Honestly, I’m not a nomad*….

…but I’m on the move again.  Due to unforeseen circumstances I’m making the move back to Hampshire from Nottingham, only 8 short months after I moved up.  The only thing I will say about the move is that it wasn’t my choice, and that fact is making packing rather difficult.  Packing to move up here was comparatively easy and a joyful task compared to packing to take what at times seems like a backwards (and completely surreal) step.

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Same but different

As I sit here at my newly re-vamped desk, typing on my new computer (laptop finally becoming more limited by age than was good for work) and with the cat curled up in one of her favourite spots – tucked up my jumper – Continue reading

Could do better

As the title of this post implies, I have not been on top of things, diet wise, this week.  However, overall I’m not disappointed, I’ve lost 3 3/4 inches and 1lb and it has been a rather busy week with work which has used up a lot of my resources making it harder to get the exercises done.

Calculating my inch loss is much easier this time round thanks to the wonders of excel spreadsheets!  Much easier on the brain after the initial setup of the formulae.

In other news: we got Archie put-to on Sunday!  First time we’ve had him in the carriage since September 2010.  It was a bit ‘high-octane’ at first with the dear boy being wound like a spring and not able to relax (or concentrate/listen) at first.  At times like that it is difficult to keep the ‘calm assertive pack leader’ attitude in place when your brain is thinking of contingency plans if he im/explodes.  After a good talking to, and lots of singing of “My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean” (a good walking speed song – you also can’t hold tension in your voice or body if you sing, good way to trick the brain/body into relaxing) he had chilled out enough to take him out on the road.

What a different horse; relaxed, striding out and [reasonably] calm and easy going.  There were a couple of moments where he wasn’t sure of things, but a quick revision of the “do not deviate, do not hesitate, etc” speech and he settled down nicely.  Now need to just get a few more trips like that under our belts (without the initial hiccups preferably) and we’ll be out and about in no time.

Off now to make some healthy lunch, bake some spelt bread and then back to work to earn some pennies.

Gone but not forgotten

I have been rather absent from here of late.  That is party because I had to take a halt in my pursuit of my healthy body circa 1996/1997 due to the decrepit nature of my hip (since identified as muscles of my right hip being chronically in spasm, severely limiting my movement and being a RIGHT pain in the arse – pun intended) and not wanting to advertise it to the world*.  Since then I have had the madness of pre-holiday, holiday and post-holiday to contend with as well as work and other ‘stuff’ that has got in the way.

Incidentally, it has actually been nice to have a break from doing the EAP as I have been able to appreciate the weight that I have lost and being able to re-claim a good portion of my wardrobe from storage in the “I’ll slim back into that one” section of the attic.

I’m going to be starting again on Monday, back at the start of week 1 having been working on my hip to try and avoid hitting the same wall after week 4.

In other news, Archy has been away to ‘boarding-school’ up in Swansea for three weeks to get him back in the shafts… sent up to a lovely chap, very kind and gentle.  However, we think the Welsh accent, and being away from home, rather stressed Archy out as he was wound tight as a drum when we went to pick him up.  The first time we sent him away to get him broken to drive (the time where he came back actually broken in body and mind) was to a Welshman – who was NOT kind and gentle – which is why we think the Welsh accent may have been a tipping point.  Anyway, he managed to progress in his training somewhat, in spite of being stressed out, and he has relaxed a huge amount since he has been back so all is not lost.  He has become more resilient.  Either that or he is just so relieved to be back here that he is on his best behaviour so he doesn’t get sent away again!!

* – no, I don’t think the world does read my blog, just that the the option is there 😉

New Beginnings

Today I started on an exercise and nutritional plan called “The Equestrian Athlete Plan” (http://theequestrianathleteplan.com) which was recommended to me by the lovely Lucy.  It is specifically targeted exercises for riders to develop their bodies in a way to enhance their riding performance – which puts significantly different demands on the body than any other form of exercise.  As I am doing a fair bit of riding, and plan to do more, it seems like the sensible way to go.

