Weight for it…

Ok, apologies for the title  🙂

It is my contention that to know if a weight loss programme really works you need to wait a while after the target weight has been gained … to see if it is sustainable. If the weight goes back on .. it isn’t. This blog post is a bit of the proof of the pudding – or proof of ‘not the pudding’. It has been a long time since I blogged anything about Fat Woman Thinning. In fact if you had joined this blog in the past six months you may not even know anything about it.

Fat Woman Thining, or FWT as it became known, was my day by day, then week by week, documented attempt to lose weight post menopause.

You see I had been eating sensibly and exercising moderately for years to maintain a reasonable weight. I am not saying it was ideal, far from it, I was on average a stone over MY ideal*. (This being at the top end of the normal range for my height and weight at 9st 7lb*)

Then came the menopause. Did I take my eye off the ball? Probably. But when your body starts playing tricks on you like serious hot flushes (flashes if you are American) you don’t watch other stuff so carefully. I gained weight. I wasn’t eating more, I wasn’t exercising less – but I gained weight. Looking back it was about 7lbs a year. Doesn’t sound much like that does it – but it only takes a few years and all of a sudden instead of being a comfortable one stone over ideal I was now two and half over – and feeling it. Feeling it in my knees. Feeling it in my breathing. To say nothing of the clothes that didn’t fit anymore.

January 2011 I vowed to lose this weight. I began to monitor my eating closely – sticking to the regime that I knew in the past had always worked for me. You see I knew a bit about nutrition, not only had I taught it but I had learnt the hard way back in 1974 through to 1976. (yes – that is a long time ago) the facts about what makes you fat. Facts that had seemed to be forgotten by even our own government (who had taken up the USA model of nutrition).

I added extra aerobic exercise to this extra careful eating, however, by April of 2011 I had only succeeded in losing 2 lbs! Something was wrong. I began to look at information about menopause and gaining weight. At that time just about all the sites said something to the effect ‘You will gain weight after menopause.’ And ‘to counteract this a cut in calorie intake is required’ To be honest, I gave up. I didn’t splurge, or stop exercising, I just went on as normal.

By Christmas of 2011 I had reached 12 stone – at 5ft 3 this was NOT GOOD. I was moaning to my sons about the ‘unfairness’ of a natural condition where you will just ‘put on weight’ even though you are doing the same exercise and eating the same. One of my sons, #3, bless him, is into weights and muscle-building and is a SERIOUS scientist.

Within a few minutes (because he knew what he was looking for) he showed me evidence that said ‘women lose on average 1 lb of muscle per year following menopause’ OK. So what? That’s losing not gaining.

What I didn’t understand then was the metabolic use of energy by muscle is such that the loss of 1lb of body muscle meant 35 – 50 fewer calories being burnt by your body every day. That number of calories not burnt everyday would equate to 5 – 7 lbs of weight gain per year! This was exactly what was happening to me.

So, cut calories? NO! This BAD advice would only put you onto a vicious cycle. Cut calories and the first thing you lose is …. Muscle. Lose more muscle – gain more weight! What I needed to do was GAIN MUSCLE. Now I put on large muscles too easily. Ten years ago I joined a gym and used it on a regular basis. I ended up with huge biceps and calf-muscles. I did not want that happening again. But, NO, those, it seems, were the wrong type of muscles. What I needed was tight lean muscles – they would burn energy best. This sounded better.

Here’s where #2 son came into it. A series of long ‘motivational’ talks ensued. We were trying to get to the base line – what exercise I could commit to on an everyday basis for the rest of my life! After all – the symptoms of menopause were not going to go away.

The result was that #3 son then worked out a system for me that incorporated my requirements:

1, Took me LESS THAN 15 minutes a day 

2, I could do AT HOME

3, Required very LITTLE EQUIPMENT in the first instance (and at the most a pair of dumbbells with various weights a and a couple of big weight plates)

4, WASN’T too BORING

5, WAS FLEXIBLE (so I could do it at any time of the day)

I combined this with my Sensible and Sustainable lowish-carb way of eating that is easy to combine with feeding a family and that I had followed for years, but now finely tuned using new nutritional data, and started the whole thing and my FWT blog on January 1st 2012.

12months from that, December 31st 2012, I had lost 2 stone 7.5 lbs.

side view Jan1 2012
side view Jan1 2012
Side view Dec 1 2012
Side view Dec 1 2012

 

I continue with the weights programme everyday and eat within with the same eating guidelines (this is not ‘a diet’) to stay as I am now. I have a whole lot of science now that backs up this way of losing weight and keeping it off after menopause. PLUS… the weight that had wrapped itself around my abdomen has gone. That ‘central ‘apple’ shape of fat that is considered the worst type of fat for your body to store, is not longer there. I’m a size 14 (UK) again now – not a thin wraith by any means, but happily more healthy.

The proof of the pudding – Today I weighed in at just 2 lbs over that Dec 2012 weight (Last week it was spot on – a little variation happens – I just make sure it doesn’t go up two weeks in a row)

How many people do you know who have lost weight (especially on a weird diet or a ‘group monitored scheme’) then put it all back on six months later?

One day we hope to put this all together in a book form. It’s not a fast miracle cure, it’s steady, sustainable and it takes everyday commitment – but it works and it suits me, a very busy woman who cooks for a family and likes to eat a wide variety of food.

 

Have you encountered the ‘menopause’ effect on your weight?

How have you dealt with it?

What features do you look for in a weight management plan?

Do share – you know I love to hear from you.

 

 

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Lifting the veil on the FWT

Ok, ok, ok… I have been putting this off since the first of July – that being the half way stage on my FWT journey.

What? You don’t have a clue what I am on about? Ah.. well.. at the beginning of this year – January the first to be precise, I embarked upon a quest to lose weight – steadily, sustainably and using a method I had not tried before, worked out between me and two of my sons.

