Things I have learned (or remembered) since returning to the gym

1. I still get very very red faced, very very sweaty and quite a lot stinky.
I look dreadful after I’ve been running, it’s as if someone swaps my head for a big, red, shiny grinning tomato. I really don’t care about this, although the other day Mini-Ginge was very reluctant to have hugs with me because I smelled so hideous. I have probably scarred him for life.

2. I’m still not down with the music videos
Yup, it’s still lots of ladies writhing around in their bra and pants. To be honest, if I wanted to have a close up view of that many gussets, I’d work for M&S quality control. Having said that, today’s telly was “Coldplay: The Collection” and seemed to involve Chris Martin learning puppetry with a spoon.

3. I’m rubbish at following plans
I’m (loosely) following the NHS Couch to 5K plan. I did week one twice, week two once and today decided to wing it with week three. I suspect that this is not the way that the creators intended it to be done.

4. I don’t get the concept of Weetabix as a drink, it does not sit comfortably with me
I wasn’t actually at the gym when this occurred to me (I was in Tesco) and found myself doing a “bleurgh” face every time they invaded my consciousness. I just needed to get this off my chest.

5. I am still rubbish at holding numbers in my head
I look at the plan, I forget what I’m supposed to run, I look at the plan again, I set off running, I look at the clock, I run, I look at the clock – it says 6 minutes 39 seconds, I try to remember whether I should be running to 8 minutes or 8 minutes 30 seconds, I tell myself that I have only been running 30 seconds, it seems longer, I forget how long I’m supposed to be running for. Repeat for twenty minutes.

6. I want to be good at this again
One of my many books about avoiding procrastination (I know, I know…) discusses goal setting and points out that it’s one thing to want to be able to do something, it’s quite another to want to go through the process to get there. The example it gives is learning Italian; the author realised that while she loves the idea of being able to speak Italian, ordering rustic pasta, flirting with waiters and zipping round on a Vespa, she is less keen on the actual sitting down and learning verbs, nouns and adjectives. Similarly, I want to be bounding effortlessly down the road, not doing the boring hard work of increasing a minute at a time.

7. I am never going to be one of those people who chat to instructors
I gibber. And then run away. I just can’t do it.

8. The lightest kettlebells are pink
Why is this? It does not affect my life as I steer well clear of them, but they are are on shelf next to me and it grates a little.

9. I could do with throwing in some abdominal work
Core stability, blah blah blah…

10. I enjoy myself when I get there
I just have to get my lazy arse out of the door.


Maternity clothes, biscuits and how to become a Vegas magician

It is now over six months since Mini-Ginge arrived and I am still waiting to ping back into shape. I suspect that my first mistake was not having a team of nannies, personal trainers, nutritionists and stylists* on hand. Arse.

I last did a proper diet ten years ago when I lost about two and a half stone doing WeightWatchers. This took me from a size 16/18 down to a 12, where I’ve mostly stayed despite some of the weight creeping back on. The wonderfully contrary thing is that at my lightest** I still wasn’t happy with my body, but a year ago I was nearly a stone heavier, still fitting in the same size clothes and was the happiest with myself that I’ve ever been. That’s the power of running, people.

During my pregnancy, my weight gain was incredibly steady (see, I even made a little graph)

graphand in maternity and nursing clothes, I remained a 12.

However, maternity and nursing clothes lie. Nobody tells you about this. Maternity and nursing clothes can be the same as your pre-pregnancy size because they have all sorts of elasticated bits, magic flaps and stretchiness woven into them. Real clothes, particularly jeans, do not. You spend months wafting around in your empire line dresses, not minding if you look pregnant because you are pregnant, and then it’s back to reality with a loud (but well padded) bump.

So I am back to the size and nearly the weight I was before losing weight ten years ago, although I don’t feel that I look the same as I did back then (the fat has redistributed itself in a post-natal way – I believe I can now refer to it as a ‘mummy tummy’ instead of a ‘beer gut’). I do however feel somewhat cheated that I ‘suddenly’ leapt up two sizes. Rationally, I know that it has taken a year to acquire this lot, but that damn maternity wear has lulled me into a false sense of security.

Deep down I know that if I went back to a slimming club and stuck to what I was told to do, I would lose weight. However deep down I also know that I am not ready to be told what to eat and/or endure the sympathetic nodding of the nice lady as she asks if I know what went wrong this week. I have therefore adopted a new policy of “not eating all of the biscuits”. I have enjoyed quite a lot of freedom with my diet whilst breastfeeding and am fairly certain that if I had eaten the last six months of food without breastfeeding I would be the size of a house right now. I am also fairly certain that if they checked Mini-Ginge’s blood type, it would come up as “Tunnocks tea cake positive”.

