Saturday, 26 February 2011

Weekly Weight Loss Report - Week 8 - Setting new weight loss goal

Put your sunglasses on - I am radiating proudness! ;)

Another loss this week. Which is great, but I wasn't expecting it.

I haven't changed what I've been eating (I've eaten no more or less than normal), but I've only been for one run (which I'm annoyed about, but more on that in another post). But then, it is possible to lose weight without exercise - I lost the first 30lbs without doing a thing exercise wise.

I guess, maybe, somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought that because I reached my original 40lbs weight loss goal last week, my progress would slow down, but my body doesn't know about my goal!

This week's weight loss - 2.6lbs

Total weight loss - 42.3lbs (3 stone 0.3lbs)

Which also means (I just realised this as I was doing the calculations!) I have lost 3 STONE!

I'm still keeping my weight loss chart stuck on my kitchen door and enjoying crossing off the pounds...

But now it's time to re-assess where I am going with losing weight and getting healthier and setting a new target.

Forty pounds was my original goal, and now I've met that.

By entering some basic figures into the NHS Healthy Weight calculator, it seems I am still in the 'overweight' category with a Body Mass Index (bmi) of 25.7.

And again, this chart below (where I have marked my starting weight and weight today) shows that I am still overweight too (even though I don't feel like it!)

Where to now? What's my next goal?

According to the charts I have quite a lot of room for maneuver at the moment. A healthy weight range for my height (5ft 3") would be between 7 stone 8lbs - 9 stone 13lbs.

I really can't imagine being 7 stone something, nor do I want to be. Or 8 stone something either. I can't imagine it suiting me and I do want to hold onto my curves too!

SO! I've had a little think and my next weight loss goal is 7lbs (half a stone).

This will take me (just!) into the healthy weight for my height range - 9 stone 12.5lb. Well, at that point I'm not going to quibble about half a pound!

So, my next aim is to get into the healthy weight range by losing 7lbs.

In my last post I asked you to let me know if you have any questions regarding my weight loss. The response was "HOW are you doing it?"

That's going to be a subject for a whole other post, and probably more, so I will address that soon!

But it'll come as no surprise (I hope!) that these delicious babies are my best friend more than ever now!

Excuse me while I just take a moment to say...

Another really pleasant clothes shopping experience was had today!

I'm off to Prague with bmibaby next weekend and so I thought that given the occasion, PLUS I wanted to celebrate reaching my 40lb goal, I would treat myself to a new dress.

I bought it in Quiz where I bought these two dresses late December. I remember on that occasion I was happy I could fit into a size large, given that this types of shop's size L was normally too small.

I've lost over 11lbs since that previous visit, and when I saw a dress I liked today I hesitated over which size to select so took a size 12 and 14 into the changing room. And the size 12 fitted perfectly! It is SO much easier to shop for clothes these days!

Look closely - closer - my collar bone is re-emerging! :D

Here is a better photo of the dress as that one above doesn't do it justice. I can't wait to wear it in Prague!

I'm glad I found a dress I liked. The flower can be interchanged with another (or none at all) so a splash of colour (red of course) can be added. Having a browse around the shops I must say I am not impressed with the spring colours on offer; orange, peach, pale green, cream, pale pink... I prefer bold colours and they suit me better.

I have been looking for the perfect business card holder for a long time now, and today I finally found one I like. AND it doubles a mirror so I can touch up my lipstick throughout the day haha.

I think that's all for now! I've got a lot of wedding photos to edit today and I'm pleased (and relieved) to say that at first scan, they have turned out really well!

Say hello on twitter :)

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Weekly running round up - 3 runs 10 miles - tempo runs and intervals

Last weeks runs were quite varied.

10 miles in total.

I introduced a tempo running for the first time. More on that in a moment.

Tuesday Run - 2.05 miles.

Quick lunch time run. It was a bit of a weird one in that it felt like a bit more effort. I kept looking at my watch and it seemed I was going a minute mile faster than normal, and I kept trying to slow down, but couldn't! The result is I knocked a minute of my usual mile time on this run.

Thursday 2.35 miles - TEMPO RUN!

I really enjoyed this one!

