Monday, 28 July 2008

Update, recap, nightcap, foolscap

Well, I've been away a while. I was busy with work all last week, and actually only got back from Germany last Monday, kind of. I landed in England Sunday, but too late to get home so stayed overnight in London, came back on Monday.

Too much detail? Maybe.

Germany was fun, but when I got home, I discovered WonderWife had left me out a plate of roasted vegetables, which I wolfed down pretty much in one, with very little chewing. So starved of veg and vitamins was I, after a week of excellent beer and the closest to nutrition I'd come had been Camembert bagels with a bit of salad in. I had a pretty good time though, and the beer overkill plan seems to have worked. By the Sunday night, I could only manage three beers over about five hours, compared to pretty high consumption in the preceding evenings.

Since I got back, not a drop has passed my lips, and with little willpower required.

I've only made it to the gym a few times since returning, but enjoyed every one, and made them short and intense, which works for me. Yesterday myself and WW went on a bike ride around the dams at Rhayader, which was really beautiful and, with the heat, actually quite demanding. The first few miles are a steady ascent, but you're rewarded with a killer downhill on the way back. I haven't been on a bike for over two years, since a doctor advised me it was a bad idea. But since then, I figured out what I'd been doing wrong (not using the gears, relying on a bit of muscle to get me up hills – puts terrible strain on the knee joints) and have rectified it, I reckon.

We cycled just under 11 miles on a gorgeous day, and replenished the stuff we'd lost with Doritos and Lucozade Sport, and half a ton of water.

It was a good day, though my arse is a bit bruised.

Today it's a full day of work for me then gym this evening, when WW and child go to the cinema, and... surprise surprise... some running shoes just arrived for me, so tomorrow I go for my first run in months and we'll see how that goes. Running regularly is more likely that anything else to shift weight on me, and I enjoy it hugely, so… y'know.

How exciting. Oh, and I think I'm half a kilo lighter.

Oh oh, and WW told me that when I got back from Macau in June, I had put on weight – apparently, on some work trips, when I get back I'm visibly heavier! I doubt that's correct, I suspect it's just being bloated from beer, which happens big time around the stomach. It doesn't really agree with me, overall, so I'm probably best off with this dry thang.

I'm burbling. In short: exercise going well, life is good, still lardy.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Out and out changes

I've got a few really ancient clothes in my wardrobe. One of them is a pink wool dress which I wore in my teens. It's got a few small moth-holes in it, unfortunately, but I keep it anyway. Today, I tried on a skirt that my mother bought in a sale and never wore, who knows why. It's a size 10 and I've been using it as a yardstick of my size - a year ago I wouldn't have got into it. Today, for the first time, I could do up the zip and the waistband, though that was still a little tight.

Then I got out the pink dress. By no means wearable. I couldn't get it over my hips; that is, some of the way but not pulled down and I didn't even try the zip.

The skirt, which was bought ten or more years ago, is a size 10 and the dress, which dates from a couple of years either side of 1970 is a size 12.

I know that sizings get more and more generous - even at my largest, I found waists were being made far too big (I'm meaning by this, clothes that are meant to fit around your waist, I'm far too old to even want to risk the muffin top). This happened quite abruptly one year, when all the waists became a lot looser. And it seems that a 12 from 40 years ago is equivalent to an 8 now. Which seems a bit ridiculous.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Z weighs herself (end of July)

9 stone 11 pounds.

*preens self quietly*

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Loony or merely puny?

It's a bit early to start worrying about this, but then I am very efficient and I like to get worrying and that sort of thing dealt with early so that it doesn't take me by surprise.

The thing is, in my thinner days I was strong but I had no stamina. I used to be able to work hard and carry things and dig the garden and whatever, but only for a limited time. And once I had to stop and rest, I wasn't able to do much for days afterwards. I never was able to build up long-term strength, however fit and well I felt. It was like that even when I was a child - I used to look around at other children and wonder why they were so much stronger that I was, when I knew that my diet was much better than most of theirs. We always had very good nutritious food and although I didn't eat much, since we never had puddings and suchlike, nor convenience or processed foods, everything I ate was good for me. Some people seemed to live on spaghetti hoops and Mars bars, but they seemed stronger than I was - I used to get headaches and was often tired, although I was not unhealthy.

The thing is, however much exercise I took, it never seemed to build up my strength, only use it up. So one of the consolations for me of putting on weight was that I had much more stamina. Nowadays, I can keep going for a long time, and the next day I'm ready to go again. It's possible that I pace myself better, but I think there's more to it than that from past experience and I wonder if I'll start to flag quickly once I'm appreciably thinner.

The reason I wonder this is that I've been cycling since November and I'm not at all stronger than I was several months ago. Sure, it took me a few weeks to manage some hills I now don't think anything of, but any improvement in that respect was made in the first three or four months. I thought it would all be more pleasant by now, but there are a lot of hills (such as up to the swimming pool) that I don't think I'll ever be able to cycle. I haven't found the limit of my comfortable distance yet and my legs never ache afterwards, but I don't get better at it or more energetic overall. I can't help wondering that as my fitness (presumably) increases and my weight goes down if the one counteracts the other. That is, that I'm not actually too good at building up any muscular strength nor, more importantly, staying power.

