Friday, 31 July 2009

No holiday weight-gain - shocking! :-)

Well, despite shoveling as much yummy French cheese, croissants, wine etc down my pie-hole... followed by a weekend of sheer excess (we got through boxes of wine!), I haven't really gained any weight! In fact, when I left for warmer climes, my weight had crept back over 11 stone - bahh.

Today I thought I'd bite the bullet and hop on the scary scales and was pleasantly surprised to see myself back under (albeit just ever so slightly ;-) ) 154lbs!

however, that being said, I'm not going to celebrate too much as

a) I've found in the past that holiday weight has a habit of sneaking on the week after the week after a holiday! Kinda like DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness) which is basically that bizarre thing that happens when you feel great the next day after running/weight training, but later on, or the next day you find you hurt like hell! I've done road races where I've felt superb the day after... but then hobbling around like an invalid the next - it's most odd!

and b) it's a little depressing to think that if I'd not over-indulged, I might be a hell of a lot lighter than I am today, boo

Whatever. With b) being unchangeable and a) unknown, I think I'll embark on some damage limitation/future fat loss exercises and get back into the swing of things :-)

I have actually started already, hurrah!


On Wednesday, my first day back at work, I did my Upper Body Workout #2 which produced a plethora of different emotions! I felt mostly elated throughout, and thrilled to have done it afterwards... however, towards the end I was so tired I felt a bit weepy from the exertion! It wasn't that it was unbearably tough, it was just that it was bloody hard work and I've not worked my muscles like that for ages! I also added a couple of other exercises to it to see how they felt:

Instead of my usual standing Biceps Curls I have swapped to Dumbbell Concentration Curls which are a lot harder because they isolate the biceps - which makes them more effective :-) I found that I was using too much of my body to help with the standing normal biceps curls so I think I'm going to stick to these! I can still do them with 9kg dumbbells but only 3 sets of 8 reps instead of 10

I also tried out another shoulder move, the Dumbbell Shoulder Front Raise - though not exactly like this clip as I don't feel comfortable raising my arms higher than shoulder height - it causes my back to arch and means I'm swinging with the motion a bit - don't want to risk hurting my back.

This may be incorrect, and I'm fully aware that my knowledge of all things weight-training related is sparse at best... but I'm muddling through I reckon, and learning every step of the way :-)


Yesterday my shoulders ached, as did my biceps - job done! :-D

I did my Lower Body Workout #2 at lunch time and was really chuffed by the fact that I was able to do it! I started off feeling quite tired and worried that I'd only be able to do 2 sets (I do all the exercises as a superset) but was pleasantly surprised at my surplus energy. Also at the fact that I didn't drop the weights! I'm still using 12.5kg dumbbells and have no desire to move up right now tbh. When I first started using them they would literally drop out of my hands by half way through the 2nd set, and during the 3rd. Any exercises that required me to hold them for any time - like forward and rear lunges where I do 10 reps per leg instead of in total - i.e. 20 reps really - my grip would start failing and they'd slide from my grasp. Yesterday I was fine right up until the last set of rear lunges where at about 8/9 they were starting to slide.

I'm sure this'll help my climbing too as good grip is vital!

I didn't really feel much yesterday until I was legging it up the escalator at Oxford St (went to meet Joe at my company's store - going to buy some rather lush brown leather sofas, can't wait!!) and realised that my bum was quite sore!!

Today I am very achy, and I love it, that familiar feeling is back again - huzzah!


I've decided that I need to split out my workout further. I'm going to start concentrating on just one area, or a smaller groups of muscles as I just don't have the time to do all my exercises in one or two hits!!

I haven't worked out what I want to do just yet so will continue as I have been doing until I work it out properly.


a couple of brief updates:

France - Joe

I haven't got a pic of Joe finishing the etape as it's on his camera which he left in his crossbar bag and got sticky from race gels - smart!

Here's a pic of him, complete with medal, at 3am (that same night!!) with our 'token girl' (i.e. an actual rider - not just one of us WAGs!! ;-) ). This woman is a legend, look at her, there's nothing to her! But she took on the mountain and won, beating *so* many other men in the process.

To put it into perspective - out of the 8500 riders who started the race, 7162 finished and out of that, the women numbered a mere 234!!

She's ace, made of steel, and a thoroughly lovely lady to boot :-)

France - Training

As promised, here's a picture of my 'gym', haha. The first night our room was amazing, all stone with the huuuuge bed raised up in the middle of the room and a walk-in floor-level shower... though I swear the hallway was haunted as the light kept turning itself on and off!!

We only had that room for one night though, boo, so ended up in a smaller one which was nevertheless quite adequate for everything but skipping!! I managed to get some training in though, it's amazing how much you can do with very little.

Resistance bands are great as they're super lightweight but can provide some real, well, resistance!

