Friday, 16 December 2011

Adventures in the jouyous run up to CHRISTMAS!

You may or may not have realised, but Christmas is indeed coming and I've been getting super duper excited for it!

This year with being back in work, I was a little worried about being able to see either side of my family at all, and being that we live in totally different regions of the country, Christmas is more about family to us now than it ever was before. Thankfully my manager at work is one of those great guys who really appreciates that Christmas isn't just about the 25th December, and he's taken into account my wishes for my work schedule. This means that I'm actually going to get to spend time over Christmas with both mine and my husbands immediate families, and even see an aunty and uncle! This is the first Christmas we'll have seen so much of both sides of the family together, and the second Christmas where we haven't traveled to either ones family. It's quite a relief, and means we get the best of both worlds without the stress and hassle that comes with staying as a guest in someone elses house, however close they may be.

A Christmas tree on a Christmas crate!
All this means that I'm over the moon with excitement and anticipation for Christmas, but December hasn't been without it's festive themed delights already. We've got a lovely little tree this year, and cleared out a space for it. It's no bigger than the one we usually have, only 3ft, but our flat is so tiny it wouldn't be practical to have anything too much bigger. This years offering is a little less weedy than the usual, however, and I've invested in yet more beautiful decorations. By that I mean I bought loads of little birds to stick in my tree, because I find birds to be ever so enchanting and charming. And the single bird I bought last year was ever so lonely on her own. I've also invested in an angel topper to replace our icky plastic star. We always had angels when I was a little girl, and I dunno, maybe it's because they have wings like birds, I just love them. She doesn't really fit in with the glittery blue, silver, purple and pink of the tinsel and baubles, as she's a white crochet angel, but she's so delightful and sweet I couldn't help myself. The tree itself is not perched precariously on top of the gas meter cabinet this year, where it usually goes, but I covered an old crate in gold crepe paper and stuck it on there, to give it a bit more "presence" in the room. This is grate because I can stash all the presents in the crate until Christmas eve (as the place is so small, if I just stuck them decoratively beneath the tree it would soon become cluttered)

The tree always marks the beginning of the run up for me, but the second big thing is that Laila usually comes to visit us here in Liverpool. She's like a second sister to me, and we quickly get to giggling like maniacal little children as soon as we bang our heads together. We had a great day, participating in the drinking of much tea, coffee, the eating of cakes, and also pizza, and the perusing of the wonderful bits and bobs to be found in the Liverpool Christmas market. We had a few other plans but a rainy day called them off, and then tarrying over lunch meant we were a little late to go to the cinema, however we had a much needed catch up, and much festive joy was shared.

One of the things about Laila's annual Christmas adventure to Liverpool that I REALLY love, however, and I hope you don't mind me saying this dear, but it is the annual Christmas gift from Laila. I have many lovely and generous friends who get me lovely and thoughtful gifts that I treasure, but Laila is an expert in the art of packaging. This year it meant that to get to the goodies within the gift bag I ended up covering the cafe we were sat in with angel and snow flake shaped confetti as I pulled out reams of silver and blue tinsel! The only problem I had afterwards was wondering what to do with it, as it always seems a shame to put such thought to waste. Well, Laila, last night I put your tinsel to good use and made a tinsel wreath!

It's nothing amazingly complex, I simply twisted the blue and silver tinsels around one another, then wrapped the resulting twisty awesomeness around an old embroidery hoop that I rescued from my Granny's bin in April but have yet to use. I fixed it with some craft wire, and then hung some old plastic baubles that I didn't use on the tree this year with the same stuff. I also fixed a cheeky little song bird on it from my tree. I know it's a total hodgepodge riot of different colours and textures, but actually I quite like the deep, warm colour of the baubles against the light, frosty tinsel. I think it's gonna be a keeper, not too bad for a load of stuff that would have otherwise ended up in landfill!

Snow on the street where I live!
I've plenty of social engagements and chores that need to be done over the upcoming week or so. For starters, the place is in no fit state to have the family around...don't worry, it's not at all back to Corner of Shame levels of disorder, but it is in dire need of a seasonal cleanup just to straighten things out again. I have a Christmas meal with my best friends as well as family coming, and then a wonderful new years party to look forward to. I can't wait to put my new dress, although I'm struggling with what to do with my hair. A good old fashioned 50's beehive may be the way of it! In the meantime we've just had a healthy amount of snow dumped on us here in Liverpool...not an atrocious amount, and no where near as much as we did last year, but it's enough to make me feel even more Christmassy! Could we be having a white Christmas here on Merseyside this year? Only a week and a bit to go!

But anyhow, I shall stop my ramblings and head on back to enjoying my day off to write Christmas cards and sing Christmas songs. Whatever you're doing on the run up to Christmas I hope you enjoy it, and I shall no doubt be posting up again before the big day arrives!
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Monday, 12 December 2011

Doctor! Doctor!

I was feeling pretty anxious about my doctors appointment. I'd only seen Doctor Keyser once before, in the same situation granted, and he'd been nothing but kind and understanding. But he's a hard little man. He speaks with an almost flawless British accent, yet he is so bluntly German. His eyes are like little hard rocks behind his perfectly round, gold framed glasses. If he wasn't so tiny, standing at no more than five foot one, one could easily mistake him for Nick Robinson going grey. Whereas my usual GP is a younger, softer, charmismatic and personable young woman, Dr Keyser invokes memories of being dragged to the doctor by mother and being scrutinised from every angle by someone who to your feeble childs mind is like a cross between your headmaster, and God.

The buzzer called me in. Don't worry, I calm myself, it's just a quick in and out, he can read your notes after all. He greets me as he's leaving his room.

"Ah, Miss Myatt!" he exclaims. I don't know why the surgery never changed my title along with my name when I got married, "if you could just come in, has the receptionist told you about the student doctor today? Good good! Well he will examine you and take down your notes, and then I will come and check to see that everything is ok. Good? Good!"

The student doctor in question was a young south eastern asian man. At first I groaned inwardly; all other times I've been told there was a student doctor in, it was whilst they observed, never unsupervised. He had a kindly enough face, but he seemed so fresh and, well, undoctorly, I wondered what it was he would say.

"I came here just under a month ago," I explained, "I have a history of depression and I had been suffering with some of the symptoms for a couple of months so I came back before they could get any worse, and the doctor prescribed me my usual...now I'm nearly out and I need some more..."

He looked at me strangely. I wondered what his experience with mental health issues was. I was soon to find out.

He asked how I was feeling. On top of the world, I told him, for about a week or so I've been feeling just brilliant. Whether that is the pills or Christmas and the promise of seeing my whole family and the wonderful new years celebrations that are planned I don't know. Perhaps those months of feeling blue were just a minor blip.

He asked if I wanted to come off the pills...I asked if this was advisable...after years of being on and off them in one form or another I know the standard course is 6 months. He said it was just strange; usually with anti depressants they take weeks if not months to kick in, he explains. I say yes, indeed, I know this, this is all an old game to me, but today I am feeling on top of the world, on bad days I'm inconsolable.

He goes through my symptoms, past and present, and he seems perplexed. We've been in for a good five or ten minutes and he mumbles something about being unable to write me a prescription; we'll have to wait for Doctor Keyser. I presume he will be back soon.

Then the extraordinarily unprofessional happens. He tells me he just doesn't understand depression. I ask, what exactly do you mean by that. He says he cannot comprehend. He asks what I mean by "when I'm down I just can't face the world". He says that to him he wakes up on a morning, and then he wants to get out of bed and get on with his day. He doesn't say this in an accusatory way, more in an inquisitive way. I explain that, for me, all logical thought goes out of the window. When you feel like everything is against you, why bother to do anything? Why fight a loosing battle when you may as well just curl up and die?

He asks if I've had thoughts of dieing. I explain that, yes, I did when I came to see the doctor a month ago, and thats what triggered me to seek help, before I let it go to far. He asks if I've harmed myself. I say no. What about in the past? It's difficult to talk about, so I just show him the scars on my arm instead. He seems repulsed.

Then the conversation takes an even stranger turn. He asks "what about religion? Does that help?"

I'm perplexed. He seems to be reading from my notes, but I do not recall ever disclosing anything to do with faith to any doctor here. I tell him that whilst I'm Catholic, on down days God is far from my mind. Indeed, on really bad days one begins to doubt His existence at all.

He begins to explain that he's from a Christian family himself, but it's so difficult. He believes in God but he's not sure about religion. He wants to live life his own way, not prescribed by the church. He wishes to be the master of his own destiny, but he cannot deny that he knows God is there.

