Friday, 31 January 2014

Fab at Forty - ten months and counting

As the first month of the year is limping to a close, I thought I’d update on the Fab at Forty plan.

I’ve succeeded in the Dry January challenge.  Well, counting chickens really, but at lunchtime on the last day of the month I think I’m safe to say I’ll make it!  Sister was very keen that I kept my participation in Dry January quiet for fear of sounding like Oliver Reed (showing my age again).  I don’t usually drink very much, so it wasn’t a hardship, and I’m glad that for once I’ve met a challenge like that.  Many a Lent has seen me break a giving up pledge!

The fitness side is taking shape (no pun intended!) and I’m going to Zumba twice a week run by the lovely Ellen at  I absolutely love it.  I could only go once this week due to work commitments and I missed it.  The only downside is the Zumba high on the night when the class finishes at 9pm – reasonable bedtime is futile!  I’ve even bought some new trainers, so I must be serious.

I got a bit ahead of myself last Saturday when I joined in a running club meeting.  I’d imagined beginners running would be a gentle jog and then a rest, repeat until the hour was up.  But no.  It was a well-planned 2.5 mile run.  The warm up nearly killed me, but I thought I’d give it a go.  Oh my god.  I was sorry about all the cross-country lessons I’d skived from, all the buses I’d let go because I didn’t want to run for them.  The leader was an angel who stayed with me and encouraged me to run to various points. I was purple in the face, wringing wet and wheezing like a 40 a day girl.  My legs weren’t too bad though…until Sunday.  I couldn’t have been any less flexible if I’d have had toe to hip casts on them.  I think I better learn to walk before I can run.  Me and L have a plan, and it’s not just because we both bought running shoes as well as new shoes for Zumba!

The diet isn’t going so well though.  Great in week one, not so great in weeks two and three.  I read a good article about mindful eating last week (probably whilst eating my lunch), and I can see that I’m a mind-less eater.  I recognise my eating triggers, and number one is boredom.  I’ve got nothing in my office now, because I was stuffing my face all day.  A Weight Watchers biscuit loses it's usefulness if you eat 8 on the trot.  I’m a boredom eater, and because I’m not in a manic, high-stress, everyone wants something from you at every minute of the day job anymore, a biscuit, a ryvita, an apple etc breaks up a little of the day.  I should see my lovely friend Jo at The De-Stress Show, who’s brill at all manner of relaxation and hypnotherapy and what have you, see if she can help me out.

Outing myself in public has worked reasonably well for me though, so my next ‘out’ is to make February chocolate free.  Now that’s a challenge.  But I’ve said it now, so if you spy me nearing the Dairy Milk, slap my hands!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Lunchtimes are a window on the world.

Where I used to work, lunchtimes didn’t really exist.  There was an occasional downing of tools and natter about this, that and the other, but leaving the building was rare.   And that’s not to say there wasn’t enough in the town centre if one wanted to pass an hour, particularly if one wanted a pastry based lunch.  I did have to pass an Asda Superstore on my way home though, and that did get visits aplenty.  They must have wept when I left the old place, their profits must have really nosedived.  When I say I visits aplenty, let me expand by saying Daughter thought her name was George for some time.

But now I work in a town centre, and life outside the office is there to marvel at. Regular readers will have already heard of the lure of Marks & Spencer and other emporiums.  I know this is a bit of a recurring theme (see Reverse Ambition in the archives), but I stare at this outside life agog, mentally like a child drooling in a sweetshop window.  There are people shopping for fun, babies being wheeled about for fresh air, people stopping for coffee.  My favourite drool is mums with sleeping babies having a well-earned latte, or even better, a hushed and hurried catch-up with friends.  Maternity leave was my favourite ever time in the world, even though I was terrified of Daughter for most of it, but I loved those quiet times when I could just be for half an hour.  And there’s that constant state of being against the clock, because she might wake up.  Happy days. 

I dedicate a little piece of lunchtime every day to thinking what I would do if I didn’t have to go to work.  I must point out that this fantasy involves me earning (well I wouldn’t be earning I suppose, just getting) pretty much what I do now but not having to go to work.  Of course I have ‘what I’d do if I didn’t have to go to work because I’m a millionaire’ moments as well, but they take a bit more thinking about.

So what would I do?  Can I pretend I’ve got a bit more money and employ a cleaner?  No? Pah.  It’s my fantasy!  Ok, so something like this…

Drop daughter off at school.  Most mornings head straight to the gym or a class.  Some mornings go for coffee with my fellow non-working chums.  Beat the supermarket crush and serenely amble round the aisles one morning.

