Spring Equinox and sun – a good time to reclaim good habits

It seems there’s a feeling amongst my friends and me that now is the time to get healthy – so I’m back on the blog! Yesterday was the Spring Equinox and represented day 4 of my own reclaiming of healthy living habits.

I’m re-evaluating my goals (some that have been mislaid in the few months… ahem!) and will be setting some new ones. I’m going to start with a review of the past few months and what’s gone well and what has not.

Stay tuned and let me know if you have similar challenges or questions.

Happy Friday! And happy good habits, too.

Happy Birthday to me (!) … the 4-week/9-day push ends well!

I didn’t quite make my original 4-week goal, but I got so close! I did drop a little weight overnight so I can happily report that I am the lightest I have been for 20 years! And I did make it into a dress that was too small for me 4 weeks ago… and even my Mum commented that my legs looked slim!

Here we are out for a very lovely lunch today!

image

image

image

I loved lunch! It was delicious and very special! I couldn’t manage all of my dessert, though (poor attempt!) but it definitely didn’t stop my enjoyment of the whole day

I’ll be taking a diet break for a few days, and I expect to increase a little weight over the coming days, but I am not going totally wild! I am planning to be back at the same weight in one week’s time, all being well.

New goals need to be set when I’m back. I’ll think about what I want to achieve in the next few weeks. That will take us to the middle of June and one whole year since I started this healthy mission. One year! I can’t believe it’s been such a long time, it has flown!

Thanks for sharing my journey with me… I wish you a wonderful day, evening or morning… wherever you are!

36 hours to go in the 4-week focus…

image

36 hours to go in the 4-week/9-day push. In the last 36 hours, I achieved the 9-day target and my gym goals 🙂  The problem with achieving your goals is that you then need to set some new ones! So, new gym goals have now been revised and the programme revised with some even more evil-sounding exercises … including way too many squats for my liking!

It didn’t dawn on me until I was driving home that in my new programme, my repetitions have increased by 50 percent! Wah! Okay, okay … that’s the 6-week goal. But still … wah!

Breaking things down into smaller goals works really well for me – into manageable chunks that don’t seem too overwhelming – both in terms of time and difficulty. It’s amazing what can be achieved when fully focused on a short-term goal. It seems silly to even say it, but the short-term goal thing is so obvious, yet so effective.

4-week focus … time is nearly up. From a weight-loss perspective, I may  be a pound or two adrift from the four-week goal, but you never know what might happen in 36 hours!

In any case, I’ll be able to enjoy my birthday in the knowledge that it’s all in the right direction. One step at a time.

Good luck with your own goals, whatever they may be!

9-day push update, slightly obsessive scale usage and boiled eggs

Super-quick post tonight.

I’m so pleased that I have digital scales. They measure increments of a quarter of a pound or 200 grammes.

Yes, I am getting on every day, and so far the scales are going in the right direction, even if is a quarter of a pound down a day. I fear I may be slightly obsessed though, as I took the scales to an overnight hotel stay with my other half earlier in the week. Sorry, Wayne!

So sticking to the diet IS tough, but seeing the scales go down is great motivation to stay on track. And also knowing it’s only for a short while, then I can stablise again.

There are 3 of us in the team at work trying to lose a little weight, so that definitely helps that there is not so much ‘naughty’ food around to tempt us.

And finally, thinking forward to next week, for our birthdays, we normally bring in cakes, donuts or other goodies to work. I think I’m going to have to bring some healthy snacks in as well next week! Healthy suggestions welcomed, as I don’t expect anyone will welcome a hard-boiled egg as a snack!

2 days down, 7 to go … and the outlook is sunny!

Outlook is sunny

I am focused. The light is officially on. It’s 2 days into the final 9-day push and all is well. I have curbed my eating, restricted my calories, am drinking more water and have been to the gym.

The ‘X’ stone 11 goal is definitely achievable now with 7 days to go until my birthday – and I might even get into a new dress that is hanging up at home that has never been worn 🙂 (Deliberately bought in a smaller size as a goal to get into!) I’ll be trying it on every day to see if there is any progress – and – I know you shouldn’t really get on the scales every day, but dear friends, I may not be able to resist to ensure progress is continuing! Just got to keep up the good work and not be distracted. Focus, focus, focus!

P.S. Am still addicted to watching the US Biggest Loser on Sky on Monday evenings. Bob and Gillian are still trainers in this series – and they are pretty awesome when it comes to motivating weight-loss. The contestants are heading towards the final few weeks and it’s definitely helping me stay motivated – they are doing their final pushes too. This is my favourite part of the series, where you see the before and after shots – the transformations can be amazing! It helps me, anyway!

Yippity do-dah; Zara and size 12 Jeans!

Time to report in on the previously documented four-week push. So far, so good. A little wobble (involving a certain Mr Pinot Grigio, scrummy bar food and some 10-year old Port last week) but still managed to lose weight in the week overall. So just under 3 weeks to go now for the final push!