"I believe we'll never really know what God wants," I say. He confides that when doing devotionals, sometimes he will read a passage in the Bible which is spot on, and relates to exactly how he is feeling that day. He confides that his friends think he is mad for this, that he must be twisting the words to mean what he wants it to mean, and I suggest that as a trainee doctor he must be surrounded by many scientifically minded folk. He says yeah, and then says, "but it can't just be coincidence, can it?" I say "There's much wisdom in the word. It may be written by God or it may be written by man, but it didn't just appear from no where." He sits in silence for a while, nodding, in deep thought.

"I'm so sorry...I have no idea why I'm telling you all this..."

I get that a lot from people. That's why I'm pursuing counseling as a career.

He realises that he's really crossed the line by this point, but I assure him I don't mind, and besides, religion and theology are passions of mine. He goes back to my notes and asks what I mean about having a history of depression. I go through the whole sorry tale from the first time I harmed myself in sixth form college to the day I quit university. He was suprised to find Id studied a science subject. I wonder if I really come accross as that dumb these days. He asks is there anything I do to try and help myself, and asks if it's possible to try and make yourself "snap out of it".

I tell him no, it really isn't, sometimes you can try and get on with things, sometimes you can't. He reaffirms that he finds it so difficult to relate to mental health issues because he's never had any experience aside from in the classroom. By this point he's perusing my medical notes. Why did you have an ultrasound on your liver? How is your asthma these days? Why aren't you on medication for your PCOS?

The PCOS strikes up a whole new area of discussion. I explain I'm not on any medication because I'm trying for a family so I'm trying to lose weight. He asks how it's going and I explain it's been difficult the past couple of weeks, but Im still going to the gym and I'm loving it. As it turns out he's a real gym enthusiast and we get to talking about our work out routines. He's suprised to know I love the weights. He confides that he never used to do weights, but today he turned 25 and he's determined to get a six pack before he's 30. I wish him a happy birthday, he says thanks, he wishes he was at home in Malaysia with his family. He says I should visit Malaysia, it would do me good as it's always sunny and my depression is obviously seasonal.

By this point we've been sat talking about everything and nothing for almost an hour. Doctor Keyser, it would seem, is seeing another patient, and said patient has taken up all this time. I'm a little irked about this, as my appointment was at such and such a time. The student doctor is appologetic, and suggests I wait back in the waiting room, but just as I'm about to leave Doctor Keyser walks in.

The student gives him the lowdown...she feels fine right now but was not a few weeks ago...no majorly terrible symptoms right now. Dr Keyser asks about my sleeping and appetite and gives me a standardised questionnaire. to track my progress

"Yes, you've very much improved, however there is a good chance you will go back if we take you off the anti depressants again so we will follow through with the usual six month course. However, I need you to make some lifestyle changes, because that is really the only thing that will help you in the long run."

I'm puzzled as to what he means. My life is really pretty good right now, and I couldn't ask for much more to be happy that is otherwise out of my control. I ask what he would suggest.

"Well, you need a decent social life, get that social support so when you are in crisis you aren't left on your own..."

I mentally check this off. My friends are ace, my family supportive, my husband gentle and understanding, my social calendar currently packed.

"...you really need to do some exercise, get those endorphins flowing..."

The student doctor and I exchange glances, we know full well this isn't a problem for me.

"...And if you find that you are getting anxious and irritable make sure you get at least an hour a day to yourself that nobody else is allowed to intrude upon and do whatever you like to relax. Go window shopping or something."

He prints off my prescription and says he'll see me in a month. After my hour long consultation with the student doctor I'm really quite perplexed and am unsure whether I should be peeved or not. I probably should, the student certainly crossed the lines of professionalism there, and Dr Keyser seemed only to be interested in signing off my pills for me, after keeping me waiting for over an hour.

So I'm taking my hour to myself to relate the story here. It's the weirdest doctors appointment I've ever had, and it would be a shame to loose it!
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Thursday, 1 December 2011

Does anybody want some free healthy snacks?

My supervisor at ChildLine gave me a voucher code for a free box from Graze so I went and got me one, and whatdya know I got a voucher code of my own to give out :) There's a limited time on it, though it looks like it can be used unlimited times (once per person though) so if you're in the UK and you fancy giving it a go drop me a comment and I'll put the code up for you all. The food is pretty scrumptious and you have the option of selecting especially healthy snacks should that be your wish. I can't wait till I get my next one, but a bit bummed I have to wait till after Xmas :(

Grazing aside, today I've been a busy little bunny today. I ordered a fabulous new dress and matching shoes to see me looking gorgeous throughout the Xmas season, all in a festive shade of red. Unfortunately I didn't have any jewellery to wear with it so I dusted off my pliers (seriously haven't crafted anything since I started work!) and gave pearl knotting a try.

I love pearls, and most of the jewellery I wear or make incorporates them. The first piece of jewellery I ever made was a pearl and swarovski crystal necklace for my wedding, as I couldn't find anything affordable or to my taste in the shops. It was lovely, though a little on the long side to what I'd initially imagined. However, thanks to my being a complete novice at the time I strung the lot on Beadalon 49 (I think it was 49...) and eventually the sharp edges of the crystals wore through the wire and all the pearls and crystals scattered all over my living room floor.

I picked them up and stored them away for use at a later date, and have been surreptitiously adding them to pieces of jewellery made as gifts for close friends and family. Call me a wierdo but I can't help but believe that those pearls absorbed some of the magic of that day.

Anyway, moving swiftly on. I've learned a lot about making jewellery in the years since, and discovered not long after my little accident that traditional pearl necklaces are strung on silk threads with knots between each bead. For a long while I presumed that this was some kind of dark mysterious art, especially as you can buy tools specifically designed for the job, but actually I've found it to be a relatively simple (by comparison to, say, wire wrapping) technique and I'm rather chuffed with the result (and secure in the knowlege that should my thread decide to snap, I won't be picking pearls and garnets off the floor for a month!). I used most of the rest of my wedding pearls and interspaced them with lovely Indian Garnets. The earrings I made with pearl, garnet, some of the clear swarovski crystals I used on my wedding necklace, and a generic big red glass bead at the end.

Sadly I ran out of garnets before I reached my desired length, indeed the pearls alone aren't long enough to fit round my lovely tree trunk of a neck...so instead of snipping through all the knots individually and starting from scratch with a different design I just added an extension chain to the end. It's not quite as classy as a pure string of pearls but it does mean that as I loose weight I can take links off of the chain until my neck is slim enough for the pearls alone to fit around, and I won't just be left with a necklace that gets longer and longer and longer when it's meant to be short.

Am rather pleased with myself, and can't wait to wear it all together with my lovely new dress. It's been lovely to put my hands to something wonderful too. Now all I have to do is hope my dress arrives ^_^;;


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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Stats for November and goals for December

It's the last day of the month so time to look at how my efforts have been paying off :)

Average weekly loss: 0.6 pounds (last months was 0.86)
BMI at end of the month: 42.9 (last month was 43.3)
Average daily calorific deficit: 301 (last months was 428)
Total calories burned at the gym: 3424 (104 less than October)
Average daily calories burned at the gym: 114

I never hit my goal of increasing my weekly loss to 0.9 a week, but this month has been difficult; for a start I've been plagued with injury and illness of various sorts, so even though my workout has increased in intensity I was unable to make it as often. And then to be fair I've not been strictly strict on myself with food this month, and meet ups with old friends and a week where I basically binge ate my way through most of the chocolate in Liverpool have clearly taken their toll. It's had its ups and downs, and it's that time of the year when I don't want to be active, I just want to curl up and commit suicide by chocolate. Delicious, delicious chocolate.

With that in mind I'm pretty pleased that I've actually been good enough inbetween the difficult weeks to still maintain a loss. I may have set myself a goal for November to hit 0.9, but my overall long term strategy is to maintain and average of 0.5 a week (As I think I've mentioned before, taking into account my PCOS etc) and in that sense I've been succesful.

But all these numbers are all very abstract. The proof in the pudding is that on the first of November I was 318.5 pounds and today I weigh in at 313.2 pounds. I'm not sure how hackers is working that out as an average half a pound a week loss but I'm presuming that's taking into account daily fluctuations etc.

So where do I want to go from here? December being notorious as it is, I've never not gained weight in December so whilst some may be aiming to plunge in and get stuck in to lose this month, I'm aiming to maintain my weight this month. Any loss will be welcomed with open arms, but as long as I enter January having not put on a stone (an annual event for me) I'll be pleased!
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Saturday, 19 November 2011

Friday, 18 November 2011

Killing time...

