I’ve been down with the flu the last couple of days so no running for me, but luckily last week I was able to get out and test my new sports bra that House of Fraser and the team from Shock Absorber have sent me. Now, as you know from my previous posts, I think a good sports bra is one of the key essentials for a comfortable run – if you’re a woman that is!
I have had a number of disappointments in the sports bra front in the past. A lot of them were simply not up to the job. However I have a couple of Shock Absorber bras which have been very reliable, so I was hopeful. The only thing that worried me, and I told them this, is that this is the Ultimate Gym Bra. It has been developed to provide support for the wide variety of activities that may be undertaking at the gym, from Pilates and Yoga right up to running and step aerobics. But would it be up for the task of a long run outside? They said to try it and see, so I did.
The Ultimate Gym Bra is the traditional crop top style, made from soft, breathable, odour control fabric. I was impressed by the sleek design and think it really could be worn just on its own without a sports top in the gym. It has non-slip, padded straps and a hook and eye clasp at the back. The great thing about the back clasp was that it so comfortably padded that you could easily do floor exercises without the clasp digging into your back, which you have to agree is the bane of most sports bra, so a thumbs up on that front. It also had a little hook on the front for an ipod lead.
It was a secure fit and even though its a crop top it really did stop the bounce and I had a comfortable run. The weather was lovely for once, the birds were out and I ran smoothly. Who could ask for more than that?
The bra comes in sizes 32A-38H.
I love a good read, so when Faber and Faber asked me if I would review a book for them I jumped at the chance. Navel Gazing: One Woman’s Quest for a Size Normal by Anne H. Putnam charts the author’s emotional journey from her chubby childhood in California through teenage obesity and three rounds of weight-related surgery to the present day in London.
First, let me say this is a very brave book. It lays it on the line. You really feel for a little girl who is already so self-conscious of her own weight that she hoards candy in her room. There are also few people who would be willing to go into the details of their gastric bypass operation and I have to admit that this aspect of it did make me squirm a little. I felt slightly voyeuristic at times but it was fascinating, particularly as I had no idea how restricted the eating regime is after you have had such a procedure. I think if you are considering a gastric bypass, or GB as she nick-names it, then it’s certainly worth reading this account, though she does admit that the procedure took place over a decade ago, so things may have changed now.
One slight criticism that I would have about this book is that because it is a book all about her reflections on her weight, it does get repetitive at times. There are lots of changing room scenes and at times I found the pace too slow. Also I felt the reflections didn’t dig deep enough. There were of course acknowledgments that she had a problem with body image and self esteem, which strikingly did not diminish after the GB, but I would have liked to have found out why that was. Was it growing up in California, where the quest for the “body perfect” seems to be so important or something more mundane?
The back cover says this is no-holds barred memoir of one women’s quest to accept her own body. It’s certainly no-holds barred but whether she really has accepted her own body? I’m not so sure. I think its still a work in progress. But accepting our bodies, that’s easier said than done for all of us, right? I’m certainly not going to be pointing any fingers on that
Follow Anne on Twitter @ahputnamscore.
This week has brought a fair bit of snow to the West Country. Its still lying in the garden, even after three days. I’ve been forced by the icy conditions to continue my training on the treadmill. I really can’t get on with treadmills so normally avoid them like the plague, but needs must.
One of the main things I hate about running inside is that it seems to take so much longer to complete 5K on a treadmill than it does outside. Even with the distraction of the television and music, the distance gauge turns so slowly! Its just not the same as running in the open air. I find when the scenery is constantly changing, time just passes so much faster.
Samson in the Treadmill, by Carl Bloch, Danish painter, d. 1890. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Another bug bear is the temperature in gyms. It never seems right. I always warm up far too quickly and then feel uncomfortable and sweaty for the rest of the run. And then there’s the mirrors – I really hate exercising in front of mirrors! Say no more.
