Monday 10 June 2024

Weight Loss/Fitness Journey - 1 Year On

I realised this morning when I got up, that yesterday marked exactly one year since I started my weight loss and fitness journey, so I thought I'd make a post in honour of that.

It's been an interesting year, with lots of positive benefits to myself and those around me as I feel so much better in myself and that is bound to have a knock on effect on those closest to me.

When I started my journey, I didn't have a very positive image towards myself and my body. I felt old, overweight, lethargic. My facial features were puffy and bloated and I felt like I looked 10 years older than my actual age.

Fast forward to today and I almost feel like a different person.  The bloated face is gone, I've gone down from a UK size 18/20 to a UK size 12/14 (more a 14) and my body composition is slowly changing to one that is much more toned with better muscle definition. I feel stronger and more energetic and have added running to my exercise regime, which although secretly wishing I could, never thought I actually would. I'm even eating porridge some days, which I never imagined I would ever do. (I was always a tea and crumpets girl at heart - for breakfast)

It's been a long slow process of losing a pound a week, which over a year has added up to nearly 3 stone in weight. In recent months, I've not really lost any weight and seem to have hit a bit of a plateau. I know this is probably due to my nutrition and not feeding my body enough protein.  There is still work to do in this regard, but I'm slowly trying to improve my diet to fuel my body more efficiently.

My big takeaway from all of this is that consistency is key. I've consistently eaten in a small calorie deficit, probably only 200-300 calories per day, as I don't like to feel hungry. I've consistently exercised, although I definitely don't go to the gym 5 or 6 times a week, more like 2 or 3. I've consistently used weights, i.e. dumbells and kettlebells, either at home or at the gym and in recent months I've done a 30 min run 2 or 3 times per week. This latter change has been effective in some ways in increasing my cardiovascular fitness, but it has also created new problems of making me feel hungrier and seemingly slowing down my weight loss. It's something I need to figure out in order to move beyond the plateau I'm currently on.

What I have done, is changed the way I exercise. Gone are the high intensity, highly choreographed dance fitness classes and in have come basic simple aerobic moves and the incorporation of dumbell weights and other weight machines in the gym, plus lots of walking on incline on the treadmill.

There's much more progress that I'd like to make. I'd like to reduce my weight a little more, maybe 7 - 10 lbs and I'd like to develop a bit more muscle definition. I'd like to learn to use a barbell with weights and some of the larger weight machines in the gym, but for the moment, I find them a bit intimidating. I'd also like to improve my diet and incorporate more protein with each meal, but I'm finding this quite a stumbling block at the moment.

If there's one point I want to get across in this post, it's that if you are not happy with your weight/body composition/fitness levels, it is never too late to do something about it and it doesn't have to be a slog. Just get started, no matter how small and keep going.  Things won't necessarily change immediately, but over time they will change and you'll wonder why you didn't do it earlier.

There are so many fitness influencers out there now on Instagram that can help you in your journey. I'd suggest picking 2 or 3 that you can realistically relate to and listen to what they've got to say. Be discerning as there's probably a lot of not so good advice out there too.

If you are looking to start a fitness journey, here's a few instagrammers (there are lots more) that I follow that might be of help:

henleyfitness - No nonsence fitness advice, focussing on technique and simplifying using gym machinery

emmabonoli - Great kettlebell routines and technique

petragenco - Great low impact routines for pre and post menopause weight loss

trainwithjoan - A shining light for women over 50 wanting to change their body composition.

cassiatierney - A fitness coach who has a fantastic podcast called 9lives focussing on fitness and overcoming bad habits.

bethanydobson - Great low calorie recipes and no nonsense advice to those on a fitness journey.

As I enter year 2 of my journey, I'm hoping that I can continue to make progress, albeit slower.  Thank you for all your support over the past year. It's really been appreciated.

Sunday 9 June 2024

A Busy and More Productive Week - W/E 8th June 2024

This week started with a trip to the allotment on Sunday morning. OH wanted to go and plant out most of the vegetable plants, so I went with him, as I know he misses the dog when he goes there, as he used to take her there a lot. 

