Small Succsess

Having received my Fitbit on Tuesday last week I have worn it almost constantly (with the only exception being when it made my wrist a bit sore on the first Friday night and then on the Saturday when it was on charge). While wearing ti overnight has taken quite a bit of getting used to, I am finding it amazingly useful!

It is making me so much more aware of exactly how much (or how little) exercise I really am doing! I have an office job in an office which is basically one room with only one other person in it. The door to our office is directly onto the car-park so it’s not even like we are in a larger building that I can roam around on a short break. I take less than 10 steps in any direction and I hit a wall … not very conducive to increasing exercise levels!

However the prompt feature of the fitbit is very useful in that it will tell me how fare off the 250 steps per hour target I am with 10 minutes to go. So if I get a prompt saying that I have below 100 steps to go, up I pop from my chair and pace back and forth like a stressed zoo animal for a couple of minutes. It’s a small step but I feel it is helping.

The ability to use the same program to log my food intake is also extremely useful. I have been using other apps previously but the fact that I am now getting a more accurate estimate on how many calories I am burning during the day, It helps me to control how much I eat. I am also becoming more aware of exactly what I am putting in my body and helps me to steer clear of any naughty snacks during the day!

For example, as I have been able to keep on track with my meal plans this week I have been able to log my breakfast after I have eaten it and then enter what we are going to be having for evening dinner at the same time. This helps me to plan how much I can take in during the day and helps to strengthen my resolve to resist the constant temptation of the Mcdonalds that is less than 5 minute walk from my office door! Especially after I looked up exactly how many calories are in one of their meals … yikes!

So things seem to have been working out with this! Thankfully I am starting to see the physical evidence of this in that since I received my fitbit and logged my starting weight I have lost 5lb!

Now to keep this ball rolling!

Last week I managed to stick with my meal plan as below:

  • Monday: Quiche Loraine with home made curly fries (yay for spiralizer) and salad
  • Tuesday: Smoked gammon steak with whips and vegetables
  • Wednesday: Curry with rice and naan bread (finally getting the hang of sticking to smaller portions of this)
  • Tuesday: chili sausage with roasted vegetables and home made wedges

Friday is as always a take-out night.

Next week will be a bit of a challenge as I have training at work in one of the other offices so for two nights this week I will be getting home late. But hopefully we will be able to stick to this plan:

  • Monday: Cheesy pasta with ham and roast veggies
  • Tuesday: Slow cooker beef and potato gratin (recipe by The Magical Slowcooker)
  • Wednesday: (training day 1) Pizza with garlic focaccia bread
  • Thursday: (training day 2) Fake-Friday takeaway
  • Friday: (bank holiday day off) Roast lamb with mash potato and vegetables

you may be thinking that none of this really looks all that healthy or low fat … well for me it’s not the fat content I am focusing on right now, it is portion size. Traditionally I have piled food high on the plate in order to provide myself and husband with what looks like a sufficient meal, when actually it is twice or three times what we should have. I have always ignored the “serving size” recommendations on the packaging. Now I am finally getting better at limiting what I put on the plate which is already having a great effect on how we feel after we have eaten a meal.

Fingers crossed I can keep this small success going!

(/EndRant)

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A Weekend Of Toil

I think it is safe to say we have just had one of the best and most productive weekends since we got marries last year. We had assumed the weather would be cold and damp much like the previous week so we had a less than inspiring weekend of housework planned, which became even less appealing when I opened the curtains on Saturday morning and let the bright sunshine pour into the bedroom.

Resigned to our plan for the day I set about making breakfast. A caramelized onion sausage and fried egg butty for the husband, and a sausage, mushroom and spinach omelette for me (with a bit of crusty bread on the side). Having taken on our fuel for the day, husband stood up and decided to turn the weekend on it’s head.

“Should we make a start on the driveway?” He said suddenly, hands on hips as he looked out at the strip of gravel outside.

We have kind of overloaded our driveway recently, what with buying a boat that needs a complete overhaul and now a motor home which only just squeezes past said boat on our double driveway. It’s a risky think and ended up making it very difficult to get the motor home off the driveway when we took it for a habitation report at a specialist the day after we got it (long story for another post).

With a rather bemused “Errm…’kay” from me we donned our scruffy clothes (the only time I seem to wear blue denim anymore is when I’m working in the garden), boots and head outside into the glorious sunshine.

And started digging.

What was our mission? To extend our driveway sideways by about a meter into our lawn along the 8 meter length of that part of the driveway.

Husband did the majority of the digging with me scooping up bits of terf and soil and piling it in the rough vicinity of the area where a raised veggie patch is going to go eventually. While we were half way through this I dashed off and wandered around the local DIY store like a lost sheep trying to find a suitable piece of weed barrier and trying to match up the gravel in our driveway to what they had in bags.

Having returned with the weed barrier and the truly pitiful number of bags of gravel (who knew you would need SO MUCH to cover a 1×8 meter slice of driveway) I set about the next part of my mission, to scrape up as much loose gravel from the back of the driveway as I could to compensate for my lack of calculations when at the DIY store.

I dug up, carried and poured out about 15-20 full buckets of gravel which was just enough to cover the patch … and then we had to move the boat.

She is a small ‘trailer sailer’ called a Lysander which we bought as near scrap with the intention to do up over last summer, but we never got round to it what with wedding planning and all that. But even though she is small, this girl is heavy! We had to MacGuyver a way of hauling her up the slight slope of the driveway in order to zig-zag her across so she sits neatly next to the new lawn line and let me tell you, it was not easy (or safe) but somehow we managed it.

All in all it took about 5 hours to get done but by the time we had finished we were both exhausted, aching and absolutely filthy, not the type of dirty weekend one might have had in mind.

but, even though I am covered in bruises and my back is still giving me grief, we both feel so accomplished and proud of what we have achieved. And I dread to think how much it would have cost if we had hired someone to do it.

Pleasure In The Small Things

A vast majority of us feel overworked and underpaid. We trudge to work on food, by bike, bus, train or car, sit at a desk for 8 hours a day wondering if we are living to work or working to live and daydreaming about being anywhere else than here. A few lucky people get to do their absolute dream job, but even those people would have days when they just feel like everything has been pilled up on top of their shoulders until they reach breaking point.

Many of us suffer from the soul destroying combination of a demanding boss and unrealistic targets, yet we just keep going. Day in, day out, with the exact same routine.

It is in situations such as this that it is especially important to remember to look to the little things in life that give us pleasure. That make us smile and think, you know what … things really aren’t all bad. I try to look for something like this everyday and normally it involves snuggling up on the sofa with my husband at the end of the day and just relaxing.

Today, as I set off for work at 8:30 in the morning there was a slight frost on the ground and a fine mist in the air. I scraped the ice of my car as the engine warmed up and set off on my 9 mile commute. The first stage of my commute has me driving up the hill and through the centre of the village where we live. The main road through the centre of the village crests the top of the hill and gives very pretty views on it’s way down on either side.

Today, this view was even better than it has been before (If you can look beyond the roof of the supermarket mega-store a little further down the hill). The mist was sitting fairly close to the ground and made the countryside that stretched out in front of me look like it was a land in the clouds. A few small rises of land peeked out above the mist like small islands, the trees on their tops mysterious and faded behind the white layer to the air.

It was a magical way of seeing a view I drive past nearly every day. If it wasn’t for the need to get into work on time I would have pulled over and just looked at it for a bit longer.