Fresh Start Statistics

So, I braved the scales last night for my post-holiday (which was 2 weeks at a Gourmet Inclusive hotel) weigh-in and I was astounded to find that I’d only put on 1.5lbs!  I nearly fell off the scales!

Whilst I’m not happy with having let my weight creep back up to its current reading, I’m not going to dwell on it – there’s no point: I can’t change the past.  What I can do is learn from it and move forward.

So here are the starting statistics for the next leg of my weight loss journey:

Current weight:    13st 5lbs

Waist:    36in

Hips:      44in

Bust:      42in

Arms:    13in

Thighs:  25in

These are the targets I’ve set based on my current weight:

Goal Amount  to lose Target Weight Date to be achieved by


13st 1lb

05/10/15 (loss of   1lb/week for 4 weeks)
5% of current weight


12st 9.5lbs

16/11/15 (loss of   1lb/week for 9 weeks)
10% of current weight


11st 13.5lb

25/01/16 (loss of   1lb/week for 19 weeks)
Goal Weight


10st 7lb

20/06/16 (loss of   1lb/week for 40 weeks)

I have based the dates for each of my targets on a weight loss of 1lb per week which falls well within the Weight Watchers plan’s recommendations of between 05-2lb per week.  I’m sure there will be some weeks when I do better but I want my targets to be realistic and achievable.

As I achieve each of my small targets, I will be setting another one to help break my final goal down into more manageable chunks.

It was actually a bit disheartening to calculate how long it will take me to get to goal – 9 months!! However, I’m trying to view this in a positive way – I definitely don’t want it to take any longer than that so I need to stay focused.  And who knows, if I stick to the plan, I might even get there a bit quicker.  After all, I know from experience that when you stick to the plan, it works.

Here are my current pictures – taken on the last day of my holiday.  I plan to update these and my measurements every month or two to help show my progress.  Although in subsequent pictures, my skin is likely to be even pastier as, believe it or not, these show me with what is a pretty good tan for my Irish heritage, so apologies in advance for that!

Me, September 2015

Thanks for reading,


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

No, I’m not totally confused and neither have I been through some kind of time-warp.  But I am celebrating the new school year.

I'm looking forward to starting the next chapter in my weight loss journey (in fact this book was actually filled with puddings so I was REALLY excited about starting it!)

I’m looking forward to starting the next chapter in my weight loss journey (in fact this book was actually filled with puddings so I was REALLY excited about starting it!)

One of the advantages of working in schools is that every September you get that ‘new year’ motivation that everyone else only gets in January.  Remember when you were at school and you had new teachers, new classrooms, new books?  You would vow to keep your books pristine and complete your homework diligently as soon as it was set. It was such an inspiring and motivational time.  Well, even as an adult, I feel the same way at this time of year.  So I’m going to use that positive feeling to focus on the next stage on my journey to goal.

For some people, losing weight is a simple, straight forward process: They decide they want to lose weight, change their diet and exercise habits and lose weight.  However, for many people, it’s not that simple and straight forward.  I fall into the latter category (see here, here, here and here if you’d like proof).

Ordinarily, I like to use the long summer holidays to refocus on healthy eating and exercise following a long and tiring school year.  This year however, we ended up having to go on holiday at the end of the summer instead of the beginning when we normally go.  This made it difficult for me to get motivated with my food and exercise as I felt like I’d just undo the hard work I’d put in when I went on holiday.  I did try for damage limitation initially, but that didn’t last long as I kept telling myself that I wasn’t going to worry about my weight loss journey until I was back at school.

What I did do, however, was take the time to begin decluttering my life.  I have a demanding job with long hours, various other commitments outside work and a large family to keep up to date with.  The result is that I often feel as though I’m living at a million miles an hour and I find that my living space can easily become cluttered and chaotic (I’m astounded at how much ‘stuff’ I have amassed in the decade since I left home).  I reasoned that by focusing on getting my house in order, I would feel calmer and would find it easier to focus on the other areas of my life that I want to improve, including my health and fitness goals.