This is the door tube I bought. The strength was pretty weak so I threaded a medium strength band twice through the loops to give some more to tug on - it was really very effective! The door tube idea is very simple, and probably not very good for the other side of the door, but it does mean you can position it where you like on the door which is very handy :-)

The ball and light-grey band I got as part of this Everlast Pilates Starter Kit. The ball was a little small for me, I'm sure it was only 55cm which isn't great as I'm 5'8"! Still, it was okay to travel with as was very light and the kit was quite good value for money. The grey band that came with it that is described as a 'heavy duty band' is quite weak on the resistance but that was okay as it meant I could do my more subtle shoulder internal and external rotations :-)

Not featured in this picture is a grey band by Manuka - nice company, I like their stuff, can't seem to find the band on the John Lewis website but here's the rest of the range. The band is super strong, was very impressed, did some biceps curls just stood on the end of it, was really taxing! I also bought the Manuka Eco Yoga Grip Towel which feels great to lie on :-)

Secret Garden Party

Finally, well, SGP was messy, what can I say ;-) I enjoyed the festival loads, but the company more! We were pitched round a huge gazebo that was a perfect place to do make-up, hair, coffee and wine :-)

One criticism I would have is the number of people this year! There were *so* many more than last year, the vibe was different, not as intimate

And Jarvis Cocker was shit! What a let-down >:-(

Other than that, the rest was fab, will have to post some more pics at some point but here's me in my full Babylonian get-up :-D

I would like to point out that my waist is actually smaller than this, no, really, haha. The corset thing is something Joe's Mum picked up for me from a charity shop and is a size 12-14... although that's perfect for my lower half, the thing wasn't intended for that so I had to keep hoisting it up as I couldn't tighten it enough at the back!

Other than that, I loved it, and the weekend :-)

One last thing - Liquid Egg Whites

I discovered yesterday that Sainsburys Market in Victoria have started selling Two Chicks liquid egg whites - hurrah! I knew they sold them in Waitrose and other sainsburys but hadn't found any nearby to me. Very chuffed with my discovery, bought 2 cartons, one's gone in the freezer, the other straight in the fridge.

I've been wanting to use liquid egg whites for ages but my conscience prevented me from buying the normal kind as I can't stand the thought of those poor birds being locked up in a caged hell like that. I'm more than happy to spend a little more for happier egg whites :-)

besides, I wouldn't dream of buying anything other than free range eggs for normal everyday use, so why would I drop my standards for the sake of my weight-loss plan.

I'm going to experiment over the weekend, shall be pinching some ideas off people - watch out!! ;-)

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

back... from outta space...

...or a field in cambridge, anyway!

yes, I am back from the Secret Garden Party and I had an absolute blast! Lots of fancy dress, lots of fun with friends :-)

I can safely say that the handbrake came off in spectacular style over the past week and a half and I don't *dare* step on the scales right now, lol!!

that being said, I couldn't give a shit really as I've had an excellent past couple of weeks... my boyfriend finished L'etape du Tour in 8hrs 50 and managed to stay up celebrating with beer, wine and champagne until 3.30am! what a legend!! His legs have felt a little tired but pretty much fine... just shows how much good planning and sensible training can help... as the saying goes "he who fails to prepare, should prepare to fail"... I like that, it's a constant mantra of mine

I'll upload pics of his amazing demolition of Mont Ventoux soon but they're on his camera so will have to smile sweetly and say it's for the good of the blogging community... he's a star, and an inspiration :-)

as for me, well, I managed to keep up the strength training a bit in France, employing the use of resistance bands, a stability ball (they pack flat when deflated!), a chair, a bench and not much else (I did take a skipping rope but there was nowhere to skip, the ceilings were too low - nearly took out the light fitting - and there was no privacy outside!)... I took a pic of my 'gym' which I'll post when I've uploaded it from my point+shoot.

in the meantime, I've been looking my levels of Cals from carbs/protein/fats and have come to a balance (50%/35%/15% respectively) which I think will suit me, based on Anita Bean's advice (in her wonderful strength training and nutrition books which have collectively become my fitness Bible!) of a maximum of 1.8g protein per 1kg of me.

Apparently any over 2g of protein per 1kg of bodyweight will not actually be of benefit, in fact the best case scenario is that it gets excreted by the body, but if not, it can be detrimental to your health as your liver and kidneys will need to work overtime to process it. In short

That being said, no two people are the same, and different people require different levels of nutrition. I have naturally low-density bones (I've had a scan, I'm quite scared, one of the reasons why I weight-train and run) and the women in my family are pre-disposed to getting osteoporosis... so I'm not taking my chances!

Plus, I did a lot of research on the Atkins diet a few years and discovered, before they actually admitted the whole 'state of ketosis' that the body goes into, that it was based upon a diet devised for epileptic children called the Ketogenic Diet.

My opinion, and forgive me if I'm wrong (but everyone's entitled to their own opinion on here right?) is that if you follow a really high protein, relatively high fat and really rather low carbohydrate diet... you are in effect subscribing to the Atkins way of thinking.

Carbs are not the energy, they are as essential as fats and protein, I really think they get a bad rap!!

However, I do recognise that I used to eat way too much in the way of carbohydrate, thinking that it didn't matter how much I consumed as long as I kept within my calorie allowance... not realising that the body can only process so much before it stores it as fat - bummer!!

ahh well, we live an learn, just got to get the right balance!! :-)

right, have just been told by my other half who has tired of Tour de France highlights, and QI repeats, and is now ready for beddy-byes, that I really need to get off the PC so will post-and-go

night! x

Monday, 20 July 2009

Une petit inscription

I don't speak French, which I'm finding to be such a handicap here.

My headteacher agreed to swap GCSE French for Drama, on the proviso that stopped playing truant. My linguistics have suffered because of that choice. Incidentally it didn't stop me bunking off either. God I was a nightmare teen!

So here I am, in sunny France, Orange to be precise. As I type this, my lovely boyfriend is riding up mountains with thousands of sweaty, smelly, lycra-clad cyclists!