Whilst he was planting out, I decided to do some weeding, as there were a couple of areas where the weeds were building up. Before I knew it, an hour and a half had passed and I needed to leave OH to it, as I was due at work for 12 noon. I took a couple of photos before heading off:

This side of the plot has potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes, one courgette plant and raspberries.

On this side there are a few fruit bushes: blueberries, blackcurrants and gooseberries. OH was planting this side up with kohl rabi, lettuce and climbing beans, but there were beetroot, peas, cucumbers and asparagus already in. The plant in the pot is one of my dahlias that got planted out now it's a bit bigger. 

The plot is now fully cultivated until the potatoes are harvested and then some sweetcorn and more dahlias can go in.

Anyway, I had an early lunch, did some laundry and then got ready for work. It was a super hot day, which was welcome after all the rain we've had lately. Work was super busy again. I didn't have time to think about anything. I started off on one job and then half way through the shift, I was put on another job, which was my favourite job, so I was happy enough. When I got home, I made turkey tacos for OH and I for supper. We'd not had them in a long time, so it made a nice change and contained plenty of protein.

Once OH had returned from the allotment, he got started on building the new shed. He couldn't get very far with it as he needed to order some preservative, but he got the base in situ, which is super exciting. He thought it would go up quite quickly once he got the preservative, as he said it seemed pretty easy to assemble. I personally wouldn't know where to start, so kudos to him for being able to assemble it.

I had a day off on Monday and I didn't really need to do a weekly shop, as I'd done a shop late in the previous week, so I went out for a run in the morning. It was a very slow run, but I decided to do a full 5K, as I'd not done this distance since the event. I ran part of the course for the weekly Saturday morning Park Run. I may join it one week, when my free gym sessions have finished for the summer. It wasn't the most comfortable run today. I think I was tired from two consequetive shifts at work and I was wearing clothing that was really annoying me. It's sometimes the small things that can make the run harder.

When I got home, I decided to catch up on reading blog posts. I've been away from blogland for a while. It was nice to catch up with everyone. After lunch, I caught up on journaling too, as I'd got behind with that due to all the events occurring in the past week. I always feel better when I'm up to date with my journaling. I find it very therapeutic.

LB had an online interview for a summer job in retail on Monday afternoon. She's following it up with a visit to the shop in question next week. It will be an ideal match for her if she gets it and it is quite local, which is another plus.

On Tuesday, I went to my usual class at the gym. When I got home, I had some lunch and then picked up my Hexi Star Quilt for the first time in weeks. I began to sew the diamond and hexi star blocks together, which was very exciting. I went to bed for a bit of a nap in the afternoon, as I hadn't slept well the night before. I made sure to set my alarm clock, so I didn't oversleep, as I was due at work at 5pm. We were able to leave work a bit early tonight, which was a bonus.

On Wednesday, I was looking forward to having a day off. I did a slightly shorter run in the morning of 3km, as I tend to get too hungry when I do a longer run. When I got back, I got changed and headed out of town to do the weekly shop.

I hadn't even got to my destination when I heard a message come through on my phone. It was my manager asking if I could go into work. I agreed to go in and then continued on with my weekly shop. I went to Home Bargains this week, as I needed a few toiletries and ended up spending £36. I don't know how that happens, but it always does. I should be very well stocked up on many things for a few weeks now.

Work was quite busy when I did go in, which meant that at least it passed quite quickly.

Thursday was a rest day for me. I decided that I wasn't going to do any exercise. I can't honestly say I rested, as I spent the day cleaning the main bedroom. It had got very dusty and I couldn't cope with seeing the dust bunnies multiplying. Another reason for doing this, was that I needed to change the duvet over to a summer weight, so this was also done. It took most of the morning to get the room clean and I got a bit upset at one point, as the vacuum cleaner smelt of our dog, which made me miss her. Not to mention I was vacuuming up lots of dog hair and it felt like I was hoovering all evidence of her existence away.

After stopping for lunch, I later went back to sort out a big pile of clothes languishing on the ottoman at the end of the bed and a big trug of clean laundry. The pile was mostly stuff I needed to put in out of season storage, so I finally put it away out of sight. I then went through my piles of decluttered items, many from previous attempts at decluttering my wardrobe, and bagged the items up ready to take to the charity shop or zero waste event.

