Progress Report – October 2019

I’ve decided to approach my progress reports slightly differently for the time being for a couple of reasons:

  1. I was finding writing weekly reports a bit tricky to keep on top of
  2. It’s probably not that interesting for you to read each week whether or not I’ve lost weight

So I’ve decided to try monthly updates instead. I think it’s important for my obliger nature to have the external accountability of letting you know how I’m doing, but hopefully it’ll be more manageable for me and less boring for you!

So, how’s my month been?

Weight – altogether in October, I’ve lost 5.5lb bringing me to a total of 1st 4.5lbs lost so far.

Inch loss – 12 inches lost in total and I’m delighted to see that my collarbone is beginning to reappear. I haven’t seen that for years!

Exercise – I’ve continued to maintain my exercise schedule, even when I went to visit my mum for the weekend, and I’m definitely seeing my endurance and strength improving:

Exercise Starting Point Current Performance
Plank 3x 1 min 3x 1min 15sec
Side Plank 3x 1min each side
Deadlift 3x 20 reps 16kg 5x 20 reps 24kg
Lunges 3x 10 reps 10kg 5x 12 reps 10kg
Chest Press 3x 20 reps 12.5kg 5x 18 reps 20kg
Bicep Rows 3x 20 reps 15kg 5x 18 reps 20kg
Upright Row 3x 20 reps 10kg 60sec recovery 5x 20 reps 10kg 30sec recovery
Lateral Raise 3x 20 reps 3kg 3x 20 reps 4kg
Lateral Pulldown 3x 20 reps 20kg 5x 18 reps 25kg

I’m really not a fan of having my photograph taken but I was pleasantly surprised to see the difference in a photo taken this time last year to one taken now.

My biggest challenge this month was having a 2 week holiday from work with the temptation to sit around eating biscuits and chocolate all day that that brings. Although I did indulge in a couple of treats, I generally made healthy food choices and rigorously stuck to my training plan and even added in a couple of walks.

Speaking of food choices, although I have generally been making healthy choices, I haven’t been tracking what I eat so that’s something I want to focus on in November as it’s very true that we often eat mindlessly and forget what we have actually consumed.

November is sure to bring with it some challenges as the nights get darker, we get closer to Christmas and it’s also my birthday month, but I’m just going to keep on trying to make healthier choices for the benefit of my future self and with the shorter term aim of looking as good as I can by the time my Christmas holiday comes arounds.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

Progress Report 1.10.19

Weigh-in Result: -2lb

What do you do when plans go awry? That’s how my healthy eating plans have felt this week. I’ve been trying to streamline my meal planning and shopping process to save me time but this is in the early stages and this week I ran into a few problems involving missing ingredients. In the past, my reaction would have been to throw any ideas of sticking to my plan out of the window as I headed to the chippy. But this time has been different. I’ve reminded myself of the progress I’ve made and how much better I’m feeling and I honestly haven’t wanted to resort to takeaway food.

I’ve been back in the kitchen baking along with the Great British Bake Off and this time it was the turn of my colleagues to ensure that I didn’t eat the entire cake!

This week was book club week and, as I mentioned last month, this would usually be an excuse for me to indulge in a glass of wine and a slice of cake without tracking either of them. Last time around I chose cake, this time, I opted for wine. It was actually the first glass of wine I’ve had since my summer cruise and it was nice to savour it whilst discussing this month’s read.

The weekend saw me visiting my parents in Wales. Previous visits have always had quite a boozy theme to them – although there are 9 pubs in the small town (population 2013) that she lives in, so it can’t really be helped! But this time around, my mum knows how focused Mr FFF and I are on improving our health and fitness so, rather than just getting us some drink in for our arrival on Friday after work, she asked us about it first and we politely declined.

We went out for dinner on Saturday night (almost all of the pubs serve delicious, home-cooked food) but I again stayed in control of my eating by having a light breakfast and lunch and only having two alcoholic drinks with dinner.

A warming bowl of cawl made a delicious lunch.

I continue to surprise myself with my attitude towards my fitness. Rather than seeing spending the weekend at my mum’s as an excuse not to exercise, I took my walking boots to Wales with me. Unfortunately, we were thwarted by the Welsh weather but we managed 20 minute walk and also walked to and from the pub! What I did notice was that climbing the steep hill on the way back from the pub no longer leaves me breathless.

I’d also booked an appointment with my PT for the Sunday afternoon when I got back and was delighted that I was able to tell him that I’d been gyming-it consistently whilst he’s been on holiday.

After a busy couple of weeks, I’m looking forward to a quieter time over the next couple of weeks.

