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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

the challenge: week 17 - trying to ignore the scales

honeymoon bikini photo
Honeymoon photo taken last May

Do you ever have one of those morning where you wake up feeling slimmer? Your stomach feels flatter, your thighs more slender and like you’ve somehow miraculously lost 5lbs overnight? Yep? Well I had one of those days this morning.  I got up and just felt leaner, so I decided to weigh myself assuming I’d be pleasantly surprised by the number on the scales.
Since I was about 19 I’ve monitored my weight, weighing myself fairly regularly and using that as my best guide when trying to lose weight.  I’ve always made a conscious effort to not let myself get into the habit of weighing myself every day as I know that’s not healthy, but over the years it’s always been my way of keeping track of my size.  I’ve never been one of those people who goes on the way they look…I’m never really happy with what I see in the mirror, and I’ve never taken measurements.
Up until last year, I’d also never exercised, so it made sense to use that number on the scales as my tracker, if it was going down, I was doing the diet right.  If it went up, I needed to cut out those biscuits I’d been slyly eating and hoping those calories would somehow miraculously disappear. 
 I got married last May, and started my ‘wedding diet’ in the January.  I didn’t have plans to lose huge amounts, my dress was flattering and I was comfortable in it, but I wanted to lose a little and tone up for my honeymoon.  I wanted honeymoon bikini pics that I was happy with.  So I set myself an aim of losing between 10lbs and a stone, but also to start working out three times a week to tone up.  Knowing my dislike for exercise, my family and friends all laughed when I said I planned to hit the gym that often, and I even thought myself I wouldn’t last longer than a month.  Obviously the wedding was the motivation I needed and I kept it up.  Going to bums and tums, yoga and pilates.  When wedding day arrived, I’d hit my target weight and felt pretty confident in myself and my body…a first in my life!
 Almost a year later, I weigh a stone heavier.  I’m working out 6 or 7 times a week, with a range of cardio, weights and strength and toning classes. I’m calorie counting every day, except for my one cheat day, and I’m not losing any weight.  There is a part of me that is so disheartened by this, in my head I’m still the girl who tracks her size by the number on the scales, and this morning when I felt particularly ‘light’ and was 3lb heavier than I had been the week before, I was pretty gutted.
I read Anna’s post the other week and it really struck a chord.  I know my body is changing.  I’m developing a bum that I’ve never had before.  I can see definition in my arms, and I know I’m stronger everywhere.  But it’s difficult to not fixate on that number, the tummy I can’t seem to get rid of and the chunky calves I’ve always hated.  And I guess it’s going to be a while before I can stop doing that. 
calvin klein underwear photo

So despite what the scales said, I took this photo of myself this morning, and decided I wasn’t going to let that number control me.  I can see I’m going in the right direction, and if I keep working hard, those abs will appear, I might start seeing some definition in my legs and I’ll be confident in my bikini, and the number on the scales will be just that, a number.

It's now only 14 weeks until my Total Warrior, if you'd like to read more about why I'm doing this, and my dad's diagnosis with pancreatic cancer, then please check out this post.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

the challenge: week 16 - an update

Well here we are 4 months on and I'm pleased to say I'm still going pretty strong in terms of my training.  

Unfortunately, I can't say the same for my dad, we've had a tough week and my dad has been really poorly.  He's been in a lot of pain and spent the majority of the last few days in bed.  My dad's diagnosis of pancreatic cancer last May is the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with.  As I imagine with most families, my dad is the head of our little clan, the one we all look up to, the one who makes all the decisions, the one who helps lead us down the right path, and bails us out when we need it.  My dad has always been a very upbeat, happy and full of energy kind of guy, so seeing him stuck in bed, in almost unbearable pain is heartbreaking.  It makes you feel completely helpless and it's so frustrating knowing there is so little you can do.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the worst, my dad's is terminal and inoperable, we don't know how long he has left and I really don't want to know.  But it is this which is really giving me the drive and determination to carry on and see this challenge through.  I've already raised a lot of money from family and friends and that's what we need to help the research to maybe one day find a cure for this horrible disease.  While I know it will almost certainly be too late for my dad, hopefully it will help thousands of others.

I didn't really mean this blog post to be so bleak, but it's been a tough week and I haven't really managed to do as much exercise as I would usually like.  I also had a totally indulgent weekend so getting back into my healthy routine has been tough.

What I am learning though is that life is short, it's too short to beat yourself up over too many doughnut or glasses of wine, or because you didn't do as much exercise as you would have liked.  But on the other hand, it's made me realise how delicate the body is, so keeping it healthy and being fit is only going to be beneficial in life.  My dad was an incredibly fit and healthy man, and he still got hit with this (life is so unfair) but I like to think it has helped him make it this long, and it was certainly the kick up the arse I needed to get moving.  For the first 29 years of my life I was complete couch potato, I avoided exercise at all costs and I was pretty much a yo-yo dieter, I feel so much better in myself since getting fitter and I would encourage anyone reading this to do the same, even if it just means walking more than you do now, it can only help.

On the brightside, the doctors have upped my dad's morphine and changed his medication a bit and he's doing a little better, and for now that's all that matters unlike the pathetic 3k run I barely managed's true, I just gave up and walked home, how I ran 10k last Saturday is a mystery to me!

And while not wanting to sound like a broken record, if you would like to help me then any little sponsorship you can make would be so so appreciated, and I really would be very grateful.

