While I’m Waiting

Waiting for the weight to come offWaiting is one of the most frustrating things I know.

Last week I strained a calf muscle which has stopped me walking. I’ve been told it could be up to four weeks before I can get back to my usual exercise. So I’ve been doing the sensible thing (I don’t always cope well with sensible) and keeping my declining weight off my leg as much as I can. At least I can now go up and down stairs without shouting. But I’m still limping the few paces from the car to the office.

Speaking of declining weight, I’ve now lost 5.2 kg since 20 January, so I’m feeling pretty chuffed. Nurse Shirley was very pleased with me as you can see from her note. Sadly, she is semi-retiring and leaving the surgery. I shall miss her. She has always been so encouraging. She says she’s going to continue to follow my blog, so here’s a big public THANK YOU for all your help and support!

While i’m waiting

While I’m waiting for the muscle strain to heal, I’ve been doing some other light exercise. I’ve found the exercise bike will help my thighs while not using my calf. I’ve also been doing various upper body exercises and getting out the fitness bands.

I am a bit concerned about falling behind with my training. I know I have to try extra hard with my diet so that I don’t put any of that weight back on again. No chocolate for me this Easter. I’ve redone my schedule to begin walking again in a couple of weeks and once I’m back into the walking and everything feels fine I will start the Couch to 5 km  (C25K) programme which should have me ready for the 1 mile race I’ve signed up for in September. That will then give me 12 months to prepare for the Birmingham Half Marathon in October 2018.

I’m not giving up!

PS Sorry, no video this week.

Richard Branson and me (or time is everything)

Taking time to assess the real situationThere are a lot of things which make our lives different from one another, but there’s one thing that is common to all of us – we have the same amount of time every day. Whether or not you like Richard Branson, you have to admit that he’s had a measure of success in what he’s chosen to do with his life. How has he done this? By making the best of his 24 hours each day.

I’ve been reflecting on making the best use of my own time. It all began with my growing frustration over my journey to work. The office is 8 miles from home, which doesn’t sound too bad. But when you have to travel across Birmingham at rush hour, it is very time consuming and stressful. It has been known to take me more than two hours. One minor incident on the M6 and the whole city grinds to a halt. So I’ve been experimenting with routes and start times. After a couple of weeks of testing I’ve found that, by shifting my work day by one-and-a-half hours, I can save 45 minutes a day on my commute.

Time for change

This is fantastic. Not only am I saving myself nearly 4 hours a week, but I also have time in the mornings to achieve things before I go out. I arrive at work calmer and with the sense of satisfaction that I have already achieved things before I sit down at my desk.

So, what am I doing with all this extra time? Well, I’m doing a few different things. I’m taking my time over breakfast instead of eating in the car. That means I’m getting a more nutritious start to the day. I’ve also moved my walking to the morning instead of lunchtime. This gets me feeling bright and alert for the rest of the day. And for some reason it seems easier than dragging myself away from my desk at lunch time.

I’m definitely being more productive, both at home and at work.

To use a very tired cliche, it’s a win-win situation.

 

Celebrations

celebrationsI’ve been asked by a few people why I haven’t written for a while. There are all sorts of reasons but one of them has been indulging in celebrations for hubby’s 60th birthday.

We had a great time, thanks to my sister-in-law and her husband, and my Mum and Dad. I confess I indulged in a slice of birthday and a glass of prosecco. But I did resist pizza and opted for a salad when we went out for a meal.

celebration cakeWhile the holiday cottage was fabulous, the weather was atrocious so my exercise consisted mostly of exploring the biomes at the Eden Project. It doesn’t sound like much, but climbing to the top of the Tropical biome in the humid heat felt like a workout.

The storm which kept me inside while we were away, also but an obstacle in my way when we got back. I resumed my walk in the park and came across this fallen tree brought down by storm Doris.

Fallen treeBut I have another cause for celebrations. Despite not eating as well as I would have liked, being unwell and not keeping up with my exercise plan. I’ve still lost another 1kg in weight.

Now all I have to do is get over this horrendous cold…

I may be wrong, but I don’t think there’s a problem with a few indulgences to celebrate special occasions. As long as that doesn’t start a downward slide. I still haven’t had any real chocolate since the New Year, as I know that I have problems regulating my intake of the stuff. I’m not going to let sugar defeat me when there’s so much at stake.

Tell me what you think

Now, if you’ve read this far, please could you answer a question for me. I’ve signed up for a 1 mile race in September. Should I get sponsorship for this? Or should I just wait for the Birmingham Half Marathon next year? Do tell me what you think.

The Fat Lady is Starting Again

Starting Again

Talking about the work of INF – the reason the fat lady is planning to do the Birmingham Half

It’s been a tough week. I haven’t felt at all well and both my diet and my exercise have gone completely to pot. This wasn’t helped by a pizza party on Friday to celebrate my eldest son’s 26th birthday. Really good pizza, followed by cake. This is the point at which I would normally give up on a health and fitness regime. But I’m not doing that this time. Instead, I’m starting again.