Tempo runs are where you vary the running pace.

The benefits of tempo running, as with intervals, is that it will improve your running pace.

So I thought I would experiment. I didn't follow any particular formula, though I am sure there are lots of detailed tempo run guides that you can follow if you like something more structured.

I started off with my normal (slow) pace and warmed up. When I felt I was ready I picked up the pace. Not a full speed sprint but a good effort at about 6/10. When I felt I had enough of that, I slowed down to a walk to catch my breath. Then it was run, fast run and walk repeated over 2.35 miles.

What did I enjoy about the tempo run?

I liked the variety of paces. Allowing myself to pick up speed and also slow down when I wanted to. Even though I took walk breaks whilst I recovered from the harder pace, I still covered the distance in my usual time.

I liked picking up my feet higher and the fuller range of moment, even if it was for a short time that energy burst is quite reviving!

It gave me something else to think about. Checking on how I was feeling and breathing, recovering and planning when I was going to pick things up again.

I'll definitely do more tempo runs. Not for every run, but maybe once a week or so.

Sunday 6.6miles - though I didn't clock it all on my watch.
Another great run with my friend Ben.

We agreed to do some intervals this time. Now my last experience with interval running wasn't the best one. I loved it so much I tried to do 3 in a week and ended up with a sore muscle. It was too much too soon.
We did a warm up walk, a slow run down to Cannon Hill Park, a loop around the park and then selected a nice stretch of path to aim for - about 100 metres long or so.
Then it was Ready, Steady, GO! And off we sprinted!
Again, what I love about this type of running is that it is short and intense and there's the full range of movement, really picking my legs and feet up and powering my arms!
We did that about 4 times and then ran a loop around the park again. My legs were telling me that they had a really good work out and I had to slow down and walk (and pop a jelly baby!) at times. When we reached the interval path again, off we went, another 4 times.
Ben is good to run with. Even though he has a lot of running experience and is much faster than me, he keeps to my pace, which I am really grateful for. There is nothing more disheartening than running with someone who shoots off ahead of you and leaves you behind! I've also discovered that I can kind of maintain a conversation whilst running, even if it's short burst of words and not full sentences!
I was so pleased with this run! It was hard in places, and I pushed myself on the sprints. And I well and truly earned my hearty roast dinner later in the day!
Thanks for a great run Ben!

AND I've been totting up the miles this year so far.
63 miles so far! They add up fast. And I've spent about 14 hours on my feet, OUTSIDE! That's more than I did for the whole of last year. And the year before come to that!
Here's my GPS map of the miles so far! Go me!

Hula Hooping! I can't forget the hula hooping! I spent 90 mins in total this week practicing my hula. Unfortunately I had to miss my hula class on Wednesday as I've got quite a lot on at the moment, but did a 30 min session at home instead to make up for it.
I'm feeling and seeing all sorts of benefits since I started exercising this year. I lost 30lbs without any exercise, but have lost another 10lbs this year so far and I've reached the goal I set myself last August of losing 40lbs!
Now this running 'bug' seems to be sticking I'm going to treat myself to some new trainers soon. Trainers have a life span of about 500 miles and although I haven't run that far in my current trainers, they do cause me blisters - I have to tape my feet up before each run, not ideal! And although I'm looking forward to purchasing some new shoes(!), it's with some intrepidation as I have such sensitive blister prone feet, I hope that the new trainers don't just cause blisters somewhere else!
That's me over and out for this weeks running report :)

Saturday, 19 February 2011

I did it!! Reached 40lb weight loss goal! - Weekly weight loss report - week 7


I have met my original 40lb weight loss goal!!

In one respect it is hard to believe. I haven't seen this weight for about 4 ish years. But on the other hand, I can believe it. Of course the scales tell me so, but also I've just kept doing what I know works, and over hauled the way I eat, and this year have even introduced exercise.

This graph show my 10lb weight loss for this year. As you can see, there have been ups and downs. That's completely natural and the main thing is not to get disheartened on the 'ups'. I've handled the increases really well because I've always had the long term picture in mind.