I don't suppose it'll be anything to worry about for at least another year, but it's been on my mind for a while.

Monday, 14 July 2008

First goal reached

I don't count alcohol as fattening. I've been drinking a lot too over the last few days. On Saturday, there was the beer festival in the village, and you have to support village events, don't you? Two pints of bitter and a half of mild - actually, I suspect that Badgerdaddy won't accuse me of binge drinking there, but usually a couple of pints at lunchtime is my absolute limit - though it must have been about 4 o'clock by the time I'd drunk all that, so it wasn't lunchtime any more. A couple of hours break for a cup of tea and an unbuttered scone (a naked scone, in fact) and I was ready to start on the wine.

Of course, the trouble with lunchtime drinking is that I get used to it very quickly and I had more of the wine yesterday, and at least half a bottle in the evening. I could get defensive about this and explain how hard I'd worked over the weekend, but I'll not bore any of us with that. Unlike Badge, all this booze won't make me lose the wish to drink, but I won't feel the wish to, now all the work of the village fĂȘte is over.

Anyway, back to being less bulgy. One starts to notice people, and some of them, who aren't even fat, are quite floppy. Others, who according to the scales are overweight are quite firm and muscly, so don't look as big as they are (I include Badge in that). I'm something in between, I suppose and there are certainly bits of me that I think won't ever look okay again as muscle tone, once lost, is really hard to get back (upper arms; triceps in particular, and stomach, I'm referring to) but I have no roll of fat around my waist at all, which does please me. People have said my face is thinner - I'm not sure that a thin face is much use to me, especially as it lets in the wrinkles. Can't have it all ways. They say that after 40 a woman has to choose between her face and her figure - let's face it, it all goes in the end, doesn't it? It's the health one has to try to hang on to, with a degree of luck.

Yes, I managed to shift that extra little bit of weight, so the first stone officially came off. Since I aimed for 2 lbs a month, I suppose actually I was only about 10 days behind schedule. I think the next stone will be lost much slower. 20 pounds in a year would be good - that's another 6 by the beginning of November. Might be a bit ambitious, but one has to have something to aim for.

bd remembered to drink his beer, and everyone else's

I honestly think Z's doing a grand job. She's sticking to the task at hand and trying to make things, you know, more fun. Mixing up her foods and all that.

Me, I've fallen a bit.

Work has once more gotten in the way of the gym, as I've been away a lot this past six weeks or so. It really gets in the way – but it wouldn't if I was running again, as I could pack a couple of tops, shorts and shoes and probably really enjoy it. I'm positively gagging to get out there running, and having had a stupidly early start to the day today (woke at 4:30am), I've been watching the early runners go past and remembering how much I love this part of the day. When I run, I don't drink, which is good in two ways. Because I'm running, and not drinking.

The plan is, to go to the gym alternate days and run on alternate days; gym Mon Weds Fri, run Tues Thurs Sat, until I get the miles up, then I'll rest Saturday and run a longer run on Sunday.

It's a good plan, just waiting for some running shoes to arrive – apparently there are three pairs coming, plus another pair potentially in a few weeks. Almost seems overkill now, but I was at a sports exhibition a couple of weeks ago, and that's the result.

Mmmm, free running shoes.

Beer consumption – in fact, alcohol consumption in general – is reaching critical mass. I don't mean I'm drinking a lot (in retrospect, critical mass is a shit choice of words), I just mean I'm not really enjoying it, and there are other things I would rather be doing. But I'm treating it just like I treated smoking – keep doing it until I really can't stand it, then I won't miss it. Sounds odd, but psychologically, it works for me. I quit smoking four years ago on Saturday, and I don't miss it one bit. I doubt I'll quit drinking for good, but it will be nice to not do it for a while…
I'm off to Germany tomorrow, for six days of work. Well, it will actually be three days of work, I think, maybe 3.5 days, but the flights were awkward, so I get a couple of days in a beautiful spot – camping – before I actually have to do anything.

Germany, of course, means beer. So I shall have some, I shall play it by ear, and see how I feel when I get back. I think it's come at the perfect time – I suspect that, when I get back, I will not want another drop of alcohol.

Oh, the other thing is that I had lots of beer at the weekend. It was my birthday Saturday, and I turned 34. WonderWife bought me some beer as my gift – what a woman – and I bought a crate of San Miguel that was going out of date and was suitably discounted. 20 bottles for £6.74, bargain.

They're all gone now, I made sure they were finished before I had to leave, which will be early in the morning. It's all part of my over-consumption plan.

