Wednesday, 16 September 2015

I overcome all fears *part two*

As the title of this post will somewhat indicate, this is the follow up to my previous blog post. A summary, for those of you who missed it. I was about to take part in my first marathon and was bricking it. After much goading myself on I convinced myself that I was ready, had a thorough pre-marathon breakfast, the much needed *pre-race poop*, tied my laces and headed off. 

And here's the awful, painful truth that I almost didn't want to confess. I couldn't finish it. I hit the wall at mile 18 and the next three miles were achingly slow. My legs felt like lead, my insoles had apparently shrunk during Tough Mudder- something I might have realised if I hadn't had to take weeks out of training for illness related reasons- and I could feel a line of bleeding blisters along both sides of my feet. I hit mile 21- 5 miles to go and well over an hour and a half in which to do it in. Easy. 

No. I was broken. I was a shell of my usual jubilant self. The relatively small size of the marathon (under 500 people) and the ridiculously slow pace between mile 18-21 meant that my worst nightmare was realised. I was in last place. The recovery van that went around the course to pick up runners who had damaged themselves was literally on my tail. Every time I looked around they were there. I have described this in a number of ways- the Top Gear failure car for example, or *my personal favourite* the komodo dragon stalking his prey for days after that initial venomous bite. I sobbed and sobbed and hated every moment of them following me. I gave the driver an earful about how awful it was having him there. He looked down at my left ankle (my stupid inherently damaged ankle) and said 'I'm sorry miss, you're doing incredibly but that ankle is just making us all a little nervous especially with the next hill.' Oh god. A hill. JOY OF JOYS. Stubborn as ever I stomped up that hill just to show him. I got to the top, looked at my running watch thinking that I MUST be near that 22 mile mark. 21.2 miles. I called my mum and cried. I told her I was a failure and that this was HANDS DOWN the worst thing I had ever attempted. What was I even thinking?! The pain was overwhelming when I finally let the failure wash over me. I turned to the recovery van, nodded at him and hopped in. I didn't speak again for the 20 minutes it took for me to get back to the race village. I couldn't; it would've destroyed me. I kept getting told how well I'd done, the other runners in the car (they'd all picked up injuries and were en route back with me) commended me for getting past them. One chap was on marathon number 8. He vindicated my feeling that the New Forest Marathon is a lonely marathon. Beautiful scenery but there are so few people that you literally fall into your own little bubble and that's it.

It was not what I'd imagined a marathon to be. I've watched the London Marathon and the Great North Run (I know it's a half- calm down) and said to myself, it'll be that atmosphere that keeps you going when it gets tough. It's the other 40,000 people all achieving something very great who will keep you motivated. It was otherwise a perfect day. Not too hot, not due to rain and the perfect level of cloud cover. I ran through little villages where small children handed out sweaty handfuls of jelly babies (little boy from Brockenhurst- you were my rock!) and I started ludicrously well. The first 10 miles came smoothly and easily and I was at the half way point in just over 2 and a half hours. I could come up with countless reasons WHY I couldn't do it but quite honestly there is no point. And this is actually very important for me. 

My greatest fear has always been failure. I sat in the back of that van and was a failure. And then I started to think. Being a failure would have been never having the bravery to try in the first place. Being a failure would have been continuing on clearly over taxed limbs to the point of real and significant damage. Being a failure would have been not learning something from the experience. And as painful an experience this was, my god did I learn. 

I have learnt that sometimes I need to be nicer to myself. If you had told my younger self that I would be fit enough to run a marathon -ever- she would have laughed and thought something along the lines of 'even the 100m on school sports days hurt'. That sometimes I need to do things for the process rather than some arbitrary final point that I've set myself. I'm actually quite looking forward to just training- for nothing in particular. I learnt that (no pun intended) I can't run before I learn to walk. A marathon WILL happen. I WILL eventually be able to tick that off of my 'to do' list and I will finish a hell of a lot stronger than I could have this time. 

The reason I know this is because I truly can overcome all fears. All it takes is the bravery to try. 

Sunday, 13 September 2015

I overcome all fears

Three weeks ago today, I woke up in a cottage in Cirencester having just taken on one of the hardest physical challenges of my life. The day before, I became a Tough Mudder. I had spent about 4 and a half hours running over hills and through dense woodland, climbing over walls and scrabbling through mud whilst being repeatedly thrown into water and a final bit of electric shock therapy at the end all for good measure. I crossed the finish line hand in hand with my brother, was handed my orange head band, finisher T-shirt and a cider. This was, hands down, the proudest moment of my life.   Four and a half hours earlier I had stood with my group of mudders and enthusiastically shouted at the top of my lungs my pledge to 'over come all fears'.

