Thursday, 28 February 2008

The Great Gym Hunt

Following yesterday's news that my gym is to close, I was feeling very down. I felt as though I had had the rug pulled from under me really. When you are nearly 23 stone, it takes a lot of nerve to walk into a gym, and a lot of commitment to keep going back. And I had done it.

And if I had done it once, I could do it again, so time to pull myself together and get onto it!!

So with the power of Google, I spent last night doing some basic research - locating gyms, phoning them for details, and planning a grand tour this morning. I decided on 4 to go and see today, 3 of which I have used before, in my younger fitter days.

After I had taken dd to school (in the car sadly, to facilitate my dash round the county!) I went to gym #1. This was the most recent of my gym memberships, prior to sliding into blobdom. I remember rarely using the actual gym, but the swimming pool was nice. Sure enough, the swimming pool is nice, very very nice. And the gym is huge. And crowded with machines. And fit people. And frankly terrifying. When I tried to see myself going in there to work out, I couldn't do it, and I realised why I only ever used the pool!

No worries, still 3 more to go and I was quite excited about #2 as it is ladies only, no mirrors, yadda yadda yadda. So in I went, hauled myself up the steep stairs and considered whether they may be a little off putting for the unfit! Upstairs I found myself in a fairly grotty reception area, but the lady there seemed friendly enough. Doors were opened so I could peer in the rooms, which were deserted. No instructors around, no clients around. Nothing about my needs etc was asked. I asked about fitness classes, but the lady who does them is on maternity leave. And then the prices - this was the most expensive of all the gyms I had called - twice the price of the fancy hi-tech one I went to first! So left there without a backward glance but an increasingly heavy heart.

I drove to #3 without much hope. This one isn't in my town so if I'm short of time it makes it harder to fit in. But I used to go there when I was at my peak of fitness many years ago so I had to look. While I was in reception awaiting my tour, another lady arrived for the same reason so we toured together.

And this dear reader is where our hearts are lightened again, because it was fab! Small, friendly, busy, well equipped. The instructor on duty was a bloke probably in his 50s - just a regular guy who happens to be fit and healthy. Not a muscle bound 20 year old in sight - praise be! The gym equipment is all brand new a couple of months ago so not the same stuff I was using way back when - not sure if this is a good or a bad thing! The membership includes fitness classes, swimming pool and spa. And is at the lower end of the price range.

I never went to see #4 - no need. I've got my induction at #3 next Tuesday and I'm rather looking forward to it! I just need to go to Curves for a couple more workouts and to say goodbye to Louise and the team, who I am going to miss hugely. Would it be inappropriate to take them a huge box of chocs in as a thank you gift, I wonder?

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Bad news!

Oh help! Bad news! I got a letter today to say my branch of Curves is closing next week. I am Gutted!

I feel sorry for the franchise owners, that their business hasn't worked out. I feel sorry for the lovely staff who will be losing their jobs. But selfishly I feel most sorry for me. Not only do I now have to find another gym where I can feel OK about going in, but I have to face the whole fitness assessment and getting weighed thing with another stranger. And the new stranger won't know how well I've already done and be so excited for me.


Curves really suited me and I don't feel ready for a "normal" gym yet. At least I've got a week or so to find somewhere.

God I'm selfish!

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Health, Wealth and Other Stuff.

Week 7

Weight: 20st 11lb.
Loss this week: 4 1/2lb.
Total lost: 28 1/2lb

After weigh in last night I was on a high for hours! 4 1/2lbs off making 2 stone in only 7 weeks! And I was Slimmer of the Week for the third week which made me happy mainly because the SOTW gets a huge bag of fruit and other good stuff brought in by the members and this week I had spotted a couple of things I wanted to try among the goodies. So I will get to try them this week, at no expense to myself - perfect!

28lbs lighter means I am feeling a difference in my clothes. Stuff that I couldn't get on 2 months ago now fits. I love that! So I have a had a huge trying on session, and sorted my clothes into 3 piles:

Can wear now (but either about to be too big or will look better in a couple of weeks!)
Will fit in the future
Why did I buy this??

The third pile will be off to the charity shop tomorrow. Just because something will fit me, doesn't mean I should wear it ;-)

I have to publicly thank my friend Saraseahorse for helping my clothes pile grow - due to her own very successful weight loss she has lots of too big clothes, some of which she has already sent to me, and some more will be here soon. So I'm not going to be struggling for something to wear for several sizes to come :-) Sara has also helped me out by ordering a swim dress for me from an online company. This means I will be able to tackle one of my exercise goals - swimming. A little coverage in the arse and thigh area will go a long way to helping me get from changing room to swimming pool! (I have a slightly awkward credit history which means I can't order for myself!)

I wish I could tell you that you find me in good health as well as high spirits. But I'm suffering from this horrible throat thing that's going round. And my ears, my poor ears! My neck hurts too but that is definitely swollen glands rather than any more sinister cause of neck pain and stiffness. My dd had this about 3 weeks ago and it evolved into a nasty case of tonsillitis. I don't thin I've ever seen her cry as much as she cried that week, and I'm understanding why now. Luckily she responded very quickly to antibiotics, once I'd stopped being a bad mother and actually taken the poor child to the GP that is. I think being a nurse makes me a bit - casual maybe? about illness. Where another mother might have made the call to the doc on the Monday, I took a wait and see approach until the Friday!

This week I'm wondering how much nits weigh...... ;-)

Thursday, 21 February 2008


Before I started the Big Healthy Eating Plan, I embarked upon a gentle exercise regime. I had been staying with my sister Mel and we had both agreed that we needed to take serious action to reduce our health risks. So we made a pact to both take up some form of exercise ASAP. When I was younger and fitter I used to really love going to the gym - nothing beat the endorphin rush of a strenuous hour working out. But I kind of lacked the courage to go back, seeing as I was now about 10 stone heavier!