I'm burbling. Best go and pack.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Z forgets to drink her beer

It has been good for me, the last few days. I really don't feel nearly so bulgy as I did. I'm still bearing in mind, though, that I weigh now what I did at the end of my first two pregnancies; that is, before the baby was born. How tiny must I have been when not pregnant? And I didn't know. I thought I was a bit porky, like just about every other woman. What a waste of my youth that was: wouldn't confidence in my body have been wonderful?

Oh well. 30 years too late.

Peering into the fridge, wondering what there was for lunch (not a lot) I was tempted by the can of beer. I took it out and went to cut a slice of bread. I put it on the Aga to toast, went back to the fridge for butter (I was going to have it with Marmite), put some butter on the dish - and then changed my mind. I didn't fancy butter and I can't quite do Marmite without, so I made a cup of Marigold vegetable bouillon (14 calories) instead and had the toast plain. Nice bread though, with poppy and sunflower seeds and millet and stuff.

I just went out to the kitchen again, to get some fruit. I saw the half-full wine bottle. "Mm, wine" I thought and then remembered thinking "mm, beer" half an hour earlier. The unopened can was still sitting on the counter by the fridge. I evidently hadn't wanted it that much. I put it back in the fridge and got out yoghurt instead. I've also had a peach and a nectarine. For tonight, there is one steak as Ro wasn't very hungry the other night, which I will stir-fry with vegetables and thus make do for the three of us.

Just for now, it seems to be working if I am very circumspect during the day and eat as little as possible. It's necessary not to get too tired and hungry though, as then I'd be quite desperate for food and be in danger of eating anything that comes to hand. I've been tempted, certainly. If I do start to dip badly, I eat a couple of jelly babies to shoot the blood sugar level up quickly and then eat something more sensible (or not, if that's enough to keep me going for another hour or two). I'm eating quite a lot of fruit as it's the time of the year for it, and for a snack I'll eat a raw carrot, because the new season English carrots are gorgeous now and really quite substantial. After a day like this, I can relax at dinnertime and eat what the family eats.

I had a bittermint the other night. I fancied it, and looked at the box. Each one has 80 calories. I reckoned that was absolutely fine. Actually, half would have been enough. Maybe I'll try cutting one in half another time and putting the rest back. Once it's bitten, it's more than anyone can bear, to wrap up the other half and put it away.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

An improvement

10 stone and a quarter of a pound. I've been eating and drinking quite a lot in the evenings as we've been having family barbecues, but I've been saving up for it all day. I've just had a couple of corn cakes and some yoghurt so far today - actually, I won't be able to keep this up for long, but then if I've kick-started the weight loss again, I don't really need to. I weighed myself after breakfast actually, so surely all that yoghurt, with half a pint of coffee, must weigh quite a lot ;-) ?

Just off to cycle into town for the weekend shopping. I don't need to get much food, just the exercise.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Z is determined

I didn't get in for the strawberries in the end, I was too busy. For lunch, I had another third of the small pineapple, a banana, 5 corn cakes (like rice cakes but, er, corn - they are like squashed popcorn) which are 16 calories each and more yoghurt. A 500g pot lasts 4 times. And a couple of lettuce leaves and some cucumber. I can't remember eating anything during the afternoon, though if I did it would have been a jelly baby or a couple of corn cakes. For dinner, we had smoked mackerel - I suppose I ate about half of one, maybe a little more - there were two between three of us, salad and new potatoes. I had about a teaspoon of low fat mayonnaise as it was all getting a bit worthy. Oh, and two glasses of red wine.

For breakfast, which I'm only just eating as I've been babysitting, I'm having more plain yoghurt (oh joy) the final third of the pineapple, a passion fruit and a nectarine. I have a small melon for my lunch, which I'll share with the Sage if he's around, and another banana and yoghurt and corn cakes, or I might indulge in a few rice cakes instead. Tonight, Dilly has suggested a barbecue and is getting sausages and burgers, which we'll have with salad. I will indulge in potato salad as hers is so good - not over-mayonnaised like all bought ones. I will stock up on champagne, as that's lower in calories than other wine.

I've just finished breakfast. I'm hungry. Hungry is good.

Later I've remembered what I ate during the afternoon. Raw carrots. The new season carrots are lovely, good flavour and some substance to them. I've just eaten another one now.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Less of Z to love

It's true, I've just proved it to my complete satisfaction. I weighed myself and then, half an hour later weighed myself again after a visit to the loo (yes, darlings, it happened, though not in a major sort of way). I'd lost nearly half a pound.

So. 10 stone 1 pound. This is the least I've weighed for 7 or 8 years. I'm eating pineapple and yoghurt for breakfast and am going to have a week of eating lightly to try to kick start the weight loss again. I don't usually eat whole lots of fruit because of the sugar, but the soft fruit season is too good to miss and I think that's the way to go. I'll bike in to town shortly and fetch some strawberries and raspberries for lunch, and I've got smoked mackerel for dinner. They are whole fish and I'll fillet them - they are much nicer that way, juicier and more flavoursome.