Decathlon Triathlon in the Gym!

How do you fancy winning £200 of Decathlon vouchers without even leaving the gym? Plus even more awesome, it’s not a race, you just have to complete it. Super easy.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply complete the following set of triathlon activities at your local gym then submit your times using the form:

• 2k on a rowing machine

•5k on a cycling machine

• 3k on a treadmill

You can complete these activities in any order, and don’t worry if you’re not matching the times of your favourite athletes – you can still be drawn as our lucky winner or runner up. It’s the taking part that counts, although if you are lucky enough to be the winner or runner up we may need to confirm with you where and when you took the challenge.

Entries will be accepted until 7 September, 2014.

I will be completing my gym tri early next week and I’ll share how I get on with you! I’ll be using it as a bench mark workout which I’m really looking forward to improving on, possibly doing it once a month to see how it goes.

Running Away?

I’ve come to quite a difficult decision lately. I don’t like running anymore. I think that if you bash away at something that you find really hard for long enough and see absolutely zero progress you start to really lose heart. My weight loss has been mostly back on track lately, I’ve been feeling ok with my 1lb a week losses, some initial disappointment but then positivity to see some progress, I started to feel better about myself in general, I got a handle on things again.

But Running. Running, no matter how much I do it, is hard. Its not getting easier and I am coming to the conclusion that it’s not going to.

I’m still too big to develop the kind of stamina that is maintainable to run that kind of distance. The fact is my body is not designed to carry the weight it’s carrying. I’m a long way off that weight in fact, and despite the changes I’ve made and the weight I’ve lost it impacts my ability to run.

Lately I’m just not enjoying that struggle through it at all.

I think I’ll still run but I’m not aiming for a distance anymore. I’m doing it to torch the calories and I’ll be doing it in the gym mostly I would imagine. I am trying to build a workout routine that I’ll do regularly and change up every 6-8 weeks or so. I’ll share it with you if I find it effective.

My gym is undergoing a refurb at the moment which seems to be a good thing if a little inconvenient, it looks like the weights section is being massively improved which leads me to wanting to get back in to weights in a big way. Cardio has never been my favourite thing but combine it with weights and I can pretty much get on board with it.

So free weights and cardio sessions ahead of me. I want a 500 calorie burn each session which probably leaves me around an hour of exercise, I’m aiming for 3 to 4 times a week at the moment which seems realistic given current constraints on my time, energy levels and work load. It’ll need to be reviewed in September anyway but I want to get bedded in to it so that I am motivated when life gets busy.

So me and running? We’ll be leaving any attempts at distance running until we hit the 180 mark I think. Its a rough guess but I’m going to work on my fitness between now and then and hope that around that time its not so much of a slog to carry my body through the process of running and hopefully I start to enjoy it a little more again.

Until then. The gym calls. Last night I went, I ran a bit, sprints and I stepped, I rowed and I lifted. All things were good and sweaty. I loved it.

A change of plan, rather than a change of goal.

Moving Forward Means Making Peace

My life has changed extraordinarily since I started this blog, things are so different now to that girl who started this blog, I wanted to reflect a bit on my journey so far I guess.

When I started this blog it was because I was seeking gastric bypass surgery, I wanted to document what I thought was important for me – the rapid change in my body. I looked like this. I decided that before I have life altering (in so many ways) surgery that I would have one last ditch attempt at doing it myself. I recognised though that something was fundamentally broken.

I was deeply deeply unhappy with my life. I put a smile on it a lot of the time, you can pretty much see how uncomfortable I am in the second picture and in the first one I’m hiding *unsuccessfully* behind my tiny child. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t in the depths of a deep depression I just, well I just didn’t think I deserved anything better than to be fat and unhappy with it. For some reason I couldn’t make the changes that I needed to. I started a number of times and I just couldn’t maintain it. I thought at the time it was because I was an idiot, because I simply couldn’t control myself, I was disgusting and greedy and my body reflected that. Genuinely I hated myself for so many perceived weaknesses.

I got to a point in my life when a friend really started to open my eyes to the fact that my ongoing hatred of myself was doing more damage to myself than the tubs of ice cream that I was mainlining. As I talked about previously my perfectionism which has somehow wormed its way in to my life from a young age, so imagine how I felt struggling to do something as simple as moving more and eating less, failing to change what I thought was making me so unhappy. On paper its so simple but the revelation came when I realised that my weight was not what made me unhappy, it was the symptom of my unhappiness.

So I started a lot of work on myself, I blogged about it, I read the Happiness Project, I loved it, I was inspired and it changed my life beyond recognition. I find myself now a few years on, nearly 65 lbs lighter, in a new relationship, with completely different outlook on life. I recognise now that moving my body makes me feel good, I recognise now that eating my greens makes me feel good, inside and out. While I’m not completely happy or confident in my body, I don’t hate it anymore.