I did a little research and discovered Curves

I screwed up all my courage and made an appointment to have a look around, and one Friday in November I walked in and met Louise. I very quickly decided this was a good place to step back into exercise. The idea is you alternate between machines and "Recovery Boards" for 30 seconds at a time, working the various muscle groups in short intense bursts. The machines are air resistance rather than weights so the harder you work, the harder you are worked if you see what I mean? The resistance increases as you work harder. Louise was fabulously friendly and reassuring and totally made me feel comfortable. It's ladies only, and no mirrors so no paranoia about watching yourself bouncing around. So I signed up on the spot - you've got to seize the day I think!

One of the things I love about Curves is that it is a smallish group, and there is always an instructor right there with you all, encouraging, leading the exercises on the recovery boards and correcting anyone using the equipment incorrectly. And chatting away the whole time - a good girly gossip doesn't half make the time fly by!

The ladies in Curves were amazed and delighted this week when I had my monthly weigh and measure. I think I am safely at the top of the leader board there this month. Well a girl can't get too much affirmation and validation hey!

I have also taken up Yoga. It isn't going to burn any fat but it certainly stretches those muscles and is wonderfully good for the soul! I came out of Yoga on Tuesday and went straight on to Curves and was sooooo very chilled out that no matter how hard I worked I couldn't get my heart rate up into the "green" zone! After my first circuit I still had a healthy resting heart rate which is pretty astounding considering how very quickly I normally get up to green and beyond (I usually have to tell a little lie and say I'm green so they don't make me slow down a bit!)

I have 2 more exercise goals for the immediate future.

1: Swimming. How I want to get back to swimming. But god I'm fat!

2: Rollerskating. DD (Dear Daughter) skates every Saturday at the leisure centre and I'm dying to join in. I've got me some inline skates from Freecycle and under her tender 6 year old tuition I can stand and move forwards round the living room. But I'm not ready for the public gaze yet, not least because the skates won't fasten round my hefty ankles. But baby steps people! I'll get there!

Monday, 18 February 2008

Monday 18th February

Weight: 21st 1 1/2lb.
Loss this week: 4lb.
Total lost: 24lb

I'm smiling tonight - 4lb off this week, I got my 1 1/2 st award AND Slimmer Of The Week. My book is already looking quite abundant with stickers - wonder where I'll stick them all when the book cover is full! Look at me getting cocky now :-)

I thought tonight I might tell you what is motivating me so strongly right now.

My mum was a yoyo dieter all my life, certainly I never learnt a healthy approach to eating from her. It was either a stack of home baking and huge meals, snacks and "treats" at KFC, or it was starvation and diet pills. Certainly she never exercised or dieted in a moderate way. When she was about my age she actually starved herself to the point where she looked shockingly thin - a huge haggard head on a stick thin body. Her health was appalling at that point - she suffered black outs, hair loss, dehydration and mental problems. And those are just the things I know about!

At 54 she was as large as ever again, had hugely swollen legs, high blood pressure, and suffered a stroke. The stroke was fairly minor - at first she was still able to walk to the shops with me and get on with things as normal with a bit of help. But she refused rehab, and gradually got worse. She refused to stop smoking, her diet shocked me to the core - she basically immersed herself in a diet of sweets, biscuits, crisps and diet coke.

12 months ago I helped her move to sheltered accommodation, and involved Social Services in getting her a carer to assist her with personal care, meals on wheels and daycare. By this time she was basically immobile and living within the confines of her bed and sofa. It rapidly became clear that there was some serious mental issues going on too, which I may talk about here one day, but now is not the time!

In September she was found on the floor by her carer, and sent to hospital. 5 months later she is still there. She has been diagnosed with vascular dementia which basically means she has had lots and lots of blood clots in her brain resulting in the dementia. And she has also had a hysterectomy after being diagnosed with endometrial cancer - an obesity related cancer.

She is just 60 years old and we are looking for a nursing home for her.

I am nearly 41 and it's got to be now or never. I have to minimise my risks of ending up in the same state. I feel as though I have a big ticking bomb inside me, and the only way to defuse it is to lose weight, exercise and be a healthy person! I have to do this because I don't want my daughter to have to deal with the problems I have faced with my mum. My daughter is only 6. I need to be a general pain to her for a lot longer yet!

So there we go. The reason for all this. It's a bit grim innit!

On a lighter note, I'm very proud to say my dear husband* joined me at SW last week and in his first week he has lost a stunning 15lbs!

*Dear husband will henceforth be known as DH. This is handy because when he is pissing me off, it can stand for dickhead. Bonus!

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Sunday 17th February 2008

Welcome, dear reader! You join me as I am about to enter week 7 of my "Lose a huuuge amount of weight and get fit" campaign.

I joined Slimming World (not for the 1st time!) on 7th January, and stood on the scales with trepidation. It's like this you see. Ever since I was about 15 I have been a yo yo dieter, and I have had some damn fine losses let me tell you! The problem I have is that I never learn from my past mistakes, so sooner or later I fall off the wagon and go back to my bad ways, regain all the weight I've just lost, plus a stone or so extra. That's how I made it up to 22st 11 1/2lbs by the age of 40. Did I say that outloud?? Oh well, if you are going to cheerlead me on my journey, you'd better know it's going to be a long one ;-)

At my last weigh in I had managed to shed a total of 20lbs in 5 weeks, so yay me! I get weighed on Monday evenings so I will have a progress report for you tomorrow night (or when I next blog....)