I’m not completely decluttered yet – I’m  about halfway through so far – but I’ve already started to see improvements such as not letting paperwork stack up.  So I’m hopeful that the positivity I’m feeling from this will help me to focus on what I need to do to achieve my weight loss goals.  I’ve spent today preparing my food for the week.  I’ve made 2 batches of soup for my lunches (recipes to follow later in the week) and a thai beef curry for dinner one night.  I’ve got the rest of my meals for the week planned and the ingredients are all bought.  I’ve stocked up on some tasty fruit to snack on and I’ll be making some bircher muesli tonight ready for my breakfast tomorrow.

I’m really looking forward to tackling the next stage in my weight loss journey.  I’m even actually looking forward to my weigh in tomorrow night to find out what my starting point is!  Here’s hoping the motivation will carry through to tackling my workload for the term…

Thanks for reading.



PS –  I’ve been following a process for decluttering after reading a book (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo if you’re interested).  While I don’t agree with everything in it, I have found it to be a very useful tool so far.  I’m hoping to be completely decluttered by Christmas, maybe sooner, and I’ll write a review of the process then.

Time to Break a Sweat

I’ve invested in a personal trainer.  Well, when I say ‘invested’, I actually got it for free.  And when I say ‘it’ I mean a

I like that you can workout to your own music (Image courtesy of Nike+ TC)

I like that you can workout to your own music (Image courtesy of Nike+ TC)

new training app that I’ve downloaded.

Inspired by last week’s Weight Watchers talk about using regular exercise to help improve health, fitness and appearance, I decided to take the bull by the horns and get my, rather wobbly, backside moving.  I reasoned that I’ve got about a month before I go on holiday and in that time, if I work really hard, I could see good results.  After all, celebs can do it when they’ve got personal trainers beasting them daily.

Now, I can’t afford a personal trainer but I thought back to when I was on a mission to fit into my wedding dress and I’d downloaded a free Davina McCall fitness app.  I really enjoyed using it as the workouts were short, needed no equipment and because they were on an app I could do them to different music or even whilst watching TV so they didn’t get too boring.

Unfortunately,  it seems you can no longer get this app.  But I didn’t let this put me off.  I looked for an alternative instead.  There are quite a few decent looking free apps out there, but after a bit of research, I eventually went for the Nike+ Training Club app .

I’ve been using it for a week now and so far I’m really impressed with it.  There are loads of different workouts you

My Program (Image courtesy of Nike+ TC)

can choose from.  They’re split into different categories depending on what you want to achieve: Get Lean, Get Toned, Get Strong or Get Focused.  Within each of these sections you’ve got a selection of workouts at beginner, intermediate and advanced level and ranging in time from 15 to 45 minutes.  You can also edit the workouts to suit you by choosing alternative exercises.

The bit that I’ve mainly been using is the ‘Programs’ feature.  This allows you to choose a fitness goal from same categories and intensity levels as the workouts.  I went for a Get Lean Beginners program and was given the option of adding in running to boost reach my goal quicker, which I took.  The app then generated a 4 week program for me to follow.  Each week it gives me 2 different ‘Get Lean’ workouts to do, 2 runs starting at 5km and building up to 8km, and a yoga session.  It schedules these across the week along with 2 rest days.

When completing the workouts, you get the option of using an album, playlist or all music on your device or of using a separate music source.  The app them guides you through the

My Program (Image courtesy of Nike+ TC)

My Program (Image courtesy of Nike+ TC)

workout with clear instructions and time reminders.  There’s the option to look at photos, written instructions and videos of all the exercises either before or during the workout.  The workouts I’ve completed so far have been really challenging and have really got my heart rate going and have definitely had me breaking a sweat.  The yoga was particularly challenging, in a good way, even though I’m relatively experienced at yoga.

I’ve been impressed at how the app has pushed me.  Whilst I’d started running again a couple of weeks ago, I was only running about 3km and wasn’t finding it easy.  Left to my own devices I wouldn’t have increased the distance to 5km for at least a couple of weeks.  I must admit I was a little apprehensive about my ability to complete the distance but I decided to give it a go.  I knew from previous experience that it would largely be down to mind over matter and pledged to keep going.  And I did.  Admittedly it was at a slow pace but I kept going all the way around and I’m actually quite looking forward to increasing my distance this week.

