Tag Archives: Christmas

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: Leeds Christmas Market

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Leeds Christmas Market, November 2016 (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I love Christmas and, once Bonfire Night is out of the way, I quite like to go to Christmas Markets.

I don’t care how big or how small they are, I just like to go and mingle, look at the pretty lights and interesting stalls, and occasionally sample the wares.

Sometimes we even buy something. And this time, apart from a hot dog, some chocolate marshmallow on sticks and some mulled wine, we also bought hats. And a gingerbread heart.

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Leeds Christmas Market, November 2016 (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Last Saturday we went to Leeds for their Christmas Market. We got there for about 4:30pm, so it was just dark enough to take pictures of the lights.

And there were lights everywhere – on the lampposts, around the stalls, even for sale on the stalls.

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Leeds Christmas Market, November 2016 (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Several stalls were selling Christmas decorations. Some of these were baubles and tree ornaments, some were tea- and night-lights, and some were just traditional wooden toys and ornaments.

The Nutcracker is my favourite ballet, so it was nice to see some wooden nutcrackers there too. But we didn’t buy any.

It was already very busy, and we knew we were headed in the right direction as we fought through the crowds coming back from the market. (We’d taken the train in and parked the car at Barnsley Station.)

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Leeds Christmas Market, November 2016 (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

When we first arrived, it was still empty enough to relax, stroll around, take pictures. But by the time we’d had something to eat and done a couple of circuits – it wasn’t one of the biggest Christmas Markets – it was starting to get too crowded for stupid even.

One of the reasons for the trip was so that the poet could try out the new lens for his camera. He’s not snapped lights at night before, really. Or not since he’s been learning to be a “proppa snappa”. So these were his first.

He’s getting quite good at the bokeh, though – even if he does say so himself! This is where the foreground – or any part of the subject – is in focus but the background blurs. For those who want the scientific explanation, I think you can find it here.

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Leeds Christmas Market, November 2016 (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

The hot dog he bought was a bit big for just one of us, although I’m sure he would have managed it all had I wanted a whole one too.

But he put ketchup all over it, and then mustard on his (big) half. It was very nice, and just spicy enough.

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Leeds Christmas Market, November 2016 (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

Aside from the chocolate marshmallow on a stick (each), we also bought some fudge, some vanilla fudge for my dad (for being a big brave soldier and going to the hospital last week), and some clotted cream fudge with jelly babies for me (so that Dad didn’t have to share his).

We took the gingerbread heart home to have with a cup of tea later in the week.

Before we left he had one last practice with his camera, taking moving shots of the carousel and the other roundabouts. There isn’t room for all of the pictures here, though, so I saved a static of the carousel for the bottom.

We had such a good time, and the weather was very kind, so we’re thinking about going to another Christmas Market later in (what’s left of) the year. There’s one at York this weekend and there’s one at Sheffield at the end of the month. They’re all probably the same market, but it’s nice to see them in a different place, and Leeds, York and Sheffield are all close enough that the dog isn’t left on his own for too long at home.

And now he has a brand new camera as well (courtesy of his recently late father), he’ll want to be trying that out soon too. Plus, he has another new lens coming on Monday, so that will be another excursion.

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Leeds Christmas Market, November 2016 (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

My fat year: First 2lb gone

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At Worsbrough Mill on Sunday (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

It took a couple of weeks, but this week I finally made my first loss – and it was 2lb. Actually, in truth, it was 3lb, as last week, mid-week, I went up by a pound before dropping down to my start weight again. But technically, as we’re only supposed to weigh ourselves once a week, it’s a 2lb weight-loss logged this week.

The poet hasn’t weighed himself yet this week, but when he went off to work this morning – looking quite smart as he’s representing the company elsewhere today – I noticed that he was already looking trimmer and slimmer.

Last week I made the decision to do a 5:2 diet, but I’ve been fairly good on “feast” days, and probably much better behaved than on “starvation” days. It is hard, though.

I’m making it through the day very well. But by an evening, when we’re sitting in front of the telly, I just want to graze. It’s not just sitting in front of the telly, though. It’s also sitting editing. I always have to be grazing if I’m editing, and as I’ve had a particularly large hard-copy edit this week, well … I think you can imagine.

Because of my blood sugar, I tend to graze on a starvation day too and, again, I’ve been doing very well during the day, starting with a single Weetabix for breakfast, with milk from my 200ml daily allowance and a spoonful of artificial sweetener rather than sugar. I also have 150ml fruit juice with every breakfast.

Mid-morning I’ve had 15 grapes, and for dinner (lunch) I’ve had half a can of soup and a < 60-calorie yoghurt. Mid-afternoon I’ve had another piece of fruit – either a small banana or 2 satsumas. But for tea I’m having what the poet’s having, but minus any bread or high-fat anything. For pudding I’ve had either the satsumas or the banana, whichever I didn’t have earlier. And for an evening snack I’ve been having 4 salted caramel chocolate fingers (you can only have 3 chocolate fingers for less than 100 calories, but the salted caramels come in at 4 for 94 calories!).

And I’ve drunk black coffee all day, and a grand total of 2 white teas (using the remaining milk from my allowance – can’t stand black tea).

On ordinary days I’ve had 30g of Rice Krispies, Cheerios or Cornflakes for breakfast, or 40g of Sultana Bran, Fruit n Fibre or Bitesize Shredded Wheat, or 45g of muesli, or 2 Weetabix, along with milk from a 300ml-allowance and 1tsp artificial sweetener. The fruit snacks are pretty much the same, but dinner (lunch) is a sandwich plus the yoghurt, tea is more hearty, and I get an extra non-fruit snack too.