This morning, I woke up in a hotel room in Bournemouth to the sound of sea gulls and early enough that it was still dark outside- a sight I'm still not quite used to after a summer of early sunny mornings. I absentmindedly put on my trusty ronhill running tights and the T-shirt I acquired yesterday to face what is, undoubtedly, sure to be another of the hardest physical challenges of my life. Today, I run my first marathon. And here's a secret that I'm not altogether proud of- I'm scared. The week and a half after tough mudder left me struck down with a chest and ear infection that wiped out what remaining training time I had for the run and has tormented me all week. I've worked and reworked out how fast I need to do it to atlas complete it within the six and a half hour time limit (14.9 minute mile just in case you were wondering) and I've been plagued by memories of coming in last at races for school. I have been reassured by my friends and family, my personal trainer Heather is I'm sure sick to death about hearing me blabber on about it and is probably waiting on tenterhooks today for me to tell her it's done so we can resume work as usual.

This morning, I have done everything I can to ensure success. I had an early night last night and I'm waiting for the butterflies in my tummy to bugger off which probably won't happen until I step foot over the starting line and am actually doing this. Honestly, some days I look at myself and think 'what the hell have you done this for?!' and then I remember, today I will do what others won't so that tomorrow I can do what others can't. I do this for the challenge because, deep down inside- even when my confidence is wavering- I believe that I am capable of achieving anything I put my mind to. I do this because I know countless individuals who wish they could strap on a pair of running shoes and take in what will prove to be some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country but can't because of illness or injury. I do this because people tell me I am an inspiration and I believe that people who have the possibility of effecting change, no matter how small, should lead by example and be unyielding in their own determination.

I do this, because I overcome all fears.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Finding my joy.

Sorry sorry sorry for the absence. I've been busy doing exciting things---->  They say that life starts at the end of your comfort zone. After the last few weeks I have come to know that this is one hundred percent true. It used to be that the things that made me happy were lazy Sundays or Lord of the Rings movie marathons (I reckon that last one would still make me pretty f***ing happy). Now the idea of sitting still for more than an hour when I could be up, out doing something, anything makes me itch. It's why I make sure that my rest days are ones where I'm working or I know I would go cray cray with wanting to do something.

A few weeks ago I released a Facebook status.

I don't know why I didn't write a blog post the minute my feet once again touched solid ground but it's taken me almost a month to figure out exactly what that first half hour back on a horse meant to me. My first thought as I approached this beast of a horse was that he was absolutely massive. Of course he is, he (his name's Max btw and he is my new BFF-don't tell my cat) has to lift a (then) 16 stone unsure human as she tries to remember how to rise in trot without damaging her crotch. I took to the mounting block and then freaked out. I haven't told any one this so you're all the first to know. He's so tall, what if I fall off? What if I can't do this? What if I can't even swing my leg over his saddle? He kept moving about, wasn't close enough, was too close. All the excuses. I was once again the girl I was when I first went running back in July 2013. And then it happened. I threw my leg over, was sat on and we moved together. The tears happened almost instantly. Pure, unadulterated joy. When the half hour was up and I'd figured out how to get off of this enormous creature- I cannot stress enough just how large Max is- I stroked his face and thanked him for the most amazing gift. In that half hour, and every subsequent half hour, he has given me a part of life that I'd only ever really dreamed of getting. For months I'd thought that getting back on a horse was just so far off, and yet here I am with my booked in weekly 8am Sunday lessons (I am NOT a morning person, so you can work out for yourself how much this means to me) and loving every moment of the connection and every moment that I can feel my body getting stronger, more capable and increasingly up to the challenge that is horse riding.