This chart is from August until today. Again, there have been weeks when I've had increases in my weight. You just have to keep doing what you know works and trust your body to do what it needs to each week.

Weight loss starting date: August 2010

Starting weight: 188.8 lbs (13 stone 6.8 lbs)

Today's weight: 148.2 lbs (10 stone 8.2 lbs)

Total weight loss: 40.6 lbs (2 stone 12.6 lbs)

I'll sort out some better pics at some point, but the one on the right is the most recent.

Before and After:

It's kind of hard to imagine what 40lbs looks like so in anticipation of this day I've prepared some graphics!

40lbs is the equivalent to...

Nearly 9 two litre bottles of drink!

40 tins of soup!

16 large pineapples!

Graphic design isn't my strong point, but I have to award myself with a certificate today!

I've still got a little way to go, but not too much. I'll write more about that next time, and also answer some questions about how I've lost the weight. If you have any questions, leave a comment, give me a shout on twitter or drop me an email

'Lost' doesn't feel like the right word today!

I've abandoned...

I've been liberated from...

I've left behind...

I've said goodbye to...

I've ditched...

I've banished...

40 lbs!

Would love to write a whole lot more, but have a big wedding photography day ahead of me. Catch you soon! :)

Friday, 18 February 2011

Understanding Data - What is data?

I try to keep with with what's going on in the digital world. There is always a LOT happening! New innovations, new ways to use social media, great stories and examples, buzz words. I get most of this information via the people I follow on twitter. It's impossible to keep up with everything but one area that has caught my attention is Data.

I've dipped my toe in, read a bit here and there online, followed links and got a taste for it, but I was still left with the question: What is data?

I had formed a rough idea in my mind, but I wasn't convinced that I really understood what it was or what it was for.

But now I do!

Yesterday I went on a wonderful conference that explained it all: City as a Platform - The Future for the Creative Industries?

I'll have to keep this post succinct as time isn't on my side today, but the conference was enlightening.

This is very much in lay mans terms, but here goes!

What is data? Data is information that is collected and presented in an easily digestible way. The information can take many forms; photographs, statistics, locations, stories, financial, history - you name it really!

What does data look like? Data can be presented in many ways, such as graphs and charts, to more creative and artistic ways. See the video below for a very creative and easy to understand example of visually presenting data.

Where does data come from? It can come from any source! What are you interested in? There will be data somewhere for that (though it might need to be collated!). Do you want to know how your council spends money? Do you want to know how many people used your local library in February 2008? Perhaps you are interested in health statistics, or how many photographs there are of your town taken in 1950?

Who can benefit from data? Anyone. From the government, schools, students, health bodies, corporations, small businesses, bloggers, and individuals who would like the data for personal or research reasons.

From the conference yesterday there are clearly people and companies that 'get' data and are making great progress with it. They are finding out how to access data, how to present it and how to make it accessible, and how to use it in many different ways.

My impression is that overall we are in the very early stages of data, and I'm curious to see what will be happening to/with data in 5 years time for example. How much will 'data' be a familiar term with more people and not just those in the know as it were? How are we going to get the data to more people that can benefit from it and use it? ( I say 'we', but I'm just on the periphery looking in).

The conference was quite timely as we are doing some data work at Talk About Local, so I feel more confident about that now I have a better understanding.

Here is the video I mentioned above. Hans Rosling's 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes - The Joy of Stats - BBC Four It really is worth a watch. A brilliant example of data collection and putting it together in a visual (and entertaining!) way.

If I wasn't pushed for time today I'd have put a ton of links on this post to all the interesting talks, companies and individuals from the conference. Luckily Meshed Media have done a great job in putting all the interesting stuff in one place, over on the City As A Platform posterous blog. Whether data is new to you, or you have a lot of knowledge, there are some great links, information, examples and stories there!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Weekly running report - some company and new challenges

9.84 miles this week! Just a touch short of 10 miles, but who's is going to quibble about that? Sometimes I still think it's a miracle that I am going out there and hitting the streets at all lol.

Each of my three runs this week were excellent for different reasons.

