Monday, 28 February 2011

Dip Me In Salad

If you aren't a friend of mine on facebook you may not know that yesterday, after visiting my Aunt and Uncle, I came away with something close to 10kgs of chocolate-related produce. At any other time in my life this would have filled me with huge amounts of happiness. Unfortunately, it has come at just the wrong time and so I have tried to stash it in various places and hide it from myself so it doesn't interfere with all my healthy eating!

I will be attempting to eat it in moderation. Hmm.

This visit (as I anticipated) resulted in me feeling like a complete bloater, full of cake and the like. Much to my dismay I stepped on the scales this morning and appeared to have gained a couple of pounds as well.. not really surprising as it hasn't been an enormously active weekend and there has been a lot of food involved!

So I kicked off my week with some freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and a muesli/all bran, yoghurt and raisin combo. Lunch involved a very colourful salad and my late afternoon munch was a bagel with "healthy bacon" (i.e. just the medallion bits and none of the fat).


Then I got in from work and had one, yes, just ONE bit of chocolate. Success all round!

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Today I am mostly eating.. calories

When you begin considering nutrition and trying to be super healthy, you stop thinking of food as food and you start thinking of food as calories. I've started to notice how many calories are in everything and to be honest, that's really, really boring! It's also not a healthy way of thinking about food, as then you try to do enough exercise to even out the calories and by the time you've done that much exercise you're absolutely ravenous and you end up eating more and getting into a vicious food and exercise circle which inevitably ends in a pile of tired, chocolate oozing Egg.


So long as the diet is full of good, nutritious food then I am happy. Recently it has been good, I've been taking big salads to work and getting plenty of fruit and veg. That was until the last week, and then it has all gone a bit crazy..


First there was the wedding. Then, for my sister's birthday we ended up at Pizza Hut for an all you can eat buffet. Now this could have gone a whole lot worse, I ended up eating five plates of food. This might sound like a lot to some of you but if you know me at all you'll know that I'm a double figures sort of girl, and that this outing involved me showing quite a lot in the way of restraint. In addition, I know my big sis will vouch for me when I say that half of each plate (well, alright, a third) was full of salad. But nonetheless, still a lot of those nasty calories.


Then yesterday amidst a a massive study session I got an urge for something sweet. This resulted in a dash to Tesco for a tub of Ben and Jerrys. However, again in my defence, a slightly healthy decision was made. I did go for the frozen yoghurt instead of the actual ice cream. I won't bother telling you that I immediately scoffed the lot, that is a given.


Today I completed a week of utter naughtiness by chowing down on a pack of my favourite - you guessed it - triple chocolate cookies. I should mention here though that I put them back twice before I actually purchased them, so my conscious is starting to kick in, it's just not quite strong enough just yet!


Perhaps I am giving myself a bit of a hard time. I've been training hard and shouldn't feel guilty about having a few treats in addition my my otherwise healthy diet.


The problem is that I always blog when I've been naughty and so everybody thinks that all I do is eat cake and then hit the gym. So, starting Monday (after a curry night tonight and a family lunch which I'm sure will be full of those pesky calories) I shall keep a food diary on the blog and amaze you all with my brilliant breakfasts, lovely lunches and deliciously un-decadent dinners!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Bike Faff

I am not a fan of faffing. I'm the one that sits tapping my foot, quietly building up inner rage whilst waiting to leave or go somewhere whilst someone faffs away, looking for this, checking for that. I even go so far as over-preparing to reduce any risk of morning faff; clothes are always laid out the night before, mental preparation is done for breakfast and the alarm is placed in some far away place to avoid the dreaded snooze.


Now don't get me wrong, I do love my cycling.. but.. compared to pretty much any other sport I partake in, there is a ridiculous amount of faff involved. If I want to go for a run all I need to do is stick my trainers on and I'm out the door. An impromptu cycle involves a helmet, bike shoes and a initial weather assessment (i.e. peering out the window) followed closely by an in depth clothing and glove assessment at the bare minimum.


Then of course you have water, snacks, the secondary weather assessment (which involves tottering about outside for a minute to gauge how hot or cold you might get) which then can change your clothing and glove options, what lenses to put in your glasses, finding ingenius places to safely store your phone and keys, the "should I wear a hat?" debate and the whole ensuring your machine is in fact roadworthy bit.


By the time you've found a spare tube, taken your pump from your other bike, sworn at your presta valves because they're bent (again) and take four attempts to pump up and eventually lifted your bike over all the other crap in the shed/garage/hallway you then look up and think "actually I should just check what the weather might do later". The tertiary weather assessment involves either managing to catch a forecast on the TV or quickly loading up a website to check. Even though this is a compulsory step in the bike faff routine, it's a completely and utterly pointless one because the weather report will ultimately always be wrong and no matter what it says you'll decide you don't trust it and end up searching for either sun cream or your tiny waterproof.

It is now you realise that you've lost an enormous chunk of time through pure, unadulterated faff and you are in a bit of a bad mood. The true faffer will decide at this point that another 15 minutes isn't going to make the blindest bit of difference and will put the kettle on. This for me would be the point that I start thinking about what time I might get back, will it be dark? Perhaps I should bring some lights? You spend another few minutes hunting for batteries and so it goes on.