Every penny will hopefully help me get my ass over those 10ft walls...wish me luck!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

the challenge: running - i ran 10k

Sexy running face

It's true, I really did run 10k.  If you've read this post, you'll know how I feel about running, and 13 weeks and 15 runs later I still hate running.

In January I set myself a challenge to complete Total Warrior in August, (if you're new to my blog and wondering what all these 'challenge' posts are related to then go read this post) and as part of my 'training' I decided I would set myself an aim to be able to run 10k non-stop so even though I won't actually have to run 10k in one go for Total Warrior, I'd know that I could do it.

My first run in January I struggled to complete 3k, but I figured if I could keep it up and add an extra kilometre a month, I'd potentially be up to 10k by July... that was my target.  But by some miracle, ok motivation and determination that I  never knew I had, I kept upping my distances and on Saturday I did it, I ran 10k, and it wasn't all awful.

(yep that is the top of Primose Hill - part of my run route on Saturday)

So how have I done it?  I've made myself go out and run every weekend since January, regardless of how busy I am or where I am, hence the runs on recent weekends away.  I also upped my distance gradually, I did between 4 and 5.5k for 6 weeks in a row, that helped my body get used to actually running and it set me in a good routine.

Since then I've just added a little bit at a time, doing a couple of 8k runs in the middle.  Admittedly one of those 8k's was I think one of the worst hours of my life, at various times throughout I seriously considered collapsing at the side of road and ringing someone, anyone (an ambulance?!) to come and get me, but somehow I just kept going...and faster than the week before, maybe it was because I was so desperate to get home, maybe it was the sugar in the slice of cake I'd eaten before I headed out, or maybe it was because there was a little voice in my head just telling me to keep going.

I've also done a bit of hill training, which is horrendous, I thought running was bad, running up hills is even worse.  

While I'm seriously proud of myself for hitting 10k 3 months ahead of schedule, I'm really pleased that somehow I seem to have developed a natural pace and I maintain it throughout my runs.  That makes me think my endurance and stamina levels are quite good, and I'm staying focused throughout.  If I was doing runs where I started really fast then massively slowed down and tailed off towards the end, I think I'd find those runs physically harder and emotionally not as motivating. 

What I don't know is, what should I do now? Do I try and do faster 5k's, do I run 10k's every week, or do I keep trying to up my distance? I'd like to run further and faster, I'd like not to resent running so much and I'd like to continue seeing progression, so, if anyone has any tips, then holler, I'd love to hear 'em.

If you're enjoying following my training, I'd love it if you'd like to sponsor me, I'm talking part in Total Warrior to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer, an awful disease that my dad was diagnosed with in May.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

the challenge: a 'healthy' weekend away

Edinburgh food and drink
 Last weekend, me and the Mr headed up to Edinburgh for the weekend, we’d been bought tickets to see the Rocky Horror Show (amazing by the way) for Christmas and so we booked ourselves into a fancy hotel, and enjoyed our 26 hours in the city. 

We had a free night’s hotel to use through and so treated ourselves to somewhere a little posher than where we’d usually stay, let’s just say I could definitely get used to staying in places like this.  It was the Sheraton Hotel and Spa and it was definitely the rooftop swimming pool that appealed, and, I’m almost ashamed to say it, but the look of their super gym also added to that.  Given that I'm the girl who used to actively avoid exercise (talk about an oxymoron…!), it’s incredible to think that I now book hotels with gyms, what has happened to me?
Anyway, I digress.  As I'm on such an intense training plan at the moment, I didn’t want to have a weekend of complete gluttony without managing to squeeze in a workout to override a little of all the calories I’d be consuming.  Usually when me and the Mr go away for a weekend, we spend the Saturday with me dragging him round the shops, and then spend the rest of the time eating (we have an exciting relationship!).  This time was different, we spent  over an hour in the gym, which was my first real time doing a proper gym workout.  Despite not having a clue what I was doing, I actually rather enjoyed it.  20 minutes on the treadmill, followed by some leg work, arm work and abs.  I even did some kettle-bell work which was based purely on short videos I've seen on Instagram, maybe it’s time to think about getting a personal trainer?!
Gym pics(Check out the exhaustion in pic number 2!)
 We then chilled out in the spa for the rest of the afternoon, the perfect way to ease my aching legs.  While the Mr insists he doesn't really enjoy spa’s and doesn't let me ever book us in for one, it’s the only time I ever see him fully chilled out, so it was nice to do nothing for a few hours? Our little spa session was followed by super healthy smoothies, before heading out to the dinner and theatre.
I usually try and avoid eating in chain restaurants when I'm away as I always think it’s nice to try out the local places, but we decided to head to Zizzi as needed somewhere quick, plus it’s where we had our first date so holds good memories.  I devoured garlic pizza with mozzarella, calamari followed by rustica pizza pollo rosso and I'm not lying when I say devoured, hangry was in full force so photos were never going to happen!  Several glasses of wine and a large bag of chocolates and sweets ended the evening.  When I cheat, I really cheat!
 The next morning there was a pretty epic breakfast on offer, and with good intentions of getting back on the health wagon I started a rather polite portion of fruit, but then I spotted the waffles, and the muffins and all of the deliciousness that is a cooked breakfast (the Scots know how to do breakfast) so I made the most of it, and this three course meal happened, and it was well worth it, that waffle with bacon, eggs and maple syrup was a dream…I'm still thinking about it now.
An epic breakfast
A few hours of shopping, and we hopped on the train home, so thank you Edinburgh for having us, it was just the weekend I needed!
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