Summer 2011

I started, as do those who join AA, in stating that I had got FAT. I had been avoiding this, after all with my rose-tinted specs clothes on  I can disguise a lot, even though my clothing size had gone from comfortably loose at a 14 to tight 16 bordering an 18 for certain styles. (UK sizes)  After all, I thought,  there are those around me who are much larger. After all I ate a sensible, well balanced diet – and really, really not too much of it. And I do at least one exercise type class once a week in term time. And it used to be enough before the menopause… which seems to pause weight loss as well. So there are all my excuses and I still had to admit that I had allowed myself to get FAT before I could convince myself that drastic action must be taken – despite photographic evidence.  I look back at photos like this and think ‘How could I have not seen it?’

And by drastic I don’t mean a starvation diet – dieting – silly cutting out of all fats.. or all carbs… is the CAUSE rather than the cure of many weight problems… all that happens is that your body learns it needs to be careful of those precious fat supplies as it might meet starvation again so when you reach your target weight and take your eye off the strict diet (you know you do, you know you will), the result is the weight piles on and it is much harder to lose weight in the future! At least I had managed to avoid that pitfall when I first had to lose a lot of weight.

I blame the Americans. 🙂 Ok, not All of you, but the first time I really put on weight it was in the USA. I had left these shores at nine stone, in fact a couple of pounds under, and had gone to America on a Buna-Camp scheme in 74.

Buna-Camp ran a scheme for students, particularly teacher training students, to go to America and teach in the Summer camps. You had your air-fare covered, plus you got paid a bit too. This meant that if you had the time left after the eight week summer camp teaching, you could travel around and see a bit of America before you had to go back to the UK and the next term.

Don’t get me wrong – it was a great experience! And I shall write a blog about it one day, but the food at the camp, plus the food when we went out, just piled on the pounds. I returned after eleven weeks 2 and a half stone heavier than I left.  My parents didn’t recognise me and I’d had to buy clothes to wear.  Had I pigged out? – it didn’t feel like it at the time – I didn’t seem to eat more than the rest, so , not really, but the high level of carbohydrate in the diet, plus the American beers (when out) certainly had their effect on me – and it wasn’t intoxication!

Luckily, I read up about sensible ways to lose weight slowly and steadily and this also taught me some good nutrition basics and started an interest in scientific developments in understanding nutrition, so I avoided the worst kind of diet trap  the ‘lose it fast – put it back on faster type’.

So, back to post-menopause .. the weight had been creeping on – and on, so,  in January 2011, I tried to recreate this sensible weight-loss pattern – but for the first time it didn’t work. By the time the photo above was taken I had been been keeping an eye on what I ate  as I had done all those years ago, but no weight had come off at all. What was missing if I was by now back to eating a sensible and well balanced diet?

Well, what I didn’t do, and hadn’t done for a long, long time, was hard exercise. I’m not really a sporty type, I  love dancing but get bored with class aerobics or jogging very quickly. I have also avoided doing gym sessions since taking out a year membership about ten years ago and, despite the boredom, using it regularly only to find I built up huge muscles (I build muscle easily) but that did not really help much with weight control, and it is only now I find I was doing the wrong sort of exercise – the type that is good for body-builders or weight-lifters but not for fat burning.

For this I needed to build lean muscle, and to do that I need to work it hard to get it to burn fat even when it is doing very little – so I was told – and so I have been doing.  Basic portion control with an extra eye on the carbohydrates and specific resistance weights exercises. Not too many a day – taking less than fifteen minutes.

Has it worked?? My cheerleaders will have noticed the weight going down in numbers from 12 stone to 10 stone, and will have seen the evidence that what I have been eating is enough for anyone.  They’ll also know that for the whole of the month of June I went on to a maintenance programme (to assess where I was and get used to my new weight), neither losing not gaining anything. As from the start of July,  I returned to the weight-loss method and have lost a further 2.5 lbs to the photo taken on Aug 1.  However, here, now … as I lift the veil on a Fat Woman Thinning …   is the evidence in the raw —

side view Jan1 2012
Side view Aug 1 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both photos taken with stomach muscles relaxed, by the way, and they are the same undies – ones I knew should fit again if I lost the weight, and both taken by me, at my arm’s length (What, you think I’d have someone else photographing me like that?).  Whew, that was scary – posting these photos!

So, a big thank you to all my cheerleaders – and the quest goes on – aiming for the next half stone … now what can I reward myself with when I get there? First target was a beautiful wrap, second was a pair of strappy sandals with more heel than I usually go for…..  Ideas welcome – I love to hear from you!

Finally – would DeborahKennedy2@**** please contact me before 10/9/12 .

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Life, death and losing weight.

I know the title sounds dramatic  – but week 14 of my FWT? odyssey has been just that.

The other half was away for a week and then everything began to go wrong. Fair enough, Monday was set to be a busy day before I had even started as quite a few orders had come in over the weekend, I had to carry out some important household repairs and had a Poetry meeting in the afternoon and WI committee meeting in the evening.

Luckily I had taken time out on Sunday to get most of the orders packed so when I received an email that told me I had to get to a shop, which had stocked my annmade slate-ware on a sale or return basis, some 13 miles away within the hour to collect the remaining goods as they had gone bankrupt, I was able to put the parcels in the car and set off immediately.

The goods collected and the parcels posted I just had time to check on the livestock before getting lunch ready. All was well. After working on making a shower waterproof and fixing a few other items I headed off for Poetry meeting and arrived back a few hours later to find that one of the nanny goats had produced two kids. Early.  Just dropped them and moved on. She wasn’t interested in them, despite their pitiful bleats – and they were so small, but I thought that perhaps this type of goats had much smaller kids. Grabbed up, rubbed dry, cuddled to get them warm, placed in the straw ready in a house, my 85 year old father and I then tried to lure their mother with tasty tidbits out of the field, away from the herd, and into the goat-house. She really didn’t want to come! She didn’t want to leave the others.

Eventually we got her into the house and by kneeling on the floor and supporting the kid with my hand under its small body, its spindly legs seemingly unable to hold it up, I managed to get the stronger of the two kids to suckle (The nanny was not keen on this either, kept flicking her leg out at the kid) The other was too weak to suckle – so a small amount of milk was squeezed from her mother’s tiny teats into a syringe and squirted into this baby goat’s mouth.

