Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An award winner?!

I can't really believe this but I've been nominated for a Liebster Award from not one but two of my fellow bloggers - this is amazing because I read their blogs all the time and can't believe they have nominated me!!

I was awarded The Liebster Award from my fellow bloggers 

I can't believe it!!  It's a great way to share some things about yourself and learn from others in your blogging community!
So what is the Liebster Award:
The Liebster award is given to upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.

Rules for receiving this award:
1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Then answer the questions the tagger sent for them, plus create 11 questions for the people they've tagged to answer.
3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
4. Notify the people you have tagged.
5. No tag backs.
Here are 11 little things to share with you about my life...
1. I grew up on a farm in North Yorkshire
2. I applied for a Visa to emigrate to Australia but then met Paul so stayed in Scotland
3. When I get my own house I want to get a dog and call it Dexter
4. I became a Godmother to my gorgeous Godson Luke when I was 12
5. I currently drive a Vauxhall Corsa but would love a Mini
6. I love making cakes and would love to own a bakery
7. I have sung in the Royal Albert Hall
8. I’d love it if life was a musical
9. My favourite colour is red.
10. I want to learn how to speak Italian
11.I’m going to see my uni friend get married in Ghana next year.

I'm going to answer both sets of 11 questions below
Questions from Laura at Spicing up my life
1. Who has been an inspiration in your life?
My Mum – she’s a Primary school teacher and has quite literally brought up about three generations of our village – she’s everyone’s second Mum and I think she found her calling being a ‘mother’ figure and I’m one of only two people who can officially call her Mum.
2. What is a dream of yours that you've been holding back from achieving?
As I said above I’d have liked to have been a Film Score composer but I’m also very lucky to be doing the other dream job I wanted and I remind myself of that fact every day.
3. What is your best attribute?
People say I have nice eyes – Personality wise I try to be a nice person.
4. What is your favourite memory from childhood?
My Dad used to make amazing sculptures out of sand on the beach on holiday (racing cars we could actually sit in, mermaids, octopuses, trains you name it)
5. If you could rewind your life, what is one thing you would do differently?
I think everything that has gone before leads you to where you are today so I don’t think I’d change anything for fear of changing where I am now.
6. What was your proudest moment?
Getting my degree – at the end of it it got pretty tough and I didn’t know if I’d pass or not
7. What is your favourite quote?
I don’t have a favourite quote but my favourite ‘mantra’ is ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling – I have it pinned to my desk at work
8. How did your life turn out differently than you expected?
I never thought I’d be living in Scotland, before I got sent here for work it was never a place I’d considered living
9. What is the quirkiest thing you do?
I have to wear a complete pair of socks - I can't wear odd ones
10. What is your richest blessing?
Paul – I met the best friend I never knew I had and I’m lucky enough that he wants to spend time with me too
11. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?
If I can help / inspire just one person by sharing the ups and downs of my journey then that’d be great.

Questions from Kay at Goal of Losing
1. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
To be totally truthful I’m pretty happy being exactly where I am now, I’m very lucky to have a great life – but saying that, lying on a beach in Hawaii wouldn’t be such a bad thing!!
2. If you were given only one word to describe yourself, which word would you choose?
3. What is your favourite movie?
Any of the Harry Potter Films – they are my go to films if I’m stuck with nothing to do, the effects are amazing and I love the magical stories but I also love The Shawshank Redemption and the new Batman film (awesome!!)
4. What is your favourite book?
Angels and Demons but Dan Brown – I love all that Indiana Jones ish historical legends stuff
5. Where is the furthest you have travelled?
Vancouver Canada
6. If you could be anything when you grow up, what would you be?
A Film Score Composer
7. What would your answer to #6 have been when you were a child?
I’m pretty sure I wanted to be The Little Mermaid!!
8. What is your favourite food?
I’m going to choose a cuisine for this and it has to be Italian, I love all and everything about Italy and its food!!
9. Do you have one bad habit that you would like to break?
I crack my knuckles
10. What is one of your pet-peeves?
People not saying Please and Thank you – they’re such short words and cost nothing but people don’t always say them
11. When was the last time you laughed and why?
Last night at my dance class – the instructor actually said ‘if you think this hurts breathe it in because it’s only going to get worse!’ I laughed out of fear!!

And now my questions to all my lucky recipients:

1. Who has been an inspiration in your life?
2. What is a dream of yours?
3. When was the last time you've laughed and why?
4. What was your proudest moment?
5. If your life was a movie who would you like to play you?
6. If money were no object where would you go on holiday, who would you take and why?
7. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
8. If you were stuck in a lift (elevator) with two people (dead or alive) who would they be and why?
9. What is your favourite season? Spring / Summer / Autumn / Winter?
10. What is one thing you would love to learn to do?
11. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?

And now I'm passing it on...

Here are the winners in my eyes

Back people

Hey - I'm so sorry for being AWOL for the last few days!! Life totally got in my way and it seems like I've been on fast forward for the last week or so!!
So be prepared for a couple of thousand of blog posts today to get you all caught up.
You'll be glad to know that life didn't get in the way of my exercise or eating routine

Firstly I'm going to update you on my Marathon Weight Loss Challenge
I lost another pound!! I'm totally pleased with that!! Who wouldn't be?!
My eating has been pretty good, consisting of mainly omelettes and lean protein with salad which has been great during my hectic time because it takes no time at all to throw it together and it's healthy and filling.
My aim for next week is to continue with my weight loss - I've only lost 1.2lbs since the start of this Weight Loss Challenge so I'm not sure I'll be able to lose the half marathon I'd originally aimed to do but once again as far as I'm concerned if I lose weight I'm a winner aren't I?!
It's also Paul's birthday at the weekend and we're going out for dinner so I'm going to try and up my exercise to counter balance that meal - it's one of my self proclaimed 'special occasions' where I let myself enjoy what I want for dinner i.e. I'm going to have dessert.
The exercise shouldn't be too much of a problem though because I have The Boring Runner's Virtual 5K this Saturday!! My first 'official' 5K ever!! So excited! I'm going to make my race bib during the week and I've already got my route planned out - I've not ever run a full 5K without walking in places before but I'm really going to try and run the whole thing on Saturday!! I can't wait to read everyone's race reports!!