Super-busy at work with multiple deadlines. In the denial* days, I would have come home from a long day and hit the wine (I deserve it) and food (I deserve it) as some kind of instant gratification and my reward for getting through a long day, long week, blah blah blah! This time, I decided that I would just have some healthy food (which was on-hand luckily – the secret is in the planning) and that I didn’t need the wine – so I could stay true to my four-week final push. And – yippee! – I managed it.

I felt a little wardrobe update was called for, as I was last at this weight in 1995. So shopping, we went. Pre-‘project-Andrea’ I couldn’t shop in places like H&M and Zara. So I ventured in. Cautiously, I tried a couple of things on. Happy days – they fitted! I can’t tell you how nice it is to be free to shop where you like, because you are not restricted by your size. It’s extremely motivating. So a rather summery peach-coloured jacket was acquired and worn to work this week.

I also did some online shopping as I wanted some new jeans. Size 14s arrived (Size 10 USA). I tried them on straight away. They were too big. What? Surely I can’t be a UK 12?  Re-order online. Size 12s arrive. OMG. They fit! They fit! Cue singing around the house! Now, I am not naive enough to think that all size 12s are created equal, some are obviously bigger than others, but I am so happy, happy, happy about this.

It’s funny, I obviously know I have lost weight, but my brain hasn’t quite kept pace with my physical appearance – it’s like it needs some time to adjust to the new me. I have had some lovely comments from my friends and colleagues this week. I don’t know why in particular this week, maybe it’s the new jeans and jacket in the right size? Who knows? What I can say is that it does help that other people are noticing – and it makes me even more determined to keep getting closer to my goal and ultimately keep it off. Thank you to everyone who commented – it really does help! 

And finally, gym this morning to kick-off the weekend in a good way – which, shock-horror, I really enjoyed. So, it’s definitely been a good week overall, and I have a few key ‘lessons learnt’ from it:

  1. If you have a goal – document it, set a timescale and take the first step to achieving what you want.
  2. Pay someone a genuine compliment – maybe they are looking good or maybe they have been good to you – so thank them for being so nice – it really can make a difference to them.
  3. Recognise the small successes you are making towards your goal – if it your goal seems a long way off, one step towards it is better than one step away from it.
  4. And lastly, If you have a wobble, it’s okay, we’re all human and it’s just a wobble – just get back on track as soon as you can.

Have a fab few days and be good to yourself!

*denial = denial that there was a problem

Stable. Stuck. So should I stick, or stick with it?

Greetings to you all, this fine day. Had a very busy, but productive week at work with not much space for ‘me’ time.  Went to the gym in Sunday, but didn’t manage to get there again until this morning. But that’s just about twice in a week, so not too bad.

Now here’s the thing. I’ve lost a fair bit of body weight – and 3 dress sizes – (yay!) – since June last year. I was last stable at my current weight about 18-20 years ago (wow, that’s scarier written down, than in my head!) It’s still not quite where I want to be and I am definitely not beach-ready, if you know what I mean. I’ve been stable to within about 5lbs at this weight for the last two months. I know this is a good thing and it proves that I can maintain my weight.
But I’d really, really like to get a little bit more off. I wondering if psychologically I am taking into account other people’s comments:
“Don’t go too far – we don’t want you to be a lollipop head”
“Don’t get too skinny, you’ll be a beanpole!”
I think it might be because I like my food, and it is nice to eat a bit more – to be stablising, not dieting. I can ‘live’ at the weight I am – you definitely would not describe me as skinny and according to my BMI, I am right on the borderline of healthy weight and overweight.
This week, I thought, right, this is it, stop messing around, I’ll stick at it, give it a four-week focus, get to where I am happy (and firmly in the healthy BMI range) and then stabilise. But for some reason I have struggled. Maybe I just don’t want it enough. Maybe I am diet-weary.
Maybe I should stabilise for a bit, and gradually, gradually try to get to a lower weight – carry on with the gym, tone up and keep a track on my weight. Am not sure. As a minimum, I’ll be working at sticking where I am – making sure the belt stays on the same notch and that my clothes don’t get tighter than they should be.
And maybe tomorrow evening, after a nice weekend, I’ll have the motivation to do that four-week push for the last few pounds.
As you can see, I am undecided. If you’ve experienced something similar, I’d love to hear what you did about it! Looking for some inspiration and advice!

image
March 2012
image

May 2012
image

April 2013
image

March 2013

When do you know you’ve succeeded? And what are you doing this week to achieve your goal?

I find it interesting as people are now asking me how I’ve lost weight. In their minds it is as if I have already succeeded. (By the way, there’s no one easy answer because I’ve changed just about everything, from using the stairs and not the lift – to my entire eating habits. I’ll come back to this – probably – in another post.)

I wrote in my last post that my mantra was ‘get it off, keep it off’. Well, I’m still in the ‘getting it off’ place – a few more pounds to go.

But it got me thinking – how do I know when I have been successful? I don’t feel like I am successful… yet! Yes, I am part of the way there, but I think it has to be to do with the latter part of my mantra ‘keep it off’.  As we know, a massive proportion of dieters regain the weight after they have dieted.