This to be repeated at intervals until it had enough strength to have a go at suckling with support.

Now you have to understand that we have kept goats successfully for over 25 years – just different goats – larger ones, milking goats with large teats that are easy to milk! We know how to look after goats, but this mother wasn’t keen on being a mother and even needed the distraction of food to allow her youngsters to feed.

I kept this routine up until by the third day she started standing to let them feed, they were both strong enough to get a feed and they seemed to be able to feed themselves having both been observed doing just that. I was confident that they were going to make it after all!

The next morning the weaker of the two was found dead. Well, this happens, if you keep livestock you have to expect some casualties (as a farmer friend of my father’s used to warn). The second kid would have a better chance, I thought, and so was shaken when my husband found this one cold and dead the following morning as well. Perhaps they were never destined to make it and who knows, perhaps their mother knew this from the start, but you can’t help feeling saddened.

On a happier note the other goats have produced since and we now have four very pretty goat kids to show for it, two nannys, two billys, and I can now see that those first kids were very undersized compared to some of the later progeny. Here are two of them, a girl and a boy – about 2 days old!

 

And as for ‘losing weight’ well,  this should be the week 14 round-up!

All in all, I really didn’t have any time to spare to write up my meals or my exercises before I fell exhausted into bed gone midnight. In fact, as this goat drama coincided with a family drama (where my father fell over and hurt his back, meaning I had to take over the night care for my mother on top of running the household and my slate business), I was so run off my feet that I didn’t even have time to do the exercises on those first three days (though I did plenty of exercise involving running around with half bales of hay and straw, and 25kg sacks of animal feed). However, I did get back on track and the results on Sunday morning showed another 1lb drop and half an inch off both measurements at waist level. So, my apologies to my cheerleaders for the lack of up-dates, but we are still on track, yay!

My thanks go to those lovely people who kept re-tweeting and sharing the wonderful Win a KINDLE draw that I am running on this blog especially on the days I had time only to make an odd tweet about it late at night. Please keep sharing!

Have you had times when everything seems to whirl out of control, how did you keep on track? I love to hear your comments!

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Fat Woman Thinning? ‘Don’t count your chickens…’

If you are new to the FWT? blog-posts, welcome to Fat Woman Thinning? – a 52 week blog, which I started as pages to keep myself on-track and so my ‘primary cheerleaders’ (my sons) could keep up with my progress. Then about 5 weeks ago, I felt brave enough to post it as a blog!  If you are one of my new cheerleaders ! Yay! Great to see you again!

What you’ll find here is the distilled notes from my daily log of everything I eat, exercise I do, thoughts and excuses the lot. Losing weight after menopause turned out to be a whole different game to losing weight before. What worked then, didn’t work now. A new strategy had to be found and as a very busy woman I didn’t have time to spend on long gym sessions or runs or cycles. This had to be manageable!  If you want to know what keeps me so busy visit my website where you will also find my novels ‘Divining the Line’, ‘Nothing Ever Happens Here’ and ‘Some Kind Of Synchrony’ just click HERE to be able to read the first 3 chapters in pdf !

Sunday morning first thing each week I weigh myself and measure my waist (level with the belly button) nude. This is my benchmark and so we start with Sunday 19th February…

Sun: No, didn’t do the aerobics this evening — sleep catch-up required! Oh? What do you mean that is no excuse?!

“It’s not so much that if you sleep, you will lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, meaning that you are not getting enough minutes of sleep or good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly,” explains Michael Breus, PhD 

Mon: I’m wondering if it might be an idea to photograph each meal (and snack) next week as evidence ….. ? (note – already forgotten to do this – perhaps next week?)

Tue: 4 pancakes with lemon and sugar ! Too Many!!Felt bloated for the rest of the evening – but hey – it is Shrove Tuesday!

Definitely my ‘hardest’ day on the resistance training – my legs are always trembling by the time I finish and I can feel my heart thumping and as to perspiration… won’t go there – just say ‘time for a shower!’

Wed: Only just got the weight session done half hour before the aerobics. This is not how I like to do it – but on Weds I am off to the market too early to do it before and this afternoon I was busy with making a bespoke clock and this evening with cutting and stapling the WI programme ready to distribute tomorrow.

Thur: Actually got the blog I was writing up and on line — hence running very late for last exercise of the evening – but having been to belly dance I think it qualifies! (yeah… but other weeks I have done both)

Fri: Snatch with the 10 kg plates was getting a bit long-winded as I gained strength so I have upped it to 15 kg – I think this is a bit of a jump but it was what I could find lying around in the barn, ie: two 7.5 kg plates. However, as I managed over 20 both time I think this was right decision. After all part of this whole thing is not to take too much of my time! However, my arms are all of a tremble still as I try to type this – have had to go back and correct so many typos!!

Friday Evening – went to ladies night in – making some lovely jewellery followed by supper – yummm, celery, fennel, carrot and dips. Selection of cheeses. Thin piece of focaccia bread. small bunch grapes. Dried fruit salad and clotted cream (yum) 2 glasses alcoholic ginger punch. Sounds ok .. but it was on top of a Tea – which, in hindsight, I should have just skipped in favour of a nibble to maintain levels. PLUS I was too late home to do aerobics 🙁 after all that extra food too – not looking good for Sunday’s weigh in at this rate!

Sat: Still feeling bloated and lumpy…. not keen to see the results tomorrow really.

RESULTS

Hmmm, last week I was planning what I would treat myself with when I reached the 11 st. mark …. well this is known as counting your chickens (before they hatch) … As here I am and still at the 11st 1 lb. so no move there then 🙁 What about the measurements? – well the relaxed remained the same… but the pulled in waist measurement was down half an inch.

OK, so not very much – but a move, and it is now that I wish I was also measuring other areas, like just beneath the bust – this week I have started having to do my bra-strap up on the next set of hooks in – as this area has definitely reduced and was becoming loose on the hooks setting I usually use. I also noticed (as did some friends I hadn’t seen for a couple of weeks) that my face has ‘planes’ not just rounded. I know, I know, I do worry a little that the face will become haggard – you know the old saying – there comes an age when you have to choose between figure and face. Well, I am hoping that the facial exercises (that are part of my half hour stretching and aerobics) combined with a little two minute face-massage with a light baby lotion before bed, may help prevent the haggard look. This, of course, remains to be seen.