Joe woke up at 04:15 this morning, got his gear on and headed down to the special early breakfast that our hotel was putting on for 'l'Etapers'. There are quite a few guys in our group, a mixture of IT geeks and Financial professionals - cycling is *not* a cheap sport, although I do believe that boys do bow to peer pressure a little too much when it comes to bikes and their components! Joe trained for most of l'etape du tour on my 5 year old Trek 1000, they don't even make that model anymore! It's only a double, has an aluminium frame, and no fancy parts at all - in case you're wondering, it *is* a boy's bike, as I'm quite tall I didn't see the point in buying a woman specific bike, I wouldn't make that choice again though because women are built differently to men... So a guy with my length legs would generally have a longer body and arms, and I never felt entirely comfortable on that bike. Mind you, I never learnt to ride properly as a child so it was rather a baptism of fire and I should have opted for a mountain bike or hybrid at most... but then I so wanted to do triathlon!

Anyway, I'm going off track, back to Joe. So yes, he trained for months on my aluminium framed, £500 entry level road bike and it was fine! He did replace the back cassette with a compact rather than suffer the ignominy of 'down-sizing' to a triple, but that was it in terms of modifications. As soon as he got his cycle to work voucher he went and bought a Wilder, all carbon-fibre and expensive components. I don't know exactly how much it cost but it was more than £1,500!! And for what, one mammoth race and then a life of loneliness in our shed... Actually, scratch that. Unless we had an armour-plated shed there is no way his bike will be stored anywhere other than the bloody hallway or breakfast room, grr! *My* mountain bike is chained outside, *my* road bike is in the shed along with my son's two MTBs, pah! ;-)

I'm thinking "we could have had a really super swish holiday somewhere interesting" but now my beloved has spent thousands on this whole race experience (bike, cycle clothes, training weekends away, including a recce to Mont Ventoux a little while ago, transport, accommodation....etc...!)

Ahh well, it could be worse, he could be one of those guys who spends his weekends or evenings after work in the pub or on the sofa, beer in hand... As it is, his thighs look awesome! ;-)

The guys were discussing race fuel tactics over dinner and Dan revealed his secret weapon for ventoux (which is the very last and hardest mountain, we can see it from Orange, it looks ominous to say the least!!), some tablets that contain a lots of interesting unpronounceable ingredients, plus the obligatory Ginkgo Biloba, Guarana and caffeine. The interest was hilarious, it was like he took on the role of drug-dealer right then and there at the dinner table!!

Anyway, hilariously, the pills are nothing more sinister than Maximuscle's 'Viper Extreme'! So the good thing about that is that the ingredients are gonna be quality and non-illegal!!!

Apparently Dan and his colleagues tried them out at work and felt the effects on a massive scale, there was *no* 'afternoon lull' haha!

I've looked for some info on Viper Extreme caps because I didn't know they existed! Joe's been using the Viper powder during the latter stages of his training. He says it doesn't taste too bad and is easy on the stomach, but I don't personally like it very much. I think it's its viscosity that I don't like, it sounds weird but it's 'thicker' than sports drinks I'm used to, and I know that's because it's not just a carbohydrate sports drink, it's got loads of good stuff in it to help with performance and recovery, but I'm used to Lucozade and Isostar etc, all tasty and very thin!

Anyway, found this bit of blurb about the pills:

"Maximuscle’s Viper Extreme capsules have a unique high potency formula containing; glucuronolactone, Ginkgo-Biloba and caffeine, which some experts believe improves concentration, alertness and reaction times. It also contains L-Tyrosine, a key excitatory brain amino acid."

It'll be interesting to hear if the lads (and our one token woman rider, that girl is seriously impressive and has definitely added some balance to our testosterone-fuelled bunch of bikey blokes!) noticed any difference after taking them, it'll be the perfect test conditions! The other partners (or the WAGs as we've decided we are!) have joked that we might raid Dan's 'stash' and turn up in the finishing village completely buzzing and annoyingly chatty and full of energy! ;-)

Anyhoo, that's enough bike talk. So in terms of me and my own training and diet - well, I haven't done as much as I'd like but hey, I'm on holiday! We got here on Friday night, so no exercise was going to have been able to take place that day. That night we went out for a nice meal and I ended up staying out drinking with a friend who I haven't seen for months so had *so* much to catch up on and some air to clear after falling out a while ago. That took until about 5am! Eeek!

Saturday morning didn't really happen, my friend and I managed to surface in the afternoon and resolved to walk around and find the public pool that we'd been assured existed at the top of a hill over looking this amazing ancient amphitheatre. We didn't find the pool but we found a nice café and sat there for many hours talking. Very nice and chilled :-) two coffees, two half pints of lager and one goat's cheese salad later, we made our way back. I'd been careful with the suntan lotion, I bought Boots Soltan 'Once' which did really last for hours. Unfortunately, I didn't have a hat so I've burnt the top of my head a bit - ouch!

Most of the rest of our group turned up that night so we went out - steak again, they know how to cook it here ;-) yesterday I had monkfish, very tasty :-)

I haven't eaten too badly, yesterday everyone had pizzas for lunch but I had omelette and salad. We've got a fridge in our room so my maxi-milk is nice and cold, I could have brought the chocolate flavour, damn!! Going to take one for Joe for after the race. I have definitely been drinking more than usual, too much vin rouge, blanc, rosé... Oh dear :-D

I have been taking my appesat before dinners though which has helped to prevent my inhaling every morsel in sight... I'm dreadful on holiday usually, it's like my routine gets thrown out the window so therefore my will-power goes along with it! Heh

So, yesterday I decided it was high time to exercise. I've taken a picture of my 'gym' which I'll have to upload once I'm back in the UK as I'm typing this all on my little blackberry at present!