Two blog entries in the space of two days? I know, it's been a while...but everything was a bit put on hold yesterday (suffering greatly with a headache, wooziness and generally feeling sorry for myself after my dual with a steel shutter) and today I thought hey...why not write a little of my adventures recently, being that this is called "Adventures with Bex" after all?

Well, recently my adventures have mostly revolved around my Xbox. I wouldn't class myself as a big gamer, but every now and then there is a game that sucks away at my personal time until I get bored of it, and it pretty much takes over my entire mind. The last game was specifically the multiplayer aspect of Assassins Creed Brotherhood, and before that it was any number of The Sims games and variations thereof. Inbetween it all has been Oblivion, which popped up in my life from time to time and sucked me up before I got bored of playing it over for the ten millionth time (and I've still not played it all).

Mammoths in Skyrim, they are awesome because
they are big and shaggy, like me, {via}
Well, now it's Skyrim, Oblivions younger but oh so much more talented little brother (or sister, they aren't sexist in Tamriel) that has me sucked in, so much of the radio blog silence from me here has been at the hands of this game. I'll be fair, it only came out a week ago, but the weeks before that I've been enjoying my social life, and actually have plans coming up, ranging from coffee tonight to a trip to Birmingham for the Christmas market. I'm very much looking forward to this trip as it's with old friends I don't really see very often at all (most of them I haven't seen in at least a year) but of course I have to tear myself away from the Xbox to do that.

I'm sure I'll survive the shock though :)

I'm also look forward in the next few weeks to Twilight (you may judge, I care not :p) and the ChildLine Christmas do (Ben can finally see all these crazy people I've been pouring my deepest, darkest secrets to during training). All in all, aside from the unsuprising "I LOVE SKYRIM" line I've been pulling around with me this past week, not a lot to report on, but an awful lot coming up to enjoy :)

{via}
Oh, you may also notice that I've not said anything about writing, which considering I announced with some excitement that I was partaking in NaNoWriMo again this year (in order to strike a task from my day zero list) may strike as suspicious. Well suspect away dear friends for I jacked it all in a week into the frivolities. I'm just not feeling the creative juices flowing this November, which is ok because they very much were last year and so the chances are that they will be next year, or the year after...but after that I've failed day zero, so they'd better not be waiting till the November after that to resume the flow...you get my point anyhow. This year is a NaNo fail.

As for the weight loss, this is actually coming along quite nicely this November. As is usual with me so it seems, as soon as I stopped pressurising myself with challenges and immediate urgent goals I've started losing again. As of today my weight is 315 lb...still much too high and way too unhealthy, but if I'd been hanging around on FUFF I would have surpassed my weight loss goal! What's even sweeter about this number is that I've only got one stone and a pound to lose before I'm out of the 300 lb's, and since I've already lost more than this in total you can imagine  that I'm feeling pretty darn positive about seeing a 2 flash up on the scale. The really important thing is though that this is a significant loss after a pretty stagnant period where I was losing at best a half a pound a week. It just goes to show that in this particularly tough world of scales and gyms and portion sizes and vegetables, the fruits of your labour aren't always instantaneous.

Anyhow, just thought I'd drop in a line. Can't wait to bring you news of all the wonderful things that are taking place over the CHRISTMAS IS NEARLY HERE *ahem* season and err...I hope you are all enjoying yourselves too ^_^

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Thursday, 17 November 2011

Raising my cup to Specsavers

For the high level of discomfort I'm in right now, and the pain I was in last night, I'm desperately disappointed by the fact that I don't have a pair of black eyes to show off for my efforts in not watching where I'm going. Without said black eyes, Ben can't joke that he's been beating me about...not that domestic violence is ever funny in reality, but if you could see me and Ben together, you'd understand that even in the purely physical sense Ben is not the one who would be doing the beating in our relationship.

Nope, I am extremely disappointed that I don't have a pair of whopping shiners just to milk this for all the comedy value it's worth, because despite my constant throbbing headache and the fact that I can't even rub the sleep from my eyes without it stinging now, it is actually really very funny.

Yesterday at work was relatively stressful. Not because of the customers, who are often a cause for stress in our business (or...well....any business I guess!) but because of one thing after another piling up. For starters, I'm in the last phase of my probationary/training period, and this involves me learning to open and close the shop up on my own so my manager for the evening was taking me through the end of day procedures, which meant everything took three times longer than it usually would. So that just through everything off anyway.

It didn't help that the day shift had obviously been really ridiculously busy and the place was in a state. I mean, I went to sweep up and do a shop tidy and some dirty old beggar had trodden mini ritz crackers into the carpet. I was like dude, where's the party and why wasn't I invited? We were behind on our processing and some cash had gone missing in the system (but don't worry, we found it!).

To add worry to it all, we were waiting for a repairman to come and sort some pretty important stuff out and our cleaner has been away (not sure whether AWOL or just on holiday and without a replacement) so we had to take on the cleaning jobs after the shop had closed at 10pm. To add insult to injury we had a problem with the lock for the gate outside (I was momentarily locked out in the shop yard at about quarter past ten...oh yes, a fun filled night for all) and everything that could have gone wrong pretty much did.

When it got to 10:40pm, a time when after a late shift I'm usually ensconced at home eating my tea, we'd done what we could and decided it was time to lock up and leave. My duty manager sorted out the alarms and then unlocked the front door, while I took my phone out of my bag to let Ben know I was on my way. She stood by to let me out so she could lock up behind us and I flew like a demon out of that dastardly shop, eager for home, food and...

At this point there is the almighty sound of my face crashing into a steel shutter, which had been conveniently pulled halfway down to be on level with the bridge of my nose/eyes/glasses. The stupid thing? I was the one who'd pulled it down about half an hour beforehand. With the lights in the shop casting on the glass front door and the night outside being so dark, you couldn't tell it had been drawn and I'd completely forgotten about it. Obviously, with phone in hand, I hadn't been looking where I was going and I was power walking my way out of that shop.

The next thing I can remember is me standing out on the street with my hands over my nose laughing hysterically with my duty manager but also crying bucket loads of tears because oddly enough ramming your face into the bottom edge of a steel shutter really really hurts (If you don't believe me, you should try it some time!). I could well have knocked myself out but what I'm really chuffed about is that my glasses, which also took a fair bit of the force, survived without even a scratch. I would have really been up the creek without a paddle if they'd not survived...and the prospect of the lenses breaking into my eyes really doesn't bear thinking about.

So today I have a swollen nose and some icky brownish bruises under my eyes and purple blotches but sadly no really big brusing by which I can brag about my battle with our shutters (actually that's probably for the best putting all jokes aside, as I can use some cover up for this and get away with it!). But despite my throbbing head and wounded pride I can honestly say I've learned some valuable lessons from this whole experience;

  1. Stress leads to embarrassing and potentially dangerous mistakes
  2. I can survive being hit in the face with steel
  3. I still cry like a baby when I get a boo boo
  4. Watch where you're going
  5. Specsavers glasses can pretty much survive anything!
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Monday, 7 November 2011

Simmer down for myself...

Ah, I hate feeling like I've let you all down but I'm dropping out of FUFF. I know we only have a couple of weeks left but I've got too much going on. Nothing extra or horrible or anything, just regular life, with work demanding such a flexible rota (aka I have no routine!) commiting to posting FUFF is moving lower and lower on my list of priorities as I try to fit family, friends and poor Ben into my "work, work out and collapse" schedule.

The past few weeks I've posted late or not at all and to be fair I'm finding it difficult to think of striving to hit my FUFF goals such as the drinking x ammount of water and what have you. For now I'm content to just try and get my brain in order and focus on going to the gym and sticking to my diet.

I am hoping however to get back on board come spring if these seasonal challenges are still going and maybe think about another more singly focused fitness or health related challenge or some such thing if I can find one.

Also, to put it bluntly, despite all the evidence to the contrary, I never actually started this blog as a weight loss blog, and I feel like I can't talk about anything BUT that at the minute! There's nothing wrong with it being a WL blog, however I miss just talking about any old crap, so I think that I might just do that and then keep my monthly statistics post that I initiated this month.

Sorry guys, blogging is all very well and all...but real life is calling :)
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Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Stats for October and goals for November

I've decided to make this a monthly thing...I think it will help me keep my eye on the goal of maintaining a loss, however small, on a monthly basis, and will help keep me motivated. Also, in very rough theory, I can see where most of my weight loss is coming from...So without further ado...