Having popped all my week’s notes in here I don’t think I have to look too far to see what was different in this week in regards to foods consumed and exercises done. This is where the record really helps – as I can pinpoint the difference and what I need to do to remedy it.

Just LOOK at it!  TOO MANY pancakes on Shrove Tuesday (I ought to have limited myself a bit eh? – not cut them out altogether but been more sensible – after all I felt bloated – so not a good sign.

Then extra food intake again on Friday night – it was so yummy, but I ought to have guessed Carolyn’s ‘a few simple nibbles’ would be sumptuous and tempting’ (I did resist the absolutely gorgeous looking cheesy scones – somehow!)

Then I see I skipped 2 whole sets of aerobics and stretching and the stretching part of another evening. Hmm, pretty obvious isn’t it what happened. Yet there was movement, and there is definitely other changes.. so .. on to next week with renewed vigour and conscientiousness over the exercises. (Not withstanding, the item on sleep is also relevant and then, of course, some of it may be that some of the fat was replaced by muscle weight, it could be the ‘fault’ of upping the weights in a variety of areas … I shall consult #3 son on this!

In the meantime the end of the month is coming up fast and with that the next set of photos – and they will tell their own tale.

Motto for next week – ‘don’t count your chickens before they hatch’ and after my last post on will-power perhaps I should add ‘pride comes before a fall’ ? LOL 🙂

What is your reaction to a disappointment or set back. Give in – or get back out there and fight it? Love to hear from you folks!

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Fat Woman Thinning? Week 6 Round-Up

If you are new to the FWT? blog-posts, welcome to Fat Woman Thinning? – a 52 week blog, which I started as pages to keep myself on-track and so my ‘primary cheerleaders’ (my sons) could keep up with my progress. Then four weeks ago, I felt brave enough to post it as a blog!  If you are one of my new cheerleaders ! Yay! Great to see you again!

What you’ll find here is the distilled notes from my daily log of everything I eat, exercise I do, thoughts and excuses the lot. Losing weight after menopause turned out to be a whole different game to losing weight before. What worked then, didn’t work now. A new stretegy had to be found and as a very busy woman I didn’t have time to spend on long gym sessions or runs or cycles. This had to be manageable!  If you want to know what keeps me so busy visit my website  where you will also find my novels ‘Divining the Line’, ‘Nothing Ever Happens Here’ and ‘Some Kind Of Synchrony’ just click HERE to be able to the first 3 chapters in pdf !

Sunday morning first thing each week I weigh myself and measure my waist (level with the belly button) nude. This is my benchmark and so we start with Sunday 5th February…

Son No. 3s birthday today! And my next weigh-in. Well! 11.3 (another 2lb drop – I know, I know, I can hardly believe it myself – when you look at the food eaten! – see week5 page from FWT)  🙂 that’s 71.6 kg for those of you in metric and 157lbs for those of you who think that way. This is a total of 11 lbs drop since the start.

Waist measurement (taken level with the belly-button) is now 41.5 inches relaxed(105cm)  and 38 inches ( 97 cm) pulled in tight. that’s and inch and a half down on the pulled in tight measurement from last week and that’s 4 inches down from the first week I measure (week 2)  Do I sound pleased? You bet I do!

Notes: 5th Feb  Feeling good about the progress so far – hope the positive feeling can be maintained when the results are not so dramatic

Notes: 6th Feb By the way the ‘beetroot’ I keep referring to in my food list is not the dark red – makes-everything- else-pink- kind. It is a stripy beetroot (Some small ones cut up in this veggie picture above) that is great cooked anyway you’d cook carrot and looks real pretty too (yes, we grow them ourselves) .  Unless I write ‘pickled beetroot’ then it IS the dark red ones – that I’ve pickled!

Notes: 7th Feb  1 hour goat wrestling (hoof trimming) felt like I’d had a workout before I’d even started any exercises today!

Notes: 8th Feb   Not a good day for sensible eating — def overdid the plain chocolate — I have excuses – but knowing it was VERY cold, that it was market morning – so was early breakfast and therefore a long time to lunch, that it was WI meeting and the biscuit looked soo nice… – just won’t cut any ice with you– will it?

Notes: 9th Feb   Good day for both sensible eating and exercising! Yay! Hour and a quarter Belly Dance in addition to exercises

Notes: 10th Feb  Very nice evening meal at friends …  just managed to do the exercises afterwards before bed! Good job I’m not dieting – it means that when we go out to eat I don’t have to be fussy – just sensible with my choices. Knowing this really helps with creating a positive feeling about losing weight this way.

Notes: 11th Feb Early night – no, I didn’t get my half hour of aerobic exercises done – but sleep and proper rest is also important in the grand scheme of things.

My ‘primary’ cheerleaders have already given this weeks weight loss report a thumbs-up. But I realised that it seems a bit crazy to have the notes (or indeed on the pages the food intake and exercises ) following the result from the previous week.

SO, I am now going to post the weigh-in and measurements taken this very Sunday morning – as in following the week you’ve just seen. Next week will therefore End with the results – I think it’ll make more sense in the long-run, hope you think so too.

Sunday 12th February (weigh-in to end week 6)

Weight this morning was 11.2  (that’s 156 lbs) or 71.4 kg and the measurements are . .  Relaxed : 40 inches (102 cm) An inch and a half down!) and Pulled-in: 37 inches (95cm) That’s a whole inch down! 

ok, so, a pound only .. but I will post that message son#2 sent me again   “a pound a week is over 50lbs a year – and that is awesome!” There that makes me feel more positive! 🙂

* * * * * * TO BE CONTINUED * * * * * *

What are your favourite foods that you just HAVE to eat now and again whether you are on diet or not? Do you find that big sign ‘DON’T EAT THIS’ just calls to you  …. Eat me! Eat meeee!  Do share – I really love to hear from you all and thanks for all the support and encouragement I have been receiving along the way!