I've also been dancing a lot more - I started beginners ballet last week which was awesome but my calves didn't like it at all for the rest of the week!! I'm back again tonight for class number two so I'm hoping my calves get more used to the positions.
Last night I went to a stretch and tone class which was brilliant - not an energetic dance class like I'm used to but I'm hoping it'll help stretch out my ligaments a bit which in turn should help to prevent injuries. I've had a lot in the past due to torn ligaments and I think if they're a bit more supple then they'll bend and flex rather than tear?!

I also went to my street dance class on Friday night which was great fun - Courtney the dance instructor is totally mental but an amazing dancer - I dream of being able to move like her someday!! I already can't wait for Friday (for more reasons than simply because it's Friday!)

The other great thing about the dance class is that it's a mile away from my flat so I walk there and back which helps me get out and moving more plus adding an hour of dancing in the middle!!

That's a bit of an update from me - I promise it's not going to be that long before I update again!!
I know! Naughty Hannah!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Grace and Grazing

Sorry for not posting for a couple of days life got in the way and got a bit hectic.
My flatmate came back from travelling yesterday so I spent the night before giving the flat a bit of a tidy so that it wasn't a mess when she came home.
I'll be honest and say it really wasn't that bad, I'd hoovered the whole flat and cleaned the kitchen at the weekend and I generally tidy up after I'm done so it didn't take long. The thing that took the longest was making space in the fridge! Paul and I had taken over the whole fridge while she was away and that night I had to try and cram all of my food back into my half so that she could put stuff in there.
Paul and I also made a lovely dinner of Steak, Potato Wedges and Vegetables because it was our last night on our own in the flat

Tuesday night also consisted of my first Beginners Ballet class!!
I started going to Street Dance classes a while ago for something different to do to help me lose weight in a fun way and stop me from getting bored running all the time. The class is great fun, I'm easily the most uncoordinated and fattest person there but I try not to dwell on that and I figure if I stop going neither of those things will change!! One day I'll be able to move my feet AND arms at the same time and I'm hoping that I'll also shed a few more inches so I'm going to continue going and see how I get on.
Besides the classes are only £5 a session which is the best value I've found anywhere near Glasgow and the studio is right near where I live so it's handy to get to.
So anyway... back to the ballet
I've always wanted to be a bit more flexible - I can't even touch my toes!! I think it stems from years of rugby playing and having tight calves but anyways I thought learning ballet would help with that and once again bring something else different to my weekly workout routine.
The class was brilliant - I got a bit confused with some of the terminology because the teacher seemed to be teaching us a new word / position every few minutes but I really enjoyed myself.
Along with the flexibility I'm hoping it'll help me feel a bit more graceful. Like I said I played rugby for a good few years when I was at university and continued for a while afterwards and I've always been a bit of a tomboy since I was a kid so I've always thought of myself as a tough bruiser of a fat person.
I'm definitely big boned and I can't help that, I'm what people would call a 'typical Yorkshire lass' but now that I've lost a bit of weight and gained a more feminine figure (I have a big bum and thighs but that's counter balanced with a tiny waist) I'd like to feel a bit more feminine too.
Don't get me wrong I still love being a powerful and strong woman (I'm also considering starting CrossFit) but I'd like to know that there's some grace in me too!!
I'm really looking forward to the next class but at the moment my legs are on fire! Yesterday they were a wee bit sore but today my calves are screaming at me!!
Does anyone know of any tricks (without a foam roller at the moment, I'm going to buy one at the weekend) to help loosen my legs up because I'm planning on going for a run tonight and I have Street Dance tomorrow and I don't want to be in pain for either!!

Last night I took a night off from exercising - I had the beginnings of a migraine so I took myself to bed at about 9pm to try and sleep it off - my eyes still feel a bit funny today but not nearly as bad as yesterday so I'm hoping a nice gentle jog tonight will help clear my head.
I also fell off the wagon with my eating a bit yesterday - my flatmate brought me a red velvet cupcake from the Hummingbird Bakery so I ate that which pushed me over my daily allowance but I'm hoping it's far enough away from Monday's weigh in so I can push myself running and not put the weight on!

I also heard back from FitBit and they are sending me a new one so hopefully that will arrive soon and I can start counting my steps again!! I've felt very lost without it recently!

The other thing I'm excited about is my Graze box arrived yesterday!! I was inspired my fellow blogger The Road to Less Cake to sign up for these again.
I got them a few months ago and then stopped them because at the time I was on the Slimming World plan and they added up to more syns than I wanted to eat for the box but now I'm just counting calories they are more than manageable and a great way to keep your snacks interesting.
You get a box with four little tubs in it each with a different assortment of snacks and a card which tells you all the nutritional values of each box. You can even log on to their website and rate each snack and tell them which ones you want more of etc
If you're in the UK check it out here - it's healthy and there's a little bit of excitement to see what's in each box every week!!
Today I'm going to be trying 'Poached Pear'
Its only 106 calories for the whole tub and has dried pear slices, vanilla pumpkin seeds and lemon sultanas in it!! Even better is that MFP has them in their database so it's really easy to account for them!
I'll let you know if I enjoy this box or not.

I hope everyone is having a good week - not one to wish my life away but it's nearly the weekend!!

Question: Has anyone got any tips on buying a foam roller? Has anyone else tried graze boxes? Doing anything special this weekend?

Monday, July 23, 2012

My lowest yet

Happy Monday people, I hope everyone had a great weekend, mine was full of good company, Paul in particular, and good food.
Like I said on an earlier post I had a voucher for a picnic hamper from a local bakery in Glasgow called 'Cup'.
I picked it up on Saturday afternoon and Paul and I ate it for our dinner.
It was lovely although (I can't believe I'm saying this) contained too many sweet things over savoury.

