Friday, 29 May 2009

Vida la revolution

Back on wheels today after probably a fortnight's absence. It felt fine in terms of my fitness levels (unlike running where as soon as you miss a couple of sessions it becomes even more hellish) and it felt great to be cycling on such a lovely day (sunshine and no wind) rather than squidging on a tube and the torturous rail replacement service for the high handed closure of one of my lines into work. I'm glad that I got one cycle in on half term week too as the traffic is always lighter which makes it more pleasant - I guess the whole summer will be like that, yippee! If I had felt a fraction as good running as I do cycling, I would have kept going with it. And moaned alot less! I see people running on my cycle route - they have that rictus grimace of pain and/or endurance. And often they run in the road - how odd is that? Perhaps they're hoping they'll be struck down and released from running hell by being carted off in an ambulance?!

I feel fully back and established on the calorie counting and cycling route to slimdom. It's a long, road which I travel at snail pace but I don't think there's anything I can do about that. As seductive as it sometimes feels to do LL and get a stone off quickly (I am very unhappy about this particular stone as it's the one that makes my clothes too tight and therefore gives me wardrobe dilemmas on a daily basis) I know that long-term it's a problem for me as:
a) I can't stick to it;
b) I am thoroughly miserable; and
c) As soon as I stop, the weight piles back on, leaving me caught in a wretched yo-yo cycle of pain
My plan remains being strict in the week with 1200-1300 cals a day and cycling as often as poss (1200cals+ burnt), walking a bit if not, and then a more relaxed Saturday, some exercise on Sunday if possible and mostly back on my usual 1200-1300 cals.

Yesterday I did the obligatory bringing in treats as penance for going on holiday. As I'd been to Cornwall I brought in scones, clotted cream and jam and made up a cream tea for the office. Usually if I were doing this I would use it as an excuse to snarf several scones for myself - but I'd entered in half a one into my Food Focus calorie count ..... and I stuck to it! This may not sound impressive but for someone with as little willpower as me, this is a really big deal. Now I just have to resist our Friday afternoon meeting wine and nibbles. I can resist the wine alright but the crisps and sweets are much more difficult.

We have friends coming round for dinner tomorrow night but we are planning 5 mini courses (inspired by Fifteen) and just so we can not feel overloaded they're not very carb heavy. At all. Want to hear? Ignore this if you're fatigued by foodie talk - Starter: marinated fig salad, prima: open ravioli of venison ragu (bf doing this), secondi: chicken in balsamic and cherry sauce with some sort of root veg mash (weeny - just a tbsp per person), cheese, pudding: lemon shortbreads with strawberries and clotted cream (maybe with raspberry coulis), coffee and chocs. And although there will be wine throughout (mostly different ones to go with the different foods) and a bellini to start, it's not too calorific a meal, especially since all the courses will be small starter size. Or am I kidding myself? Anyway, we're off on a cycle ride on Sunday which will help! The weather's looking good for next week too so I should be able to cycle most days although I do need to book my bike in for a service which means just a 2-3 mile ride to the bike shop (and back) on one day. I keep putting this off as if I'm on my bike I want to be burning those cals but I do need to do it - my bike does make slightly odd whispery noises.

Hope everyone has a good weekend - doesn't the sunshine make a difference? Let's hope it lasts until at least October now (with rain at night for people with gardens).

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The silver lining

Part of my public transport route home has casually been disabled for the whole of this week (thanks guys, no, no trouble at all) so bf volunteered to meet me in the car before the vanished bit of the line on my way home yesterday. When he got there, the traffic was so horrendous that we decided to hang on for an hour and let it die down. I was starving so went into Wagamama as the most blameless option and had a raw salad, some squid and 2 of 3 skewers of chicken.

As I went to bed, I didn't feel great - sort of shivery and with a sore throat - and around midnight I started throwing up violently (the food? The pain and violence makes me think it may be food poisoning rather than a bug but bf had the other chicken skewer and he's fine - I'd usually blame the chicken). The hurling (the non-Celtic variety) carried on until 3.30am (although I had nothing left to throw up by then) and then this morning unpleasantly dramatic, er, runny tummy (trying not to be too graphic here). I've been okay since mid morning except feeling exhausted and delicate (a tricky concept if you're on the hefty side like me). I don't really fancy food - hurrah! At least, I'm not hungry although my mind is already sabotaging me by weighing up possible food options. But I weighed myself and have lost 3lbs - double hurrah! It's not a fun way to do it but I'm glad some good came out of all the night-time trauma. I don't know how bulimics do it though - I've felt the strong urge to purge after a binge in a panic but being sick is really vile. Maybe you don't have the stomach pain and trampolining as it's not as a reaction to some sort of physical illness but it's still pretty hard-core I'm sure.

