Bear's Bootcamp vs Life…

Fun & fitness (& other words I never thought would go together…)

Hoping to bounce back with a new challenge…

There’s nothing like a new challenge to perk up those spirits, which is a lot healthier than a usual run down the bottle of err, spirits, to perk up my, umm, spirits!

This year’s GCC (Global Corporate Challenge – has come just in time for me, as if I’m honest (and this is the place where I’m at my most frank); this past year has been an enormous struggle. Without trying to sound too sickeningly preachy, I’ve found out quite a lot about myself, my innermost ‘demons’ and my triggers for weight gain.

Before you make jokes about “that’ll be the food…”; it’s not always over-eating that makes us pile on the pounds. People automatically assume that if you’re overweight, that you’ve probably been eating a fry-up covered in Snickers and ice cream for breakfast every morning, washed down with 12 litres of coke. However, it can be a combination of not eating enough to kick-start your metabolism and then snacking on the wrong things – which I’ve found is something I do when I’m upset/emotional and what’s worse is, I don’t even know I’m doing it. It’s like someone that bites their nails – I just reach for something sugary automatically, which then baits me like an addiction until I can get myself back on my feet. It doesn’t help of course, that I have an under-active thyroid, so putting on weight is uber easy for me – losing it however…

Unfortunately, last year was a very emotional roller-coaster for me, with the potential loss of 2 very important people in my life and it certainly took its toll. Then a new job on top of the two I was already doing, brought a break in a healthy eating routine at entirely the wrong time. Before I had any control; I was spiralling down a road I really don’t like to travel and the result was one very unhappy, well-rounded, not hopping quite-so-high bunny…

My ego was already at a very low ebb but just to twist the knife, I recently went home to visit my family and my mother, who has always been my harshest (and I do mean HARSHEST) critic, decided to tell me she thought I was fat. She of course, did it in her own special way of patting my stomach and saying “crikey, someone’s been feeding well” *cue fake sitcom laughs*. Only I wasn’t laughing. I instead pointed out to her that this was a particularly “shitty” thing to say to someone and she responded “I thought you’d prefer I say it to your face”. Actually mother, NO, I wouldn’t! I wonder why we’ve never been close? It’s a mystery…

The last couple of weeks, I’ve been really trying to look up and really trying to focus on getting back to good health. I’ve consulted an asthma/allergy nurse, who gave me some great tips on fitness, I threw out all the crap that had started to creep back in to my cupboards, I’ve been working hard on re-decorating my apartment to keep me up and about most of the time and I’ve been notching up quite a few steps on my new GCC challenge through work. I’m taking the week off from bootcamp this week to straighten myself out mentally and get some much needed sleep and hopefully, I’ll be back next week with an energetic new lease of life. I’ve decided I’m going to ignore the haters (yes, that mainly covers the relatives!), avoid the negative people like the plague and make things work for ME again 🙂

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Week 1 – A new day, a new challenge

So, I’m back!  This is because I signed up to a new challenge as a part of Cambridge Bootcamps and I’ve just completed my first week!

The challenge is the 5×50 challenge (Twitter #5x50TeamCBC), where you have to run, jog, cycle or swim at least 5km for 50 consecutive days!  I know, right?! Me?  For those that don’t know; I’m a crap runner… I’m not fishing for compliments here – I really am shocking!  Between my asthma and under-active thyroid and of course, subsequent excess weight, I normally get about 50m up the road before I’m wheezing like a 60-a-day smoker and panting like an excitable Cocker Spaniel. It’s frustrating, because my mind wants to do it – my mind gets me up, gets me kitted out and gets me outside and ready – but my body just doesn’t respond.  Time is also a factor – finding an extra hour in the day to take on the challenge, has in itself, been a massive hurdle.  However, so far I am playing the system, doing more on some days, so that I can do less on others in the hope that I will balance things out physically and from a time management perspective, which seems to work better for me; but I AM lagging and I just hope that if I keep pushing it will make me stronger.

