Friday, 2 March 2012

A rolling stone gathers no pride!!

Oh, here I go again. Same old, same old .... I lose the plot just a teensy weensy bit, take my eye off the ball and hey ho, off to Binge-dom I go! Why, oh why, oh why! I know it's going to happen, I can see it happening, I'm hauling hand to mouth and it's like I'm having an out-of-body experience, watching myself self-destruct! I just don't get it! Or do it? Is there a finish line flag up ahead? Oh, that could be it! See, as soon as I see a finish line (even a mini one), I tend to turn tail and run. My mother never encouraged me to win anything - in fact, discouragement was her forte - and since I had that lightbulb moment a few years ago and realised that was the reason why I always bottle it at the last hurdle, I've fought and fought and fought, but it still happens.

So I'm in a really shit place right this second! It started Wednesday. Great weigh-in, feeling brilliant about myself, totally on target .......... then I took some time off to go and meet some 12wbt-ers up in London. It was lovely, inspiring, wonderful, had a treat glass of wine (planned and factored in ... no problem) ..... and all super until I got on the train home. I hadn't had dinner, which didn't help, of course - but if I'm completely honest, I probably would've lost the plot anyway. Packet of crisps and a flapjack for the journey home. TELL ME WHY!!!!! If I hadn't bought them, there would've been no option on the train and my world wouldn't have started to crumble. ***** IT!!!, I scream. Because from there, see, there's no going back! I got home and then I had some chocolate.

Thursday .... determined to get back on track. Started off stupidly. I skipped breakfast - thought I'd punish myself for the previous night. I'm never hungry in the morning so this wasn't a big punishment - except that it was stupid!! Went running, did some hill intervals, came home, late lunch and all healthy. Baked cake for kids for snack, because I couldn't afford to buy anything. Guess what! Yep! Bloody gorgeous cake, if I say so myself - had to have a slice .... and then another! Oh, here we go again! At least I had a double workout and went kickboxing. Burned off the cake .... then came home and had MORE CHOCOLATE!!!!

Right! Time to stand back a second and reassess, because this morning .... right now ..... I could easily go to the fridge and binge!! I'm sitting on the ledge and I can feel myself falling. Need to talk. Need to LOOK!  Got so many compliments last week about how I was looking. Felt great at the time ....... but my natural reaction to that is to turn and go backwards, which is what I've done. (Fight it, Amanda!)  Big weekend in Luxembourg coming up next weekend - need to look great .... but that's a 'finish line' so I'm sabotaging (Fight!)  What damage have I done? OK! Wednesday train + chocolate was pretty bad but it was just one day. I can undo that! The interval runs yesterday helped and great lunch. Kickboxing took care of the cake .... so let's see! All that's left to get back on track is to get over the chocolate last night, get to the gym this morning and make TODAY the day when it all levels out again.

Right?? But can I do it? I'm exhausted. I've already been talking myself into staying at home and not gym-ing today because I'm so tired. Then again ............. I'm exhausted because of the crap I've eaten the last two days. Time to suck it up. I'm self-sabotaging. Self-sabotage is NOT the way across the finish line - and one of my biggest goals for 12wbt is to cross some finish lines. Time to JFDI. Let's get the kids to school and get to the gym. Start there.

Thanks for listening. It's not a very interesting post but I had to get this onto paper. Writing helps - and it's helped clear my mind a little. I've re-assessed. I've taken a step back and rationally looked at the exact damage. It CAN be fixed. One step at a time ...

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Reply to a 'weekend binge' post

I just thought I'd keep this for future use because to me, a lot of this makes sense. It may sound like I'm condoning weekend over-eating, but it's really not that at all. Perhaps I wasn't succinct enough - but I'm such a passionate believer in 'mindset' being the root of so much of our behaviour, and for somebody who really 'seriously' overeats at weekends and diets the rest of the week (never ideal but it's vital to take these things one step at a time) I think that taking the stress out of a situation is key. So somebody asked a question on a weight loss site about over-eating at weekends and this was my reply .... I had a few lightbulb moments while typing it, which is why I've kept it for future reference:

I think part of the reason we (note, I say 'we' because I'm sure there are plenty of us lol) binge for the weekend is because we put ourselves under so much stress during the week - and socially, in our world, we've been brought up in a mental 'cycle' that weekends are for pigging out!! The whole Sunday lunch/dinner thing .... the Friday/Saturday night dinner and pub (or even no dinner just pub???) culture ... has tuned our brains into that cycle. Just like animals hibernate and their little brains know when to wake them up again, it's the same thing with us. Our brains are wired - with environmental health, of course - to work for 5 days and then let rip for the next 2!!!! Unfortunately, that's the way our culture works, with a few exceptions here and there - and I really believe that's why we have so much trouble at weekends! 

My own solution? Not to stress over it so much. I think that we stress so much that on Monday we're already thinking about what to do to make up for NEXT SATURDAY!! The binges would be a lot less if we gave ourselves PERMISSION to relax for that day. Instead of trying to think 'Oh, this is so so bad, I'm eating too much, I'm going to be paying for it all week' .... which leads automatically to 'Oh well, I've done it now so I might as well go for it bigtime and deal with it tomorrow!' ........  

If we give ourselves permission to relax and not count calories for one day a week I'm willing to bet we wouldn't eat half as much!! And it would be guilt-free, too! Put a bucket of biscuits in front of a child and tell him he shouldn't eat any (but not that he can't!)...................... and he's going to go nuts in half an hour and start stuffing down as many of them as he can!!  Put the same bucket in front of the child and tell him they'll be there all day and he can have as many as he wants - and chances are he'll have a couple, then go and play, come back in an hour and have another ...................  

So, my long-winded rambly answer to your question comes down to this:  stop feeling guilty about the weekend, stop 'dreading' the damage that hasn't yet happened but you've already convinced yourself that it will (!), give yourself a day 'off' on Saturday or Sunday - and I bet you'll eat half as much when you know you have full permission to eat anything and everything you want!

Less stressing, more living! 

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Afraid of jinxing it ...

I'm almost afraid to type but days like this, well, they just have to be recorded, so here goes ...

I think my 'mood' changed two days ago, when I did the Blogger Challenge Week 2 and actively participated in the task I so often ask my clients to undertake - re-writing negatives and giving everything a positive slant. Well, I did it - and even if I say so myself, it appears to have worked. I really AM feeling more positive - and that has translated into positive action and behaviour, so Hurrah! This was reinforced last night, when I went to a wonderful Girlies Only Evening at a friend's house. We had to wear the 'colour' we thought we were as a person - and it was fascinating. We then had a ritual burning of negative thoughts (from paper onto a fire, which transformed them!). Then, to top off the evening, there was a penny wishing well - and yes, I used up quite a few pennies!! LOL

This morning, I got up early and it's been wonderful. The weather is like springtime - beautiful blue skies and temperatures to match - glorious. I left for my pre-circuit training run. I'd planned a tentative 10k - keeping my knees firmly in mind - and the words of my acupuncturist ... to run 'in my body', i.e. listen and walk when required! Well, I astounded myself. I enjoyed a leisurely run with NO KNEE TROUBLE - for all of 11 and a half kilometres!!!! I am so happy I can't contain myself. I listened very carefully to my knees throughout but there were also sections of my run when I didn't think about my knees at all, and I was in pure Heaven!!! Oh, the joy of running pain free again. I'm so excited - but now it's crunchtime and I have to be extra extra careful this week not to get over-enthusiastic and overdo it. Gently, gently ... I can live on that 'run' for a couple of days at least ... Tomorrow? SMS in the gym and I will be rowing and spinning.

And of course, I can't NOT mention one of those circuit training sessions that just worked a dream. Six clients and it all just flowed. Of course, circuits generally flow - but some plans definitely flow better than others and this morning's session was smooth, smooth and they smashed it.

Almost forgot to mention that when I arrived back from my run, I did a quick skipping/burpee blast - just to boost my heart rate ... 50 skips/10 burpees/50 skips/9 burpees/50 skips/8 burpees ...... etc. It was short, sweet and the perfect end to my run.