I was thinking to myself on my way back from ballet this evening that a couple of weeks ago I would have said ballet and horse riding were my main joys. And they are. I clearly love that damn horse and I love rediscovering the awesome- actually kind of ridiculous- things I can do with my body that made me good at ballet in the first place. I was telling myself that the slog in the gym and running was remedied by the treat of ballet and my time with Max. Until today. I'd had a hell of a yoga class (this hot yoga is like on steroids or something, I have never sweated so much) and left with such a sense of achievement. With every run, I grow stronger and fitter, my endurance and stamina continue to grow and I get to think freely and just be with myself. In the gym I love competing with my own personal best, I love how competent I feel. Everything I do, activity wise, feeds into something else and my enjoyment and achievement of each activity enables a greater commitment to the others. When people say that I must be so proud of all I've achieved over the last 2 and a bit years I comment that it's not just a pride of the achievement. I have such an overwhelming sense of competency, of capability and that is not something I think I can truthfully say I've felt before.

This competency was tested with my latest challenge, rock climbing. To say that I've never been able to climb a rock is an understatement. I was always too afraid to lift my feet even a foot off the ground. But at my induction not only did I get to the top of the wall first time but, according to the instructor, I attacked the challenge with a gusto and a conviction that he had never seen in a first time climber. That is what this journey has given me. I haven't just grown to love activity- really love it this time- I am no longer afraid of the limitations of my body. Instead of automatically thinking I can't, I know that if I try anything with enough conviction it can be done.

There are 99 days left until I do Tough Mudder. One of my managers at work made a comment upon discovering that I was doing it that I must really hate myself to go through such an ordeal. I know that there are countless people out there that see obstacle runs and marathons and triathlons as some kind of punishment that only we masochistic individuals sign up for. Maybe that's true. But what I can tell you for certain is that, for me, completing Tough Mudder will be the culmination of 2 and a half year's hard work. Hard work that has shown me that I can do amazing things, if I only step out of my comfort zone.

LilySlim Weight loss tickers

Monday, 27 April 2015

An anniversary and an apology

The last few weeks in my life have been pretty awesome. This has not been caused by any one thing in particular but I can say with absolute certainty that I'm the happiest I've been in a good long while. So much so that I completely bypassed my second anniversary with Weight Watchers. It completely slipped past without so much as a howdoyoudo and I think that this is because this has become a part of my life rather than necessarily a conscious presence that walks along side my life. That's not to say that I don't still track and make decisions on a day to day basis that I think will benefit my life, it's just become a part of the furniture.

Whilst this makes me feel confident that I will be able to keep on keeping on- it has also made me a little complacent in recent weeks. I've just been pretty happily maintaining my weight, something that needs to change right now. I'm weighing in at 15 stone 12 currently and that's pretty cool and all but that means I'm one pound away from 8 stone lost and a step in the direction of goal. The focus on getting to goal has sort of just faded to the background. That's not to say that I haven't been engaging in activities that are leading to my betterment, mind, body and soul.  Whilst I am the fittest I have EVER been, I've forgotten to prioritise the ultimate weight loss goal- I need to remember that the two need to go hand in hand. I've become too comfortable so I need to kick it up a notch.

At work we talk about something called the 'stretch zone'. This is your optimum working position. You're not complacent, you're not comfortable but you're not panicking or stressing out. I seem, when it comes to weight loss at least, to very rarely sit in the stretch zone. Either I am comfortably eating mozzarella sticks at 2 in the morning or I'm stressing out over once eating a carb. Either I'm never in the gym and getting out of breath going up stairs or I live in the gym with a perpetual case of fatigue. Clearly, neither of these scenarios are ideal and, as a result of not being able to find this stretch zone I will not be doing the Milton Keynes Marathon next Monday.

This brings me on to the apology part. I feel, and have been feeling for weeks, that I owe you all some kind of an apology. That my failure to run the marathon is letting you down. I worked out weeks ago that the marathon was simply not going to happen. I'd been hit with a case of gastroenteritis when I realised 'crap. The marathon is in just over a month'. Before then I'd damaged my ankle again from overexertion after a bout of under exertion. In short, I failed to manage my marathon training correctly and, as a result, I've fucked up. I beat myself up about it over and over and considered 'just doing it' and sodding the potential damage to my body because I couldn't stand the idea of telling people that I wasn't doing it. That I was letting my charity, myself and anyone who has ever called me inspirational down. But all I can do, all anyone ever CAN do is remember how much I have achieved in the past two years and work to move forward; 'there are only two days that you can do nothing about. Yesterday and some day'. I know I WILL do the marathon, this Monday is simply not my time.

So, in the meantime, I accept my apology- I just hope you do too.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Thank you and good night.

