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Saturday, 11 June 2016

I Think I Might Have An Impulsive Disorder - Discuss

Lads and Lassies,  I know I promised you lots of blogs after I finished with the Sunday World but the fact of the matter is, I actually don't want to talk about loosing weight any more.  I suddenly realised I was boring myself trying to come up with ways to talk about weightloss and not be boring.  

Now, when you find yourself being bored with yourself, you know you are becoming excruciatingly boring to everyone else.  That said, I am still hanging off the walls at 'Climbing Walls' Dublin and Donie is still my climbing partner and has saved my life, literally, about fifty times.  I am currently sporting two beautiful purple coloured bruises on my right shoulder, a cut on my left shin and several icky looking blisters on all eight of my fingers..... and yes, I do still love it. 

Which brings me to my next topic.  Kayaking.  My good friend Gill got a kayak recently and proceeded to tell me about the wonderful world of kayaking over a stiff gin and tonic (yep, I'm still drinking regularly) and of course I decided it would be a lovely calm hobby to join my good friend in.  Twenty four hours later, minus a heap of money I am the proud owner of a shiny red kayak.

What kind of Kayak I hear you ask...I am not really sure. How long is my paddle?.....Couldn't tell you.  After I spoke to an avid kayaker this afternoon and was bombarded with questions about my little boat I decided that showing a photo of it was the best way to go..I found out that my boat is bullet proof...that's good to know what with all the crime these days.  I could paddle to England in it if my arms would get me there, was another...not sure I am ready for that but also good to know.  

I was told that if I was going to go out on the ocean that I needed a handheld waterproof VHS...I couldn't find one anywhere on the tinternet that didn't look like an old video player, that was until I realized that I should have been looking for a VHF marine radio.  I was asked about life jackets and helmets and wetsuits and cags and boots and dry bags and all these other things that I would need, luckily enough I had some of these from the year before last when I took up diving and soon realised I was terrified of dying under water in a freak accident (which would have been entirely my own fault).

I thought it best that I quit that.  I was terrified to tell my partner that I was giving it up after spending so much money but it turned out she was delighted, as it happens she too thought I would die in a freak underwater diving accident, that I would have caused.  The only difference between her story and mine is that I would probably have taken my diving partner with me.

So I think this is the first time I have sat back in any of my nearly fourty years and asked, do I have an impulsive disorder or am I just a fun loving crazy lady who is afraid of getting old.  As I sit here scratching my head I'm praying that it's the later, I am also thinking, how the hell am I going to get that yolk onto a roof rack (that I had to buy) on my own?

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Awesome Walls and Climbing

After the great travesty last week regarding the two pound gain I decided that this week I was going to diet, get real active and try something new.  Now I can get a bit scared trying something new alone so I roped my work husband Doney into accompanying me to Awesome Walls in Finglas, the Mrs has a fear of heights so was uncooperative when I tried to get her to overcome her fears and take to the sky, or roof as was the case.  I had read that climbing is a great core sport and is great for the burning of calories so I thought I might get active by doing something fun. 

Now I’m not saying that running or spinning isn’t fun, I’m just saying that they are not fun for me.  I know I’m not pushing myself enough physically, I need to enjoy whatever exercise it is that I am going to partake in otherwise I am just going to plod along doing the same boring routine at the gym and will get so bored I won’t go or will find reasons not to go.

So we booked a mid-day training class and met with our instructors who spent an hour with us showing us all the equipment and how to tie the knots that will keep us from plummeting to our deaths, or becoming the victim of a serious injury.  After we had completed our basic training we were allowed off to our own devices and experimented with some wall climbing.  As the day went on my arms and legs started to burn.  When we eventually stopped for a break, hours had passed and I realised I was starving.

Doney wanted to go out to eat but I decided to cook something healthy for us instead and eat in.  The journey home was agony.  There was a hairy moment on the M50 when I  came to my exit and was worried that the muscles in my arms wouldn’t be able to turn the wheel to make the very hard turn that led to home, but we made it home and I managed to throw together a lovely, healthy steamed salmon dish that filled us and didn’t ruin the hard work we had put into the day.

As we sat on the couch, knackered and sore, watching an old Star Trek film, possibly because our arms were too sore to hold and aim the remote control we made plans to do it again.  Four days later, after the pain had subsided, I was back in a harness again attempting to climb to the top of the building and burning the calories while really enjoying myself.  When I got talking to one of the girls there I was invited to attend a free women’s coaching session on the Wednesday.  I signed up and am currently praying the pain I am enduring now is going to be gone by Wednesday.

While Karen always says that losing weight is 90% about diet and 10% about exercise, I think that exercise gives you that boost to help keep your mind on the diet.  I already am thinking about losing weight so that I don’t have to haul all this weight up the wall.  I want to tone up and get strong and if staying away from the pies is going to help me with that then bring it on.  I’ve a week left with Magazine + and know that this week is a definite turning point for me.  Maybe it’s the smell of Spring in the air but I’m feeling rejuvenated.

Its My Travesty

There I was thinking that the start to this week was going to go fine.  After the skin thing last week and my partners birthday my body went into total crapville.  I got a real bad chest infection.  I was on antibiotics and taking cough bottle to beat the band. I was bed ridden and in no form for anything.  I did no walking, not a lot of talking (I know, hard to believe) and mostly felt totally crap about everything and everyone.  Dieting was the last thing on my mind. 