 

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Fat Woman Thinning? Sunday breakfast to The Big Breakfast

If you are new to the FWT? blog-posts, welcome to Fat Woman Thinning? – a 52 week blog, which I started as pages to keep myself on-track and so my ‘primary cheerleaders’ (my sons) could keep up with my progress. Then two weeks ago, I felt brave enough to post it as a blog!  If you are one of my new cheerleaders ! Yay! Great to see you again!

Sunday 22 /1 – week 4 of 52 week blog

Weigh-in 11stone 7lbs  (161 lbs or 73.2 kg)  belly-button measurement : 42 1/2 ”  relaxed  40 1/2 ”  pulled in

So, a 1 lb drop – that’s 7lb over the three weeks – but more impressive this week was the waist measurement. Yes, I did check that the measurements were ‘level’ and in each case, relaxed and pulled-in there is a 1 inch difference from last week (and that was half an inch down on the first week I measured) All in all I am happy with the results from this week… it does so help to motivate when there is change.. I don’t know about you but it is when I have a week with no change that gives me the biggest challenge. However, with you, my new cheer-leaders and monitors on board I am sure I can beat it!

Having a ‘moan’ to Son#2 about it only being a 1 lb drop this week and he said “One pound is a one pound – if you drop one pound a week for the whole year that’s over 50 lbs.”  Whoa! That’s massive! So whenever I find it’s ‘only’ a pound then I shall be glad that is still moving and remember that quote!

Sunday Notes:

Sunday is Sunday – and the tradition in this household is for a proper English breakfast, that looks huge compared to my daily breakfast, followed at dinner (lunch) time by a roast dinner – come cold weather, come hot weather. Again, this appears to be huge and we have dessert, though I have been cutting down the carbohydrates on that down by substituting stewed fruit and custard for the usual Fruit Crumbles or Pies. No one has complained ….yet.

Monday Notes:

Decided to time my weights sessions… I knew they weren’t taking long as I do them to music and they only took 3 tracks, but it’s good to know because one of my criteria is that they shouldn’t take too much time as I am quite a busy hedgehog and I really can’t afford to take much time out to do the exercises. This is one, but only one, of the reasons I don’t go jogging* or cycling for exercise. The other reasons will have to wait for a post of their own as from last week as I realised my notes over the week created a bit-too-long post in one bite. (*see 7 random things about me in Oh MY! oh my! Versatile Blogger Award post)

Tuesday Notes:

Still finding the lunges really hard work – just making it over the 15 – though I guess if I ended up doing a lot more it would take more time – 11 mins today  – not too much of a time suck! I suppose I should explain what I do for my aerobics and stretching sometime.. in case anyone wants to know!

Wednesday Notes:

Having found the triceps extensions difficult to get right without hurting my elbow a new way of doing these was suggested.   http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Triceps/DBLyingTriExt.html   if you want to see it- I don’t have a fancy bench so I used the bed with folded a pillow supporting my head so it projects a little beyond the foot of the bed (had to be that way round – can’t do this where you have a headboard!)

Thursday Notes:

I was a bit short of time – so missed out stretching from the half hour workout I usually do in the evening  as had just done belly dance class  which includes a great stretching warm-up

Friday Notes:

Saturday (tomorrow) is the Big Breakfast – so all exercises will have to wait until the afternoon, if I am still standing – will be cooking from 9am to 1pm!

Saturday Notes:

Stood helping to cook about 200 Big Breakfasts in the Village Hall today from 9 to 1.30, then cleaned ovens and tidied up, drove all round village collecting all the roadside notices in ….. felt as if I had already done a workout – but stuck to the schedule even though the resistance training that I usually do in the morning was completed at gone seven in the evening. *virtuous feeling*

TO BE CONTINUED       ****************

Don’t forget if you want any of the details of exactly what foods I am eating –  certainly not on a diet, most certainly not starving myself or going hungry between meals and yet it is working so far .. but will it work for the whole 52 weeks? Or what the exercises are that I am doing, then go to the Fat Woman Thinning page on the cross bar and each week is on a drop-down. These are updated daily.

Last week I asked you what were your greatest temptations and how you stopped yourself from falling for them, this week I’d love to know your best excuses for not doing the exercises you set yourself.

I know I use ‘lack of time’ mostly for mine – and aware of this I am getting used to telling myself that this is ‘just an excuse’ . Name it and shame it — then I’m less likely to use it again!

Most of all I just love to hear from you folks, questions, experiences whatever –  looking forward to hearing from you all.

Thanks for all the cheerleaders that have joined me in this challenge, please keep sharing this as there is plenty of room in the grandstand!

And if you want to know more about the novels by Ann Foweraker ‘Divining the Line’, ‘Nothing Ever Happens Here’ and ‘Some Kind Of Synchrony’ just click HERE to be able to the first 3 chapters in pdf FREE !

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Fat Woman Thinning? – where I get a new ‘coach’

15/1 – week 3 of 52 week blog:  Last week I explained how I’d just got brave enough to bring this out of the drop-down-menu box and onto my blog – the adventure continues …..

Weigh-in 2:  Well I was thinking that there might not be any change this week (as I’d dropped 4 lbs last week, that’s 2 more than I’d expected – so was thinking it might even out)

Anyway, weight now 11.8 (or 73.8 kg or 162 lbs) That’s down another 2lbs!  Waist measurement – as discussed last week (at belly button level and level!) 43  1/2″  (110.5cm) relaxed and 41  1/2″   (105.5 cm) pulled in. so about 1/2 inch difference in both cases.

15/1   Notes:

BIG disussion with No. 3 son, who is a bit of an expert on weight-training. (previously it was No. 2 son, a great motivator who works-out for climbing) No. 3 son has sent through a new schedule that will vary the weights exercises I do to maximise the fat burning and lean muscle building and work all the different muscle groups in my body in turn. So now I have a new ‘weights coach’.