I have now started to think about packing for our forthcoming holiday. As I wash things that I want to take away with me, I am putting them aside in the wardrobe ready to pack when the time comes. After doing this, it was time to get ready for work. 

OH took the afternoon off work on Thursday and decided to continue building the garden room, which was very exciting. He couldn't complete the build, as he needed to wait for a delivery of preservative to paint onto to the wood. He could only build it up so far to still be able to apply the preservative, as there wasn't much room between the shed and the fences at the sides and end of the gardens. I went off to work just as the preservative arrived. By the time I got home after another very busy night at work, it was too dark to see the progress he'd made, so I had to wait until the next day to take a look.

I had a day off on Friday, which was much needed. I went for a run first thing and orchestrated the end of the run to be close to the pharmacy, so I could pick up a prescription before walking home. It would have created more steps to go out after my run, but it would have taken more time, so this way suited me better. On the walk home, I stopped off at a local independent shop and treated myself to a rubber plant, which I'm going to put in the shed when it's built. I also bought a very pretty pink pelargonium for the garden.  Not sure where I'm going to put it yet, but I'll find a spot for it.

When I got in, OH was working on the shed again. Hewas doing more preserving of the wood. It is the one thing that is taking the longest time, but will be worth it when it's done. I went around the house and watered my plants, watered some plants outside and potted on some cuttings that I'd rooted. I also did some laundry before stopping for lunch.

After lunch, we both headed to the allotment to water and feed the plants with the comfrey leaves I'd steeped a few weeks ago and then harvest a few strawberries. OH resumed work on the shed later. It's coming together nicely. It was a nice productive day pottering around at home and at the allotment and lovely not to have to go into work.

Saturday started with a free session at the gym which was good. In all honesty, I didn't do that much for the rest of the day, save a bit of pottering here and there and then I went to work a little early, as I needed to buy a few things from the store where I work, mainly a gift for a friend's daughter who has just had her first baby. Work was good tonight, as I got to work on a completely different section, which I really enjoyed.

Anyway, despite it still being strange and our still missing the dog a lot, we had a much more productive week this week, which was a good thing.

Monday 3 June 2024

A Strange Week - W/E 1st June 2024

This week has been a strange one for us. Following on from my last post about losing our lovely dog, we've been numb and upset in equal measure. Neither OH nor myself knew what to do with ourselves at first, but we've just been trying to carry on as best we can.

We felt a little better once she was safely buried, although it wasn't an easy thing to do. The house is quiet without her and we keep seeing things around the house that remind us of her. OH had to let our dog sitter know, as he was supposed to be looking after her when we go on holiday next month. He was sad to hear the news. The only positive in this whole situation is that we'll never have to leave her again.

On Wednesday, after returning home to London, I went out for a run. I bumped into a fellow dog walker, which upset me. I then headed to Soca Aerobics to keep myself busy. I'd not been for a good few months. I enjoyed the class though. It was nice to go back. In the evening, we watched the final episode of Race Across the World. We were happy for the eventual winners. Such a great series. Gives us that wanderlust.

On Thursday, I headed out to do a weekly shop. We were low on most fresh things, although there was still plenty of food in the house. Talking of food, I didn't put on any weight over the weekend at the wedding. I didn't drink a whole lot and was a careful what I ate, although not too careful. I like alcohol, but I don't like the after effects as I get older. 

Later on Thursday, I did some end of month financials, to get back on track with my finances after being away.

Friday, was a bit of a meh day. It was grey and rainy and I didn't feel motivated to do much. It was also my last day of annual leave before heading back to work. I went for a run in the morning and then later I decided to walk into our local town centre to do an errand. I got plenty of steps in at least and it was Payday too, which was a positive.

On Saturday, I returned to the free gym session for over 50's. I'd not been to the gym for a few weeks, nor to this session, so I was happy to go back and have a good workout. I need to focus more on doing some strength work, as I'd put it on the backburner whilst I was training for the 5K race. OH was cycling most of the day and I was due into work in the evening.  I felt a bit more motivated today and did a deep clean of the bathroom, which felt good.

