Push it, push it real good

In the past I’ve said that I’ve been disappointed with my performance at races, felt that I had more in me and didn’t push myself hard enough, and I’ve always wondered what was stopping me.

I guess pacing myself is an issue, possibly some faith here too, but I over pace myself, always trying to keep something in the bag for later, but then I never really usually end up using those reserves. During my training runs last week I really feel like I did push myself. Moving over 200  lbs at any speed is a big job (no pun intended) so when I mean I put everything in to it, I really mean it and I think thats why I’ve always been disappointed before, I’ve always felt like I didn’t. It wasn’t about the time it was about the effort. If I’d reached those times and put my all in to it I’d have been fine.

I think the reason I was so happy with my 46 minute 5k, was that I knew by the end I had put it all in to it. I really had, I felt completely done when I was finished, I was tired, elated and on a high which for me is a key sign that I did my best. When I completed my 6.4km I was elated but the fact that I finished it in under an hour made me proud of myself. I did better than I ever expected to do. As you see sweat was pouring off me, I was nearly dead but I was smiling hard! Oh and you can see awesome pictures like this first, as they happen, on instagram.

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I’ve come to realise during this training that I have to accept that right now I’m not running for speed, I’m running to build stamina, I’m running to help my weight loss efforts, I’m running to be better at the process of it and I really really enjoy it. I didn’t run Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, for a number of reasons I’m just not happy running outside in a town I don’t know, I walked miles though but counteracted that by too many stops in coffee shops for calorific comfort. That holiday feeling took over I think.

I decided enough was enough when we headed off for a couple of days at Alton Towers (a theme park) where we had a hotel gym that I made the most of. I did what I could to keep my diet on track and started to relax a little bit too. Because when I’m not healthy and when I’m not moving I’m invariably tense. I’ll update on our holiday antics next week when I’ve come back down to earth but heres a sneak peak of what we’ve been up to.

Slow Cooked Overnight Oats

So I’ve been reading about overnight oats as a breakfast for ever on pinterest and various blogs, and then I realised that I could easily pop something in the slow cooker and it would be not only delicious but warm the next day. I talked about wanting to start branch out in my diet department the other day and so I decided I would give it a try.

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My crock pot overnight oats were made up of: (and made two portions)

1 cup of oats
1 cup of almond milk
a handful of walnuts
a handful of almonds
a handful of sultanas
2 apples diced
Cinnamon – apply liberally
1/2 cup water

Basically chuck everything in the crock pot and leave for about 8 hours overnight. In the morning give it a good stir and serve. I warn you it might not look pretty before you stir it (or even afterwards) but my god it tastes awesome. Great for those early starts and busy breakfasts and fantastic for kids too. Can’t wait to try different combos!

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10 k Training Tuesday

I’m so excited to be writing this this week, for the first time this year I think! I am really feeling the pressure of the Bupa 10,000 date approaching and wanting to do myself proud. I think I should have given a lot more time to this than I have left and I haven’t so it’s make the most of time that I have now.

As I talked about last week I’ve been using the March Miles challenge from Fitfluential to get my butt moving again and I’ve been enjoying the process although I’ve found it difficult. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll have seen me tweet that the first 2 mile run of the plan really rocked my confidence. Monday = two miles. I felt right back where I was when I started this process. It was hard, tiring and I struggled my way through it. I was given a good talking too and realised that I knew I had to start somewhere with running again. I’ve not run in many many many months and so I took that 2 mile run as a starting point.

Tuesday: the second run was 3 miles, or 4.8km but I decided to round it up to a full 5k. I wanted to see what sort of time I was going to pull and use it as a baseline. I finished in 48 minutes and although thats no where near acceptable for me it is a starting point. I worked hard enough during that run and finished it feeling good and thats why I go to the gym, I go to the gym to feel good, I workout to feel good.

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Wednesday: the day after my 5k my legs did hurt. The DOMS were there and while I could get around alright I felt it a poor idea to run on them again, but with 2 miles on my schedule I decided I would do a brisk walk and stretch them out. So I completed my milage and my legs felt better by the time I’d finished than before I started. It proves the theory that light exercise is by far the best way to deal with DOMS.