It came in a lovely little box with handles with the following things
Fresh Lemonade
Three Mini Bread Rolls - one each of ham, egg mayonaise and chicken
A fruit scone (Paul got a cinnamon one which smelled delicious) with a small pot of jam and some cream
A pot of carrot and celery sticks
A pot of strawberries and blueberries
A cupcake (I actually got two in my box but I was good and only ate the one)
A box of three mini pastries - a custard slice, a brownie and blueberry mousse in a dark chocolate cup

The whole box is a nice idea and Cup is apparently well known for their cupcakes and I'd love to go there for a treat one day, when I was picking the boxes up I saw all their different flavours and they all looked amazing!! I was very proud of myself that I didn't buy any there and then!
I'm not sure if I would get it again though - the lemonade was a bit sweet for me, I prefer fresh lemonade to be very tart.
Like I said above I would have preferred more savoury things in the box, this might have been because I hadn't really eaten anything all day and was hungry for 'food' and in those moments I'm not up for lots of sweet things.
The mini rolls were lovely but I think the egg mayonnaise had too much mayo for me. The cupcake was lovely and so was the scone, they make about five different types of scone and I would have liked to have chosen which one I got - I'm totally bitter about Paul getting a cinnamon one!! Lol.
I got the vouchers for £9 each but apparently they are £15 normally and I'm definite that I wouldn't pay that much for it.
It was a nice idea for something different to experience but also didn't fill either of us up and we ended up getting a grilled chicken kebab later on because we were hungry!!
I'm sure it was fine though as neither of us had had lunch so I just counted the picnic as lunch and the kebab as dinner and I didn't even finish all of my kebab.

Anyways I know it wasn't bad because this week for the Lose a Marathon challenge I lost 2.3 pounds!! This puts me at my lowest weight since I started weighing myself and I'm now 13 stone so fingers crossed if I have a good week this week, I'll be into the 12 stone bracket!! My goal weight (for now) is 12 stone so I now only have one stone to lose and it feels so do-able now!!

My weekend wasn't all good though :-( My FitBit decided to die on me!! I went out for a run on Saturday morning and it hasn't worked since!! I'm gutted too because I ran my usual 5k (3.1 miles) and then I walked to the bakery and back to collect the picnic hampers which is a mile either way so that would have been another two miles and I walked up and down my six flights of stairs both when I went for my run and when I came back from the picnic. I was also on the phone to my Mum walking up the stairs and I realised I had dropped my usb key out of my pocket only once I'd gotten to the top so I walked down the stairs again re-tracing my steps to find that I'd dropped it on the ground floor lobby!! I decided to do the good thing and walk back up the stairs again! I must have been well on my way to getting my 25 floors badge on my FitBit!!
I've emailed the company and they sent me a courtesy email back but because it was the weekend I haven't heard anything yet - I'm hoping to hear soon though because I'd only had it a week but I miss it already!! I'm already at a loss that I don't know how far I've walked today!!

Also my gym is still flooded and it has been pouring down all day so I decided not to go running tonight - I really hope my gym opens soon I don't want to undo all the good stuff that's been going on recently both with my weight loss and fitness!!

Question: Any suggestions on good workouts to do at home when I can't run or go to the gym? I have a Swiss ball and a kettle bell if that helps.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Run in the rain

I was determined that I'd make a good start to this weekend - I had gotten a Groupon voucher for a picnic hamper from a local bakery and Paul and I decided that we would pick it up this weekend although the weather is probably going to mean we have an indoor picnic but either way I'm looking forward to it! So I knew I wanted to do something to try and counteract the hamper eating - I had a sneaky weigh yesterday morning and it's looking like I've lost a little bit so I don't want this to give me a set back.
So this morning I got in my workout gear and laced up my trainers and headed out for a 5k run - I have a nice little loop from my flat and back that works out nicely as a 5k so I put my 10k training app on my iPhone and set off. The training programme finishes a bit before the end of my 5k so I tend to run through the 5 minute cool down section and then cool down after that - it gets me home anyways.
It actually went pretty well - I should have gotten out the house a bit earlier because it was actually quite bright and sunny but then the clouds rolled in and I got hit with a couple of showers while I was out but it actually felt pretty good, it helped cool me down anyways.

When I got in (after walking up the 6 flights of stairs to my flat I might add!!) I was still feeling pretty energetic so I did some housework, I hoovered the whole flat and sorted out the rubbish (I still need to put it all down the chute though) and emptied and re-filled the dishwasher.
I then made a cup of coffee and you will now find me sitting with my laptop with an Activia Banoffee yoghurt (delicious BTW) and my coffee looking through my emails, blogs and comments.
I've also decided to join the world of twitter (finally!! I hear you say - I don't profess to be up with the trends!!) so I'm trying to get my head around all that but if you want to follow me you can find me at

I'm due to pick up our picnic hamper at half four and its a half hour walk away so I'm gonna head for a shower and get ready to go back outside and I'll let you know what was in this mystery hamper!!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend so far

What is your take on exercise on a weekend? Do you work out hard during the week and take the weekend off or is the weekend just like any other day and you workout as normal or do you use the days not working to squeeze in your extra long runs / sessions?
What's your favourite flavour of yoghurt?

Friday, July 20, 2012


Firstly a bit of a disappointment last night - my normal gym still isn't open and I have run out of the free passes for the other uber expensive gym!! I'm not too sad because I ran 3k (totally thought it was 5k (3.1 miles)) on Monday and then 5k on Tuesday and Wednesday so it's not like I've not been doing anything and I know I'm allowed / should take rest days I just don't like it when outside factors 'force' a rest day.
I'm not going to say I sat on my sofa with a pet lip though the lazy girl inside had her comfy trousers on and the remote in her hand!!
The main thing I don't like about not going to the gym after work is the time it allows me at home which can lead to bored eating (eating rubbish when I'm not hungry just for something to do!!) I also usually go food shopping on a Friday / weekend too so by Thursday night my cupboards are pretty bare.
Last night's dinner consisted of a baked sweet potato and two chicken sausages - my food diary for the Lose a Marathon challenge is woefully 'unpretty' (I know that's not a word) but it was the only thing I could find in my flat that I felt like eating.

