Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Week Six: Bank Holiday Temptations

This week started off well but certainly didn't end well.  The Easter weekend was always going to be difficult on the chocolate front for me but I thought I'd made a plan to combat this.  I'd been on a night out on Good Friday with a big group of friends to a comedy club and not felt the lack of alcohol. I was working early the next day as well so was glad there was no possibility of a hangover. I had planned to have a slice of Mum's Easter cake when I got home on Easter Saturday and I did after tea.  I was then designated driver to the pubs of Sheffield which was also absolutely fine and I didn't miss drinking.

Easter Sunday involved lots of activities including playing with my little cousins so that wasn't too much of an issue either but I did fold at teatime and have a glass of prosecco with everyone else at Sunday dinner.  I did have to sit and watch everyone else eat dessert.

Easter Monday we went out for lunch and I had an amazing pie and mushy peas which left me groaning for most of the rest of the day and therefore feeling grumpy.  It didn't help that in the evening I went to a pub quiz and ate some snacks and had a glass of red wine.  I was in a thoroughly bad mood, probably due to the lack of exercise as well.

Good Points

  • I had a great week for exercise this week, 3 crossfit sessions, 1 pilates class and I did a WOD in the park in the sunshine on Easter Sunday morning with my boyfriend.
  • I was feeling the difference in definition in my body on Saturday/Sunday - however that feeling has now worn off!  On the upside I had managed to comfortably wear some XS Levi shorts that had been at the back of my drawer for the last year or so.
  • I have a pretty impressive stock of chocolate at the back of my cupboard that I've managed not to touch for a few weeks now.
Bad Points
  • Far too dehydrated/tea consumption off the chart this weekend.  Need to really get back into a routine this week.
  • Rein in the overeating this week ready for BF % measurements - I almost wish I'd had mine done Friday/Saturday as that was the best my body had looked and felt to me!
  • Make sure to get some exercise in around work.
  • Work hard on physio.
It's the final push and I'm trying not to give up too much mentally - to the point where I'm thinking of doing an 8th week after this.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Nutrition Challenge Week Five: Black Mark Bonanza

So I had my first drink and dessert in five weeks on Saturday.  Do I feel guilty? Not one little bit.

I had planned on some damage control around this weekend for a while as we were spending three days in London, going to a show, a fancy dinner and seeing lots of friends.  On the Friday we went to some great exhibitions including the British Library and the Wellcome Collection.  I had a beautiful salad for lunch and an amazing Goats Cheese tart for tea before we went to the theatre (War of the World's - amazing - you should go). I resisted wine and stuck to sparkling water.   I think I would actually have been less alert for the show if I'd had a drink.

It was Saturday that I knew would be the challenge. We went to watch Aled's old uni boat club take part in the Head of the River Race - 400 teams racing the same Oxbridge boat race route down the Thames.  It was a pretty impressive sight and this was to be followed in the evening by the club alumni dinner at a fancy tennis club in Richmond.  In between we headed back to Hyde Park, where we were staying, to meet a good friend of mine for a drink at the top of the Park Lane Hilton.  Now I knew I was going to have a drink later that evening and I decided I'd love to enjoy my first drink in that pretty special setting so I ordered a glass of wine and made it last.  It was delicious.

Dinner was a three course meal with wine on the table...and rowing clubs know how to drink.  I started with sparkling water but then drank wine with my food - about three small glasses over the course of three hours.  I had a lot of water in between which I assume explains my lack of drunkeness and lack of hangover next morning.  In fact I woke up feeling pretty good.  I also had 1.5 slices of lemon tart and enjoyed it!  It was a really nice evening and fun to meet Aled's old uni friends.

Sunday I was back to being good, meeting friend's for a yummy Soho brunch of smashed avo and eggs. Lots of walking, window shopping and a visit to the swankiest address in London (1, London otherwise known as Apsley House, the Duke of Wellington's pad) brought an end to an awesome weekend.  We got a healthy takeaway from the new Mildred's (veggie/vegan restaurant) at King's Cross for the train ride home.

Good Points

  • I had a great weekend away, and though I had some indulgences I didn't drink or eat to excess but savoured some good food and drink.  Plus no hangover!  Could I be learning some self control?
  • Despite less exercise and the indulgences this weekend my weight is now 8st 8lbs compared to 9st 0lbs 5 weeks ago.  My waist is now 26 inches - 1.7inches less than 5 weeks ago!
  • I tried out swimming and climbing with friends this week and really really enjoyed both.

Bad Points

  • Becoming quite reliant on caffeine, especially coffee which I barely drank before so will make more of an effort to drink herbal teas and water.
  • 6 black marks for four glasses of wine spread over Saturday afternoon/evening and two marks for 1 and a half slices of lemon tart.  
  • No Crossfit this week and less exercise overall.   Muscle tone low but this is something I can hopefully improve.


  • More water, herbal tea and less caffeine.
  • More exercise - planned sessions in.
  • Have in mind that it is Easter weekend coming up and I'm going to my Mum's.  I've already said to myself that I may have one homebaked treat - knowing that my Mum will be baking her chocolate Easter cake!  I'm looking forwards knowing I need to think about maintaining control once the Challenge has finished.  This might be by having planned treats once a week to stop blowouts.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Week Four: past halfway!

To summarise - pretty uneventful!