Day Exercise Min Reps
Monday Sit-ups 15
(Core) Snatch 15
Tuesday Squats 20
(legs) Lunges 15
Wednesday Triceps extension 15
(Triceps and shoulders) Front raise 15
Thursday Bicep curls 15
(Biceps and forearms) Wrist curls 15
Friday Twisting Sit-ups 15
(Core) Snatch 15
Saturday Squats 20
(legs) Step ups 20
Sunday Lateral raise 15
(Triceps and shoulders) Tricep extension 15

So, Monday tomorrow – and I shall start this new regime: He also provided links to a website to show and explain each exercise and point out the precise way to do them so that I don’t injure my body in the process!

16/1  Notes:

Ah Ha! Had a refresher talk with No 3 son. Seems I was quitting too soon with my 15 repetitions – that was the MINIMUM, apparently I should have gone on until I could do no more reps … then changed to the other type of exercise for the day .. done those until it was too much, back to the first one etc.. And if they would just go on TOO Long I need to make them harder. So heavier weights, or different position, whatever ramps up the difficulty. SO, tomorrow when it is squats and lunges (neither of which I have really done before) I hope I can even get beyond the magic 15!

Also, note to myself: Don’t get tempted! Just about to go out the door to go to Poetry when I realised that , as usual, I would be there right over tea time. Usually this is no problem, there are biscuits available (AHHHH b..i..s..c.u..i..t..ss…..) So I quickly grabbed some nuts plus a couple of squares of plain chocolate to keep me from the biscuit barrel. Unfortunately, I left them in the car.. and got sideswiped by an exotic Madeira soaked chocolate covered biscuit looking confection brought in by the wonderfully kind Mary. Not wishing to be impolite (there’s an excuse for you) I suddenly found one in my hand. I bit, expecting a wonderful texture to crackle and crumble on my tongue – WELL, I will remember this! It was all SOFT, the hardest  part was the chocolate on the outside, inside it was a plum or prune paste nestled in a marzipan case. MARZIPAN! .. Ok those who know me can stop laughing.  I am not fussy, but about the only taste I do not like is almond paste aka Marzipan! Taught a lesson or what!

17/1  Notes:

OooH! right that’s 46 squats, then 34 lunges ( total 17 for each leg) followed by 39 squats and 32 lunges (16) and my legs are still trembling as I fill this in! Feels right though.

It took until after lunch for my legs to feel back to normal – about three hours! Though I am still wondering if I shall notice anything tomorrow by way of aches or stiffness. And tomorrow is Wednesday and that means the market – so an early start  and the exercises will have to wait until the afternoon!

18/1   Notes:

Gave myself a pat on the back this morning when I leapt (haha) from bed at 6.30 (market morning) and my legs were in working order! I knew they had done some work yesterday but it was not the aches and stiffness I was expecting. However, after a morning standing around at the market (Damp drizzly old day it was today too) the front of my thighs (quadriceps) felt like stone and my glutes (sounds better than bottom or bum) had a definite underscore of tension! Anyway – on to today’s new exercises, again, not done either of these before. I had trouble keeping my elbow from wobbling all over the place when I was using the two and half kilo dumbell and realised that they were probably too heavy to start a new movement with. After changing down to just 2 kilo I could manage the minimum and a few more … just.

Yeah, ok, I know – the mille feuille probably wasn’t a good idea! Bloated now!      (see the drop-down menu for wk 3  to understand this comment in full)

Shortened aerobic exercise – very late by the time our guests left tonight

19/1   Notes:

Still fell bloated this morning, and my glutes and quadriceps were still letting me know that I’d worked them hard!  We were out at Trago (The Westcounty’s own particular quirky discount department store) as it had its 15% off (nearly)everything sale on. Strange way it does it – has its sale all through January but only on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.  As I buy lots of odd bits for the business there anyway it makes sense to get a stock in when they have their sale days.. so we were there, and getting late for lunch so we bought fish and chips to bring home (those of you who know Trago at Liskeard will know that the fish and chips there are really good!) Yum, well, had to restrain myself indeed, and shared chips were the order of the day. Good job it’s belly dance this evening – an extra set of exercise! Just looked at the list of exercises for tomorrow. Twisting sit-ups look hard work.. oh well, we’ll see!

20/1   Notes:

Snatch with 10 kg started off easy enough — as I had already been doing some of these — but as I was continuing until I couldn’t do another they became progressively harder and I ended up quite puffed out as well! Twist sit-ups were not as tricky as I had envisaged, I had thought they would cause tummy trembling (as do the cross elbow to knees did (lying on back and bringing opposite knees up and elbows up to meet each other alternating) They didn’t – but the usual struggle with lifting your top half of your body from the floor to sitting was just as evident – even though I had been doing these before.

Spent most of the morning  in the kitchen making 6 loaves of wheatmeal bread, 2 loaves of banana bread and the steak and mushroom pie. Now, there’s a problem, I have a really good spatula, nice and bendy, scrapes the mix off the inside of the bowl lovely, so almost all the mix went in the tin. But try as you might there is always that bit more you can get off with a carefully applied finger, especially off the K beater. So, I did, and put it on my food list – weird as it sounds. What is it about uncooked cake mix that is sooo nice. And before any one throws up their hands in horror at the possibility of salmonella from raw eggs, I am happy with the quality an cleanliness of the eggs from our own little flock, doesn’t mean I’d eat any raw egg though.

21/1   Notes:

Dripping by the end of the exercises today – and puffed! Squats, today I decided to try with weights and so rested the two dumbells one on each shoulder to do this exercise. I was also concerned I wasn’t squatting down far enough. So set the computer chair to its lowest setting, where when sitting on the edge my knees are just a little higher than my hips, and propped the chair so it wouldn’t run away and did my squats so that I just touched the edge of the chair with my btm each time (so I knew I wasn’t cheating) I guess in a gym you’d have those mirrors all round to prove to yourself you were doing it right! Step-ups were new to me  so I sought out two child step-up stools as they looked like the beginners height shown on the video link (to reach the handbasin or loo type – yes I still have them from when my boys were little – now coming in useful when the grandchildren come to stay) and used them as my step ups. I quit at 60, I could tell I wasn’t going to get a burn stepping 5 and-a-bit inches and looked round for something else for the next set. Well, it was right in front of me, the first step to leave this bedroom is 10 inches high…looked pretty high for an exercise but I found it just right.. still went on for 90 but by then I knew it!!