On the plus side, I can’t deny that the opportunity to get outside everyday to clear a full noggin has been somewhat therapeutic, as I’m currently surrounded with people that I adore who are struggling with health problems and I don’t know how best to help 😦  Like anything, I think you just make yourself present or readily available to the people you love so that you can be ready to carry the weight when they need it but sometimes that doesn’t feel pro-active enough and I battle with myself daily, hoping that’s the right choice.

From a running point of view?  I’ll just keep on keeping on and hopefully one day, I’ll make it past the driveway without needing St John’s on stand-by… 🙂 x

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Life after detox…

Well, I achieved my target and it was all going so swimmingly and then 1 thing went wrong and the dominoes began to fall… As you know if you read these; I find this to be the forum where I can be refreshingly honest, and although I maybe playfully pessimistic at times, I don’t dwell on negativity and can always find the silver lining in most things.  However, my own faith has been challenged to the hilt lately and I’ve had to turn to my new religion of Cambridge Bootcamps to see me through.

I’ll give you the short version so as not to bore you on a dreary day but it started with a simple trampoline jump at the end of February where my gorgeous godson accidentally landed on my chest – I was totally winded and for a short spell did think I may have snapped a rib or two for dramatic effect; but I was fine… I started finding breathing more of a chore and running became a problem because I just couldn’t seem to get enough breath and air moving through me to cope with an accelerated pace, so I went to see my asthma nurse who told me that whatever I was doing, keep doing it as my asthma had never been better? [confusing for me, but score for Cambridge Bootcamps – and yet another case where I had to eat humble pie because Charlie was right! goddamn it!]  I was also suffering from increased anxiety, where I had such a ridiculous amount of panic attacks on one particular day, that I thought I might have a heart attack (again with the drama queen I know! but I tell thee, I was worried there for a wee moment).

It wasn’t until 6 weeks after trampoline-gate that I realised what it was… 10yrs ago I had my first instance of the precarious balance of life when I witnessed my first domino fall – the extremely short version: after a thyroid operation I went from hyper to hypo; I stopped smoking; my metabolism crashed; I put on 2 stone on in 2 months = sliding hiatus hernia from speedy weight gain (I know, I wouldn’t have believed it either!)  So, after a weekend of excess where I aggravated the hell out of it, my hernia was back and now thanks to some self-inflicted inflammation; was filling up my chest cavity like a little balloon, impeding my ability to breathe with clarity and pressing on my Vagus nerve (connected to the central nervous system) which was causing the anxiety.

Unfortunately, the dominoes didn’t stop there – the stress of it all and increased anxiety just added to the build up of acid and the reflux generated by my now inflamed hernia was causing me problems with my throat which ended up with an upper respiratory tract infection of the larynx [a pretty fancy way of saying a fecking sore throat and lack of voice! ] of which, I’m still suffering and waiting to find out if the damage done is permanent.  The throat problems and constant acid reflux have understandably put me off eating [even though I have to eat at least something every 4hrs to curb the reflux], which, along with the fact that I haven’t been able to go to Bootcamp, has in turn caused a gain in weight of everything I lost on the detox and a few extra pounds for some ironic good measure.

I was trying to come up with ideas during a drink-fuelled pity party as to what I could do but the ideas weren’t quite as productive or maybe, realistic, as I would have liked…

1) Starting smoking again to increase my metabolic rate – not really an option because of my throat, where I already sound like a cross between Marge Simpson and Madge from Neighbours!  Although my Bonnie Tyler impersonation is coming on a treat… do they still do ‘Stars in Your Eyes’ ??

