, an apple
Dinner: handful of fresh spinach leaves, scooped out half a baked potato, half an olive oil brushed baked aubergine, a whole baked sweet potato, doused with 100g cottage cheese. Not the greatest looking dinner (goo is the best word!) but was certainly filling, and warm!

I'm hopeful that this coming week is going to be a good swimming and walking week, AND that I get that calorie count down to around the 1800 - 2000 mark. Two more weeks to weigh-in, want it to be as good as last month's.

Day 67 Oktoberfast Challenge Results, and swimming thoughts

Despite the initial muddle about hours this morning - the clocks went back last night - I made it to the pool. And to finish off this very good week, in fact the only good week in the whole month of this challenge, I did 32 laps, or half a mile of swimming.

My challenge for the month was to swim 10.5 miles (16.8 km) and to walk 5x for around 90 minutes.
I have swum 4.375 miles or 7km. Of which 2.875 miles or 4.6 km was swum since Weds 27 Oct...and I've been on 3 walks of differing times - 90mins, 25 mins, 60 mins.

Consistency over the last month, it seems, HAS not been my strong point. However, I am so glad that at least in this final week, I have made a good showing. :)

Consistency, as a lady I chatted to in the pool after my swim today said, is the key. I was gently moaning about my sore back (from my 1 miler on Friday), and she suggested twice a week for more than half an hour might be better than every day... There is sense in that statement. However, I do like to surprise myself on occasion, and when I go everyday I do feel better, so maybe I will do a combination of the two, with something similar to the pyramid training that weight-trainers do: 32 laps one day, then 40, the next, 48, 56, 64, day of rest, then back to 40, 32, and up again. or back down, and up again...heh. That way I won't get bored, every time I go I will be doing a different combination of laps, strokes, and maybe by the end of November I will feel strong enough to attempt front crawl.

I have a problem with front crawl, in that I never seem to get enough breath, so it is a stroke I seldom attempt for more than half a lap. So I'm going to start practicing breaststroke with breathing instead of doing the currently sedate head out of water stroke I'm doing. That will help me with the anxiety about lack of air, and train my lungs to get enough breath! My backstroke has improved so much in the last week, just by doing the kick from the hip instead of the knee, and thinking about the streamlining of my shape as I pull back my arm. Hmm - maybe it is time to start looking at swimming videos and pick up some proper swim habits!

I still have that goal of doing a mile in less than an hour to achieve. Having shaved off 7 minutes since 1 Aug. That's my Grail, the object of my quest. "Onward then Brave Knight Pinkvision, and let not any impediment sway thee from thy vow."

Heh - just for amusement - this is me at Warwick Castle in 2006... ;)

'THE GREEN KNIGHT...'
I've always thought those old medieval stories of chivalry were rather skewed - I wanted to be the knight, riding off in search of exciting adventure instead of the stay-at-home maiden...

For the other side of Oktoberfast - I have a couple of new beers to choose from to sample today to celebrate the end of Oct - Bath Ales' Golden Hare, brewed in the Cotswolds and Thwaites's Wainwright, brewed in the Lake District, and named after the famous fell walker. I also have Theakston's Old Peculier, a good Yorkshire brew, as well as my favourites, Fuller's London Pride and Guinness Stout, populating my fridge...

FINE ALES
I think the rest of today is going to be an indoor day. Dull, grey and wet out. Radio is playing lots of golden oldies... A good accompaniment to clear out some junk from my house, and make room in my life for the new! :)

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Day 66 Harcourt Aboretum Walk

VIEW FROM HIGH

This afternoon I decided the aboretum was the place to be for my walk. It is at Nuneham Courtenay, a little village just outside Oxford. I love the name, and the village, even though a busy road runs straight through it, still looks really sweet, with lovely little cottages on either side.

The aboretum is gorgeous now. Especially the Acer Walk. Brilliant red bushes, gleaming through yellow oaks, limes, and other deciduous trees, some evergreens and set off by blue skies. I puffed my way up a gentle slope and had a short rest taking in the view, before plunging into the Lime Wood, then the Bluebell Wood, before finally coming to the Acer Walk. It wasn't too far really. I was mostly ambling along, stopping to take pictures. next time I go I'll be much more serious about the walking bit, and maybe go the other way around since there is more uphill that way (better for me!) Was very popular today, lots of walkers around.

LIME WALK
ACER

ACER WALK
FOOTPATH
AUTUMN COLOUR
ME TOO!

This peacock was lingering next to the picnic table where a family was having their lunch, obviously waiting for HIS share...


MORE ACER LEAVES!
A GLORIOUS SWEET MAPLE
I wish the sweet maple pictures had come out better - sadly the light wasn't in my favour for them. I had a really nice time, and took about 60 minutes to get round and my leg muscles got a teeny bit of a workout.

No swim today, as am now feeling quite sore and have an achy back. Am heeding the message my body is sending me and having a rest from the pool tonight.

Foodwise, has also been a good day. I've eaten what I consider a normal 3 meals, and it has come in at 1836 calories and 55 Green Day SW Syns. The syn count is high because I had LOTS of bread products today...
A couple of croissants with butter & strawberry jam plus two mugs of tea
A couple of wholemeal pittas with a quarter tub of taramasalata (cat had some T too - she likes it, plenty of licking of chops ensued!)
Pan-fried chicken breast in FryLight, with mashed potatoes, boiled cauliflower, brussel sprouts, dwarf beans, peas and gravy.

I just had a lo-cal Options chocolate drink, and later maybe an apple. That's if I'm not asleep in the next hour - I am very tired, but in a good way. :)

I've had a wonderful day, and now Neil Diamond is playing live on the Electric Proms on Radio 2... mellow sounds.

Addendum: a bowl of crunchy nut clusters with semi-skimmed milk snuck into the menu last minute, bringing day's total to 2161 calories. Yay for me though, for sticking it out with the no food rule between 10pm and 6 am this morning, Sunday.... :) And that despite some really rather strong and uncomfortable emotional thoughts and feelings running riot in my head around midnight last night. I'm proud of myself for working my way through those without the help of food.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Day 65 Swimtastic!

Yay! Woo-hoo! I did a whole mile in the pool tonight - 64 laps! And it took me one hour and 15 minutes. 7 minutes less than the last time I attempted this particular feat.

Heh.

My muscles are a little bit sore, because I've been gradually upping the laps over the past few days. Tonight I was only intending to do 48, maybe 56, but... The pool was almost empty, I had loads of time, and I just kept right on going!

First I did 32. Then another 8 more. Then another 8 more because that would be more that I am old. Then another 8 because that would be more than Mr T's age (the unavailable man I was feeling weepy about before  - it was kind of irrational but doing more laps than he is old made me feel so GOOD!) And then I thought - hey, I might as well go for it, it is only another 8 laps...

I'm feeling good.

And I'm having a bottle of totally deelicious London Pride beer to celebrate. And for those beer afficionados - it's brewed by Fullers, is an 'Outstanding' Premium Ale, Alc.4.7% Vol. It's a lovely golden burnt caramel colour and is the smoothest ale ever, with just a hint of tang and bitterness and a wonderful hoppy aroma. Heh - it's very nice beer. And has won lots of awards.

Tomorrow I thought I might do 32 laps and perhaps tackle the climb up White Horse Hill. BBC Weather say its going to be sunny until 1pm - plenty of time for me to get there and walk up to the Horse, and maybe have a picnic.

The more things I do that I used to do, the better I will feel, and the more likely I am going to stay focused on this journey. The swim tonight was a bit like this - each lap takes 30 or more strokes, and every lap is 25m, and it is a cumulative thing - just like losing one or half or two pounds a week, finally ends up with me being around 10 stone and fit, healthy and energetic. :) But I'm not waiting for that magic number of 10 stone to live my life. I'm going to live it now, start making all my 'extraordinary' achievements as I go along the way.

This time next year, I want to be looking back at a string of firsts, and a string of oh-golly,-it's-so-great-to-be-doing-this-agains. I'm getting out of that front door and doing stuff, instead of hiding away.

Maybe next month will be the walking challenge achievement month? hehe.

Food today, calories 3178.
Breakfast - rosehip tea, bacon, eggs and baked beans with weird little soy sausages (not buying those again)
Lunch - mozzarella & bacon salad, an apple, roobios tea with milk
Tea - 5 ryvita crispbread with Laughing Cow light cheese, a date & rosehip tea
Snack - bowl of peanuts, breakfast nuts & dried fruit, pecans, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds (this was the calorie buster - 1223 cals!)
Dinner - homemade aloo gobi curry and a bottle of London Pride

I think part of the impetus to do the mile today came from the fact I had eaten all that energy dense and sustaining nuts and seeds. After I finished tonight I didn't feel all weak and quivery, just good and a little sore, but still with plenty of energy to dry my hair and I didn't have to sit down afterwards!