Now I didn’t do the dog on it at all. I realised that being sick was no reason to lose the run of myself, that and the fact that there was little of badness in the house when it came to food.  I didn’t eat too much at all really.  I was downing the cough mixture, which I later heard is full of sugar and spent the days lying between the dent that I had made for myself in the couch and my bed.  Life really doesn’t give a damn about whether or not you are trying to meet a deadline or lose the remaining pounds before you finish a diet challenge. 

This is probably a really boring column as I don’t really have much of anything to say because I didn’t do much of anything to note.  I was too sick to go see Karen from Transform4Life but she offered me support via the phone and assured me that she was only a call text or tweet away.   We decided I would weigh myself as I was too sick to come in and it nearly tipped me over the edge as I was two pounds up.  I was nearly brought to tears only I think I was so dehydrated there was no moisture in my system to muster up a tear.  My throat was so sore I let my intake of water slip.

I spent hours thinking about how this travesty happened.  I hadn’t eaten anything of note, let’s face it, when you can’t taste or smell what you are eating, what is the point.  I know my water intake was poor, this could have been some trigger, water weight? Who am I kidding.  The steroids the week before probably caught up with me.  But no matter how long I spent beating myself up about it I had to take solace in the fact that once I kick the infection I am just going to have to start back at square one.  I was broken hearted.  Truly. 

I remember when I was in my twenties, I could lose weight much easier.  I started cursing getting older, my metabolism and started reading about how illness and age affects weightloss.  I spent the time totally unproductively and miserable.  Dieting sucks.  Being sick also sucks, this week everything sucked, especially me. I’d say my partner wanted to beat me within an inch of her life but like normal she just nodded, smiled and was being really helpful, even this annoyed me. I could take being up if I had been really bad but I was just ill with a little nibble here or there. 

I then blamed God for a bit, then apologised and asked for forgiveness. As I write this I am still congested and spluttery but can see the light at the end of the sickness tunnel.  Sometimes feeling sorry for yourself feels more important than dieting.  This week I really wanted to give dieting the two fingers but I swear as soon as I kick this thing I am back on the scales.

Wine Tasting and Tid Bits

How did I start this week?  Not well, that’s for sure.  After The Big Bang sit in of Week 14 my body went into a state of shock when I tried to pry it away from the hole in couch I had made for myself and went into complete and utter shut down.  I have a weird skin condition called palmer planter that flares up every so often which leaves me full of steroids and smeared with what can only be described as a witch doctor cream which leaves me smelling of cat pee and cold tar.  Then to top it off I got a chest infection and a dose of the I feel sorry for myself blues’.  Luckily enough it didn’t last too long and I was back to myself in time for my partners birthday.

What do you get the woman who has everything?  While I am always one for pulling out all the stops, this year was a hard one.  She’s not one for tablets, or devices.  She’s no interest in jewellery.  She has the golf clubs, the bike, the gym gear.  Now there is always flowers (no chocolates this year) so what do I do…….I buy a wine tasting and supper experience.  Probably not the best idea for someone trying to lose weight but this wasn’t about me, this was about her.

We had never been on one together before.  I say together because I had been on one years back but I was young and it was more like a wine sculling course and I don’t remember learning much about anything.  Initially it was supposed to be in Ely Wine Bar in Dublin 2 but was changed to Ely in IFSC. I had never been before and when I approached it I was a little apprehensive when I saw all the young hipster type crowd out enjoying themselves but when we went downstairs to what looked like an underground vault I was impressed.

The room that the tasting was in was beautifully laid out and two tables set out for six were on either side of it.  There stood six wine glasses in front of each chair, three red and three white.  I started to get nervous because I started to feel out of my depth.  At the table to my right there was a young Asian lad who looked about 14.  I wondered if he was there as a way to consume alcohol while underage but realised when I saw him swirl the wine around the glass he was probably way more experienced than I was. 

Ian, the guy in charge introduced himself to us and we explained that we were new to this and he put us at ease explaining the process.  You pick up a glass, give it a swirl, stick your nose in and inhale, not too much or you will inhale the wine and choke causing one much embarrassment, trust me.  I wasn’t sure this whole experience was for me when the power couple at our table stated rather loudly “ohhh, the nose on that”.  I was actually looking for someone with a large nose but realised that they were just using a wine phrase.

There was a lovely PE teacher from a very affluent school in the City Centre sitting next to us and we got talking about dieting and being healthy, it seems that I always end up talking about dieting, I must be a pain in the butt.  While I know I am writing every week about dieting I realised that I still just have to be myself and live how I do.  I am going to have to do this long after I finish with Magazine+ and can’t beat myself up every time I want to do something that involves eating or drinking.  I’ll just have to enjoy the experience and be good every other day.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The Big Bang and the big sit in!

A couple of years ago I got conned into participating in an event called Hell and Back.  This was a 14k run up and down a mountain in the freezing cold, sometimes carrying a log, or tyres and involved a lot of climbing.  There was a section of the course where I had to climb up two burley men who then flung me over the top of a wall which I was supposed to grab and climb gracefully over.  Needless to say there was nothing graceful about me overshooting the top and falling the ten feet onto a pile of tyres.  Stay with me, this story is going somewhere.  When I hit that pile of tyres and ran to my partner I thought I had reached the end and was delirious with relief. I had not.  I was quickly informed I still had 5k to go.  That is how I feel at the moment about dieting.