Tuesday 2.23 miles

This was only a short run, but there was something about it. It felt like the easiest run I've had so far, I didn't even feel the 'toxic ten' minutes that I usually go through at the beginning of a run. I had put new music on my mp3, and this is the first tune that played. T.Rex, Cosmic Dancer. It's a slow track, but I'm a slow runner! I just felt like I was floating along the streets when I listened to this. The sun was shining, there was a nice breeze and I felt like I could have run for miles and miles...

Friday 3 miles

On Friday I had some company! My friend Libby and I arranged to meet at Canon Hill park for a gentle run. Well, all my runs are gentle at the mo! We set a goal of 1.5 miles which is a bit further than Libby has run before, and we met that goal too! It was great to have some company and we chatted along the way. Thanks Libby!

Today 4.5 miles.

I had company on this run too! My friend Ben is a more experienced runner than me and I was a little worried I would slow him down, and I probably did, but he was great to run the 4.5 miles with and ran with me at my pace.

This run also took me on a brand new route....WITH HILLS! I have been pretty much avoiding hills since I started running and when Ben told me we would encounter some I can't say I was looking forward to them. At all.

However, I surprised myself and when we reached the inclines I started seeing them as more of a challenge to beat. I would not be defeated by an incline! And I pretty much did them all. We stopped half way up one hill to view an old painted sign that was fading away on the end of a shop, a piece of advertising history. And then we were forced to stop at the top of a hill to cross a busy road. And I must admit to giving the next hill a wide birth at this point and suggested another route than I knew would have a nice decline, only to be met with a very slight but long incline near the end. Anyway, hill challenge met, so that's a great result. Thanks for a great run Ben!

In addition to running I've done about 2 hours of hula hooping! Now I've got my own hoop there is no stopping me lol.

I had a twitter question this week: Has the diet and exercise made a difference mentally & emotionally as well?

Mentally I'd say I'm even more positive if that's possible! I get a sense of pride from my achievements however big or small, so that acts as a boost.

For the last few years I didn't make time for exercise as I had such a hectic workload. My workload hasn't changed, and I look at my to-do list and gasp and wonder how I will get everything done sometimes, but I am now scheduling exercise time into my diary as I would any appointment or commitment.

I'm starting to feel the benefits of having a mental break from work. That change of scene and being active really does help. When I'm exercising I take on another train of thought and let my mind wander. Sometimes I think about work, but I get a different perspective on it. Sometimes all I can do is concentrate on how I'm running or I tune into my music. Sometimes mastering a new hula hooping move requires all my attention.

There are not only physical benefits to exercise and moving more, there are mental benefits too. I guess you get the best of both worlds! :)

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Weekly weight loss report - Week 6

Oooh, that 40lb weight loss mark is just out of reach! I must admit to hoping that today would be the day I would celebrate the number that I have been aiming for for the last 6 months. It is certainly a milestone to be pleased about, but at the same time, I realise I have come a long way, and was equally excited about 10lbs, 20lbs and 30lbs.

This week's weight loss - 0.4lb
Total weight loss - 39.2lbs (2st 11.2lbs)

When I do hit that 40lb mark, I shall be awarding myself with a big certificate! :D

But! I do have cause for another celebration. A couple of skirts caught my eye when I was in the city centre this afternoon. I started browsing through the sizes and paused to think about which sized to chose. Six month ago I would have been searching for a size 16 or 18. I hovered over the 14's, but decided upon trying size 12 out of curiosity. When I tried them on with ease I had a flipping-heck-size-12?-wow-what?-really?-yep-size 12! moment.

I've always like clothes and wearing what I think are nice items, but the actual shopping for them has been a different matter! I'd take deep breaths at the thought of going clothes shopping and the stress I knew would accompany it. Trying to find the item I wanted in a larger size for a start. Then the apprehension as I walked into the changing room. Then the getting in a grump when the zip wouldn't do all the way up, or the button was still an inch away from the button hole and then handing the lot back to the changing room assistant and leaving the shop in a bad mood!

I haven't bought too many new clothes, but I've bought the odd dress here and there and those were very stress free moments. I just tried them on and they fitted! What a change.

Here are the two skirts I got today which I thought would be nice for the spring time.