Here’s hoping…

FFF

Progress Report – 24.9.19

Weigh In Result: STS

As I wrote about last week, I knew that this week was going to present the biggest struggle so far in terms of sticking to my exercise goals because it was a busy week involving several changes to my normal weekly routine. I had a governor’s meeting on one of my normal ‘gym nights’; my PT is on holiday; my mum came to visit from Wales and we went to the cinema; I had to work on Saturday morning; we went out for a meal on Saturday evening; and I’d made arrangements to meet up with friends for coffee on Sunday.

Fortunately, I’d taken the time to think about how I was going to deal with each of these situations and so I was well-prepared for them when they rolled around.

Exercise – Due to the meeting, I’d changed my gym night to Friday. Not how I’d ideally have liked to start my weekend but it was the only other week-night option due to my mum visiting on the Wednesday and attending my WW meeting on Mondays. I also had to rearrange an essential appointment (getting my nails done!) which I’d booked for the Saturday morning before I knew I was going to have to work. The only time I could reschedule for was straight after work on Friday. This made me even less inclined to go the gym on Friday night. I asked myself “Would it really matter if I miss just one session?” I decided that no, missing one wouldn’t hurt, but I didn’t want to miss one. So I got myself to the gym, completed my program and went home feeling rather smug!

Cinema – In days gone by, a trip to the cinema would be an excuse to eat a ton of junk – a hot dog, ice-cream and popcorn would be pretty much standard. But I made the decision to rein myself in this time. I cooked an easy but tasty meal for us to eat before we went and I took some skinny popcorn with us to share. My mum also brought some chocolate to share which I hadn’t planned on. I took a smaller portion than I would have normally and savoured every mouthful.

Saturday working – When we have to work on a Saturday morning, we always get sausage or bacon butties and hash browns along with cakes and donuts to eat during the break time. In the past, I’ve also had a standard breakfast (usually a bagel or porridge) before leaving home too as I get up early and would be ravenous by the time we got to eating the butties. This time around, I considered not having a butty at all, but reasoned that this was the one positive aspect of having to work on a Saturday. So I decided to have some melon and quark before leaving home then to enjoy the butty and hash brown but avoid the cakes and doughnuts as I’m never usually hungry by the time they come out anyway – I only eat them ‘because they’re there’.

Dinner Out – We went out for dinner for the first time since getting back on track with my healthier eating goals (we used to eat out at least once a week but usually, more like two or three times). I decided that just because I was eating out didn’t mean I had to consume a day’s worth of calories in one meal. After all, it’s definitely not going to be the last time I ever eat out. Instead, I planned ahead and made some small changes to enable me to enjoy the evening but stay in control of my food choices.

Coffee with friends – I’d arranged to meet up with some friends for coffee on Sunday. We met at this fabulous book farm that has a café where they serve the most amazing array of cakes. I knew that with both of my friends would be ordering some and I’d most definitely feel I was missing out if I didn’t indulge in a slice. But I had a couple of strategies for working it into my healthier eating plan: as we were meeting at 2pm, I decided to class the piece of cake as my lunch. With this in mind, I had a 3-egg omelette for breakfast which I knew would keep me feeling full and planned a simple Sunday roast for my evening meal with only a small amount of potato and plenty of veg. You’ll be pleased to know, I’m sure, that my cake was delicious and I actually couldn’t finish it all! I may have only left one mouthful, but this is progress indeed!

I’ve got to be honest, I’ve found it difficult to stay focused this week, especially with completing my gym sessions, but I think this was simply down to the fact that it was a busy week with several schedule changes. Now I’ve gotten to the end of it though, I’m really pleased that I’ve managed to get all of my exercise sessions in as I’m not likely to get a week much busier than this one has been. I’ve shown myself that it is possible to juggle my schedule and prioritise my healthy lifestyle goals even when life gets busy.

What has been a great motivator this week is that two people commented on the fact that they can see I’ve lost weight which made me feel great and determined to stick with it.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

Progress Report – 17.9.19

Weigh In Result: -2.5lb

Last week’s STS weigh-in was the first real test of thelatest attempt to shift my excess weight. I’d been ‘good’ all week, sticking to my food and exercise plan, and seeing no movement on the scales did leave me feeling a bit deflated. I could almost hear a tiny voice telling me that I might as well just forget any ideas of being slim and dive headfirst into a large bar of chocolate!