Tomorrow is going to be a light exercise day - and I will take that hill slowly, and enjoy the walk.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Day 64 A better food day

Yay! Today's calories come in at 2007. SW Green Day Syns 44. Hmm, sometimes I don't know why I bother with the Syns count, except I truly believe that if I get the SW thing sorted, then THAT is a healthy way to keep on losing and never feeling deprived.

And I'm sticking to my no eating after 10pm rule. That's it now, until 6 am! Heh. And luckily, the last thing I had tonight was a white chocolate Options drink with 2 tablespoons of light coconut milk (have run out of cow's milk).

Have been reading lots more blogs tonight, and a few other food related things, all interesting. Actually, all far more interesting than TV! Yesterday was the first evening in a long while I watched the box, and that was only because Grand Designs was on. Really cool show this time, an engineer built his house totally prefabricated, and put it together like a load of Meccano, lots of crane work!...looked amazing. Beautiful house.

One day I will build my own house.

The food today:
breakfast - crunchy nut clusters with semi-skimmed milk, roobios tea & a banana
lunch - turkey & butter bean chilli, a couple of wholemeal pittas, 1 oz ham, 1 oz smoked salmon
snack - a bowl of crunchy nut clusters with milk, roobios tea and an apple
dinner - potato & cauliflower curry, extra hot roquito peppers (ouch!) followed by a bowl of plain low fat Greek yoghurt with a couple of tablespoons homemade stewed apples.
snack - Options white chocolate with coconut milk

Actually I am feeling quite sleepy, but have a couple of things to do before turning in. And visualizing myself swimming in the pool tomorrow! I'm going to shoot for 32 laps, and anything extra is going to be a bonus. :)

Day 64 swim interruptus

I made it to the pool at lunchtime again today. The car park was really crowded as part of it had been cordoned off, so I parked on double yellow lines and went in for my swim, after first ascertaining it would be okay to leave the car there...

Well, after my first 10 laps, just as I was getting into lap 11, a message comes over the tannoy, to report to reception. So it was out of the pool, get dressed, pack up and go to move car with dripping wet hair. I did think as I walked out that maybe I'd just go home and come back later. The great big flat loader was waiting for us to move our cars, and thankfully I wasn't the last one! And even better - there was a little parking space! So after a nifty manouevre, and a speedy change back to swimming cozzie, I was back on the swim count.

Nothing was going to stop me doing my laps!

So today, I did first 10, then 30 then another 8 laps, just because. :)
That's 48 laps today! Yay! That's 1200m. Three quarters of a mile.

Gosh I've swum as far as I walked in Leigh Woods on Monday.

I'm feeling good. Just had lunch, food stats so far today are also faring well, and I've made spicy potato & cauliflower for dinner, so the house smells delicious!

Cat was so funny today. We were playing with her red ribbon, and I'd changed the cushion & comfy rug on her favourite seat. Except we discovered this cushion is extra slippy...so she nearly disappeared through the armrest! So cruel of me, I couldn't stop laughing! While of course, she was busy reinstating her dignity...

heh. Life's always funny with my cat. :D

Day 63 The stats and a few strategies for dealing with the midnight munchies

Food intake: 3358 calories. Yes, I am still over-eating. But the good news is none of that stuff was unhealthy processed full-of-additives full-of-bad-fat crud, which I used to eat, often, whenever my mood was down.

The bad is, I am still eating because I like the taste of things, and don't stop when I am feeling full. This IS something I am having to work on, and I guess it will be something I will have to be aware of and act upon for the rest of my life.

Reminder to me: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!

:)

And perhaps I will start adhering to a new rule about eating. Stop eating between 10 pm and 6 am. There. That hopefully will help with the midnight munchies, and also perhaps help me to start going to bed earlier.

Another rule: Put all foodstuffs AWAY. In the cupboards. In the fridge. So I am not inspired by a walk through to eat something because I have caught a glimpse of it!

And this one: Drink tea, or water first before automatically reaching for something to eat. Keep a litre bottle of water near me when I am working so I'm not tempted to go to the kitchen...

And next time I feel miserable and blue, to just go for a little walk. Getting out of the house, or away from the situation that has upset me, and time to settle my thoughts will always help me. A double plus - away from using food to stuff down my emotions, and getting my body moving and creating endorphins that soothe and relax me instead. :)

Today I had:
midnight snack - turkey mince with egg noodles in sweet sour sauce & roobios tea
breakfast - crunchy  nut clusters with skim milk, half a pink grapefruit & roobios tea
snack - a banana & an apple
lunch - homemade carrot & lentil soup, plain bagel with smoked salmon, roobios tea & an apple
dinner - turkey mince & butter bean chilli with a wholemeal pitta (twice)
supper - 2 wholemeal pittas with 4 slices ham, 75g chunk of Brie

I was thinking yesterday that when I eat now, I eat a lot slower than I used to. And when I sit at the table and eat, I am far less likely to simply eat without noticing my food. So from now on, mealtimes are just that. TV, computer off, and book closed.

5 good rules. Let's see if they help with the eating for the next few days. :)

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Day 63 Sunshine, another Pool Day, and how my friends inspire me!

Yay! I made it up to the pool again! And today I did all my 32 laps and then 8 more! Cue cheerleaders whooping around in my head...hehe.

There was a very pretty black lady in the faster lane next to me powering up and down doing her breaststroke, backstroke and freestyle. One day that will be ME! Hmm, perhaps to help that vision along I will start 'programming' myself by visualizing myself as a speedy swimmer every night. My ex swears by this method of encouraging him to keep to his goals. And boy, has he done some amazing stuff! Twenty years ago when I first knew him, he could barely swim, now he does 64 laps to my 32...not to mention the cycling around huge lonely stretches of Russia and China all by himself - both countries he barely knew the language to...

I guess I already know lots of inspiring people.

Another friend has learnt how to play the guitar and has sailed to France. Both things I would like to do someday. The guitar learning is easy enough to get started, the sailing on yachts a little trickier to organize, but it can be done! And maybe one day I might have a little boat and invite him to come sailing with me! We first learnt to sail messing about on the River Thames at Uni. And he continued, but I didn't after we left.

What I am thinking here is - it is never too late to do those things that give us pleasure, that stretch our horizons, that show us we are, inside us all, extraordinary beings. :)

I'm looking forward to doing another 40 laps tomorrow.

And just for gratuitousness - because I once sailed on her and want to again. Here is a link to Eve of St Mawes, a beautiful pilot cutter, and the first yacht I have ever sailed on in my life, a wonderful weekend in Cornwall last autumn.

EVE OF ST MAWES. PHOTO BY JERRY 

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Day 62 Wet Day

It has rained steadily all of today, and my mood has been correspondingly down. Didn't help either that reading that book from my friend today showed me that my last relationship that I had enshrined in my head as true lurve was totally based on illusion and the man concerned was "emotionally unavailable". :(

I could denigrate myself, and allow my negative voice full rein. I could and did eat to help stuff down my upset emotions. I did have a cathartic sleep this evening, and am now in a much better frame of mind than earlier. Hmm, today's vices were two flapjacks from the freezer and a big bowl of peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and pecan halves doused in salt. And an extra bowl of cereal with milk. Good thoughts about this - the milk was skim, the flapjacks were portioned and calorie counted, the nuts and seeds are healthy fat, and my dinner of bagel and smoked salmon was without butter or cream cheese.

Crise de confiance!

In the grey skies of my mind though there is a sparkle of sun and blue sky. I am here, I have learned more about myself, and next time, I will choose better. :)

Total calories today 4447.

Maybe tomorrow can be a vegetable soup day - I have a tonne of cauli, carrots etc that will make a big soup, that is comfort food and good for me. :) And the weather forecast is sunny in the morning, so that potential lunchtime swim will be a pleasure.

Other good things about today - I got a pile of work done, and that is always pleasing. Oh yes, and my cat loves me. :)

GIVE ME THAT RIBBON!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Day 60 & 61 Day out

Brilliant day Sunday, seeing J in Gloucester. We went to see the sculpture exhibition at the cathedral - Crucible. So many amazing things to see. Lots of inspiring ideas to take away and mull over. :) We also had a great girlie chat about men, and she gave me a new book to read!

A Fishy Friend!

I tracked as well as I could with the food today. Much more difficult guesstimating things than I thought, but I think the day ended up being around 2300 cals.

Monday, I went to see another friend, J, who lives in Bristol. We went for a lovely walk in Leigh Woods. I forgot my camera and left it in the boot of the car... :( I was really pleased though - we did 1.2 km - in about 25mins, and came across a film crew filming the Christmas episode of Corrie! Heh, there was a gold Madonna lashed upright to the top of a blue mini, so maybe I might even have a looksee Xmas - me the anti-soap watcher! What was great about that walk was I even managed a conversation while puffing my way up a slope! J has suggested a possible jaunt to Devon later this year, and a long walk!

Food today was also provided by other people, so I'll tot it up and post about it tomorrow.