I am now a very proud owner of my first hula hoop! My hula hoop teacher Julia said she could customise it in my favourite colours. I picked it up last week and it was even prettier than I imagined! I couldn't wait to try it out. And it will match nearly all my clothes too lol.
I haven't got room in my flat to practice so I've been taking my hoop outside. It's already incurred it's first war wound by hitting the tarmac :( Still, it gives it some character haha.

I'm going to dash now as I want to fit in some hula hooping now before I settle down for the evening!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Weekly running round up - 4 runs, 11 miles and a few tears of elation

Today is a biggie. I've just completed a 5 mile run (5.5m including warm up walk)!!!

I like to acknowledge the big and small achievements and I've just got to note this one.

I hadn't done a long run since my 4.5m run two weeks ago. As it seems to go, I get excited about the prospect of a long run, then as the time gets closer, I get a little nervous. It didn't help when I woke up at 5am and started worrying that I hadn't got enough sleep and I wouldn't have enough energy to run.

After initial panic, I did get back to sleep...until 10am. Then I was worrying I wouldn't be able to fit everything AND a run into the day!

I made sure I ate enough in the morning to get me through the run in the afternoon. I didn't want to not complete the 5 miles just because I hadn't fueled up enough!

The time went fairly quickly - I'm learning not to keep checking my watch for time/miles! A new challenge was the wind. It was pretty strong today and at times I really had to push against it. I ran mainly on the paths that were more sheltered from the wind this time.

When I first checked my watch I had completed 2.3miles. Almost half way there! When I checked again it was 3.7miles - only 1.3 miles to go, less than 15 minutes. And when I got to 4.7miles I knew I was going to do this for sure! That's when I started getting really excited - I'm actually going to complete 5 miles.

I did keep an eye on my watch at this point....4.7 miles, 4.8 miles, 4.9 miles......5 MILES! And I promptly burst into tears. I wasn't expecting that to happen! Where did that come from?! I just felt a big surge of pride at my achievement. I wish there was someone there I could have shared that moment with. I was elated! From being pretty much sedentary for the last few years to being able to run 5 miles....that's no small achievement. They say self praise is no praise...I don't always think that's true - you've gotta give yourself a pat on the back from time to time!

Of course as soon as I got home I had to send a tweet out. Twitter, well, my twitter friends to be precise, play a big part in my life and to have friends there to celebrate with really means a lot. Thank you so guys and girls! xx

So here's today's map and stats. I didn't record the .5 mile warm up walk as it took that long for my gps watch to pick up a signal -boooo.

I had a couple of great questions from my twitter friends which made me think about today's run and running in general.

Fiona asked, Was it more of a mental struggle or physical?

Hmmm.... Physically it was of a battle against the wind. That was a new experience and presented a different type of challenge of pushing through it and not letting it blow me around! There's always the Toxic Ten minutes at the start of any run so I know I just have to run through that and I'll start to feel better. At 3 miles I felt the beginning of a blister, but although I was aware of that, it wasn't enough to slow me down (only a tiny blister upon post run examination).

Mentally, I always have a positive talk with myself as I go around. Lots of "you can do this! you've done 1 mile before, just do that 5 times! You have eaten enough - you have go enough energy for this. It's not a hill, it's a slight incline!" That type of thing. I also let my mind and imagination wander....I tune into my music and think about the week ahead, plans to make, blogging to do, work, friends, and the big dinner I'm going to have when I get home! lol

Libby asked, So what was the turning point that made you get - and keep - the motivation to crack it this time? What is your secret?

I had to think about this for a few minutes. Great question!

What made me get going? I'd made a new years goal of doing more physically. Due to working for myself the last few years I've pretty much been in front of the computer screen. I've been aware that this isn't healthy but always made the excuse that I didn't have enough time - work comes first. Which I know sounds absurd - health comes first of course! I didn't have my priorities right. And if I don't look after my health a bit better, then I will make myself ill and definitely won't be able to do my work and follow my passions and achieve my dreams.

What's keeping me going? A few things. For a start I know I'll feel worse if I start skipping on exercise and making excuses. I'll be on a slippy slope back to square one again.