Apparently there is also a Nike+ running app that you can download that links to the Training Club app but I haven’t had chance to look at that yet.  There’s also an option to

Clear instructions with photos and videos (Image courtesy of Nike+ TC)

Clear instructions with photos and videos (Image courtesy of Nike+ TC)

link with other users as a way to motivate each other but I haven’t explore this either.

All in all, if you’re looking for a free app to work you hard, this is a good one to go for (for beginners at least).  Here’s hoping I can keep my motivation up and continue enjoying using the app.  Please let me know about any apps you’ve come across that are worthwhile as I find that mixing things up a bit can help to sustain motivation.

You can find a promotional video about the app here Nike+ TC Video


Thanks for reading,


(This is NOT a paid review.  Please see my disclaimer page for more information on my product reviews)

Operation Damage Limitation: Starting Statistics

As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been off-track for a while and my weight has been slowly and surely creeping

Image courtesy of zirconicusso at

Image courtesy of zirconicusso at


As a busy primary school teacher, I usually use the long summer holidays to kick-start/refocus my weight loss efforts and I organise my holiday around this – going away at the beginning of the break so that I have time to get back on track before going back to school.  However, this year, we’ve had to rearrange our holiday dates and destination and I’m now not going away until the end of the summer.  AND the place I’m going to is a Gourmet Inclusive place with amazing food and drink available 24hrs.


So, I could either write the whole summer off, and no doubt put on even more weight before my holiday, or make the most of the time I’ve got.  I’ve decided to go with the former and try to kickstart my weight-loss before I go away.


Start of summer weight (20/7/15):    13st 5lbs

Waist:    35.5in

Hips:      45in

Bust:      40in

Arms:    12in

Thighs:  26in

I’ve set myself a goal of getting below the 13st mark before I go away.  When I come back, I’ll set myself some medium and long term targets.

WI Results – Damage Limitation Week 1

Weight loss:   1.5lb

Image courtesy of stockimages at

Image courtesy of stockimages at

Current weight:    13st 3.5lb

Weight loss since start:   1.5lb

Lbs to go to reach next target:   4lb


What’s gone well?

I’m really pleased with my weight loss this week.  I’ve been exercising really hard using my new training app (more about that soon) and have found it pretty easy to stick to eating healthily.

Unbelieveably, I’ve managed to ‘run’ (more like a steady plod really) two 5km distances this week.  I’m not loving the running aspect of the training so far but I know that I soon will once I get back into it properly.

Despite eating out a couple of times this week, including on a fantastic day out in London taking my mum to see The Lion King, I managed to make sensible choices and avoided the temptations of desert on boths occassions.


What’s been difficult?

I’m finding tracking difficult.  I’m not sure why.  I seem to have some kind of mental block.  I did ok with it up until Friday and then it went out of the window.  I still had the plan in the front of my mind but I just didn’t write anything down.  I don’t really know why.  I had time and I’m determined to eat healthily.  It’s a puzzle.


The week ahead

I’m planning on sticking with my training programme this week as well as trying a new circuits class this evening.  I’ve got to increase my run to 6km for one of the two this week and I’m quite looking forward to that.  I’m going to add the extra 1km to the beginning part of the route so that in my head, I’m doing the extra before I get tired.

My biggest challenge this week is going to be spending a girls’ weekend in Liverpool.  I’m really going to try hard to track so that it will hopefully help to keep me focused.  I’m going to take my trainers and running gear with me too so that I can complete this weekend’s run along the waterfront.

I’ve also set myself a mini-target of losing another 4lb by the time I go on holiday which will take me back into the 12st bracket.  I’m hoping that this small but achieveable target will help me to stay on track.

Wish me luck.  And if you’ve got any idea about why I hit a block with tracking at the weekend, please let me know!


Thanks for reading,





Mission: Damage Limitation

Well, as you may or may not have noticed, I’ve been away from the blog for a LONG time.  This is partly down to me getting a promotion and getting my head around my new role.  But it’s largely down to the fact that I haven’t been prioritising my own health and fitness.  The result is that my weight has gradually been creeping up for the last few months.

I can't wait to be back here!

I can’t wait to be back here!