Work was super busy in the evening, which meant that it passed very quickly. I am on the rota to work quite a lot of shifts next week, so the sooner I get back used to working the better.

It's been a subdued week this week. I have just focused on getting caught up with sleep and getting back into a routine after the events of the weekend. Hiring the camper van was great, as it meant we had our own space, but it doesn't always provide the best night's sleep, especially in the circumstances we faced. Just taking it one day at a time at the moment.

I hope you had a good week.

Wednesday 29 May 2024

A Tough Week - W/E 28th May 2023

This week has been a tough one. It started off okay, with OH running the Half Marathon on Sunday. Work called and asked me to work, until I told them I was on two weeks leave. The dog wasn't too well today. She's really uncomfortable and struggling. We managed to medicate her which helped and I walked her down to the park where she sat in the grass and fell asleep. It felt sad, like it might be the last walk to the park that she ever did. We eventually made it back home, but we are quickly coming to the realisation that she's not going to be with us much longer.

On Monday, it was OH's birthday. He opened his presents in the morning. I'd bought him mainly consumables, as he didn't want anything much for his birthday. I had booked us tickets to go to a local cinema in the evening, to see The Fall Guy with Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt.

I went out and did the weekly shop as usual. LB wasn't having a good day today, so I chatted to her on the phone for quite a while whilst I was out. When I got back home, OH and I headed up to the cinema. The film was a bit silly to be honest, but I like Ryan Gosling, so I was happy watching it. It was a good distraction from everything, which we probably needed. We were going to go to a restaurant afterwards to get something to eat, but decided to just go home and eat, as we didn't want to leave the dog alone any longer than necessary.

Her deterioration came at a difficult time, as we were due to head off to a family wedding at the weekend in Yorkshire. Certain family members had an opinion, which I didn't share. I wasn't going to rush into anything for sheer convenience. Our dog has been an important member of our family and is very precious to us. We decided to play it by ear and see if she picked up through the week.

On Tuesday, I was booked into my usual class at the gym, which was good. I hadn't slept hardly at all the night before, so I had to have a nap later in the afternoon. I couldn't seem to put my mind to anything, as the dog being unwell was a bit of a curved ball that was consuming my attention/thoughts/feelings.

We got some additional sad news on Tuesday, that a friend's dog had died peacefully at home overnight. The friend in question died last year and her nephew was looking after her dog. At least she (the dog) would have someone to welcome her over the rainbow bridge. It helped me to think about that, especially if our dog passes in the near future. It was reassuring to think that our friend might be there to welcome her too.  I was grateful not to be at work whilst all of this was going on. 

Tuesday, was very wet. It rained from midday onwards for most of the day and was forecast to rain the whole of Wednesday too. 

On Wednesday, the dog seemed to rally quite well and the medication seemed to have kicked in and was helping her. She was still eating and drinking and going out into the garden. As a consequence, we decided to take her to the wedding with us, postponing any decision.

The trip up to Yorkshire was fine. The dog had a good sniff around the garden when we got to OH's parents house in the camper van and was still eating, but from Friday onwards, she started to deteriorate. We managed to get through the wedding and we took the decision to take her to the vets on Bank Holiday Monday evening. The vet said that it was most likely a brain cancer that had caused her deterioration, bless her.

We brought her body back to London the next day and she is now safely buried in her precious garden, a place that she loved to come back to, underneath where the new shed is going to be built (to keep the foxes away). She's been a fantastic little companion, who has given us endless joy and love (in her own way) for the past 11 years. It's been a priviledge to have her in our lives. We will always miss her dearly, but it was time to let her go.

RIP Tippi

Tuesday 21 May 2024

Achieving A Goal - W/E 18th May 2024

The week started with a longer shift at work on Sunday. My manager messaged on Saturday night to ask if I'd start work a couple of hours earlier on Sunday, which I was happy to do. 