Average weekly loss: 0.86 pounds (last months was 0.79)
BMI at end of the month: 43.3 (down by 0.4)
Average daily calorific deficit: 428 (last months was 397)
Total calories burned at the gym: 3528
Average daily calories burned at the gym: 113

So...I can glean that actually, if weight loss were uniform and strictly to the rules (I know it's not but let me be all clever for once!)...I'm loosing most of my weight due to my diet but a substantial amount is coming from working out. Also, considering I wasn't working out in September if you look at the numbers you could say that actually my diet has been worse this month but the working out has been a safety net. I knew the gym would be a winner for me :D Now the goal for the month of November will be to get the diet back on track to let the working out do even more for me. I'm going to aim for an average weekly loss of 0.9 pounds a week, to just push myself a little bit further.
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Monday, 31 October 2011

FUFF - Week Seven

Just a quickie this week. I haven't the energy or impetus to answer questions this week. I'm not ill or down, it's just I've got so many other things to be getting on with, but I didn't want to leave you hanging, and with NaNo starting tomorrow I kinda didn't want to put it off till them, as I'll be too busy writing my novel :p

Basically, no movement on the scales this week which is really dissapointing because if I went by my figures on Thursday I could have put down a 2 pound loss....however a last minute unplanned splurge and not getting my third gym day in last week (was too busy!) meant I put it back on by official Friday weigh in...and this weekend of course I was at Leeds and then I took a friend out for his birthday...it's not a pretty picture and this week is dedicated to damage control and getting back on track. I've got myself a few tools, I'm self helping with CBT to overcome it (I became intrigued by the Beck book Rebecca has been talking about and decided to give it a spin myself) and picked up a notebook, index cards and post it notes today....indeed I hoped to make my first response cards tonight, just straight after I get back from the gym.

Leeds was awesome and the opera of course beautiful. Tchaikovsky wrote The Queen of Spades around the same time as he wrote the score for the ballet of Sleeping Beauty (I think that's what the program said...I'm sure Charlotte will correct me if I'm wrong!) and you can tell. Sleeping Beauty being one of my favourite Disney movies I of course was more than enchanted....but the recognisability of the music thanks to ballet and Disney's interpretations aside, it was dark and spooky and captivating. The Countess in particular...wow...just wow...And now of course I can cross another task off of my Day Zero List ;)

Sorry for the nonexistent post...but Im sure I'll catch you soon :)
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Monday, 24 October 2011

Fire up for Fall - week six


1 - What have you done to achieve your goals this week?

This week I kinda just vegged. I still lost half a pound, this probably because we only went to the gym twice as opposed to three times (still made my 90 minute workout target though!) and this colder weather has given me the carb munchies again. Bread has once again been banished from the house (I stopped eating healthy chicken salad sandwiches and started gorging on toast again) so all things considered I've not done too bad. This week I got weight watchers ready meals for my lunch instead of sandwich things...I hate ready meals (they taste alright but I feel like such a cheat having them at home!) but if having a ready meal stops me from bingeing on bread again then I know what I'd rather have!

2 - What have you done to make yourself feel fabulous?

Retail therapy...I now have a lovely new scarf and a big blue hippy shirt with big hippy sleeves. I love big hippy sleeves ^_^

3 - Do you listen to music when you work out? What gets your fired up?


I need to listen to music when I work out otherwise time just drags. When watching the tv I keep clock watching, but I go into my own head when I listen to music and before I know it it's all over. Sometimes I like something fast to get me going but in general I will listen to anything on my favourites playlist. It's not always so much about getting fired up as something to get my mind wandering and away from watching the seconds ticking down. When I do need to get fired up it really just depends on my mood, but something quick and bouncy. Recently it's been Lady Gaga and Red Hot Chili Peppers on my work out playlist. Maybe now that I've said that I'll go and change it round ready for tonights gym session just for fun :p


4 - What's your guilty pleasure music? How does it make you feel?

Anything from my teen years, pretty much! It makes me feel cringey but there's something so fulfilling about it! More about memory lane than the music itself.

5 - If today were a song, what would it be?

I wish it could be Christmas every day. Sorry guys, but I'm getting way too excited about Christmas, much too het up, and I want it to be here now so I can have everywhere decorated and sparkly!

Speaking of Christmas this leads me on to my positive picture. It's positive because it's demonstrative of the encroaching festive season....


Found this shop full of festive decorations in Liverpool One (where Zavvi used to be, for anyone in Liverpool who may be interested) and it was just full of gorgeous things. Everything from massive wicker deer that were taller than me (I had it in mind to buy one and sling it to the roof since I don't have a garden...) to candles and sweeties and calendars and....it was just full of lovelies! It makes me so happy to browse through lovely Christmas things like this. I could have bought the entire shop out and not bought a single thing I didn't desire.

Well...except the Steam Trains calendar...
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Thursday, 20 October 2011

Thankful Thursdays

Life's Journey with a Smile


For being fitter than I have been in near enough four years
For having a job
For having the opportunity to give my time at ChildLine
For having the gas working again just in time for central heating weather to kick in! 
For having an awesome husband who can actually cook (even if I do take the mick out of his past attempts!) and will go to the gym with me
For passing my maths test at work today (and thus keeping aforementioned job!)
For snuggly warm cups of tea that I've treat myself to
For weight watchers mini magnum bars whose sweet, chocolate covered delightfulness have kept me sane whilst dieting
For having a blog that I can rant at or write soppy crap like this in
For Ann Robinson, because she makes Ben scream obscenities at the tv which keep me thoroughly entertained on a Thursday night
For my mum not having to go on insulin
For my family being happy and healthy on the whole and not miserably dying of starvation out on the street, or some other such horrid dire thing 
For me not miserably dying of starvation out on the street, come to think of it....
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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

It's (almost) that time of year again!

Only thirteen days to go till the beginning of National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo as it is known...and the inspiration behind NaBloPoMo) and I'm in a bit of a pickle...this time last year I had my concept, my schedule, each chapter planned out in relatively awesome detail and had even drawn a map (albeit on photoshop, but it was an awesome map!) of the make believe world in which the story would be taking place. I was chomping at the bit to get going.

Welcome to my marriage right now...
This time round...I still can't wait to start...but I've not done a single bit of prep and I'm worried I won't have the time or energy or impeutus as I did last year (when I was unemployed and thus had all the time in the world but still struggled some days to even look at it). Ben has been encouraging me to do it but not as a NaNo because he is of the opinion that my idea is too good for a NaNo. I am of a differing opinion, but the differing levels of confidence in my abilities and originality that my husband and I have aside...I have no real desire to write as anything but a hobby, a challenge, a bit of time out...and if I didn't write this for NaNo then not only would it never have a chance in hell of being completed at all, but also I wouldn't have a clue what else to write....and I LOVE participating in NaNo, it really is so much fun!

But I haven't the foggiest of where I'm going to start. I know the beginning, I know the end, I know some of the little twists and scandals that are going to happen along the way, I know there's actually going to be character development, shattering realisations and revelations about the characters. But I don't know what's going to actually happen to bring these things about. I need to sit down and write out a chapter by chapter plan in order to get a better picture, then fill in the blanks.

I'm probably going to be very quiet over the month of November, and when I do post my posts will probably all revolve around the fact that I'm frustrated/struggling/ready to hack my computer into pieces/about to give up but can't because I have to finish the damn story as well as hit the winning word count in order to complete one of my day zero list challenges.

It's going to be a fun month...and even if you haven't the tiniest interest in banging out an entire novel throughout the month of November, I hope you have fun following me in my journey to do so :)
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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Fire up for Fall - Week 5


Sorry for the late post this week...I got up early yesterday to go and get my flu jab (booo!) and then went straight to the gym (yaaaay!) which is taking much longer now that our instructor has upped our workouts and given us weights (kinda boo for time but yay for progress!). I came back home for lunch (left over lasagne from the night before, and absoloutely delicious it was too) and then went out almost straight away to ChildLine for a double shift (because we need to do at least ten shifts in our first two months) so I didn't get home till half eleven...I'm starting to feel a little stretched out with all of this. I'm back in work tonight, and whilst I'm happy because our money woes are subsiding and I can get to the gym and fund my voluntary stunts, I just wish I had some kind of routine because it feels right now that the only time I actually get to see poor Ben is one or two evenings a week. Actually, it's him I feel most sorry about in all of this!

But everyone goes through these times. I know I'm building a foundation for the future through this, financially, physically and through experience too so it's ok. There will be a payoff and then I'll be glad I did ll of this :)

Now to stop complaining and get to the meat of the post! Fuff!

1 - What have you done this week to achieve your goals?