2) Crawling up in bed until it all goes away – as popular as this one was with me, that bed would soon turn into a park bench if I didn’t get my increasingly fat arse up to work and pay the mortgage…

3) Going on a ‘breakdown’ rampage – again, pretty popular as the idea of taking it all out on the rest of the world feels smashingly cathartic (sorry world) but alas, I also like not having a criminal record and quite enjoy being a part of everyday society…

4) Drinking like a d-list celebrity who’s just got out of rehab (*coughs, Lindsay Lohan*) – much like the smoking option, this would just cause more problems for my health and, thanks to tax increases, my pocket – but I also suspect this one might be the most fun and I’m trying very hard to resist…

I really hate feeling sorry for myself, it’s such a waste of life, so last night I sat down and I read through hundreds of posts and words of encouragement that pass between our amazing Bootcamp girls everyday.  Stories of inspiration that tug at your heart strings but ultimately motivate you into wanting something better for yourself.  After all, I may not be in control of everything that happens to me, but I AM in control of how I respond to it and I choose for it not to take me down.  So this afternoon I’m doing something I have been putting off for a long time and I have an appointment with an estate agent to sell my apartment.  Hopefully this will be the kick-start I need to start afresh in the place where I really want to be; nearer to my friends and nearer to the Bootcamps that help keep me sane 🙂

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Week 12 2012

Week 12

19th-25th March 2012

Weight:    10st 3lbs

Status:     Just one more week!  (Who said lap of honour?! You better start running…)

Mood:      Unsurprisingly upbeat!

I feel great!  I feel alert, I feel focussed and I feel pretty darn proud of myself for doing this.  I honestly believed when I started the challenge that I wouldn’t make it; that I’d set myself a task just too ahead of my own abilities to say no – but proving myself wrong has to be the ultimate achievement.  I’ve handled the peer pressure (and there has been lots), I’ve fought the good fight with the cravings (of which there were tonnes) and I’ve survived the mockery (just too much to convey…)   So, care to join me in an ‘end of the Breakfast Club, fist punch into air whilst walking into sunset’ moment anyone?

Talking of arms in the air; I posted a picture on facebook this week in a shameless attempt at sympathy for my own stupidity (see below); where I mis-handled a rope and ‘literally’ felt the burn.  The interesting thing that came out of this posting was a couple of comments that I did not foresee.  I made a joke (I know, me? Shocker!) about my bingo wings, for which the last 7 or so years that I’ve been dealing with the effects of my lazy-arse thyroid have been a real sore point for me – even more so now (see picture again and give even more sympathy…)  The dreaded wings were something that always seemed apparent to me and a constant reminder of my illness.  As a writer, my unvarying pose is sat at a 90º angle with arms out-stretched towards keyboard with spare tyre waist tucked nicely under the desk and out of sight, but those arms sit in my line of sight and are a little harder to hide.  Even when heading out for an evening, your thighs and midriff can benefit from the elastic breath-restrictor that is Spanx, and the clever designs of a bodycon dress – but those arms… asides from shopping for your clothes in the tent department of Millets; they’re pretty hard to cover up.  My under-active thyroid and indeed, my own feelings, are often hurt by my over-active imagination as I pictured my wings flapping about like a boisterous spaniel’s ears or swinging so vehemently to have mothers pulling their children to one side through fear of them being wiped-out on the pavement.  However, my joke received some comments back that referred to my bingo wings in a new and positive light, which made me re-look at the picture and realise that my ‘wings’ had been somewhat clipped.

feeling the burn!

Ever since that day, I’ve been wearing short sleeve t-shirts and *staring at my upper arms – yes, that’s right people, upper arms – with a little smile. (*read working really hard and not stopping to vainly admire own arms…)

I’ve taken measurements and recorded weights, I’ve stopped to appreciate my healthier breathing (you know, breathing deeply without falling over unconscious) and admiring my overall feeling of improved fitness but I hadn’t taken the time to actually look at the work Charlie, Laura and the bootcamp ladies have helped me create.  As a writer, I love a sense of the dramatic; so it’s easy for me to say, my (now non-floor scraping) arms may be some of my best work yet!  :0) xx

