My fat year: a rubbish fortnight

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Picture: Ian Wordsworth

Well, I say a rubbish fortnight, but actually, the first week was quite good with me dropping down to almost the lightest I’ve been since I started with Slimming World. But with only twenty-two days before my initial three-month membership to go, I’m very disappointed that this morning I’ve gained 2lb again.

I know what it is: bread.

My husband makes lovely bread. He graduated from the bread-machine to doing it all himself and now he’ll knock-up two loaves twice a week. Slimming World have told me to either allow 3syns™ per slice, or build it into my “healthy extras”.

I’ve been very good at eating salads for my dinners, though, and our teas are pretty much syn-free anyway (meat, potatoes, veg), with low-syn or syn-free puddings.

But for just over a week I’ve been freezing cold, and battling the dregs of that bad cold that’s copping everyone, and so I’ve been eating more bread – cheese on toast, beans on toast, egg on toast, bacon sandwiches, etc.

Oh yes, and pizza. He made us a pizza each on Saturday too, and it was delicious. But I can’t manage a whole pizza in one sitting. In fact, I can rarely manage much of one kind of any thing on my plate in one sitting. So last night I had a left-over pizza slice to eat after our lovely roast lamb dinner.

And this morning the scales made sure to scold me.

A friend of mine … well, it’s the daughter of a friend of the poet’s actually, but she’s lovely so I’ll call her a friend anyway – a friend of ours has lost two stone with Slimming World (28lb) and this morning I saw a recent photograph of her on Facebook. And she looks great.

So today she has given me the motivation to make the most of these last twenty-two days of my initial three-month membership. I’m also going for my “bronze activity challenge”, although much of that is easier now that (a) we have chickens, and (b) the longer, warmer, drier days are on their way, for weekend walking again.

With this seagull keeping an eye on me, how can I fail?

Walk: Fairholmes

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The poet checking my map-reading! (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

We didn’t go out anywhere last weekend. We were both under the weather and the poet was on antibiotics. So we stayed indoors.

The weekend before, however, we did go for a short walk. We went on the Saturday, though, as we had a Monkey Dust gig to go to at teatime on the Sunday.

The walk from Fairholmes to Derwent Reservoir is one that I’ve done before. But this was the first time we did it as a “family”. (Me, the poet, the dog!)

It’s a short walk, only 1¼ miles, but it’s a good one for starting out on a new fitness/stamina regime.

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One of two benches strategically placed to make the most of the view. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The walk starts at the exit from the car park at Fairholmes. We crossed the road and went through a gate that took us up an “easy climb”. (I swear some of these guides can be “done” for misrepresentation!)

The path crosses a water conduit via a stone bridge. Then at the first junction, we turned slightly right and went up some stone steps to skirt the woods, keeping the reservoir to our right and the main woods to our left.

These steps lead to another “gentle rise”, but then it’s all level or downhill from there.

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The memorial to Tip the sheepdog, who stayed beside her master’s dead body for 15 weeks during the winter of 1953/54. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

At the highest point of the path there are two benches engraved with inspirational verses designed to encourage the visitor to sit and rest a while and enjoy the view.

Then the path drops downhill to join a road that runs alongside the reservoir. Here, the poet left us to get closer to the water and to take the picture below of the reservoir.

When he re-joined us, we strolled along the path and saw the memorial to Tip – a sheepdog who stayed with her master’s body for fifteen weeks during the winter of 1953/54.

Rufus had his picture taken here, but he wouldn’t keep still, so it’s a bit blurry, which is why I’ve not shared it here.

Next up is the dam wall, which sometimes has the gate open so you can visit the small museum commemorating 617 Squadron of “dambusters” fame. The gate was closed (it was closed last time I did the walk too), but the poet was still able to take a picture of the memorial just inside the gatehouse.

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Memorial to 617 Squadron, “The Dambusters”. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

In the past few years we’ve been up to see the Lancaster bomber fly-past. I think it’s stopped flying now, so it was quite emotional the last time we went.

The whole area can get very busy, though, particularly on anniversaries.