I wish I could say they've all been at the forefront of my mind...but whilst I've not been paying too much attention to how much water I'm drinking, nor how often I eat, and I've not exactly been strict on the weight watchers side of things...all of my goals have been set around the desire to lose weight, and I've started losing again! I lost another pound for my Friday weigh in (bringing me down to 22st 11lb) and I weighed in another pound lighter still today. It must be the working out that's doing it because God knows I've slipped up elsewhere! In fact working out at least 90 minutes every week is probably the only thing I'm excelling in right now...I'm doing quite a bit more than that!

2 - What have you done to make yourself feel fabulous?

I had a lovely afternoon/evening with the ladies. Sometimes you just need some girl time!

3 - It's halfway through the challenge...you can change one or more of your goals... 

I don't think I want to change anything. I really believe that whilst I'm not always keeping all of them in mind and not always achieving them all, if I reduce them just to meet them I'll feel I have leeway to do them less....but if I increase them I'll just feel dejected if I can't hit them. I think things are already working out good for me, the whole point of these goals was to help get healthy and build up healthy habits with weight loss in mind, and they are working on these fronts...I feel healthier than I have in a long while!

4 - What's your worst habit and have you ever tried to tackle it? Do you want to?

I'm a professional procrastinator and a major league lazy bones. I tried to tackle it during the Summer challenge...I'm much better now, and I'm getting better all the time :) I absoloutely do want to change my ways because you don't achieve much in life from sitting around waiting for the world to come to you!

5 - Would you rather have burgers for feet or sausages for fingers?

Burgers for feet. I could get on in life if my feet were useless but if I didn't have dexterous fingers I couldn't use a computer or my phone, I couldn't knit or hold a book or wrap wire and beads together or embroider or sew. I mean, if I couldn't sew, where would Ben be? He'd actually have to sew his own buttons back on and fix his trouser seams himself! We'd have to buy him a new set of work clothes every week, if I couldn't sew we'd be bankrupt!

Haaah. Only kidding sweetie darling. Love you xx

Besides. If I had sausages for fingers, I'd eat them, and then I'd be in an even worse predicament, with feet for feet and nothing for fingers.

Finally, this weeks positive picture!


This is my weight loss chart since July. As we can see I went right up to 333 pounds at the beginning of August (ahem, parental visit, ahem) but today is my lowest weight of 318 pounds. It's not quite as smooth a curve right now as I haven't been weighing in every single day (not at weekends) but you can't deny the overall downward trend :). Many people say only weigh in once a week, but with a chart like this I feel really motivated to weigh in every day and only count my official weigh in on Friday as my progress for my trackers etc.

It also helps me to see trends. Through July I kept my weight written down but I didn't log it here (I came back halfway through August and started logging almost every day again) I admit I wasn't weighing every day so I've gone in later and filled in the gaps for the sake of making it look smooth and pretty...but all the time I thought I was staying stationary actually not so much, I was fluctuating up and down quite a bit. Still, you can see from the graph (aside from where I momentarily stopped weighing in again in September) that I've managed to get my weight into a generally loosing trend again. It also gives helpful statistics like on average since July I'm loosing just over half a pound a week...a slow but steady pace which, if I can continue in this way, is just fine for getting to five pounds lost during this challenge.

Anyway explanations and analysis aside, this is one of my biggest tools right now, it shows that even where it looks on paper like I'm not loosing a thing, actually things are going down quite nicely :) Or, up, in some cases...And I'm liking the downwards trend that shows up for the last couple of months :D
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Thursday, 13 October 2011

Progress

I lost again on Tuesday, bringing my weight down to 22st 11 lb, which is 319lb and a total of 18lb lost. By today I'd gone up by a half a pound, which was kind of annoying; I hope I can register a "real" loss on the scale tomorrow, which is my weigh in day, and break the steady flat lining my weight has managed to keep these past couple of weeks.

But even if it doesn't, I've seen progress elsewhere. My belt for one has run out of holes, my ankles are decidedly less puffy, the lovely blue enamelled ring my mum and dad bought me to commemorate my 15th birthday almost fits the finger it was bought to fit on! For the past couple of years, it couldn't even slide past the knuckle...progress indeed!

We had our second session with our lovely gym instructor last night, and she asked us how we'd been doing. She's programmed us both in for intervals on the treadmill, which are frankly brilliant; with her adjustments our average rate of calorie burning has gone up from about 150 cals per session to 420 cals, which considering that we have only increased the time of the cardio workout by 15 minutes is rather impressive, and just goes to show that sometimes there's nothing better than having someone who knows what they're doing in the drivers seat.

She also gave us some resistance training to do, which does count towards our increased calorie burning, but only by a small fraction. For me it's leg abduction and adduction for my thunder thighs, and pulldowns and tricep presses for my bingo wings and back. Ben too has the pulldowns and tricep presses, but he then has some more "manly" weights for his, ahem, moobs. Not that he asked for them in particular, but we both asked for some general all round body toning, and she said, well, men usually don't bother trying to shape up their thighs, aside from those guys who go around posturing and go on every weight machine there is, put it on the highest weight possible, and then use the incorrect technique and end up looking impressive to anyone who doesn't know better but actually may as well be sitting infront of the tv doing nothing.

Indeed a fair few young lads who happened to be stood around as she hammered this home to us looked a little sheepish as they listened in to our session, indeed we even saw one young fellow doing exactly what she told us (or rather, Ben in this case) not to before she showed us how its done. He scarpered away pretty quickly, but to me, aside from a giggle we shared with our instructor, it just made me glad we decided to pay the extra for the personal training and programming we're now receiving.

I asked about something for my stomach; of course I'm eager to get something there to pull in my ample belly as I start to loose the fat there, and apparently the best thing for that is balance ball exercises for your core muscles...however we have to go for another session in two weeks time and she'll show me how it's done then. For now I'm chuffed that in the space of a week my fitness has already improved to a level where 30 minutes was once a struggle but now I'm doing 45 minutes, and I love doing the weights; I love the thought of being nice and toned once I'm smaller, and not soft, pudgy and weak. I also love the thought of not waiting till I've lost the weight to tone up, and getting it out of the way now so that when it comes to weight maintenance I can focus on doing just that; maintaining a fantastic body.

But that is indeed a long way off for now. Until then I'm happy seeing all the little bits of progress that I'm making towards that goal, and feeling myself becoming stronger, healthier, and thinner on the way.
 
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Monday, 10 October 2011

Fire Up for Fall - Week 4


1 - What have you done this week to achieve your goals?

Stick to my diet plan 100%
Or not. I'm doing a bit of 80/20. But every day. I've not been giving it 100% at all. Don't get me wrong, I've not been making terrible decisions or choices, and our main meals have been fine, but I've been slipping here and there. Thankfully I've not slipped off the bandwagon altogether, so I'm ok for now, but as of Saturday just gone we've been paying special attention to getting things right.

Get into the habit of drinking 4 pints of water a day
I've been drinking a mix of juice and water, but altogether I would say my consumption of sugar free none fizzy pop type stuff is around about the four pints mark.

Work towards step three of my PCOS plan
I've been slipping back again on this...yes we're eating more whole foods in general which is great (and is step two), and less sugar (which is step three), but I'm sliding on step one (the eat every three hours one). This week, I am endeavouring to make sure this happens. Starting as of right now. It's going to be a big focus for me because my weight loss has yet again come to a halt, but it was fine before when I was working on doing this, so I think that for whatever reason, this must be one of the things that really works for me.

Work out at least 90 minutes each week
Hello success!

Loose 5 pounds
Well, I've lost two pounds since the beginning of the challenge, but for the past couple of weeks I've been all slowed down to 0, yet again. That's ok though. There are various reasons for that, and I'm not putting on at all, so as I said, I'm refocussing on my eating routine this week as well as sticking closely to the plan and we shall see what we shall see come Friday's weigh in.

Don't beat yourself up when things go slow
I'm not. I understand why I've not lost the past couple of weeks, I'm keeping it all in perspective. I haven't gone "oh well screw it then" and flung in the towel and just gorged myself, which happened a couple of times over the Summer. Keeping this in mind has really helped me to stay as close to the track as I have instead of flying way off the rails.

2 - What have you done to make yourself feel fabulous?

Well, it was Jay's birthday this week so we all went out for drinks. It's been a while since I've seen Jay and Blue, and it was brilliant to catch up with them. Lots of laughs were had. The girls and I made arrangements for a girlie evening this coming Saturday. I had some cheesecake that I wasn't really supposed to have but it was ok, I had the breathing room for it. The next day I felt terrible (I only had three drinks! What am I turning into, an old woman? Argh!) and Ben and I hit the gym, and suddenly we felt wonderful again! Anyhow, the whole Friday evening to Saturday mid day was fantastic and I felt fabulous indeed just to spend quality time around friends.