The moral of the story is to keep EVERYTHING bike related in a box by the door, remember to always pump up your tyres, clean and lube your chain after a ride (as opposed to before the next one) and check the weather every hour whilst you're at work so this doesn't eat into riding time.

Now, who's ready in 15 for a ride?

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Weddings, Wine and a Jolly Good Lunge

Weddings: a whole day of opportunities to be enormously unhealthy. It's always very difficult to make good choices under wedding day circumstances when the free wine is flowing and friends and family alike are actively encouraging you to "have another one".

My plan was brilliantly simple, I would just have a bit of wine with dinner then rock out on the dance floor for the rest of the evening. Did it work? Well, no, not exactly. The first problem I encountered was the post-ceremony Pimms that was on offer. I thought "just one of these would be okay wouldn't it? Take the edge off all the group photo madness". Then all willpower went out the window as a) the Pimms tasted amazing and b) numerous top ups were offered by particularly attractive hotel staff. 

So after giving in to several glasses of Pimms (and canapés), it was time to sit down for the Wedding Breakfast.  The food we were served was absolutely outstanding, so I couldn't resist a couple of opportunities to polish off other people's leftovers, but the portions were erring on the side of posh food so even with these extras I was happy in the knowledge that I still hadn't really eaten too much at all. So whilst I'd managed not to vastly overeat (quite a good accomplishment for me) I did manage to consume a fairly substantial amount of wine over the course of the meal. Again, I blame the hotel staff and their constant topping up.

So basically what I am saying in a round about sort of way is that at this point in the day I was reasonably well inebriated. The healthy plan had sort of gone out the window completely. However, as soon at the tables were cleared and the dance floor was created, I was hit with new, healthy motivation.

In fact, from this point onwards some very impressive achievements were made. First of all, I managed to dance continuously in my shoes for at least the first couple of hours. I actually outlasted several other people in the shoe-wearing dance endurance challenge, that's a first!

I was having such good fun busting out my killer moves (which involved a lot of lunging and arm waving) that I didn't want to leave the dance floor to go to the bar. Believe it or not,  I didn't even leave when they announced the buffet! I felt like a willpower hero, dancing less than twenty metres away from tables of delicious food and ignoring it all completely. It was only at the very end of the night that I tottered past with my sore feet and couldn't resist a bit of wedding cake, but after four hours of solid dancing I felt that I deserved it.

So even though I got off to a rocky start of wedding unhealthiness, I came out redeemed.. and sober enough to cycle home safely today. Success!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Scrapes, stacks and spills

Now that I am back in the chalet, safe and unmaimed having completed my final day of skiing, it's time to share a couple of crash stories from the last week.


After my slightly wobbly first day, the ski legs came back and the speed started to build. On days two and three I felt completely back to normal, cruising around the slopes with no falling over or anything. It was all going so well. 


We headed over to the Swiss side of the resort on Thursday, and were trying to navigate our way to a place called Morgins. This turned out to be exceedingly difficult as every route choice we made turned out to be the wrong one and we found ourselves being everywhere we did not want to be. Eventually, after fighting through slush, mud and patches of ice we were on the right run. This brilliant bit of red would lead into a lovely, long winding blue run through the trees and into the holy grail of Morgins.


The red run started fantastically, weaving up and down and off camber and all that other good stuff. Then we got to a steep section with a left bend at the bottom. AJ whizzed off like a pro and I followed, powering down through the turns. I was feeling super confident and highly skilled when suddenly, on the last left turn before the corner, I hit a patch of solid ice and went careering off the edge of the run. Mere moments later, after absolutely crapping myself, I found myself (thankfully) intricately tangled in a mesh of plastic barrier. One ski was halfway through whilst the other was wedged in the snow, forcing my leg to contort at quite an interesting angle. Both poles, still attached to my wrists, were lost in the netting and incredibly, my helmet had also managed to affix itself.


Fortunately, Jane had been right behind me and seen me fly off the edge. I tried to get her to take a photo but she was very sensible and could see that the not-for-weight-bearing plastic net and poles were straining to their limit and that it was possibly marginally more important to untangle me before it all gave way.


Laughing in the face of solid ice
After just about recovering from this shock to the system, we headed down onto the aforementioned 'lovely, long, winding blue' only to find that instead of a ski run it was in fact about 10kms of solid, sheet ice. It was the most stressful 10kms of my life as I concentrated on digging in my edges as hard as I could on the ice whilst staying away from the big drop on the left hand side. We made it to Morgins, which was not even the tiniest bit worth it, so we caught the first lift out and vowed never to come back!


The next day I managed something quite spectacular. I managed to completely miss the fact that the piste we were on went around to the right hand side. AJ was once again in front and almost made the same mistake but he skidded to a halt as he realised. Whilst he was stood there he saw me ski straight past him at a tremendous speed and actually fly through the air off the edge, land in a heap and then slide uncontrollably down the slope, coming to a stop just before I hit a small building. Thank God for helmets. He came straight down to check if I was alright, and apart from being a bit battered and winded, I was. Then he proceeded to wet himself.