Shit, just seen the time, I have to go now as we'll be driving to the finishing village shortly and I haven't even showered yet!

But very quickly, yesterday I managed to do a 3 supersets of press-ups, bench dips, biceps curl, pull-down, pull-in, pull-out (all my rotator cuff work basically) and seated rows. I've brought a stability ball with me, along with a 'door gym' that has a resistance tube and hooks over and under the door. The resistance is too week so I doubled a band through it and it's worked a treat!

Will go into more detail when I have some time and a computer with internet connection!!


P.S. Yesterday I also went for a 30 min run which nearly killed me!! I thought that running in the late afternoon would be okay but it was nearly 30 degrees and I'd no idea the humidity would get to me quite so much!! The water in my bottle went from cold to bath-water temperature in about 10 mins!! It was the oddest feeling, I had energy in my legs but felt like I was running in someone else's body, someone a lot taller and heavier than me!! I had to lie down afterwards, after only 30 minutes, pathetic!!

P.P.S just heard from Joe, he's at Bedoin already!! Now it's Ventoux, last mountain and he said he feels really good, so exciting, can't wait to see him afterwards. Gonna go now :-)

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Huzzah! Maximuscle Maxi-milk BOGOF

heh, that has to be one of my favourite acronyms... my son used to love walking round the supermarket when he was younger yelling "look mummy, there's another bogof" :-D

anyway, my fave RTD (ready-to-drink... I am the acronym queen today!) protein shake, Maxi-milk, is available now on a buy-one-get-one-free basis for a limited time from the actual Maximuscle site, click here for deal.

I'm quite chuffed by this to say the least as a) I'm a big fan of this drink, especially the strawberry flavour which you don't even really need to chill as it tastes fine even if it's at room temperature! and b) I was whinging on my blog the other day about how I wish Maximuscle would offer some better deals on their products and, hey presto! It's a good move by them :-)

It's a great post-workout drink... here's the blurb on the email I got from the nice people at Maxiwomen:

One of the best things about Maxi-Milk is the fact it can be used to support the goals of all sports players, gym users and endurance athletes. It's easy to see why as Maxi-Milk:

- Contains the exclusive Maxipro protein blend for sustained protein support.

- Is enriched with whey protein for rapid muscle recovery after exercise.

- Holds 33g protein & 38g carbs per serving for rapid recovery.

Simply put, if you play sport, go to the gym or are involved in endurance exercise, a carton of Maxi-Milk after performing will aid muscle recovery, help maintain strength and support performance.

needless to say, several cartons of the stuff, as well as Promax Diet protein bars, my shaker and a few portions of measured out scoops of Promax Diet (including the vanilla flavour, it's very nice, especially when mixed with the chocolate flavour, yummm) will be accompanying me to France tomorrow! If I don't have my healthy snacks, the prospect of copious quantities of lovely french cheese will seem even more appealing...

Monday, 13 July 2009

1st weightloss goal met - wooot!!

I've got to get off home very soon but I thought I'd just share this with you...
<<< see that
that's me *finally* below 11 stone, hurrah!!

So, the play is now over... it was a roaring success and we've all had loads of compliments. I'm chuffed to pieces about how well it went, but not about the bloody p*ssing rain on saturday, grrr... such a shame as that was the night that Joe, his parents, and my son all came to see me perform!

Ahh well, in true British fashion, we all braved it out... the audience sat with their macs and brollies and we performed most of the second half with umbrellas ourselves... that being said, it was one of the best performances of the five! The audience were super, what troopers :-)

I had a lot of fun and, although slightly relieved that it's over and really ready for my bed tonight, I feel somewhat bereft. I thoroughly enjoyed working with all the cast and crew... we were like a little family in the end, it's so sad it's all over!

anyway, now I can spend the week training and preparing for our trip to France.

to be honest I've been somewhat dreading the time away as Joe has expressly forbidden me to take any dumbbells with me (I think he'd probably cotton on if I did sneakily as they would somewhat add to the weight of my bag!!), and there's no gym at the hotel we're staying at... I've been panicking!

So, instead of getting in a total tizzy I decided to use all the time spent not on stage (basically the entire 2nd half of the show!) going through all my strength training books and copies of Muscle & Fitness and Ultra Fit.

This exercise was caught on camera, ha! Here's me in our changing tent with said magazines/books and with a Mr Wickham standing on behind.

So... I haven't yet finalised all the activities I can do... I'm going to take my running shoes and skipping rope with me and there are the obvious strength exercises I can do like press-ups, bench dips, back extensions, crunches etc - I have decided that I'm going to concentrate on my stomach big style as I've been neglecting it of late. I also wondered if I could sneak a stability ball into my bag. Joe's got one already, but it's pretty heavy duty so I might buy this one from argos.

I *really* want to get this Nike Resistance Band Kit, but none of the Argos' in London seem to sell it, arghh! I'll keep my fingers crossed that it comes back in stock between now and Thursday. A lot of the exercises I saw that I could do without weights involved resistance bands, and these look perfect!