Not trying to be melodramatic but I can see the finish line but I’m not even half way there.  I really am being good with regard to food.  I’ve had salads for dinner three times this week.  While I really like salads, I also really like a chipper.  The toughest part of being on a diet is not watching what you eat, its watching what other people eat.  With only a few weeks left I really want to make the two stone.  I know I have miles to go after I finish this challenge but I genuinely think I will continue to do this.  I might not be meeting Karen every week or writing for Magazine + but I have definitely changed how I feel about food.

I obviously have an addictive personality.  This is a problem when you love food so much.  This week I had the opportunity to have a wind down.  This is a rare and exhilarating experience for me.  I’m usually so busy that I don’t have time to scratch myself but this week I had four days to do whatever I felt like doing.  The first day I cleaned my house from top to bottom.  It is now an OCD haven.  My fitbit calculated way over my 10k steps after the scrubfest. 

The second day I did a very stupid thing.  I logged onto Netflix.  First error. There was a recommendation for me to watch a programme called The Big Bang Theory, I clicked in.  Second error.  Two days later, four seasons in I am admitting to myself I have a problem.  While I haven’t eaten anything bad or drank anything that will leave me in a state of inebriation, there is now a Joy shaped dent in the corner of my couch.  I’m also dreaming about being in this show, this is never a good sign.  My fitbit calculated under 10k steps both days.  Don’t worry, I am hanging my head in shame. 

The only solution to this is to place a large full length mirror under the TV and maybe eat dinner naked while looking into the mirror.  I believe this would be a great tool in the war against gaining weight.  I certainly know that if I was to watch myself eating naked in a mirror it would be enough to turn me off my food.  Anyway, when I spoke to Karen this week I explained how I was feeling.  There is no quick fix to losing weight.  She encouraged me and told me I was losing weight the right way, slow and steady and I am on the way to winning this race!

Shebeens, Rap-Offs and Debauchery

So I’m settling back into my routine and am out doing more than my 10,000 steps most days.  I was down the country again, this time it was the lovely Limerick.  Now, I’m not going to lie, I had a ball.  I ended up in a Shebeen called ‘The OutBack’ in the middle of nowhere dancing to the soundtrack of Dirty Dancing and ending up in a Rap off, Dubliner against –not sure what you call a person from Limerick but either way they annihilated me. 

Sometimes, when I am surrounded by people I feel comfortable around I have a tendency to let a little over excited, actually not sometimes, all the time.  I am a very happy lady who loves being around those who love life as much as I do.  That said I should be mature enough to have control over my willpower. I let myself down a bit this week.  I had bread.  I also drank.  Believe me I did hang my head in shame.  I also hung it into a toilet bowl for some time also.  I feel like I got too excited and let go a little too much.  I know we are all entitled to let ourselves go once in a while and in my opinion I had been doing really well, but this week I was bad.   I have a vague recollection of a box of pringles along the way somewhere.

Now I know in the aftermath of the fun and frolics I am probably over thinking all I ate and drink, realistically I probably only had two bad days and five really good days.  But the scales never lie.  While I didn’t gain weight after the debaucherously enjoyable carrying on over the week, I didn’t loose anything either.  That was a kick in the teeth.    I am so used to being down that I was furious that I hadn’t lost a pound.  Not one.  Who’s fault was this.  Mine.

I had been exercising and watching my food and drink for five of seven days and feel like I was entitled to enjoy myself for a little bit.  But when you have a fun filled couple of days your mind pulls you back and you realise the only person you are fooling is yourself.  I knew as I pranced around that little bar with a glass of Moet in my hand I was going to pay the price.  I could hear my inner voice going “Joy, calm down, there’s no need to be going crazy, put down the Pringle”.  My evil inner voice replied “Ah shut up you ye thick, what harm is a few Pringles going to do”….Well I can now tell you the harm.

When you wake up after drinking all night and eating crap you do not feel human.  You feel like a much less evolved version of the species.  I’ve been so good with regard to the drink lately that I had forgotten the effects of overindulgence.  I spent several hours between the bed, the couch, the sink (because I couldn’t make it to the toilet in time) and back to the couch.  I was so hungover I couldn’t even lift my hand to change the channel on the remote control.  Parents, if you ever want to turn your teens off the drink you should send them over to me after a night on the Raz.  Needless to say I have made the decision, again, to never drink again.  At least until after my final week with Karen.

Fitbits & Feasts

After a long and arduous flight in which a passenger vomited all over the food trollies and spent the entire flight hurling up in front of me I eventually made it home.  I didn’t realise how happy I was until I saw my partner at that arrivals gate with a fresh coffee in hand.  Not an hour had passed before she was talking about dinner and what I would like to eat.  After being extremely good in New York I decided first things first, a bottle of champers was going to be downed and we popped open the Moet.

After a magnificent feast of diet friendly food and overindulging with alcohol I knew that a little slip is allowed and I wasn’t going to beat myself up about it, after all, who goes abroad and loses two pounds.  I was going to start afresh on Tuesday and that is exactly what I did.  My sister had surprised my partner and I with a Fitbit Surge.  This is a little device which works as a watch, merges with your smartphone to collect messages and calls but most importantly is a super duper fitness calculator.  We got up on Tuesday morning and after tracking and comparing our sleep patterns on our new toys, we decided to put them to the test.  Gone was the crappy pedometer I had bought prior to my trip.

The Fitbit gives a person a target of 10,000 steps a day.  You would be surprised at how competitive you become trying to achieve this.  As the week progressed I found myself running around the house trying to get to the 10,000 done.  One of the days I only got to 8,000 and was in a state of frustration for the entire night which made my sleep all crappy (according to my Fitbit).  My diet was going well and I was staying on track all week.  Bringing food with me and making sure I had lots of fruit on hand.