I'm still struggling with cravings but at least I have established clear emotional connections to sugar and alcohol.  Boredom has some relation but on the whole I've learnt I'm a stress eater.  Chocolate seems the solution when my cortisol levels skyrocket.  I've learnt to ride them out with will power and bargaining with myself - usually the promise of good homecooked food later.  If I get desperate I usually have to eat something - this afternoon it was a handful of pecans and almonds with a cup of Yorkshire tea.

Exercise was at an all time low this week due to finishing work late and other events.  However I went to my first grown up ballet, Swan Lake at Leeds Grand Theatre, which was beautiful.   I also had acupuncture for my IBS for the first time.  So I feel like I'm still trying new things.  All good for the soul right? Also discovered the oldest free standing house in York, which considering I lived and studied archaeology there for three years bowled me over!  Norman, c.1180, just off Stonegate, if you're interested (see I said I'd relate it back to archaeology at some point).

Good Points

  • I still haven't had any alcohol or sugar treats after four weeks which I'm frankly amazed by.  In fact I keep telling people because I can't quite believe it, which I'm sure is just really annoying.
  • I made a proper vegetarian roast dinner minus the Yorkshire puds and it was pretty good. The nut roast was this Hairy Bikers recipe, even meat eaters enjoy it: https://www.hairybikersdietclub.com/media/304151/Nut-roast-PDF.pdf.  Replace the gruyere with feta and it is beaut.  Had some roasties, parsnips, pepper and kale with lemon juice as well.
  • I can go swimming this week and am off to the pool with friends tomorrow.  I'm also going to a climbing lesson with my running friends.
  • Work has been busy but I've got an interesting project running.
  • I've had less fruit and more savoury snacks.
  • I'm off to London at the weekend to go to a fancy dinner, see the War of the Worlds on stage, and see some friends with my boyfriend.  I can't wait.
Bad Points
  • I've lost too much weight.  I weigh 8st 7lbs and it isn't pretty.   Lack of exercise has led to loss of muscle tone.  I've still got the mini tyre around my waist though I think it has shrunk a little bit.
  • I earnt two black marks - one for processed food (filled pasta) and one for mayo with homemade potato wedges.  I don't feel too bad about these!
  • I missed two sessions so only done 50% of the exercise I planned to do.  
  • I still can't run and have to wait for another physio appointment.   It's getting me quite down - I'm trying not to dwell on it.
  • Still have a tendancy to overeat at the weekends.
  • Planned three exercise sessions this week: swimming, climbing, crossfit.  I'm then away in London for three days so this is the best I can do this week.
  • Try and plan for London - accept I may end up having a drink or two but try to avoid if possible.  
  • Accept I have to wait for my running appointment and get on with enjoying other things in my life.  Think about buying a bike.
  • Arranging a nutrition appointment to sort out possible food intolerances and probiotics for IBS.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Week of Torture: Review of Week Three

Okay that's melodramatic.

I've been struggling quite a lot this week with cravings.  I didn't give in to them (which was a massive plus) but being busy at work combined with some stressful episodes at home hasn't helped.  I have given myself one black mark for overeating on Saturday night when we made some sushi and dumplings.  I ate too fast and insisted on clearing my plate which I really didn't need to. I also have a bad habit of picking at things whilst I'm cooking.

So on to the...

Good Points
  • I didn't cave and raid the chocolate cupboard at work, nor did I give in to the prosecco and homemade chocolate cake that my friends were all having on Friday night - it was hard and I came very close to having a little slice of cake.   However my friends were great and offered me nuts, apples and cheese as dessert alternatives and coconut water instead of wine. We had  a lovely evening.
  • Tried some new recipes including yummy Vegan sushi that me and my boyfriend made on Saturday evening (see below).
  • We planned a trip to London in a couple of weeks time that is giving me something to look forward to (hopefully I can resist any temptations there!).
  • I got to see my Mum.
  • I started a new Pilates class this week, did 2 crossfit sessions and 1 spinning session.

Bad Points
  • Don't feel like I'm making much progress.  I am eating really well and its such a long time for me to go without alcohol, but I thought I would be seeing some better results.  I feel like my BF % is exactly the same (hopefully not higher!) and the inch that I lost last week has returned, though my IBS has been making me very bloated.
  • I'm feeling down about not being able to run. I took my physio's request for me to be referred to a Sports Medicine specialist to my GP but she said the referral was impossible.  It seems like I've reached a dead end and there is a worry starting to form at the back of my mind that I'm never going to run again.  
  • I've been really bad at drinking water and been too dehydrated.
  • Work has been busy and looking ahead this week at the rota I'm going to struggle to make the gym as the one near me is still closed. 
  • I've got some financial worries that need sorting out that I think are affecting my sleep.
  • Look at the positives and be glad that I have avoided sugar and alcohol so far which is a big achievement for me.  I shall try and portion control a little more to ensure I don't overeat and swap the fruit snacks for more vegetables.
  • I will make sure I contact my physio later this week to form a plan of action - private referral may be needed.
  • Be stricter with my water intake - if really busy at work ask someone to fill my bottle for me.
  • Accept that I may not be able to train as much this week but do what I can even if it just using the pull up bar at home.
  • Hopefully I will given the OK to swim by my eye doctor this week - can start to program in some sessions.
  • Don't stick my head in the sand but try and sort things out that are troubling me.

Overall I have a great life and I need to stop whinging!