Good morning world

I did it again!

Don’t worry, I won’t start every post with that phrase. But I got up, dressed and took my dog out for a walk.

I’m lucky enough to love near woodland and farmland. An early morning stroll is just glorious: the birds, the wildlife, the wildflowers….it is just beautiful and peaceful.

I didn’t over exert myself- my muscles were hurting too much for that – but a planned 10 minute walk turned in to 25 minutes.

Exercise, nature…it really does help. In fact, I’d go so far to say, that when you lie in bed you really do miss out.

Hope you have all had a productive morning!

Photo by Mike Krejci from Pexels
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I did it!

This morning, I got up at 6.15am. I put on my exercise clothes which I had set out the night before. I got my dog on the lead, started the podcast and completed my very first session for the Couch to 5K NHS programme.

I’m proud of myself.

What I noticed:

  1. I love being put early morning in the sunshine.
  2. Having everything ready was a great motivator.
  3. My dog enjoyed it.
  4. I probably need to be out earlier to avoid other dog walkers and to feel less self-concious.
  5. 60 seconds of jogging isn’t as long as I thought it was.
  6. I couldn’t brisk walk by the end.
  7. My legs felt like jelly on the last run.
  8. Completing a 6 minute stretch routine at the end helped.

Tomorrow is a rest day but I’m going to go out again for a leisurely walk and do some yoga.

It is only 8.45am and I could go to sleep!! I found it really hard to get to sleep last night, maybe because I knew I was getting up early. I aim to be in bed by 10pm tonight.

Other developments which caused my insomnia are that work called me yesterday and requested a meeting on Thursday. I have a meeting with my union rep this morning to discuss and plan.

I know I can’t go back. There is a war in my brain as I keep thinking I could, this isn’t happening, I’m over-reacting. But then, I consider the truth. I had one day off for a migraine and I was sent a letter offering a settlement to leave. This was before I had phoned the doctors for a sick note. I need to face the truth that they just don’t want me.

I’m leaning more and more towards the tutor business but I’m scared. How will I make enough money? Where do I even begin?

I think, once the meetings are over and the settlement is signed sealed and delivered, I will feel better and resolute and ready to go.

For now I’m going to take a shower and hopefully wake up.

Pexels

Corona change

It’s Thursday so I probably shouldn’t be thinking about this yet but, hey, it’s what I do.

I may, or may not be back in work full time on Monday. Being honest, I started this half term week with the understanding that I am back in work full time from June 1st. Since then, I’ve been in school, spoke to the Head and was told ‘it is up for discussion’. And then yesterday, the local authority published a report saying that despite government instruction, Lancashire does not yet meet all the requirements to reopen schools due to the levels of Coronavirus. So, who knows?

The point is, things are changing every day. I’m not political but there seems to be no clear direction, no leadership: ambiguous comments built on ambiguous comments. I can’t believe that, even though hundreds of people are still dying every day here, we are being told that we can ‘stay alert’ but go out when Wild Card’s country is still in complete lockdown with under ten people dying a day. They’ve had under 200 people die in total. And they are still in lockdown.

But, thinking about change with the forever-changing possibility that I am back in work, I’ve considered how life has changed for me.

I’m exercising. Regularly. I know, I can’t believe it myself. It started months ago with a free 30 day subscription to an online exercise site. And then I just took some of the exercises and started doing my own thing. Each time I do the routine I add more repetitions or a new move. I’m now up to 30 minutes three times a week. On top of that, I’m walking for 30 minutes most days too. That is a big deal for me. I haven’t exercised that much or frequently since my early 20s. It probably needs improvement but, you know what, I’m proud of myself. I actually have muscles – definition – in my legs.

Talking of which, I haven’t put any weight on over lockdown. That is another achievement. Due to my gluten intolerance which was diagnosed last September, my eating habits completely changed and I dropped a significant amount of weight very quickly. I wasn’t eating properly though and that couldn’t be sustained. I was upset that I’d stopped losing weight at first until my best friend pointed it out – I’m eating properly, no longer denying myself anything (apart from gluten) and yet I haven’t put any weight on. I still need to lose some weight which is why I am increasing my exercise and have started to log my food again. But no weight gain is good.

I have had a face skin care routine from August last year when a friend introduced me to double cleansing. (I may have a slight obsession with face products now). But since lockdown, I’ve been much better with moisturising my whole body – I exercise, shower and moisturise. Similarly, whilst my relationship with Wild Card has ensured that I wear make up everyday, not just when I’m in work, scrolling through Facebook Watch videos has taught me a few tricks and my make up looks much better, more natural. I hate the whole ‘Instagram plaster your face until you look like something out of Star Trek’ look (sorry girls) but I’ve found a happy medium now.

