Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Fond Farewell to the Pink, Fluffy, Dressing Gown

Ladies and Gentlemen it is the end of an era. After much thought and a little bit of sadness, I have decided to retire the Pink, Fluffy Dressing Gown.
Drinking Coffee in the Pink, Fluffy Dressing Gown circa 2007

For many years, the Pink, Fluffy Dressing Gown has meant hours spent drinking coffee, indulging myself on social media, post-midday breakfasts, smoking outside in the middle of the night, recovering from the night before. The Pink, Fluffy Dressing Gown has become synonymous with idleness and time wasting. I remember ardently defending my right to be dressed only thus at 2 pm. The PFDG became a phenomena, an institutions. Had I been canny it could have had its own twitter feed and Facebook page. 

As Bob sang, times they are a changin'.

In the PFDG last year

I put the PFDG on a couple of days ago and it felt wrong. I was uncomfortable wearing it. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have outgrown it. I am no longer that lazy, layabout the PFDG used to know and love. I no longer while away my days, planning what to, eventually getting dressed and then perhaps doing something. 

In the PDFG earlier this year

My days now have two 5.45s in them. I actually have an active gym membership. I am working really hard to be strong and fit enough so I can go running and lift weights again. When I glance to my right, I've got a dead cup of green tea hanging out with my partially finished fruit, veg and protein smoothie. 

It's Sunday morning and I've already unpacked the dishwasher, put a load of laundry on, got myself clean, fed and out the house to get some house stuff. I would have left the house before 12 o'clock, but it was absolutely pissing it down outside and I really didn't need my new lampshades that much.

So raise your glasses and join me in wishing the Pink, Fluffy Dressing Gown well. Thanks for the memories. It was fun while it lasted.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Lookin' at that Hoss from the Ground

Last week, I realised how far I was slipping back into my old, lazy assed self. I was struggling to get things done around the flat. I started looking in the mirror and seriously disliking what I saw. Nothing else had changed apart from the fact that I was laid up with my lower back and my poorly, wrenched wrist. 

Boy and I went away for a few days, the late end of last week. We went to move him from halls of residence to his student house. I like Lincoln as a place to visit. It's got a great vibe. Or at least, it does where Boy lives.

We agreed there would be no stressing and there really wasn't. We took the move slowly, with lots of breaks. Somehow, in the 9 months he was there, he went from 1 car load of stuff to 2.5! Granted, it wasn't packed tightly - the car load going up was a bit like a level on Tetris - but even so. 

After the move, we then went up to Beverly for the wedding of the Viking to his Lovely. It was an absolutely amazing day from start to finish, even with the occasional downpour. Thank goodness for Clinique mascara, that's all I'm saying. I started dabbing my eyes with the first hymn and didn't stop until the Wedding March.

I made the mistake of saying to people "yep, we're going to the wedding of my ex-bf." I learnt too late that I then had to go into the whole "it was a good break-up, we're really good friends, I'm really happy for them. No, I'm REALLY happy for them" routine. The fact of the matter is, the Viking spent the whole day looking at his Lovely like he just opened all of his birthday and Christmas presents at once, while she looked like she'd just won the lottery. Both sets of parents were delighted all round. That people down here couldn't understand, I'm afraid that's their look out. Not mine. What was particularly lovely was the warmth that both Boy and myself were greeted. I've got stern instructions to return sooner, rather than later to have a proper catch up with everyone. Frankly, I'm looking forward to becoming Mad Aunty Roses (no pressure darlings, no pressure). 

While we were away, I had many miles of open road to think. 

My lower back issue means absolutely no running. Running is hard on everything and the impact could potentially make things much worse. My wrenched wrist means no load bearing, or twisting; pretty much rules out lifting, swimming, cycling or push-ups. My dishy osteopath advised waiting until I was pain free for a week before attempting any strengthening exercises. 

My body, mind and energy levels were reverting to how I felt two years ago and it was not good. 

I also had the time to think about my weight. It's a bit of a touchy subject with me. 

The fitness industry for women, tends to focus on weight loss and paints everything pink. Go into the main stream gyms, health food shops, it smacks you straight in the face. Being the rebellious sort, I've resolutely stuck to my numbers. I am not overweight, my BMI* is smack bang within the healthy range. I don't have anything to worry about, health-wise.

However, the fact of the matter is that while this is true, my body fat percentage is too high for my liking. When I look in the mirror now, I don't see muscle, I see flab. I see the results of 3 months on my butt. Ladies and gentlemen, trust me when I say this, it isn't pretty. It does not feel good.

One of the things I struggle with is planning. I can create a plan, no problem; implementing said plan, well, that's a different matter altogether. I kind of get there, but not within the timescales I originally set out. For example, I have a running app called Zombies Run! 5k. It's an 8 week programme to take you from couch to running your first 5k. Did I do it in 8 weeks? Hell no. In fact, I'm on week 8, workout 2. I can give you all the reasons why I didn't stick to the plan and mostly, they are good. But the outcome is still the same - I didn't do it.

I'm a woman who likes a challenge. Therefore, I set myself this challenge. I am on the 5:2 diet for the next 7 weeks (or rather 6 as it started on Monday). Don't ask me why I set 7 weeks, it was a completely arbitrary number. For the next 7 weeks I am going to be eating 500 calories for 2 days in the week. 

In this time I am also going to be doing what I call Foundation exercises. I'm doing a basic circuit, cardio and abs routines throughout the weeks ahead. Everything I'm doing is geared to get me to the point where I can pick up my weights and lace up my running shoes again. 

There's a physio dude at my gym who I've been trying to get hold of and this week I managed to snag an appointment with him. We had an hour long consult and next week, there will be another one. He assessed me on everything: body, exercise, diet and mental health. It was very useful indeed. He's already made some adjustments to my current circuit routine to address the issues in my lower body. I lack strength in weird places which is causing the imbalances that has lead to my lower back issues. He's highlighted some dietary issues and made a suggestion about probiotics. I followed that up as soon as I got home yesterday. Some eye-wateringly expense probiotics will be winging their way over to me next week. Unlike the probiotic yoghurts and drinks available in the supermarket, these have been cultivated to colonise the gut. Stuff from the supermarket, usually high in sugar, has been designed to die so when a person stops taking them, they stop feeling the benefit. These probiotics are shipped with cool packs and have to be stored in the fridge. I do not expect miracles, but improvements are more than welcome.

Next Wednesday morning, he's going to put me through my paces. I will come away with a programme that will address these niggly issues and hurtle me towards my Awesome again.

Ladies and Gentlemen, that is a very tall horse that I will be am climbing back on. This first week has not been shitz and gigglez as the kids say. I feel beset on all sides at the moment. But I am buggered if I'm going to lay here on the floor and take it.

*BMI is not a particularly useful measurement for weight, despite the fact that it's pretty much universally used by health and fitness professionals. Muscle is more dense than fat, if you're athletic and have a low body fat percentage, chances are your BMI will class you as obese. True story.

Waiting for Paint to Dry

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