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Week 11 2012

Week 11

11h-18th March 2012

Weight:    10st 3lbs

Status:     2 weeks to go…

Mood:      Just let me rest my little eyes for a second…

I’m now close enough to that end date, to actually start dreading it a little bit.  Don’t get me wrong, I cannot wait to open that nice bottle of Malbec I’ve had sitting on my wine rack for the last month but I’m worried now how the alcohol will affect me.  Will I have one or two glasses and say “How smashingly lovely that was…” (because in my mind, I speak like I’m actually really posh) or will I have 2 bottles and not be able to speak at all…?  If I hadn’t done this in the past, I might not be so apprehensive but the last couple of years detoxing, when the date came to start popping those corks, I attacked the demon drink like the Cookie Monster on weed and needless to say, didn’t feel very well afterwards…

Those little fears aside, I feel good.  Absolutely knackered, but good.  I’ve been so tired lately that I’m writing this with my head pressed against the screen with only my occasional drool on to my own hand keeping me awake…  I’m tired through work and some residual aggression from the emotional blackmail that families do so well, and I dared to think the other day what I would feel like if I wasn’t abstaining at the moment – the very thought terrified me so much I thought I might have to go skinny dipping in the River Ouse and run round the town drying off, just to remove the element from my brain – Did I do it?  Well, if the rozzers ask, you ain’t seen me, ok?!

I also felt the wonders of searching through the SMART women group this morning for a work-out to turn some of that aggression in to a positive.  Even when I’ve been feeling as tired as I have; the Bootcamps always help turn my mood around and pick me up for the day and so this morning, I turned to the marvel of the internet and the shared work-outs – what a god send!  Well, maybe not for my neighbours, who are probably writing to complain as we speak about the yelling and loud elephant-esque noises emanating from my apartment…

*Don’t forget it’s free trial week, commencing Mon, 19th Mar 2012 – tell a friend!* – sign up: MindBody

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Week 10 2012

Week 10 

4h-10th March 2012

Weight:    10st 3lbs

Status:     The Final Countdown!

Mood:      Pretty darn good!

“I guess there is no-one to blame, we’re leaving ground, will things ever be the same again? [drums] It’s the Final Countdown!”  Okay, so how many of you actually sang along?  I might have even thrown in a fist pump into the air at the end… however, I’m neither confirming nor denying my actions…

10 weeks!  I think people have served shorter sentences but I’m nearly there – I’m sooo close I can taste it!  You know what else I can taste? Sugar.  My sugar cravings are another little result of my thyroid problems but are consistently heightened whenever I abstain from the sauce and this week, my sweet tooth has been rife.  Plus, I had the embarrassment of admitting to Charlie that I hadn’t been following the nutritional plan that can clearly help manage these cravings.  I trust my fearless booty leader with my life as after 2yrs under Cambridge Bootcamps; I’ve never been given bad advice.  Unfortunately for me, it’s all the bad advice I had prior to booty that has somewhat tainted me & I need to move past that.  I think we all know that working with our booty plans has been an eye-opener with all the things we have been led to believe were good for us, ie. sweeteners in place of sugar or skimmed milk instead of whole (see, I was listening Charlie!), that our entire way of thinking has been conditioned by some very clever marketers in the financial gargantuan that is the slimming industry. My problem is that I’m also allergic to garlic and bell peppers which means I’m very limited on a lot of foods anyway, so it’s even harder to cut out the ones I like or can eat because it makes things a tad bland (You know, it’s that thought of walking into a nice restaurant and ordering 2 boiled potatoes or a plate of steamed broccoli).  However, I have promised to do better in the arena of cutting out sugars and I do actually mean it, because I want to stop craving what’s bad for me and naturally gain my energy without relying on the dreaded sugars and caffeine’s of the world (or the old quick fix of 20 cans of Redbull and a sherbet dip-dab).