Right, ladies and gentlemen. I know, I know. You've been stressing out because last week I had lost 98lbs and here I am, 48 hours after my weigh in and I still haven't updated you. I know what you're all thinking. She gained. Let's go drink on her behalf because that sucks.


The truth is, I lost four pounds. FOUR POUNDS. Which means, ladies and gentlemen, that I have lost 102 lbs total. That's 46 kilos or 7 stone 4 lbs. I have lost triple digits. That's mental. A few years ago, Nicole Richie was basically shat on in all of the glossy magazines for inviting people to a party with a 100 lb weight limit. So technically, the fat that I've lost is now too heavy to have been allowed in. Shucks.
In case you didn't believe me...
So, let's flash back a few days shall we. You'll all remember that last Wednesday I was thrilled to bits to have got to my 7 stone goal. Whilst that is certainly true what you need to see was my little brain thinking 'Right you idiot. You only need to lose TWO POUNDS this week. D'you hear that? TWO POUNDS.' All week I had been teaming up with the angel on my shoulder to tell the devil on the other side to shove off. There was NOTHING on this planet that was going to stop me from getting to 100 lbs. That just was not allowed to happen. I tracked like I have never tracked and I did a quality control on my tracking by also, for one week and one week only, tracking my calories on my fitness pal. This was more to make sure that I wasn't jeopardising my weight loss chances by eating my entire daily allowance in mangoes on top of my daily points just because 'fruit is 'free' on weight watchers'. This is not the beginnings of me saying 'you must all stop eating fruit. Fruit's the devil' it was more a case of making sure I was as aware of what was going in my mouth as humanly possible.

Did you know that a newborn Dalmation weighs about a pound. That's 102 puppies lost.
Freshly cleaned the same weight watchers uniform I wore the week before- I was determined not to have any anomalous results because of a change of underwear thankyouverymuch. Head to the meeting and make my way through people going 'gosh, you've changed so much in one week' {umm...wut? You sure?}. Right then, if I already LOOK noticeably slimmer in one week this HAS to be it...the big 100. Sue (my leader) beamed at me as I handed over my card and stripped off the final superfluous clothing and pieces of jewellery (look kids, this is science...couldn't have any thing messing up that control group could I?!). Step on and wait. That's all you have to do. So I stepped on. Both Sue's and my eyes flew to the scale's monitor. 16 stone 7. Crap on a cracker...I lost four lbs. 102 lbs. Not only did I get over that next hurdle but I got some extra on top just to give me a clear margin.

A newbie asked for the before she is.
I sat in the meeting and zipped my lip. Not saying anything till I get picked on and then can make EVERYONE aware at the same time how good a weight watcher I am. Mwahahahaha. As it's currently awards season that was the theme. We were talking about successes. And much like Leonardo DiCaprio agonises every time he is up for an Oscar, I sat there heart racing as it became clear that Sue was picking on me last. In the moment I'd lost 102 lbs I became not only the most successful weight watcher in the room but also the most successful weight watcher at that meeting group. This, was something I did not know. I was sure that there were two women there who had gone over the 100 mark but nope- 7 stone was the most lost there. Crumbs.

And today, 102 lbs lighter.
'Florence, if this was your Weight Watchers Oscar's speech, who do you have to thank?' And I kid you not, the first thing I said was 'I want to thank the people who read my blog.' Regardless of how boring my topic is or how long it takes me to write something, I have people out there who read what I have to say, who send me emails and Facebook and Twitter messages to tell me they find me an inspiration or they simply like to know that they are not alone. And in doing so I remember that I too, am not alone in this. I will never be alone in this because all of you, from the ones I've known for years to the people I've never met, give me the drive to keep going until goal. We're coming up to two years together you all and I, and I can honestly say it's been the most fulfilling relationship I have ever had.

So, as my Oscars music comes around for the second time telling me to shut the hell up and get off stage, thank you. When I have my celebratory glass of Champagne tonight I will think of all of you in this with me.
Image result for champagne toast

Friday, 20 February 2015

The rule of seven.

So, it's been a month since Jemma left (I can't believe it's been so long) and it's well time for a new blog post. Not just because enough time has gone by but because I actually have some really, very exciting news to share with y'all.