I'm also going to stretch a lot as my legs are feeling a bit achy and tight :-/

In terms of training last week... despite the huge number of rehearsals and then the actual performances from Thursday onwards - I actually did quite well :-) I managed to almost entirely stick to my plan, the only deviance being on Friday when I ran out of time and had to just do my lower leg workout. Was quite pleased though to be able to whizz through it, with 80kg on the leg press (I would try more but I don't think I could push myself out to begin with!!), 55kg on adductor and abductor and up to 40kg on the leg curl and extension (I didn't have time for single leg presses :-( ).

So yeah, I didn't get the chance to go for my run... I optimistically took my running shoes with me to my company's country club (where I was staying and the performance was taking place) but the run didn't happen.

Not going to beat myself up about it though as managed really well with everything else considering how much I had on!

food-wise it wasn't great. I didn't eat a hot meal until Saturday! And that was steak and chips followed by apple crumble and custard, OMG it was awesome, and so needed!

I'd had a week of eating the bare minimum snacks that were provided for me... and only managing to not overindulge on the crisps, chocolates and sandwiches because I took my maximuscle promax diet bars and maxi-milks with me (maxi milk is great because you don't need to fridge it, but the chocolate doesn't taste as nice if it's not very cold, probably because it's thicker in consistency to other protein drinks, so it's only the strawberry that you can leave out at room temp and not worry about it tasting a bit odd!), the promax bars are fab because they don't melt like normal chocolate bars do!!

anyway, I'm off home now to cook some food... I'm going to make my tomato, mince and quinoa dish which keeps me going at work. I haven't cooked it for yonks and I've been relying on our canteen for too long. It's great because I just spoon it into tubs, bung it in the freezer, and then take it out when I need it and heat it up in our microwave

I need to start preparing my food in advance, like the night before at least, but I just don't have the time at the mo so will realistically not start till after we get back from the secret garden party at the end of July... and then, with the Maximuslce Body of 2009 competition deadline looming, I will be able to seriously focus on my nutrition over the following weeks.

I'm just so glad I'm on the right track and that the results are visible both on me and the scales :-)

Here's the recipe for both the beef and quorn version of my yummy lunch (I say 'yummy', because it tastes and smells great... it doesn't look it though, haha!), haven't decided which I'm making tonight, probably the quorn one if I can get the mince...

* 1000g frozen leaf spinach
* 500g lean minced beef
* 2 Cans/800g chopped tomatoes
* ½ Tube/100g Tomato Puree, Double Concentrate
* 4 Cloves/12g Garlic, Raw
* 1 Tsp/1g Basil, Dried, Ground
* 1 Tsp/1g Oregano, Dried, Ground
* 1 Tsp/1g Thyme, Dried, Ground,
* 1 Tbsp/15ml Oil, Olive, Extra Virgin
* 1 Cube/9.5g Stock Cubes, Beef, Knorr
* 1 Tsp/4g Chilli Powder
* 1 Med/180g Onions, Raw
* 180g Quinoa, Dry Weight

Chop the onion into small cubes, fry up with garlic and herbs with the olive oil.

Once softened, add the stock cube and mince and stir until cooked, then add the tomato puree, tomato chunks, and then the leaf spinach

Keep stirring until the spinach has thawed and the mixture is boiling away nicely, then turn down the heat and allow to simmer for as long as poss for richness.

Leave to cool and spoon into 6 tubs

Nutrition Data Per Serving
Calories (kcal) 322.2
Carbohydrate (g) 28.0
Protein (g) 29.4
Fat (g) 10.2
Fibre (g) 7.1


For the vegetarian version I use 300g frozen quorn and add 3 scoops of whey protein

Nutrition Data Per Serving
Calories (kcal) 326.3
Carbohydrate (g) 31.2
Protein (g) 31.7
Fat (g) 8.4
Fibre (g) 9.8

the calories are slightly more with this but there's less fat and more protein! :-)

TJ x

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Psst, forgot to say...

Joe and I have entered the London Pride 10k, it's on Saturday 15th August.

I really can't wait, it's great to have a specific sporting event to train for. I know that Joe will get round in sub 45 mins, easily, all his lower body weight training, plus the hundreds of miles up mountains, have strengthened his legs no end, and over a relatively short distance like that, he'll fly along! I'll be happy if I get 55 mins, though reckon it'll be closer to the hour mark as I've still got a lot of weight to carry round... we'll see though, need to build threshold and long runs into my plans over the next few weeks. Before I got ill I managed the run to work (4 miles) in 35 mins. Victoria Park is flat too, which is good... the first 10k Joe and I did together was in Greenwich Park, which is particularly hilly, although I hadn't realised quite how much - I nearly died after the first 5k!!!

Excited now!! :-D

In need of caffeine...

I didn't sleep last night, well... unless you count some restless bursts of interrupted snoozes lasting no longer than 30 mins... harrumph

Since I got the flu I've had a relentless ringing in my left ear. Yesterday it was a mixture of high pitched whine, plus ringing, it sounded like a car alarm or something similar, but very far away, but still loud enough to hear... sooo frustrating! When I went to see the doctor to get antibiotics for my lurgy she said that I had some fluid behind the ear-drum but thought that the antibiotics would cure that as well as my virus - unfortunately the drugs proved not to be quite the panacea I was after and the ringing has continually increased. I don't notice it in the day time because, well... I work in London! But we live on a very quiet residential road and at night it's quite unbearable :-( I've got a doctor's appointment next week so will hopefully get some good advice about what I can do to remedy this problem.

