Flirting with Disaster

DAY 1:ย Whose bright idea was it to start a diet the week BEFORE Christmas?

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The reasoning behind this is surprisingly sound: having digested the biometric scale data, it is clear what needs to happen. So, we begin by asking the question: how does this happen, and how do I manage to resist temptation? Well, that’s easy. You eat better, and just resist temptation.

Starting tomorrow, I have a shake for lunch for three weeks [*] because even the Guide says you shouldn’t go full on without body being allowed a chance to react and get comfortable. Then, we’ll see where we are. Next scheduled weigh in is Friday, January 4th, three weeks after the last one. Then we’ll go weekly, and shit gets real.

[*] No, not Christmas Day or probably Boxing Day either…

This is It

I walked to the Gym this morning for the first time in a while: pavements were slippery and required some thought, sky was the Winter Blue of post-storm optimism, and my hip and back were not happy. However, after an hour of exercise, and some heavy weights, things have definitely improved. It has taken a few days to grasp the transformation that has taken place since August: it is also apparent that to make the next step forward, it will be diet that has to change.

huel

On considered research, I’m going to replace lunch every day with a Huel shake. This will continue to provide a protein hit, but reduce my normal food intake (hopefully) enough to kick-start the fat burning processes. This also appeases that part of me which knows only too well that to save the planet I need to be eating less meat and more plants.ย I’ve enough cash left after Christmas to afford 4 week’s supply, which means January’s food intake is sorted.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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It was genuinely scary getting on the scales on Friday. I’ll do it again after Christmas, but not before. Food logging’s about to get very serious indeed, because to lose what needs to vanish, there’s gotta be a whole lotta hard work. I’m ready for all this.

This has become the most unexpected of transformations.

Down Down

Weight, inexorably, is falling. Undoubtedly the second Blaze class will help, with understanding that if this weight is going to be shifted, I will have to sweat like something that sweats a very great deal to do so. As a result of yesterday however, this is becoming increasingly less of a problem.

The classes have become a complement to the normal weights and running, which means now that a) this is using my membership to its natural limit and b) it provides individually-led exercise three times a week. I’ve not cycled for nearly a fortnight at home, however, and that will end up being added to the schedule properly over Christmas. The plan, such as it is right now, is to keep stuff ticking over as much as possible across a range of activities.

If that keeps happening, presumably thinner will then occur in due course.

It’s bloody hard work, that much is obvious. However, there’s method in all of this madness.

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The whole point of Blaze, like it or not, is to shove you up to the Red Zone in terms of heart-rate. Zwift Running conveniently provides me with zonal indicators too: to be burning fat, the more time spent in green and yellow the better, where orange and red allow that fat burn to take place after I’ve stopped exercising. Therefore, anything in green and above = progress. After Zwift tomorrow we’ll take a look at the numbers, and weight on the Gym’s bio-metric scale will be taken on Friday.

YES, THIS IS HAPPENING.

Running on Ice

Okay then, time to be honest.

We are reaching a crossroads in the training regime. I used to kid myself I’d go and ‘run’ at the Gym, but actually it was all HIIT work, no more than 500 meters at a time. Then Blaze came along and suddenly I was forced to run for 3 minutes at a time without a break. That forced a rethink. So now, I try and run a KM at a time, with a break. This is proving quite hard.

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The red line there is my heart-rate, which sat steadfastly in the amber zone when flat out and does not appear to be capable of hitting red which is absolutely fine because honestly, I would have hurled.ย That, today was 1km on, 1km off, and me getting to 800 meters before my lungs pretty much told me to fuck off. I’m not sure how this gets broken, to be honest, other than exhaustion, recovery and then the same again. Building stamina is hateful. Yet, undoubtedly, something has begun to change.

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I’ve booked a second Blaze class.ย Not gonna lie, it is because the teacher made me feel really comfortable, and there’s a definite positive to having someone else teach me other than my PT. My membership supports this so frankly, it’s time to get my money’s worth. If it all works out next week, I’ll reorganise January’s exercise around the change. What needs to happen is more pushing, and less slacking, though considering the number of hours I now do, maybe a bit of slacking can go on over Christmas without getting too stressed.

We’ll have an overview at the end of December, i think.

The Comfort of Strangers

This article appeared at an apposite moment this morning, after a night of Blaze which was, for the first time, questioned as being worthwhile.

I went to Blaze without any kind of body monitoring: Fitbit was left at home, no heart rate belt was borrowed. The freedom this gave was, it must be said, quite considerable, and that’s the first point to make. This class’ main selling point is showing youย  EXACTLY how much work you’ve done.ย I’ve monitored my exercise via heart rate monitors for seven years in January. SEVEN YEARS.ย I don’t need to know sometimes. It’s just more liberating not having the silent judgement there as an ever-present, waggling finger. If I am only in competition with myself, last night giving my mind a night off was a very sound idea.

