Autumn, dark nights and 10 pounds lighter

Since my last post, Summer has become Autumn, school and university has restarted, Christmas decorations are in John Lewis, and I am 10 pounds lighter.

I have mixed feelings about this time of year. Today the weather is awesome, sunny and clear with just a tiny bite of cold. It’s the grey days I’m not so keen on.

My morning run is now well and truly in the darkness, before the sun rises. Actually I quite like it. Just me and Toby doing our own thing.

I’ve spent the last month focused on good habits with healthy eating, so now I want to get fitter and stronger. I’ve found myself someone to work with in the gym, the best way I know to stay on track and motivated. Running I love and will always do. Planks and weights and press ups less likely.


Don’t you just Love Bank Holidays*?

For some reason, Bank Holiday weekends always seem more than an extra day. And this weekend is no exception.

It also coincides with my birthday. Which is the reason/excuse for why I have been offline for a couple days. To be honest, I’m never that excited about my birthday. I’m not sure why that is and it sounds a bit miserable as I write it down. I know that there are lots of adults that still get childlike excitement about their birthday, treat it as a big thing, a very special day. Me? Nope.

That said, I had a lovely day. For the first time in a few years my whole family were home. So we went to the Everyman cinema to watch Swallows and Amazons (a real old fashioned classic) and then had diner at Polpo. Nice.

How did that fit into my healthy eating plan? Well, I’d say my birthday was in two halves. Late morning I had a healthy brunch of eggs, avocado and tomato. But then at the cinema I shared some sweet and salty popcorn with my daughter (she ate most of it). And at Polpo I let go. It would be a shame not to when faced with such a yummy menu.

And there were cocktails. I chose a ‘negroni sbagliato’ which the waitress described as a ‘light’ negroni because it has prosecco with Campari and sweet vermouth instead of gin. Interesting fact: sbagliato means ‘mistake’ in Italian. A delicious mistake.

Unlike the usual Italian restaurant I didn’t find Polpo’s food carb heavy, so on reflection I didn’t go too far off track. And even if I did, so what, I had a lovely meal with my family and that’s what makes me happy. Know yourself.

And anyway, I had actually built that meal into my plan. Last week I had to decide whether to start Whole30, knowing that I would probably go off piste for one day on my birthday, or wait and restart afterwards. I made the decision better to start. That was definitely the right decision. Although I am an abstainer, I need to know that from time to time I can plan a break and not feel guilty about it. I am already feeling better for eating well all week and in fact my body coped really well with both the ‘non compliant’ food and the alcohol.

The day afterwards I went for a run first thing and was back on my Whole30 plan and feeling good about it.

Have a great day. Hx

*With apologies to all the people who are working this bank holiday weekend (my daughter included).

Abstain or Moderate?

Biscuits“Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going”.

Jim Rohn said it and I like that quote. I’ve noticed that it is definitely a truism for me.

As I announced on this blog I am motivated to take back control of my fitness and health.

So following Mr Rohn’s advice, I have been focusing on developing good habits around my nutrition and eating. Yes I have been trying to exercise and move more but I’m not putting any pressure on myself in that area, just yet.

First, I want to rediscover healthy eating habits which will help me lose the flab and, just as importantly, make me feel better. Those habits have to suit my lifestyle and be sustainable though, which is always part of the challenge.

Gretchen Rubin, author of ‘The Happiness Project’ and ‘Better than Before’ talks about abstainers and moderators.

She explains that if you are ‘moderator’ type you do better when you avoid absolutes and strict rules. For example, you might relate to the advice “be moderate. Don’t have ice cream every night, but if you try to deny yourself altogether, you’ll fall off the wagon. Allow yourself to have the occasional treat, it will help you stick to your plan”.

‘Abstainer’ types on the other hand find moderation hard. Eating a small scoop of ice cream just opens up the flood gates, and before you know it, the whole tub has gone. Better then to decide that something is off limits, which avoids temptation.

I’ve concluded that I’m an abstainer. It drives my husband mad, but I find it much easier to decide that I’m not going to eat or drink something than to try and cut down. Cutting it out completely works better for me. Know yourself.

So, when I came across Whole30 earlier this year, it appealed to my abstainer tendencies. In case you haven’t discovered it yet, Whole30 is a 30 day clean eating programme. It’s not a phoney diet, but is based on sound research and evidence. I tried it back in March and loved it, so I’m following it again now.

Have a great day, Hx

PS Gretchen’s blog is worth a read if you’re interested.

Morning person

morning downsI’ve always considered myself a ‘morning’ person.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t days when it’s a struggle to get out of bed. This morning was one of those days.

I wear a fitbit and have a silent alarm set for 6am, just in case I don’t wake up earlier.This morning it buzzed me into consciousness.

In my head I went through the ‘do I get up’ or snooze for a few more minutes. Before I even answered that question I was snoozing…

Ten minutes later I’m awake again and this time getting out of bed. If I want to run with Toby (Border Terrier) I need to get going or it’ll make my whole morning a rush. I really don’t like starting the day like that. Especially not in the summer when the morning is so delicious.

Toby greets me as though I’ve been away for a week. Tail wagging, eyes fixed on me, quivering with excited expectation.

We harness up, I start my runkeeper and off we go.

Early mornings this time of year are precious, special. I give myself a little ‘thank you’ for making the effort again. It’s always worth it.

Have a great day Hx

Hello, it’s me again

Hilary BitmojiShhh! Don’t tell anyone, but I’m back.

I make no apology for the fact that this is going to be a little space for me to keep myself accountable.

You see, although I still love to run I’ve not being stretching myself for a while now.

In fact, the truth is that I’m feeling and looking a little bit flabby.