On my Oktoberfast challenge, the swimming is looking up a bit. I did a mile this week - 64laps - so I'm really pleased with that. Next week, hmm from Tuesday onwards will be the final push - I hope I do myself proud. :)

I'm really pleased with my activity over the last couple of days. I did a whole lot of walking about, to and from the carpark to the cathedral - not far, but much further than I normally go anywhere, a few hours strolling around, going ooh and ahh ;), and a couple of treks when I was in Clifton, on top of the walk in Leigh Woods.  Every extra step I make is another step to a healthier life. Heh.

Calories today 1954.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Day 59 Good intentions are sometimes not enough

Another tense, nervous day. Wrong footed from this morning, woke very early, sorted out a few urgent letters then went off to have a nice swim...but discovered when I got there that there was a junior swimming session starting in 15 minutes. :(

And I was too early for the library.

So came home and basically I suppose I have sulked for most of the day. Finally decided to do some online training, and got so into it that I missed the second adult swim session. And in between all that I have been eating everything in sight.

Good thing cat isn't made of chocolate ;)

So, from my calcs, today's food stats: Green Day Syns hmm, we won't bother with those, they are stratospheric. Calories 4808.

I think somehow I won't be seeing a loss at all this week.

At least amongst the chocolate, peanuts, and extra carbs I have managed also to stash in a goodly showing of veggies and good proteins, and the fat, thankfully has been mono-unsaturated olive oil. Small consolations.

I did do a teeny bit of exercise - went and faffed around in the garden for a bit. Frozen hands by the end, but one little thing that was annoying me has been done. :)

Fun day ahead tomorrow. Seeing a friend and we might go to an exhibition too. Yay! Out and about is always good.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Day 58 Comfort Food and Alternative Stress-Busters

I've been stress eating during the night. At least though, I've made healthy choices on the whole in this episode. And this morning I decided to just put it behind me and concentrate on eating healthily and accountably again.

Food stats today: Green Day Syns 85 calories 3352. The stress eating component was 56 Syns and 1589 calories. So if I'd just had a normal day's eating that would have been 1733 calories and 29 Syns, well within my desirable intake.

Today I decided after my night terrors I would make myself some winter-style comfort food, tweaked for counting calories! Both dishes were very successful and tasty. I was particularly pleased about the crumble as I had it without custard or cream or even crème fraîche. I love rhubarb - it is a gorgeous beautiful pinky red that just looks so jewel like. The other one was a classic leeks wrapped in ham in cream sauce. My cream sauce was made with semi-skimmed milk, cornflour and a couple of ounces of parmesan, flavoured with black pepper, salt & freshly grated nutmeg. I had both for lunch along with boiled fine beans and peas. Dinner was Tom Yum flavoured rice noodle stirfry with edamame beans, and pork patties flavoured with salt, black pepper, garlic, lemongrass, parsley, cumin, garam masala and dried mixed herbs.

Basically I am showing myself that it is possible to eat healthily and happily AND eat the things I want to eat, stress eating aside.

My midnight eating was a bacon & sliced tomato wrap, ryvita spread with butter & marmite, a couple of 20g portions of cheese, pre-wrapped, and rice noodle stirfry with pork mince & edamame beans with a splash of madeira. The last I know I was forcing down my throat :( Perhaps next time I feel upset and stressed out I will do a session of hand-weight exercises. :) Now that sounds like a plan!

Hmm - other alternatives:
Have lots of tea (wonderfully soothing and far less calories!) and do a pile of cathartic writing.
Go out for a walk.
Clean the house (very useful!)
Go swimming.
Do a few EFT sessions.
Listen to my Louise Hay affirmations.
Have a bubble bath and listen to music.
Listen to music and have a dance around the living room!
Play with the cat (she loves this!)
Call a friend.
Watch a film.
Do some painting & decorating.
Do some gardening or go mess around at the allotment.
Go out to a cafe for a cup of tea (change of scene and people-watching is fun)
Go to the library.
Go to the museum. (I like the Natural History & Pitt-Rivers better than the Ashmoleon)
Go to the Art Gallery.
Try meditating.
Go for a cycle ride. (Get that bike fixed!)
Go whack some balls up at the driving range.
Make a vision board.
Do a drawing or a painting.

I like that last one. I think part of my unhappiness last night was being reminded of how much I loved to draw & paint when I was at school, and that I don't do it at all any more.

Yes. More art. More beauty. More inspirational stuff! More tidy and clean house! More exercise. All good. :)

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Day 57 Another Pool Day

heh - made it to the pool again this afternoon. Am so chuffed with myself. Didn't do as many laps as planned because I stupidly got into a competitive thing with this old guy who was hogging the centre space grrrr, and wore myself out :(

Guess I will have to get better at the swimming before I try that again ;)

Basically, when I was getting dressed afterwards my shoulders were SOOOO tired, and I had to sit down for a few minutes before putting my snuggly winter Celt sheepskin boots, old and battered but much loved.

So - exercise stats today - hooray! Another half mile, 32 laps, to add to my Oktoberfast total!

I also have to go to Bristol this weekend, family stuff, so I thought I might do a walk in nearby Leigh Woods. Here's hoping the weather will be kind on Sunday.

Food stats - SW Green Day Syns are 49 and calories 1846. I made candied sweet potatoes today, just because I've been reading so many Thanksgiving related blogs. Mine were sliced, boiled until tender, then pan cooked until caramelized in butter, olive oil and muscovado sugar. They were delicious, but I can definitely see why they're a once a year treat! Except I have leftovers, so they'll be added to my dinner another day this week.

Breakfast: roobios tea & an apple
Lunch: Young's breaded scampi, oven baked with julienne carrots & peppers, chopped romaine lettuce, boiled fine beans in lo cal caesar dressing, followed by banana in yoghurt with honey
Dinner: pan fried pork loin chop, with candied sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, cabbage & lots of Bisto gravy
Snacks: apple & a date - to be consumed soon - along with some rosehip tea & a couple of glasses of water. I'm really behind on my water of late. Must get back to drinking the 8 glasses a day.

I think I've had my five a day!

My sister mentioned something called America Online today. So might check it out.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Day 56 Hooray! Back in the Pool...

Yay! I got back in the pool today, after almost 3 weeks of not going. And it was LOVELY! I spoke to this lovely old chinese lady I have a passing aquaintance with and she said when it is cold or dark she doesn't feel like leaving her nice cosy house to brave the pool. I'm the same. When I am at the pool, I love it, and I'm happy to keep right on going with those laps. But it is the space between my front door and the entrance to the pool that stymies me. And I have no idea why that is so. The pool is literally 10-15 mins walk from my house, and that's my version of walking which is about 2 mph! And it is a couple of minutes drive. Yet, I let the weather or outside temperature dictate to me whether I do go or not...ho-hum. I will have to do a little bit of searching in my head to sort this little reluctance out.

So, that aside, I did half a mile today - 32 laps. It is schools in the afternoon, so we have to hop out by 1.30pm. I got there a bit later than planned, but zoomed through my set! I think I shaved a minute or two of my usual time! So now I've got the mojo back, I have planned the rest of this month's laps so I make that 10.5 mile swim challenge I set for myself. :) I think I'll be able to do the 4 outstanding 90 min walks too. There are 11 days left in October...

Food so far today has been good too, if the timing of the eating was a little different! Green Day Syns 45.5 calories 1701. The large Syn count is because I've had some processed food for lunch, something I don't normally have but was on offer at the supermarket.

Breakfast: 2 wholemeal pitas filled with sliced tomato & 4 dry-fried bacon rashers.
Lunch: Young's breaded scampi oven baked on top of a salad of romaine lettuce and julienne carrots and peppers with lo-cal caesar salad dressing and a squeeze of lemon. Yummy!
Dinner: home made carrot & lentil soup, a bagel spread with 1.5 oz soft cheese and 2 oz smoked salmon.

Have drunk roobios tea and had a couple of glasses of water, more will be imbibed before bedtime!

My hair is majorly long now, so I think one of my treat for my mini goals will be a visit to the hairdressers. Must spend some time thinking up some treats :) Hmm, might go look at some blogs and see what other people have listed - opening my mind and my choices! Heh ;)

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Day 55 Mindfulness

I have only had a sketchy idea of mindfulness - as in being aware of self, self action, and the world around me. And in reading blogs I came across this at Green Mountain at Fox Run.

Attitude
Living It
Non-Judging
Assume the stance of an impartial witness to your own experience. Be aware of your impulse to judge and how preoccupied you are with liking and disliking.
Patience
Allow things to unfold in their own time. Allow yourself to unfold in your own time.
Beginner's Mind
To see the present moment, cultivate a mind that is willing to see everything as if for the first time. Try to let go of expectations based on past experience. Be open to new possibilities.
Trust
Trust yourself and your own basic wisdom and goodness. Honor your feelings and your intuition.
Non-Striving
You do not have to achieve or excel—there is no goal other than for you to be yourself.
Acceptance
This refers to seeing things as they actually are in the present. We waste a lot of energy denying and resisting what is already fact, decreasing energy that could be used for healing and growing. We can be assured that whatever is present in any moment will change.
Letting Go
This is about non-attachment. Often there are certain thoughts, feelings and situations that the mind seems to want to hold on to. Try not to let the universe depend on you making it happen. There may be strong attachments to wanting things to be a certain way.
Generosity
Tune into your basic worthiness. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion. We may be more generous with others than with ourselves. Give yourself the gift of stillness.