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The second point is the notion of ‘enjoyment’: my husband asked last night if the class was fun. No, it wasn’t. I was so tired at the end everything hurt, struggled doing every exercise and even the running/jogging was, quite frankly, horrendous. At the end all that was wanted was sleep, and I couldn’t, because brain frankly refused to ramp down from the stress that was generated. However, this time around, that manifested far less externally and considerably more internally.

So, why bother if this is the result? Well, there’s been an important realisation overnight, meaning I am glad that the effort was made. This isn’t about the exercise, or the heart rate recording, or indeed around the other people that are taking part. Last night’s class was only seven people, and even with the reduction in numbers there was no change in the level of internal panic. This really is about how my brain processes information, and the translation of that into action.

My stress generates from what I’m being asked to do.

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I’ve been taught by three people thus far, all of whom have been informed in advanceย  about my comprehension issues. They all have been faultless in not only support but encouragement, but all of this is irrelevant. My frustration is the translation of what is seen into what needs to be done, and that it takes so much mental effort to transform that into the associated physical actions. So, this week in Blaze class I learnt that enjoyment may never ever happen if brain takes everything as an exercise in accuracy and perfection.

The biggest problem, it appears, is trying to achieve what subconscious considers as perfect.

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I’m booked for next week, and in the intervening period there’ll be some thought given to how enjoyment can be obtained, or whether it is in fact obtainable at all. The amount I have learnt since this journey was begun has far exceeded expectation, and makes a push out of the comfort zones more than worthwhile. Maybe if this were a younger me there could be the thought of being less harsh on myself… Life has become worth living thanks to the constant reminders just how miserable I was in the days when nothing was ever done that was frightening.

I was the problem, back then.ย Sure, there’s lots of other stuff that can be blamed, but ultimately had I know realised that it was up to me? We’d not be here at all. So, when you are capable of not only accepting shortcomings, but prepared to push past them… that’s what has to happen. Eventually, if the time is taken to listen to your own mind and soul, there are solutions.

The biggest problem of all, of course, is explaining this rationally to other people.

Musclebound

Yesterday I ate light so I could accommodate this for dinner. I also did no ‘work’, which includes bike or weights. Therefore today I’ll do an hour’s badminton with the youngest, then a Gym session and finally my biking in one hit because yesterday everything in my brain and bones said ‘look, we know you have a plan, and rest is scheduled, but this is a day you just don’t, okay?’ย So, instead I did laundry, cleared up the house and played old Sid Meier games, because sometimes DOS based GodSims are the only answer.

You see, I made a significant association yesterday that’s worth recording.

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At the start of this year I had the idea of learning to draw. It lasted until about March, when it became apparent there was neither time or desire to pursue this on top of everything else. Except, in the last week, a greater truth has revealed itself. I didn’t have the mental ability earlier this year to break down my issue: what that journey revealed was the means to obtain it. Surmounting Blaze in the last month proves the practical skills are now possessed.

Maybe it is time to give drawing another shot, but under less scrutiny.

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I’ve had some great ideas in the last year, many of which have not been given the time and attention they deserve. There can continue to be an evolution of self and life, but some important lessons have been learnt; it would be remiss to not start to go back and pick out the best moments from the last twelve months from which to further work on. I don’t start my new regimes in January, because life is to short to put stuff off until the New Year. Next week, we’ll decide what changes and alters going forward, and that can start in December.

This really has been an amazing year.

Run for Home

191118Here’s the plan. The aim is five hours a week MINIMUM on cycle/treadmill. PT/Weights are counted separately. Thursday is Blaze. Wednesday and Sunday I play badminton with my daughter for an hour. Saturday therefore by necessity becomesย ‘fuck me what was I thinking doing this’ Day.

Cycling: I’m on Week Two of an FTP Builder Workout Programme, that finishes December 23rd (just in time for Christmas.) Then I’ll free cycle for a bit. Needless to say, the difference to leg fitness is beginning to show, especially on the Badminton court.

Running:ย Trying to get up to 10 minutes a Gym session, using the same programme used for cycling so it can be tracked on Strava (see above.) Trying to juggle multiple recording devices for exercise is HARD kids,ย but it is only for my personal benefit and to then know how much I can eat as a trade off.

This is to finally allow me to run gradients for Blaze. It’s also to help up a woefully small lung capacity thanks to that bout of pneumonia just over a decade ago.

I’ll tell you what, sleep’s not a problem right now.

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If you wonder where I am in the next month or so, the chances are I’m sweating somewhere…