Both the reservoir and the car park at Fairholmes were quiet, but there were still a lot of cars parked. Lots of people use it as a base for longer walks and there are a lot of cyclists who visit too.

We continued along the road until we reached the far end of a roadside car park, then we turned left and dropped down a path that leads to a closer inspection of the dam wall.

We visited the dam wall itself only recently, and have lots of photographs from then. This time, the water wasn’t running, so we only had a small detour here.

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Derwent Reservoir. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

When we got back to the car, we continued on along the other side of the car park, adding another ¼ mile to our walk.

Down some more steps on the other side of the car park wall was once a farm, which was flooded when the dams were built.

Once we’d completed our walk, we visited the kiosk and bought a Bakewell slice and a bottle of pop each, which we sat and consumed in the car.

We only walked 1.45 miles, or 6,104 steps, and it took us an hour and twelve minutes with all the pausing for pictures. And we burned 217 calories.

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MapMyWalk

My fat year: Back in the 7lb club

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“Reprise”

Just 2 weeks into the new year with Slimming World, and I’m back in the half-a-stone (7lb) club!

Actually, it’s 7½lb, and I’m only 1¾lb away from dropping into the next stone-zone. I’m also only point-two away from dropping into the next BMI.

This isn’t quite the weight I was before Christmas, but even that is only a pound away. And we’ve not really been very strict either.

Cutting out processed food and cutting down on added sugar and added salt to cooking seems to be doing the trick. I’m also eating less bread.

The poet had an annual check-up at the doctor’s on Friday. He’s not very well, sinus-wise, but the rest of him is apparently doing brilliantly.

His weight is down, his blood pressure is “normal”, his cholesterol is three-point-something – down from six-point-something – and his blood sugar is “low-normal” compared to “borderline” just a year ago.

The nurse said to just carry on doing whatever it is he’s doing.

I haven’t had my annual check-up yet, I don’t think I’m due. But last time my blood pressure was “normal” (it always is), my blood sugar was “normal”, and my own cholesterol was “slightly down”. Hopefully by the time I’m due, I’ll get the same kind of news.

So, whatever it is that we’re doing, it’s working. So we’ll carry on carrying on.

My fat year: New Year with Slimming World

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“Neigh-up!” (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

And so I was doing really, really well, earning my first half-stone (7lb) badge from  Slimming World, and then … well, Christmas happened, didn’t it?

I’m not complaining really, though. I’ve often believed that weight-loss should not be all-consuming, that life happens, and that you can be far too anal about certain things. And, after all, Christmas really is only a week out of fifty-two. Plus, a lot of people put weight on over the holiday period, and then they lose it again.

I put on 7lb. Half a stone. In just two days (yes, really), my weight went up by 7lb. But within only days it was back down again by 4½lb. So as I re-start the slimming year today, I’m only 2½lb heavier that I was before the festivities.

I would have started last week, and I’m not averse to starting on a Tuesday either. But we did have a lot of sickness in the house over the past four weeks and, to be honest, slimming was the last thing on our minds. And anyway, there was all this chocolate and cake to finish – and mince pies and puddings and crackers and …

We did make a half-hearted attempt to get back on the wagon on bank holiday Monday last week with a trip to Whitby. But by the time we’d battled traffic, we didn’t have time for even a meagre 2½ mile 2-hour walk. But we did walk 2¼ miles around the town when we finally got there.

However, right now, we’re both much better health-wise than we were, and on Saturday we did make it on a different planned walk, one that’s only 1½ miles, but a good, easy starter all the same. And it was a walk I’d already done on my own a few years ago, so I knew it would break us in gently.

There’s still an 8-portion Christmas pudding in the cupboard, and we were going to have that for tea for the next four days. But as I’m back on the wagon today, I calculated the syn-value™ and decided that 18 syns for just one pudding portion was simply too much. (My maximum is 15 syns per day.) The pudding has a good date on it (March 2018), so maybe we’ll save it for Christmas 2017.