I was only due to work on Sunday and Tuesday last week, so I was hoping that I could spend some time catching up on housework for the rest of the week, between runs/classes, etc. The weather was forecast to be a bit changeable too, which would mean less outdoor distractions. In the event, I was added to the rota for and extra shift on Friday night and I got very little housework done this week, as I just wasn't feeling it.

Monday, was mainly taken up with my second to last training run and then heading out to do the weekly shop, so I didn't have much time to do anything at home. I did a full 5K run on Monday, so at least I know that I can run the distance. The weather was cooler, which helped a lot. OH took Monday off from working in his office and planted out all the tomatoes and cucumbers at the allotment, then he prepared the shed base, as it will be arriving next Monday. At least he had a very productive day.

On Tuesday, it was my turn to walk the dog, before heading off to my usual class at the gym. The class went okay, save for the floor exercises, when I got struck down by an attack of vertigo and just felt dizzy and sick when lying down. It eased off after lunch, but came back the next morning. It's either vertigo or low blood sugar.  Not sure which. It did make me think twice about going out for my run on Wednesday morning, but as it was my last training run, I decided to go anyway. It's not good timing, with the race being on Saturday, I just hope it get's better as the week progresses and I'm okay on the day.

My run started off very slowly, as I wasn't feeling too good, but by half way round I was feeling a lot better and even managed to sprint (if you can call it that) towards the end. I didn't do it any faster though in spite of this, but at least I know I can comfortably run it, vertigo or no.

The rest of the day, I decided to sit in the garden and read a book that's been on my bedside for months. It was Capital by John Lanchester. It's very entertaining. I didn't quite finish it that day, but continued to read it and finished it the next day. It's the first time I've been invested in a fiction book, for a long time.

The dog wasn't well on Wednesday night. Not sure what's wrong with her, but she's quite old and has started to deteriorate lately. I decided to sleep next to her on the sofa all night, as I was worried about her. She was okay and got up later to get a drink and move around, which reassured me. It's so sad to see her markedly slowing down. It makes every walk precious.

Thursday, was a bit of nothing day. I didn't do much at all. LB called as she was having a few problems, so I chatted to her and tried to reassure her. I guess that kind of put me out of sorts for the rest of the day. I didn't go to the gym, as I didn't want to overdo it before the race on Saturday.

On Friday, I paid a visit to a new charity shop that opened on our local high street this week. It was pretty busy when I was in there with people browsing. I found a sports vest for running, a pair of paper bag pants which I later took back as I didn't like them on (they had no fitting room), some shoes to wear for work over the summer and a t-shirt for LB. I then spotted some trailing verbena in the local hardware store, which then came home with me, as I think I'm going to make a hanging basket to hang on the new shed. They're very pretty and are one of my favourite trailing plants.

I was working in the evening. I was so happy to get through this shift, as it marked the start of two weeks off work. I so need a break. There'll be plenty to do, what with going off to the family wedding and putting the shed up, not to mention housework that I haven't done yet.

I woke up excited on Saturday morning and couldn't wait to get to where the 5K was being held. There was lots of entertainment all day, such as work out classes to follow and stalls to visit. We got our bib numbers and then had a good look around before our race started.  The 5K was split into three different runs. We were doing the first run at 12 noon. I think there were more than 2500 entrants taking part in total. There were warm up exercises at the start and then we were off. It was a great atmosphere.

As expected, I was very near the back of the field. I kept running the whole 5k though and managed to beat my Personal Best by 4+ minutes. I even managed a little sprint to the finishing line, which unbeknown to me OH filmed. It was good of him to slow down to my speed and accompany me around, especially when he's a really good runner. I was happy with how I did on the day. I was hoping to get my time down to a certain level and I did. I can't ask for more. 

Here's a picture of my medal, which is so lovely to receive after all the hard work I did training for the event. It means a lot. It might not seem much to people who find running easy, but to me it was a big thing to take part in this event. Something I never really saw myself ever doing.

After the race, we had some food from the multitude of food vendors at the event. I had a breakfast wrap, which was very tasty. We then walked home. By the time we got back we'd done over 14,000 steps or 10km of walking/running.

As a consequence, I was happy to spend the rest of the day just relaxing, napping and watching a movie on Netflix.