Then last night I watched a programme on TV called Panorama: The Truth about Sports Products
Panorama in the UK is an investigative programme that deals with lots of different issues and as you can probably tell this one spiked a bit of interest in me
Here is a link to the BBC iPlayer site for it if you want to give it a watch - I'm not sure if you guys who live overseas can watch it and it's only available for seven days on there but I'm sure you'll be able to find it if you are more proficient in the world of Google than me!!

It was very interesting - I'll be honest and say that I don't take a lot of 'sports products' mainly because I'm not that far down my fitness journey but I think without seeing this programme I may have ventured down that route a bit further down the line.

A group of researchers looked at several health magazines and the adverts that were in them and then looked into the research that each company had done to find out if they could actually substantiate their claims.
First was sports drinks Lucozade, Powerade etc
The basic conclusion was that unless you are a professional level athlete training for hours and hours at a time there is no discernible difference in performance. For a normal gym goer like me there is no advantage in spending money buying those kinds of drinks over drinking water from the tap.
The more worrying thing looked at when talking about drinking is regarding the thoughts that you have to drinks lots and lots and if you're at the point when you're thirsty then you've left it too long.
The programme basically said that over hydration is a problem and you should drink when your body tells you to drink i.e. when you're thirsty. People have DIED during sports events due to over hydration but NO ONE has ever died during a sports event due to dehydration - they can fix dehydration, over hydration is another matter.
In terms of the additional energy boost sports give they spoke to a Scottish Cyclist Graeme Obree who was nicknamed the flying Scotsman because of how fast he went round a track smashing several records and he said his energy boost came in the form of a jam sandwich!! The sugar in the jam giving an instant boost and the carbs from the bread providing longer term sugars.

Next was running shoes
Now I have to admit that I went and got fitted for running shoes, I ran on a treadmill and they filmed me to look at my stride.
The result of their study on injury prevention was that specialist shoes don't do a great deal and comes after your running technique, the surface you run on, how long you train, how hard you train and how much you allow yourself to rest.
So find a pair of trainers that you feel comfortable in and buy those.
This didn't bother me too much, I got my trainers on sale for £35 which in the UK is a very reasonable price for trainers - I wouldn't have been able to score some Nike's or Reebok's for that price so I'm not too bothered with this result and if they help even a little bit then that's money well spent.

The final thing to be investigated was protein powders
I have just recently bought some protein powder to make shakes after a strength workout so I was interested to see if I'd spent my money wisely.
They didn't totally wipe these away - I think the general consensus was that protein is useful after a workout but this can be achieved through the food you eat and you don't need to buy expensive powders to give you this.
The addition of BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) in these powders is apparently based on a study from the 1930's on rats!!
I'm not sure what to do here - it's sometimes a good hour and a half after a workout before I can get home and eat something so if me drinking an easily prepared shake straight after is going to help my body recover then I'll probably keep doing it - until I've finished the tubs I have at least. I think if anything it's helped calm me down that its not essential to be drinking these things and I'm not completely de-railing myself if I forget one day as long as I get a decent meal when I get home.

The overriding conclusion to the programme was to listen to your body, eat a balanced diet and drink when your body tells you it's thirsty and get out and be active and healthy

I'm not against sports drinks, protein powders or any other kinds of supplements at all but I think it was very interesting to see that these huge claims of better, faster, stronger performance from these companies are based on very little fact.
The minute that fact base becomes bigger and firmer then I'll totally jump on the wagon - anything that can improve my performance and / or make my workouts more productive I'm game for but until then I'm going to eat a varied and healthy diet, go running, drink water and, if I remember, I might throw a protein shake down my neck and keep on fighting my love for all things cake!!

Did anyone else see this programme? 
I know it's a bit controversial what I've said and I promise I'll not be this serious too often but I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Ha ha ha - as I suspected I checked with reception last night at the gym and the machines are in km not miles!!
I knew it was too good to be true that I'd managed 5k in such a short time - last night I ran an actual 5k in 38 minutes
It was a lot harder last night too - that might be due to actually running a long distance but my legs seemed a lot heavier last night than the night before.
Oh well, today is another day and I'm gonna head back to the gym tonight and see if I can better that - I'd like to run for longer than 5k tonight ideally but I'm going to see how I feel tonight.
I'm also going to see what's happening with my usual gym tonight to see if it's open again because my free pass for this gym runs out tonight :-(

On another note the mini challenge for the Marathon Weight Loss Challenge is to take a photo food diary this week.
I have been doing this and I'm going to create a page just for this when I get a chance. I eat both my breakfast and lunch at my desk though so unfortunately it never looks very pretty!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Just Keep Running

So last night I used the first of my free passes for the super expensive and posh gym across from my office.
The gym is really lovely - I'm not sure it's very 'me' though - the gym I usually go to might be a little rough around the edges and could do with a bunch of better machines (the treadmills in this new gym have TVs on them which makes running a lot easier!!) but it's a lot like me, no pretence just down to earth. I like the rapport I've built up with the guys that work at my gym and even a good few of the people who go there. I honestly never thought I'd want to talk to anyone when I'm all red and sweaty but I do, there are a handful of guys that I say hi to on a regular basis and I like that - it's like my own little gym family.

The reason I say this is because I wimped out last night - I was meant to be doing a strength workout but there were lots of muscle men in the weights room and I chickened out of going in there and attempting my workout!
Yup I'm ashamed of myself too but it just wasn't something I wanted to do in there especially when I don't know anyone.
In my regular gym I know most of the guys who use the weights and I know that they are actually really nice guys under all their muscles and would feel fine asking them for help with anything - these guys I wasn't so sure of (there was a lot of mirror watching if you know what I mean!!)

So I decided that I would use this week at this gym to concentrate on my running. I figure as long as I'm moving and working out it won't matter that I'm taking a week off strength and I'll get right back on it when I'm back at my usual gym.
I also figured it'd be rude not to take advantage of the TV!! :-P

Now I'm not sure if the machines in this gym are in Km instead of miles because I got on the treadmill and got running and ended up doing 3.1 in 25 minutes!!
Now I will be gutted if that's actually 3.1km and not 3.1miles (5km) but then at the same time I'll be very surprised if I managed to run it in that time - I've only ever run 5k in just under 40minutes so to improve it by 15 minutes seems a bit far fetched to me!!
I'm hoping it was because I was distracted by the TV programme I was watching but the run seemed really easy last night (famous last words I'm going back again tonight and you can bet it'll be terrible!!) I even threw in 5 sets of 90 second sprints because I was feeling so good!!
I wish I had my phone with me at that point because I wanted to take a photo of the console!!