I may be bold and have a Pepsi Max in a minute if I keep this glass of water down. Oh the glamour and hedonism of my life! Luckily I don't think we have any bread as I strongly associate eating marmite on toast or scrambled egg on toast as getting-better food! And of course this is not actually known scientifically as a medical cure, despite my twisted thinking. I could do with maximising my involuntary purge with not diving into carbs and butter. I think if I get hungry I may go for some fruit and granola - maybe even a yoghurt - but that's it. Can't see me being up to cycling in tomorrow though - which is even more of a shame since it's so flipping hard to get anywhere, courtesy of the public transport system.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Back to the smoke

Of course, we left Cornwall in blazing sunshine - Saturday (and Sunday) being beautiful weather, sigh. It made it all the sadder to leave with the sea so blue and the fields so green, all bathed in golden sunlight. I'm glad we stopped via my mum's in Kent as I think the rural idyll of Cornwall back to grimy East London might have been too much of a culture shock!

We'd had very mixed weather in Cornwall - it didn't rain all the time but it did rain every day (except Thursday and Friday) and the showers were extremely sharp and er, wet. I was out on a cliff path on a walk in one shower wearing jeans and came back literally dripping after only 10 mins outside. Luckily our cottage had an Aga which was impressive for drying clothes over (even if bf got slightly hysterical about the heat it kicked out ("It's TOO HOT")!). I got a bit obsessed with the kitchen actually- an Aga, granite worktops, slate floors and a butler's sink - and am now feeling rather as if I am slumming it back in my own kitchen (with none of these things!)!

But the saddest thing of all is that in one and a half weeks I put on 10-11lbs. Which will take me a minimum of a month and a half to lose. It's depressing, however much of a positive spin I try to put on it and I feel incredulous that this sort of weight gain is even possible. My clothes are too tight - including bras (ouch) - and I am sitting here typing in my 'fat skirt' and a t-shirt from before LighterLife as it's the only one which covers my expanded belly and I feel thoroughly frumpy. AND we didn't have fish and chips once (lack of opportunity gentle reader, not willpower (as if!)! But we only managed 2-3 walks (9 miles, 5 miles and 3 miles respectively - the latter although hilly hardly counts) and I did have a clotted cream tea several times (mmmmm delish). We mostly ate in in the evenings as we were a long way from anywhere and ate a main meal at lunchtime - we went out to lunch somewhere nice (read 3 courses) twice and there was also the fabled Fifteen meal. Which was expensive but wonderful - delicious food, not too much that you felt overly full even after 5 courses, amuse bouches and coffee and weeny chocolate and a sublime view - we watched the sun go down over the sea as the tide revealed more of a golden beach. I thoroughly recommend it if you have a spare couple of hundred quid! By contrast, I also went to the Heston Blumenthal Little Chef for breakfast on the way down to the West Country and it was rubbish - I had a bacon sarnie and the bread (white sliced plastic) was stale and unbuttered and the bacon was fatty. Bf said he liked his full English but I wouldn't bother with it again. The coffee was indifferent to poor as well.

What I didn't do this time was sneak chocolate and sweets - I snurfed the biscuits the owner left but I wasn't sneakily buying sweets/chocolate to eat first thing or last thing when I could steal a solitary moment. I did this on both similar holidays last year with my mother and with bf. I also avoided cooked breakfasts since my recent Suffolk weekend proved to me that I actually don't like them (we were only out for breakfast one day and I had fruit, muesli and yoghurt which I thoroughly enjoyed and had mainly granola and yoghurt in the cottage). A question of small mercies? Too little, too late? Maybe.

I did have carbs for pretty much every meal so I'm hoping that my usual diet of little or no bread, rice or pasta will help knock a bit off a little more quickly than my usual snail-pace but it's definitely set me right back to the scary side of uncomfortable. I'm trying not to let it depress me (therein lies the siren call of the evil sugar illogically) but just to be determined to get on and back on track. I also think there has to be a learning point for my upcoming walking 10 -12 days in Wales with my mum and the lab pack. We will at least have to walk, irrespective of the weather, for the dogs - and that cuts down (mercifully) on time spent in tea-shops eating cake and staring at the rain - but I think that a piece of cake during the day on a walk has to mean no pudding in the evening beyond fruit or else I'll be in an even worse state than I am now. I tend to let the treats spiral out of control and then it's cake and ice cream and possibly more all in one day. And I clearly don't have hollow legs, sadly. Stumpy, yes, hollow, no.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Soggy scones

Well I have resigned myself to a wet week's holiday in Cornwall with little walking. It's a shame as our last holiday was a wet fortnight in Wales! But there it is, and if we do get some sunshine I shall be very pleased and out on those coastal paths before you can say 'pasty'.