While on my travels during the week I ran into two guys and we got talking about the General Election.  In about 3 minutes we were all talking about dieting.  One of the guys was on Weightwatchers and the other was part of a college medical clinical diet test.  We talked about struggling with weight and foods that we enjoy and what was working for each of us. Never did I think that I could be sitting with two men who were unknown to me and talking comfortably about my weight.  I think that no matter who you are, no matter what gender or size you are, everyone has an opinion on food and weight management.  I know I am losing my weight slowly. I always hope for a higher loss on the scales, I’d be lying if I said I was happy with the one pound downs, but it is down.   

I always assume that people expect me to be down four or five pounds a week but that is unrealistic for me.  My schedule is always so varied and while I have a routine, it’s a routine that wouldn’t suit others.  I’m not a nine to five girl so I can’t  have a nine to five lifestyle.   I have learned that just because two people are on a diet at the same time eating the same food, it doesn’t mean you lose the same weight.  

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Tipping My Hat To Full Time Moms

I have to start this week off by tipping my hat to full time mothers.  How you find the time to wash yourself, let alone eat is beyond me.  I can’t exactly write about food because I can’t actually remember eating. Last weeks column ended with my sister having a C-Section and me being delighted.  While my sister recuperated in hospital I took charge of her four year old daughter Ella, my niece.  Ella is the most well behaved little ‘gringo’ (as I called her) I have ever had the joy (pardon the pun) of being around.

That said, I am worn out.  An average day involved getting up, making sure she was fed. Playing and dancing for a while.  Off to the hospital to visit mom, dad and baby.  Then feeding her again. Some more dancing and singing. Then getting her home for dinner.  Some more playing.  Then came bath time.  Then book time. Then sleep.  By the time she drifted off I was falling around with tiredness.  Every night I was in bed by eight thirty.  I didn’t eat regularly, mostly just picking at what I made Ella.  I didn’t drink much water, just the odd sip from her little travel jug.

I shall never again take for granted the joy of being able to get up and prepare myself a breakfast.  Then saunter around preparing myself a chilled drink that I am able to carry around all day and drink at my leisure.  Not to mention the leisurely stroll around the supermarket being able to choose what I like and when I want it.  All you women who hold down jobs and raise children are my heros.  I honestly do not know how you do it.  I barely had time to use the lavatory.

When Kim and the baby got home after four days things got hilarious.  My sisters hormones were all over the place.  The house resembled that of the display window at Mothercare and no amount of cleaning made the place look tidy.  Then the baby refused to take the boob so I had to drive her to get a breast pump. This was hilarious.  The massive selection of pumps made my head spin.  The electric one she had was too hard on the nipples.  There was one I tried to convince her to buy that had too bottles which you strapped to your boobs, the photo had a topless woman working in the office.  Kim declined. 

We settled on a normal pump which when you pumped real hard made your nipples look like coctail sausages. This was enough to make me thank the lord for not blessing me with children.  My partner and I have been unfortunate in the past and experienced the loss that comes with miscarriage.  While we would have jumped at the chance of having children and I know we would have made great parents I have come to realise that there are pros and cons to having children. 

My sister is one of those women who was just made for mothering.  I am the fun Aunt that sings and dances and is always there to lend a hand but I would be lying if I said I’m not looking forward to getting back to my routine.  I’m writing this while waiting to board my plane to return to Ireland.  I left Kim, Ella and Charlotte all crying for different reasons and as I type this at the boarding gate at JFK with tears in my eyes I cannot wait to see my wife.

Flying, Fun and New Family

I few to New York early this week to be present for the birth of my newest Niece.  Flying for me , even when I’m with someone, is somewhere between gouging your own eyeball out with a pipe cleaner and having a catheter inserted.  Flying alone is more like throwing yourself into a lava pit knowing you’re never going to return.  My partner decided to let me spend some quality time with my family and abandoned me.  I bordered the plane and took position right at the front so I could eyeball the stewardess for signs of eminent death then downed a Xanax.  She obviously picked up on my nervous disposition and was super kind and came over to me after take off to check that i wasn’t going to go full on, bat shit crazy.

I wasn’t too worried about the food on the plane because lets face it, there’s not that much off it.  If I am honest, it wouldn’t fill a gap in your tooth.  So I had the weird potato and solitary lump of diced beef and didn’t think much off it.  For the majority of the flight I spent it huddled in my seat with the seat belt nearly cutting off my circulation with a blanket wrapped around my entire body following the air hostesses with my eyes.  We flew into a 200km head wind making the flight super long and overly bumpy.  Eventually we landed and the greeting i received from my four year old niece Ella was enough to bring my bat shit craziness back to normal and near to tears.

My sister, aware of my desire to lose the weight had prepared a slimming world turkey chili. This was delicious.  Normally when I arrive we either head straight out for some holiday grub and overload on the booze and don’t think of the consequences.  This trip is totally different.  We sat and chatted and the first couple of days were catching up and bonding with Ella.  We went out for lunch to the local diner and I ordered a salad with dressing on the side.  The night before my sister was due to go into hospital we ordered take out.  I ordered sushi and sashimi was was able to enjoy my food without feeling guilty.

The following day we all went off to the hospital to be there for the birth of the newest edition to the family.  Maternity hospitals in the USA are totally different to ours.  When we arrived we all were walked to a private room beside the delivery suite and had access to couches and a TV.  There was no limit to the number of guests that were allowed in with us.  We were a loud and happy bunch.  My brother in laws family were lovely.  The girls were eager to find out all about my diet and what was involved and then ran off and brought some fruit back for me ‘cause they were all nibbling on muffins and candy.