Exercise at the moment is just our weekly walk, which is why I’m also using that to build up fitness and stamina. Sunday’s walk felt much easier than the previous week’s walk, though. so hopefully that’s going the right way at least.

On Monday we watched the first episode of How to Lose Weight Well, on Channel 4, which featured the 5:2 diet this week. And it didn’t put me off. (I think you can still watch the episode online.)

We’re still using up leftovers from Christmas at the moment. All of the mince pies finally went. We’re just coming to the end of the Christmas cake. There is still about a third of a tin of Quality Street to go, and we still have full-fat cheeseboard cheese.

I expect the coming week to be better as there are healthier options on the shopping list – I’m really not one for throwing out food unless it’s gone off. Too many years of being thrifty, I think.

This morning I chased my free signed copy of The 3-2-1 Diet by Rosemary Conley. They assured me it would be with me soon as it takes 14 – 21 days. I wish it would hurry up as I’d like to read, absorb and digest it, see how she does things differently to all the others.

How are you doing this week?

Merry Christmas!

We break up today, for 2 weeks. But please don’t think we’ll be resting on our laurels. We still have lots and lots and LOTS to do …

… like buy and wrap Christmas pressies, do the Christmas supermarket shopping, put shelves up in bathrooms and bedrooms and garages, repair or replace curtain poles, hang curtains when they come back from the seamstress, replace the letterbox in the front door, replace the cat flap in the front door, replace the weatherboard on the front door, unpack the studio and connect it all, replace the bulb or the floodlight at the back, hang 3 more guitars on walls, bake mince pies, put noticeboards up in Abbey Road, decorate the Christmas cake, put the tree up, make a trifle, write and deliver cards for the new neighbours, do a Santa run to Birmingham and to Leicester and to Doncaster, shop for rugs, cook a Christmas dinner …

Above all, we’re going to enjoy our first Christmas in our new home and explore our new surroundings just as soon as we can.

I may be packing work up today, but that’s the guaranteed paid work. I also have an ebook to finish proofreading, then I want to get it published on Kindle, and I have another new book to edit down (from over 100,000 words to 45,000 words!). I want both of these jobs finished by the end of December.

Then I want to do some writing. I want to finish and polish the stories I’ve already written, I want to write the stories already outlined, and I want to do a brainstorm for ideas for June and July topicality. AND, if I get chance, I want to continue with Catch the Rainbow.

So, a very merry Christmas to you and yours, from me and the poet, and a very happy and prosperous New Year. See you on the other side.

Ian n Diane

Okay, I’m updating the blog … (and a list alert)

020Meet our tree topper. He comes out every year, so this is an old photo, but I didn’t have anything as festive more recently, so I’ve wheeled him out again. Isn’t he great?

Well, it’s been a busy old week with me pitching for jobs quite furiously and winning quite a high return too. But then I suppose that’s the way it goes – speculate to accumulate.

I’ve been finishing off a couple of outstanding jobs, mostly electronic edits, and I’ve been doing this new work as it’s come in.

The faint-hearted may wish to look away now …

As of today I have:

  • one more set of electronic edits to complete
  • some authors to re-email
  • 2 books to send to the typesetter (I won’t wait now for author responses as there’re hardly any changes)
  • an update to send to lovely already boss
  • a new project to collate and start editing
  • the gig list to update
  • more jobs to look for and pitch for

And that’s just work. At home we have:

  • Christmas shopping (for gifts)
  • wrapping of said gifts
  • mince pies to bake
  • festive biscuits (cookies) to bake
  • a yule log to bake and ice
  • the Christmas cake to ice
  • the Santa run to Birmingham
  • Santa run to Leicester
  • a Santa run to Doncaster
  • Christmas grocery shopping to do
  • Christmas dinner to cook (and eat)

But wait, there’s more. We have a social life too:

  • yesterday we went to see Roy Wood at Holmfirth Picturedrome
  • on Saturday we go to Wolverhampton Civic Hall to see Thunder
  • (Saturday night/Sunday morning we incorporate the Santa run to the Midlands)
  • Christmas Day on our own
  • Boxing Day we go to see some friends of ours play their last ever gig in their band
  • at the end of the week we hope to nip to London

This has to be my busiest Christmas schedule in a long while. Fortunately we have 2 weeks’ holiday, although with one of the jobs I’m about to start I’ll probably have a bit of a dabble in that too, as and when.

Roy Wood was absolutely fantastic, he really was. I’ve known the man all my life but never managed to see him, and we nearly didn’t this time either, as they sold out of tickets very quickly. The poet, though, bless him, made a special trip to Holmfirth yesterday to see if any tickets had been returned – and they had. And so we did go to the ball after all.

We also wanted to see the support band, Slyde Alive, as a few of our friends are in that band. We got drenched as the average rainfall for a whole year descended on Holmfirth in the half-hour we were walking from the car to the venue. But we had a really good time, met up with some friends, and are determined to go again next year.

Thunder is a Christmas present to the 2 of us from the gig buddy and her bloke. It will give us the opportunity to also visit my family in the Midlands, and we’re staying with my parents Saturday night. Sunday morning it’s off to my sister’s before heading back.

We’ll pop over to Doncaster to see the poet’s family, but our first Christmas together is going to be a quiet time.

I probably won’t get chance to post again, so tell me what your plans are over the festive period and then make sure you have a goodun.

Happy Christmas! 🙂

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