3 - What's your go to food or activity when you've had a bad day?

Oh, just food in general. It depends on my mood and resources. Generally it's a toss up between chocolate and crisps. Until July, I was regularly having both every night just to soothe my bad moods and make up for the horrific calorie deficit I was putting myself through. Thankfully this is a habit that we've shaken.

4 - What is the last thing you did that you are really proud of

The whole ChildLine thing, it's awesome :) I feel proud every time I get off the phone to someone who says thanks!

5 - What was your favourite subject at school? Your least?

Geography, without a doubt, was my favourite. I have a fascination with the way people live, how they live, how they organise themselves, and also about how the Earth works, all the systems within and on the surface too. Loved it, still do. My least? Well you know, I never really liked PE but if you made me choose between that and Maths, maths would get dropped every time. I loathed it, was never any good at it at all. Still aren't. Somehow I managed to scrape a B in my GCSE's, I'll never know how I managed that.

And finally my positive picture for the week (not that I've been exceptionally brilliant in popping one up every week but never mind!)



Me and Ben on Friday. Like I said before, it was a lovely night out, but a few people have said I'm looking pretty good here, and I think I am too. There's nothing quite like seeing a good picture of yourself to make you feel great!
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Sunday, 9 October 2011

Post gym awesomesauce (part two)

We approached the gyms own reception desk apprehensively, having to push our way past a group of skinny young boys barely if at all out of school, not a scrap of stubble to be seen amongst them and none as tall as Ben, who really isn't that tall. They eyed us up and I immediately felt completely self conscious. The guy behind the desk was grabbing his bag as I started to say "we're here for an induction" and cut me off mid flow by simply pointing at something behind me. I turned back to where the boys were huddled around a touch screen monitor on a pedestal as a tiny tanned lady showed them how it was done.

Feeling our eyes on her she beamed up at us with a wide, white, reassuring smile.

"Are you here for the induction? Have you filled out your forms yet?"

She fetched us said forms, the usual array of medical questionnaires.

"I'll be with you now, just fill these in while I finish off this induction. We've been absoloutely inundated this week!"

We sat at a little coffee table carefully filling in our vital statistics and going over the medical questions. Whilst we're not the very picture of robust good health, thankfully the only serious thing either of us has to contend with is my asthma so it was a case of ticking all the boxes, and then we sat back waiting. We joked, somewhat nervously, and kept glancing to and fro. By this point, the gym had emptied quite dramatically and aside from the group of young fellows having their inductions there were only about five other people there, all very much focussed on their own progress, in the zone as it were.

At this point I caught my reflection in one of the large mirrors up along the back of the gym. Usually it's full body mirrors that really cripple my self confidence; that and a camera... I have a severely distorted view, in my mind, of how my body actually looks (that is, in my mind I look much slimmer than what turns up in the mirror or in photos) and whilst that's great when I'm strutting down the street giving it all that, it's terrible whenever I catch that glimpse of myself.

Of course, I had been worried about how I would look in my gym outfit. I'd eventually decided to stick with the vest top I bought for the occassion, but was still not feeling too good about it. But I realised as I looked over into the mirror at myself...actually, for once, the mirror showed a picture that was actually better than what I expected to see. I didn't see "a big butch dyke" (as I'd told Ben I felt like when I first put it on) but an overweight lady who looked no worse than any other overweight lady in a gym kit that I've ever seen. In fact,  my gear seemed to be rather slimming, all things considered.

Of course, that could be my actual weight loss showing through, as I have been registering a slight loss in the tape measure department,.

 So with the gym nearly empty now, the boys thoroughly distracted by the exercise bikes and my realisation that actually I didn't look even half as terrible as I expected to, I began to feel much more at ease. Ben made a quip about how it would be nice to see just one person with a belly like his, and I made a quip back that hey, here I am! He agreed that despite how busy it had been just moments before it really had quietened down and besides, no body else really cared about us two at all.

 Finally the tiny woman with the massive smile came back and went through our forms. She double checked I had my medication with me and she set up our mywellness keys and accounts so we could use the gym equipment and track our progress, explaining that for now we'd have a basic thirty minute cardio programme on there and that we'd come back to see her later to get a personalised programme suited to what we want out of our training.

She showed us the magic touch screen, which turned out to be the log in system, explaining that no log in means no work out; the key is needed to activate the machines, and the log in is needed to activate the key. She gave us our information to access our workout info online, watched us using the machines, showed us how the key works with the weights, and finally arranged an appointment with us to get our personal programmes sorted (this Wednesday!)

And then we were left to it, and we got in a nice easy thirty minutes.

Ben finally "got" what I meant by getting into your zone, and feeling the good exercise endorphins. We left on an absoloute high, and even the ten minute wait in the rain for our taxi home didn't seem at all bad.

Since our initial visit we went again on Saturday morning and left again with the same awesome high. This was especially wonderful since we'd been drinking at a friends birthday do the night before and were feeling a little worse for wear at first.

Well, I was. Ben didn't and he drank more than me. After only two G&T's and a fruity cranberry juice and amaretto cocktail, I'm starting to think I'm becoming a delicate wee flower when it comes to alcohol, but like the sudden realisation that ASDA pizza isn't all that after all, I don't think this is a bad thing...more like my body telling me it likes the new, healthier diet of fresh home cooked food and litres of water or juice.

The only thing now is keeping it up. I've really enjoyed it, and I'll feel even better once I have my programme with weights to do. The real issue is getting the time to go. On evenings when I'm not either at work or ChildLine I can try to schedule a session in with Ben, but I have no guarantee of numbers of evenings off. Ben has already said he will start going when I'm at work on an evening to make sure he gets all his work outs in, and so by rights I need to go during the day when he's at work if I'm at work in the evening...but whilst it's one thing to kick up courage to go with your best beloved, it's another thing to do it on your own.

Still, it will probably not be so bad. After all, people go to work through the day, it may well be quite quiet. I guess I shall find out on Tuesday, if I'm not stuck in waiting for a British Gas engineer to turn up to see to our broken gas meter...but that is an entirely different rant story.

Till then!
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Thursday, 6 October 2011

Post gym awesomesauce (part one)

As I was at work through the day and then had to dash straight to ASDA to grab the ingredients for Christmas cake (because it isn't Christmas without spicy fruit cake!)  I really didn't have time to get het up about the gym, but sat on the bus stop with my gym kit clutched awkwardly in my hand and people going too and fro with their own bags of sport gear I began to feel pretty self conscious.

I met Ben outside St. Anthony's (a lovely big church, must remember to have a nosey around there some time) and we past down the little alleyway that cuts between it and the Throstles Nest, the same alleyway which I've cut down every Tuesday since August to get to ChildLine, and onto Great Homer Street. It's not a bad area by comparison to some areas of Liverpool; all big shady deciduous trees starting to loose their leaves now that autumn is here, but still leafy enough to provide me (who went out sans raincoat or umbrella...) with some shelter from the drizzle which was now steadily falling. It was twilight, and the trees were casting all kinds of crazy shadows, and the sky was a cornucopia of purple rainclouds of all sorts of textures.

Ok, yes, very pretty, what has this got to do with the gym? Well I was taking a lot of notice of all of this trying not to think about the fact that there were a lot of young, fit looking folk going into the sports centre at which the gym is based with their tennis rackets and football kits (they have all weather football pitches, you see).

Ben was obviously feeling pretty ill at ease over this too, commenting that it was a lot busier than he thought it would be at seven in the evening. I wondered if it should be common sense...younger folk playing football will have been at school all day, older folk in the gym or attending Zumba would have been at work all day. This was exactly the time that we should have expected it to be busy.

We passed a lot of young folk hanging around, eyeing us up. I had hoped to see just one other larger person, but everyone here was fit as a fiddle and I really felt like we were standing out like big sore thumbs. Queuing up at reception was a horrific experience, and I played it down by trying to encourage Ben and banter with him, as he looked even more horrified than me.

The receptionist was lovely and showed us around, before letting us get changed and informing the instructor who would be doing our induction know we were here. When we finally entered the gym to find it full to bursting with a lot of fit, well built men everywhere we turned, I think both of our hearts sunk.

But since I now have to head off to work, you shall have to wait and see how we got on :)

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Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Pre Gym jitters

Ben and I have our Gym induction tomorrow evening. It will take about half an hour, we'll get a personalized programme to follow on what is essentially (from what I understand) like a data pen which you plug into the machines (including weights, from what I've read) and it helps you track your progress etc and Im also pretty sure you can log into your account at home too.