Day 55 Some you win, and some you win ;)

Mood today: ambivalent.

I've been invited to an old school reunion in December. And I'm feeling excited and full of trepidation in equal measure. These are women, girls when I knew them who shared my life for nearly 7 years, and are to a large extent responsible for many of my behaviours today. Some good, some bad. I always thought of my boarding school days as hell on earth, but since thinking about it and looking at it from another angle, there were some, many great things about being with those girls. :) So despite my trepiditious inclinations, I'm going. And only something unexpected and unplanned for will stop me. I want to make peace with my past and I'm being given a wonderful opportunity to see these women who have, in many memories of mine been demonized, as just ordinary fallible human beings. People change after all. :) I truly think going to this reunion is going to be a win:win for me.

Food stats today: hmmm. Chocolate and marshmallows and cheese and salty ryvita spread with marmite...gosh. Still - way better than eating pork pies, Indian veggie samosas and onion bhajees, whole tubes of Pringles, packets of Chocolate Crimbles, Marmite Twiglets, Honey Roast Cashews...urgh. I swear I have not eaten those things in ages! Think I'll save sampling those for around Christmas instead of everyday ;)

Ahem. Food stats for today are SW Green Day Syns 88 calories 2902. In addition to my snacks of cheese, ryvita with marmite, chocolate & marshmallows, I have had a good lunch - pork loin chop with cabbage, mash, peas & gravy and a decent dinner - hommos wrap with  julienned carrot & peppers, salsa and chopped lettuce, and a Medjool date for fruit. I've drunk water - a couple of glasses, roobios tea and rosehip tea. Maybe I'm developing a herbal tea habit for the winter? Not having milk in drinks will save a few calories.

It is good for me to write down the things I eat and account for my syns and calories. because by doing so I am getting to that place where I am aware of my food, and aware of my choices, instead of being blind and stuffing my face without accounting that fact to myself. If anyone is reading this blog, and thinking gosh that's a BIG number, well, this is MY journey to health, not anyone else's. Perhaps one day I will be the one posting 1500 cal and 0 Syn totals and exercise of an hour swimming or an hour in the gym or a long walk every day. But for now, damn, I'm doing so well for this fat girl. :)

Power back to me!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Day 54 Stats & thoughts about growing stuff

Today's stats: foodwise - SW Green Day Syns 15.5 and calories 1991. Hey, hey, hey, a great little number for both!

I have noticed that when I start eating later I don't tend to crave snacks or eat more than the RDA. So am going to try this route instead for the next week or so, and drink most of my water in the mornings, and maybe have an apple (there's a whole pile of Pink Ladies waiting to be munched!). Then have a nice big lunch. I have some stuff to be doing down the allotment anyway, so better to not eat before going there as the bending over gives me indigestion...

Only roobios tea for breakfast. Then I had turkey breast steak with boiled cabbage, peas, mashed potato with half-fat crème fraîche, and lots of gravy for lunch. Later I made a home made hummos wrap with julienne carrots, red and yellow pepper, chopped romaine lettuce and red onion & tomato salsa. That salsa goes with pretty much anything! For dinner I had pasta with the last of the lamb mince pasta sauce and 1 oz of grated Grana padano cheese. And now a nice mug of rosehip tea. Technically I've had too many Healthy Extras for the weight-loss, but around the right amount for maintenance. It's cool. I feel full, satisfied, warm, and not craving sweet, salt or anything else!

Allotment AGM was interesting - we now have full capacity! All 80 plots fully occupied - a big change from 3 years ago when I first had a look around. Then it was around 50-60% occupied. Next year I'm going to put my name forward to have another half or quarter plot as they become available.

Picked up the seed catalog, but before I go ordering any more, had better check what I already have! Might be all I need to get are some broad beans and garlic from the garden centre. Have lots of exotics to try out next year waiting patiently in my seed stash.

Tomorrow I will take a photo of my seedlings - just in case the mice & slugs do eat the lot - I want a record of my greenifying fingers!

I'm thinking that on the old potato patch, I'll overwinter some broad beans & garlic, and then when the beans are over, I'll plant sweetcorn, a few courgettes, a squash or two and peas or french beans. And fill in the edges with chives & other herbs as a permanent border. Might try spuds at home in buckets next year as space is tight at the 'lottie. Heh - fun thinking about growing things :)

There's a programme with Griff Rhys-Jones Down Under right now. Hmmm - sun, sea and sailing...ooh. A possible holiday destination for next year or the year after? :)

Day 54 A Happy Medic! and some allotment news

Went to see the doc today. He's very pleased with me. My blood pressure is down to 137/88! Yay! Says cholesterol is excellent but my blood sugar is a little high, so he wants me to keep on losing weight and eating wholefoods as much as possible. Has encouraged me to keep doing what I've been doing, and he'll see me in 3 months time.

Potentially I could be 280 lb by then. Gosh. That will be about the same I weighed in December 2009... :D

Off out to the Allotment AGM this evening. Rent Raises and Water Usage is on the agenda! I did a little weeding when I was there this morning - it has been almost a month, and my pea seeds have sprouted, as have the radishes, lettuce and a few spinach. But my potatoes have blight so its off with their tops and into the bonfire - hopefully there may be some baby potatoes left in the ground - I hope so. R will be MOST disappointed otherwise. We were going to have a grand disinterrment Guy Fawkes weekend. But as it has been so wet, better to get them out (if there are any) before the slugs get them. I'm planting broad beans and garlic on that ground to overwinter.

Day 53 Old Habits and the Hydra Head

I spent most of the day ensconced on my sofa, cuddled into my lovely quilts, reading a stash of fantasy novels I liberated from the library on Saturday. This is an old habit of mine - disappearing into novels. Nothing wrong with doing that once in a while, but the accompanying behaviour of eating snacky type foods raised its Hydra Head again. Heh - you can tell I've been reading novels with ancient Greek tales as their starting points...

It wasn't all bad though. I tracked. And while I was busy searching out nibbly foodstuffs, I did discard eating a whole bag of peanuts as a Bad Idea (yay!) as that would have been 1200 cals...eek! I am conscious that compared to previous behaviour, this day was quite restrained. I chose lower calorie salty stuff mostly - Ryvita with butter and marmite and a few chunks of cheese.

So - the lowdown: Green Day Syns 73 calories 4263

No breakfast.
Lunch: pasta with sauce made with minced lamb and topped with cottage cheese
Rest of day: a couple of wraps filled with home made hommos, cucumber, peppers & lettuce
Snacks: Ryvita spread with butter & marmite; chunks of brie, red leicester & mini babybel cheese; 2 home made flapjacks; 2 white bagels; 10 squares Cadbury's wholenut

I'm not going to lose any sleep over this. Just going to soldier on, and try and make the next day a good choices day.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Day 52 Getting hold of the reins again

Yesterday was like being on a runaway horse, today, it has been a good little well-behaved trot. :)

Food stats: SW Green Day Syns 10.5 calories 1715. Yay!

Woke late, so just had some delicious rosehip tea, that my lovely friend P had got me when I was recuperating in hospital earlier this year. She said it was full of Vitamin C and was tasty too. Yep, and it was, and didn't need any sugar with it. Lunch was late too, nearly 3pm - 100g pasta with tomato sauce made with lamb mince and lots of courgettes, yum, and cottage cheese because I have run out of parmesan, made a nice change. Dinner was a seasoned pork loin chop pan-fried in 1 tsp olive oil, with lots of plain mashed potatoes (they got a bit burnt and tasted like they were baked!), boiled cauliflower, broccoli and peas with gravy. And now I am having some sugar-free low cal lime jelly, and there are a couple of dates and a banana nearby for night time peckishness. Foodwise a very good day.

Only been out to the library today. Did intend to try out The White Horse at Uffington but most of today has been heavy rain showers, so I was happy being at home with a book instead. Am just mostly pleased to have made good choices today. And the more days I make good choices the better my next weigh-in will be.

Am seeing the doc next Monday - getting blood pressure checked and hopefully he will be a happy bunny that I'm finally losing weight.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Day 51 The Fall

Superhero falls from the sky.

Sometimes I wonder if have have manic depression. Some days I'm so gung ho, and everything GOES so well, and then there are days like today when all I can do is crawl into the cave and hide.

Along with the contents of my fridge, my larder, my freezer...

Not posting eating stats today. Superhero has a bulging tummy.

In fact. One might call them stuffed. I feel like one of those lions after a kill, gorged up and somnolent, but unfortunately full of guilt and self-recrimination too.

Drinking tea now, and going to bed.

