The one where I quit Weight watchers and join a triathlon club

On Friday, I took a massive scary step into the unknown. I cancelled my Weight Watchers monthly pass and joined Thames Turbo triathlon club. I have been going to Weight Watchers for the last 5 years and have lost 7 stone. I found it fitted with my lifestyle whilst losing weight but now my lifestyle is different and have really struggled with the plan. I have been finding it increasingly difficult to juggle meetings and training. I am also struggling with following the eating plan to get the right foods to support the training that I am doing.

Whilst I have been at Weight Watchers I have seen many people come and go and can almost categorise them, those that want quick fixes, those that are habitual joiners, those with unrealistic expectations and I am just tired of it. I have got to know a few people through weightwatchers but these are getting fewer and fewer. I have heard the tips for Christmas, Easter, birthdays 5 times and I am ready for a change.

What spurred me on this week was an email about how you should focus on what you could do (run a sub-2hr half marathon) rather than what it is (size 12, 13st etc). Weightwatchers works out your goal weight based on your BMI. BMI is easy to calculate and is a good indicator of a healthy weight but it isn’t ideal. It doesn’t take into consideration lean body weight or build. I have been outside my “goal weight” for the past year, every month I am paying to be told I am overweight and that I need to lose weight. What I need to do is lose fat and not lean muscle and this is a careful balance that needs to be struck, it doesn’t fit easily with the plan. What I have learnt is my weight naturally fluctuate. My focus is on leading a healthy (mentally and physical) lifestyle, this may or may not lead to be a healthy BMI.

The triathletes that I talk to inspire me. I feel an energy and curiousity inside that I find intriguing. The funniest thing about joining a triathlon club is I haven’t yet even done a triathlon, but by this time tomorrow I will have done. Thames Turbo have run a novice triathlon course in the run up to the race on the 4th June. I have really enjoyed the training, especially the swimming. Occasionally I struggle with my shoulders but the strength and flexibility are pretty good considering. The club is a real mix of people and they are really friendly and encouraging.

I know that Weight Watchers is there if I ever need that support and structure again. I want to see if I can “go it alone” (with the support of friends and family). This steps is scary but exciting. It
feels like a positive step. I am scared that I will “fall off the wagon” and slowly the weight will creep back on. I am scared that if I put the weight back on that I will get angry and frustrated when people express concern. However I have some confidence in myself, given the fact that the
last two years haven’t been stress free and I have kept the weight off. I have lost my aunt and my nan. I have separated one shoulder, broken my collarbone, both times this lead me to be unable to exercise for extended periods of time. I have bought a flat. I have dealt with all of this without putting all the weight back on. I know I still have some bad habits but I am aware of them.

The weight isn’t going to go back on overnight, It would take approximately 1500 bags on Jelly tots to put the 7 stone back on which I don’t know about you but I am pretty sure I couldn’t eat that many in my sleep.


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The problem with excess

I used to carry around 7 stone of excess fat. I pried myself off the sofa, got off my excessively fat arse and lost the excess fat through healthy diet and exercise.  There were no gastric band or bypass, no faddy diets, no diet pills, simply a matter of calories in vs calories out.  The years of carrying around the excess fat has left me with excess skin on every part of my body except for calves and forearms. This is a fact that I am not ashamed of, the benifits of losing the excess fat far outweigh the negative. However the excess skin does affect me physically and mentally every single day. Why am I telling you this? Well today I am really peed off and need to vent.

I want to draw a line under seeing myself as fat and unfit but I can’t. The excess skin is a constant reminded of the person that I used to be. In bad moments I see it or feel it underneath my clothes and think “If I am going to have excess skin I may as well fill it with fat”. Some days I see it and think that I am still morbidly obese and unfit, but a month ago I ran a half marathon in 2 hours 7 minutes. When I run I can feel it uncomfortable jiggling, when I am on my bike it slaps the top of my thigh every single pedal stroke. The thought has crossed my mind to give up cycling because the constant feeling of the excess skin it gets me down but cycling is something that I love doing and makes me feel alive.

I am pretty open about the whole thing. Some people say “but you can’t tell by looking at you” or “I have seen you in lycra and it doesn’t look too bad”. This makes me feel like I am making the whole thing up, that I am making a mountain out of a mole hill, but I am not. There are moments when people say this and all I want to strip down to my bra and pants and ask them “this doesn’t look too bad”, but that isn’t really my style.

Why I am I particularly pissed, angry, annoyed and frustrated today? I went to see my GP (who is really supportive) to follow-up about a funding application to the NHS to get the excess skin on my stomach removed. The application has been rejected due to “no exceptionality”. In order to get the funding you have to be like everyone else in your circumstances, but be exception. I have already been to see an NHS plastic surgeon who said that I was an “ideal candidate” but the funding for the surgery has been rejected. This type of surgery is deemed “cosmetic” and “elective” which makes it sound like I want it done just for kicks. I have given myself a healthy future hopefully free of the obesity related diseases but need help.

