We never know where life is going to take us or what challenges it brings. In January 2010 I was happy, so happy I wanted to stay that way for as long as I could. I realised that if Ali and I wanted a long and healthy life together, we had to change. I was clinically obese, had a bad back and my knees were feeling the strain. I had various health problems and I was ageing faster than my years. I looked ahead to a life I did not want. It was time to change. By the end of the year I had lost 4 stone - 56lbs. My confidence rocketed - I had taken control and it had worked. I was exercising, enjoying buying clothes, speaking up for myself.

I began to believe in myself again, I began to dream. For years I had watched marathons with admiration and a lump in my throat. In April 2013, I ran my first marathon.

This blog is about living life as a slim person, staying slim and fulfilling my dreams. Come and join me, support me, advise me!

Take care, Sue

Monday, 25 April 2011

Facing up to being fat: time to take control!

I've had quite a weekend! It's been fantastic to spend time with my sister and her lovely family and we all had far too much good food and drink and lots of laughter. Life is short and sharing the feast with your loved ones is one of life's greatest pleasures. We're so lucky to be blessed with both in abundance in our family. I am so, so tempted to just to keep going with the treats, but I know I'll regret it! But when to stop?

I've been pondering how easy it is to get back into the unhealthy eating habits I used to have and how that's fundamentally about what goes on in my head. I bet I'm not alone! I think I knew deep down that I had to lose weight for years, but did a fantastic job of ignoring how fat I was getting and how it was affecting my health.  I refused to weigh myself and played ostrich as my dress size crept up.  My 'fat days' clothes became my everyday clothes, soon to be replaced by bigger 'fat day' clothes, and so the pounds piled on. My chronic indigestion and sore knees were just worry and age. But hey, I was happy and loved, so what did those things matter. I ate good organic food, butter not marge and exercised regularly, walking, Pilates and yoga, even the odd cycle. What did I have to worry about???? 

I had to face reality early one morning 18 months ago as I tried to get into my winter tights.  I tried putting them on standing up and I tried sitting down, but I couldn't reach over my tummy. I tightened my muscles, I breathed out as far as I could, still couldn't reach. I had to lie on the bed with my legs in the air to get anywhere near my feet. It was like dressing a dying fly.  I was hot, bothered, and totally embarrassed.

There I was at 51 years old struggling with one of the most basic activities of living - getting myself dressed. What would happen as I got older?  This wasn't just about facing a cold winter in pop socks - I was pretty well insulated and already some way down the matronly fashion road.  This was about seeing for the first time the likely consequences if I did not radically change what I ate. I think I finally accepted that
 I wasn't fat because of my upbringing, it wasn't someone else's fault, I was fat because of what I chose to ate.

I knew I wanted to keep moving and active.  Most of us are lucky enough to take basic things like dressing ourselves and being able to move at will for granted.  I had watched my much loved Dad live with Parkinson's Disease which gradually took away his choices and his movement. Yet here was I also losing my mobility because of  what I chose to eat.  It felt wrong to do that to myself.

So that December morning another bit of the jigsaw fell into place and I faced the truth about my weight and began to take responsibility, to take control. I didn't start dieting right then, it was at least another six weeks before that happened, but I had finally accepted that I needed to act. The young, fit me inside was getting ready to fight back. Somewhere in my head things were starting to change, my time was coming.

I think back to that morning when I have problems getting back into eating healthily. I remind myself that it's up to me what I choose to eat, that I have a tendency to ignore facts that I don't like and that I want to stay young and fit and healthily for as long as I can. I think of what Dad would say and how he'd be right behind me, probably trying to get me to take up cricket before it got too late!

That feels better! So, a nice walk this afternoon I think and our favourite healthy chicken and veg curry for dinner - I'm looking forward to getting back to the straight and narrow!

Hopw do you get yourself back on track? Have you any ideas for how to cope? Please let me know!

Here' me and Ali after our aniversary lunch at Greywalls in Gullane, very full!

Take care


Sunday, 24 April 2011

Running away guilt..me time for carers

Guilt, where would we be without it! Last Saturday was a lovely sunny day and I decided to grab a bit of 'me time' trotting the roads of North Berwick.  It'd been a busy week at work and Mum struggled to make sense of things, so I was a bit worn out, but wanted to keep some of that wonderful feeling of my first half marathon going.

I headed off accompanied once more by the woman's hour podcasts and as my feet got into that familiar rhythm and my mind began to relax, my thoughts turned to ......guilt.  Guilt! At first I was irritated, running is supposed to soothe the mind but here I was building up a head of guilty steam and it was giving me a tough time. Guilt because I was running when Mum was on her own and I could have taken her to feed the chickens. Guilt because there was ironing to do and meals to cook for the freezer to save time during the week. Guilt because there was work work to do.  Guilt for being selfish and taking time on my own.  Guilt because I no longer had the excuse of training for my first ever half marathon. Guilt from asking so many favours from everyone, that I don't like to ask them for money  to sponsor me and then more guilt about not raising money for charity and letting them down.    Great, wonderful, fab - carer guilt writ large with bells on!

But, one of the great things about running is that it helps untangle those mental knots, so I went with the flow and let the run sort things out.  I realised I had guilt about guilt - things were getting out of hand and I needed to start thinking differently or I'd just go round in circles and be no use to person or beast.

I enjoy running, but feel guilty doing it just for me. I was proud to wear an Alzheimer's Scotland shirt on the Edinburgh Half and hoped it helped to raise awareness and that made me a bit less guilty. But that wasn't quite enough to absolve me I needed more of a reason to run.

I realised I had to tackle the money bit, I had to overcome my horror of asking for sponsorship, asking for yet another favour.  Somehow I had to make it so I was offering them something. I came up with a story that just about works for me, at least for now. For a donation, people could pay me to run the race for life for them.  Everyone could participate - either as a runner or by paying me to do it for them. Or they could help me raise money. If I could use this to overcome my embarrassment of asking for sponsorship then I could square my guilty circle. I decided to give it a go.

Guilt was a lot of the reason I put on so much weight in the first place. I didn't leave any time for me when other people's needs were so much greater, and that did my health no good at all. It doesn't help anyone to have a sick and stressed out carer so I had to tsart looking after myself, but like many carers, I tended to put me last of a long line And I still struggle with 'me time', a lot of people do, but hey you've got to try. I know it'll take more than a long run to get all my guilt removed, I think it came hard wired! 

So I've done my justforgiving website and Ali has sponsored me.  I'm still not happy about asking for money, so if you have any good ideas to help me get over this hurdle I'd really appreciate it!

So, um, please sponsor me and I'll help you raise money for a great cause!

Take care