Having been doing some schooling with Archie (now that his more chilled out) I’ve been noticing that my left leg is weak and I have trouble getting Archie to work evenly as I can’t support/direct him as well with my left leg as with my right – leg yielding to the left is fantastic, to the right not so good because I just don’t have the control/strength in my left leg (sorry, not that interesting for you non-horsey readers).

The nutritional plan that goes with it is rather extreme but makes a whole lot of sense.  The exercises form a 30-minute workout every working day and the whole thing is designed to fit around a busy life with horses.  The plan is 8-weeks long so, having started today, I will have completed it by 26th August.

My declaration: I’m not going to set goals for dress sizes dropped, weight or inches lost, however my SMART goal will be:

  • Specific: to stick to the Equestrian Athlete Plan 100% – no self-sabotage, no “just this one Fredo bar won’t hurt, NO EXCUSES – to achieve the best results I can
  • Measurable: I will have lost weight, lost inches and my clothes will fit better
  • Achievable: 30minutes of exercise a day, 5-days a week + following a detailed nutritional plan
  • Realistic: this has been done and is being done by many people who are achieving results.  There is also ample support available through the Plan.
  • Time restricted: The plan is 8-weeks long.

I’ve taken the before measurements and photos (photos will not be shared with anyone but me!!).

Having recently totted up my step-counts since January and realising that my average step count of 10k+ is actually above average, I’m feeling ready to take this on, no holds barred and take the next steps to reclaiming my once fit and lovely body, which I didn’t appreciate half as much as I should have (cue strains of Baz Lhurman’s ‘Wear Sunscreen’ swelling in the background).

Having struggled for so long (14 years and change) to shed the weight I gained when I had Glandular Fever there is a certain element of Fear that I won’t succeed but I’m not going to let that stop me from sticking to the plan 100%.

Cutting out dairy will be my biggest challenge I think.

Taking back the years….

…and my body!

I have found the fit me again!  At last!  I know it’s early days still but I have started running again.  I have had a big mental block about it, I think because for so long any exercise I have done (other than riding and Pilates) has brought about a setback – either an infection/cold or just a crushing fatigue.  This was even to the point that whenever I was trying to run in my dreams, I just couldn’t do it; although I desperately needed to run, my body just wouldn’t respond, my legs wouldn’t move fast enough or I’d trip over my own feet.

However, recently, thanks to building things up slowly with Pilates and riding, I have been feeling fitter and healthier than I have in a long, long time.  I can now take Archie out for a hack for 45mins to an hour and a good 90-95% of that time is trot-work, not just ‘bimbling’ but working on an outline, impulsion and strength… a good workout for me and the horse.  I’ve also been wearing the pedometer again and am mostly hitting my goal of averaging between 7-10k steps a day (just over 8,600/day for Feb/Mar/Apr) with my highest step count being 21,312!  And I didn’t have a setback either.

Another turning point was when we had to call out the vet to one of our ewes who was having difficulty lambing: I had to run from the far end of the fields to the house to get the field gate key.  OK, so I only managed to run the length of one of the fields but I didn’t die, my hips didn’t give me hell and I didn’t suffer a setback over the next few days. Watershed moment in ditching my fears that exercise will knock me back down as it has so often before.  I’ve even been able to run in my dreams and imagining myself working out on a cross-trainer has become an excellent tool to stop my brain spinning when it won’t switch off (although I think I can safely say that I will not be taking up spinning any time soon, if ever)!

I’ve bought myself a cross trainer so I can start out doing short stints without over-doing it, then building up my times by increments, still remembering my ‘phasing’ so I avoid setbacks. I started doing some interval training for running today (probably managed about 5-minutes running out of my 25 minute dog walk but, hay, it’s more than I’ve done in ages!) and I’m feeling energised rather than knackered.

I’m hopeful that I will soon be re-claiming my body from the clutches of CFS for good.  I’m looking forward to fitting back into all the fabulous clothes I used to wear that I could never quite bring myself to throw away.

Having CFS can steal your body identity.  I keep forgetting that before I developed glandular fever (and subsequently CFS), I used to ride at least once and often twice a day, regularly cycle and run just for the fun of it, go (jive) dancing 2-3 times a week and all this whilst working shifts of either 6am-2pm or 2-10pm.  I used to be fit.