As of last night, ladies and gentlemen, I have lost 7 stone. If the daily mail is anything to go by (...) apparently I have lost Snooki. That's a full, grown up adult woman that has had a child. We'll ignore the fact that, if that's true, she is PAINFULLY underweight. I'm going to revel in that for a little bit. Yesterday was a good day. I woke up with an amazing feeling of optimism that, to be honest, I've been missing for a little while. Maybe it was the restorative day off from work, or it might have been the glorious spring sunshine baring down at me from my window. I did loads of spring cleaning, had an enormous amount of drive to get some course work done and was generally just feeling a heightened sense of wellbeing. I was also aware of the fact that I only needed one pound to tip me over the 7 stone mark. One pound. I was the equivalent of a can of baked beans to my 7 stone goal and with that only 2 lbs, or your average pineapple, away from having lost 100lbs. Triple digits. Crikey.

It was also significant because this was the first weight watchers meeting I've been able to go to since before Christmas. I've been going at it alone because my rota has had me on late nights for the last 9 Wednesdays. So I got dressed in my usual weight watchers uniform (clothing that I'm sure could well have me done for gross indecency), got my card and climbed into the car for the 10 minute drive. And then it hit me. I was actually nervous about going in. I felt like I did when I started. I was an anxious newbie. 'What if they've recycled my membership card because I haven't been in SO LONG?' (They hadn't). 'What if my scales at home are wrong and I've actually gained 10 lbs?' (My scales are fine). 'What if I stay the same and I nearly die of frustration?' This was a very real worry because I had not, by any stretch of the imagination, had a good week. I over ate on Thursday, ate ALL the food on Valentine's day (why is that day not outlawed?) and (sorry boys) it's my time of the month. Combine that with my utter laziness in the last week and none of this is all that conducive towards the best weight loss success. And yet I walked into that room and people did not recognise me. People who have been with me the entire length of my journey. People physically did double takes. My leader even said 'Welcome' to me before realising who I was and gawping at me stunned. {Inner monologue} "Calm down people, I've only lost like 10 lbs since you last saw me". My leader gleefully (finally) handed over my 75 lb certificate before exclaiming to the entire room that she'd better get on the computer and order the 100 toot sweet.

Wait...are you, you know, using a selfie stick?
And so, the moment of reckoning. Step on the scale, the number ticks down and settles on 16 stone 11. I did it. 7 stone. 14 silver sevens. In that moment I flashed back to the first moment I stepped on the scales back in April 2013. I remember looking at the dust settling before me and seeing the enormous challenge I had ahead of me. This time, all I can see ahead of me is potential and the amazing things that this body of mine has accomplished.  In that moment I think I realised that one of the great things holding me back the last few weeks has been fear. I don't think I was even aware of it at the time. I've held back from marathon training (stupidly) because I've been afraid of finishing last,  I've been afraid of not being able to hit my targets and have beaten myself up about it when that then materialised in slow, though consistent, weight loss. I was scared of the life I was going to live without Jemma, but apparently not too scared to sign up for Tough Mudder in August (I don't think the fear for that has had time to develop yet though). I've been afraid of letting life slip by and so haven't stopped to think about all the things I can do now, should do now. That, is what 7 stone means to me.

So, today I woke up on a rainy morning with all of yesterday's enthusiasm still buzzing. I got up, bought some new running socks, ate some sushi and headed to the gym to train with Heather (the new PT- you'll all be glad to know we get along, so I have no intention of dumping her). I had more than one opportunity to over eat today but I didn't. With so much waiting in the coming weeks, I suddenly found myself having no interest. That, I think will be my mantra this week. There are only 2 lbs till 100. Just keep going. And so, to sum up, I've lost 7 stone but have found myself and with every pound gone I get a little bit of the life I can have to keep me motivated, to keep me going. And when that's not enough, I get given stickers...

14 little shiny stickers for me.

LilySlim Weight loss tickers

Monday, 19 January 2015

Goodbye, I'll miss you.

I've been putting this post off for weeks but the time has come to do it. Before Christmas I'm at my personal training session, complaining about boys (as per usual) when Jemma stops me. 'I have something to tell you'. My head suddenly fills with all the worst case scenarios it can come up with. She's getting married to a Saudi Prince and has to leave immediately. She's developed a rare allergy to sweat and can no longer be a personal trainer. Oh shut up brain.

'I'm moving to Australia'- is what she actually said. Cue emotional and mental breakdown. *You will not cry in the WILL NOT cry in the gym*.