The final grumble I have about treadmills is the speed control. Most runners gauge their speed in minute/mile terms so why is that treadmills invariably have kilometre/hr settings? Am I the only one who has thought about this?
Having said all this, it does beat running outside in adverse weather. I’m not a fair weather runner; I’ve done plenty of runs in the rain, but when the temperature drops below 3 degrees I do tend to gravitate towards the gym – there’s only so much a girl can take - mirror or no mirror.
Ahh, mid- January. We are at that time of year again when everyone seems to have got bored of their cabbage soup/ all- salmon/ no carb diets and the ease of phoning the local chinese takeaway for dinner is no longer a temptation but a way of life. Fear not! You do not have to write yourself off as Bridget Jones’ fatter sibling JUST yet.
Losing weight and being healthy does not mean going on absurd, faddy new year diets that last all of 47 minutes. The most important thing for your bodies is to maintain optimum health with a balanced diet and regular exercise. The weight loss will naturally come into play with this new routine.
A balanced diet by definition is a diet that consists of the right nutrients in the right quantities. Generally speaking, we all need fruit and veg, starchy foods, sugars, salt, protein, dairy and even fats! The idea is to work out how much of each food group we need daily/ weekly. A great way to discover exactly what your individual dietary needs are is by finding a nutritionist in your local area. Not only will it completely change the way you look at food but they will be able to educate you on how to listen to what your body needs and how best to maintain a healthy and varied diet whilst still losing weight. You can even have treats!
Don’t wait until Monday or after Sally’s birthday meal or for 2014′s new nears resolution. Start making the changes NOW and not only will you see the difference, you will feel a whole lot better too.
For more information about Nutritionist Resource or to find a nutritionist in your area, click here
I was in the Sainsbury’s cafe yesterday having a quick coffee and noticed that they have the calorie count for all their food posted up on their menu. Super. If only more cafes and restaurants followed suit. I am so fed up of having to work out how many calories a snack may or may not have. Not that I am a religious calorie counter any more, but sometimes meals can take you by surprise and in my opinion its always better to be informed.
Apparently the US Food and Drug Administration may make it law that all restaurants include calorie counts on their menus. Personally I think this is a great idea. Lets hope our government might follow suit. Yes, I know all the arguments about a nanny state, but we have the calorie count on all processed food now, so why not extend the remit a little. Weight Watchers have a little book that calculates all the Weight Watcher points in the meals of some popular restaurants so the information is obviously already there.
In the meantime we all play a guessing game most of the time. That little WW book contains some shockers though. Often what you might think to be the healthy option (eg the salad) turns out to be more calorific than a pizza. Its all in the dressings.
#6212 menu: calorie counts for protein portions (Photo credit: Nemo's great uncle)
Costa also now have calorie counts posted on all their muffin trays. Did you realise that an average muffin has about 500 calories? Yikes! I would have said 300, tops. Shows how rubbish my calradar is. Which is why I need the label there, loud and clear.
I had an interesting supermarket shop last week. I went in to buy 2 items and came out with six. One of the four items that wasn’t on the original list was a packet of chocolate digestive biscuits. Needless to say, said packet arrived home and was consumed within 24 hours. Not just by me I might add. But still, that was a record. Not a great start to the New Year.
Of course your weight is not the only thing to be threatened by such supermarket forages. Your finances take a beating too. Like most families we are starting the new year determined to keep the spending down. Which is why I have returned to my old habit of using mySupermarket to keep track of the expenses. It allows you to check the prices in your basket against five leading supermarkets – Sainsburys, Asda, Tesco, Waitrose and Ocado. You can then choose the cheapest basket and transfer to the relevant store to buy your basket. My favourite bit is that it lays out all the offers really clearly on different offer shelves so it’s easy to find the different types of offers out there, like savvy buys and 2 for 1 deals on brands and also on supermarket own brand products. I normally look at these offers while I’m planning my meals so I can help make the most of the budget!