Afterwards? A lovely cuppa on the seafront with my husband and eldest daughter - followed by an amazing breakthrough with my little girl, who conquered her massive fear of going to the shop on her own. She went all the way to Waterstones bookstore, bought herself a new book - and came all the way home! I am SO proud of her.

And ... and ... and ... yeah, I'm not finished! Incredible, huh? My wonderful friend Karla actually baked me some Lamingtons - yum! yum! yum!  I'd never heard of them before, until two of my Aussie friends suggested I should try them when I was really 'down' the other day. I admitted I hadn't a clue what they were talking about .... and Hey Presto! There they were today - all for me!!

Quick 12wbt NOTE:  Did I EAT THE LAMINGTONS?  Noooooooooooooooo!! I gave them to the kids for snack and yes, of course I had a small piece to taste. Wow! Yummy!

Now ....... how to make sure that the entire week ahead remains as positive and wonderful as today ...... BRING IT ON!! xx

Friday, 24 February 2012

Blogger Challenge - Week 2

Thanks to 12wbt I've decided to give myself a whopping big dose of my own medicine. Many of my clients are sad, depressed, fed up with how they look/feel/think. While I'm listening to them pouring out their thoughts I make a note of them and later I email them with a summary of what's they've told me, more or less in their own words. I ask them to do a simple exercise ... to rewrite the whole paragraph without using 'not' or n't (LOL - yes, I've cottoned on to the cheating!!). In honour of this week's challenge, well, here it is ... my OWN medicine. Time to take a few minutes to spend on 'me'. This is what I need to do ... to allow myself time to concentrate on myself a little. I'm taking up 'me-time'! I'm also thrilled to be back rowing again. I haven't belonged to a gym in a couple of years, but 12wbt suddenly gave me the urge to get back in there - mostly so I could use the erg (rower). I'm really happy to be able to use that evil machine once more. And for the next 12 weeks, I'm also going to give myself the gift of attempting to be proud of myself once in a while for little achievements. 

Now ..... the medicine:

MY OWN MEDICINE - PART 1 : How I'm feeling (the negatives):

This last week couldn't have been worse. It started off relatively stressy and the stress continued to rise and rise. I've felt bitter and angry and downright sorry for myself. In retrospect, I think I could've given any teenager a run for their money with the number of tantrums and tears. I haven't felt like that for a long time. It eats me up inside and I can't do anything about it other than wait it out. I was so excited about 12wbt. I couldn't wait for it to start ... and then I found I couldn't concentrate on it or give it the attention it deserved. Nothing was going right. My February budget ran out. I have NO money - and 6 people to feed. My daughter's shoes have holes in them and it breaks my heart not to be able to buy her new ones. My dog is dying and I can't afford to take her to the vet! Yep! I'm not used to it and it tears me apart. Roll on March! My nutrition has been fine apart from the weekend. I shouldn't have had wine and a second helping of dessert at my brother's house - but nothing was going to stop me. One blow-out - and then my first weigh-in I put on weight. I can't really see how I deserve that, but it happened. There's just no escape sometimes and I can't see the wood for the trees. I hate being 'down' and I don't often feel sorry for myself, so apologies to anyone who's reading this. I hope you've rolled your eyes, given up and gone and made a cup of coffee. There's nothing worse than reading other people's drivel ... which is why I don't do this - ever!! But I promised I'd do what I get my clients to do, so ... now I'm going to turn this around. I have to! I haven't done very well today and it's only 10 a.m. My breakfast is too high in calories so lunch isn't going to consist of much - and let's not mention the dreaded Pilates at 2 p.m. - if I haven't shot myself before then at the very thought of it (just kidding)! 