Then it came, the nursery rhyme that played out over the hospital sound system every time a baby is born and we knew it was ours.  We all went running like lunatics through to where the baby is brought for washing and weighing and saw her, for the first time.  We all eyeballed the Nurse with venom as she scrubbed little Charlotte from head to toe then jabbed her with a big needle.  Ella nearly lost her reason but then she was swaddled and brought to the window  where we all bawled and hugged and went off to celebrate.  I lost a pound this week.  In my opinion an excellent achievement considering the excitement.

Week 10 - Down The Country and Water in Your Ear

This was one busy week.  I spent the majority of it down the country.  For those of you that don’t know where down the country is, for a Dubliner it is anywhere that is outside of Dublin.  North, South, East or West, it doesn’t matter, if you leave via any of the motorways, it is down the country.  For anyone who’s not a Dub I was both down south and then west.

When you spend a few days living out of a bag it is very hard to consistently eat out and avoid consuming foods that contain bad fats and carbs.  Even ordering a salad can be dangerous, if you’re careless you can end up with a delicious salad that probably contains the same amount of calories as a fresh cod and chips. A chicken Caesar, if the chicken is fried and is dripping with bacon and dressing is carnage for a calorie counter.  If I’m at home I always boil the chicken, grill the rindless bacon, loose the croutons and have a light dressing on the side.. there is no parmesan and I can eat guilt free.  You don’t have that luxury if you’re eating out.   

By day two on the road I was getting a little ‘pissed offed’ to say the least.  Not wanting to offend someone I won’t go into too much detail but when you’re confused over whether you have been served chicken or pork you know things have hit a bit of a low.  So it was off to the local shop to purchase a bag of lettuce, some cherry tomatoes and a cold packet of chicken.  As I sat in my room eating off a paper plate I started to dream about the simple joys that a pizza might bring but fought the urge and headed to the pool instead.

As I swam length after length, surrounded by nothing but the sound of the water I started to forget about food and knew that I had made the right decision.  That was until I realised that my left ear was full of water that no amount of leaning to the side or ear buds was going to remove it.  Now some might think that the sound of the ocean in your ear might be soothing and that I drifted off into a peaceful slumber, but you would be wrong.  At five in the morning I was sitting googling about how to remove trapped water from your ear.

I came across a post about pouring more water into your ear, leaving it for about ten seconds, give your head a shake and hay presto, out it should flow.  I had my doubts but at about five forty five I decided I would try this witchcraft and grabbed a bottle of water and poured it into my waterlogged ear.  For approximately two seconds I was terrified, at second three I poured.  At second four I heard a pop and fear set in.  As I lay with my head tilted over the edge of the sink terrified that when I stood up I was facing a burst ear drum I contemplated just staying there until someone found me but I mustered the courage to stand up and low and behold the water flowed out of my ear and down my neck bringing with it the trapped water.

As I climbed back into bed I said a quiet thank you to the Brazilian guy that recommended it on the google machine.

Week 9 - What a Kaki Fruit

It turns out that staying off the drink agrees with me.  I was down two pounds this week.  This could be down to the amount of running around I am doing too.  I’ve been so busy with jobs that haven’t had time to scratch myself.  I spent most of my time trying to wedge food into me whenever and where ever I could.  Life is tough when you are trying to get into the printers before closing, flying to get your favourite shoes heeled as you lost one heal to a cobble in Dublin Castle.

I didn’t do anything of note this week only work and eat and work and eat.  I did find time to buy a pedometer.  A pedometer to those of you that don’t know is a little device you wear that counts your steps and your calorie burn over the course of the day.  It’s mad, there was me thinking I am walking miles every day when in fact I am jumping out of the car, walking ten yards, then jumping in again.  This made me realise how little moving I do during the day if I am not consciously exercising.

The setting up of the pedometer was a little difficult to say the least.  After you input all your personal data you have to walk a hundred steps so the little device can calculate the length of your stride and pace your walking.  I apparently must walk like some sort of one legged hobbit as the device couldn’t determine how long my stride was. So after 4 X 100 steps it managed to read my steps and it was all systems go.

If I get up in the morning and spend the day drawing I literally don’t move.  Sometimes five or six hours will pass before I realise that I need to pee, or more importantly, eat.   I think this is where I use to fall down.  It was so easy to just pick up a jambon or packet of crisps.  Now, I will pick up fruit if I get peckish.  I have started to get real adventurous; I find that a walk through the Lidl or Aldi fruit section is becoming the highlight of my day.  I found a little piece of fruit called a Kaki. 

Now I know what you are thinking “I bet it tastes quite Kaki too”.  But you would be wrong.  Kaki is a yellow fruit that looks like a squashed yellow pepper.  It has no core and tastes sweet like a pear but not as sweet as an apple.  The texture is nice and you can eat it exactly like an apple.  You should definitely try these.  Not being a fan of apples I now live on them. 

There is also a Papaya, a larger fruit, yellow/orange in colour and goes a little green when ripe.  This ,when you open it is full of seeds.  Do not taste these, they are “Kaki”.  You scoop out the seeds and then eat the ‘meat’ as it’s called.  These are not as delicious as the Kaki but are tasty enough.  Now to passion fruit.  These are delicious, but don’t eat these if you are looking for sustenance, these wouldn’t fill a gap in your tooth let alone your tummy, but they are real tasty.