I have felt really annoyed at myself but I’m choosing not dwell on it as that’s not going to get me anywhere.

I’m now on holiday from work for 7 weeks (just over 6 left) and so my plan is to get my fitness and diet kicked back into shape.

Well, that was my plan but, as we all know, the only sure thing in life is change:

Originally, we’d planned to go to Tunisia for 10 days in the middle of the holidays.  I felt that I’d have enough time to get my prep for September done before going then have a couple of weeks when we got back to get back on track.

So, we’re now not allowed to go to Tunisia so are instead going to Mexico at the end of the holidays.  It gives me only a few full days to get back on track between coming home and going back to work.  AND where we are going is a Gourmet Inclusive hotel.  We’ve been before and the food and cocktails are absolutely to die for.  Now, we’ve paid a lot of money for this holiday so I don’t want to feel like I’m missing out BUT I also don’t want to have to pay for an extra seat to accomodate my backside on the return flight!

So, I’ve come up with a new damage limitation plan:  I’m working really hard to eat really well and exercise daily to enable me to be in as good a position as possible when I go on holiday.  We’re going to make use of the gym facilities at the hotel (if my sister is reading this, “Ssshh! It’s my holiday, I’ll do what I want!”).  I’m going to do some energetic swimming whenever I need to cool off (this really helped when I was in Turkey a couple of years ago and worrying about not fitting into my wedding dress) and I also really wnat to try the yoga classes that are available at the hotel.  I’m going to enjoy the food on offer but will make sure I make sensible choices and don’t go overboard.  When I get back, I’m getting straight back on track.

Sorry for the long post but it feels good to be back!  I’ll write a couple of shorter posts over the next couple of days with more info on my exercise plan etc.

If anyone’s got any suggestions for how to keep focused on making sensible food choices and how to motivate themselves to exercise on holiday, please share!

Thanks for reading


New Year, New Start v2.015

At this time of year, many of us make resolutions of things we are going to give up or start doing in the hope of improving our health, appearance, job or quality of life.

Setting goals and self-improvement are all well and good.  However, for many of us, the setting of resolutions for the new year is often followed by the failure to stick to those resolutions.

I had been thinking about setting some resolutions for 2015 when I read an article about this topic in which many things rang true for me.  I have said for the past 12 years that this will be the year that I reach my goal weight and I never have.  This has resulted in 11 years of me feeling like a failure and being critical of my body and my appearance.

Enough is enough.  It’s time to stop putting it off.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

So this year, I am going to do it.  I am setting myself some specific goals to reach by a specific deadline.

I’m heeding the advice about ‘taking baby steps’ and so I’m giving myself a full year to reach my goal.  This works out at 0.5lb per week so is more than achievable.  I’m also taking on board the idea of phrasing my goal positively rather than negatively: it’s necessary to talk about how much weight I want to get rid of (not lose, I don’t want to subconsciously try to find it again!) but I’m going to focus on how good I’ll feel when clothes start fitting me better and going shopping for an outfit makes me smile instead of cry.  I’m also going to think about how good I know I’ll feel on the inside when I’m eating well and exercising.

I’m going to have a visual reminder of my progress by putting a bead into a jar for every 1lb I shed.

So here are my initial goals:

2 weeks:             Complete week 2 of the Couch-to-5k programme

6 weeks:             3lb total weight loss

12 weeks:           Run 5km non-stop

1 Year:                Reach Goal Weight (-26lb)


I’m going to set other short-term goals as I go to help me to stay on course and I’m going to make sure that I plan how to ensure that I stay on track on a daily and weekly basis.  I’ll also be thinking of new ways to reward myself for my progress.

Back to Blogging

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been nearly 6 months since my last blog post!!  There are many reasons why but I won’t bore you with them.  Suffice to say that while I’ve been away from the blog, I’ve

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

been on a fabulous holiday and landed myself an exciting promotion.  And my weight and body issues have remained about the same.

My weight has been up and down over the past 6 months and is currently up.  I’ll post my stats after the dreaded post-holiday WI on Monday but as I was 12st 7.5lb before Christmas, I’ll just be happy if I haven’t tipped into the 13st bracket.