When I buy online it also allows me to think ahead about putting together balanced meals for the week. Do I have enough fruit and veg in there? Balanced meals don’t have to be boring. In fact here’s a Thai chicken curry recipe that’s both low fat and delicious. Try it!
Becky’s Thai Chicken Curry
450g chicken breast fillet
1 can low fat coconut milk
1 small can of water chestnuts, drained
1 pepper (red, yellow or green), sliced
1 to 2 tablespoons of thai green curry paste (the more you put in the spicier it will be!)
Splash of vegetable oil
Dice the chicken and fry it in the vegetable oil for about five minutes. Add the sliced pepper and fry for another 2 minutes. Then add the water chestnuts and check the chicken is cooked properly through before adding the Thai green curry paste. Fry for another minute to let the chicken absorb the taste of the paste before adding the coconut milk. Simmer for 5-10 minutes and serve with Basmati rice. Easy and for a curry, not that high in fat!
This is a sponsored post for mySupermarket.com
It’s a new year and what inevitably comes with that? Yes, the truckloads of weight loss programs on TV. Just yesterday I noticed half a dozen programs as I was flicking through the channels. This happens every year and it makes me so cross. The reason is that so many of them focus on losing a large amount of weight over a small number of weeks rather than sustained gradual weight loss which is of course a far healthier way of going about things. But that wouldn’t make for good television would it?
I wish that every January they would go back to last year’s participants and check whether they have managed to keep that weight off. I bet that would make for good television but maybe I am being too harsh.
Maybe I should be just hugely relieved that I haven’t put on any weight over the festive season – checked again yesterday. I went out for the first run of the year on New Year’s day and it felt good to finally run in some sunshine – just 3 miles. I am seriously thinking about transferring my marathon place to my husband. I know, a bit of a shocking statement after all the build up on here, but I just haven’t been able to do the long runs and long runs are vital to complete a marathon. This has been partially due to the appalling weather we have had down here which has made training a chore – I was put off by that horrendous nine mile session in the rain storm – I just didn’t enjoy it. Also I’ve just completely lost my mojo for grinding through yet another training plan. I think maybe going straight into marathon training after three back to back races including a half marathon was a bad idea. I needed some time off to just run for fun without being subject to a regime. Oh well you live and learn. At least I’ve fessed up now. Sorry, guys! I will still continue to blog about running and racing though – just might stick to half-marathons in future. They seem to suit me a lot better.
Wow. Its been a roller-coaster of a year. No, I’m not going to go into round robin territory here. My daughter has not been accepted into Harvard age eight and I have not won an award for my cup cakes. Just a few little reflections on what is likely to be the last post of 2012…
Work-wise it has been a difficult year – leaving the job I was so happy in for many years – but things had changed there with the take-over and however much I wished it to be so, it was never going to go back to the job I loved. I think change is one of the hardest things to accept – you can spend ages fighting it or even pretending it isn’t happening but it’s only when you accept the status quo that you can begin to move on. And leaving the job has allowed a few other little doors to open..
Running-wise, this has been the best year ever for me with almost 300 miles under my belt and three new PBs – at Half marathon, 10 mile and 10K. There have been some memorable races too …queuing up for the Great South Run in a bin bag in freezing temperatures, running past a guy with a fridge on his back and meeting some lovely runners at the Leatherhead 10K – we will certainly be back next year for that one.
.And had I not left the job I would never have got the chance to start How I Lost Weight and that certainly has been an eye-opener for me. I have never been a very techy person so the whole process of setting up the blog from scratch – the hosting, widgets, plug-ins and statistics – was a bit of an uphill struggle but the journey was different and fun.
The blog helped to focus my mind on not putting the weight I lost last year back on and having weighed myself yesterday – yes, I forced myself to get on the scales – I’m relieved to say that I have somehow managed not to put on anything over Xmas. Maybe the sampling trick did help after all! So I end the year still in size 12 jeans which is great news.
