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

Sunday, 6 January 2013

New Year Resolutions

Hello and a Happy New Year! Have you all got your plans to change your life and be better human beings? Have you set your targets and goals for the year ahead?

Now I don't know about you, but I don't work like that, I don't sit down and plan things. I much prefer to see what comes up and seize opportunities I haven't even thought of yet.  On planet Sue an idea bubbles up from somewhere deep inside and my head eventually catches up with what the rest of me has already worked out.

Despite all the busy-ness and running about for Christmas and New Year, it's a great time for new ideas and new ways of looking at things. A week or so away from the desk enjoying the company of friends and family, walking, running, playing with the cats, cooking and wrapping presents is just what I need to get my sense of perspective back.

A few New Years ago we decided to lose weight. We were out for a long walk on the beach and an idea that had been hovering round for months and months became a decision - a commitment to change our lives. I got home and signed us up; 6 months later I was 4 stone lighter.  The next year, I registered for a half marathon. That came from a conversation with the Tesco Diets people earlier in the year about how I'd always admired people who ran marathons, but I'd never thought I could do it. A few months later, round about Christmas, I signed up for a half marathon and started training.  I did the half and at the end of 2011 I decided I was going to try and run that marathon.  I didn't make the starting line last year, but I learnt an awful lot of useful stuff about me and running: of course it's the journey that matters not the arriving.

All of these decisions have been life changing and enriched my life immeasurably, in ways I could never have anticipated. I've had experiences I'll never forget.

Once again, the end of the year has worked its magic and I have my goals. The first is to keep trying to run a marathon.  I've signed up for the  Lochaber Marathon in April, with the Meadows half en route. Last year was a learning year, so I go equipped with a much clearer understanding of my personal challenge and with the expert advice from my ace Physio Pam to help me get there. Fingers are crossed.

I've a non running resolution too. Holidays mean time to read and my Christmas Book this year was  A Street Cat Named Bob.  It's a very simple, very powerful story about how friendships change our lives, even when those lives have gone sadly awry.  James lived on the streets when he met Bob the street cat. Having another living being to care for and that cared for him gave James Bowen's life real meaning and filled the lonely spaces. It really isn't relevant that Bob is a cat, or that the relationship involves more than the usual number of legs.

So there I was, snuggled up in a warm bed with a good book, a cup of tea and the wind howling outside. A bubble began to emerge and I had a resolution -  to buy the Big Issue every week not just now and then. My first thought that it wasn't big enough, I needed something grander. But of course  the longest journey starts with the smallest step and as I let that idea grow, I realised it's about making connections.

When we're busy, it's so easy to lose sight of what really matters as we charge about trying to get through our over-long 'to-do' lists.  We tend to focus on the practical. When I was caring for Mum, I had to focus on keeping her physically safe. Now she's at the Abbey, others do that, and I can focus on Mum's quality of life, helping her stay connected to family and friends. The worst thing about Alzheimer's is that it disconnects Mum from the world in almost every way you can think of, and that's a sad and scary place to be. But between us all, her family, the Abbey, the Day Centre and Crossroads, Mum now has real friends, lots of connections and lots of people who care for her. She's blossoming, and as  Mum puts it, she's 'living not existing'. That's because she has relationships that are warm and caring; something we all need and we can all give.

So I have two plans for 2012 - to tackle that marathon and be a better human being. That should keep me busy!

On the running front, I've done 2 runs (15 miles total) and 4 gym sessions this week and one Pentland hill walk. I'm going to run three times a week, with spin, swim, cross train sessions to build stamina and lots and lots of stretching.  Wish me luck!

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and New Year and that all your hopes and wishes for 2013 come true.

Take care!