As with most people at this time of year, I’ve been reflecting on my progress (or lack thereof) towards the goals I set for myself last year.  I’ve read some interesting articles on some of the reasons why people tend to fail at their New Year’s Resolutions and so I’m using these ideas to come up with a plan to help me to achieve my goals in 2015.  More on that in the next couple of days  – I promise it won’t take me 6 months to come up with them 😉


Happy New Year


You Never Fail Until You Stop Trying

Women sifting peanut shells to make a living in The Gambia - image copyright Hayley Shortt 2014

Women sifting peanut shells to make a living in The Gambia – image copyright Hayley Shortt 2014

Last night I had my first weigh-in following my latest bout of not focusing on my weight loss.  I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it as I’d not been completely ‘back on track’ due to another busy week and weekend (Good Food Show and Father’s Day).  I had considered this when I wrote my last post pledging to get  back on track.  I did think that I could wait until this week to begin but I knew the chances were that doing that would lead to another 1-2lb creeping back on.  So I recommitted knowing that I’d have a week where it would be difficult to focus on healthy eating.

I stepped onto the scales expecting to have stayed the same or put on 1/2-1lb.  Imagine my delight when I found that I’d actually lost 1/2lb!!

I’m so glad I decided to refocus on my weight-loss despite knowing that it would be a challenging week to do so.  Although I didn’t completely stick to the plan it helped to have my weight-loss goal in mind as I made decisions about what to eat and drink throughout the week.

It reminded me of a motivational poster that I saw years ago which said “Putting off something easy makes it difficulty.  Putting off something difficult makes it impossible“.  This really resonates with me when it comes to my weight-loss and sticking to the Weight Watcher’s plan: I know it works when I stick to it and sticking to it is pretty easy when I get back on track.

So I’m going to be seizing the proverbial bull by its horns this week and getting my WW mojo back on track.

I must admit that I’d thought about giving up on this blog as I feel pretty foolish for having to write about getting back on track again for what feels like the umpteenth time this year!  But then I thought about the words of the late, great Albert Einstein who once said “You never fail until you stop trying.”

So, with that in mind, I’m setting the following two small goals:

Weekly goal – to stay on track this week leading to a loss at the scales next Monday

Medium-term goal – to lose 5lb in the next 5 weeks, at the end of which I’m off on holiday.

Thanks for reading.

PS For those of you short on time but eager to cook tasty, healthy food, look out for a review of a fresh food delivery service that I’m trialling next week…



I’m Still Fighting!

Hi everyone!

For those of you who read my posts regularly, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while (and thanks to those of you who’ve asked when you’ll see my next post).Exhibition Flyer

I’m still fighting the fat but I’ve been incredibly busy over the last couple of months.  I won’t bore you with the details of what I’ve been busy with (although if you enjoy photography you might want to take a look at one of the reasons – Spectrum: A photography exhibition hosted by myself and fellow students at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.  On until the 26th June).  However, my crammed schedule has meant that I:

a) Haven’t had any time for my blog; and

b) haven’t had as much time as I’d like/need to devote to my weight-loss.


As a result, my weight has remained pretty static – small losses and small gains – and currently stands at 12st 1.5lb following a fab Hen Weekend in Liverpool last weekend.

Two main things have spurred me on to restart my weight-loss efforts:

1) My leader has pointed out that it’s only 29 weeks until Christmas!  I vowed that this would be the year I’d finally get to goal so I really need to get a wriggle on.

2) In my Weight Watchers meeting, we have been developing our own visual representations of our weight-loss.  I’ve used glass candle holders and red glass beads.  The 2 smaller jars show the weight I have left to lose (22lb) and I’ll be moving a bead for each pound lost into the ‘lbs shed’ jar.  The larger jar holds a glass bead for each pound I’ve lost so far on my Weight Watchers Journey – 21lb.  I’m really looking forward to moving my first bead (or maybe even beads…) into the ‘lbs shed jar next week.Jars

I’ve got some more recipes ready to post in the next couple of weeks and I’ll also be writing a blog about getting my priorities straight (I may need your help and advice with that one!) so please keep an eye out for them.

Thanks for reading.

PS What visuals do you use to help record your weigh-loss?