Sunday 12 May 2024

Where Did the Week Go - W/E 11th May 2024

This week got off to a quiet start, on account of the Bank Holiday. We don't normally go anywhere or do anything out of the norm, due to traffic on the roads, etc. and anyway, OH was cycling on Saturday and Sunday, so I spent most of the weekend pottering about at home.

When he got back on Sunday, we did make a quick dash to a DIY store before it closed, to get some supplies for him to get the shed base ready, for when the shed arrives in a couple of weeks. 

On Monday, OH came with me for my Couch to 5K run. He's currently recovering from a hamstring injury and needed a slow short run. I think it was a lot slower than he expected!

Anyway, when I got back I got changed and then headed out to do the weekly shop locally. I was working later in the afternoon, so there wasn't time to go further afield.

Work was pretty busy, so passed okay. I bought a few bits for OH's birthday later this month, as there was a bigger discount than usual for staff. 

I did my usual class on Tuesday. LB came home for a few days just before I headed off, which was great. It was lovely to see her again. She had some written work to do for Uni, which she could do whilst she was at home and we were planning to do some last bits of shopping before the family wedding, which is coming up in a few weeks time.

When I got back from my class, we could catch up properly, until I had to go into work in the evening. She was busy with her Uni work anyway, so it worked out well. I was only due to work on Monday and Tuesday this week, so luckily I had the rest of the week off. 

On Wednesday, I had a chilled day. I did do an extra long run in the morning, which took 35 minutes. I needed to try to push on to prepare for the 5K, and try to get nearer the target of 5K, as I was running less than 3 km on my runs. I needed to know if I could run for longer. It didn't feel too bad actually. 

I only had 2 or 3 runs left before the event, so I decided I would extend my runs  each run, until I was covering 5K in distance. As you can probably tell, I'm a ridiculously slow runner, but I'll just be happy if I complete the run and preferably run the whole distance, regardless of how long it takes. I will, of course, be at the back of the pack and if I find I need to walk a bit I will, but I don't really care too much about that. The only person I'm running for is myself, to see if I can actually do it.

On Wednesday evening, OH and I watched Race Across the World again. We love this programme and would love to do more travelling some day, when we get the chance. LB managed to finish and submit her Uni work on Wednesday, which meant that we were free to head off shopping the following day.

We set off on our shopping trip around 10.30 am, driving to a large mall 20 miles outside of London. We'd not been to this mall for years, since LB was small, as we tend to go to a more local one that's since been built, but we specifically went here because I'd bought LB some bras online to wear at the wedding, but when she'd tried them on they didn't fit, so I needed to return them and this was the easiest place to do that and do the shopping and other things that we needed to do. 

We didn't spend that much time in the mall. I got my refund and we managed to find some bras that fitted and then we had a little look in Primark too, but didn't really find anything we wanted to buy. We then went to Supercuts and both had our hair cut. I was happy with how mine turned out and so was LB. It felt like a win to get these two things done. Anything else was a bonus.

Next, we headed to the outdoor retail park, so that LB could pay a visit to Hobbycraft to buy some yarn, as she wanted to crochet a shrug to wear over her dress for the wedding. Whilst she was in there, I did a small shop in Home Bargains next door.

We made one more stop, which was on the way home, to my absolute favourite large out of town charity shop and we both had a good mooch around. I found quite a few tops there for work, for the summer months, the gym and other occasions. I bought 8 tops and 6 books for £23, which I thought was great value. I'll do a separate post about the things I bought. There was some filming going on in the store, which created lots of activity, which was interesting.

On Friday morning, I headed out for a run after the dog walk. It was my last run of the week, so I ended up running a bit longer and virtually running 5K, well 4.75K, so at least I know I can just about do it. It was midday when I ran though and very hot. Although I tried to keep in the shade, there often wasn't much. I was a bit red faced (not from sunburn) and my legs were like jelly when I stopped running, but I felt better knowing that I was only a few metres from running the full 5K.

