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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.