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15 December 2014

Goals and (no) motivation in the winter months

This morning my alarm went off at 6am.  This is not an unusual occurrence because I set my Sleep Cycle Alarm for 06.00 - 06.30 (you set a half-hour window and it wakes you up in your 'lightest' sleep phase) and my Sleep Cycle Alarm hates me.  That or I'm an extraordinarily light sleeper - either way, it usually goes off in the first five minutes of the half an hour period.  I may as well just use my normal alarm.

Anyway - so, whilst I say it's not unusual for me to set my alarm for 6am, this is actually a relatively new routine as I've been trying to fit some runs into my mornings before work.  I have to leave for work around 7.45 so a 6.00 wake up call gives me time to pull my running gear on (a fatigued affair which usually involves a protracted search for one, if not both, of my running socks), get out of the door, jog around the block for half an hour and then get back, showered and changed and off to work. This morning however, I took one look at the screen, silenced the cacophony of jangly noises intended to wake me up, and went back to sleep.  My reasons for doing so can broadly be summed up via the following;

1. Too cold
2. Too dark
3. Too tired
4. Too Monday

To backtrack a little - my reason for pushing fitness up the agenda is not only because of a general feeling of wanting to get healthier and slim down a little, but also because of two upcoming dates in the diary - one slightly more important than the other;

1. February 22nd (Brighton Half Marathon)  
2. April 17th (Wedding)

Why I chose to train for a half-marathon and tone up to feel more confident in my wedding dress through the winter months, I don't know.  Not besides anything else, I actually find it quite difficult to run when it's colder and have to take my little blue inhaler stashed in my pocket and wear a neck-scarf-thingemy that leaves me looking like I'm about to rob a bank (it's a strong look).

found on: thetweedfox

But running obviously isn't my only fitness pursuit at the moment - actually, like an old teddy, it's sort of been forgotten and (metaphorically) pushed under the bed for the last few months in favour of my shiny new toy, my gym membership.  Most weeks over the last few months I've had a Personal Trainer appointment on a Monday or a Tuesday and then been to the gym twice more during the week (and then sometimes to a class at the weekend).  But as Autumn has crept in, along with rubbish weather, dark mornings, and chilly temperatures, I'm finding both running and the gym increasingly difficult to motivate myself to get out and do.  On nights when I've scheduled a gym session in my diary I find myself gazing out into the darkness and my rapidly frosting car and thinking 'Really? Do I have to?'

I sometimes wonder if I'm too hard on myself.  In an already pretty full life, three gym sessions and a couple more runs per week feels like a lot.  But then I also sometimes wonder if I'm just being lazy. There are plenty of people (I know so, I follow some of them on Strava or Nike Running) who do a lot more than that - who work 12 hour shifts and then stop off at the gym on the way home, who run 10+ miles at the weekend, or who go to the gym twice a day.  Surely I should be able to summon up the energy for one, measly, 30 minute trot around the neighbourhood of a morning? There are 24 hours in a day, as they say (well, that's fairly well proven actually) - I have enough time to make fitness a priority (or even just bump it up the list).

from last thursday's rather dark morning run

The thing is - I must confess - it's not just physical exercise that's leaving me reaching for the metaphorical (and literal) snooze button at this time of year, it's well, pretty much anything I can't do in my pajamas.  I usually get home around 6.30, get my dinner on, get into something more comfy, and then contemplate how soon I can legitimately climb into bed.  It's fair to say that at the moment I have little motivation for anything other than wrapping presents and reaching for another mince pie.

But this attitude isn't doing any wonders for my least favourite constant companion (no, not my muffin top - well, that too) - GUILT.  There's very few occasions when I'm not feeling guilty about something; usually something I've eaten, or a workout or opportunity for physical activity that I've dodged.  And so December and January end up being a shame spiral of Christmas food overindulgence + not enough running/gym = feel sorry for myself + eat another Matchmaker.  I just can't help it - the allure of the sofa and my duvet is too strong and I am too weak.

Which brings me back to those two milestones - do I drop out of the Brighton Half-Marathon on the grounds that fitting running into an already pretty chock-full schedule is going to be too much for my diary as well as my sensitive chest? And do I try and give myself a break and accept that if I'm not a slim and toned bride it's not the end of the world? Who knows, but in the meantime - pass me the Matchmakers....

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12 December 2014

An Autumnal forest walk

The weekend before last, Sarah and her husband Gray came to stay, and we wanted to show them a perfect Autumnal weekend chez Rosie and Tom.  As you'll probably know by now, we have a deep love of the forest (and are lucky enough to live on the outskirts of one), so we had to drag them into the woods for a bit of stomping around on crunchy leaves and watching Bodhi run around and get muddy!