I’ll tell you something that happened that definitely wasn’t Kaki.  My niece Lucy had to do a writing assignment.    She modelled her essay on one of my little Magazine + pieces and low and behold got great praise from her teacher on her honest essay.  This made me feel delighted and proud that I am influencing a young mind. Now I’m off to Lidl to buy some more Kaki.

Week 8 - What am I doing!

Well guys, a lot of you are asking “what is it you are doing exactly?”, “How does it work?” and “what are you aloud to eat?” The answer to the latter is simple, I can eat whatever I choose to eat.  The choices I make are my own and I am responsible for the good and the bad that enters my body.  In relation to what it is I am doing, this is it in a nutshell.  Once a week I attend at Karen Prendergast’s Transform4Life Clinic in Harolds Cross, Dublin.  There is also a clinic in Cahir, Tipperary.  The time I choose to come is up to me.  It’s a very private place and I can honestly say I have never ran into anyone on my way in or out, so for those of you who are a bit shy, this is totally for you.

When I first started, I sat with Karen for nearly two hours.  She took a detailed record of everything I had eaten and drank that week.  Karen is all about swapping good habits for bad.  She tailors a food plan to every individual taking into account the foods you enjoy eating.  There are no shakes, pills or food substitutes.  It’s basically a one on one meeting which after a while feels like a natter with a friend.  Karen states that It’s not realistic to expect anyone to stop enjoying their life, so a night out or a takeaway has to be part of the plan.  I just haven’t had a take away since I have started, but as you all know I have had plenty of nights out to make up for it.

Now for the question I am asked a lot “how much does it cost?”  A six week in depth personalised weight loss programme is €250.  A twelve week programme is €450.  I personally think it’s a small price to lose weight.  I don’t really enjoy the whole group experience.  I get put off by the fear of being up a couple of pounds.  I can honestly say that I now have a different relationship with food.  I was at my sister in laws 40th on Saturday, there were platters of sausages, wings (which are my favourite), chips and dippers going around and I didn’t have one.  It wasn’t even all that hard.  I just decided in my head that it wasn’t worth all the hard work I have been putting in. 

Now there was a speed wobble when the big giant vodka bottle shaped chocolate biscuit cake came out but I gathered myself together, took a deep intake of breath and realised that smell is half the taste and politely said no thanks.  Ah who am I kidding, I stood drooling over it for about five minutes debating with my own conscience whether or not I should have a secret affair with a slice of the sweetly scented goddess but in the end my conscience won and I turned my back on it.  

Thank god I did because when I hit the scales on Monday I wasn’t down a pound.  Initially I was devastated and wanted to run out to the nearest deli and grab a jambon and a sausage roll but after some motivational words from Karen I walked out, unpeeled a mandarin and realised if this had happened at one of the many group meetings I used to go to I probably would have fallen off the wagon, but thanks to Karen I was just going to get back in the saddle and start all over again.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Week 7 - Cycling on the Dry

Karen was only delighted with me this week. It turns out that staying off the drink proved very beneficial indeed.  Not only was I going to bed earlier it allowed me enough good quality sleep to be able to get up at 5am and go for a cycle.  I was going to take this cycling malarkey very seriously.

Now I can imagine what you are thinking ‘a five am cycle, is she off her bin’ well the answer is no.  I haven’t been on a bike in a while and I thought what better time to chance the roads than when nobody is on them.  This proved to be quite exhilarating.  The freezing cold temperatures were enough to keep me awake and alert and the fact that it was pitch dark made my journey longer because I wouldn’t go through the Phoenix Park at that hour which made me avoid a possible assault and an encounter with a weirdo, because let’s face it, only weirdo’s are out at that hour of the morning.

I was dressed like a glow worm, hi viz everywhere, even my leggings had hi viz stripes and the little overshoe thingys I had purchased the week before had reflective strips on them.  There was no way that the one or two drivers out there wouldn’t see me.  I flew down towards the park and contemplated (for about 5 seconds) going through it, but decided against it and veered around and followed the wall around by the ‘Hole In The Wall’ and then boom, the road turned to crap and there was pot holes everywhere.  It was like Dublin Corporation decided to say “that’s grand there lads, no need for proper roads from here on in” they were appalling. 

When I managed to finish the cycle I was delighted with myself.  Now I’m not going to lie to you, there was a situation with my arse that went on for a day or two more than I was prepared for, but I half expected that.  What I didn’t expect was that when I got on the bike again, it felt like someone had stapled two razor blades to inside the cheeks of my arse which didn’t go anywhere until I was about a half hour into my second cycle.  This time I decided to go through the park.  Bad idea.  It was a Sunday.  It seemed like every single person living in Dublin was in the Park and what’s more wanted to take their Sunday saunter on the cycle lane.

It was possibly one of the most unenjoyable experiences I have ever had on a bike.  I tried to be polite, but when you are wearing cleats, those little clip things that sit into the pedals, its very hard to be avoiding small children and young lovers walking two abreast the entire cycle path.  And what’s more is, when I asked people to stay left as I approached from behind I got, tuts and obscenities.  People, there is a walking path 20 yards to your left, why do you insist on endangering you and I.  After I got out of the park I had to endure the drivers that have no consideration for cyclists.  One guy in a jeep decided to mount a curb at Housten Station in order to try cut me off.  I’m sure he was delighted when I sailed by him 200 yards up the road as he sat in traffic.  For the next while I think I’m going to cycle early in the morning, I’m not ready for extreme sports, ‘cause lets face it, that’s what cycling in Dublin is.

