Saturday, 21 June 2014

The 5:2 Diet

Whilst I was in Ireland I made some decisions about my life, the first of which is that I need to lose some weight.

Back in the day I was a slim young thing but now I am neither.  Two children started the landslide but over the last ten years I have certainly added to it.  The thought of going on a diet though fills me with dread.  All that constant self-denial just makes me want to go out and buy a bag of chips!

A friend of mine started on the 5:2 diet last year and has lost a lot of weight, and more importantly has kept it off too.  But the thought of fasting severely put me off.

So when I came across Kate Harrison’s The 5:2 Diet Book I decided that I would read it and see what I thought. I put that off too for a while but when I did read it, I only got half way through before I decided to give it a go.

On two days a week you “fast”.  Now fortunately it’s not a real fast in the water only sense of the word but your calorie intake is restricted to around 500 calories for women and 600 for men.  The exact amount can depend on your BMI, but to save doing any complicated calculations, I stick to 500.

I’m now in my third week and so far it is going OK.  I’ve lost a couple of pounds (hard to tell exactly how much as I didn’t have any scales at the beginning but I already feel healthier and a bit slimmer, even though I’ve only just started.

At first I found the fast days really hard but already I’m beginning to get used to them.  It helps to have a plan and to know exactly what you are going to eat before the day.  The days I have chosen to fast are Mondays and Wednesdays because I am in work those days and don’t have access to my kitchen for the majority of the day.

I drink either black coffee, water or fruit teas throughout the day. I don’t have breakfast but have Ryvita with cottage cheese, cucumber and cherry tomatoes for lunch and grilled chicken or salmon baked in lemon juice with either salad or vegetables roasted in one-cal spray for dinner.  At about 9pm I treat myself to a cup of tea before bedtime.  I do usually go to bed quite early on fast days and read because it removes the temptation of evening snacking. They aren’t exactly a barrel of laughs but I do get a huge sense of accomplishment at the end of each of them and even better is the thought that I don’t have to do it the next day.

So far I have resisted the temptation to over indulge on the unrestricted days.  I think because on the fast days you are so aware of your calorie intake and it also makes you less hungry but I probably do need to resist the temptation to celebrate the day and have that extra glass of wine.  If I also try and up my exercise levels I might actually achieve my aim.

Now that I’ve started I’m determined to reach my goal and I’m looking forward to meet the slimmer, healthier me.  

So thank you Kate for encouraging me through your book to go for my goal.  The power of words hey?

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

It's Still All About Football!

As you can imagine football is currently on the TV in our house on a continuous loop and if I want to watch anything these days I’m relegated to the dining room.

I have so far failed to generate much enthusiasm for the World Cup.  Perhaps I am all footballed out from a season of watching the boys play.  Or perhaps it’s because the England team failed to ignite any enthusiasm in the friendly games in the run up to it all kicking off. (Is that treason?  Will I soon hear a knock at the door and be taken away to have my head chopped off?)

I usually only watch the England games during the first round but on Saturday night I fell asleep half way through – I do blame that on the lateness of the hour though and the fact that I had been to a barbeque and had partaken in a few glasses of wine!

On Thursday we will all be watching the game in our local village club. It’s a great atmosphere for all the family and if the football proves too dire I can always have a chat with my friends (as long as we are not shushed by the men).  I am hoping it will be edge of our seats stuff and that we get the right result – well you can live in hope can’t you?

The other week we had our own football celebrations to mark the end of the season for the boys.  They each received a trophy and my youngest also received one for the most improved player in his team.  It fair brought a tear to my eye.

On Sunday we have an all-day tournament to attend (joy!), so you see my cup runneth over with football.  What it is to be the only female in a male dominated household!

Monday, 2 June 2014

May Meltdown

May is usually a month I enjoy, mainly because the weather becomes warmer and it is the month of my birthday, but this May has been a difficult one and I can't say I'm sorry to see the back of it.
It has been successful work-wise in that as well as working three days a week, I have also taken on some audio transcription work which is helping ever so slightly to fill the much depleted coffers. The only problem with it is that I never know when the work is going to come in and because it needs  a quick turn around, I have felt like I am constantly primed to work, checking my emails and often working at weekends and late into the night.  Also time which I may have set aside for writing is instantly eroded if work comes in, because you can't turn down paid work.
Technology has also conspired against us too. For the first half the month my husband's van, which is essential for his own work was off the road, which meant juggling transport and trips to the garage, and then my laptop went haywire and also needed some emergency treatment.
During that time my mum was in hospital for a week with a problem with her gallstones, which was very worrying.  She seems to be OK now but is waiting for a date when she will have surgery to have her gallbladder removed which, hopefully, after her recuperation will solve her current problems.
Disappointingly, my son's team didn't make it to the final.  We endured a nail-biting semi final which went to extra time and then penalties and they lost by 1 goal.  This was incredibly distressing for my youngest as goalkeeper, but also for us, watching him bravely standing in front of the goal knowing that all his team's hopes rested on his performance.  He did brilliantly though, even though he took some convincing initially as he thought he had let them all down. 
So with all this hassle and worry, I wasn't particularly looking forward to my birthday.  But my boys, bless them, pulled out all the stops and I had a wonderful day, probably one of my most enjoyable birthdays ever.
My joy was brought abruptly to a halt though, when one of our friends died in the early hours of the morning after my birthday.  It was a shock to say the least, but especially so because he took his own life.  I still can't get my head round it and wonder what burden was so great that he thought his family would be better off without him. 
 A week later and we were due to go to Ireland to visit family for half term.  When we learned that the funeral would be held while we were away we seriously debated whether or not to cancel the whole thing.
But in the end we went and I managed to move our bookings around so that we came back on Wednesday and not Friday and on Thursday we attended the funeral.
I admit that I was dreading it but it actually turned out to be a lovely service despite everything and was attended by around 350 people.  The church was packed to the rafters but it was so sad that his life had touched so many people and yet not one of us had been able to do anything to help him through his own dark times.  We spent the day alternately celebrating the good times we had shared with him and despairing over the way his life had ended.
So what with all that has been going on, I can honestly say that I have barely written a word in all this time.  The stress and worry has just not been conducive to creativity.  But I am not going to berate myself.  I have survived this month and that in itself I consider to be some achievement.
Going away has given me some time to think and a bit of perspective though.  Life can be short, whether we want it to be or not, and I'm even more determined to make time for my writing.  The demands on my time may be great but writing is important to me. One thing this month has taught me is that you never know what is around the corner. Life is precious and I don't want to waste it by not doing something which I really love. Now, I just need to find some time!
Hope your month has been better than mine, and I hope that June is an improvement too!