Thursday I woke up feeling totally fresh the next day with a 5k scheduled. I had debated using it as a rest day but as I felt so good I headed to the gym in the afternoon with my bestie and bashed out the 5k. I may well be slow by a lot of peoples standards, I may not be running the whole thing non stop but you know what? I finished in just over 46mins knocking 2 minutes off my previous time. I actually felt like I pushed myself at times and its made me think about what it means to push through for me. I’ll write about that later though.

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Friday I woke up and no DOMS. I was pretty amazed to be honest and even considered hitting the gym for my 4 miles but as I moved around that morning doing my  usual morning stuff I realised my ankles and my hips needed a rest. So Friday became a day of rest for my body, just taking a little walk through to the local post office and run some errands.

Saturday came the run that I wasn’t really looking forward to, 4 miles. Thats further than I’ve run in well over a year (having not broken the 5km mark in a very long time) so I approached it with some trepidation but determination and expecting it to last well over an hour. I was amazed when I hit 4km and actually began to enjoy myself, and not just a little bit but a lot. I could literally feel my confidence growing and I didn’t care if I was slow, I didn’t care one bit, what I cared about was that it was happening, I wasn’t going to vomit or pass out and that every time I thought I was going to stop before the mini target I had set myself I didn’t, I told myself my legs weren’t giving out my head was and it wasn’t going to win. I finished the 6.4km in 58 minutes and 45 seconds. Less than the over the hour I’d expected which I was very happy with. As far as times go, I’ve come to accept that right now I’m not even going to be close to a “normal” time because I am not a “normal” runner, I wont be pulling 5 miles in 45 minutes like my epic boyfriend for instance, but I am doing the best I can right now and I will strive to improve it with every run.

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After that I deemed Sunday a rest day, I wasn’t actually suffering the next day and I considered going to do my regular run but was wary that I had a 200 mile + car drive that afternoon and wanted to be alert and awesome for it!

Monday was the first day that I really flaked out. I didn’t feel great about it either, for lots of reasons I didn’t want to run and the main one was there was no gym safety net. I’m staying at my fellas for the next week, no gym here and its not a town of runners particularly, which has its own problems like helpful comments from passers by, but I flaked out all day, I ate badly, I drank wine, I relaxed everything. I let it go for a day and today I am back and feeling great with it.

I feel like I’ve had a successful week, my confidence is improving and for once I actually feel like I’m getting somewhere, like I’m improving and working for that improvement. I also recognise that this week I had no parental responsibilities as the little fella was away and I had a week “off” work – i.e was working at home – so the gym was easily accessible. I need to make sure I make time for it particularly between now and July.

Hopefully I’ll be able to report more progress next week! How was your week? Are you training? 

The Only Way …

I’m finding that I’ve been stuck, post whole30 in January my weight loss has been unsuccessful largely, I’ve yo yo’d up and down and I’m stuck around the same weight within a few lbs either way and it feels like a battle to get any further and I began to really think about my diet, and my attitude towards it more to the point.

For a long time I’ve laboured in the belief that Whole30 is completely the best way to lose weight for me, its been very effective in the past and I genuinely feel amazing when I’m there. What I have learnt is that there is a reason its a 30 day challenge. It not a sustainable way to lose weight and while I will probably do it again later in the month I need to find something that I can sustain during the in between times. I can’t rely on losing weight in one big go, gaining a bit back, then losing again, it’s not healthy or manageable.

So I’ve decided to relax my rules in order to make a sustainable change. Someone quite wise pointed out to me the other day that people lose weight all different ways, not all of them eat clean, not all of them do it healthily, but they still do it and I need to find the way that is comfortable for me. I really do enjoy the “clean eating” though, its become an important part of my life (and a great start to a new project I’m working on) so that’s where I plan to stay but introducing some oats and some natural sweeteners – and by that I mean the occasional honey or maple syrup not sweeteners like stevia – and a little bit of Total Greek at times means I have some flexibility to allow my schedule to be eased a little and less likely for me to fall into convenience junk.