I recognise now that I’m not ugly, I’m not afraid to be in pictures, I don’t hate by body, I love to run about with my child, I love to workout. I even deal with things, like my hair, that are difficult for me to deal with. The shift in my relationship has been a factor but a lot of it has come from me. My self confidence has come with self worth, with placing value in myself I’ve learnt that everything else falls in to place. Why do I spend time cooking from scratch and feeding myself healthily? Because I am worth that effort. Why do I work out? Because it makes me feel good and I’m allowed to make myself feel good. That, my friends, has been the biggest ever realisation I’ve had.

{Recipe} Banoffee Overnight Oats

Recently the man and I have been obsessed with overnight oats trying loads of different combinations from my favourite the peanut butter and jelly porridge whip from the I Quit Sugar cookbook to the gorgeous strawberry shortcake ones from dashing dish. We’ve been cooking up our own varieties too having blueberries and other fruit it in.

One of my own recipes which proved successful was my Banoffee Oats so I thought I’d share them with you.

  photo bannoffeeOvernightOats_zpsf61a170a.jpg

 

 

You’ll Need for Two Portions

  • 3/4 Cup (170ml) Almond Milk (Or whatever milk you like)
  • 1/2 Cup (170g) Greek Yogurt (Personally that has to be Total for me, I use the 0% as I love the texture)
  • 2 sliced Bananas
  • 1 Cup Oats (You can’t use steel cut because they don’t soak well enough)
  • 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Protein Powder (Optional but nice)
  • 2 Tablespoons of maple syrup (Optional, Sweetener would work too, or none at all)
  • Dash of Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons of Toffee Peanut Butter (Nuts n More does the very best kind), Any kind of nut butter will work but this gives the toffee flavour
  • Roughly chopped pecans (about 10 pecans)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

 photo DSC07417_zpsb0b8a89d.jpg

What you do with it

Mash the banana’s a little so they are rough in texture but a bit more soft than solid, Put to one side.

In another bowl add  the protein powder, oats, salt, chia seeds & pecans together (dry ingredients).

Add to the powder mix the almond milk, yogurt, maple syrup, & peanut butter (wet ingredients).

Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients with a spoon until roughly mixed then spoon in to a mason jar or tall glass, one layer of porridge mix and one layer of bananas and so on.

Chill overnight in the fridge with a lid on (this is why a mason jar is so great for this) and enjoy when you get up!

overnight oats, bannoffee

Depression and the death of Mr Williams

I couldn’t let the death of Robin Williams pass without jotting a few words here about the conversation that he has opened up all over the media, social media and so many other places.

First I want to say that Robin Williams is someone that a lot of my generation, and generations around mine, grew up with, we hold him in our memories as kids for films like Mrs Doubtfire, Jumanji and Aladdin (a film in which he largely ad libbed), through to adulthood when films like One Hour Photo, Good Will Hunting and Good Morning Vietnam showed us the real talent that came from the funnyman.

I’ve been deeply disappointed by the way the death has been reported, it’s such a shame that time after time the media will go for the most sensational and cheap shot. The headlines about the way he killed himself (who needs to know that past the coroner? It’s hardly public interest. It’s titillation) go against the recommended and responsible reporting of suicide, something Mind issued to every news desk in the country on the day of the suicide. The details of his private life, rumours about it, that are now circulating are frankly none of our damn business. Why does it matter? He’s gone.

It’s even more disappointing to see people calling Williams a coward on Live TV – even if it is Fox it’s a gross invasion of privacy (much like the ariel rolling footage of his home – what were they expecting a resurrection?) and a disgusting example of how misunderstood depression and the act of taking your own life.

I’ve talked candidly here before about being depressed, at times during writing this blog in the last few years I’ve been depressed, my bouts of depression can come from situational adjustments, like struggling at work or at one time being bullied at work, or they can come out of no where. In the past I didn’t realise there was a general cloud of unhappiness over my life, which I gradually worked through in order to start my weight loss journey. These days I’m happier, I’m fitter, I’m not depressed but I remember very clearly the feeling of it. How it weighs on you day after day, how it becomes a cloud that follows you threatening rain or angry thunderstorms, how it makes it impossible to concentrate or even think clearly about basic tasks.

One thing that depression does is change how you see the world. Its almost like it loses colour for me. I’m a very visual person so it’s not a surprise really that I’d have some disturbance in that. It blinds you to all thats good in your life, robs you of a silver lining, and sometimes all hope. Thats why it saddens me to see people tweeting things like “why didn’t he ask for help?” – well for one he’d just come home from rehab for severe depression three weeks previously – and two, why would you ask for help when there is no hope for you? It’s not an illness of logic. It shows that we still have a very long way to go to beat stigma when when a person dies people ask – why didn’t he get help? I’m not sure I’ve ever heard someone say that of someone who dies alone of a heart attack – why didn’t they call 999? Physical and Mental Health are not anywhere near equal in peoples understanding yet.

