Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hasta luego

With the first really warm day of the year, it's just hit me that it's May. Which triggered questions... Where did the first four months of the year go? Why do I always wear unsuitable shoes and shred my feet at the first sign of sunshine? Have I really run over 400 miles since the start of the year? (The answer to that one being a resounding yes - I was going to do some map jiggery-pokery to find out an equivalent distance on the ground - Leeds to "somewhere else" but I haven't got round to it sadly).

I'm off to sunny Espana at the weekend, so this will probably be my last opportunity to post for 10 days or so. I wanted to do some rounding up and a bit of a review of the first third of the year before I go though, so bear with me!

Weight. That's the biggie, isn't it. It sometimes astounds me when I realise that I've been a healthy, normal weight for nearly four months now. At least as far as BMI goes anyway. But that doesn't astound me quite as much as the realisation that even if I gained 10 pounds overnight I'd still be (just!) at a normal BMI. I haven't updated my stats on the sidebar since I hit 160 (more on that below, in my thoughts on maintenance), but for the record I'm now at 71.6kg/158lb/11 stone 4. I'm only losing very slowly at the moment, but I am still losing.

Maintenance. Maintenance has its ups and downs. It's taken a bit of time to get used to the idea that I don't need to lose weight and therefore shouldn't be disappointed if I don't. I've also still got food issues that exist and need to be dealt with even though I'm supposedly "finished". But on the whole I've been pleasantly surprised. I've been eating relatively freely for the past six weeks, and I've certainly overindulged a lot more often than when I was focussed on losing those last few pounds. But I haven't gained, and have even lost a bit, so I seem to have found a happy medium where I can live as I want to live at a sensible weight. I could get thinner if I tightened up on portion control and calories, but for now I'm not sure that I want to. I'm just relaxing for a while.

I've also been pleasantly surprised at my ability to grow less dependent on the number on the scales. I still weigh myself whenever I go to the gym, as a sort of early warning system, but I've stopped writing that number down obsessively every day. My diaries for the past couple of years are filled with numbers, but since March the numbers are few and far between. I know that the trend is edging downwards but I don't get hung up on the minute details any more. I don't weigh 160lb any more, even though that's what the sidebar said until today, but until today I just wasn't bothered enough about the change to update it. Even though the update would have been to a "nicer" number!

Food. I'm loving the vegetarian thing. Love, love, love it. Most of the time I don't even fancy the meat based options on a menu so it's a complete non-issue. In fact one time, presented with a chicken curry (after my self-imposed target of Easter), I picked the chicken out because I just didn't fancy it even though I'd mentally allowed myself to eat it. I'm not doing this because of the animals, I'm doing it because I prefer the way it makes me feel, and every time I eat vegetarian it's a positive choice to do that, because it's the thing I feel most like eating at that meal.

I've tried lots of new recipes, and I've become a far better cook in the process. It's also pretty much broken my link with calorie counting too. When I first started, although I didn't count calories as such, I had a vague calorie range in my head for certain meals. So if I was looking for something for lunch I'd try to find something within a sensible sounding range. But over time I noticed that I was hesitant to eat anything if it didn't come nicely packaged with nutritional information to pore over, and if it wasn't the "best" choice I could find. By eating home cooked food I've stopped caring about that sort of thing. It's all about balance, and for as long as I can eat relatively sensibly and not gain weight (and over the past six weeks I seem to have struck that balance), I'm not going to get hung up on whether I would be eating 50 less calories if I substituted this ingredient for another. I'll follow the recipes and adapt them as I see fit.

I might eat meat next week. I don't know. The thought of "datiles con beicon" at Dino's in Playa is pretty tempting, but I'll just take it as it comes. I might find myself living off tortilla and margherita pizza for a week, or I might just give in to meat on a "not in the UK" basis. (I find that rule is good for all sorts of naughtiness...)

Running. Wow is the only word for this one. At the start of the year I don't think I'd ever run over 10k, and I'd never run that in much under 59 minutes. Now I can run 10k in under 48 minutes, and I've run a half marathon in under 2 hours. I usually run between 20 and 30 miles a week, and I occasionally run 9 - 12 miles in the morning before work. I've run over 400 miles this year. I usually place in the top third or so of women at races. I'm training for a marathon. That's an improvement on every count.

Other stuff. Work will be "interesting" over the rest of the year. Let's leave it at that. One of my new years resolutions was to do an activity weekend type thing. I'm not sure I'll be doing that any more because of Berlin. But that's a weekend away doing something sporty, so I guess it ticks that box fairly well anyway. What were the others? I can't actually remember, but I think that trying new food was in there, as was running, so I'm not doing too badly. Money possibly was too. I'm not exactly saving at the moment, but I'm not spending more than I can afford either. (Thanks to the god of chip and pin. The other weekend I'd almost decided to blow my self-imposed budgets and use a credit card to buy some new clothes. I got as far as handing the card over... and realised I'd torn up the pin before reading it and couldn't pay with that card. I knew there was a reason I didn't learn my pin to any card that doesn't automatically come out of my bank account either instantly or at the end of the month, to save me from those moments of weakness...). My finances are still a work in progress though.

Holidays. Now the fun bit. I've worked hard to get where I am, and I'm going to enjoy myself. I am not going to let myself feel guilty for the odd cocktail or for not getting up to go for a run in the morning next week. I have learned to trust myself. I don't eat angelically 100% of the time anyway, so I'm not going to beat myself up about not doing that on holiday. I know that I usually put on a couple of pounds when I'm on holiday, and I know that they're usually just water and come off again just as quickly. I'm not suggesting that I'm going to go on a week long eating and drinking binge. I'll probably swim a fair bit, I might run occasionally, and with my mother's current health kick I'm sure that I'll have vaguely sensible things to eat most of the time. It might not be as veg-heavy and nutritious as what I normally eat, but it probably won't be too bad. But I won't worry about that.

I also won't worry about the fact that my stomach isn't perfect. To be honest, however much I think it could be improved I'm slowly starting to realise that when I walk down the street my body actually looks in better shape than a lot of the people I pass. It's a body I've worked hard for, and I have the right to show it off.

Which is precisely what I intend to do. In a bikini in Gran Canaria, clutching a cocktail or two. And then living it up in Madrid.

Have a good week! I will!


Blogger Xena said...

Enjoy your holiday, and be safe! If you can't be safe, then be sexy ;-)

4:27 PM  
Blogger ~Moody said...

Have a g-r-e-a-t holiday.
You deserved it! :)


11:29 AM  
Blogger M@rla said...

Wow, you've accomplished so much! I am blown away by your running speeds. I think you are right about cooking food at home - most restaurant meals just aren't worth it. There are exceptions but it seems most have little nutritional value per calorie. Sometimes, of course, that's not the goal...! Enjoy Spain, bring back lots of pics.

1:55 PM  

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