Talking of happy mediums, I’m afraid I am not one of those people who took lockdown and completely transformed their house. I kind of thought, if there is a chance I could get corona and die I don’t want my last days to have been about painting the living room. But my house is cleaner and more tidy and I have organised and sorted through a few key areas. My garden is also looking better but not finished. I’m OK with that.

I have been reading a lot more though. I love reading, always have, but the last few years have seen pockets of reading and longer periods of not. I was just too tired. I’ve read lots of books since lockdown and I’m loving it all over again.

Being a teacher and therefore a key worker, I have worked over lockdown. I’ve been going into school a couple of times a week and setting and checking work each day. But there has been balance too. Yes, my job is very important to me, but my family and health are more important. It was hard at first – guilt plagued me – but I’m slowly finding a better balance between it all: work, home, family, me. Of course, this will all need re-evaluation when I go back to work.

And you know what? Despite the sometimes tumultuous ups and downs, I’ve been able to sustain a long distance relationship with Wild Card. I mean, how difficult has this situation been and yet we are still together, still loving each other. Yesterday, he told me I am his life. That’s a big statement from him – he’s normally about actions rather than words – and it has really touched me. 😊

So, how has this situation changed your life for the better? Remember, every cloud has a silver lining.

Sod’s Law

I kid you not… Last night I started with a new flare-up. What are the odds of that?

Actually, quite high as my condition is brought on by stress. Friday’s absence meeting was stressful and I’ve thought of little else.

Or may be it is the laws of attraction at work – I’ve worried about a flare-up all weekend so now I have one.

Luckily (if you choose to think about it this way) I still have some ointment from my last flare-up and started it straight away. I should get to the hospital tomorrow but I’m not going to. One, I can’t afford the absence. Two, if the consultant finds out I’ve had a second flare-up within a month I can see another sick note at the very least. No, hopefully I’ve caught it early enough and I can avoid going. If it does get more serious, well, work will see it and I will have no choice.

But, I’m meant to be positive from now on.

So, I’ve started a new three week weight loss plan on Lifesum today. I’ve ordered shopping and have checked the meals are appropriate for my work schedule. I’ve also logged into Holland and Barrett and am trying their trial ‘Healthbox’. I have taken questionnaires based on my current health needs and they have suggested supplements to help. I have received a month’s supply half price and with free delivery – I will try it for a month and will review. I’ve booked in a long walk next Sunday with my friend and am in the process of planning more exercise opportunities this week.

I can do this.

One year on.

A year today I started this blog. Madness. At first I was pretty proud of myself for posting for a whole year, but then I realised it was more than that.

This blog has got me through some really tough times this year. It’s been a friend, a sounding post, a crutch.

Without a shadow of a doubt, on my second and final separation from my husband a year ago, I felt the absence of utter misery and stress would leave me feeling a lot happier. Surprisingly, it didn’t.

My circumstances are a lot different from the first time. I’m older (obviously), have three children (not two), and a more demanding and high pressured job.

I’ve found my separated life to be quite lonely. I’ve gone through dark clouds of depression to euphoric bliss and the boredom of monotony in between:

Dates – nope.

Rooms redecorated – half (don’t ask).

New hobbies – one.

Weight lost – none.

Evaluation of creation of new life? Poor.

But (and there is always a but)..

I HAVE MADE IT!

I have been a single parent to three gorgeous but highly demanding children whilst holding down a career and attempting to keep my house from looking (and smelling) like a dump.

So my advice to you, ‘newly separated and hopeful’ is:

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to make big changes. Let the dust settle.

Accept that it will take a while for the dust to settle.

Don’t think that the big hole left (however desired) by your ex leaving/getting kicked out is going to be filled with love and wonder and happiness. Not at first anyway. You need to explore every inch of that crater to process what happened: how you feel about it and what you truly want now your dream of night long sex with [insert sexy movie star here] is no longer needed to get you through the pain of a dissolving marriage.

Be kind to yourself. You are going to emote in ways you didn’t know possible. You may even miss him a little. Doesn’t mean you want him back or that you should backtrack on your decision, necessarily. It’s OK to mourn what once was and what could have been.

Give yourself the gift of time. Go out with the girls. Get out in the fresh air whenever you can. Laugh, cook, dance. You don’t need a replacement to make you happy.