From a fitness point of view, I didn’t do great at booty this week as I feel generally run down from all the hours I’ve been clocking up, but the thought that I’m almost at the end of my challenge combined with the sun shining at booty for our merry band of specials; my spirits have been happily raised.  As well as the extra Vitamin C I’m getting with all my fruit; I do tend to function better when that sun kicks out its lovely Vitamin D and when I’m surrounded by people that make me laugh, like the booty girls – are there better medicines than those in the world?  Well, maybe Lithium, but it’s a close-knit race ladies! :0) x

*Don’t forget it’s free trial week, commencing Mon, 19th Mar 2012 – tell a friend!* – sign up: MindBody

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Week 9 2012

Week 9 

26th February – 3rd March 2012

Weight:    10st 4lbs

Status:     Into the final weeks…

Mood:      flabbergasted: someone actually did add a day into the month!

March, March, how I love thee… Not only is spring on its way with just the thought of the sunshine giving me a ma-husive smile but it also means I’m on to the final furlong, the last lap, the… no, I’m out already.

I’m still outrageously busy from a work perspective, but I decided to combat last week’s problem of poor eating with a ‘big shop’ that provided some cracking snacks in the form of healthy eating, with my fridge now stocking more fruit than a Arcimboldo painting.

This week’s biggest obstacle turned out to be confidence.  Blur once said “Confidence is a preference for the habitual voyeur of what is known as…Parklife” interesting take Mr Albarn but I’m going with; confidence, or lack thereof, is the ruination of many a great plan.  For this weekend’s bit of a do, I had a fab dress that I knew looked good but a sudden overwhelming dread of the evening ahead overtook any rational thinking and I found myself on a very last minute shopping trip to find something else to wear.  I knew it was madness but continued to act out my illogical fear and even stopped for a moment to admire the irony of life imitating art as the overwhelming trepidation of attending a party that would invoke childhood memories is exactly what my first book was about.  I was really frustrated at myself because the night wasn’t about me and my insignificant insecurities; it was about my fantastic best friend & her partner who struggle daily with their disabled child.  However, the takeaway is that (as expected, despite my lunacy) it was a great night and a tonne of money was raised for an amazing cause with the occasion proving that anything outside of focussing on the big picture of supporting the people you love is wholly without worth and leaves you feeling somewhat empty.

I’m now left with the embarrassment that I felt that way before going but also proud that I managed the whole night without a drop of alcohol, despite my comfort levels and some pretty heavy peer pressure.  At the end of the night, I was able to reflect on the night’s proceedings, remembering key moments that will now stay with me forever (or at least until my noggin gives up the ghost).  In addition, I was also able to stay on my feet even after a bouncing surge from the back pushed heavily (and sidewards) towards the dancefloor sweeping all in its path for a bit of Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’…

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Week 8 2012

Week 8
19th – 25th February 2012

Weight:    10st 4lbs

Status:     56 days & counting – I thank you!

Mood:      yes, I’m still counting…

Ok, so a wee weight plateau at the moment but that might have something to do with the fact that I managed to display the culinary skills of a 4 year old this week.  I’ve been ridiculously busy working 12-14hr days, not stopping to get in a ‘big shop’ or make a proper dinner; so it really has been an interesting case of what’s in the cupboard… and apparently, that wasn’t a lot!

So after chewing on a dry crackerbread and sucking on an oxo cube, my body has clearly rebelled this week, and quite rightly so!

Despite my dietary lapse over the last 8 or so days or that I’m tired from the hours I’ve been chucking in and my tough dry weekend excursion back to my drinking homeland where I had to be fun ‘auntie Hayley’ as the kids trampolined all over me; it’s not put a dampener on my spirits as I’m still feeling pretty good about how far I’ve come.  56 days is a long, long, long, did I say long? long, LONG time but I’ve managed to avoid the seductive sauce!  I’ve dined with friends with whom I normally share a tipple (or to be honest, usually more of a ‘topple’) with, I’ve attended family gatherings and even a hoe down, but I have managed to remain totally sober.  Not that I was an alcoholic before, you understand, but I do feel like I deserve some kind of sobriety chip for what has felt like a monumental effort!