I know that there are foods I need to avoid, so those things will stay off limits, but I know that I can live without them. So far in 2014 I’ve not touched ice cream – one of my biggest trigger foods – and I don’t intend to. I don’t miss it, I don’t want it. I’m far more focussed on the amazing things in my life right now. Clean eating means different things to different people but for me it’s largely this.

So you may see a few new recipes creeping in and realistically I don’t know if I’ll be posting Monday – Friday like I usually do, I’m about to hit a massively busy time before summer so 3 posts a week may be all I manage!! I always say that and then have loads to say lol so we shall see.

How do you feel about Clean Eating? Whats your definition?  

Losing Weight Didn’t Change My Life

I know thats kinda a strange statement for a weight loss blogger to make but I hate to be the bubble burster but losing weight has not been a life changer, its been a symptom of a lot of changes in my life.

I spent a long time thinking if I was thinner or lighter that I’d be fine, I’d be happier, cooler, I’d fit in better and people would suddenly want me around. I spent a lifetime feeling I wasn’t all that wanted. What I’ve learnt is that being thinner has nothing to do with being happy.

I started to realise that my life had become an ordeal. I spent time feeling awful, slogging through each day using food to prop me up and perk me up while I ignored what was painfully obvious to other people. I was depressed, I was in a bad relationship and I was not going anywhere fast.

Changing my life has been a long, painful and challenging process but for the first time in very many years I’m feeling very positive about my future, I’m working hard to establish a career, I am balancing being a single parent with blogging and keeping my health a priority, I’m loving having a positive relationship which is supporting all those ambitions with encouragement and faith.

So I guess the point of this musing is that losing weight hasn’t actually changed my life at all, its been a result, a symptom of much bigger changes to my life and changes in my attitude to life. I love that I have the tools and skills to turn myself around the majority of the time (everyone has bad days right?) and that I use them when I start thinking badly of myself or I’m falling in to old habits. I write her very often to purge negative thoughts but recently, they just aren’t occurring so much anymore. I want to take advantage of that in order to work on my health, focus on it, and start to ditch the sugar again. More about that tomorrow though.

So my advice to anyone sat there desperate to lose weight? Forget about it. Focus on your happy. Focus on trying new things and letting go of old things that do you no good. And by no good, I mean the long term no good, ice cream may make you happy immediately but it wont long term, not even medium term I’d expect.

Bodily Functioning

I don’t talk about poo on here and nor will I ever, but some bodily functions are effected by significant weight loss and for me thats mainly been shown by my temperature gauge. It’s totally broken. Apparently my house is the temperature of the 7th circle of hell (Quote:Oliver) but to me it’s just warm enough to take off my jumper.

Since losing close to 5 stone my temperature gauge has lost the plot, I am ALWAYS cold unless it’s roasting outside and then I’m a good temperature. 40C in Spain a couple of years ago? No problem, loved it, sweated away like everyone else but was quite comfortable, 36C in my garden last summer, divine, but  cold, oh hell no. As temperatures are starting to rise to double figures now I am starting to thaw out a bit after an admittedly fairly mild but wet winter. Is this a normal part of weight loss? I need to allow my body to readjust to having less built in heating? I did some googling and it can be symptomatic of other things but I’ve been largely cleared of them (Hypothyroidism and anemia to name a few) so I think its just lack of insulation.

When Mountain Warehouse recently offered me a gorgeous fleece jumper to help me keep warm I snapped their hands off politely accepted their offer. I went for this gorgeous Nolana Womens Fleece in goes-with-everything black and teal blue. Mountain Warehouse have a  great selection of outside wear and sports wear for men, women and kids.