But Australia's so far away!
So yeah, my absolutely beloved personal trainer- someone who has been such an enormous part of my journey so far- is leaving next week to start the next part of her own journey. I'm torn by feeling proud that she's breaking out and having new experiences and screaming 'but what about me?! I can't believe that you're not going to be here till the end. We were going to start a weight loss empire and become millionaires!' {That is still totally going to happen...}

However hard the idea of being separated from Jemma is to contemplate, I want to focus on the amazing contribution this woman- my pint sized ninja sidekick- has made so far.

Jemma was by no means my first personal trainer. I have a history of unceremoniously dumping my personal trainers. I just kind of disappear, don't reply to texts or calls until they get the picture. Either I've not felt challenged, don't get on with the person or I just haven't been in the right place to take full advantage of the skills they were offering me.

Jemma though, was different. Not only did she appear in my life at exactly the point that we would both be able to benefit from our relationship with each other, she was the first personal trainer I have ever connected with. It started at the very beginning, she complimented my Ted Baker handbag. It was love. She realised early on that I was more capable than I, or anyone, might think and as such I was constantly challenged to do better, be better or just try something new. Through her, I finally learnt what it meant to love activity. I know now what it feels like to be able to say, 'woah, my body can do amazing things. Let's see if it can do X?' She's the reason that I have no doubt that I can do Tough Mudder in August or the Milton Keynes Marathon in May.

Ted Baker. Bringing people together since 2012
Shortly into our time together I went back to Bristol and was sure that I'd be able to continue that trend with other personal trainers. I was wrong and Vanessa and Dave became the next victims of, the now infamous, Hunter dumping. I neither connected with them nor felt challenged by the programs that they set me. They just couldn't put me at ease or felt confident themselves to see what would happen if they gave the 20+ stone girl some heavy weights and see what happened or tease gently when I pull my pouty face that I simply cannot do another rep.

As we worked together more, Jemma ceased to be just my personal trainer. She became my friend. I trust her totally, something summed up last week when I let her give me a piggy back. Think about that for a moment... As someone who hasn't been picked up by another human being in well over a decade, this was a huge moment for me and her. I had to try not to cry as we high fived and she said she was happy to have been the first person to pick me up. We talk about just about anything including failed tinder experiments and an unfortunate crush that may or may not have been had in the first few weeks of my new job. Awks.

Every time we have a session, even if I am hating life or just want my bed, I can honestly say I smile as I tie my laces and head out of the front door. For the first time in my life I am excited to see what can be achieved and working with her has me seriously considering qualifying as a personal trainer myself. I am not exaggerating when I say that she has changed my life for good.

So learning that today is our last session has left me flat out devastated. I nearly cried when we were boxing as I felt the loss rising up inside but I know that this is not the end. We WILL have our empire of fitness videos where y'all can experience the fun and laughter that our sessions bring. I can only say that training with her has been inspirational and an absolute pleasure.

So, there you have it. I had always hoped that she would be there till the end of my journey and she will be- just not as we'd originally planned. So Jemma, and I know you're reading this, I will miss you more than words can say and am so pleased to have had the privilege of having you in my life for the last year and a half. It's been an absolute blast and I hope you have an amazing time in Australia...even if the evil part of my brain is hoping you come home soon.

Friday, 16 January 2015

The most important lie I ever did tell.

Dear Diary,

I have a confession to make. Last week, I lied about my weigh in. I lied to myself, I lied to my daily record and also anyone who asked about how I'd done that week. The truth then, is that I gained a pound. I told everyone I'd lost a pound. I didn't even do a little lie and say I'd stayed the same. And as I stepped on the scales on Wednesday and saw that I had lost that pound and another two, effectively bringing me to the place I would have been had I actually weighed in as 17 stone 2 last week and lost another pound, I started to question why I had lied in the first place.

Here's what I figured out when I really thought about it. Over the last few months I had managed a greater level of consistency than I had every achieved before on weight watchers. That consistency has been so very important to me in driving me to keep it going and I think that I was scared to let myself slip, even a little- even if I then rectified the situation the next week. I was also wary of the fact that in gaining a pound I went back a step in being over my half way mark. So I lied. I actively told myself- you lost another pound, that pound meant that my daily points allowance changed to 38, that pound meant that I hadn't dropped the consistency, that pound meant that I believed I was still going the right way and consequently that pound meant that I continued to lose this week. As such it felt like the most important lie I could tell myself at that time as I didn't put myself down once for gaining that pound.