After 13 years of being told by various doctors that there was nothing wrong with me other than being over weight and un-fit (with the sub-text of “lazy” running through it all), you start to believe them.  Even to the point that when you regularly have to climb three flights of stairs to your office (no lift) and it gets increasingly difficult you still don’t realise that it is not just a case of doing more exercise and getting fit; if that was the case it would become easier the more often you did it.

Although I wouldn’t ever want to get to the point that I was – where I could barely get out of bed and some days even thought of calling a taxi to get me the last couple of hundred yards home or be in tears at the thought of walking that far – and I hope that nobody else has to be in that situation before they get treatment, but I am glad that the eventual outcome was the diagnosis of CFS as it has enabled me to manage the condition and get to the point I am now, where I can see a way back to being as fit as I was at 17 before it all started.

The way the world works

I have fallen down in my blogging lately.  A whole two months and change without any updates; a combination of relying on my phone for emails/facebook and not switching on the laptop for longer periods of time are to blame.  Additionally I’ve been feeling a bit stuck in a rut with not much news to report.  I really should try and post something every day, or at least every week.

Things have had their ups and downs over the last few months.  I’m still without a job.  The horse has been signed off from the Vet so we are back riding him and he’s coming on nicely.  The steps-per-day are gradually increasing, I’m averaging between 5-7k most days with at least one 10k day a week.  I’m planning, when I have an income again, to buy a cross trainer so that I can increase my step count whilst getting some cardio work.  I would go running but the concussion causes me horrid pain in my hip and lower back so the cross trainer would allow greater speeds without the jarring.

On the job front I’m holding off on the self-employed angle because I’m claiming Jobseekers Allowance to cover bills whilst I’m looking for a job and if you go self-employed you are not entitled to claim but still have no guarantee of work.  I’m hoping to find a part-time job which will give me a core income but still leave me time to cultivate clients.  However, unless you have children it is difficult to convince an employer that someone of 32 who was previously a Senior Executive PA in London simply wants a part time job to have a better quality of life.  I think they assume that you are only going for a part-time job for an ‘any port in a storm’ application.  I’m finding it very frustrating.  I have a few applications on the go and am trawling the job sites and local paper for more opportunities but it is a soul destroying process.

However, I keep muttering to myself to the phrase “there is something better around the corner” and keep sending off the applications because what else can you do but keep on keeping on.

Getting to the root of the problem

I’ve been a bit distracted of late.  Hence the lack of posts.

Before I get into the why I’ve been distracted, a quick update on resolutions…

  • Steps – I’ve been averaging about 4k a day and have had one 10k+ day so far.
  • Pilates – I’ve been doing the classes but not the DVDs as yet
  • Dog walking – hmmm.  Mostly round the field at least once a day but not “out” for a walk yet
  • healthy eating… hit and miss would be the best comment on this one!

So, on to what has been keeping me distracted…. Archie has been under the weather with a poorly tooth, which he had extracted in November and hasn’t really healed properly.

Without waffling on too much, we had big debates about whether any further treatment would be in his best interests (taking into account the extent of the infection he had, which looked like it had gone into the bone of his jaw) or whether go ahead with a rather major operation.  Lots of tears & heartache but we decided to go ahead with the op.

We dropped him off at the vets yesterday ready to go in for his op this afternoon.  I heard when I got back from work today that he had come round ok, that the vet had to take out a lot* (my very technical term) of infected bone but it feels like he got it all.

So, the major worry of whether they would go in and find something they couldn’t fix is over but there is now the critical 48 hours post-op window to navigate.  Still not out of the woods but at least if it doesn’t heal up now and we have to have him put down, we know that we’ve done everything possible (within reason for the welfare of the horse) to get him over it.

That’s what has been keeping me distracted, using up nearly all my brain power, when I’m not actively distracting myself from thinking, and being a big drain on my emotions.

Fingers crossed.  Hope for the best & prepare myself for the worst.  Those are my two mottos at the moment.


In other news, it has been confirmed that my fixed-term contract won’t be extended past the end of March so I’m back on the job hunt again.  Oh joy.  However, I do have an interview next Tuesday for a job 12 miles down the road, which will be cheaper in petrol!