This last week has been a real challenge. It started off relatively stressy and the stress continued to rise and rise. I've felt bitter and angry and downright sorry for myself. In retrospect, I think I could've given any teenager a run for their money with the number of tantrums and tears. It's been a long time since I felt like that. It eats me up inside because I'm generally such a positive person, but my positive nature tends to help me in these circumstances because I find it so difficult to sit around simply riding out the storm. I have to do something! I was so excited about 12wbt. I was chomping at the bit, waiting for it to start ... and when life throws a curve-ball and distracts me from my main focus, I tumble - because I'm a firm believer that you give everything 200% and anything less is unacceptable, so I was miserable because 12wbt needed all my concentration and deserved every bit of attention, but LIFE was screaming from elsewhere and pulling me away! It's challenging, to say the least, when everything cosy and wonderful starts to go pear-shaped. My February budget ran out. Trying to feed 6 people on zero pounds has been a real lesson in financing - but hey! I've done it so far ... and only 4 more days to go until I can breathe again (if shallowly) ... and the kids are still healthy and smiling and loving my inventiveness!!! That's got to be good, right? My daughter's shoes have holes in them and it breaks my heart to tell her she'll have to wait another couple of weeks for new ones, but this is a good lesson for her! It's got to be positive to learn that the best things in life are those things you have to wait for - even if it's a pair of shoes! I think perhaps this week is teaching her valuable lessons - that money trees lose their leaves sometimes, too - and need rain to be able to grow again! (excuse the crap analogy, but actually, I think that works quite nicely lol). My dog is dying and the vet will have to wait! This is difficult, because she's given us only the most wonderful gift of unconditional love and loyalty and I wonder what this lesson is? I need the lessons, perhaps, but Misty? All I can think is that if she passes away in the next week, then it was meant to be - and she's surrounded by a family who adores her and it will be peaceful. Perhaps it's her time, after all. Roll on March! Now, back to 12wbt ... My nutrition has been fine apart from the weekend. Should I have had wine and a second helping of dessert at my brother's house? I think that as long as I remain completely accountable for it, then why not? I suppose what's wrong with that is that I'm regretting it, so next time - wine and dessert, OK, but without regret. Accountability. Action. Guilt-FREE! Life will happen. One blow-out, however, affected my first weigh-in. I put on weight and felt rubbish, but - as I've said above - it's all about accountability. Moving forwards. Let's do it! There is ALWAYS an escape route. Sometimes it's just difficult to see the wood for the trees, but the sun still shines in the densest of woods, and rain still falls to enable growth.

I hate being 'down' and feeling sorry for myself, so apologies to anyone who's reading this because it IS unlike me. I hope you've rolled your eyes, given up and gone and made a cup of coffee. But perhaps you've got something from this, too. Perhaps you'll also see how your thoughts, feeling and actions affect the thoughts, feelings and actions of everyone around you. This is why I really avoid admitting negativity - because I need people around me to be cheerful and happy. Life is often uncooperative, but I feel that if I'm smiling, at the very least, somebody  somewhere will smile with me. 'Drivel' is a harsh word, perhaps, for an outpouring of stress and tantrums - but maybe that's a good way of looking at it. It makes it less perfect and it makes it more trivial. I like the idea of turning stress and problems into trivia. Wait! Did I say 'problems'? I meant 'challenges'! Yes, that's it! So, you see  ... I promised I'd do what I get my clients to do, so ... and I did - and I've turned everything around. It works! It's now 11.23 and things are looking a lot brighter than they were at 10 a.m., even though my breakfast calories were a bit on the high side! Lunch will have to be light, yes, but that simply means I need to think carefully about the calories and what I'm putting on my plate - it can still be a large portion, so long as it's the right kind of food! Another learning experience. But ohhhhhhhhhh a stumbling block called Pilates! How can I write something positive about Pilates? I would rather have that bullet in the head. But hang on! The sooner I get there, the sooner it'll be over, right? And it IS helping my knees, even if it's killing me brain cell by little brain cell LOL There are, after all, worse things than Pilates. Just imagine DOUBLE PILATES!!!!! :)

For anyone who listened/read/heard .... THANK YOU! But regardless, thank you to Whirlsie of for this challenge - and for, in effect, giving me this gift.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Weighing up what's done and what's coming!

It's been a PSYCHO-BATTLE week! That's what I call it, anyway - a constant stream of wars going on in my head, and unfortunately my head has not been preoccupied with worries about which yogurt to choose or whether or not to eat a banana. God, I wish it was that simple.