But I soon had a word with myself and reminded myself of a few things:

  • staying the same is better than gaining weight
  • I’m continuing to exercise which is good for my physical and mental health
  • I’m continuing to eat more healthily which is good for my physical and – I’m coming to realise – mental health
  • I’m in it for the long haul – the weight didn’t go on overnight so it’s unrealistic to expect it to come off overnight

So this week I’ve dug in and carried on making the choices that are going to have the compound effect of helping me move towards a healthier, slimmer body.

This was my first full week back at work following the summer holidays and I knew that the marking and lesson preparation would start to build up. In the past, I’ve used this as an excuse not to exercise. But this week I just told myself that going to gym twice after work was a non-negotiable.

Even after a incident involving some superglue and two of my fingers (we’ll say no more about it. Other than it was actually two fingers and two thumbs) which made me half an hour late and put me in a pretty foul mood, I still hauled my backside to the gym, telling myself that I’d just do half an hour. Well it turns out that once I got there, I realised that being half an hour late for my own schedule was not going to cause the world to end and ended up doing my full program. And I’m so glad that I made myself go because my mood was much improved once I’d finished my workout. And I’ve thrown the superglue away.

I’m continuing to make steady progress with my exercise program too. I’ve increased my plank time and started to do side planks; I’ve begun to walk-jog-sprint on the treadmill rather than just walk-sprint; I’ve increased my speed on the rower, reps on my lunges and weight on the lateral pull down.

Next week’s test is going to be two-pronged: I’ve got a governor’s meeting which clashes with the  day I’d normally go to the gym and my PT is away on holiday. But I’ve got a plan to deal with both situations: I’ve timetabled my gym session for another night and I’m focusing on being able to say to my trainer the next time I see him that I’ve still completed three workouts each week – after all, he’s the one on holiday, not me!

Thanks for reading,

FFF

Progress Report – 10.9.19

This week’s progress report will cover the last two weeks (I’ve been trying to organise an actual timetable for my posts and changed my mind about the best time to schedule updates). Ordinarily, they’ll be a recap of how I’ve been getting on over the last week. But anyway, here’s what’s been happening over the last couple of weeks.

Week 1: 1.5lb loss

This was was first week ‘post cruise’ (for more about my recent cruise, click here) and the last week of my long summer holiday before going back to school.

Ordinarily, I would’ve used the ‘just back from holiday’ excuse to avoid exercising and continue eating rubbish until I’d been for my first weigh in. But this year was different. Before I went away, I booked an appointment with my PT for my usual timeslot on the day I got back to help me stay in the habit of exercising.

Because I’d exercised, I also didn’t feel like eating rubbish so I called into the supermarket on my way home from the gym to pick up some stir fry for my dinner and some eggs for breakfast. I then took time in the evening to plan my meals for the following week and shopped for them the next day.

The last week of the school holidays usually sees me making the most of the last opportunity for a while spend my days sitting and reading whilst eating chocolate and biscuits. I still took the time to do some reading and watch some of the new series of OITNB on Netflix, but I made sure I still went to the gym and rather than buying a big bar of chocolate and kidding myself I’d make it last for the week, I bought a small bar of chocolate to eat at the end of the week.

I also spent some time doing some decluttering and tidying of the house which helped to keep me a bit more active than usual and distracted me from craving the aforementioned chocolate and biscuits.

Week 2: STS

This week saw my return to school following a lovely, long summer holiday. I used the weekend before going back to school to plan and shop for my meals for the week ahead so I was good to go on the food front.

My challenges this week were sticking to healthier eating at school and changing my exercise schedule to fit around work.

On the first couple of days back at school, we always have sauage or bacon batches and pastries for breakfast. I always (over)indulge and this can be enough of a trigger to get me thinking that I can’t resist the temptation to eat unhealthily at work. But this year, I had a little word with myself. Although I enjoy bacon butties and breakfast pastries, it was more important to me to break the habit cycle of eating unhealthily at work. So I had a really filling, healthy breakfast before I left home and rather than having a bacon butty and a hashbrown when I got to school, followed by whatever was still left at breaktime, I just had one hashbrown and I tracked it. I used the same approach with the pastries. Rather than helping myself everytime I went into the staffroom until they were gone, I chose one, tracked it and enjoyed it guilt free.

One of my other stumbling blocks at school is indulging in dessert every day. Lunch is provided on training days and there is always some kind of hot dessert with custard. Up until now, my philosophy has always been to never refuse free food. This time around, I made the decision in advance to refuse the free pudding and instead take advantage of the free fruit. When we went for lunch on the first day back, the new caterers had not provided a hot pudding – only fruit. Bizarely, even though I’d decided not to have it anyway, I was really annoyed that it hadn’t been provided! My friend suggested that I was actually annoyed that I hadn’t had the chance to not have it. I felt much better the next day when it was offered and I was then able to refuse it so she was probably right.