I’ll be honest, the only time I’ve really taken it off since I got it, other than to sleep, is when I had to wash it cause I got mud on it in the garden.  Its mega warm, and made of micro fleece so it doesn’t feel at all bulky, the last thing I want is a jumper making me feel restricted and bulky. After reading the reviews which said that it was a rather straight fit and the head hole was snug I decided to size up and its worked for me although I feel it would have been fine in my normal size too. It is straight cut but it looks awesome with jeans and I wore it for a hike last week and it was great. I got showered on a bit when out the other day too and it quickly dried out in the sunshine and didn’t make me feel damp at all.

One thing I love about this jumper is the higher neckline, the reason the head hole is a little snugger is because the neckline rises which means when you have the hood up or down its warm, protected and super comfy. I think its a great feature.

All in all massive thumbs up for the Nolana! 

Training Tuesday

So training really hasn’t been a priority recently, its been tough and I’ve definitely felt the effects of not being active, my joints have been more sore and my body has felt softer and more bloated.

So yesterday I started the Fitfluential running programme. They set it up for March and I wasn’t able to do it then due to a dicky leg but I’m feeling great for having started. The plan gives you a mileage to make every day, I’m going to push myself a bit further to ensure that I’m hitting around the 6 mile mark on some days to ensure I’m 10k ready.

Obviously I’m going to attempt to do the full 100 in 31 days, however I’m realistic enough to realise this might not be possible entirely as I have other demands on my time.

Once the 10k is done I’ll drop running down to 2/3 times a week and start pushing more biking and swimming in to my routine which is going to involve me maintaining my gym membership until at least July so I’m going to have to budget that in for a while now. I need to do some work on my bike and get used to riding outside again.

I’ve got a lot to get on with and managing my time carefully is going to be key in achieving this goal.

Are you following any plans or training things at the moment? How do you manage it all with your other demands? 

All the Busy, All the Time

I know that every one always says that they have a busy life, I am really feeling the pressure of mine lately, I’ve been very lucky recently that in amongst my hectic work schedule, my hectic study schedule and my hectic family life, to accompany my lovely fella to a wedding.

Paul is one of Ollys friends who he met travelling in Australia, while travelling Paul met Fi and now a few years later, 1 beautiful baby boy later, they tied the knot :)

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Beautiful right?

We had a great time, spent the weekend eating, drinking and enjoying ourselves to the full, its been a stressful time recently and so its been just what the doctor ordered. I was so privileged to be invited, I was Ollys +1 and I get how weddings can be political nightmares so I wasn’t expecting an invite as Ols and I have not been together that long really so I was super excited to go. I wore a Monsoon dress and Hush Puppy heels which were the most comfortable heels I’ve ever worn and not at all frumpy! Here we are in all our finery …

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The wedding had such cute little touches too, the place settings were all Lichtenstein images as thats where Paul proposed, and the we had props for pictures during the day too.

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There was a pretty hilarious moment, the brides bouquet toss, yeah, landed right in my hands….Cue a terrified boyfriend interrogated about when he’s going to propose! (Clue….not something we are thinking about right now!!!)

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My life has changed a great deal over the past 12 months, I feel that I’m finding myself again and my battle with my weight currently does kind of reflect that. I’m finding myself in a new relationship (6 months old) and am still meeting friends and family gradually and building those relationships, finding my way as a parent of a 7 year old who has a whole new set of needs and demands, finding myself in my career too.

I won’t lie my weight has crept up over the last two months, I’ve struggled to get my diet under control, I’ve not managed to exercise anywhere near as much as I want. The truth is I’ve let it go while I manage my adjustments and manage myself, I hit a point the week before the wedding where I was struggling so much I had to have a chat with my best friend and boyfriend about myself and they both helped ground me again. I’m now working day by day to build better habits again, no extremes just gradually moving back to the best way of eating for me. What I know is that when I look at those pictures up there, I’m not ashamed of how I look in them. I spent a long time avoiding pictures, avoiding being on film because of the way I looked and while I’m not where I want to be I’m not unhappy either.

Olly and I have both decided to do some daily running from Monday which I’m super excited about starting, his support means the world to me too, we’ll be following the fitfluential running plan which they set up for March, just doing it at our own schedule!

So lets go forth and kick ass eh?