But more importantly, I’m not as fit as I was.

And since I’m not as young as I was, I feel that I need to make more effort, not less, with my nutrition and exercise.

So this is day one, me putting down a marker for myself.

This post is the first of my short notes, designed to nudge myself into getting healthy, lean and strong again.

Nothing fancy, just me scribbling a few things down as I go along.

If it helps you too and you want to join me, then you are very welcome.

I have one rule though. No moaning or complaining.

I have designated this blog a ‘moan free zone’.

See you later. Hx

Yesterday I hurt my back..


Personal Training Overlooking Melbourne Catego...Yesterday I hurt my back.  Not in a dramatic falling down the stairs sort of way, it just went for no apparent reason.  But suddenly I couldn’t walk without a horrible spiky pain.  I needed help to move even a few steps.  So I spent the rest of the day lying on the floor before I moved to my bed where I have been ever since.

Lying here I have had plenty of time to think.  If I’m honest with myself, I have ignored the warning signs, albeit very subtle, that things were not quite right with my back.  Over the last week when I have been out running, I have noticed a slight niggle in my right hip.  I even thought about going to my chiropractor to get it checked out, but once I finished my run I forgot all about it.  I committed the deadly sin of not listening to my body.

I’m really not good at lying around.  I get frustrated very easily when I can’t do the things that I want to do. So while I lie here, with my ice packs and painkillers I am planning my comeback.  Things will be different when I am up and about.

I realise that this time last year I was in much better physical shape – leaner, stronger, faster and generally fitter.  I worked 2 or 3 times a week on core exercises that strengthened my lower back.  It helped me achieve PBs in the half marathon and sprint triathlon.  I enjoyed a varied routine which involved swimming, cycling, running and gym sessions.  So what happened?

At the end of last summer my personal trainer went to Australia to live.  I know, how inconsiderate.  But it was a great opportunity for her and just an inconvenience for me.  I don’t blame her at all.  I found someone else to train with but it wasn’t the same relationship and after a couple of months I stopped.  I remember thinking to myself at the time, that I could save some money and after all I surely knew enough to train myself.  I didn’t need a coach.  Big mistake.

Lying here with my dodgy back, I have come to the conclusion that for me money spent on a personal trainer is money well spent.  Yes I can keep myself fit, but I need the support and expertise of a professional to keep me on track (haha no pun intended).  If there isn’t someone telling me to do the core work for my own good, then I’ll just do the things I enjoy the most i.e. I’ll just run.  And I’ll end up stuck here again far too soon for my liking.

What’s your experience with back pain?  Do you have any tips for avoiding it?

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Icy cold wind, Grupo Lounge and home for Easter

1.  Toby and I start the week with our early morning run.  The wind is icy cold and I’m glad I put a scarf on, as well as my usual kit of woolly hat and gloves.  I like the anonymity of early mornings, I’m certainly not dressed to impress!  On the plus side, the mornings are getting noticeably lighter, almost every day.  I’m pleased to be able to put my head torch away for the next 6 months.

Grupo Lounge

2.  It’s the first day of the school Easter holidays and I’m honoured to be met son 2 for lunch.  (I think he decided that the walk to meet me was preferable to having to find himself something to eat at home – is that being too cynical?)

We decide to try the new(ish) Grupo Lounge in the village.  It’s very busy with lots of little tots running around but we find a quiet corner with some comfy chairs.  The food is very good.  He has an all day breakfast, without the black pudding, and I have poached eggs on a muffin with hollandaise sauce.  There is a nice outside terrace with lots of brightly coloured chairs.  Obviously deserted in this freezing weather, but nice to think about warmer days ahead.

3.  Eldest daughter is coming home from University for Easter.  She’s on her way home now as I write.  In fact, I’ve just remembered that I need to change her bed..



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Beauty, handmade and Mary Berry

1.  Before Miss C goes back to university after her brief visit, we decide to have a nice big breakfast.  We go to Lockside, situated next to Bristol Harbour.  From the outside it looks a bit like a transport café, sitting underneath the road flyover, but once you walk inside it’s rather a smart diner.  As it’s Valentine’s day there are the usual hearts and red roses scattered around, including a small red rose in a glass on the centre of our table.  “It reminds me of the rose in Beauty and the Beast” says Miss C. I know what she means..Red rose

2.  Little Missy C takes Valentine’s Day very seriously.  She spends a lot of time and care designing and creating a handmade card together with flowers and even a box of chocolates.  I hope her Rabbit and Teddy bear appreciate it.IMG_2702

3.  I love Mary Berry, she comes across as a really nice person.  And having made a chocolate version of her all-in-one Victoria Sponge this afternoon, I’m also now a fan of her cooking skills.


Me-time, catching up and Les Miserables

1.  Freetime today!  It feels quite luxurious to be off work midweek and I start by having some me-time at the hairdressers.

2.  It’s so nice to have Miss C around, catching up with all her news and generally chilling.  Her face lights up when she receives some good news from Uni.Les Miserables

3.  A family trip to the cinema, to watch Les Miserables.  Lucky we arrive early – by the time the film starts there isn’t a free seat.  We love the film, everyone has their favourite part and  we chat about it excitedly when we come out.  Definitely 5*


Sleek, bakers and home

1.  Missy C has an appointment with Faye the hairdresser.  She sits down with a tangled mess of hair and half an hour later walks out with a big smile on her face, her long hair looking sleek and shiny.  She’s very pleased and feeling all grown up.

2.  We stop off at the local bakers on the way home.  The freshly baked bread, pastries and cakes are all so tempting that we buy rather more than we really need.

3.  Miss C arrives home from Uni and we’re all so pleased to see her.  The moment she walks in it’s as though she’s been here all the time 😉