LB headed back to Uni in the afternoon. It had been so good to have her home again so soon. We'll next see her at the wedding. She's taking the train up to meet us in Yorkshire, as she's at Uni the week before and can't get away early. We're heading up early to pick up a camper van en route, in which we'll all be staying for the duration of the wedding. It should be fun.

On Saturday, OH was out cycling again so I took the dog out. When I got back I decided to do a bit of housework and cleaning, which felt productive. I watered and fed my houseplants and potted some of them on, which I'd been meaning to do for a while. I then spent a couple of hours pruning in the garden. There were a couple of corkscrew hazels that needed a bit of attention, as they were getting a bit overgrown. It felt good to get these under control again, although the garden didn't look much different afterwards.

OH then got out a new BBQ that we hadn't used yet and put it together and made our supper on it. Beef steaks with air fried potatoes, which was nice, before we settled down to watch Eurovision.

This week passed so quickly, I guess it does when it's filled with nice things like spending time as a family. Next week, will be all about the 5K run which takes place on Saturday. I'll be glad when it's done if I'm honest, as it has taken up a lot of my mental and physical energy lately, but I do want to enjoy the experience too. I'm looking forward to possibly running without a goal in sight, as and when I feel like it once it's done.

Sunday 5 May 2024

A Week of Better Weather (Mostly!) - W/E 4th May 2024

I thought I'd do my weekly post a little differently this week, mainly because it gets a bit repetitive. As you may have gathered, I'm a creature of habit and routine. I need a routine, it keeps me motivated, self-disciplined and sane, especially when I'm on a weight loss journey.

I was asked if I'd go into work on Sunday afternoon. I didn't really want to, as LB was home, but managed to arrange to go in for 2 pm, so I got a few hours to chat and catch up with her. She returned to halls in the afternoon whilst I was at work. It was lovely to have her home for a night. She'd had a good night out at her friend's house in our part of town, but needed to get back for Uni on Monday morning as it's too far and too busy to travel in Monday morning's rush hour.

I was also working on Monday and Tuesday evenings this week, so I had a four day stretch of working. I did get paid this week though and due to all the extra hours I'd put in, I got a nice surprise when I saw my wage slip. 

Before work on Monday, I managed to get the weekly shop done, as usual, and saved over £8 using the Lidl Plus 10% off coupon that I'd earned by spending over £250 there this month.

I continued with the Couch to 5k runs again this week (Week 5 on the app). They got ramped up again big style. Monday's run was 3 x 5 min runs, Wednesday's was 2 x 8 min runs and Friday was one 20 minute run, which sounded super daunting.  

I wore my new running trainers this week and they felt good. Nice and well cushioned. I feel like I'm starting to find my own personal dress code when running. I'm not a tight leggings and vest kind of runner. I prefer leggings with loose shorts over the top and a T-shirt. I just feel more comfortable a bit more casual and covered up. I invested in a second-hand baseball cap to help mask the sweaty, red face a little and keep the sun off my face. (When we get any!) I quite enjoy wearing it. I think this is what I'll wear when I do the actual 5K run. 

With the weather being much better this week, I was able to go out running without a sweatshirt on over the top, which meant I was a little less encumbered and I was also able to put my phone in a waist belt and leave it there.  I don't look at it much now when I'm running, I just listen out for the cues from the app and listen to my music.  The only annoying thing was the adverts between songs on YouTube. As a consequence of this, I took advantage of 3 months free premium Spotify membership and made a playlist without adverts. It should be a gamechanger. Once the free trial runs out, OH is going to purchase a family membership for all of us, as both he and LB use it a lot.

The weather didn't play ball for my final run of the week on Friday, as it rained for most of the morning. I ended up going out whilst it was still raining lightly. My trainers took the hit and are no longer sparkling white. I spent most of the run avoiding puddles and mud. I know I need to let go and let them get filthy, but I'm resisting. Anyway, I did the 20 minute run and it felt like a real landmark in my running journey. The app is so good, it is really helping to build my confidence and stamina. I never really believed I would get to this point.  Here's a picture of my trainers post run:

Could be worse!

Other exercise this week, included my usual Tuesday class, which has gone down in price again, which I'm not complaining about. It was very full again this week. It really is getting so popular. The New Age games classes started again this week, and I attended the Saturday gym session. I've actually really missed them this last month, but luckily, running has helped to fill the gap and give me a new challenge.