Then there's the personal challenge and the achievements, and I really believe you have to acknowledge even the smallest of achievements - even if that's just putting your trainers on and seeing what happens when you get past the front door.

As this is my personal challenge. I only have to answer to myself. Though I must admit that making myself accountable in public on this blog does help! But I set my own goals and I'm not doing this for anyone other than me. I haven't entered any races as I simply don't want to, certainly at the moment.

I'm enjoying see what my body and mind can do! It's easy to underestimate what we can achieve. I think this is a mental challenge as much as a physical one. I go through a range of mental 'states' with running. When I think about the runs I have planned for the week, I get excited. As the time comes closer to getting ready to go out, I have to push myself at times. When I am out there, I'm already doing it. And when I get home, I never regret making the effort.

Tracking my progress is a great motivator too. When you can see achievements, however small they may seem, they all add up. Whether someone has never run before and completes 30 seconds of running non stop to someone who can run for miles and miles, every step counts.

I'm not sure I have a 'secret', but a combination of the above keeps me going. And if I ever have any doubts I'll make sure I come back to this page and remind myself!

Thank you for the questions!

Here are the maps and stats for this week. 11 miles in total.

Hula Hooping news!

I've ordered my OWN hula hoop! Julia, the teacher, is going to customise it for me in my favourite colours, red/silver/black. I can't wait to get my hands on it and have the option of practising at home when the hula mood strikes!

My friend Fiona pointed me to these amazing (and different!) hula videos. I think you'll enjoy them!

Fat Boy Slim - That old pair of jeans

Hula Hoop song - it's a bit mental!

And now it's time to chill out for the rest of the night! :)

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Weekly weight loss report - week 5

In the photo below you are looking at a lady who is just 1.8lbs away from a 40lb weight loss!

I should reach the 40lb mark soon and this is quite significant for me as when I started my weight loss endeavours in August, 40lbs was my goal.

Taken before I went out last night.

And it's just dawned on me that 6 months have passed since I decided to lose weight (having more energy for my trip to NYC was my motivation). During that time I've lost on average 6lbs a month/1.5lbs a week. A nice steady, and as the doctors like to tell us, sensible weight loss rate.

This week's weight loss - 2.4lbs
Total weight loss - 38.8lbs (2 stone 10.8lbs)

I must say I've surprised myself. I was never unhappy when I was heavier. I liked my curves! It didn't affect my confidence. I have high self esteem and I wouldn't criticise my looks or start any negative talk in my head or put myself down. I'd occasionally wish my tummy was a bit flatter, but that was a momentary thought that would be forgotten quite quickly.

Very occasionally my Mum or my best friend would suggest it might be healthier to lose weight, but I didn't pay much heed - I was happy as I was!

If it wasn't for my New York trip, perhaps I would still be the same weight as I was six months ago.

When I started to lose the pounds my Mum would say "You must feel better for it. You must feel the benefit." And I would kinda think "Well, I don't feel worse for it." It's only since breaking past the 30lb mark that I have started to feel differently....

Here are a few changes I've noticed:

  • I feel 'lighter' now. When I move around now, it's hard to explain, but it feels 'easier'.
  • I've introduced running and hula hooping, and find it hard to imagine running around whilst carrying around 30+lbs
  • I can wear high heels for longer without my feet hurting. Bonus! I haven't got the extra weight bearing down on my feet. My feet still ache, but it takes longer for that to kick in
  • It's getting easier to shop for clothes and they fit better which equals less stress whilst shopping
  • I don't crave junk or over processed foods anymore. My taste buds have changed.
  • I'm really enjoying cooking and planning my meals and I make more decisions based on nutrients and listening to what my body is asking for - I need more vegetables today. I need more fruit. I need more carbs. I would like a little bit of chocolate (rather than the whole bar!) I'm eating more instinctively.
  • My energy levels have increased. They must have done for me to take up running!

So now I'm feeling the benefits of weight loss. I don't feel this has been a hard, emotional, arduous time. Quite the opposite; it's exciting and I don't feel deprived of anything plus I'm really proud of myself too.

I still have a little way to go, but I'm getting there. I'm not in a rush and I'm enjoying the journey :)

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