I went to look at Monty Python's skit of Mr Creosote just now, because that was just how I felt, like another morsel of something waffer thin would break me. And when before that sketch would make me laugh, now all I can feel is so sad. Satire is cruel, and for now I think, that kind of satire is off my viewing for a while. :(

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Day 50 Because it is a Right

I met with a friend, G, this evening, and we went to see 'Made in Dagenham' - the story of the women workers at Ford's factory quest for equal pay for women in the late 1960s. I have to confess at moments watching that film I was so proud to be a woman, and it is through efforts of women like them that we have the many advantages we have today.

One of the things that was said was that having equal pay and equal footing was a right not a favour or a perk or an extra, and they had to have something done about it right then and there and not later. I think that is something that can be applied to my thinking about my health too.

I want to be a hero to myself. I want to fight for my right to be healthy. And the opposition to me, the vested interests in keeping the status quo are the influences from outside and within me, that say - next year. Next time. Another day. Not now.

Well, the time IS now. And this is where my right to be healthy gets exercised, right here, and right now. No time like the present to tackle any problem. Within this ordinary being there is the superhero to her life. :)

I can do this.

When I was doing my exercises with my handweights this morning I noticed that I have some that are 2kg each. Both of them in my hands are pretty heavy.
And that is the amount of weight I have lost since the end of August. 8lb or 4 kg less that is now currently on my frame. And I'm SO glad its gone!

I'd been feeling really blue for the last few days, and being out tonight has been a real tonic for my mood. While waiting for G this evening I was in a cafe near the cinema, and I thought - why don't I do this more often? Just be out, and have a coffee or cup of tea and be somewhere else. So that's what I'm going to do now, every so often, just go out, walk or cycle or catch the bus and go have a sit down in a local cafe and just observe everyone. There's more to creating a healthy life than paying attention to my food and exercise. There is also creating a better lifestyle. A life where I enjoy pretty much all the minutes of it, every day. Maybe I'll be inspired to do some writing!

Food stats today: SW Green Day Syns 58.5 (Ouch!) and calories 2748. I've had a glass of red wine, chocolate and a nice evening out.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Day 49 Nostalgia Blues

Today the radio has been playing lots of songs from my teenage years, and many songs which had significance as memory triggers for various events in my young life. So I've spent a large part of today wallowing in nostalgia. Which could be a good or bad thing. Good as in I love most of those songs. Bad as the memories associated with some of them are a little tender still.

It made me think, also, about how our experiences shape us. And perhaps I might spend a little time on exploring my thoughts and feelings on those long ago mind snapshots, and exorcising them with EFT. I haven't been keeping up with my practice of EFT, so this evening is a chance for me to banish the blues with it. :) I find the morning after a good session, I am usually bright and bouncy, a complete contrast to my previous night's melancholy.

This evening I chanced across a blog "But you have such a Pretty Face" by Olivia, who is a massage therapist, which reminded me that is one of the avenues I am interested in pursuing as an alternative career. I like the idea of doing good for people in a very direct way, and one that is completely focused on people instead of computers. It is kind of in keeping with my ideals of being my own boss too, as a good masseuse can build up an excellent practice. There is a course I can apply for in Oxford too, which starts next September. Definitely worth looking into.

Food stats: SW Green Day Syns 53.5 and calories 2007. The high syn count is because I ate two portions of home-made flapjacks. I know, a rather short-sighted thing to do, making cakes, but this is supposed to be a journey to better health where nothing is forbidden food. I am pleased that my calories came in at a RDA level, so things are fine. And it was nice to eat something sugary for a change. I have also discovered that flapjacks can be frozen, so that is what is happening to the other 6 pieces of sugary chewiness! And perhaps when friends come to visit they might be disinterred from their frozen holding...heh.

One could write a story or two about the journey of flapjack twins, hmm, maybe along the lines of the gingerbread man??? Ahem, getting a bit fanciful here.

Food today: breakfast - salad filled hommos wrap and ham & cottage cheese wrap. Lunch was the aforementioned flapjacks with tea. Dinner was 2 home made lamb burgers (125g total) seasoned with garlic & rosemary (from my garden!) - cat helped me eat those!! with a big salad with lo-cal caesar dressing. Snack was banana with yoghurt and a tablespoon of nuts & dried fruit.

Right. Still not getting it on with the exercise. It will come. I'm gentle and tender with myself. - as Louise Hay says :) Perhaps the swimming mojo will arrive back tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Day 48 Stats & Taking it One Day at a Time

I'm not sure whether it is the euphoria of actually having lost half a stone (hurrah!) or because my body is still battling off an incipient cold virus, but my food stats for today are within the Slimming World guidelines and under 1800 calories, my target number for weight-loss.


SW Green Day Syns 11 and calories 1677.

I've eaten literally a tonne of mashed swede today! Mostly because I couldn't be bothered to be creative in the kitchen twice in one day...

Breakfast: 3 egg omelet, baked beans and a couple of rashers of back bacon
Lunch: Roasted parsnips, Mashed swede, peas, gravy, a couple of quorn burgers
Snack: Roasted parsnips
Dinner: Mashed swede, peas, gravy, 4 oz turkey steak - pan fried with Fry Light & steamed with a little water in a covered pan.
Snack: peach, half a plum, 100g cottage cheese

I left food again on the plate (swede does fill one up!), discovered that not all parsnips are sweet (they'll probably get sweeter later on this year after a couple of frosts), and couldn't eat the second half of my plum. That last thing - well, that's amazing. I can usually eat and eat until nothing is left on the plate... Also, I've not been looking for seconds of any foods I've had today, another amazing thing. I am the seconds queen!

Guess the Slimming World principles do work properly when I apply them properly :) They promise that you can eat until you are full and never feel hungry. Still, I am taking this all one day at a time.

Shopping today I picked up lots of porridge oats and my favourite chocolate bars - Cadbury's Whole Nut and Cadbury's Bournville. It's getting colder and a hot breakfast doesn't always have to be a protein packed one. I've calculated my chocolate stash should last around 2 weeks, if I have a small amount each day. It isn't as much of a risk to have in the cupboard as bread! But, I have had bagels, pittas and wraps lurking in my freezer & cupboard now for a couple of weeks and I haven't gone overboard on them. There is butter in the fridge if I want it. Interestingly though I didn't think to put any in my mashed swede today.

The upshot of that ramble about foodstuffs is that I want to learn to trust myself around food. So having the things I like to eat, and a small amount of my trigger foods around is kind of like de-sensitizing myself to an allergen! Who knows - eventually I might graduate to having crisps, biscuits and cakes in the house and NOT scoffing them in one sitting...

Exercise: the walk to the surgery and back this morning - 15 mins, and walking around the supermarket, about an hour. Somewhere I have a pedometer, be interesting to find out how many steps I am doing. Hmm, last time though I got it out I couldn't stop it from screeching :o it was an panic alarm model and I hadn't read the instructions properly before messing around with it. Cat was terribly upset by the noise, and I had to stuff it under a pillow to mute the sound while I found out how to disengage it! Valuable lesson 1: read instructions...!!

Day 48 Weigh Day

Woo-hoo! I have lost 8 lbs. :) My official weight is 138 kg.

Making small changes over the last month has certainly made a difference. Let's keep that up, and perhaps get more focused on the exercise.

I'm even more pleased today because I walked and hurried! HURRIED! to get to my weigh-in appointment this morning. And I arrived only slightly out of breath, and NOT sweating like I'd been in a turkish bath...

Yay!

So, I plan to walk more places now, and get that feeling of being fit enough to do all my everyday activities without getting tired and conking out on the sofa.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Day 47 Stats and refraining from stepping on the scales before tomorrow

Here are today's stats: food intake
SW Green Day Syns 46.5 and calories 2353. And this includes the extra food eaten between 1 am and 4 am this morning.

Exercise: Yep, I slept in. And woke up at quarter past nine realizing that the road gang were already starting work on the road I leave my car parked on, and it was in imminent danger of getting towed away. Goodness! I have never moved so fast! I'm sure they were suitably amused by a fat woman bundled in an anorak and her pjs stomping down the road to rescue her lone vehicle in the empty street...I've had to park it next to our local park, so that was an early morning burst of energy for me, I must have walked a brisk 15 mins. :)

And tonight I feel very cold and shivery, so have decided against going out to the pool and elected for a long hot shower at home instead. Excuses, excuses, however I'd rather feel well enough to go get weighed tomorrow, than sleep in again.

Hmm, could be chronicling the anatomy of a cold. :D Never done that before! Symptoms now, are general lassitude, twitchy, tickly, occasionally drippy nose and distinct tickle at the back of the throat. Weigh-in appointment with the nurse is tomorrow at 9.20am. Ohh the trepidation!

Day 47 A discovery about cucumbers and dealing with Mr Wrong

One of the things about eating mindfully is that I now pay far more attention to my food, not just in terms of eating slowly and savoring it, but also taking note of the effects it has on my body.