Like I said above I'm going back tonight to try and replicate last night's performance!!
I'm also going to ask at reception if they know what units the machines use (keep your fingers crossed for me that it's in miles!!)

Question: Do you find it easier running outside or on a treadmill? If you use a treadmill are you a TV or a music person?

I find running on the treadmill less scary simply because when running outside I'm terrified I'll turn my ankle on an uneven section of pavement or a curb etc whereas on the treadmill I get on, turn it to my required speed and run!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Yet Another Monday

Hi Guys,

How is everyone doing today? I hope you all had a great weekend.
Mine was the perfect balance of good things, good company and rest and relaxation.

Firstly I was very excited because my FitBit arrived in the post on Thursday night!!
Yup this little beauty is now mine!!
I love it already - it's so discreet and will clip onto almost anything! I've even used it to monitor my sleep, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my sleep data but I like knowing what's happening to me while I'm off in the land of nod.

I wore it all day on Saturday when Paul and I decided to walk into town to get a few things - also Paul went to the train station because he was spending the night at his parents house so I had to say goodbye to him for a little while anyways :-(

I needed to buy a couple of things for Paul's Mum because it was her Birthday and we were going to meet up and go out for dinner on Sunday.
I had no idea what to get her but I headed to the local running shop because she puts me to shame with her running!! This is the woman who says her 10 minute miles are slow!! I'm still dreaming of running a ten minute mile even for one mile and she does hill runs for 10 miles at that pace and yet still claims she's slow!!
I know she loves jelly beans when she's doing her long runs and I know Jelly Belly make sports beans in handy little pouches so I bought her a couple of those in the hopes that she would like them.
I also got her some candles and a little bag of chocolates from a local chocolate shop. I'd also already bought her the DVD Bridesmaids because Paul had said that he thought she would like it - I agreed, I think that movie is hilarious!!
So all in all I thought it made a nice little bag of treats for her - and was hopefully thoughtful too.

Over the course of Saturday my FitBit said that I had walked 12000 steps!! I was very pleased with that - although I'm going to have to work extra hard during the week because most of my day is spent sitting at a desk so I don't manage to log too many steps during the day.
All the more reason to use my free gym pass that I got last week!!

I'm sure I told you that my normal gym got flooded but then another (very posh and expensive) gym around the corner from my office offered us (my company) a free week's pass!! So I rang up straight away and got my name down to get one. I picked it up on Friday and had a walk around to check out the place. It looks lovely and I'll be very happy to have that as my temporary workout venue for the next week.
I'm hoping that my gym will be back up and running after this week so it'll be back to normal after that.

Like I said above, Paul, Paul's Mum, Paul's Dad and I went out for dinner for his Mum's birthday. We went to a place called Cafe Andaluz which serves Spanish Tapas Food and it was lovely - we got a deal that gave us three tapas and a desert for £14.95 which was a great price
I had the Spanish Omelette, Chorizo and Crispy Chicken with a Honey and Mustard coating
It was all delicious and although I tried to pick the 'best' choices (I know Chorizo wasn't the best but I love it) and didn't know the calorie amounts, I allowed myself to enjoy myself because it was a special occasion.

And it must have been OK because for the first time in what seems like ages I lost weight for my weigh in this morning!!
I'm down two pounds from last week!! It means I'm still two pounds up overall from my lowest weight but it seems more achievable now and I've got a bit more motivation because I've actually seen the scale go down!! So fingers crossed there's another loss next week!!

Another thing I did at the weekend was sign up for The Boring Runner's Virtual 5K.
I love this for two reasons:-
1. I love the idea of people all around the world running on the same day for the same reason and I already know I'll love reading all the race reports afterwards
2. I was looking for a local 5K to run to check off my list of 30 Before 30 but there didn't seem to be any so I'm going to run this as if it's an 'official' one (if you're reading this Adam, your race is totally official) and I'll be able to tick it off the list!!

I also have some more exciting news but I'm going to wait until it's totally official - so I'll keep you in suspense for a little while longer!!

I hope you are all having a great Monday and if you're in the Marathon Weight Loss Challenge then I hope you got the results you were looking for.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Happier than Tigger on a Trampoline

I can't believe how good I'm feeling this week!! It's really not like me but I feel great and I'm loving it!

This latest feel good feeling actually came about because of something bad...
I went to my gym last night to find it dark and locked with a sign on the door saying that the place had flooded and would be closed until further notice!! I'm not sure if I've said just how much it's been raining in the UK recently - half the country has been under severe flood warnings and month's worth of rainfall has been falling over night - its been the wettest 'Summer' I've ever known and its basically been horrid.
I'm sure the heat over in the US that I keep reading about in some other blogs I read is terrible but I've seriously dreamt about getting wet due to humidity rather than torrential frigid rain!
So my gym was the latest casualty in the rainy weather.
I was gutted - I was hoping to go to the gym every week night this week and I was looking forward to another strength session courtesy of my training book but it obviously wasn't to be so I got in my car and headed home.
It was still raining heavily last night so all thoughts of going for a run were shattered so I decided to take last night as a rest day and figured I'd get back to the gym the next day.
Then it dawned on me - The letter on the door said it would be closed until further notice.... Shit!! Of course you can't clear flooding in one night Hannah!! How silly of you to think so!!

Pretty rubbish outlook huh?
Not really, I figured I'd work something out - I enjoyed my dinner last night - stayed within my calories, watched a bit of TV, got stuff ready for work and went to bed.

Then this morning I woke up to this...
 Check out that sky!!! How gorgeous is that!!
That was enough to put a smile on my face and that grin grew even wider when I realised it meant I could go for a run tonight!! Who needs a gym with a sky like that!!
So I'm gonna lace up my running shoes and head out for a run tonight and I'll probably have even more fun jumping over all the puddles that are no doubt going to be everywhere!!

