The Incredible Shrinking Woman

Days 299 to 319 – New Year’s Resolutions 24 December 2008

So it’s almost the end of the year that changed my life … and that’s not me being melodramatic, it’s the truth.  I almost can’t take it all in when I look back to where I was this time last year.  I’d already resolved that I would be beginning lighter life in February and was mentally preparing for it.  I remember thinking that I simply couldn’t wait to get going, and I’m indescribably happy that I did.

So what does next year hold?  Clearly I need to build on what I’ve achieved and not slip back into my mad and bad habits.  I’ve surprised myself with my willpower and my ability to stick to my resolutions … if you’d told me a year ago that I would been checking the Christmas opening times for my local gym then I would’ve laughed in your face.  I’ve realised that I need to impose discipline on myself and that goals are important to me so, to that end, I’ve taken up running with the ambition of running a marathon.  And this is from someone who has struggled in the past with running for a bus!  My original intention was to run London in 2010, but I was coerced by a colleague into running New York, with him, in November 2009.  Despite the fact that it’s almost Christmas, November next year seems scarily close!  But I think I can do it, as long as my knees, back or some other part of my anatomy doesn’t give up on me 🙂

I can now comfortably run 5K in the gym, and have started running outside to get used to the difference.  In fact, I was out running around Clapham Common this morning, while pretty much everyone else was lying in bed wondering when they could crack into the mince pies.  I’m really beginning to enjoy it … I may be stating the bleedin’ obvious, but when you can run without feeling like your lungs are going to burst, it’s actually quite therapeutic.  I’ve always been a fan of repetitive exercise (like swimming) because I just empty my mind and get on with it.  I really hate having to concentrate on what I’m lifting, or where the rest of the team are, or how many reps I’m supposed to be doing.  Running is easy.  You just put your shoes on and go … although it would be a lot more of a chore without my trusty ipod for company (I highly recommend Green Day for any aspiring runners out there!).

So that’s my resolution for next year.  I know that I can’t live on salad for the rest of my life, and if I’m running regularly then I’ve got half a chance of not being one of those people who watches the weight pile back on.  That would break my heart.

I mentioned in my last post just how difficult this time of year must be for anyone dieting, especially you lighter lifers.  Just remember what your long term goals are … a couple of days of indulgence doesn’t in any way compensate for the bonus of years of a healthier life.  You have my never ending respect and admiration … one of the reasons I waited until Feb to begin the diet was because I didn’t trust myself to stay on the straight and narrow over the festive season.  And, if you fall off the wagon, then just get straight back on it again!  As we all know, the world and his wife will be on some form of diet in January, so you’ll be in good company.

Happy Christmas and a fabulously svelte New Year! x

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Days 277 to 298 – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 3 December 2008

How the hell did December come around so quickly?  As you can tell by the three week gap since the last post (oops) it’s a crazily busy time of year for me.  Not only do we need to tie up 2008 and get ready for 2009, but then there’s the whole Christmas madness to contend with.  And that is a challenge and a half.

It occurred to me the other night, when I finally tumbled through my front door and collapsed thankfully in front of the TV, just how difficult it is to be sensible about food (or, for lighter lifers, avoid it) at this time of year.  The ad breaks on the TV are wall to wall with adverts for delicious Christmas treats, luxurious meals and special offers on those things that we love but know are terribly bad for us.  Everyone is in a more sociable mood and offers of nights out, drinks after work and long Sunday lunches are plentiful … not only that but well-meaning souls start doing festive things like bringing chocolates into the office.  For anyone trying to lose or maintain their weight, it’s a nightmare.  Despite the financial doom and gloom that’s filling every available column inch and news broadcast, people seem to still be adopting a ‘to hell with it’ attitude to Christmas at the moment.  There’s a real sense in the air of ‘indulge now and worry about it later’, or that’s what I’m sensing in my little corner of London, anyway.

As any veteran dieter will tell you, too many of us simply don’t worry about it later.  I’ve often asked myself how I ever got as big as I did, and the simple truth is that I didn’t act upon the consequences of my over-indulgence until it had got out of control.  Shifting half a stone once in a while would have been so much easier (and healthier) than waiting until I had to face shifting many, many stones all in one go.  And, as I’ve said before, I’ve still not quite cracked it.  Pairs of jeans that I bought in the summer, at the end of abstinence, are feeling a little tighter now because I’ve succumbed to the cold weather, the Christmas spirit and, frankly, my own weakness.  It’s unthinkable, and it makes me cross with myself!  I’m still trying to get that balance right … how long will it take me?

I’m still keeping up my training, despite a couple of setbacks due to my workload.  My clients are based about an hour and a half from London, and a succession of all day meetings over the past few weeks has played havoc with my gym schedule.  I’m trying desperately to keep at it … it would be terribly easy to say ‘oh, I’ll be good in January’, but that would mean beginning the year significantly heavier and much less fit to boot.  And I’m still trying to lose weight, dammit!  Plus, I can’t face the disapproval of my personal trainer … he’s got the measure of me, I can tell you.

So I guess I’m trying to be festive without being silly.  My plans to remain on the wagon went completely to the wall, but I’m finding it easier to order gin and slimline tonics these days rather than vats of red wine.  It’s noticeable how much difference that makes, which is heartening.  And I’m trying to balance calorific evenings or lunches out with penitent eating the following day.  Clearly that will all go to pieces over Christmas itself, but I’m not too worried about that.  For the first time in my life, I will feel as if I’ve earned it.

And for all of you who are in abstinence at the moment, I have to say that I take my hat off to you.  You deserve medals, you really do.