A couple of days of mindless and rebellious eating have made me start feeling nervous. I am, sadly, an all or nothing girl and much better at the all bit! I have to be exercising, noting down what I'm eating and making sensible advance choices or I slide down the slippery sugary path like a greased pig down a helter-skelter. My clothes feel tight - not surely possible after only a couple of days but a scary thought just the same. Perhaps it will help me employ a little wisdom (not Norman) whilst on holiday. Particuarly since I don't want to get to the end of the week and find I can't fit into the skirt I'm taking to wear to Fifteen. It's a little snug now......

So you can see that I need some sunshine to get me out walking and thus balance the cream teas, fish and chips and wine! Just for your information, you CAN have wine with fish and chips but it has to be a robust sauvignon blanc to cope with all the vinegar. So there you go. Or there I will go, in any case!

Breakfast time tomorrow I will be at the famous Heston Blumenthalled up Little Chef. As I have said before, I'm pretty indifferent to cooked breakfasts (unless American style!) but it will be interesting to see nonetheless - and bf is a big fan of the full English. I'll probably have a bacon sarnie. I'll have been up for 4-5 hours by that point!

Now I must go and pack and clean and paint toenails - even though it sounds as if my feet will have to be warmly encased in layers for the week! As ever, I am running out of time... Byeeee

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Tiredness is the enemy of good sense

Yesterday I got up at 4am for a particularly stressful day's work and finally got back to bed at 11.30pm - I was on the go or travelling at all points in between. We did have a working lunch (delicious and quite healthy) but I did eat quite a bit of rubbish (breakfasts on trains are appalling and what's available at Kings Cross at 5.45am isn't much better). Today I almost feel more tired - I guess it's the adrenaline withdrawal - and have eaten quite alot of sugar which seems to have turned me slightly hyper and loopy (but still wanting more sugar obviously). I'm wound so tightly I may snap.

Cornwall beckons but the forecast is bad for the first couple of days - and the forecast doesn't go beyond that. I really would like some sunny walks - and not a repeat of our Welsh holiday, far too much of which was sat in tea shops, eating cake (natch) and staring at the rain. I know I will be eating waayyyy WAAAYYYY outside my 1200-1300 calories a day allocation and the more walking I can do to offset that the better. And it's fun.

I'm at my mum's tonight which also doesn't bode well for a refreshed Peridot tomorrow. I never get much sleep there - we go too bed too late and I can never get comfortable. Moan, whinge, grumble....

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Cycles and cycles

Goodness it was hard work this morning. I had no energy at all and was cycling - cartoon style - into a strong head wind. So my legs were frantically revolving but I didn't appear to be moving much at all. Don't know if it was biorhythms - or what made me so tired - but I had to cling to the idea that if I felt that tired I must be burning extra calories and putting on more muscle and grimly keep my legs pumping.

And people are extraordinarily stupid. They turn and gawp at me, turn back and then step deliberately into my path. And, given the choice between the bit of the pavement that's marked for bikes and the bit that's marked for pedestrians, they take the cycle path every time! I nearly hit a particularly stupid specimen today who was actually on a cycles-only road crossing, I had to stop with screeching brakes - she turned and smirked at me all the way along the road (she got across, I missed the lights), grrrr.