For years and years the only thing I thought about was satisfying the appetite or craving. Now it is more a question of asking myself, "am I hungry?". I'm still driven a little by the idea of breakfast/lunch/dinner as "proper" mealtimes, this is slowly giving way to eating when my stomach signals to me.

I've never noticed this before - and stone me, it's laughable! - cucumbers make me burp! Just had a couple of veggie wraps for lunch and was wondering why I was feeling a tad wierd. Full of cukes! I googled about the burping & found this small possible explanation: cucumbers contain saponin, causing a soapy bubbly foam in the stomach, which blop together and end up as expelled air up the oesophagus. Of course that set me off on the trail for reasons for burping from other foods...have a look here. :)

Yesterday evening I started reading a new book, "Better Love next Time" by J M Kearns - How the relationship that didn't last can lead you to Mr Right. Over the past year I've been rebuilding my self-confidence and self-esteem since getting it totally trashed by a series of bad romantic decisions since 2005. This is the latest source of possible illumination I have consulted, and it is a really GOOD book. :) It did make me feel very sad in places, and I did have to do a little comfort eating, BUT I tracked. I tracked every bite, and yay! to my credit, the comfort eating was confined to healthy choices. And now, perhaps, after reading this book, and building on all the other advice I've had this year, I can also re-make my romantic ideas and self from the inside as well as the outside.

Mood today, good. Weather, beautiful sunny autumn day, and I had my cuke wraps sitting in the sunshine in my garden. :)

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Day 46 I remember why I don't drink (much) any more

Yep. Today was a dead loss. Dodo deathly.

Those four half pints forgettable German pilsner and Guinness re-asserted their presence this afternoon. So it was a sofa slouch after all. Nuneham Courtenay will have to wait.

I now remember WHY I don't indulge in nights out with the girls so often. And it seems the longer the intervals, the less tolerant my body is in processing alcohol. Poor liver. And it thought it had it good these last few weeks with all my mindful eating...

I like a drink now and then. A couple of pints with a friend if they are visiting for the weekend, a glass of wine with food if I am in a restaurant or with company. The odd G&T during the winter. Pimms in the summer. And I like a good single malt on occasion.

I used to drink beer on a regular basis when I was in my 20s. However at that time I was also regularly cycling 2 miles to work and back every day, plus anywhere else I fancied at weekends. But I only like alcohol when there is someone to drink with. So, mostly I don't drink. Hence my resistance & tolerance has reduced to zilch. which isn't a bad thing. :) I don't really enjoy getting blotto, it's more fun being compos mentis.

There's a bit of an similarity here, to my smoking. It is no longer a habit to drink. It's a conscious choice. And maybe, finally, that habit is spilling over into my food choices. Today, I actually left food on my plate! A good few spoonfuls! And I did it because I felt full.

heh. I feel like I should have a team of cheerleaders rah-rahing for me. :D

So. The lowdown on food today: Green Day Syns 44.5, calories 2253 (officially - unofficially its probably a little lower yay!) I've drunk like a gallon of tea and a few pints of water, and because have not felt like cooking, have made do with the leftovers from the week. Smoked salmon on cream cheese bagel for breakfast, lentil stew and spicy potato for lunch, Thai green curry & rice for dinner.

I'm way behind on my swimming Oktoberfast challenge, but I have a plan to catch up. And have been reading up about interval training and how that helps burn fat more efficiently, so might incorporate that into the lengths. Hmmm - in-terr-res-ting week ahead...

Day 46 Noticing the good changes

I have a hangover today. A small one. Feeling a little tired and fuzzy headed. But... I'm so happy! I walked. WALKED. From Iffley Village back to my house last night. And before that, I walked from my friend's house to the hotel where the Oktoberfest was being held. Both journeys were done without stopping for a sit down too. Yay! The distance is about 1 mile from Pearl's and 1.4 miles back from the village home. We didn't walk too fast, P is very considerate, and the pace was such that even though my lungs were being exercised, I could still carry on a conversation. That was really nice.

I felt pretty good for almost all of that walk. I only felt my muscles starting to protest a little about 100 yards from home. That little bit of shin ache. A tight feeling in the calf and butt. Heh. All good. Time for some coffee now to wake-up. :)

So: my exercise choices today. I can go swimming later, pool is available for lengths swimmers for an hour this evening. Or, I could go blow off some cobwebs and check out the autumn colours at Harcourt Arboretum outside Nuneham Courtenay. It's after the roundabout by one of my usual supermarkets so that sounds like a plan. Cat needs food anyway.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Day 45 Grey Day and Oktoberfest Beer sampling

It's been a grey old day today. I did go for a walk, but only did half the minutes I'd planned. Still, 45 minutes is exercise! Am going to be walking again this evening, to the Oktoberfest at Iffley Village and back home afterwards. Am looking forward to seeing my friend, P and catching up, sampling a few different beers, and chatting to lots of new people. :)

SW Green Day Syns 33.5 and calories so far 1616. I have lined my stomach with some fabulous lentil stew (with a glass of white Bordeaux thrown into the cooking pan - smelled heavenly!) and spicy potato & spinach in creamy yoghurt. I love garam masala & hot chilli powder - they both add so much zing to a mostly bland veggie dish. A portion of each came to just under 600 cals. :) Fruit & yoghurt for breakfast; taramasalata, crudites, pitta bread & a dab of low-fat hummos for lunch.

Am allowing myself up to 600 cals for tonight. A selection of German beers are up for sampling. Will try and remember what each tastes like & write about them in next post.

Right - off to shower and slap on some face-paint.

Eek! Unbelievable how many calories are in one pretzel...and I had two. Gulp. I am very glad I don't go out to jolly old Oktoberfest knees ups very often! The german beer on offer was only one. It was okay, I think it was called Pal-something. Entirely rememberable, hmm. I did enjoy the half of Guinness I had at the end of the evening far more. Extra cals for my night out: 1484. Extra enjoyment had by all attending: uncountable!

Angel moments: I walked there and walked back, so have upped the exercise to about 90 minutes at least, yay! My feet are a teeny bit sore - might take them to the pool tomorrow to recover :)

Friday, 8 October 2010

Day 44 Eating the Slimming World Way

Today has been an almost perfect SW Green Day. My Syns came in at 15.5 and calories at 1830. The handbook recommends keeping Syns between 5 and 15, something I have found extremely hard to do and had resigned myself to perhaps keeping that up around the 25 mark for me now. Today's menu though was very much in keeping with the spirit of SW.

Breakfast: strawberries & raspberries with 100g of Light Greek Yoghurt plus a couple of teaspoons of vanilla sugar
Lunch: Lots of spaghetti, with a sauce made from half a diced courgette, some mushrooms & a clove of garlic sweated in a tablespoon of olive oil, 56g of soft cheese melted into it, then a handful of watercress mixed in with the hot pasta, and finished with an ounce of grated parmesan. This was utterly lush.
Dinner: 112g chicken breast smothered in harrissa & rose rub from Sainsbury's (I thought it sounded romantic) pan fried in a teaspoon of olive oil, then after browning, steamed with a little water in the covered pan, keeping it wonderfully moist & juicy. I loathe dried out chicken. Served this up with the last of the applesauce I made last week, Bisto gravy and heaps of boiled cauliflower and broccoli. Yum.
For snacks: 2 bananas, 2 dates, 1 apple
Lots of water today. I lost count of the number of glasses I downed. Have not had tea today at all. Might have some later if I am still awake at 2 am :(

I REALLY like my new scale, and am getting quite obsessive about weighing most foods now. Heh, what a change from "lets throw this much in by eye..."

Mood has been low today. Exercise: whole body weights routine Yay! One set of each exercise, even the dreaded crunches. I can feel my stomach is sore. No swimming today either. Had a nap instead. Tomorrow is another day. Am setting alarm so I can put in a swim session in the morning before doing anything else. Think maybe low mood is because have not been to the pool.

Day 44 Weigh-in Rituals, and the Scale that Lies

My official weigh in is next week, on Tuesday. However, like all impatient people I do stand on my unreliable, do-what-it-feels-like bathroom scales most mornings. This morning it lied to me again, and raised my hopes of being below the 21st number. :(

I had to laugh at Fat Daddy Rants's account of his to poop or not to poop dilemmas. Yea, I have all sorts of rituals associated with weighing myself too. First thing in the morning, after the pee and poop is my preferred time, and with as little on or naked. Watch off, it is heavy, with a solid metal bracelet and unfortunately I have to wear my glasses or I can't see!

When I went to Slimming World Group Meetings, for the weigh-in, I'd take off the coat, scarf, hat, shoes, jumper, and would wear my lightest clothes. One woman actually changed her clothes for the weigh in, she said denim was heavy! Heh.

I might go back to SW meetings just because the people there can be such a laugh.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Day 43 River Cottage & Veg Rules!

Stayed in tonight and caught Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on telly convincing some hard-line meat eaters in the local Fire Service to try out vegetarian cuisine for 4 days. I do like the principles of River Cottage, good food, organic, sustainable, delicious and some wonderful recipes and ideas for living a healthy happy existence. The guys were mostly really amazed at how delicious and tasty the meals were and actually didn't miss their meat!