Home, to do some chores (which would no longer be a chore because I don’t have to squeeze them in at 10pm or waste Sundays roaring not to stand on my wet floor) and lunch.  Maybe some volunteering at school after lunch some days.  Not quite sure what I’d volunteer for, but at least I’m making the effort in my fantasy!  Or the odd bit of retail therapy, maybe the odd pamper.  Hanging out with the folks now and again.  Catching up with chums, keeping up to speed with paperwork, being creative in the kitchen…the world would be my oyster.  And then off to get Daughter from school, where we’d spend happy and light times together doing homework, getting crafty, playing games, you name it.  Then Husband would get home and I’d be light and cheerful, and we’d all sit down to something healthy yet tasty (Daughter’s culinary horizons are clearly broader in my fantasy).  And we’d have some lovely jolly family time before a stress-free bedtime, and then some quality time with Husband, not watching football but some quality TV.  Who’s with me?

Or who fancies the real day instead?  That goes something like this…

Ignore the alarm at 6.20am, then spend half an hour panicking about the time.  Get ready, breakfast, get Daughter up.  Be shouted at by Daughter who is TIRED!  Help Daughter get ready, with every other sentence being ‘It’s getting late!  Come here!’,  peppered with ‘Concentrate!’ and  ‘I’ve got to leave in ten minutes!’.  Throw in the odd horn-locking about what colour tights Daughter is going to wear.  Abandon Daughter to Peppa Pig, a brioche and a yoghurt in a tube (no brand favouritism here!) to go and put shoes on etc.  Be asked five times not to leave without saying goodbye.  Be body searched by Daughter for my bracelet with a dangling heart on it that I must press several times throughout the day to send love to her heart on the zip of her dress.  Kiss Daughter (and Husband, lipstick colour notwithstanding), be asked if Daughter has got lipstick on and eventually get in the car.  Then off to work, which is relatively samey at the moment, lunchtime drool, more work, home, make the tea, eat tea, fight the bath time battle and then the bed time battle on my turn.  Do things like sort washing out, iron clothes, wash hair, make lunch, and if we’re lucky, actually sit down with Husband and not just pass in the hall as one of us goes to bed.  I would imagine a pretty similar story from most parents, perhaps minus the heart bracelet!  And for as much as I want to smash the alarm clock in every day, my kisses and squeezes and declarations of love from Daughter make the day ahead a better prospect.

But for now, I’ll keep doing the numbers and getting the plans ready just in case.


Thursday, 9 January 2014

Fab at Forty

2014 is the year I turn 40.  Not until the end of 2014, I’m at pains to make clear, but it is the year nonetheless.  So, it’s time to follow through with a pledge that I threw out there in the heady days of summer…to be a size 12 by I’m 40.  With 11 months and counting, there’s no time to lose.  I haven’t made any other resolutions, because quite frankly, this will take all my efforts.

So, L and I have set about our plans.  L isn’t 40 until 2015, but being a good friend she’s joining me on the journey.  If shaping up happened by planning alone, we’d be a pair of supermodels.  But alas it appears to require more moving and less eating.  Pah.

We’re extremely accomplished at talking about our fitness plans.  There are some plans to get running gathering dust, and L’s lovely and super-fit husband P has offered plans and chaperoning on dark nights.  We’ll get round to it.  I fear we have the potential to be fair-weather runners.  I’m more likely to be fair-weather shuffler, to be honest.  I’ve never voluntarily run.  I wouldn’t even run for buses, preferring to suffer the consequences of being late instead.    Since school cross-country, which I used to saunter around, the only times I’ve ever run have been to chase after a speeding toddler.

So how am I going to do it?  I’ve decided Boot Camp is my solution.  I have to tell you that this has caused varying levels of hilarity in the family.  I’ve persuaded L, and we’re mentally up for it if nothing else.  She’s suffering the effects of 30 Day Shred at the moment, and I’m suffering the effect of moving to a third floor office (my poor knees!  Someone thought there was gunfire when I walked up them last week!), so we’re signing up for March.  And we’ll have to do it now, because I’m publically declaring our intentions!  We went to a Zumba class run by the Boot Camp leader last night, and not only did we survive, we came out with an exercise high and happily have both been mobile today.  Although L has just text to say she is about to Shred, so I can’t speak for her mobility tomorrow!

Daughter is less than impressed.  She is unexplainably against me going to ‘fitness club’, as she calls it. That said, she’s against me going to the toilet alone (separation anxiety is still alive and kicking!) .  I think she’s worried she won’t be able to poke at my arms and declare me to have bingo wings, or wobble my tummy and growl ‘chubbeeee’ at me.

But I don’t want to be chubbeeeee anymore, and for the first time since our wedding, I’ve got a decent time bound goal.  I’ve got no plans for my 40th, but I know how I want to look on the photographs.  I’ve suggested to Husband that we renew our wedding vows at 10 years, which is after my 40th,  just so that I can wear the dress again, because it will fit me, but he’s not keen.  When I say not keen, I mean absolutely horrified by the idea!

Whatever I do to celebrate, I’m on the journey to be fab at forty now.  It’s long haul for sure, so wish me luck!