Which is brilliant and gadgety and wonderful and I'm really eager to build up some stats on it and see myself getting better. I've already spoken about how the gadgetry that surrounds gyms is what keeps me motivated....and this is a whole other level that I never had when I was 16/17 and going.

Still I'm really nervous now. I said that before I wasn't, but I liken it to training at ChildLine...it was something I wanted to do for a while, and when I was just observing calls I wanted to take over, but when it came to doing it myself I bricked it till after the first call was over.

Hopefully I'll have a similar experience here. I'm feeling anxious and self concious about my body, which I can put my hand on my heart and say I haven't felt for a while. I certainly wasn't thinking I might feel this anxious when I picked out my gym clothes, and picked out a really long black vest top with a massive pink cupcake on the front. I got that because I thought it would be really quite hilarious for a fat girl to show up at the gym sporting a cupake on her boobs. Actually, I still do. I just don't want that to be me on my first go ^_^ Actually the thing that bothers me is my massive shoulders. I think I may well have to dig out a different t-shirt with sleeves (if I still have any).

I think one of my big fears is that when I last went to a gym there was a weight limit on the machines, and I was very nearly over that limit....what if I can't use the gym because I'm too heavy? And then I also worry about what if I have to stop and use my inhaler halfway through a workout?

I'm going to stop there before I end up talking myself out of it again. This time on Thursday I'll no doubt be gagging for more the way I was the day after my first call. I can't wait for the results of my endeavours...it's just setting out in the first place!

And I have to think, at the end of the day, this time round I actually have someone to go with me :)
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Monday, 3 October 2011

Fire Up for Fall - Week Three


1 - What have you done this week to work towards your goals?

I've not lost any weight this week, and this goes hand in hand with not necessarily sticking strictly to plan, so there's two of my goals I've not stuck to. What can I say, I become weak willed when cooking goodies for friends (and I spent a goodly ammount of this week experimenting with pumpkin pie and all its glories so I could take some to ChildLine yesterday for our end of training mini party thing we had...in a week and a half I'll be fully "graduated" from there! But I digress...) so the coming off of plan is mainly down to baked goods and also buffet goods. It was a one off affair and everyone cooked such lovely things. Am I starting to sound like I'm making bad excuses? Yes? Ah well tough cheese, it was lovely and I had a lovely time. I'm not phased by it, as I'm pretty sure I'll be on the losing team again by weigh in day (which would be Friday) and all of my other goals (the water, the new eating habits, the working out and the remaining positive about this and not just giving up at the first sign of trouble) are pretty much all hunkering along according to plan!

Oh yeah, and we finally booked our gym induction, this Wednesday, can't wait :D

2 - What have you done to make yourself feel fabulous?

Over the course of the past week I've had a mini assessment at work, mentored/assessed shifts at ChildLine, extra training days, shopping to do for Xmas and as I mentioned, made yummy baked goods for our end of training party. So I spent a day on Thursday sat firmly on my bum just relaxing and taking some time to smell the roses. As much as during the last challenge I wanted to combat that particular behavioral problem it seems to me now like its a luxury to grasp on to!

3 -  Where do you see yourself in five years? What are your goals? Ambitions?

I would hope I've lost enough weight by then to regain fertility or qualify for fertility treatment. I hope I'll either be a fully qualified counselor or well on my way to qualifying (working through the many hundreds of hours of  'practise' you need to do before qualifying). Maybe we'll have got off our bums and moved somewhere else, like an actual house with actual space.

4 - Give us a tip or fact. About anything, what is something great you've heard that everyone should know?

Uuuuhhhhh. My mind goes blank now. Apparently 50% of cavemen were left handed. That's interesting. Not that it's something considerably useful to know, but it's interesting...

5 - What's your most recent dream that you can remember

From last night, it involved running through an appartment building. Not sure why. I have a lot of being chased  dreams. The other night I was being chased by a chinese dragon that was made out of flimsy planks of wood all hinged together. Go figure!
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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Like a brick

I love autumn, and if you could hear me babbling on about Christmas plans at the minute you'd probably think I was some kind of rabid hyper active chipmunk.

But, it's just that time of the year. On the one hand, I'm happy the sun does not blind me into wakefulness at four in the morning, but on the other hand I can feel the bad side of the change of season. I've been fidgety all weekend and today it's really hit me quite hard.

I'm determined though not to let it get to me. I kinda just want to curl up in bed and hibernate till spring (getting out to wrap up presents and decorate for Christmas, of course!) but I cannot. You cannot just shut off from the world like that.

Last year I managed to get through winter without anti depressants, and I'm not going back on them (because coming off them gives me a really bad physical withdrawel, nothing sinister about them, just you can't really expect to stay on them forever!) and there's no point going for counselling because there's nothing to be counselled about. I just have to kick myself up the bum.

Something interesting to chew on. I often (and so do many others) turn to food to soothe my low moods, but I think I feel worse for wear today because I've had a bad weekend and I did binge on toast and cereal yesterday (first time in a while). I think that, hard as it is when you feel this way to stick to healthy eating in general (not just for weight loss) we make it worse for ourselves when we let ourselves go...our bodies feel better for being properly nourished, and whilst some people I know just don't get it, it's the physical side of depression and anxiety that's the worst.

So despite the fact that I've barely slept a wink all weekend and I can hardly keep my eyes open, I feel really weepy and woeful, I'm going to put on my makeup, grab me a serotonin laced banana, and go shopping (because it is payday, and what is there to feel sad about on payday?)

First I'm going to go and buy lovely Christmas presents for family and friends, and maybe even Ben. I'm going to treat myself to a lovely new lipstick to congradulate myself on my 17lbs loss (and also because the light pink I bought for work does not suit me at all and I need something other than my alternative harlot red shade because, you know, don't want to give the customers the wrong idea). Then when I'm all shopped out I'm going to ASDA to buy things we actually need. And Some lovely flowers, because my other lovely flowers are looking worse for wear, and a house always needs lovely flowers. And then I'm going to come home, nom on some apple, and go to ChildLine for more training. And hopefully by then some good old fresh air and sunshine will have brightened my spirits, and my fellow trainees are always good for a giggle. In fact, I think that if my attempts at faux pumpking pie making go well on Thursday I shall make one for them for our last training session on Sunday.

See, just talking about it makes me feel better already ^_^ but before I do any of that....I think I'm going to need some caffeine....
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Monday, 26 September 2011

Fire up for Fall - Week Two


1 - What have you done this week to help achieve your goals?

Well, I haven't been on this 100%, however I've been keeping up the good work, remaining positive, keeping motivated. I managed to loose another pound this week even though I know I wasn't perfect all the time. I've returned to weighing in every day and logging it at The Hackers Diet to keep my mind focussed on the goal. I don't think I'm drinking all the water I should be, so I've started drinking a pint with my breakfast (I can easily down a pint of water) and class it as one of my vitamins in my mind to make it habitual (I certainly take pleanty of those!). The working out is still not what I'd call inspiring, but we're booking into the gym on Friday (Ben needs to get a special support for his ankle first) so that should pick up soon!

2 - What have you done to make yourself feel fabulous?

As stupid as it sounds, I took the time to blow dry my hair straight, and then put the straighteners on them the other day. It takes a good hour to do so (used to take two hours before I cut my hair in February) so normally I don't bother, I wear it curly (and clogged up with mousse!). It was nice to try something a little different.

3 - What is your talent? What are you good at?

I think I'm pretty good at cooking though the size of my flat and kitchen and cooking appliances means I can't entertain often so I can only get feedback from Ben ^_^ I'm pretty good at planning things out, and figuring out contingency plans (though implementing plans...not so much!). I'm good at reading maps...that's a useful skill at least! And in a not so useful skill I think my jewellery aking ventures usually turn out well...it's just finding the time and energy to spend on them!

4 - What's been the highlight of your week?

Taking my first few calls at ChildLine! Obviously I can't go into details, but I did actually help a couple of kids and they said I made them feel better and helped them with their woes, so I've been walking on sunshine ever since!

5 - What's your guilty pleasure TV?

Eastenders. None of my friends actually watch it, none of my family watch it...I just got dragged in one evening when there was nothing else on and it hooked me, damn it. Now I can't stop!

And now for my positive picture...


MyFitnessPal - Free Weight Loss Tools

I have to admit I can't be bothered to take a simple screen shot so it's just my ticker lol. Today it says 17lb lost...and it's a big finally moment for me! If you are reading this in the future just ignore whatever it says now, and take from me that today it says 17 lost and that is a great feeling ^_^

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Sunday, 25 September 2011

All filler

Today, someone got to this blog by searching for "Evil sexy stare"

Thanks for giving me a giggle, whoever you may be!