So, yesterday was meant to be the first dress rehearsal and I didn't get back home after until midnight! It went quite well in terms of acting and nerves... however there was a slight cock-up with some of our dresses. Although the costume lady requested hips, bust, waist etc... she didn't ask for my arm measurement.

I'm not a willowy-armed waif and, to be quite honest, I never ever intend to be! I'm actually incredibly proud of my newly-(reasonably)defined arms and shoulders... but yesterday they proved troublesome when I couldn't actually get my dress sleeves over them. Hmm

of the three dresses I featured the other day, only the middle one fits! The first is too tight on the shoulders... but even if it wasn't it's way too short - I'm 5'8".. did they think with the inner leg measurements I supplied that I'd be 5'4" or something?! The third dress, my 'Mrs Collins' dress, does not pull up over my arms... I could close it at the back but then there's no point when the armpit of my dress is several inches lower than my own!!!

the middle dress fits okay, in fact it's too loose round the waist! but the length and sleeves are just dandy.

So I'm now wearing 'Jane Bennett's' dress, which is rather inappropriate being a lovely pale pink colour - I'm really meant to be rather plain as 'Charlotte Lucas' so this isn't working as well... the pretty dark pink jacket that goes with it is really out of character too.

I may not have a second day dress now, oh well!

It's a bit annoying as I was previously worried about how the dresses would fit my waist, hips, bum etc... I didn't envisage there being a problem with my arms, they're not that large surely?! Rarrr

In terms of exercise over the weekend, well it really didn't happen. I was hungover on Saturday and ended up coping with this by employing the age-old hair of the dog method... I was out with two of the girls I'm going to the Secret Garden Party with and we were having a good old natter about our costume plans, and then it just continued for far too long, ended up in a local late night bar and didn't roll in til 4am. Joe was less than pleased as he had a 100 mile bike ride the next day and I woke him up when I got in, whoops!!

So with Saturday's drunken late night/early morning shenanigans (sunday's rehearsal was quite a struggle) and last night's insomnia, I have built up quite a hefty sleep deficit and I'm feeling rather shady right now. I'm off the booze this week I think. Might have a glass of wine with my meal on Saturday night as Joe's parents and my lovely son are staying at the grounds where the play's being held from Thursday to Sunday... but not sure as will still have Sunday's performance before I'm officially off play duty!

I'm excited about the performance now but will be so relieved when it's over and I can get back to my training.

However, bit of a problem with the lovely hotel we're staying in for Joe's Etape Du Tour... it doesn't appear to have a gym :-( What am I going to do?! I think I might buy some weights and sneak them with me, the problem with that is that I use up to 12.5kg dumbbells and I don't know quite how I'd be able to sneak 25kg worth of extra weight with me... I may have to sacrifice clothing, which would be a real killer for me as I'm the queen of overpacking!

My right shoulder is hurting quite a bit from yesterday's workout. It was my Upper Body Workout No. 2. Although the exercises themselves weren't too taxing, I have a upper biceps/shoulder injury from years ago when I started out doing triathlon. As I've mentioned before, I'm hypermobile so there is a serious lack of stability in my joints. At the moment I'm doing these exercises exercises to strengthen the area, specifically Shoulder External Rotation, Shoulder Internal Rotation which were demonstrated to me by a physiotherapist, and also Lateral Raises which target the specific muscles around the ball of the shoulder... they're very subtle and I can only use a maximum of 5kg dumbbells for them!

The thing is that using weights aggravates the injury, but, by the same token, and bizarrely enough, not using weights also does too as the area becomes weak. Even when I've not done any form of upper body exercise for a long time my upper arm/shoulder can hurt so it seems I'm damned if I do and I'm damned if I don't! I figure that if I can build up and strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected area then I stand a better chance of improving the pain, perhaps to the point of alleviation... fingers crossed!

Anyway, I'd better get on now, but before I do I'll share my plan for the week with you. This is all dependent on how tired/sore I feel as this week is going to be busy indeed!

AM: - Rest
Lunch: - Upper Body Workout No. 2 (done)
PM: - Play rehearsal

AM: - Rest
Lunch: - Lower Body Workout No. 2
PM: - Play rehearsal

AM: - Abs
Lunch: - Run
PM: - Restaurant and Cinema (hopefully!)

AM: - Spin
- Upper Body Workout No. 1
Lunch: - Rest
PM: - Play performance

AM: - Lower Body Workout No. 1
- Run
Lunch: - Rest
PM: - Play performance

AM: - Rest
Lunch: - Play performance
PM: - Play performance

AM: - Rest
Lunch: - Rest
PM: - Play performance

Will definitely need a holiday after all this!

I might not be able to write again between now and next Monday, so, if not, hope you all have a fabulous week!


Saturday, 4 July 2009

comparison pics

Hey there

I didn't want to take any pics today as my stomach is really bloated because of being on my TOTM at the mo, but as last week's pic promise resulted in a hungover no-show, I decided to bite the bullet and don the pale blue bikini again...

I'm quietly pleased with the results, particularly with how much fat I've lost of my backside and how much more improved (to me!) my legs look :-)

after yesterday's ridiculously long, at times self-pitying, at times vitriolic, stream of consciousness... I thought I should perhaps keep this posting short and sweet.

so, without further ado, here are my comparison photos from February to now (I haven't taken pics every month because of the slow start and subsequent disheartened feeling)

Front View

Side View

Back View

I still have so far to go, but the most progress really has been over the last month once I realised that I really needed to start taking it seriously!