However, I have no way of telling if I would have done as well, worse or better if I had owned my gain when it happened and, more importantly, I failed to stay honest to myself and the plan. So I resolved as I saw my weight drop to the lowest I've ever been, again, that I would always be honest in the future. If I can be honest with my tracker about what I'm putting into my body, if I can own the bad times with the good, then I can certainly afford to accept the gains with the losses because it's a part of life that actually helps to increase the value of the loss afterwards. Simple maths to demonstrate what I mean:

If I had actually weighed as 17 2, my loss of a pound this week doesn't seem as impressive as the three pounds I actually lost to bring me to where I am today.

In retrospect that first gain in months was important to me- it showed that one blip is not going to screw the plan up and that I can pick myself up, brush myself off and keep going.

So, whilst it felt like an important lie to tell myself at the time, I will not be repeating this practice. I'm 94 pounds in, I don't NEED to lie to myself to know that I've got this. I just need to persist.

Monday, 5 January 2015

The dreaded binge

This past Sunday I went on a work night out with some of my colleagues and our tech reps who come in at weekends as specialists to save my behind when I know shite all about Panasonic TVs or why Bowers and Wilkins T7 bluetooth speaker is made up of hundreds of honeycomb shapes. As frequently happens in situations where many people will be eating/ drinking together, what followed the initial organisation stage was a whatsapp argument about the venue for sustenance that went on for days. Mr Bowers and Wilkins finally made the executive decision of T.G.I. Fridays. Dun dun DUUUUUUN.

I've got nothing against T.G.I. Fridays - in my youth I was quite partial to a Cheesy Bacon Cheeseburger after my starter of mozzarella dippers- but T.G.I. Fridays is quite literally the WORST PLACE you can go on Weight Watchers and probably just about any other 'diet' going. To elaborate on this point I have listed the best and worst options and their points below. As a frame of reference to those not on Weight Watchers, I'm on 39 points a day, I weigh 17 stone 3lbs and am 5 ft 6 tall:

The best thing you can have on the menu is...Garlic Ciabatta Bread, Plain (a starter) at 12 proPoints. Alternatively you can have a quarter of the Loaded Potato Skins for the same 12 proPoints.
The WORST thing on the menu is...the Double stacked Jack Daniel's Monterey Burger, a bargain at 78 proPoints. That is literally twice my daily allowance. But I hear you, go for something real- I'm not going to have the double stacked version. So the single burger is 57 proPoints. Huh. Interesting.

Why are you so delicious?
Now, before I left home I thought long and hard about this. Florence, I said to myself, you've started well in this new year. Let's not do anything to jeopardise the consistent weight loss you've been experiencing. And so, I did the sensible thing. I got white girl wasted on fruity cocktails laced with popping candy and suddenly all concept of 'good' and 'bad' disappeared. I somehow managed to maintain a cool head long enough to order a steak. But instead of holding back on the chips I polished them off and 1.5 of my friend Alice's mozzarella dippers...another bargain at 34 proPoints for the entire starter sized serving...

Damn you and your fabulous fruity friends.
I know what you're thinking. Surely you left it there? Nope. As I downed my fourth tequila shot with a Smirnoff ice chaser (5 proPoints per bottle- I now know...), I had at no point slowed down the caloric intake. In fact I was long past caring and ordered a serving of cheesy chips to really polish off my evening.

This is not intended as some kind of binge shaming exercise but rather, is important to talk about because most people will have done something similar at one point or another. And that is absolutely okay. I feel no guilt in what I did. I had a great time. According to my fitness tracker I will have danced off most of those empty calories and I have worked really hard today to get myself back into the healthy swing of things. And it's this that people tend not to do after a binge. The initial feeling is unadulterated guilt, followed by self loathing and then starvation for the rest of the day.

Today's salvation.
Instead, today I did what I felt sensible. Having obliterated 33 of my daily points before even waking up, I had a green juice at Alice's house filled with spinach and fruits and flaxseeds and some nuts- after the evening's escapades I was also by no means 'hungry'. When I got home I had a peppermint tea to settle my, very unhappy, tummy and about a gallon of water before a long bath and a short nap. My mind and lack of sleep do not go well together. My lunch time salad was filled with greens, lean meat and some pulses for extra protein and fibre and my Chicken noodle soup worked in multiple ways. 1st it helped to heal my soul- I hear it's good for that, 2nd it was light but filling with plenty of vegetables, some lentils and my wholemeal pasta and 3rd I'm hoping it'll help keep the cold at bay for a little while longer. Tomorrow I shall be back in the gym, which I'm dreading as I cannot currently move without my muscles rebelling against yesterday's leg day and as I confessed the levels of overeating to Jemma I feel confident some very high intensity work is coming in the morning...