Starting Again

The first thing I did, once I’d got over the worst of feeling unwell, was to go for a walk. Never mind achieving my walking goal for the week. I just needed to get out in the fresh air and do something. Starting again can mean something very simple. But it is so important to do something.

Then I got an email about a new race in Birmingham so, I thought, what better than to sign up for the Mile which will be taking place in September. The setting is beautiful and I’ve walked in the park where it’s taking place many times. It’s something to look forward too. It’s a relatively short term goal and gives me an additional motivation for starting again. Plus they give out medals to those who run – even the Mile!

So, today I added a couple of one minute jogs to my evening walk. It’s a lot easier to do that kind of thing in the dark! It felt really good to push myself just that little bit more even though some onlookers might not have described it as jogging.

I feel invigorated and excited about starting again. I’m going to achieve my goal of running that half marathon in Birmingham in October 2018, and raising money to help Nepali people through the work of the International Nepal Fellowship.

 

Ups and downs for the fat lady

Watch the birdie - ups and downs

One of the ups was passing this little birdie twice on my weekday walks

The past week has been one of ups and downs.

UPS

I’ve been really pleased with the increases I’ve been able to make in my exercise plan. After only five weeks, I am two weeks ahead of where I expected to be. This weekend was another two mile walk which took me 40 minutes. And I was amazed at how much easier it was than last weekend. I’ve been able to up my walking at lunch times to 30 minutes. Those walks in themselves are ups and downs with some quite arduous slopes. But they are becoming easier.

DOWNS

The most significant down was my weight. 1kg in two weeks and bang on target. Nurse Shirley was very encouraging about that. She offered to take a picture of me standing on the scales but I declined. Maybe next time.

UPS AND DOWNS

I was quite disappointed with my blood sugar results. My HbA1c was higher than Shirley was happy with so I have to take another tablet. That is disheartening but I’m pretty sure it was related to how badly I was eating in the run-up to Christmas. Hopefully it will be much better when the test is re-done in a couple of months. The other thing which was higher than it should have been was my blood pressure. Again, a little depressing. But I am doing all the right things to bring it down, so I’m just going to keep on with the exercise and believe it will improve.

Ups and downs? Onwards and upwards

Overall, I’m encouraged by my progress and I know that, if I keep doing what I am doing, things can only get better. I’m getting fitter and healthier by the day and I have massive support from loads of people, so why wouldn’t I succeed?

But this is my main motivation – I want to help beautiful Nepali people like those in the video below:

Walking Away

Lynda in a rickshaw on Kathmandu

The lazy way to get around Kathmandu

It’s been a difficult week with pressures of work preventing me from walking at lunchtimes. But I still managed a two mile walk at the weekend despite the horrible weather. What kept me motivated was realising that with each step I take, I am walking away from the extra person I’ve been carrying around for years.

That thought, which popped into my head about half way through my second mile, has got we thinking about what else I’m walking away from.

What else am I walking away from?

Shaking off that extra person (should I think of a name for them?) may well be extending my life. I’ve heard somewhere that one of the ways the ancient Romans used to punish murders was to strap the victim to the perpetrator. The consequence was that, as the corpse rotted, so did the flesh of the murderer. They would die a horrifying and terrible death. The person I’m carrying around may not be rotting away, but it certainly isn’t helping my health.

I may be walking away from Type II diabetes. I was diagnosed a few years ago and half been told it is possible to reverse the diagnosis by losing the weight, eating better, and exercising. I’m not holding my breath on that one as my Dad has the same condition but is not overweight, eats sensibly, and walks several miles everyday. Not bad for a man in his 80s.

What I am certain of, is that I am walking away from an appalling self-image. I don’t like seeing the rolls of fat, I feel terrible whenever I hear news articles about obesity. I’m ashamed of how I have let myself go. I used to play hockey for the school. I used to run 3 miles a day, every day. I feel now that people judge me as a person based on how I look, not the person I am inside. But I am already feeling better about myself.

There may not yet be much of a change in my appearance, but I am achieving, and cutting down the sugar content of my diet means I feel more alert and more alive. Not only am I walking away, I’m walking towards a new me.

The Reckoning

The reckoningThis week has been a week of reckoning. Having to run around after family has made it difficult to fit in the exercise. Motivation has been really low too.

Despite this I have determined to keep going. And I’ve increased the walking time to 22 minutes.

The reckoning with nursE Shirley

On Friday I went to the local surgery to be weighed for the first time since I started on this adventure. I got to see the lovely nurse Shirley. She’s one of those people who loves caring for others. I always feel comfortable seeing Shirley. She’s such an encouraging person and she never judges which makes it easy to be honest with her.

Well, now I’ve sung Shirley’s praises, I’d better tell you the outcome of the visit.

So, I have a lot of work to do. But while it was a bit disappointing to get that news, it has actually made me more determined to succeed and get fit enough to do that half marathon in 2018.