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Friday, 23 September 2011

It's broken

My record of 16 pounds is broken today ^_^ I've lost 17 pounds, making this the biggest ammount of weight I've ever lost on any attempt to loose, and also making me the lightest I've been in about three or four years.

So I'm going to celebrate by appointing some of my weight watchers weekly points to a yummy mocha at costa, but not before cashing in that cheque that our former electricity supplier just sent us for overcharging us for a year (despite telling them they were doing that, apparently low life customer scum like us aren't to be believed that we in our one bed flat couldn't possibly be using as much as they claimed...but hey...thats another £150 towards Ansterdam!) scouting out pie tins in Lakeland for the scrummy low cal pumpkin pie I plan on making, and investigating the new Simply Be shop that opened today. Internet rumour has it they're giving out goody bags....and I'm a sucker for a freebie...

Then tonight I take my first ChildLine call. Bricking it, darlings, absoloutely bricking it.

This requires some energetic build up music....rocktastic playlist GO!

What are your fave build up tunes? Answers in the comments please, no postcards, we're trying to cut down on paper waste here!
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Thursday, 22 September 2011

Off it already?

Hey guys, just needed a little space to vent. I've a few things to vent about.

Firstly, all my weight loss buds out there should check out this article from the beeb. It's nothing mega or huge, however it does kind of give more of an answer to the eternal question "why am I plateauing" other than "you're just adjusting!".

Secondly, I want to rant about my banks fraud prevention. I have no problems with banks putting fraud prevention into place, hell I'd be sorry if ever my card was stolen or copied and the fraud prevention wasn't there....but there's absoloutely no consistency. I mean, just look at these examples...our card was blocked and we were called up about it way back when we went to pay our debts off...they were substantial ammounts of money after all and I can understand that, however embarrassing it was for it to happen when trying to pay for our dinner out.

Another notable time was when that thick skulled idiot in the virgin media shop decided that the name of the bank we use was our account name (and wouldn't be told otherwise when I pulled her up on it) when we first went along to get us a couple of phones on contract (being tired as we were of topping up all the time). Obviously our credit check failed, though she tried it three effing times, and once again that bank went...hold up...and blocked the card and called us up for it. Once again, completely understandable in a way.

But I cannot for the life of me understand why they pulled us up about it this morning. We're presuming it's the fact that we finally got round to ordering our new phones via the magic of telephone (personally I feel better speaking to an actual person about this stuff, but hell if I was going back in the virgin media shop after the last time) but that was a week ago (and so you would presume we'd be a bit fucked by now if it realy was fraudulent) and the list of transactions our bank gave us to ask if it was fraudulent or not was astounding...regular transactions of no suprising ammount at all from atm's and shops that we frequent on a day to day basis.

And it just makes me wonder, because my parents use the same bank as us and my mum has been called up about it too, but in other situations. For example she buys a lot of video games from amazon and play.com on behalf of my brother and sister and it's a pretty regular occurence...yet a couple of times she's been pulled up about that....however when I got paid last month (for the first time in over a year, so do forgive me) I pretty much went on a £300 shopping spree (it was like a binge, but without the food) all over Liverpool and then all over the internet too, on a clothes site I'd never ordered from before...but not a single batter of an eyelid was had by my bank.

I wonder about the first few times I visited Ben's family when we first got together, how I'd go a bit mad on the stop off in London, and wonder why no one pulled me up about that since I'd never been before. And the shopping we've done in Kent since then. Girl from Liverpool suddenly makes purchases in Blue Water of, once again, substantial ammounts compared to what she usually spends...but £7.50 is taken by a company which takes money from her account once a month and boy oh boy is there hell to pay! Mister Banker, it has to be said; your fraud team is inconsistent.

The third thing to be vented is that I'm tired. I won't be spending a single evening at home until Sunday, and haven't since Tuesday. I know it's mostly my own doing with the ChildLine stuff, and it's because it's the end of the course and we're being pushed out to go and save the chidlers of the UK and all that jazz, combined with work needing me in for evening shifts...but boy oh boy is it starting to take its toll. Whats quite shit about the whole situation is that some days, like today, I get to spend the whole day alone, then go out for training for a couple of hours, then I get to see Ben for like...two hours maximum before bed time. There's nothing to be done, I just wanted to say that I'm starting to feel a bit dragged down by it all, and will be glad when I can settle back into the only having to go there once a week routine.

Finally, last on my list of venting is that I've already dropped off of the bandwagon. We meant to have a lovely carbonara last week, however for one reason or another it didn't happen so we saved it for this week. Except I was a dunce and never checked the use by date on the sauce and we were supposed to be having it last night and in the end had to do some emergency quick thinking and replace carbonara with something else not so healthy if you catch my drift. First week into the autumn challenge and I'm already off plan. Combined with a sluggish run down feeling, I don't think I'll have lost come tomorrow and I feel like flash backs from last year where I got to this weight then it all went to hell.

However, whilst I may have already screwed goal number one, I'm keeping goal number six in mind. It's been a busy couple of weeks and if I maintain or even gain a pound or so, then so what, today is a new day, tomorrow marks the start of a new diet week. I've even given myself a little incentive...I'm currently at 321 pounds...when I get down to 310 (so less than a stone, totally doable!) I'm going to book myself in for a full Indian Head Massage...because they're amazing and I've only ever had partial treatments from my mum when she was training. I've never had a full one, and Ben can tell you, I love having my head and hair played with ^_^

Well, till later folks...and thanks for putting up with moaning myrtle here!
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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Big step

I'm absoloutely loving it at ChildLine, as I think I've mentioned time and time again on here...however, aside from listening in on phonecalls as part of our training, and practising our skills on each other, I've yet to actually counsel anyone.

Well, that's about to change. We passed around the sign up sheets for our first mentored shifts at training last night and the only one I could make will be this Friday on the late shift. I'll be the first one of our training group to do it, and the late Friday shift has been noted as one of the busiest ones going.

I think we're all feeling nervous about it. What if we get that big call...some poor soul whose had enough of it all and wants to kill themselves, some kid who is being abused in every which way by an adult. All of us in the group signed up because we want to help children in these circumstances...but we're all hyper aware that we're new to this, and we've all got that niggling worry that we might say something that is just 'wrong'.

Our tutors have been really very helpful and supportive, and assure us that if we didn't have the skills or the right attitude to do it, they would not be letting us on the phones. I suppose that should really go without saying, but when self doubt comes knocking at your door it is relieving to hear someone say that. They've also said that there's very little that you can say that is wrong or damaging, just different ways of approaching a situation, some better than others. And of course, these first shifts will be mentored....whilst we can't end the call or pass it off to someone else, however serious it gets, we will have someone there with us, listening and offering advice, support and feedback...and suggestions should our minds go blank!

The course so far has been really amazing, and I think it has taught me more about myself than I do about child protection or the way that, for example, the NSPCC works now that we're coming to the end of it. Pretty much everyone else in the group feels the same way. I was speaking to a couple of the mothers on the group who were saying they've developed a much greater awareness of their children, and have even improved their relationships with them. It has forced us all to start thinking outside of the box when it comes to dealing with people in general, and when people make little throwaway statements you begin to realise the depths that lie behind them, you begin to realise there's a whole story and a whole ocean of complex issues behind that simple little statement.

I used to say that it takes "a special kind of person" to do this kind of thing, but there's nothing particularly amazingly special about the volunteers at ChildLine. I think just about everyone I've met through this has an amazingly unselfish spark in them, but they are otherwise just your everyday caring, compassionate people. As for my training group, we all feel like better people, even after just doing the training. Nicer, more understanding people. I'd seriously encourage anyone and everyone to volunteer. Maybe not this if you didn't feel you could cope, something else perhaps. Make sure it's something you're passionate about or enjoy. I used to volunteer twice a week in a red cross charity shop. I wish I could say I enjoyed it or was passionate about it, but whilst i truly believe the red cross does brilliant work I can safely say I was neither passionate nor eager to spend those days there. It was possibly because I was coerced and pushed into it, but there you go. If you're going to volunteer, you need to do it off of your own back, and you can't give yourself whole heartedly if you don't feel passionate about it.

Finally, it has to be said, if you know anyone in the UK under the age of 18 who needs to talk to someone impartial, none judgemental and in confidence, get them to give us a call on 0800 1111. We don't just talk to abused children. Anyone whose having a bit of a rough time, whether that be exam stress or boyfriend problems can call ChildLine, to talk about anything they like.


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