The weather for the most part, made a big difference this week. Experiencing the warmth from the sun when running, walking the dog and walking to classes felt wonderful, therapeutic even, after what feels like such a long, cold, wet winter.

The garden is really starting to green up now. I took the opportunity to plant my dahlia tubers into pots early in the week, as it was still a little early to put them into the ground at the allotment. Another small job done.

I was off work on Wednesday, which was bliss, so I used the time to catch up with my financials and cook up some homemade food for the dog. I also did a bit of a wardrobe sort out, taking out any items I will no longer wear and packing up some of the thicker and heavier winter clothes to make more space. This felt very satisfying to do and should make life much easier when deciding what to wear. 

I also did a sort out of my gym/running clothes. Some things, that I used at the start of my weight loss journey, are just way too big now and are taking up valuable real estate in the drawer. Some I donated and some I put into storage, just in case. As a consequence, I feel a lot more organised going forward.

I had another free day on Thursday and I decided to make it a complete rest day and not go to the gym, as I'd be going to the free gym session on the Saturday. After walking the dog in the morning, I had an early lunch and then set out to go into our local town. I needed to get a couple of bits, one of which was a sympathy card, as my dad's sister had telephoned earlier in the week to tell me that her brother had passed away. She is now the only living sibling on that side of the family, which must feel very strange for her, bless her.

It's a busy time family wise at the moment. OH's neice gets married in a few weeks, so we'll be travelling north to attend the wedding. His other sister is talking about visiting us here in London in June, and his cousin and her husband are coming over to the UK from New Zealand as I write this, so it will be nice to see them again at the wedding. 

My nephew is also getting married in Australia, on the same day as the wedding here, OH's birthday is coming up in May and we're planning a holiday to Greece in June, so it's going to be a busy couple of months, especially with the shed to build inbetween and a 5k run to train for and complete the week before the wedding (OH is doing a 5k and a half marathon).  Luckily, I'm taking a couple of weeks off work, which should help.  

I have to admit that some weeks when I'm busy with work too, I do feel quite overwhelmed, as I do like a quiet life, but it will be fun to see everyone at the wedding and once we are on holiday, we'll get a chance to relax.

Back to the shopping trip, the other thing I needed to do on Thursday, was to continue the hunt for some matching fabric for my quilt and I decided to look in a couple of local to me fabric shops on this occasion. 

I walked into town to increase my steps for the day. The first fabric shop didn't have a fabric that matched well enough, so I decided to walk on to a fabric warehouse that I last frequented when I was doing a BTech in Fashion course over 10 years ago. It was quite a walk to get there, but I quite enjoyed it.

The warehouse was big with hundreds of rolls of fabric, but again, nothing colour matched well enough. I did find a roll of black linen though, to cover the sofa seat cushion, so I bought a meter of that. It wasn't cheap at £10, but at least it will allow me to finish the sofa cover.

After not having any success in the fabric places, I changed tack and decided to visit a couple of charity shops in this part of town, before catching the bus home. I struck lucky in the first one and found a pack of two new pillowcases from Primark, that were virtually a perfect match. They cost £1 and probably provided me with almost 1 metre of fabric once cut open. They are a 60%/40% cotton/polyester blend which is okay. I was thrilled just to find something suitable that was the right colour, as I was losing hope at that point. It was great to be able to continue quilting when I got home. I'd really missed it.

Friday, was a quiet day at home. After my morning run, I chilled for a while doing some stitching on my quilt and then had lunch. I hadn't slept well the night before, so I ended up curling up on the sofa watching the last two episodes of Death Comes to Pemberley, which I enjoyed.

OH booked our forthcoming holiday to Greece today. We're going to Santorini, one of the Greek Islands. I can't wait. It looks beautiful.

Saturday, I headed back to the free gym sessions which re-started. OH was out at a cycling event all day, so I chilled at home. I met him and some cycling friends at the pub later, where we had some supper, which made a nice sociable end to the week.

I hope you had a good week.