David Weir medalling (Photo credit: Bex.Walton)
I couldn’t end a tribute to 2012 without mentioning the Olympics . To have them on home soil was amazing and we were so lucky to be able to go up there three times. Although the basketball and the beach volleyball at Horseguard’s Parade were great, the overriding memory for me was watching the visually impaired runners and their guides in the heats of the 200m at the Paralympics. The teamwork and trust required there was incredible and it really was an inspiring morning. To top it off we got to see David Weir get one of his gold medals.
So what will 2013 bring?
Well I don’t think I shall be going near a set of scales this side of the New Year. It’s been a calorific couple of days starting with Xmas dinner on Xmas Eve – turkey with all the trimmings. I ate slowly as per the How I Lost Weight rules but I fear my sampling of Xmas fare might have got slightly out of hand. Mind you I did stick to one helping so that can’t be all that bad.
Having said that, on Xmas morning I felt so stuffed that I forced myself to go out for a run, which I have never done before – running on Xmas day that is. Its actually quite a nice experience as you feel quite smug running along with everyone else passing you in their cars off to gorge on yet more food. I thought I would feel quite sluggish but my legs felt fresh and I ran 5K in a fairly respectable time. I think this may have been helped by the fact that I had downloaded a load of upbeat new tunes onto the ipod shuffle – I’d been getting a bit fed up of the old order.
We had another largish meal late on Xmas Day and of course Boxing Day was bubble and squeak time. I have to admit to also partaking of chocolate in a not negligible amount. C’est la vie. Get over it. It happens but once a year and I refuse to exist on a lettuce leaf and a carrot over Xmas. I should really have gone out for another run this morning and am feeling a tad guilty about that – marathon plan is seriously derailed now – might have to run-walk it – oh dear. Serves me right for choosing a marathon which involves training over the Xmas break.
xmas goodies (Photo credit: jacob earl)
The car was fixed this morning, so we are back off down to Devon tomorrow – let’s hope without any mishaps this time. The guy at the garage said we were actually lucky to have got away with only two tow truck rides. He knew of a chap who had to endure four different tow trucks on a recovery – on reflection we had a relatively good experience – not that I appreciated that at the time of course.
Oh dear. Xmas preparations were going so well. We had decided that we would set off early yesterday to drive to my parents-in-laws to miss the traffic. We were in the car by 9:30 am and had got to Swindon services on the M4 by 11:30. So far so good. Cheery phonecalls to say we were making good progress. A nice cup of coffee and half a a muffin. Back in the car. We’d only been driving for five minutes when a loud bang emanated from the back of the car and it lurched alarmingly. Luckily my husband managed to steer it to the safety lane of a nearby slip road, but the car sounded terrible. A nasty grinding sound was not good news, surely?
We all sat there for a moment in shock. Could this be happening? The predominate feeling was relief that we had avoided an accident. We first thought that the tyre must have blown but an initial check showed this not to be the case. Then we went through the usual “bury your head in the sand” scenario for about five seconds. This is where you try to convince yourself that you really don’t need to make that call to the AA. Could we continue to drive? Maybe not. So the phone call was made. A fairly shortish wait of 20 minutes and the van arrived. Raised hopes. Maybe this could be sorted out sooner rather than later. Five minutes on, a diagnosis – the wheel bearing had gone. No, it couldn’t be fixed by the roadside. We would need a tow-truck. Could this get any worse? Indeed it could.
Automobile Association 1950s (Photo credit: brizzle born and bred)
For we had not just one tow truck but two, as having waited an hour and a half for the first truck, we were dumped at Reading services to await the follow-on truck. And sods law of course we only had roadside assistance cover, so have had to pay a whopping sum for all this. We finally arrived in Surrey at 6pm. Of course because no garages are open before Thursday we aren’t going to be able to get the car fixed until then. Still, we are all safe and sound and that is the important thing. But I do feel like coming up with some alternative tow-truck related lyrics to Chris Rea’s “Driving home for Xmas”.
Merry Xmas to all and to all a good night.
Merry Xmas! (Photo credit: carbonated)