(All the records of what I ate and how much exercise I did during week 3 can be found on the drop down menu)

  *****   TO BE CONTINUED *****

Thanks for all the cheerleaders that have joined me in this challenge, please keep sharing this as there is plenty of room in the grandstand!  As you can see there has been a change of  weight programme so I am curious to see what changes there will be tomorrow when I weigh in.

As you can see the temptation of biscuits is still as strong as ever (despite the lesson) This exercise is not about forbidding any food, but I know my weakness! What is the food you love to eat most?  What circumstances make you give in to temptation? What is your solution? Do let me know – I love to hear from you and we all could learn something from each other!

 

 

 

 

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Fat Woman Thinning? Out of the Box!

OK, I am actually in to week three, but have decided to get brave enough to bring this log (that has been on a drop down from the cross bar) out of the box and on to the blog. I’ll only be posting the notes  here – for the details you’ll still have to go to the drop-downs from ‘fat woman thinning’ on the cross bar, even so, this week’s blog is a bit long as you have the intro and the first two weeks – cheerleaders welcome!

A 52 WEEK BLOG

January the first!
First is the key word here. First day of the new me. First day of this blog
And I start as do those who join AA in stating that I am FAT. I have been avoiding this, after all with my clothes on I can disguise a lot, even though my clothing size has gone from comfortably loose at a 14 to tight 16 bordering an 18 for certain styles. After all there are those around me who are much larger. After all I eat a sensible, well balanced diet – and really, really not too much of it. And I do at least one exercise type class once a week in term time. And it used to be enough before the menopause… which seems to pause weight loss as well. So there are all my excuses and I still have to admit that I have allowed myself to get FAT before I can convince myself that drastic action must be taken. And by drastic I don’t mean a starvation diet – dieting – silly cutting out of all fats.. or all carbs… is the CAUSE rather than the cure of many weight problems… all that happens is that your body learns it needs to be careful of those precious fat supplies as it might meet starvation again so when you reach your target weight and take your eye off the strict diet (you know you do, you know you will), the result is the weight piles on and it is much harder to lose weight in the future!

So Drastic?: What is missing if I really eat a sensible and well balanced diet? Well, what I don’t do, and haven’t done for a long, long time, is exercise strenuously. I have avoided doing gym sessions since taking out a year membership and using it only to build huge muscles (I build muscle easily) but this did not really help much with weight loss, and it is only now I find I was doing the wrong sort of exercise – the type that is good for body-builders (all posing with large shaped muscles) but not for fat burning. For this I need lean muscle, and I need to work it hard to get it to burn even when it is doing very little – so I have been told – and so I am going to try.

I intend to keep this blog to keep me on track. It might contain some very un-pretty images as I am going to photograph my body as I go (not sure if I am brave enough to post these yet though), and some definitely boring daily food charts and exercise charts, but I shall also try to note any mental or physical changes that I think about and the exercise routines and changes to them as I go. So.. want to come with me?
Follow me on this journey.. fifty-two weeks of Fat Woman Thinning? I’ll  be blogging the Notes: as a whole week insight once a week (without the food and exercise lists) or for all the information and daily updates SEE each week on the drop-down menu from Fat Woman Thinning? bar

WEEK 1

SUN: Weight 12 st. (76.2 kg or 168 lbs)
OK … so it was New Year Day and we had family round for the day! No Excuses. Can’t wait until all the chocolate, cake and scrummy biscuits are gone! Fair start – considering how busy I was today .. eh? What no excuse?

MON: Drinking a glass of water 5 – 10mins before meals helps. Also a glass when feeling peckish – with the mid morn or mid afternoon snack* *counted – healthy

TUE: Weds tomorrow – need sleep as early morning – next week must start exercise earlier!

WED: Early start means v hungry mid morn so took banana to make sure no blood sugar drop – worked – and water!

THUR: Went shopping in am. took water – that helped but needed to have taken something to maintain the blood sugars – craving bad when home

FRI: Actually lay in bed thinking about getting up before M to do the weight cos we were going out to buy plants first thing… didn’t though – got to bed too late to leave bed early!

SAT: Getting excited to see if there is any weight difference when I weigh in on Sunday morning…

WEEK 2

SUN:Weight 11.10 ( a 4lb drop – couldn’t believe it – checked many times. oh and thats 74.2 kg for the metric amongst us, or164 lbs for those who don’t do stones. (More than I’d expected, but as it was the first week after Christmas eat-fest I don’t actually expect this rate to continue)

Read a very interesting article today that backs up what I have believed for a long time – it’s the carbohydrates that are most likely to help you put on weight. When the creed was ‘increase your carbohydrates and reduce the fats’ I was always unhappy teaching it as from what I knew that wasn’t right. Sure, too much stored fat is bad for your arteries but fat is not made just from eating fat.Fat in your body is made from excess ‘energy giving foods’ over energy used, and the number one energy giving foods that we were being encouraged to eat was the complex carbohydrate group. Complex Carbohydrates are just longer strings of the simple carbohydrates, which we also call sugars. It was so indoctrinated into us all that I had great difficulty persuading the girls I taught that fat was not the only thing you eat / drink that makes you fat. And just don’t get me started abut eggs and the bumpy ride they have had as a food substance!

MON: Then in the evening had WI committee meeting and I brought out some of those really scrummy biscuits I want to get eaten up so they don’t tempt me.. and they tempted me and I succumbed …………….

FR chicken – is one of our own reared for the table Free Range chickens (see main blog under Chicken keeping) and as such taste wonderful. Eggs, which are my main staple for breakfast also come from our little free-ranging flock. The ‘egg’ stated for breakfast most mornings is cooked in the following way: break one egg into a small dish suitable for a microwave (ie not metal and can take heat) I use a small cereal bowl, add about half as much milk as there is egg and whisk with a fork. Microwave on full power for about 1 min 20 sec (this varies according to the size of the egg) that’s it. – turns out like a mini omelette (without any cooking fat involved or pan to clean – eat straight from the bowl with a teaspoon. On mine I spread about quarter teaspoon of marmite. Marmite? Well, yes, for two reasons, 1, I like the taste and that way I do not miss adding salt to the egg, 2, Marmite has good vitamins including Folic acid which we all need especially at or after menopause.