So I think I’ll be able to say that I have been successful if I am the same weight as I am now (or less) in one year’s time. That will be an achievement.

In the mean time – to keep losing those few extra pounds so that I achieve my goal – and to counterbalance going out for lunch AND dinner on Friday (can’t wait!) – I’m going to:

  1. Make sure I drink at least 2 litres of water a day (yes, water helps!)
  2. Get to bed before midnight (yes, sleep matters)
  3. Go to the gym on Sunday for an ‘MOT’ (health check) and workout (no surprises, here)
  4. Watch ‘The Biggest Loser’ for motivation!

What about you? What will you do to help achieve your goal this week?

Until next time…

 

 

 

“Is this plane seat smaller than the others in the row in front?”

Slightly too long pause.

British Airways Crew “Er… no, madam!” Uh oh. It’s just the size of my bottom, then, causing the trouble! Not an auspicious start to my holiday and not a very comfortable two hour flight. Thank goodness it was a short haul flight!

Well, that was then, last year. Things are a bit different now. Thankfully.

What sparked this particular memory was this wonderful image I found on Facebook on Detox International’s Facebook page last week – which really resonated with me.

Website: Credit: https://www.faactually I just woke up one daycebook.com/pages/Detox-International-A-life-changing-experience/276360322420371

It struck me then once you have decided you want to change – then you do. It’s not that difficult, you just have to want it enough. It can apply to any area of your life – big or small.

This is what happened to me after the plane incident. Last June I started ‘Project Me’. I didn’t blog about it. I didn’t really talk about it – except to those closest to me. I just did it. I am still doing it.

I am trying to become healthier by the day by losing the unnecessary weight and becoming more active. And becoming more aware of myself – because somehow, somewhere, I had lost ‘Andrea’ – she was buried deep in extra layers. And boy did ‘she’ like to reward herself with food and drink. Tough day? Glass of wine! Good day? Glass of wine? Normal day. Oh, let’s have some nice dinner. And on it went.

So my first trigger for action was the (small!) plane seat.  The second was choosing what to wear every day had become a trauma. It was taking longer and longer to find something that looked vaguely flattering, to hide my increasing bulk.  But, really, the plane was the trigger. Enough was enough. I enjoyed my few days abroad, but I knew I had to do something about it. Summer was coming and I had a big programme of events to deliver for work – where it would be difficult to eat healthily. Timing was terrible. But deep inside, I had to start. So start I did. I bought a pedometer. I found myfitnesspal.com – a free app that calorie counts your food. And that was the start.  So gradually, I am changing and I need to stay changed!

My mantra is ‘get it off, keep it off’. I have a feeling it will be the continuing challenge of my lifetime. I’ll be blogging about my journey from time to time – sharing things I have discovered  about myself in the hope that even one other person (apart from me!) will be helped or inspired to make some positive changes in their lives. Until next time!

Can a leopard really change its spots? And if so, how?

I’ve read so much over the years about healthy eating and fitness. Logically, I know that more energy in means weight gain if energy out is also not increased. Emotionally I don’t always find it so easy to make the right choices.

We’ve all read that a high percentage of dieters go back to their pre-diet weight – or more – after their diets. I’ve done it myself, not usually higher than before, but back to exactly the same weight to the lb (or half KG). This is the 3rd time I’ve got to my maximum “time to trigger action” weight.  That’s 3 times in 12 years.  I reckon it takes a minimum of 6 months to get the weight down again.  Then slowly…. very slowly it goes back on – over a period of between 2-5 years.

So how can I stop it? I guess my ‘leopard spots’ are lack of exercise and a bit too much food per day – and so the weight goes on so slowly that I don’t even notice it.

So I’ve been thinking about how to fix this. My first problem is that I’m not that fond of routine. I like the excitement of an always changing schedule; the adrenaline of a last minute problem to solve. And the nature of my work is very much like this. Perhaps too much like this!   I’ll usually put this (work) above (me) going for some organised exericise.  So, the healthy habits get broken down, I don’t get anough sleep, I eat at erratic times and so on … and weight begin starts to increase and the fitness declines. 

So which healthy habit goes first? I think that it’s the exercise that is the first casualty, and then it’s downhill from there. The good thing about exercise, for me, is that it makes me more aware of my body. Not in an obsessive way – but just how it moves and how it looks. It’s all too easy in the cold, British weather to cover up – in boots, in a suit, in long cardigans – and not be aware of carrying a few extra pounds. But you can’t ignore the mirrors in the gym though (unless you are very determined!)  in your gym gear or worse… in a swimsuit!!!  And of course you can’t avoid how you feel doing exercise. There’s no escape there!

So if that’s the start of the decline for me, I need to make sure that I make a habit – a habit with some built in flexibility, too – for my life – so this is what I’m going to do. I think it’s realistic:

My exercise pledge: Some kind of formal exercise twice a week to be taken: once during the week and once at the weekend. 

So, dear friends and fitness buddies, I’ll be reporting in!  Your comments and tips, as ever, are sought and welcomed – it feels good to support each other.

This leopard is trying to change its spots. Thinking positive thoughts and feeling better for having written it down.