I guess I like all that kind of thing. My ideal would be to live somewhere beautiful, grow my own veg, raise my own meat, make my own cheese, yoghurt etc. Heh, I'd be so busy and running around so much I certainly wouldn't be obese any more! Think I will make a vision board about that tomorrow. Yay! getting some arty ideas finally again. :)

Exercise today: not much going on. Got some work done, excellent.

Better day tomorrow :) I'll definitely put the radio on, bit of dancing about, some lower body exercises, a lunchtime swim, and a walk in the evening. The weekend looks as though there will be plenty of activity too: an exhibition of children's illustrators to go see in Woodstock, and an Oktoberfest at Iffley Village on Saturday, and Sunday is allotment day. I have to go see if my seeds have been sprouting and how my potatoes are doing. And since I have ordered my raspberries, their bed needs digging over and manuring, ready for their arrival in November.

Food stats: Another veggie-lific day! Green Day syns 57 and calories 1958. That high Syn number is because of a few fat-rich and flour product items interspersed amongst the 'free' foods... I feel good though, so it is fine.

Breakfast: fruit - a banana & a fig with some roobios tea
Lunch: a big salad full of romaine lettuce, sliced radishes, tomato, a dollop of spring onions, crème fraîche and a little lo-cal caesar dressing mixed together with a couple of hard-boiled eggs on top. Followed by a bagel spread with butter and smoked salmon. It all looked so pretty, and I sat in the garden and enjoyed it all in the sunshine.
Dinner: Veggie fajitas (carrots, courgettes, peppers, mushrooms fried in a tablespoon of olive oil plus a packet of Old El paso fajita seasoning) with home made guacamole & spinach instead of lettuce in the wraps. Yummy.
Late night snack: Some really nice tea my sister gave me and a strawberry & cream palmier pastry.

I'm writing all this down because this is an example of a menu that fits inside that 2000 calories adult recommended allowance, and also ticks all my boxes for food that is delicious, healthy, with a little bit of indulgence and livable with. I've eaten a small amount of fat today. A reasonable amount of baked goods. And lots of healthy stuff. The salmon bagel was nice with the 10g of butter I measured out ultra carefully. I think though, it might have been just as nice with light soft cheese or cottage cheese or even with thinly sliced cucumber instead. I find now, I'm not missing butter quite as much as I did in the beginning. :) Yay for re-training the taste-buds!

Day 43 A questionaire on weight

Kenz from All the Weigh posted this today & being in a writing & blogging kind of mood here's my version. :) Thanks Kenz - it was good to answer these and clarify those thoughts in my head.

1. What was your highest weight, what do you weigh right now and what is your goal weight?
Not sure what my highest weight was but it was certainly around the 25 st mark in 2004. Right now I'm around the 300lb mark (don't know for certain, have a bathroom scale with a big wobble range!) and my goal is around 140-150 lbs.

2. What is your #1 motivation for losing weight?
To feel fit and healthy.

3. Have you always been overweight?
Yes. I was a chubby child, a plump teenager, and overweight young adult, and an obese woman since my early 30s.

4. When you want to give up what inspires you to keep going?
The thought of being able to do all the activities I haven’t been able to do, some of which I did do once – like dinghy sailing without fear, learning to row (Falcon Club here I come!), learning to scuba dive, salsa, ceroc (wow that WOULD be amazing), belly-dancing, tennis, badminton, golf!!(I learned how to this summer, but didn’t feel fit enough to walk on the course), maybe be allowed back in the gym once my blood pressure has stabilized (I loathe drugs & they strip away my energy & make me put on weight/retain water/feel dizzy), CYCLING!!, going on long walks, hikes, rambles with new friends without having to say I have to stop, basically being full of energy and able to do any activity I want without worrying that my body will not be up to it. Sailing in yachts and racing small sailboats perhaps! Skiing, para-gliding, kite-surfing...I love the idea of doing all that high energy stuff and having FUN. I might even, if I get fit and light enough & strong enough, I might even learn how to climb! Yay! And finally I want to be able to RUN. As in sprint, leg it, go all out to get somewhere fast on foot. That I haven’t been able to do since I was 10. And with my new fitness and strong body maybe I can explore being a team member in some sport – I loved hockey when I was a child, but was never picked for teams because I was fat.

5. What is the #1 thing you look forward to when you hit your goal weight?
Looking and feeling fit, healthy and darned attractive!

6. Do you have support on your weight loss journey?
All the friends I have told have been very encouraging. My mum & dad are pleased for me. Have not yet told my siblings as I’m yet to post any weight loss – Tues 12 Oct 2010 is the crunch day, to see if the tiny steps I have been making since 25 Aug 2010 have added up to some kind of scale number victory.

7. What is your favorite exercise?
Swimming at the moment. Hiking when I do it. When I am light enough again, it will be cycling.

8. What is the most important thing you have learned on your weight loss journey?
Perseverance and baby steps. To set small goals, make small changes, and to build on those once I’ve made them habitual. Today where I am standing, 6 weeks away from when I started, is a milestone away from where I was at the end of August. And additionally it is light-years away from where I was in 2004 – injured, unfit, sedentary, asthmatic, smoking, morbidly morbidly obese, house-bound, mildly agoraphobic, totally lacking in confidence, and unable to imagine life could be any different.

9. What is one thing you have given up that you miss the most?
I haven’t given up anything. I had stopped eating sliced bread & butter these last 6 weeks, but today I had a small portion of butter on a bagel and it was fine. Everything in moderation means I can have anything I like, nothing is off limits. Even high calorie stuff as long as it is in small portions.

10. What is your strategy for losing weight?
Choosing the healthier options and smaller portions in my foods, moving more, and giving myself encouragement & praise for every new milestone/baby step I make. And putting mistakes down to experience, and moving on from there.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Day 42 Sunny Afternoon and thoughts on the presentation of food

Hehe. I've been inspired to listen to the Kinks!

Gorgeous weather for autumn today - sunny with a little bite in the air. A friend, P, turned up on my doorstep unexpectedly at lunchtime. So we spent an hour having coffee and a chat in the garden. He was very complimentary about my appearance, so it seems even if the scale doesn't seem to be budging, the form is changing, hurrah! :) The compliment allowed me to forgive him for sabotaging my lunchtime swim - will get that in the rest of the week and the weekend now.

Exercise today: lots of dancing around to tunes off the radio! Seem to be in a jiggling kind of mood today :D

Food stats for today: SW Green Day Syns 24 and calories 2048.

I had porridge with honey for breakfast, followed by strawberries & raspberries in a dusting of vanilla sugar mid morning. Lunch was romaine lettuce (yummy crispy!), a couple of slices of ham, a blob of taramasalata, the last of my pumpkin/sesame/sunflower seed rich bulghur wheat salad and a pita bread. Teatime snack of cafe latte (no sugar!) and banana smeared with peanut butter. Piri-piri pan-grilled chicken breast, yoghurt mashed potatoes, heaps of broccoli and cauliflower with Bisto chicken gravy for dinner.

Lots of water, yay! And a couple of mugs of roobios tea. The variety I have at the moment is the vanilla scented one, soooo nice!

I made too much mashed potatoes, and this time I left half of it in the pan! Yay! I am getting better and better at this portion controlling!

So have some mash leftovers for something else tomorrow. Hmm, salmon fishcakes? Will see what I fancy making. :)

The other thought I had about today's menu is that it could easily have become a 1800 calorie day if I'd had less chicken or left out the pita bread. Or left out the bulghur wheat salad or the banana peanut butter... ohh choices! :)

I do like food, and I do like eating nice food. And I truly believe for this to be a sustainable lifestyle change for me, everything I eat has to be delicious, have wonderful aroma, look fabulous and be good for me. Art on a plate, an olfactory delight to the nose, and a savouring in the mouth. As few processed foods as possible. Heh - and the angelical knowledge that it is healthy and good for my body.

I have never wanted to even try out very low calorie slimming regimes, although the idea of magically melting away vast amounts of weight in a few months is appealing. Purely because I KNOW I'd be totally unhappy drinking and slurping down what to me is essentially highly processed slop. With all the sight, smell and taste of chemical sawdust. :( My siblings have tried both the Cambridge Diet and Lighter Life, and had spectacular results. And gained much of the loss back. And I used to feel so upset on their behalf although that was what they wanted, to do this diet!

So here I am, doing it the long way, the little steps way. Because I want this to be a sustainable way. I want this to be a permanent change in how I view food. I want my perceptions and attitudes to food to change. I want to keep food as that delightful friend I love to see. And to make sure it doesn't become my punching bag, or my solace, or my saviour from bad feelings any more.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Day 41 Rah-rahs & Testing Recipes

This morning I got an encouraging text from one of my best girlfriends, J - "Good luck with your diet – I know how hard it can be but you can do it!"