We went for a walk near Brock Hill in the New Forest - there's a Tall Trees Trail and an arboretum (there are Giant Redwoods and Douglas Firs - such amazingly huge trees!)

Forest walk

I find it so peaceful walking around the forest - we hardly saw another soul.

Forest walk Forest walk

Bodhi was recently giften a rather special Barbour dog coat (£43*) which he donned for the walk.  I think he quite likes it, especially when it's raining as he doesn't much like the rain (fusspot!)  He looks rather dapper in it (it got muddier and muddier as the walk progressed, much to my chagrin as I tried to take photos of him in it!)

Doggy Barbour jacketDog Barbour jacketBarbour jacket for dogs

// barbour dog coat, house of fraser, £43*

It was an absolutely perfect walk, and we well deserved the roast dinner we went on to devour at the Filly Inn in Brockenhurst afterwards - so good!  A quintessential Sunday - a forest walk to blow the cobwebs away, and overdosing on roast potatoes.  Yum.

Forest walk

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10 December 2014

November Health and Fitness Roundup

I really enjoy doing these health and fitness roundups but I tend to ramble on a little bit and do them quite sporadically so I thought from now on I'd do them on a monthly basis and keep a similar format so I can look back on my progress.  Health and fitness is a massive part of my life at the moment so it makes sense for me to share more of what I've been up to here - hope that's okay!  Here's my roundup of my health and fitness in November...

Start point // November 1st : Still holding on to that weight I put on in the USA trip, plus a really busy October, meant that I started November still feeling pretty down about my waistline.  I'd been having personal training sessions throughout October but was yet to see that much in the way of results.

End point // November 30th: Definitely feeling loads more positive about my gym routine and diet. Even though I didn't necessarily end November much lighter or slimmer, I feel I'm really starting to understand how to make a positive difference to my health and fitness and I know how to drive it forward through December and onwards.  I'm starting to notice definition in my shoulders and chest so I know that my weights routines are definitely working which is exciting!

pre gym selfie in a dirty mirror...

November Stats:

Gym sessions: 11
Classes taken: Metafit, yoga, boxing
Runs: 2

December goals:

I've just started 'intermittent fasting' which is explained better than I ever could on James Clear's blog. My Personal Trainer has drawn up a plan for me which involves me basically eating only between 1-8pm every day (or 12 - 7pm sometimes, but you get the picture).  I'm actually really enjoying it and am already seeing results (I've only been doing it around five days but I definitely feel slightly slimmer).  So one goal is to keep up intermittent fasting as much as possible in December.  Last year I ate back all the weight I'd lost throughout the year in December and the beginning of January and I definitely can't make that mistake again.

I'm really enjoying my Personal Trainer sessions where we (mostly) focus on lifting weights and I really want to up how much I can deadlift and squat over the next month so I can start seeing improvements in my strength.

I want to improve my nutrition and diet and learn to cook some staple healthy and filling recipes.  I also need to improve my preparation of food - no more grabbing cocktail sausages and chicken bites for lunch because I haven't bothered to make anything the night before!  Let me know if you have any favourite healthy eating blogs with recipes that I need to try!

New gym swag:

In November I bought some new gym vests, leggings, and some weightlifting/training gloves (exciting purchase!) I'm going to the gym about three times a week at the moment so my washing machine is constantly on the go with gym gear and I needed some new bits (at least that's what I'm telling myself....)

November workout clothes Black leggings // TK Maxx // £16.99
Blue vest // TK Maxx // £14
Bottle // TK Maxx // £3.99
Yankees vest // ASOS // £12
Rangers vest // ASOS // £15
Grey 3/4 leggings // H&M // £14.99

Vitamins and supplements taken:

I felt like I was fighting off a cold throughout the whole of November so I've been taking the myvitamins Complete Immune* to keep it at bay.  I also love the myvitamins Total-Nutri Greens tablets* as I'm not as good as I could be as eating all my veggies.  The myvitamins Thermo Woman* is brilliant for giving you a morning boost and Omega 3 is one I take as often as I can remember to (as there's so many health benefits). I'll definitely be keeping up most of these throughout December, but aiming to improve my nutrition so I may be able to stop taking the nutri-greens as I'll be aiming to eat more fruit and veggies.


So that's how November went - and we're already 10 days into December - eek! Looking forward to sharing with you everything I've been up to this month, and hopefully despite the allure of Matchmakers, mulled wine and tins of Celebrations I should be able to report some progress next month too.  How are your health and fitness goals going? Do you have any pre-Christmas goals or events lined up?

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