Then after that to make sure my day stayed brilliant I got an email through my work.
The gym on my business park (far too expensive normally) is giving all my company's employees (i.e. Me) three days free trial there!!
How bloody amazing - I need a gym and suddenly one appears!!

So this afternoon's task will be to ring the gym and see what I do about getting my three free days and tonight's date will be with the pavement

I hope everyone else is having a great day too :-D

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lose a Marathon Challenge - Mini Challenge Four

This week's mini challenge is positive thinking.
It comes up so many times during the course of a weight loss journey because there are often times of self doubt
So Jess is challenging us to tackle our negative thoughts with a four step method:-

Step One: Recognize the negative thought.

"Life is no fun when I'm on a diet."
"Time for my daily punishment (workout)"
"I'll never be fast/skinny. It's just not in my genetics."
"I have absolutely no willpower."
"I'm so slow."
"I look horrible in this outfit."
"I don't have time..."
"I can't... "
 Step Two: Cancel the thought. If your inner chatter sounds like any of the above, you need to deal with it immediately to change your aura. Use a verbal command... "No! Stop it! Cancel that!"  Seriously, say it out loud.  I admit this might be odd if you're on the subway or something, but the more fiercely you attack the negativity, the better.

Step Three: Replace the negative with a positive. Analyze your initial thought and understand it in a more positive way that will assist you in reaching your goals.  Here are some examples...

"I don't need food to have social life. My friends and activities will define my fun."
 "When I finish my workout, I always feel energized and strong."
"My genetics are not my destiny. I know I can lose weight with healthier habits."
"I can better take care of my family/job/house when I first take care of myself"
"I am a work in progress. Every day will be a little bit better."
During this week's mini-challenge, dig deep into your self talk. Write down the negative thoughts that become your excuses... and then create positive counterpoints.  Practice this mental exercise every day. This may not be easy, but it will help you think more objectively about yourself and your weight loss efforts.
Step Four: Be proactive with positive self talk. Begin the day with a plan... document what you plan to do today to achieve your goals. Tell yourself you can. It's like a daily pep rally in your honor.  Grab your lipstick and write on the mirror, "I can do it!"  Make yourself a little sign each day this week with something motivational to fight negative thoughts... hang it on the fridge, post it on your car steering wheel, tape it to your computer, stick it to your television's remote control. Repeat it to yourself all day long. By using positive self-talk, you can coach yourself to the result that you're dreaming of... one day at a time.
Now I'm going to start this post by saying that this week I feel pretty great, unusually for me this week isn't one that is plagued with doubts. I've moved into a new department at work where everyone is great and very helpful, I have my boyfriend Paul staying with me so I get to see him every night, I took some work skirts to get altered because they were too big and had to have the best part of three inches taken out of each one and tonight will be the third day in a row that I'll have made it to the gym.
Life is pretty damn fine at the moment but I don't for a second believe that my mindset will stay this way so I'm going to use this week's challenge to simply be more aware of what could put me off track.

It started last night at the gym - like I've mentioned before I'm working my way through a book that was recommended to me by a friend and a lot of it is weight training. This means that I have to get into the weight pit at the gym, where all the boys tend to hang out.
A lot of things went through my head
"They'll laugh at me"
"They'll wonder why I'm there - because I'm a girl - because I'm fat"
There were multiple reasons for me not to get in there amongst them all but at the end of the day who would that be hurting? Me. 
This is something I want to achieve for myself and no one else - I want to prove to myself that I can do this without Tom beside me coz lets face it I can't afford to have him by my side all the time!! 
Tom has always believed in me - he says himself that I was his toughest client, he'd ask me to do 50 of something, I'd ask him if I could do 100 - he'd get me to run 15 minutes I'd ask to run 20
I've always been my own best pushing force I have just never seen it before.
The power of the mind is a wonderful thing and if you doubt that you will achieve something you've all but failed already because deep down you never thought you could anyway.
So this week for me is going to be full of 'I can'

After my weights workout last night I decided I wanted to go for a run but all of the treadmills were full so I got on the cross trainer and worked out for 30 minutes on there. I had my running tracks on my mp3 player and they really helped get me through my workout, there were songs on there that I haven't heard for years so it was nice to hear them again.
Now I'm wondering if someone could help me - I briefly checked the calories burnt on the cross trainer (300) but I figured I wouldn't really need to remember it because I'd just look it up on My Fitness Pal however MFP doesn't seem to have the cross trainer on it!! 
Can anyone tell me what (approx) they use to input into MFP when they've been on the cross trainer

Question: How do you banish the negative thought demons?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Once Again

Hi guys, I can't believe it's Monday again already!!
I hope everyone is ready and raring to go for this week - I certainly am.

My weigh in wasn't great this morning - I'm up two pounds from last week which I'm gutted about but if you read yesterday's post then I'd be lying if I said I thought I deserved to lose!
I'm ready to go this week though - I've got another strength session tonight and Wednesday and I'm starting my 10K training tomorrow night too.
I'm hoping that the mixture of strength (to tone up and a build healthy muscle structure) and running (the best calorie burn I know of) will mean that this week will be my week to shine in the Marathon Weight Loss Challenge!!
The main thing I'm trying to keep in my head too is that even though the end of this challenge is September, and it would be great to lose 13lbs because that would put me just three pounds away from my goal weight, there really is no end date. This routine has to work forever - this isn't a 'diet' it's a lifestyle change and I'm trying something new at the moment and I'm having a few niggles but eventually I'll find what works for me.

I hope everyone else had a great week in the Marathon Weight Loss Challenge or even if you're not part of that then I'd love to hear your stories of weight loss / healthy living.
Let me know how everyone is getting on.

Have a great week - wish me luck in my new department!!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Back to it

I'm back - I've not posted for a couple of days, things have been a bit busy here so apologies.