I am still allowing biscuits into the house because I still have the hunger of ten men (another thing that they don’t tell you about breastfeeding) and sometimes I really fancy a biscuit at the end of the day. My favourites are brands that have been shrunk so that they come in at 99 calories, although I have learned that 99 calories-worth of Aero biscuit just gives me the urge for a whole Aero, which possibly defeats the object (I do manage to fight it most times).

I also realised that helping myself to a scoop of sultanas every time I go in the cupboard was putting a heck of a lot of extra calories onto my day. My solution to this? Buying the miserable value brand sultanas and only cutting off the corner of the bag so I can’t shove my hand in the bag whenever I drift through the kitchen. I have also moved onto dried apple rings, which are a bit like gnawing on a dog chew and therefore take a bit longer to eat. Please note that my diet is not based on scientific evidence and whether or not this does the trick remains to be seen.

*At the moment my idea of styling is wearing an outfit that has no visible mashed parsnip or baby sick smeared on it. This is sometimes achieved by creative folding or the strategic placement of a bag. Or a baby, people are very easily distracted by a baby. In fact, I reckon you could easily fake it as a Vegas magician just by dangling a baby at people during your tricks.

** I was at my lightest for a friend’s wedding. It lasted for about a week.

Nothing to fear except fear itself. Well fear and some other stuff.

So I reached the point of wanting to make changes, I made lots of positive decisions and then hid under a rock for a fortnight, paralysed with fear. For me (and I suspect many other people), fear and procrastination go merrily hand in hand. They skip around together, sticking out their tongues and blowing raspberries at me while I put things off for another day. I realised that getting back to running is terrifying me and procrastinated some more by writing a list of what’s worrying me.

1. I am scared of my pelvic floor.
Not in itself, I love my pelvic floor and can honestly say that I blindly took it for granted for 34 years. Rather, I am afraid that once I start running again all my internal organs will come crashing through my pelvic floor like the chandelier in Only Fools and Horses.

2. I am scared of not being able to run.
When I first started running, I knew that I couldn’t run and it was a ridiculous folly to even try, but what the hell. I was pleasantly surprised that I could lumber along for a reasonable distance and sometimes people would give me a medal for doing so. Now I know that I used to be able to run, I am scared that I won’t be able to do it as well as I used to.

3. I am scared of my extra weight.
Well not scared exactly, but I know what it’s like when I run with a few extra pounds and it’s not very nice. Having an extra stone to deal with means a lot of unpleasantly jiggly back fat.

4. I am scared of needing to pee
Again, not quite scared, but my bladder is less trustworthy than it was and I don’t want to add diving into bushes to the stress that I’m alreading putting myself under.

5. I am scared of running outside
I think this is a combination of 2 and 3 in that I have convinced myself that the village youths will mock the red-faced, jiggling woman as she wheezes along. Ginge cheerfully suggested that I run through the fields, but I know that this will inevitably result in me being murdered*.

So after sitting in a pile on the kitchen table for the last fortnight, my running kit finally had an outing to the gym on Wednesday (after going for an M&S bra fitting – there’s nothing like being left topless with changing room mirrors to sharpen the mind and the motivation). I did run/walk intervals on the treadmill and if you didn’t look too hard, it almost looked like I was running again. I have been back today and lived to tell the tale. I may go back again, but I really need to pluck up the courage to get outside because ultimately I do hate the treadmill.

*Googling the name of our village and ‘murder’ reveals that the last one was 20 years ago. I will concede that I might be being slightly irrational with that one

A short history of not blogging

If you subscribed to this blog during Janathon expecting to be entertained, amused or informed on a regular basis, I can only apologise for the lack of posts since then. Actually, if you ever subscribed to this blog expecting to be entertained, amused or informed on a regular basis, I can only apologise for the posts that have actually appeared over the years.

As this is mostly a running blog and I’m still not running, I’ve been a bit stumped for things to write about. I had a good think about it and realised that I definitely can’t carry off the yummy mummy blogger schtick (though I can probably pull it off more convincingly in writing than in person). It doesn’t help that I hit a slightly grey patch in my head, where I found it difficult to think about me doing ‘me things’ ever again and anything I wrote in that time would have been quite a miserable read.

To be honest, I still haven’t got anything to write about (when did I ever?) but I feel like I’ve reached the point of a new start. It’s a bit like New Year’s Day but without the hangover, sense of obligation and Special K adverts on the telly. I have been dreaming of running (much easier than actually doing it) and have just filled my iPod with gym songs (it was still full of chilled out Now That’s What I Call Labour tunes from back in October).  I’m also trying to get to grips with improving my diet – mainly so that I can avoid or at least reduce the trauma of any return to work shopping trips that I’ll have to endure. So I think that’s what I’ll be going on about for a bit. Either that or it’ll just be photos of ducks again.