So I’ve made some sugar-free jellies with fresh strawberries in the bottom instead, and we’ll be having baked salmon. With a teaspoon of low-fat spread on my potatoes, this will bring my total syns for the day to 3½, leaving me plenty for if I feel like a little snack later.

I have a pint glass filled with icy cold water on my desk, and the next walk should be on Saturday, either 2 miles (in Rievaulx), or one of the 2.1 miles a bit closer to home.

The chap in the picture was snapped on our Whitby walk last week. Do say “Ey up!” back! 🙂

Day out: Whitby

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Whitby Harbour (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We were supposed to be going for a walk on New Year bank holiday Monday, only a short one, around 2½ miles. But there was a LOT of traffic on the way, with traffic on the A64 just starting to build up on the opposite side of the road to us.

By the time we got to Whitby, found a parking space in the marina car park, and then wasted 30 minutes or more queuing at the car park meter and then trying to get it to work, the light was already going. (The meter wasn’t letting anyone use their payment cards, including us, and we were going to pay by phone until a kind soul with a pocketful of change came to our rescue with five pound coins in exchange for a fiver.)

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Picture: Ian Wordsworth

When we started out, it was a gloriously sunny day. By the time we arrived, we could see the rain clouds creeping in from the sea. And the town was already very, VERY busy. It was past lunchtime and I was starving.

So before we could even reach the start of our walk, we also had to eat – and the first restaurant is already half a mile from where we ended up parking.

Suitably sated, we strolled through the town to the beginning of our walk, the 199 steps up to the abbey. On the way the poet was able to try out his new camera and his new lens.

The dog was very well-behaved, considering the amount of pedestrians that were out in force. He was more than happy to let “all these people who had come to see him” fuss and stroke him. And he “helped” me up those 199 steps.

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199 steps (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We posed on the first stage with the sea behind us while the poet took a picture (not here, but it will be on FB when his picture is ready too), and I had to keep the dog on a tight lead in case he fell to the ground beneath us – it must be a fifteen-foot drop from that first “landing”.

At the top we had a breather while the poet wandered around taking more pictures. Then we made an attempt on the rest of the 2½-mile walk, having already completed a mile before we started.

The guide book we have is an older one and when we couldn’t find the path alongside the “last farm building on the left” to the Cleveland Way, we changed tack anyway. (The path that is indeed alongside the “last farm building on the left” has a shiny new “private” sign on it, so we’ll take a look at the OS map and see if it’s still a right of way before attempting it again.)

Because the clouds were rolling in now with a vengeance, we knew there wouldn’t be very much more “good” light for the photography. Plus, the traffic jam had meant that we were, and would continue to be if it was the same on the way home, a long time away from the house.

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Whitby Harbour (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We wanted to get back to the chickens before the fox got there, and while they’re very good now at taking themselves to bed once it’s turned dark, we still need to close the door to keep the fox out.

So at the English Heritage car park for the abbey, we decided to head back to the car via Caedmon’s Trod. This is an easier staircase and it meant we wouldn’t be re-tracing to many steps.

I felt a bit over-dressed in all my walking gear and with a rucksack containing water for us and the dog if all we were doing was a short town walk. But at least we were warm.

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Whitby Abbey (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

As we walked around the other side of the abbey, the clouds did indeed pile in around us, and all of a sudden it was as dark as night. The banner picture below was taken seconds before the picture on the left.

The English Heritage visitor centre was closed yet the abbey grounds were packed – English Heritage missed a trick there, although I’ve heard of other English Heritage properties that were closed despite being advertised as open over the New Year weekend. (Whitby Abbey wasn’t advertised as being open, by the way, but other closed properties apparently were.)

The first part of Caedmon’s Trod from above is just a footpath, but it does join the steps before coming out in the town. There are some horses in a field halfway down, but the light had already gone for pictures of these to be any good.

On our way home we headed via Thirsk as the A64 was still very blocked, and there had been an accident on the A1(M). It took just as long to get home as it did to get there – but the chickens were fine. Next time we go we’ll leave the house even earlier in a bit to avoid this common problem. And next time, it will be the walk.

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Whitby Abbey (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)