So I'll get the boring bits over with and then move on to my workouts
I am moved departments in my office this week so I've been rushing around for most of the week doing handovers and trying to get my work and my filing into some sort of order that others and not just I will understand!!
On Tuesday I went to get a new tyre put on my car - Paul and I had a bit of an accident on the way to the swim that luckily only left us with a shredded tyre and soaked clothes after having to stand in the pouring rain in the middle of nowhere and change the tyre.
Unfortunately the garage I go to didn't have any of my tyres in stock so they took the damaged one from my boot and said that they would have one delivered overnight and put on my rim for me so I had to go back on the Wednesday night to get that sorted.
This meant that I not only needed to leave work early to get there before they shut, I had to forgo my scheduled training session.

I was determined to get this new training plan off to a good start so I went on Thursday night instead which I had planned to be a run / rest day but hey these things happen and I'm pretty pleased with myself that I've shuffled rather than missed my workouts - I take small victories anywhere!!

Now can I just retract my statement on a previous post that these workouts seemed pretty easy?!
I was in agony (the hurty but good muscle kind) for days after my Monday workout!! Now I'm used to a good amount of strength training from my sessions with Tom but these have managed to make me work muscles that I must not have touched before because I was hurting pretty bad!!
I'm not sure if I'm working myself too hard - I'm trying to work enough but not too much to injure myself, it's that fear of working on my own surfacing once again.
The book says to work with enough weight so that you're not absolutely corpsing by the end of the set but you're tired enough to doubt if you could do more than a couple more reps.

On Thursday night I did workout 1B which consisted of this:-
Exercise   Sets Reps
A: Dead lift 2 15
B1: Dumbbell Shoulder Press 2 15
B2: Wide Grip Lat Pull down 2 15
C1:Lunge 2 15
C2: Swiss Ball Crunch 2 8

The B1, B2, C1 and C2 are alternating sets meaning that you do one set of B1, rest for 60 and then do one set of B2 and then go back to B1 for the second set etc

The dead lifts were definitely something new that I haven't done before and I was very nervous about getting into the weights pit of the gym - the other workouts I've done used free weights or weights machines which are in the main part of the gym. The weights pit is a sunken area at the back of the gym usually filled with men! Lets just say that although the regime says to do the dead lifts at the start of the workout, I left those until last and was even thinking about not doing them altogether until I decided that this is a six month programme and I'd best get used to being in the pit with the guys now otherwise I'll never do this programme justice.
I ended up doing the two sets of 15 required and was glad to see that the guys barely batted an eye when I got in the pit!! Just proves what Tom has always said about those guys - they're more bothered about looking at themselves in the mirror than anyone else!!

Friday at work was all about moving and getting my computer moved to my new desk. I managed (I think) to get all of my handovers in order and my notes up to date - I'm only going to be on another floor in our office so I'm sure if there are any problems then they'll be able to come and speak to me.

After work I did workout 2A of my book originally written here
I'm still finding push ups very hard mainly because my gym doesn't have any boxes to enable me to do a variation of the full push up so I'm trying to do the full on proper manly push ups. I have to do 15 but end up doing three sets of five each time - I once managed to do seven but even then I'm not sure I'm bending my arms enough!! Oh well, a little is surely better than nothing isn't it?

After the workout I decided to go for a bit of a run on the treadmill - I managed a 5K in just under 40 minutes which I thought was good considering I'd done more than enough weighted squats in my workout which meant my thighs were burning when I got on the treadmill. I downloaded an app to enable me to run 10K so I plan on doing this on my rest days during the week - the book says I shouldn't really do aerobic exercise straight after the weights but I felt like I needed to get my blood pumping!!

I soon learned to regret that though because on Friday night I had my dance class and boy was it hard!! We had more than usual floor work and my thighs were burning so much after my weights training and at one point I got on the floor and seriously wondered if I could get back up again!!
It was good to be back at dance class though - the teacher, Courtney is absolutely mental and has so much energy you can't help but get caught up in it.
Update: I still have two left feet!!

Saturday started OK - I went and did the weekly food shop for Paul and I but then disaster struck about halfway through the shop, I could feel a migraine coming on! Sure enough I managed to get home and it struck, I felt nauseous and dizzy and put the frozen stuff in the freezer and then collapsed onto the sofa and covered my eyes and tried to sleep it off for a couple of hours.

Today Paul and I went for the most amazing afternoon tea! I got a voucher for Afternoon Tea for two for my Birthday from Paul's Gran and Grandpa and we tried to go last week but discovered you had to book a table so I remembered to book a table for this weekend and we weren't disappointed
We got this brought to our table...
It was absolutely gorgeous and even though I'm sure it was a million calories, it was all I had for lunch and breakfast so fingers crossed it doesn't de-rail my weight loss too much!!

After that amazing tea Paul and I needed a bit of a lie down so we headed back home to watch Andy Murray in the Wimbledon finals and I got everything ready for work tomorrow - I can't believe it's nearly Monday already!! On the plus side, with Amy away and Paul staying here full time - I don't have to say goodbye to him tonight as usual!! Yippee!!

Anyways I think I'm all caught up again - sorry for my absence from blogland!! I'll try and keep up to speed with everything a bit better!!
Sorry for the essay - have a great week and if you're in the Lose a Marathon Challenge then best of luck for your weigh in tomorrow!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess workout 1

Last night I went to the gym to try the first workout of my new exercise book (please know that I hate the name of the book, it's cheesier than a room full of teenagers after a weekend at a festival but it was recommended to me by a good friend of mine so I figured I'd give it a go)

My first workout looked like this (Rest for 60 secs between sets)

Exercise   Sets Reps
A: Squat 2 15
B1: Push up 2 15
B2: Seated Row 2 15
C1: Step-up 2 15
C2: Prone Jacknife 2 8

The B1, B2, C1 and C2 are alternating sets meaning that you do one set of B1, rest for 60 and then do one set of B2 and then go back to B1 for the second set etc (I'm not going to insult your intelligence anymore!!)

Now I know it's only the first workout and according to the book you should choose the weight according to your ability but it seemed pretty easy or should I say short. I don't know if its because I'm used to the way of thinking that you have to be in the gym for hours on end to get any results but this workout took me about 20 minutes (I didn't time my rest periods so they may not have been quite 60 seconds)
Don't get me wrong I was pretty sweaty by the end of it which can only be a good thing right? It's just weird that I wasn't pounding away on the treadmill for ages to get my heart rate up!!