800g UP this morning. 'Pissed off' is the politest way I can think of to express how I felt, but note that I've used that verb in the past tense - 'felt' rather than 'feel'. I'm still fighting. I haven't thrown in the towel - and I'm actually very proud of myself for that. I spent a couple of hours sifting through all the excuses I can think of for my weight gain. Yes - Saturday was tricky - but I was kickboxing all day on a course, so I figured the poor nutrition would be somewhat offset by being on my feet and moving for eight hours straight. Sunday was troublesome. I blew it at my brother's house and ate for 3 (possibly even 4). And yes, there was wine involved, too. But overeating on occasion is going to happen (I'm not going to pretend it's not) ... and I was right back on track Monday and Tuesday so although I expected not to lose, I thought 800g was rather on the steep side!!

However, it's done, it's logged and I am accountable - for whatever reason. I have another few thoughts ... that perhaps it wasn't all to do with one nutritional blow-out. This week has been super super stressful - and I'm talking serious stress! I'm sitting here wondering how the hell I'm going to feed my kids for the next 6 days and it's no fun - the kind of challenge I can do without! Stress, I know, releases cortisol, which inhibits fat loss - and that could definitely be working against me right now. And a couple of hours ago, I think I had confirmation of TOTEFMOS (that's menopause-speak for Time Of The Every Few Months Or So) - which would also explain water retention and bloating.

So ..... guess what! I'm over it! Losers complain, winners train, right? I'm going to stand by that. It's my new motto for this week. I'm already proud of myself for not sobbing into a chocolate doughnut after weigh-in this morning. Instead, I had a squeaky clean breakfast and I've had a squeaky clean lunch - and in between those two I trained a client and then did the running workout outdoors to de-stress - 30 minute jog followed by 20 minutes of intervals 30 sec sprint, 30 sec recover. I actually LAUGHED on my way back to the car .... because for once the only whinge I had was with my hamstrings and not my knees!! Boy, that felt good!!

And you know what else felt good? All the support I've been getting from the 12wbt forums at  AND from the wonderful people in the two 12wbt Facebook groups I belong to AND the 12wbt ladies and gents on Thank you so SO much! You are truly amazing!

What's coming next? Squeaky-clean eating and lots of calorie-burning. And I think there'll be quite a lot of writing going on this week - it helps me sort my head out. And plenty of running .... which is how I de-stress.
Thanks for listening! Ever onwards ...

Monday, 20 February 2012

Blogger Challenge - ABOUT ME!