This friend is a fabulous cook, and loves food. Every time I go and see her, we have the most delicious meals. We both have a huge appreciation for patisserie - tea & cake featured largely in our relationship when she lived in this city! In the last few years she has really applied herself to getting fit. I've got a cookbook by me that she got for me because I liked her copy so much - How to...cook the Weight Watchers way. And last night I thought she looked wonderful. She says that now she has lost weight she loves to walk places and really enjoys it. :) I'm hoping that next year I might be able to keep up with her on a walk - usually the poor girl has to slow down her pace because I am so slow and get out of breath so easily. Heh - that will definitely be a "yessss!" moment.

I also had a look at this blog 266 and watched her anniversary video - fabulous! I also liked how she said she started slowly and worked up to doing more strenuous things. And stressed the importance of finding a food choices lifestyle that she could live with rather than following a diet of restrictions.

Onto the recipe thang - I had a jar of Marks & Spencer Thai Green Curry Sauce lurking in my cupboard for a while, and when R was down he opened it to have a sniff. Unfortunately we never got round to using it (mostly because I wasn't sure if he could handle the heat factor) plus it called for a tin of coconut milk. Well, did the shopping and picked up a can and tonight was the night...

It's a great recipe - really quick and easy. Two chicken breasts cut into pieces, browned in oil, plonk in the sauce, heat & then add coconut milk and simmer for 15 mins. I also added some julienne carrots and peas to it. And made Thai jasmine rice. I totted up the calories for my portion after I had wolfed down half the curry, and it came to a large 1160 calories - GULP! Next time I will use light coconut milk, and either a teaspoon of oil or Spray Light, and loads more veggies. And of course, share it out three ways! Will probably turn the rest into soup for the week.

So my food intake for the day is Green Day Syns 51 and calories 2154. Hmm, that's pretty much in the normal range :) that's great.

Food today:
hummos (home made), taramasalata, crudites & pitta bread followed by a fresh fig
a banana sandwiched with 1 dessertspoon wholenut peanut butter (that was interesting)
an apple, lots of roobios tea with milk
Thai Green Chicken Curry with Jasmine Rice (heh, like in a restaurant!)
and for later I have a couple of Medjool dates waiting.
2 glasses of water - will drink more later.

This month has been a fantastic eye-opener in finding out what 2000 odd calories really mean. For most of my life I have quite happy exceeded that amount totally ignorantly. This is one case where ignorance may be bliss but increases the butt!

So glad to be un-ignorant now...heh ;)

Monday, 4 October 2010

Day 40 Eating blues

After posting yesterday, I had an attack of the blues and I allowed myself to succumb to eating a plateful of couscous. ( an extra 770 cals and 6 syns ) Carbohydrates seem to be the thing my body craves, so today I've given it plenty in the form of rice for dinner. It was white rice though, so I might increase the fibre with something else from the shopping I'll be doing later.

Otherwise food stats for today have been quite low: Green Day Syns 5 calories 1413. I will probably have some fruit, cottage cheese and maybe a bit of peanut butter later. Yep, have been reading so much about peanut butter I've decided to have some back in my menu. It isn't something I binge on and it is rather tasty with cucumber in sandwiches.

Off out now to meet up with friends for a drink. They did invite me to dinner but I'm not ready to eat out yet. Another couple of months and then perhaps eating outside of the house might be do-able.

Update on food stats: Syns 22.5 and calories 1813. Cranberry juice and a cream cake dessert tossed up the figures. I'm happy though. Cake was yummy and company was yummy. :) 

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Day 39 Finding a happy menu

Food intake: Hurrah! SW Green Day 19 Syns and calories 2029.

Today my food stats look fine to me AND most importantly, I feel fine as well. I haven't got a "too full" feeling, nor have I got a "I'm so deprived" feeling. I've still got a murray mint sitting by me, left over from 2 days ago. I'm calling it my "emergency sweetie". I can have it if I want to. For now I'm just happy to see it there. I'm not hungry. I'm not craving anything. It's great feeling like this.

I have drunk a lot of roobios tea today - 6 cups! Not so much water - only one glass. Will try and have a couple more before bed.

I've eaten totally veggie today.

Quorn sausages, baked beans & omelet for breakfast.
Home made Butterbean, Leek & Carrot soup, croutons and mozzarella (twice) then an apple & a wholemeal bagel covered in seeds.
Home made hommos, carrot & pepper sticks, bulghur wheat salad made with lots of different kinds of seeds, and chopped red pepper and topped with pecan halves. All washed down with lots of roobios tea with milk.

So I've had plenty of calcium, enough variety of veggies, protein in the pulses, milk, cheese & eggs, some fats in the hommos ( olive oil ), nuts, seeds and cheese, and fibre from the veggies, apple & wholemeal bagel. A pretty good win:win. :)

My stomach feels great. I don't feel like I have heartburn or indigestion. I think this might be the way to go forward. Those quorn sausages really need some HP sauce though! They have a nice range of products - they do escalopes, burgers, chicken style pieces, mince - all of which I find quite allright. Also I've had some bread - the wholemeal kind so I'm happy. And yes, it was defrosted specially!

I read a blog which talked about finding food choices that your body is happy with. Heather eats Almond Butter. That makes a lot of sense to me. And hopefully I will find my happy menu too. :)

Day 39 Restday and Past "Yesss!" moments

I'm having a rest day today. The muscles around my left knee feel a bit tight. That was the knee with ligament damage from 2004 when I so elegantly tripped over my clogs and clonked onto it, twisting my right ankle at the same time. Ouchy! That fall took a whole year to recover from, but culminated with me ascending to the top of St Michael's Mount in Cornwall in 2005. I was on a holiday weekend with my sister, and the weather was damp, drizzly and generally chilly! In the middle of the summer! :) The track zigzags to the top and is paved with cobbles, which are tricky to walk on if one's balance isn't the greatest, plus the wet conditions, so when I got to the entrance I was totally filled with pride with myself. A fabulous 'Yessss!" moment. And again when I was standing in the courtyard of the old monastery, looking out over the sea towards the Atlantic, I thought then, if I can do this, then I can do anything.

Whenever I do something that is physically out of the ordinary for me, I have that feeling.

All my life I have been known as the non-athlete. The slow swimmer. At boarding school because I was fat I played drop-out hockey, in the team of girls who were not deemed good enough to play for their houses. I love hockey by the way, it's a splendid sport, might look into playing again when I am fit. When I've done my half mile now in the swimming pool I think "Yesss!!" When I used to play hockey, there was nothing better than tackling some forward speeding towards me, and whacking the ball right out over to the other end of the pitch. A total "Yesss!!" moment.

When I climb up to the top of the hill that the White Horse at Uffington is carved on and look out over the landscape far below, I get the "Yessss!" feeling. Last week, at Shotover, I had it. Yesterday after my towpath trek, I had it. When I was much younger, I cycled from Reading to Oxford - nearly 30 miles ( bitched the whole way at my then boyfriend too ) and when I cycled down the Abingdon Road into town, I had that feeling.

That "Yesss!!" feeling is the best feeling in the world. It's the feeling of exceeding my beliefs about myself. It's the feeling of exceeding the beliefs other people have decided about who I should be. It's the feeling of being an extraordinary achiever for that moment. I'm looking forward to a great many more "Yessss!!" moments in my future. :)

Day 38 Bun Downfall

Food intake stats: SW Green Day 79 calories 3154. Nope it wasn't the indulgence of having cake after my walk. It was eating a whole packet - six rolls of bread. A small comfort - at least these were healthy-ish - Kingsmill's 50:50 half wholemeal and half white flour goes into the making of these.

I have thought about strategies for coping with my bread fascination - only leave out the ones I intend to eat for the day, and freeze the rest. Or only buy single items on the day I want to eat them - like the cake. A slightly more expensive way to go about it and also a win:win for me because I get to eat something I really like AND I get to be proud of myself because I have set limits on the eating of that stuff. I have also almost run out of olive oil and am wondering whether to get more or to rely on the Fry Light. Couscous doesn't taste good without a little bit of oil or butter, and a small proportion of oils are needed for a healthy body. I prefer to have the oil available if I need it so yep, olive oil remains on the shopping list!

Part of the bun downfall was emotional eating. And part of it was pure indulgence. And part of it was me testing myself. I'm working on all these issues with some help from my Louise Hay Affirmations. Listening to them each day is really worthwhile for me. So again, even though this hasn't been the most successful in terms of eating, it has been quite successful on another level in helping me see where I can improve and change my habits and responses, and where I can head off triggers by a little pre-planning. :)

The exercise front has been excellent: 90 minute walk and a set of upper body weight lifting exercises, and a set of ab crunches - hurrah for me! I'm really pleased with my Towpath walk, and have told myself next year it will be me jogging or running along there, or cycling on it on a much longer route - maybe to Abingdon or to Wolvercote. I also measured my waist again and if I suck in my breath my stats are 40 inches and a quarter. Woo-hoo! I'll be able to wear clothes with a middle again soon - hehe ;)