I don’t know what more I can do. I have kept the bulk of the weight off for the last 3 years, at my lowest weight I was 12st 0.5lb but this was unsustainable weight for me and am currently around 14st and training to cycle from London to Paris in July 2012. For those of you wondering how far that is it is 300 miles in 3 days. In the time since losing the weight I have attended the funeral of 2 family members and 1 close friend, seperated one shoulder, broken collarbone on the other, gone through painful physio and bought a flat, these haven’t been stress free years and I haven’t gone back to my really bad habits. Right now I am peed, tearful and upset (but not eating comfort food). 



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There is a little part of me that struggles with the masculine language often used in cycling. I am a 5ft9ish, broad, large women and am not very feminine.

Muddy Muddy Muddy

Yesterday I went on a mountain bike training course with Surrey Hills All Terrain MTB with other Kingston Wheelers. When the instructor Glen was talking to us he was struggling to find an apt word to describe the guts, balls and gusto that you need to have when mountain biking, I suddenly remembered the word gumption and remembered how much I loved the word. I first heard it in the film The Holiday and I haven’t thought about it for a while.

Glen brought mountain biking back to the simple basics. In theory they sound really obvious and easy but undoing bad habits is alot harder. The main thing that I took away was the need to look up and to trust my peripheral vision. It sounds so easy but it isn’t. There are moments where I feel like I am flowing down the trail, over roots and down drops but then something catches my attention just infront of my front wheel. I feel my stomach tighten and the speed drops. I know in my head that speed is my friend and yet I automatically go for the brakes. I feel like I have lost it completely.

Muddy Muddy Muddy

There was one specific point where there was hidden dip in the trail and near the bottom was a root and as soon as I saw it I just stopped. I spoke to Glen about how to ride it, he left it up to me whether to walk it or ride it. He went down infront of me, demonstrating just how slowly it could be ridden. I looked at it for a few minutes, took a breath and then thought “Gumption, f*ck it”. I went back up the trail, turned the bike around, started to ride down the trail, struggled to clip back in, a moment of doubt but gumption. There was a flicker of a familiar knot in my stomach and then found myself at the other side of the dip still on my bike with a smile on my mud splattered face.

The whole dip probably took a few seconds. To anyone watching it probably wasn’t a massive achievement but to me it meant so much. Only I know the battle I had with my head, no-one can take it away from me. My bike and clothes have been washed and can’t wait to get out on it again.


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Bath Half Marathon

 “Don’t Cry for the ghosts of days gone by”

Yesterday I ran the Bath Half marathon. I suspect that this blog will be a bit fragmented. So much happened over the weekend that I am not quite sure how to cram it all in without boring you.


My number

Bath was familiar and yet different. I wandered to the start village and suddenly it felt very real. I entered Bath Half on a complete whim whilst recovering from my broken collarbone.

I met up with my friend Kate who was also running her first half. We met through weight watchers and she is awesome. She understands many of my crazy thoughts. She has a tattoo with a quote that I really like “Don’t cry for the ghosts of days gone by”. Bath was full of my ghosts that I was trying to lay to rest.

That night I had a mini freak out, I felt like a fraud, all the gear no idea, I hadn’t done enough training, I should have run more, should have eaten less, lost a few more pounds. I knew that I had done the distance but that was a fluke. I have a tendency towards being a glass-half-full kind of girl. I know somewhere I must be optimistic deep inside otherwise I wouldn’t have undertaken a half marathon or losing the weight.


Kate and I (I'm in Pink)

That night I didn’t sleep too well, for possibly the first time ever I dreamt that threw up. The Bath Half started at 11am, my alarm was set for 8.30am but I woke at 7am. I was restless and I just couldn’t stay in bed. All my previous long runs I had got up and gone. I really didn’t enjoy the waiting,  my thoughts to go around and around. I could feel my heart pounding and I hadn’t even started running.

My lovely (slightly mad) cousin Katie rang. She has run several halves. Katie was a calming and stabilising influence. She reminded me that I could do it, that I had done the training and I just needed to get on with it. She also said that there were people less prepared than me running in new kit and I saw someone with a bleeding heel after a couple of miles.

The run passed both slowly and quickly.  I remember moments but I am not quite sure what order they happened it. Once I crossed the start line I just ran, I occasionally looked at my pace but didn’t concern myself too much about it. I was trying to run in the moment, the kilometer that I was running not the next one, or the one after that.

At one point I saw about 8 army guys walking carrying packs. Another runner asked them how much their packs weighed and they replied 40lb. My initial reaction was “that is a lot of weight” then I realised that I used to carry two of those packs around all the time. There were kids along the route waiting for high fives. The route in Bath is supposed to be a “flat and fast” course – I would like to say that this is false advertising, I can think of at least 4 cheeky hills.

Turning onto Great Pultney Street I saw the clock reading 2.14. The clock is the gun time ie starts when the fasty fasty runners cross the line. The clock was already at 9ish minutes when I crossed the line. Seeing the 2.14 spurred me on to sprint with all that I had left. After crossing the line I just couldn’t believe it and almost broke down in tears but there was nothing left to cry with. Below are my official results:

My official results

When I got back to my hotel room I took off my trainers sat on the bed looked down at my pulsating feet and couldn’t believe that I had done it.

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