Week Six, Getting Older and No Wiser

This week I lost the run of myself.  I had a birthday to celebrate and a session with friends from abroad (whom I blame for all the carrying on’s this week) and some other event that I can’t even remember attending.  I would like to take this opportunity to re-iterate what the good people at the Road Safety Authority say on a regular basis and urge you all to drink responsibly. 

This week I signed up for a Triathlon, also a cycle to Galway and I did hear mention of a pub quiz somewhere but I don’t remember the details.  Seriously though, I have been back in the gym five minutes and signed up for an event that entails me swimming a kilometer, then cycling 20 kilometers and topping it off with a 5 kilometer run.    If that’s not bad enough, a week later I’ve to cycle from Dublin to Galway in one day.  Now I know that drink can’t be blamed for all of this, my stupidity has to have been taken into consideration but alcohol and I have had a serious falling out.  From here on in I am on the dry.

Diet wise, I’ve been doing pretty well.  I haven’t done the total dog on it.   I’ve been watching what I eat, when I am sober.  But it’s so had to have total willpower when you’re in an intoxicated state. I vaguely remember a packet of crisps somewhere and I remember some sort of chocolate but wasn’t even sober enough to enjoy it.   I’m too old to be carrying on like this.  I’m 39 years old.  I’m supposed to be all mature and sophisticated and stuff.  But then there I am with a make believe microphone singing “Let It Go” in front of a room full of people thinking I am God’s gift to music and realise that I’m the total opposite of what I’m supposed to be.  I am an idiot!

So the following morning when I am watching a video of me, not so much signing like I thought, more screaming, like Drew Barrymore in the opening scene of Scream I make a pact with myself that not one drink is going to pass my lips while I am still on this diet.  Now I know that this is a pact that I will probably break, but for the best part I am truly on board.  I have a Triathlon to prepare for and a cycle to get my legs ready for.  There is no time for drink now, it’s all about exercise and diet. 

Towards the end of the week a wonderful thing happened.  I went browsing what’s left of the sales.  I picked up clothes and went to try them on, only to find that they were…. too big. I’m a size down.  I was only delighted.  I have tried lots of diets over the years.  I do really well for about a month and then fall off the wagon.  I am now on week six, I may lose one pound this week and two pounds the next but it is coming off.  Every year I make a New Years resolution to lose weight, this could be the year I finally achieve my goal.

Week 5, Christmas, Birthdays and Gym Absences

What in the name of all that is holy was I thinking when I thought to do a transformation challenge over Christmas.  This was torture and it just never ends. It was my birthday early in the week. Whoever thought a January party would be a good idea. You were born in January, you don’t get to have parties.  Food, drink, tartlets galore, everywhere.  Beer, wine, everywhere.  What was I drinking? Gin.  What was I eating?  Anything I could find that had low, sugar, carbs, fats.  No  Greasy 4am chipper for me.  It was probably the most civilized I have ever been on a night out. 

Then came another party. Christmas is over. January is meant to quiet.  Now it wasn’t the wild kind of party, it was a sweet sixteen.  When did sixteen become a landmark birthday.  I was lucky my parents remembered mine.  I thought that this new years resolution thing was going to be easy considering I had practically started mine in December, there were so many challenges.  

The first being the realisation that I had a 16 year old nephew.  This hit me like a smack in the face with an umbrella during storm Desmond. How old am I?  Another challenge was all the lovely food that was presented.  I mean lovely because the potatoes were cooked in goose fat.  There was a huge bowl of Yorkshire puds plonked on the table in front of me and it was clear from the shiny roast vegetables that they were cooked in honey and lashings of olive oil.  I couldn’t believe how well I was doing.  I said no to the beer, no to the wine.  I did sneak a tiny roast potato but that was because I didn’t want to appear rude.

I’m not going to lie to you, I have been slacking off at the gym the last week.  This is because of many reasons.  The first being that I didn’t want to go.  The second being also that I didn’t want to go and the third being I couldn’t be arsed going.  Now I promise that I will return to the gym when I can muster up the time and motivation.  I blame Karen, ever since she told me that I didn’t have to go, I have been finding it so easy not to!  It actually turns out that the gym did in fact have no bearing on my weightloss as I was down 3.5 pounds. Point proven. No more gym for me, just kidding.

The following morning I was out doing a couple of last minute deliveries and when I entered the client’s buildings I might as well have been taking part in the Crystal Maze for all the dodging of chocolates and cakes and Christmas leftovers.  It was like I had 50 Mrs Doyles saying “Go Wan, Go Wan, Go Wan, Go Wan, Go Wan”  Every place was the same “Howaya Joy, would you like a sweet, cake, hot whiskey”?  To which I responded the same each time.  “Ah no you’re grand, I’m on a mad diet challenge thing”.  The response to which was “Ah, Jesus, sure aren’t we all, would ya go on”.  It was dreadful.  I thought January would be easy.  What is it with people trying to force feed a dieter.  People, if someone politely tells you that they are on a diet, please do not try and force feed them, I beg of you.

My Flow, The Worst Week Ever!

This week was possibly the worst I’ve had in years.  As my partner and I walked our ‘Flow’ to the rainbow bridge to say our last goodbyes I knew the last thing on my mind was eating healthy.  Normally when something bad happens, I will just order in and hibernate.  I realised as I walked around the supermarket with tears streaming down my cheeks I was taking this Transformation4Life challenge really seriously.  