Take stock of your achievements regularly. This is a big change to your life. It’s not easy to go it alone.

Don’t be afraid of asking for or accepting help. It doesn’t make you weak. Just reminds you that you are not Wonder Woman. (More’s the pity).

Don’t settle for mediocrity. You’re better than that. You deserve more than that. There’s no rush – get it right this time.

Thank you to all the people who have read my blog and the two special ladies who regularly comment. It is always appreciated. 😊

Here’ s to Year 2 and all that may bring.

Happy Blogging!

Xx

Green Goddess

I read a blog recently which spoke of the benefits of being outdoors- in particular, walking through the forest: forest therapy. It’s been so long since my friend and I had been on one of our adventures. We were both mourning the loss without knowing it…we had both had periods of depression and/or anxiety in the last few months, we had not been as focused on our health and our friendship had suffered.

Finally, on Tuesday, we made our way over to Yorkshire to visit Ingleton Falls. What followed was a long, strenuous walk around some amazing scenery.

It was exhilaratingly exhausting. At one point my legs would not go any further and I found myself hating my weight and my lack of fitness. I stopped, caught my breath, and started again.

By the end I was so proud of myself. It is described as a ‘strenuous’ walk. I did this with poor fitness and being overweight – that’s something to be proud of. It is a truly beautiful place and I strongly recommend it to anyone visiting the beautiful north of England.

Wednesday, as fate would have it, we were off again and this time back to Llandudno and the Great Orme. We found our favourite spot and ate our sandwiches gazing out at Conwy and Anglesey.

I love it there. Conwy is my favourite Welsh town and castle. Whenever I go I feel at ‘home’ somehow. For more professional photographs, I strongly recommend that you look at The Perimeter on WordPress and this very talented photographer’s pictures:

https://theperimeter.uk/2017/06/05/clwyd-print-collection/

The Orme is windy and beautiful and I feel alive when I am there. I feel like I have purpose and meaning. Exercise and nature have a way of making you realise how lucky you truly are.. To be able to walk and see and hear and feel.

With a renewed vigour, I am determined to keep up the walking and get this weight off once and for all.

Yesterday I went to buy my new tent! I’ve bought a family sized Vango Nadina and we had great fun putting this up last night. It is huge! We are off camping again next week and I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to being outdoors with my family and my friends in my new big green tent.

Trying. 

I believe that there are certain circumstances that have to happen before you lose weight. It’s a bit like planets aligning – doesn’t happen very often and it is a wonderous thing when it does. 

The first two are pretty obvious:

Eat less. 

Exercise more. 

For the lucky some, those two are enough. For the rest of us, they are nigh on impossible to sustain without the big hitters:

Determination 

A positive mindset

Reality check
Let’s start with determination. Put simply, you’ve got to want to do this enough. It’s got to be stronger than the pull of deliciously rich chocolate or a plate of hot vinegary fried chips. Or a cold, cold glass of crisp white wine. Not easy. 

Then there’s a positive mindset. You’ve got to believe you can do this. You might have 5 stone to lose. It might have taken you three months to lose a stone. But with a positive mindset, that’s OK. You see the loss, not the time it has taken you.  And when you’re looking at your saggy, soft body you push away the thoughts that ‘I’m never going to do this’ or ‘no matter how much I lose, I’m still going to have stretchmarks/saggy skin/saggy breasts/bingo wings etc. Because those thoughts are the ones that vindicate a packet of biscuits or two bags of crisps. They welcome the sweet calories of a bar of chocolate like a king welcoming his favourite warrior back from battle. 

But, despite the power of positive mindset, a healthy dose of reality check is essential. “Yay! Well done! You’ve lost two stone. But that doesn’t mean you can now inhale the entire contents of your fridge. It doesn’t mean that you can leave the exercise for a few days. You’ve got to keep going.”

I’m struggling. I’ve been fat for so long that I cannot ever see the day when I’m not fat. I know that the soft saggy skin will never be firm and taut. I can’t imagine the time when I can get up and not be thoroughly disgusted with myself and my body and what I have stuffed into my mouth in the previous 24 hours. I can’t stop myself from thinking that I will never find someone who will love me in the state I am in. 

But I have got pride in my minor achievements. I have walked more in the past two months than I have in the past two years. I have (just about) kept off the two stone I have lost in the past two years. I’m still trying. Yes, I fail. I fail pretty regularly. But I keep dusting myself off and start again.  I keep fighting with my negativity. I keep remembering that the balance is not tipped in my favour. That if I don’t try I’ll never know if the impossible can become possible.