We can only speculate what was happening in Robin Williams head at the time he decided to take his own life, he left no note (most people don’t statistically), and he left no clues. What we do know about Robin Williams, and what has been demonstrated, is that he was really loved, by his wife, his children, his friends, and by his fans.

 

Depression seems to have robbed him of the ability to see how loved he was, it does that, it tricks you into thinking that you being gone will solve everyone else’s problems, and your own. It makes you think that people might be better off without you in their life, that they might not miss you that much.

I think Robin will be very missed. I wish he hadn’t had that knowledge, and ultimately his life, stolen from him.

Top 5 Successful Weight Loss Tools

I really believe that you have to have a whole toolkit of things in your bag when you are trying to lose weight, I thought I would share my top five with you! I totally want you to add yours in the comments.

My 5 Weight Loss Tools (1)

Number One: Communication

My friends and my family (and this blogs community), generally just communicating with other people about how I feel, what I’m trying to achieve, what I want from life, I’ll talk about the gym, I want to report that I’m making good progress on my goals so I make sure I have. My family are supportive and put no pressure on me, my boyfriend lives it with me everyday, my friends cheer my successes, and you guys are unbelievable supports for my highs and lows. I struggle to share the lows personally sometimes, reaching out here is so much easier than reaching out in real life but I’m getting better at doing it.

Talking your way through the urge to binge is far more fulfilling that that binge will ever be and what it’ll carry after it is not shame and awful feelings but it’ll carry forward a warmth you get from knowing there are people in this world that are willing to talk to you when things are tough. I’ve felt it. It’s pretty awesome and life affirming and shit. However you get it, via social media (I’m on twitter and facebook btw).

Number Two: My Smartphone

This is a bit of a cheat really because my smartphone holds many many things but I’m going with it, it holds all the magical things I need on a day to day basis, I log my food on it, I get daily workouts from it (Loving the 30 day challenge app and runkeepers training plans). I make notes of what I’ve lifted on it, I run to the beat of the music on it, I use it to tweet and facebook my successes and my struggles, plus boost other peoples (see number one) and it’s pretty much attached to me! Also the Noom app is great for logging, taking pictures and chatting!

I also love Instagram for selfies, food pics and general inspiration and chatter. I can check on my fitbit progress and inspire myself to take those extra steps, apps like Zombie Run make gentle runs fun, polar beat keeps track of my heart rate and calories burned. I can text olly and let him know I’ve done it – think about reporting those wins – in a word, I love technology.

Number Three: Knowledge

I read a lot. I read the internet, I read blogs, I read books, I read forums, I read all kinds of things about fitness, about health, about food and it fuels me. I am a girl who wants the knowledge, I always have been from learning song lyrics as a pre teen to devouring parenting books as a new mum, knowledge really is power people. Read books that inspire you, that release you, that drive you forward, read forums for information, learn about nutrition, learn about what workouts you should be doing. I know there is a mass of information out there, and sometimes its hard to filter through but stay true to what you believe in while your reading them, if it doesn’t fit your philosophy then don’t do it.

Use people who have been in your shoes too, syphon knowledge from them, I guarantee you that everyone who has done this has learnt a lot the hard way along the way.  They are usually happy to help and people love to give advice, you know its true. You have to use the knowledge though, else you’re just a smart ass for smart asserys sake.

Number Four: Projects

Projects, I love a project, be it a crafty one, a techie one or just an improve your life one, something to keep yourself going and active (mind or body) on the days you aren’t working out. If I don’t have this then I start to think about food, I really don’t want to do that it just drags me down a really poor rabbit hole. So I make things, I tinker with my blog, I play with my boy, I come up with plans, I pin, I try and have a focus.

Now I’m a busy person, I’m never more happy than when I am being productive, you might not be that person, you may love to unwind with Netflix (OMG The Killing Season 4) and thats ok! Don’t let anyone tell you how to unwind. I guess what I’m saying is your whole life can’t be about losing weight. Life will still be there when you’ve done losing weight, this is a great time to focus on making it amazing.

Number Five: A Planner

The biggest, most helpful thing I saved for last, a planner. I have several planners. I have a planner on which I plan my shopping and meal plan, then I have a diary which I have all of my life in – its set out to give a page for me and then the page opposite is divided in to five sections which I use to track Oliver and Charles’ schedules, then my workouts, meals and events like birthdays.

Sometimes, when I’m super busy with multiple deadlines, then I open Then we have a family chalk board which is in the central family area, we all have access to each others immediate goals, events that are coming up and events beyond that point too, plus a weekly breakdown.

Someone said “If you fail to plan you plan to fail” and I have to say it’s a thing that truly resonates with me. Having a direction, a plan, a goal, is the most key thing about success. How do you know what you’ve achieved if you don’t know what you set out to achieve? It seems laborious at first but you fall in to a routine with it, you get quicker at it too. I know when I’ve got no plan I don’t work out as much, I don’t eat as well and I am not as productive and as we found out above, thats not good for me.

So tell me your top 5 or even just the most important thing for you?