Also, an interesting thing has happened with my body composition. My weight is still stubbornly refusing to drop below the 11 stone mark, but my body fat has decreased and my muscle has increased - hurrah!

have a look at these two pictures, the first is of my scale readings taken on 16th June, the second was taken this morning - weight almost identical but body fat and muscle have changed a fair bit, quite surprising really, but also extremely gratifying :-)!

I'm off now to our local for a nice large glass of... diet coke I think ;-)

hope you all have a lovely weekend


Friday, 3 July 2009

Friday's musings...

felt a bit ropey yesterday... Joe and I had a lovely meal in the end on wednesday night and an indecent amount of red wine to go with it to boot :-)

I felt hungover and tired yesterday, and didn't sleep well that night, but do you know what, I couldn't give a shit!

I've been so wrapped up in my own projects at the moment, take No.1) my body facelift No.2) my play, plus the fact that work is really busy at the mo... and then add to that Joe's own endeavours - his mammoth race in 2 weeks which has taken him away from me on weekends - last weekend he did 188km and 4000m of climbing in the yorkshire dales! and you have a recipe for strangers!

so actually, it was really nice to just chill out for an evening, you know? We went to the pub, ordered mussels to start, which were yummy, we shared a portion and I managed to avoid the lovely breadbasket that came with it. Then for our main we had sirloin steak and I asked the waiter to swap my chips for french beans *polishes halo* :-D Joe was really impressed, so much so that he told me, which was sweet and meant a lot. He said he's been very impressed with how well I've done and how controlled I've been. For example, on Tuesday night I came home after rehearsals having not had dinner beforehand... they had sat down with pizzas (a rarity in our house and always something like 'sainsburys taste the difference super-duper thin crust something-or-other' :-D) but I didn't have any! *considers whether that qualifies for a second halo...*

The thing is though that I actually don't have any desire for food like that anymore. It's actually quite odd!

If I've not had time to make lunch at home and have had to go down to our canteen and get something there it will invariably be from the salad section, perhaps with some poached salmon fillet or a grilled chicken breast too - and none of the salad items I buy have mayonnaise... I look at the sandwiches that are out (which are always yummy waitrose ones!) and they just seem to have lost their appeal to me! I have no desire at lunch to eat a doughy stodgy sandwich with some sort of processed meat and mayonnaise etc... it's a most strange, but not unwelcome, phenomenon!

So yes, anyway, back to my first point before I went off on a tangent...

I had a lot of fun on Wednesday, and I don't regret it a bit, even with the hangover!!

See the way I look at is that I want this journey of mine - to lose weight and shape up - to be my last! I want to get to a point where I look and feel really good and then stay at it, forever! Obviously there will be times when I put on a bit of weight, indeed as you get older you cannot help but make gains... but I never want it to be anything as substantial as it has been over the last couple of years - over 2 1/2 stone is an awful lot for me!

However, the only way that I can make this experience a permanent one is to do it realistically, with all that that entails.

Some people can completely change their diet and lifestyle, and perhaps they need to, but I don't think it's something that I'll be able to maintain if it's too restrictive, and too much like hard work to continue with indefinitely. If I'm honest with myself, if that's the case I'll just not bother! Besides, what's the point?

Although at the moment I'm rarely drinking (to put this into context, Joe and I used to drink at least a bottle of red wine between us every week night and then more so on the weekend), I'm not going to say that I'll stop entirely. I do go through periods where I don't drink at all for a few weeks, it's something that I've done for a few years now, but I've never thought that I'd never drink again because it's something that I enjoy and definitely not something that I see as a problem in my life... although perhaps that's why I have periods of abstinence... to remind myself of that? it's a tricky one... I recently learned that my estranged biological father drank himself to death four years ago, it was a sad end to a frustrating search. My stepfather drinks too much, I think my own mother does too, but just to keep up with him, lol. It's a tricky one indeed.

sorry I've gone off the point again, hmm. ahh yes, sorry I'll try and summarise properly

if my new lifestyle is not something that I can realistically see myself maintaining over a very long period of time then I don't think it's worth undertaking.

since I was 12 I have dabbled with diets and disorders and the result has always been that I get back whatever I lost, with interest, and I want to break that pattern... hence the Broken YoYo

so I am approaching this with caution, and respect, and apprehension, and very small baby steps because I feel like this really might be last chance saloon for me. I'm 30 years old for goodness sake, I have a teenage son!! I really need to learn how to eat properly, it's about bloody time really.

I don't want to lose all the weight I want to in a month... I don't want to resort to stupid methods for fast results only to find that they're just not sustainable.

I want to change forever, embrace this new manner of thinking about food and myself, and move forwards, and never look back.