It has definitely paid off though, as next week I have a bit of a do and I can fit into my nice new dress.  Ok, so it needs some spanx, a giant shoe horn and a lack of breathing throughout the night on my part to fit into it, but I’ll take the win…

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Week 7 2012

Week 7

12th – 18th February 2012

Weight:    10st 4lbs

Status:     Half Way!!!

Mood:      Upbeat: Did I mention; it’s Half Way!!!

Jeans.  That’s all I need to say – jeans – and all the ladies reading this will know that it’s one of the hardest things in the world to buy. So many different sizes, dependent on brand, density and shape, that buying a simple pair of jeans is like climbing some bloody big mountain somewhere where there’s a range of bloody big mountains.  In the spirit of all things self-flagellating, this week I bought a pair of jeans.  Why am I harping on about jeans?  Because this pair is the size I once wore 7 years ago… chuffed?  I think so!  Ok, so for all those reasons above, it may not have been a true size, but I’m taking the victory and I’m running with it… I’m falling over because I wasn’t looking where I was going… and I’m up again and running with it!

My little jeans adventure and keeping up to date with the three booty girls that are currently undergoing the nutritional challenge and the amazing and inspiring progress that they have made; has had me really thinking about size and, in turn weight, this week.  One of the things that I’ve loved about Bootcamp is the simple lesson that it taught me about losing weight.  Before I joined I was so obsessed by it that I would weigh myself every day; you know hoping that the fat fairy would come in the night and take away half my body weight or she would just give-in and replace it with a newer model.  It was a while after joining before I realised when I was cleaning one day that my scales had started to gather dust…  I’d stopped obsessing about why I’d put a pound on here or not lost any there and started focussing on how I felt.  I’m currently weighing myself once a week, purely for this challenge of not drinking, as seeing the number lessen does help as a motivational tool but I can’t believe now that I used to be so weight-absorbed because that’s a battle you will never ever win.  It’s not about tipping the scales, it’s about getting to know the body you have and starting to treat it better and when your breathing becomes less laboured, your step acquires a spring and your shape starts to change to reveal all those lovely curves you used to have; that’s when you know you’re winning.  I know girls who have lost ‘weight’ through unhealthy fad diets of basically not eating by sucking on a grape for two days and their shape is weird, their frame is weak, their colouring is grey and their fitness is non-existent.  So, here’s to the body you deserve for the work you put in and two fingers up to the fat fairy I say!

< Although I won’t be throwing my scales at her just yet, as I need them to inspire some even more offensive comments towards the alcohol fairy :0) >

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Week 6 2012

Week 6

5th – 11th February 2012

Weight:    10st 4lbs

Status:     Why isn’t it half way yet?

Mood:      WHY isn’t it half way yet??!!

Rather bizarrely, I still want a drink. By this time last year, I was well and truly past any cravings and I think that my continued pining is more to do with the extra long time-frame I set myself, knowing that I’m not even half way yet… damn!

The thing that’s keeping me going is those measurements from last week.  They had me wondering if I got them wrong and I was that big to start with but I’ve been digging out photographs from a couple of years ago and I can’t believe the difference.  It’s flooded my usually empty brain with memories of all the parts I was desperately unhappy with and now I remember that I used to have extra pockets everywhere even when I wasn’t wearing clothes.  I could have started a lucrative business smuggling electric cars in my back fat and a few small immigrants behind my knees and now I’m feeling somewhat streamlined… and obviously in need of another money making scheme!

My focus is well and truly back and my brain is buzzing with ideas and it’s been like a scene from ‘A Beautiful Mind’, making me write into the wee hours of the morning again.  It might be because I’ve missed booty this week, which I’m not too chuffed about thanks to the snow so I’ve nowhere to channel the energy.  Also, I know that next week is a week off, so I’m forfeiting 2 whole weeks of my much needed booty.  Will I go crazy in the interim? I’m not ruling it out :0)

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