I’m very pleased that I still went to the gym twice this week. During the holidays, I’ve been going first thing in the morning to get it out of the way and this is definitely my preferred time to exercise. However, as I’m not willing to get up any earlier than I already do to enable me to train before work, I’m now having to go in the evenings after work. I made both of my timetabled sessions this week even though I’d had to stay at school a bit later than I was hoping to on both evenings. I’m just hoping that I’ll be able to keep this commitment up when things start to get busier as we get into the swing of the term…

What are your top tips for fitting exercise around your work schedule? Let me know in the comments section.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

You can’t lose weight while you’re on holiday!

Or so I’d always told myself. But it turns out I was wrong (Ssshhh! Don’t tell Mr FFF – my official line is that I’m always right!). On my recent 14 night cruise, I somehow managed to lose 2lb! And no that’s not a typo. I actually lost weight whilst on a cruise where food and drink were available 24 hours. I’m still in shock. Last year, on an almost identical cruise, I put on about 7lb.

So how did I do it? Did I deprive myself and eat only lettuce leaves and plain, grilled fish whilst sipping water? No. But I did change my mindset towards the way I ate whilst I was away.

On holidays past, I would pretty much eat whatever I wanted, whenver I wanted and would justify it to myself by saying that I deserved it, after all I was on holiday. The thing is, for me, as for many others, it always seems to take longer to lose weight than it does to put it on. And, I’m lucky enough to go away at least a couple of times each year. I realised that my ‘enjoy it while you can’ attitude effectively meant that I was only ever gaining and losing holiday weight.

This realisation, coupled with my latest attempt to lose the weight for good, lead me to review my mindset towards holiday eating before I even packed my suitcase. I knew that there would be wall-to-wall food and drink available if I wanted it. I also knew that, while lots of the options available are at the less healthy end of the spectrum, there would also be plenty of healthier stuff too. So I decided to make the most of having healthy food freshly prepared for me at each meal.

I mainly ate omlettes, bircher muesli and fresh fruit for breakfast. For lunch I would generally load up on the various different salads offered in the buffet and add some chicken or fish to them. At dinner, I generally opted for the fish or chicken options and avoided anything that came in a creamy sauce. I didn’t eat like a fitness model all the time though. I had a dessert every night – but I didn’t have a dessert every lunchtime, just once or twice. I also ate breakfast pastries a couple of times, but not every day.

We also chose not to get the all inclusive drinks package on this cruise. There were several factors that played into this but the main one being in the past when we had a package, we sometimes felt like we were drinking just for the sake of it. I still drank wine with dinner almost every night and enjoyed several cocktails, but it was in moderation.

I think that exercising regularly also really helped. I went to the gym on every sea day as well as the one port day when we’d decided to only get off the ship for a couple of hours. In the past, I’ve had good intentions about exercising whilst on holiday but they’d usually stayed at that – intentions rather than actions. This time, I’d decided in advance that I would continue to get up early and go to the gym before breakfast. This would then give me the whole day to lounge around or take part in the activities offered. Although there were a couple of times when I was tempted just to lie in bed, I reasoned that, once I’d been to the gym, I could spend the rest of the day lying on my balcony reading if I so wished. Exercising first thing also helped me to make healthier choices with my food as I always feel like eating more healthily when I’m exercising regularly.

Better than the view from my local gym.
Proof that I was actually there!

The funny thing was, I didn’t feel deprived at all. I felt lucky that there was such delicious, healthy food being prepared for me for every meal. And I enjoyed being up early and in the gym when there were only a few other people about. Sitting on my balcony afterwards with a cup of tea and enjoying the peace and quiet was also something I really looked forward to each day.

So, it turns out I’m not always right; it is totally possible to go on holiday, enjoy yourself and still lose weight.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

How do yo holiday? Do you follow your usual eating and exercise habits or do you use the time to do as you please? Let me know in the comments section.

I’m still here! (Although I’ll soon be off…)

…on my travels that is! 

Hi everyone! It has been such a long time since I posted on here. I’ve frequently thought about posting but never quite gotten round to it. But, I’m still on my journey (although I seem to have taken quite a detour – oops!). I have recently set myself off once again in the right direction so I thought I’d start up the blog again.

I’ve got myself a nice new blog layout and ideas for some new content that I’m pretty excited about. More of that to come over the next few days.

But enough about me. So how’ve you been?

FFF