Today I started with a series of strengthening exercises for my legs. I plan to do this weekly. For my walk I decided to time myself around a mile circuit. I know it’s a mile because I’ve driven around it in the car. I was surprised to find it only took me 20 minutes. I expected it to be longer. So I’m really pleased with myself.

I’ve also enjoyed making soup today. It’s so easy:

Spicy parsnip soup: 4 parsnips from the short dated veg in the local supermarket, half an onion, garam masala, chilli powder and water, simmered until the parsnips. Then blitzed.

Mediterranean vegetable soup: pre-prepared roasting vegetables, again from the short dated veg counter. Again, boiled and blitzed.

Before I sign off, I want to share a great little app I’ve found for keeping track of weight, exercise, calories and so on. It’s called My Net Diary and you can find out more at www.mynetdiary.com

It’s not over until the fat lady runs.

Singing and Walking in the Rain

walking in the rainThis week has been full of weather. We’ve had sleet, snow, high winds, and rain. It’s enough to put anyone off. But I have been sticking to my plans and been walking in the rain.

My mother used to love walking in the rain. And to be honest, I don’t really mind the weather. It’s the consequences of the weather that I have a problem with.

It’s coming across this barrier on the footpath and having to go round it on the squishy ground. It’s walking along muddy footpaths and slipping around. It’s having to take your glasses off to clean them because no-one’s invented windscreen wipers for specs yet.

But these are tiny obstacles in the scheme of things. So I resolved to be positive and enjoy myself – not singing and dancing, Gene Kelly style, but…

singing and walking in the rain


That was part of my 20 minute weekend walk. In the coming week I shall be stepping it up to 20 minutes each day and a 25 minute weekend walk. I’m also going to be using the exercise bike to add some variety. Last week I did 2.5 km for my first session on the bike, when I couldn’t walk at lunchtime.

 

Going live

The Fat Lady Runs going live

Warm ears on a cold walk (read the story of this crazy hat at the foot of the page)

If I had any fears about going live and telling the world about FatLadyRuns, they’ve been completely blown away.

Almost everyone I’ve told has been really positive and encouraging. There’s the work colleague who’s already done the London Marathon and the friend who’s offered to do my first 5K run with me when I’m ready.

There have also been lots of helpful suggestions about mobile apps, diet, and how to build up my training. One friend even told me how they’d overcome a fear of heights to do a parachute jump. That seems such a big challenge compared with what I’m attempting. But it helps me to believe I can achieve my goals.

So I have no regrets about going live.

Here’s a short video about my progress:

Going live on fundraising

It’s too soon to start fundraising but I have decided which charity I’m going to run for. It won’t be a surprise to anyone who know me well. I’m going to raise funds for the International Nepal Fellowship, the charity I work for. More about that another time. For now I just want to give you the bare basics. It’s an international (clue is in the name!) charity that does health and development work in Nepal.

A couple of years ago I had the privilege of going to visit some of our projects there. I saw the impact of leprosy and spinal cord injuries. I saw how people can be helped to help themselves in their on communities. I saw the beauty of the country and met some amazing people. But the need is enormous.

The story of the rainbow hat

While I was in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital city, I had breakfast in a little coffee shop called Higher Ground. They are part of a charity which supports women and helps give them a fresh start in life and gives them skills to support themselves. Above the coffee shop they sell crafts made by these women. I saw the rainbow hat and couldn’t resist buying it. I haven’t had the nerve to wear it in public until this week. But this traditionally-styled Nepali headwear was exactly what I needed when the wind was biting at my ears earlier in the week.

The fat lady will run

Hi. I’m a middle-aged fat lady with Type II Diabetes.

They say it’s not over until the fat lady sings.

Well I’ve decided:

It’s not over til the fat lady runs

It’s my goal to run a half marathon in 2018. There’s a lot that has to change before that can be achieved. I’m very overweight and extremely unfit. But I’ve put together a plan and it’s not over until this fat lady runs.

I plan to run the half marathon for charity and I’ll let you know more details once that is firmed up.

Are you mad?

Perhaps!

I’ve done diet and exercise plans before and they’ve worked … for about 6 months. Then I fall off the wagon. And, of course, I end up unhealthier than I was before I started.

It’s because the goal isn’t big enough. It’s just about me feeling better about myself. I need a bigger goal, and I need bigger consequences if I fail.

So my big goal is to raise £500 for charity. If I fail, I’ll be letting other people down as well as myself.

And I’m making it public because it will help keep me motivated. I really don’t want to fail in front of the whole world.

Starting on the right foot

I used to run 3 miles a day, every day. That was about 30 years ago. I’m not going to make excuses for why I stopped.

But I do know that an overweight, middle-aged woman should not just put on some trainers and start running. I’ve planned a fitness regime with the help of some really good advice HERE and I will be working with the team at my local GP practice.

I’m also working on an improved diet because I have to get my weight down as well as get fit. I’m not going for the latest fad, I’m just going to eat better – more fruit and veg, fewer bad carbohydrates, and plenty of water.

And, it’s not over until this fat lady runs that half marathon.