Accurate depiction of me today. Ow.
Basically, this blog post has been good for me as I can visualise just what the 'damage' was. This, I feel, is important because it's all a part of the accountability that I have adopted since losing weight. It is also important to me because I know there are many out there who have done, and will continue to do (we're only human) the same or very similar things who beat themselves up about it no end. To those people, I say don't. Tomorrow is another day and continuing to fret about stuff in the past is simply allowing negativity to live rent free in your mind. And frankly, life's just too short for that.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

New year's resolutions. Moisturise me?

They say that you should start the new year as you intend to go on. So perhaps it's telling that I  rung in the new year with a weigh in, before a cup of green tea around 10:30 before promptly falling asleep watching Sex and the City. According to my shiny new health and fitness monitor, I had 129% of my required sleep last night. I woke up feeling rested and ready to take on the challenges of the new year.

Before I go on, let's talk a bit about last night's weigh in. And this is where I go a bit boast-y. I lost 2lbs. TWO POUNDS, the week of Christmas. Now, not only is that cool because I start the new year on a high and I achieved the inconceivable- losing weight over Christmas- but I ticked off two of my goals on my super amazing spreadsheet. 6 and a half stone AND over half way. As of last night I have lost 92 lbs and have *only* 91 lbs to go. Considering that I am hoping to finally get into the green BMI class this year starting the new year over half way there is an enormous confidence boost. It also means that, finally, the pounds to go jar of beads is less full than the pounds lost. This is something that I hoped I'd see but don't think I ever fully realised the possibility. The loss also means that I am continuing on the consistency I talked about last week that is oh so important, I think, to my continued success. If nothing else I want to strive for consistency. Even if it's only half a pound a week, a loss is what I'm aiming for.

Pretty even Stevens
So now let's talk about THIS side of the new year. I started the day with another cup of green tea and my course of multi-vitamins, glucosamine and evening primrose oil before my cheats eggs Benedict of a slice of seeded bloomer, ham and a poached egg and I'll be heading to the gym to see Jemma in about half an hour. I am determined that I will start off this year as confidently as I ended the last and despite my feeling in the past that new years aren't actually a 'new start', it's just another day, I can't help but be filled with a sense that this new year IS the start of something new for me. It's, hopefully, the start of the last year I'm in the red or orange areas of the BMI chart but it's more than that. I don't think I've ever started a year so positively. Sure, I've forgotten to buy a new calendar so my wall still thinks it's December, but I have a job that I love, a degree course I am enjoying so much, my health and fitness that I'm as enthusiastic about as I've ever been and I'm only 8 lbs away from 100 lbs lost. Also, going into kilograms for a moment, I'm under 10 kg away from my weight when I was...14? Shortly I will literally be taking up less room than I did a decade ago.

So I need to think strongly about new year's resolutions. I've kind of touched on it above, but this year as well as continuing my journey to lose weight, I want to start looking after myself much more. More water, more consistent exercise (marathon training takes full effect at 2pm this afternoon), seeing the physio/sports masseur to keep my muscles supple, ensuring that I'm getting the nutrients I need from my food- even if it means that I wait for 10 minutes making a poached egg rather than just having a bagel that takes a minute and a half in the toaster- and taking supplements to keep my joints in good working order whilst they take a pounding getting ready for 26.2 miles in May, and beyond.

But more than that, I'm going to start coming into my final body and that needs some care on the outside too. I've only touched on this before but one of the biggest things I think about when it comes to losing weight is 'will I effectively just be an enormous bag of loose skin at the end?' I'm borderline obsessed with it. When I see women who have lost considerable amounts of weight my eyes instantly fly to their underarm area. I've looked through pictures on the internet and spoken to experts who try to suggest strongly that at my age it should mostly bounce back but this year, and especially as I move closer to triple digits I'm going to take a lot better care of my skin and I'd advise you take out shares in bio-oil cus I'll be going through the stuff like nobody's business.

But any way, I'm wishing everyone here a happy, healthy new year. I'm going out to get what I want, I hope you do too.

  LilySlim Weight loss tickers