So, two fairly impressive spills, two more lives lost. Moral of the story: ALWAYS wear a helmet, and remember to turn around corners. 

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Ski-tox

Having worked for two seasons in a ski resort, I know better than most that when people go on a skiing holiday, they spend a bit of time skiing, a bit more time having coffee stops and a lot of time eating cheese and indulging in general après activities. 


However, this isn't "Egg Goes Skiing", this is "Egg Goes Healthy" and I knew that my ski holiday would be different. I envisaged day starting with a run and a bowl of Swiss muesli, a hard day of  piste-pummelling and a healthy dinner followed by a yoga session to stretch out those aching legs.


A few of us being very colourful at the Swiss border
On the first day I stepped into my skis and for the whole day I wondered where on earth my skiing ability had disappeared to. All control went out the window and I threw myself on the floor in a dramatic fashion several times to avoid collisions or just because it was the only way to prevent myself from flying down the piste at an alarming speed. The snow conditions here aren't good, not a drop has fallen since before Christmas and the pistes are hard-packed with patches of ice springing up in the most unexpected places. I kept telling myself that it wasn't me, it was just the rubbish snow.


As it turns out, it was just me. Once I'd gotten the ski legs back after that first day, I was flying. Unfortunately flying isn't conducive to good skiing.. apparently. Our chalet host Marge very sensibly advised me "Egg, you're never gona get better at turning if you never make any turns". Point noted. 


So instead of scaring myself stupid and ploughing through schools of fluorescent-clad children, I made it my goal to take it easy and learn to control the speed a little better.


We are four days in and for the most part, this healthy plan of mine has been working out. I've been for a couple of pre-ski runs, eaten lots of salads, stayed off the booze and I have even managed a spot of yoga. The skiing has improved vastly and I definitely feel back on form, if not a little battered and bruised from that first day!


We had a bit of an epic adventure today but as I'm so tired from all the fresh mountain air and alpine sunshine, I'll save that tale for another day. 

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

A Plod Around Purbeck

Liz mentioned a few weeks ago that she wanted to do her yearly walk around the Isle of Purbeck, I had booked annual leave to join her before you could say "South West Coast Path". 


Apart from a girls weekend in Swanage, I'd never seen any of the Jurassic Coast. I can't believe that all this time I've had an absolutely stunning bit of walkable coastline less than an hour from my doorstep and known nothing of it.


We started out at Corfe Castle, and straight away we were trudging uphill. We were quickly rewarded with a lovely ridge walk atop Brenscombe Hill, and before long we had views out over Studland on our left and Swanage on our right. 


We were aiming straight for the sea, so we beelined across Ballard Down and were soon at the cliff edge, where you can see Old Harrys Rocks apparently. Without leaning over the edge though you can't get such a good view and as I'm trying to have an A&E free 2011 I decided against the whole leaning plan.


Instead, we followed the coast around to Swanage and stopped for a spot of lunch at the beach. I'd like to quickly add here that I was a) very healthy and b) possibly even a little bit posh as I opened my tupperware and tucked into my carrot and cauliflower crudites with a teeny tub of houmous.


From here we headed into the very pretty Durlston Country Park and on turning around at the top to appreciate the view, I could see Old Harrys Rocks safely and risk free. The sun was poking it's head out through the clouds and it was starting to warm up too, lovely.


For the next few miles we followed the Jurrasic Coast, and I was constantly in awe of this really spectacular location. The coast just goes on forever in either direction and you get the feeling of really being out in the middle of nowhere. 


I have a few friends who will be taking part in the "Jurassic Coast Challenge" in March, this involves running a marathon a day for three days. I thought they were all a bit mad before I came and saw it, now I think they are utterly bonkers. Whilst it is absolutely beautiful, the path is rugged, uneven and has a near constant flow of up and down. I couldn't even comprehend the idea of running it. Even if I could come round to the idea, I then came across something quite astounding. Suddenly, in the middle of a very pleasant section of path, the land just cuts away into a steep dip. The clearly very fit Dorset Rangers have made a long and rocky staircase here for the walkers. I called them "The Stairs of DOOM". 


The photos below don't really do it justice, it has to be seen to be believed.
Down these ones..
..and up these ones















Once we'd huffed and heaved our way to the top of the steps, we had a little tea break overlooking Chapmans Pool, a very pretty bay that must get absolutely packed in the summer. The sun was beginning it's descent and an orange hue was lining the horizon, the cliffs in the bay lit up and the whole place looked like some sort of dream. Everybody should do this walk and everybody should see a sunset here.


From this point we made our way inland. The darkness was falling and our last few miles took us across Corfe Common; a nice, gentle, squidgey surface to ease our tired feet. The dusky silhouette of Corfe Castle appeared and we made it to the car just after dark.


All in all a fabulous walk along the coast. But one piece of Eggy wisdom if you do decide to come here in the more summery months. Do some of the walk backwards, unless you want one burnt side of your face.