Bit concerned with Mrs' comment on my post yesterday. Am I a glutton? Possibly, yes, sigh. Food does really matter to me. I can deal with small rations all the way through the week if I can have a more expansive meal at the weekend (expansive not in the way of trousers ideally). And if I can choose real food, albeit miniscule portions. (And if there's anyone as obsessed with food as me: one of my bunches of asparagus, I blanched then wrapped each stem in a piece of proscuitto and roasted for 20 mins - YUM!) But anyway, I think that what I'm doing is the right thing for me, even if I eat too many calories every now and again - so generally, strict calorie control 5 days a week, more relaxed 1 day a week and somewhere in the middle 1 day a week and lots of exercise where possible. I have lost half a stone this way since Easter and am almost back to pre-Easter weight. Now, let's not get too excited about this - I still have the following steps to take:
1) LL finishing weight (half a stone away)
2) Lowest weight yet (1st 3lbs away)
3) Healthy BMI (3st 3lbs away)
4) Goal (3st 9lbs away)
It all sounds pretty tough and over-whelming spelt out like that. I want to think I'll get there but I'm not utterly convinced. And let's remember, Food Focus reckons it will take me until end of October/beginning of November WITH NO LAPSES and consistent results. Hmmmm (can you hear the scepticism? I'm stroking my imaginary beard). Lowest weight yet sounds pretty good (and a long way away) - this is consistently a small size 14. Which means my summer clothes would fit - a definite bonus! I think for me the challenge is to keep going and not allow myself to be de-railed - to basically not be a perfectionist and allow myself to think 'oh bugger, I've blown it' and then continue in that style until pulled up short (and fat) some weeks further down the line.

Please think of one of my very best friends, R, who is about to spectacularly drop a wodge of weight any day now in the form of a baby. She's very slight and slender and has managed to put weight on only on her baby bump (despite early cravings for sausage rolls (very out of character) - but the bump is so impressive, she has to wear a rucksack to balance her! Okay, I made that bit up but it does look like it.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

May day, may day

Not really any significant emergencies here, just couldn't resist the pun!

Actually I ate off plan for the whole weekend and whilst there were no proper, full-on sugar binges, I know I ate too much. I didn't enter it on Food Focus as it would be too difficult to quantify and I haven't weighed myself out of cowardice. We go away on holiday (just a week's walking in Cornwall) a week on Friday and the little demon in my head is urging me to relax until I get back from holiday, given that it's only 10 days til I go and what can I achieve in that time? Well, I can achieve putting a load of weight on, that's what I can achieve. I know this, it's all too (terrifyingly) easy for me to do this. So today I'm back to calorie counting, cycling and hunger. I know that next weekend I won't be dieting but it doesn't mean I can't stick to the straight and narrow during the week.

Confessions - this weekend I had wine, I had chocolate, I had pudding (one of which I didn't like and wished I'd not bothered with), I had bread and cheese. We went to a Farmers' Market in Kent on Saturday and bought tarts, bread and cheese for lunch, then had a BBQ at my mother's. I did do a hilly hour and a half's walk that day. Sunday we went for an extremely hilly - and chilly - four hour walk. I had a pizza for lunch which was the least bad option I could spot on the menu. I forewent (?) the starter of calamari I really wanted and afterwards thought I should have had that and a side salad as a main instead - it would have been what I wanted and probably a lower calorie choice. Then we had asparagus (with hollandaise) and bread and cheese (and wine) and a creme brulee for pudding. Monday I had been intending to do a 2 hour cycle ride but it was just too cold and drizzly. I had some edamame bean salad and a pack of Marmite crips for lunch with a piece of baklava and some honeyed macadamias. And 2 mini drifters. And then we had more asparagus for dinner, then I had a avocado with half a dressed crab. And wine. And a meringue nest with raspberries and (quite alot of) cream. Writing it makes me realise just how much damage I must have done. The battle is not to let that derail me entirely. It feels like when I've misjudged something on my bike and have gone a bit wobbly.

Next weekend we're going to Brogdale - national orchards in Kent - and I know we'll buy produce (and not just fruit). Apparently their cake is 8" deep.... Then we're taking bf's parents out for lunch on Sunday for his mum's birthday.

Until then, I can stick to my c1200 calories a day and cycle as often as possible (hope for 3 x this week). Next week I probably won't be able to cycle at all which makes me anxious. I have a long day out of the office on Monday, then Tuesday I'm going to my mother's and Wednesday I'm coming in from her house. Thursday I have a half day so I guess that's a possibility. Then home to pack!

I know I'll eat well but not wisely on holiday. I'm kind of okay with that but I'm determined not to do my usual of sneaking extra chocolate bars and bags of sweets too. I won't be having my usual seeds etc for breakfast, I'm sure we'll have wine most days and a fairly substantial meal and either lunch or a cream tea. We'll be doing at least 4 days' walking (weather permitting) and will be pretty active even on other days (visiting gardens, doing shorter walks etc) but not enough to offset the food! We're also finishing up at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen in Newquay for bf's birthday present so that's unlikely to be a low cal choice either. And we're starting with a visit to Heston Blumenthal's Little Chef on the way down.

My life shouldn't be just about food but it somehow seems to be.