Back to that article (see above – read more today) – there the doctor concerned said that weight wasn’t the issue – waist measurement (taken at belly-button height  – and taking care to make sure this was a level horizontal measurement) – was the one to work by. So now my target includes a waist measurement so here’s the starting point. WAIST: Relaxed 44 inches ( 112 cm) Pulled in: 42 inches (107 cm)  Noticeably if I let the tape ride up a bit at the back and angle down to meet the belly-button it was much less – so accuracy in placing is obviously required!

TUE: First morning that I have not felt hungry for breakfast – usually can’t wait to tuck in. Is this part of the whole thing or just  a one-off? However, not eating breakfast could lead to snacking or cravings for sweet stuff later so I ate my usual breakfast. Discussion with N, suggests that I move repetitions in each set to 15 if I can reach without failing before then. Think I am ready. Will try tomorrow and if ok maintain. If not work up to it to start next week.  Do not want to weight session to grow too long as then I may find it harder to fit in. Wednesday tomorrow – that means an early start for the market – so weights will have to wait until the afternoon! (No, I’m not getting up even earlier to do them first!)

WED: Up early early – as usual for a Wednesday, but, unusually for a Wednesday I didn’t augment my egg with a slice of toast and opted to just take a banana to stave off any hunger pangs. It worked. The only fly in the ointment is the biscuit I allowed myself to be lured by at WI in the evening. One of those thinly rolled ‘cigar’ biscuits with a lovely crunchy texture. Yep – you’ve guessed it BISCUITS are  the tempters, they have all the sweetest and wickedest words to whisper to me…. ‘crumb on – eat me’ they say ‘you know you want to feel that texture in your mouth, that gentle melt and release of flavour’  Oh Dear!  HOWEVER, on a positive note I did manage to UP my reps for the dumbbell weights (Seems that’s what I should call the single hand held bars with weights each end) to 15! Though it was really a struggle by the fifteenth!

THUR: Been feeling ‘bulky’ and slow today. Improved by the evening after Belly Dance. It’s so good to get back to it, develops great core strength and flexibility – though I am not sure that it is a weight reducer, the exercise certainly is good. Great for people with back problems, I know of 3 in our group who have back trouble that has been greatly eased by doing belly dance and two of them share the same chiropractor and he has commented on the improvement that doing the belly dance class has made to their flexibility and muscular structure supporting the back. Want to know a bit more about belly dance – go to Belly Dance  for blogs on this subject.

FRI: All these ‘grapes’ in small numbers because I bought a pack of grapes reduced – don’t usually go for fruit out of season much (except banana and clementines as they are never in season in the UK) All apples mentioned so far are our own stored apples. Currently using an old variety grown in Cornwall called American Mother. So when this lot of grapes are done my snack fruit of choice will become a Kiwi fruit as that is now In Season in our place. Yes, from our own kiwi plant, picked and stored in November they are now coming into the house to be finished off and are delicious!”

SAT: Even if the scales don’t show much of a drop – or the tape a reduction I am still pleased with the progress this past week. I can feel the layer of muscle beneath the layer of adipose. I can feel my more toned body walking round as if it is wearing a large heavy overcoat with stuffed pockets, that shifts in a different way to the body underneath.

………………TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK ……

Are you fighting the Christmas excesses? What works for you? What have you tried before?  Do you think blogging helps keep on track – have you experience in this in any realm?  Do let me know.

And if you want to know more about the novels by Ann Foweraker ‘Divining the Line’, ‘Nothing Ever Happens Here’ and ‘Some Kind Of Synchrony’ just click HERE to be able to the first 3 chapters FREE in pdf.

 

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Under transformation ….

OK, so I realise I haven’t blogged for a while now – what with the Christmas and New Year rush and all, but the big reason is that I am doing a course on blogging… I do like to do things properly when I can, and so this blog may be about to undergo some kind of transformation … or not.

It all depends upon the blogging-for-brand course that I am doing under the auspices of the entertaining Kristen Lamb  (almost worth it just for the laughs) and her blog is great if you are interested in what it takes to be a writer today and succeed. You can find Kristen Lamb’s blog here if you promise to come back.

So far I have had to come to grips with Twitter (rather than just having an account and collecting a few followers), and to manage my new larger numbers of followers (now 120, which is peanuts may I add) I have to get my head round Tweetdeck – it is supposed to help and I am sure once I work out some of the shortcuts to using it I will find it indispensable …..

At the moment I am struggling with trying to find the aspects of life that I know and can write about with some feeling of interest, authority or passion on a regular basis that will also connect with other people as an everyday interest but with some deep levels of attachment, so that they will want to come back for more with every blog.

I also need to think that the people I want to attract to my blog should be the people who would like my novels, as part of the reason for actually getting this blog up and running was to help with the publication and publicity for my novels. So not much use me blogging about football, say (hehe haha – as if I would – as if I could!) as the target audience would be quite different.

And I need to find my blogging voice. My natural ‘voice’ is that of the teacher — I have said many times and it is true, ‘give me half a chance and I will teach you all I know’ but I don’t think that this is a good voice for a blog unless it is a technical blog where people go to learn – but what do you think?

So, lots for me to work through and think about, and your thoughts are welcome to help me sift things. Which of the blogs I have done was the most interesting and would bring you back for more of similar and why? What type of blogs to you bookmark or sign up to and why?

On a weightier  lighter note, I  have been posting daily additions to my new page *Fat Woman Thinning?* – you’ll find it on the cross bar. Its a 52 week log of my attempt to lose weight and get fitter following a simple weights programme and sensible eating. It is updated daily on the drop down menus for the weeks as I go. Encouragement welcome!

And don’t forget there’s a special offer, of all three of my novels for e-readers for just £5.99, running at the moment – click on the new *Ann Foweraker NOVELS*  on the cross bar for more information.

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