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.  What makes you, you?
Here we go, then ... I'm closing in on the big FIVE-OH - or is it closing in on me? I'm a mum of four amazing kids who make me proud and make me smile every single day. My favourite sports are running and kickboxing. I refuse to let age stop me doing anything, although my knees are not in agreement at all. AT ALL!!! I'm a PT, I adore my job, I'm passionate about what I do and I think/hope/have been told that I am motivating and, it seems, extremely persuasive. In short, I'm a persuasive and extremely stubborn cow who still thinks she's 30!
  1. Why did you decide to do the 12WBT?
I joined 12wbt to allow myself to be pushed and helped towards some of my own goals. I spend my working hours looking after everybody else and their goals, while my dreams of hitting new numbers on the scales, getting fitter, getting stronger ... were constantly being pushed to the bottom of the priority list. 12wbt brought my goals much higher up on the list where they're now written in red ink and very visible.
  1. What are you hoping to achieve through the program?
I want to feel proud of myself for seeing something through to completion. I want to feel fitter, stronger, proud of the way I eat and the way I see myself. I want to be able to give myself permission to feel good about myself - rather than expending all my energy on everybody else. Most of all, I just want the push to spend some time on myself and my own goals.
  1. Why have you decided to blog about the 12WBT? What will be the main focus (eg, food, exercise, a bit of everything?)
Blogging helps me consolidate what I'm learning and it gives me a feeling of achievement. As long as I'm blogging I know I'm making progress. Mostly, I blog about training, my training goals and focus and what I'm learning along the way. Occasionally, I hope to be able to help some people out with some more targetted blogs, too - like my recent Beginner's Guide to the Rowing Machine blog, requested by someone on the forum. If I can help anybody anywhere along the way, my job is done!
  1. How will you be exercising this round? Gym, home, outdoors or a mixture?
I'm a huge fan of outdoor exercise and I train my clients exclusively outdoors. I find it more creative and vitally important to re-learn how to love Nature and work with Her. I'll be combining my training with plenty of outdoor workouts, long-distance running and some regular gym sessions, which are currently vital while I strengthen my knees again.
  1. What is your greatest strength that will help you?
When I set my mind to something, nothing will stop me. I hope this is going to help me see the programme through all the way to the end.
  1. What are you afraid of?
The Finish Line. I get to within yards/metres of my finish lines and I turn tail and run back the way I came. I have a pathological fear of finishing. I think it stems from my mother teaching me to never try and be really good at one thing - just be happy with being reasonably good at lots of things. I've been fighting this psychological battle for years and am getting stronger and better at winning. I am VERY competitive, which is a good thing. It's just a matter of not bottling it in the last 500m.
  1. What are you looking forward to the most over the next 12 weeks?
I am really looking forward to finishing every workout knowing I've done a good job, worked to max potential and taken a step closer to my goals. I've got some major goals in the next few months and this programme will, I know, play a big part in my success or downright failure in these events. I can't wait to feel the buzz of great nutrition, to welcome DOMS and to glow with a secret inner pride that comes from reaching for dreams.
  1. What is your downfall? Food? Exercise? How will you overcome this?
My exercise is great until I spot that Finish Line Flag, so I need to watch out for that ---- but that's not going to be a problem this time round, is it? IS IT?? 
Food will be my downfall from time to time. I've got my red flag days clearly posted, but I can tell you now my target will have to be to work around them, because they WILL win. My goal will be to stop one red flag day turning into 5. That achievement in itself will make me happy. Same with red flag weekends. I need to make sure they don't flow into the following week! I don't have too many of them, so I am not going to stress and feel guilty over them. Portion sizes tend to be a problem for me - particularly in the evening. I aim to cook only what I'm about to eat and no more, so cooking meals to put in the fridge for lunch the following day will not be an option (basically, they won't make it to the fridge!!). 
  1. If you had to pick one word to motivate you over the next 12 weeks, what would you choose?

First SSS or, in my case, SMS!

I've been hearing a lot about the SSS and was dreading it coming along but instead of coming up with excuses to skip the first one due to a whole load of commitments that made training time too short .... I promised myself it'd just have to wait until Monday and I'd do it today! Erm ..... good and bad things going on ...

I had a nightmare weekend, packed full of Red Flags and the final score was AMANDA 0; RED FLAGS 25 ... or something similar (although if the flags had won by 25 cals I'd be dancing right now! Unfortunately, that wasn't the case!

After a blow-out yesterday (Sunday), I was of course sluggish and grumpy this morning as result of lack of real nutrition so I definitely didn't feel like going to the gym, but I'm chuffed enough that I sucked it up and trundled (rather than jogged lol) there with my SSS workout notes well in hand.

How did it go? It was interesting, although not quite the results I expected. At least now, though, I know what to expect. I was quite excited about reaching 1000 calorie burn, but never made it. Of course, once I got home, I saw Mish's video saying it was quite OK to add on cardio at the end to make up the calorie-burn!! At least that helped me not feel like a complete failure (I thought I probably hadn't worked hard enough or something)! So now I know that everyone is not expected to burn 1000 cals doing the double circuits. Lesson No. 1.  Yes, I'd thought of doing some more cardio, but to be honest I just didn't have the time.

The time thing was another lesson I learned today. It took me 2 hours to do the SSS and it shouldn't have taken so long. I think this was why I didn't burn quite as many calories as I'd hoped - because I had so many enforced breaks as I waited for gym machines to become free and/or it took me extra time to reset weights.

So this first big sesh was interesting in terms of learning, too!! Now I know how to organise myself better for future big sessions:

1.  Type out the workout with alternative sequences and/or exercises so that at no point will I need to stand still waiting for machines to come free
2.  Leave plenty of time to burn the extra cals on cardio machines at the end
3.  Just go for it and make sure there's nothing left at the end