I avoided the eyes of people who glanced awkwardly at the crying lady walking in circles cradling a dog collar. I’m sure they’re now viewing CCTV preparing it for YouTube calling me Crazy Dog Lady.  I wasn’t really even in the mood for food.  For two days I sat in my bed crying and imagining I could hear her clicky little paws walking across the floor.  A couple of I times I actually got up off the couch to let her in from outside.  

I had serious concerns for my mental health.  I was a train wreck.  I didn’t go to the gym once and I didn’t care.  Thankfully when I went and told Karen she explained that I don’t have to go to the gym.  She was actually pleased.  She explained that weight loss is only partly about exercise and mostly about diet.  She stated that if I was to drink one glass of wine  and that if I was to go to the gym and burn it off, it would take about an hour on the cross trainer to burn that glass of wine.  Then she told me to imagine how long it would take to burn a whole bottle of wine.  I imagined drinking the whole bottle of wine, but it did make me think.  

Being in mourning gave me a great excuse to sit around doing nothing but feel sorry for myself.  I couldn’t take a call and I received lots of facebook messages from friends who all had fond memories of Flow.  Now, when you’re in that bad a state Gin is not the best thing to turn to.  As I have just about recovered now I can safely say that it’s probably the worst thing to turn to.  Once I had a drink I was crying again.  I was like Mary Magdalene at the Wailing Wall.  

I was a disgrace to strong women everywhere and I knew it.  Towards the end of the week I started to feel a little more human and even ventured to the shop.  I contemplated putting on makeup but thought better of that, I didn’t need people thinking I was out of mourning too quickly.  I contemplated going to the gym but then remembered that Karen had been happy that I didn’t go earlier in the week so I decided it was best to keep her happy. 

Then things seemed to get better.  I had friends call to tell me they made me a dairy, wheat, gluten, pastry free quiche.  It was so nice to have people support you.  Then my brother rang and wanted to bring me for coffee.  Out came the makeup.  Then another pal invited me for dinner, promising that she will make it diet friendly and I realised that while I was away feeling sorry for myself, I was ignoring all these wonderful people were supporting me. Clearly I am not the better of losing Flow and I will always think of her but I have a great support network and that’s a lot to be thankful for.

Week 4, Dogs Gin and Delectable Treats

This was a bad week.  I have wanted to eat a Pizza, Chipper and Chinese all in one night.  Fighting the urge to eat really bold food, while you have on your fork, a steamed piece of broccoli is nothing short of a miracle. Eating with boys is bad.  There was laden in front of me a Hogwarts style take away banquet and I managed to say no.  Don’t ask me how I did it. 
Have you ever gone to the cinema and had nothing? I did.  I spent more attention on the noisy guy in front of me with the buttery popcorn than the film.  I never realised how good butter popcorn smells and have you ever noticed how the butter glistens against the light of the screen? No, well I did.  After the cinema I went to my niece’s engagement party and drank slimline tonic water with NO gin.  This was torture.  I really wanted a drink.  Everyone was in great spirits and everyone was full of great spirits (being Vodka, Rum and Gin).

Later on that week I went for a walk in St Catherine’s Park.  A lovely spot to walk in the pissing rain.  As my pal thundered through the woodland setting without skipping a beat I stumbled along behind her sweating like a small hospital and willing myself to fall down the steep hill into a tree just so I could abandon the walk and catch my breath that I was pretending was normal.  Once it was over I was delighted I did it, after all, it got me off the couch.

Things went from bad to worse when I returned to the house and my seventeen year old dog (Flow) had a seizure.  I had to call my partner at work, how she deciphered what I was saying between the crying and the snotting I don’t know but she came home from work to bring me to the twenty four hour vet.  At the vets I continued to wail and cry while, poor Flow ended up mad out of it on Benzos and Valium.  When we got home that night I poured myself several G&T’s while lying on Flow’s bed telling her how much I loved her like a crazy person.

From worse it got dreadful.  I met the editor of the Magazine I am writing with to have a look at the proof that went for print of the first column of my challenge.  As I opened the article in the coffee shop in Talbot Street I could feel tears streaming down my face.  The article stood there, a full page, I knew at the time that Evan had to be a wolf in sheeps clothing.  I had visions of me storming into his studio and drop kicking him ninja style in his (there is no polite way of saying it) man tackle.  It was definitely worse than I look.  Anyone who knows me knows I would never step out of the house looking like that. The image that accompanied the article was horrendous.  I didn’t recognise that whale of a woman in it.  I can only say that the image that was printed alongside my first article will be forever ingrained on my mind and if nothing else will be a constant reminder of why I am trying to loose weight.

The rest of the week I spent on edge.  Flow seemed OK but not herself so I got back into a routine and continued on with plan.  I managed to stay away from all the fatty, delicious sugary sweets that come with the run up to Christmas.  This is torture.  It seems that everywhere I go I run into food.  I had to drop some work over to UCD and as there was a graduation in progress I had several servers come up to me offering all kinds of delicious treats from puff pastry tarts to little tiny cheese cakes.  As I practically drooled into the oncoming tray I accepted an Americano while all these happy graduates and their families shovelled these delectable little parcels into their mouths.  My eyes tracing the journey from tray to mouth must have had me looking like a lunatic but just like a reformed smoker who enjoys the smell of smoke tobacco, I enjoy looking at what I can’t touch.  All in all, another successful week.

Week three, 8 pounds down, I blame the one pound loss on stress and gin.