I want to be a good mother to my son, that's been my biggest concern for his entire life, not doing the best for him and him looking back when he's older with a sense of regret and unhappiness... I know this fear is brought on by my disappointment in my own parents, I have never met a more selfish pair of people (sorry). They live in the same city as us but have never made an effort with my son. My Mum hasn't cooked me dinner since I was a child.... simple things eh? Even when I was a single mother for so many years, they weren't there for us. Still, it is them who will suffer for not having the relationship with their grandchild that they could have had. I have seen more kindness and selflessness, and genuine affection from Joe's parents in the short time that i've known them then I ever have from my own parents, they treat me like their own daughter and I am so grateful to them for that. But then that also results in my being resentful towards my parents as it only highlights plainly and painfully their shortcomings.


this has turned into some self pitying diatribe!!!!

pathetic, keep losing my point

I was trying to say that simple things like eating dinner together with my family is very important to me, pretty much because I never did it with my own. We all ate at different times, me when I got back from school, my Dad when he got back from work and then my Mum whenever she got back later that evening... even at weekends we didn't have meals together, I had appalling table manners (as pointed out by one of the friends of my Mum's I used to get shipped off to during the school holidays, grr, it's amazing what sticks with you throughout your life eh?)

So for me it's important that we all eat the same thing, which is easy as I do most of the cooking :-)

I don't want to follow a diet plan that eliminates the rest of my family... So I'm not going to start cooking meals that are so far-fetched and elaborate that my son won't eat them (which would probably be tough as he does eat just about everything, and yes that includes salad and green vegetables, he's good like that :-) ). But if it's too complicated it won't be something I do often, it won't last, and it'll be a waste of money and time.

So I'm trying to make changes to my diet that are going to become permanent, but not difficult to maintain. The worst thing in the world for me would be to get to my final goal and go... "err shit, so what can I eat now?!!" and be terrified that I'll have to 'watch what I eat' in a negative way, for the rest of my life for fear of gaining a pound!

I want to instill good and worthwhile principles into my every day eating habits, I want to learn good habits, I want something that's going to last. I don't want a faddy diet, I don't want something unsustainable, and I don't want something that my family can't share with me as they are the most important things in my life.

and so, in the same vein, I want to be able to let loose sometimes, but within boundaries that I have learned and put up on my own. Yes, on Wednesday I drank too much red wine... BUT, I didn't eat the bread and chips, I didn't smother my steak in high fat sauce... and, most importantly, the next day when I felt a bit rough, I didn't immediately go to our canteen and grab a bacon sandwich which would have been the perfect panacea for the old me.

no. I'm going to enjoy this and it's going to be something that I do for the rest of my life. It's going to take a while, and I'm not sure if I'll ever be entirely free of the diet demons that have plagued my life for the past 18 years, but I'm going to get there and I'm not going to feel guilty when I overindulge once in a while, because I know that I'm on the right track and nothing's going to shift me off it.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

quick post before I sod off home

so I didn't make it to BMF tonight. I won some tickets to see La Roux, who I LOVE in an unhealthy cheesy synth-loving manner :-D and then discovered that a friend's birthday meal was tonight instead of tomorrow, bahhh... and then figured that actually since my back is hurting and I'm quite tired I'm just going to go home and chill.

I get upper back pain quite often, usually for no apparent reason... I might just suddenly jerk my back and then the space between my shoulder blades feels like it's going to explode. not much fun :-(

I'd kinda decided earlier on to make this a rest day anyway. I've done quite a bit these last few days given that it's not been long since I've been 100% well.

* Lower Body Workout No.1
(quick blitz in the gym. Double leg press: 80kg; Single Leg Press: 40kg; Leg Curl: 35kg; Leg Extension: 35Kg; Adductor: 55kg; abductor: 55kg)

* Walked home from work: 4 miles in less than an hour
* abdominal workout in the evening

* Upper Body Workout No. 2
(Shoulder Press: 9kg; Biceps Curl: 9kg; Upright Row: 9kg; Triceps Kickback: 7kg; Lateral Shoulder Raises: 5kg; Side Row: 12.5kg)
* Cycle to and from work (8 miles)

Tomorrow I'm planning to do my Lower Body Workout No.2 in my work gym first thing in the morning. Then at lunch time I'm going to have a steady jog on the treadmill for 20-30 mins followed by lots of stretching.

I might not do upper body weights until Saturday, will have to see how I feel.

So, instead of running around a park in the sunshine, or sitting down to a nice meal, or going to see a band I like, I'm going to trundle off home and sit in my local pub (which is actually a nice pub, gastro status but not too pricey) with t'other half and eat a nice steak and drink a glass of medicinal red wine (it has analgesic properties, true story!)

it'll be good to spend an evening with my OH as I feel like we've drifted apart a bit lately with us both having our own projects. It's scary how little time there is to fit everything in. I'm such a contender for the 'biting off more than she can chew' title.

Ahh well, play's next week and then that's something out the way so I can relax a little and focus on family and training.

here are my dresses for Pride & Prejudice by the way:

what do you think? I'm so excited about wearing them! I'm a little worried by how low cut the first two are though as last sunday's rehearsal saw me acquire some rather interesting burn tan lines, hmmm...!!

The first is my dress as the single-spinster Charlotte Lucas, the second is single-spinster-but-hopeful-to-get-a-fella-at-a-balll Charlotte Lucas, and the third is 'married to the dreadful reverend collins... and the church... so must cover up one's assets' ;-)

The dress rehearsal is Sunday, I do hope they all fit, though reasonably optimistic that they'll be fine as I'm good with dresses being a pear shape... it's just trousers I can't cope with as I found in my last play when I had to play a man - my estimations were *way* out!!

okay, must dash, if only because there's a cleaner in the other half of the office who, whilst doing a sterling job of cleaning all our admin people's pedestals, is a little larger-framed so struggling a bit and therefore grunting away like the ladies at Wimbledon! I fear that any second now I might giggle - doesn't she know I'm here?!