The one thing I couldn't do completely was the Jackknife
Here is a YouTube video showing you the exercise if you don't know what it is
I only managed 6 each of these mainly because I don't think my stomach muscles are strong enough to keep me still on the swiss ball never mind move my legs too!!

So from the first workout... I'm still reserving judgement - If I can lose weight and get a toned figure with this amount of exercising then bring it on I'm just still in the mindset that you have to work for hours to get results.

Tonight is my rest day (as of next week I'll be using today to go for a run but tonight I need to leave early to get a new tyre on my car) and my next workout is on Wednesday so I'll share with my thoughts of that with you once I've completed it.

Once I got home, I dyed my hair (I have a ridiculous amount of grey hair for a 27 year old!! My mum turned grey at my age so I guess I'm keeping it in the family!! Thanks Mum!!) and then set about making my dinner.
I made a Parma Ham Flatbread pizza and salad and it was delicious.
I took a Warburtons Seeded Square(ish) wrap, spread it with half a tub of Tomato, Basil and Garlic Stir-In Pasta Sauce, laid three slices of Parma Ham on top and then topped it with half a ball of mozarella
It looked like this before it went into the oven
I then cooked it until the mozarella was melted and golden and topped it with a handful of rocket as it came out of the oven.
It was so delicious I couldn't even wait to take a picture - I remembered that I wanted to take a photo about halfway through eating!! I apologise!!
I put all the ingredients into MFP and it came out at 521 calories which is actually quite a lot considering you can eat half a normal pizza for that but it could be made with less calories by using a different meat (chicken or turkey would be less I reckon) and a light cheese (I used standard mozarella because I couldn't find the light stuff but I would have preferred to have used the light version. I also couldn't find a light sauce which would have made a difference too, as you can see from my plate there was quite a lot of oil coming out of the pizza and I think most of that came from the sauce.
As I'm sure you're aware the possibilities of toppings are endless - I'd like to try a red pepper and goat cheese one next because I LOVE goat cheese!!
As I said above, this particular version wasn't great on the calories but I love a thin crust pizza and this was obviously very thin and being able to eat the whole thing to myself is a novelty while trying to keep my calories in check so I'd definitely try it again but I'll take more care on the toppings next time.

Another point on food, the book the I'm taking my exercises from has a diet plan to follow (I'll admit it doesn't include pizza but I had to use up the ingredients!!) which I'm going to try to follow loosely. Its not a meal plan to follow strictly, just a guideline of what to eat (proteins, carbs etc) and in what amounts.
It all seems like common sense really, eat whole wheat instead of white, make sure you eat fresh to get the most vitamins and nutrients, eat a good amount of healthy proteins and try and get a good amount of omega oils.
So anyway, wish me luck on this - I really hope it is a good thing and I'll keep you up to date with it too. I'll let you know how it is - let me be your guinnea pig and I'll tell you whether it's worth buying the book or not :-D

In addition to the food plan the book says that you should drink a protein shake after each of the workouts which I'm wanting some advice on - I've actually bought Atkins bars to eat afterwards because I really don't like those shakes - does anyone have any suggestions for nice protein shakes? The ones I've tried so far make me feel sick but the bars are nearly 300 calories so I'd like something a bit lighter afterwards.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Monday

Happy Monday everyone - I hope you all had a great weekend.

Mine was pretty chilled out but I was still feeling the effects from the previous weekend's swim so a chill out was what was needed.
Paul finished moving his things into my flat - he's going to be staying with me while my flatmate Amy is away travelling. I also live closer to his uni than he does too so in this last bit of time before he hands in his thesis, it'll be good for him to be close by.
It'll also be good practice for when I decide to be an adult and we move in together - there's no concrete plans for this to happen yet but I know he's the one I want to be with so it'll be nice to know that we can actually live together happily before we sign a mortgage!!

Saturday was spent with me going to do the weekly food shop and then having a clear out of the flat (with Paul moving in I've discovered that I have far too much stuff!!) and doing the usual weekly laundry before settling down to read my latest book which I'm ashamed to say is Fifty Shades of Grey (I know, I know - feel free to unfollow me after that revelation!!) To be honest it's not too bad - I've seen some comments from people saying they really don't like it but I'm not too bothered by it. It's not literary genius and I do cringe at the usual girl trying to 'fix' a guy storyline but on a sunny Saturday afternoon with the flat windows open and a cup of coffee in my hand it was just the trick.
Sunday Paul and I went into town to try and find him some new clothes in the sales. We found some jeans that fit him but were slightly too long so I'm going to look up how much it would cost to get them shortened because they were a good buy in the sales.
Sunday afternoon Paul and I made a Roast Beef Sunday Lunch with roast potatoes and vegetables - I'm ashamed (as a Yorkshire girl) that my yorkshire puddings got a bit burned, they were ok to eat but I felt like I was letting my county down by not getting them right!! They looked so bad that I didn't want to get a photo - sorry guys!!

As part of the Marathon Weight Loss Challenge I weighed in this morning and I'm annoyed to say that I've stayed the same - I know it's not a gain which is great but I'm gutted that I haven't seen a loss.
Anyhoo - today is another week and I'm REALLY going to try my best this week - it might be hard with Paul around basically because we're both as greedy as each other but I'm going to try and stay strong.
I'm at the gym tonight starting on a new exercise regime from this book
Has anyone tried this before? Any comments on it?

I can't wait to see what the next mini challenge is for the Marathon Weight Loss Challenge - last weeks was to drink enough water - I managed it for most of the weekday but then as I suspected, my water intake went down at the weekend - I found myself trying to down several pints of water just before bed on both weekend nights which I'm pretty sure isn't the idea - on the plus side I know I've been drinking a lot more water than usual and I know feel thirsty a lot more than I used to - I'm thinking that's a good thing!!

I hope every one has a good week - I'll be back for some updates on my new exercising!! Keep your fingers crossed for me!!