FITFARMS: GETTING THERE

Well, I made it! Among the many, many things I felt nervous about embarking on this new adventure, actually getting from my home in Essex to FitFarms in Derbyshire was high up on the list! In the past, such a journey would have been second nature but these days it is totally out of my comfort zone.

image

However, the walk to the station was so peaceful and calming, I needn’t have worried.  I don’t usually get to see Wickford so early, the sun only recently risen and the town bathed in beautiful, soft light.  Everything looked fresh and new, perfect for the beginning of my new adventure.

I arrived at the station with time to spare (which is highly unusual!) only to find my train had been cancelled and I had to ‘hot foot’ it over the bridge to catch the replacement bus!  After it finished pounding out of my chest, my heart sank at the thought of a long, frustrating bus journey that would make me late. I was really glad that I had paid the extra 90p when booking my ticket to make it an ‘any train’ journey!

As we pulled into Billericay station, the guard jumped on the bus and advised that the train was actually running and, if we wanted to catch it, we had THREE minutes! I was grateful to him as it meant I would be back on schedule but I really could have done without a second mad dash with my suitcase.

When I arrived at Liverpool Street Station, it dawned on me that I was feeling unexpectedly calm! I realised that, as it was still so early and a Sunday morning, the huge crowds I’d been dreading were not there! With a sigh of relief, I continued my journey across London, on the tube, to St Pancras Station.

While on the tube I had a surreal experience. I heard some giggling teens squeal and as I tuned to look down the carriage, I saw a pigeon flying towards me! I’m not a lover of lowing flying birds (they seem to feel the need to ‘share; when near me!), so braced myself for attack and/or target practice. I need not have worried as this dude was a savvy, city pigeon! Although the following video is not my own, this is pretty much what happened!

It was really an odd moment but one that helped me to feel amused and, importantly, to remain calm on my big journey.

The remainder of my journey was pretty uneventful, really what could compare to a tube using pigeon?! I even had time to write a mini blog, which you can read here. I arrived into Matlock station just after lunch, excited, nervous and full of hopeful anticipation!

RUN, MIRIAM, RUN! (Part one)

Just over 10 weeks ago, after an evening that involved too much wine, a lot of emotion and a haircut, I woke up and decided enough was enough! It was time, time for a drastic and life long change!

I have had weight issues for years, which I touched on briefly here, and have been on a hundred different diets with varying success but nothing that I was ever able to maintain.

So, what is different this time? For years I’ve heard the same thing, you have to do it for yourself. I always thought I was but I think a) I was doing it for the approval of others and b) I was doing it because I wanted to look better rather than actually wanting to be fitter and healthier. So this time, it is not about what anyone else thinks or how I look but how I feel – I now really understand about doing it for yourself.

That night ten weeks ago, could have ended very differently. I have struggled with mental health issues since my mid teens. I’ve had very low points before however, that night I really frightened myself. It took every ounce of strength I had not to stop my struggle. I can’t give you details of what I did to stop myself as, due to the alcohol, I only have flashes of memories but the important thing is I didn’t end it all and it turns out that life really begins at 41 and a bit!

I woke up the next day and my new life began. I decided I needed to loose weight and get fitter, not for the approval of others or to look more socially acceptable but to save me from myself.

Morning after the night before

After my self styled hair cut had been sorted out by my very understanding friend and hairdresser, Jane, I started to make plans. First thing on my to do list was to get back to the gym, taking it at my own pace, two days on, one day off, using the treadmill and recumbent (isn’t that a fabulous word?!) cycle.

While all this was going on I was looking for somewhere I could go to give my new, fitter lifestyle a real kick start and to get me really motivated and focused. I didn’t want a Bootcamp – who needs people shouting at you and making you feel even more worthless? I didn’t want to be starved as that is just not something I could maintain when I returned home. I wanted somewhere that looked at all of me, body and soul. After googling ‘fitness health farm NHS‘ the first place that came up after the adverts was FitFarms. Why did I add NHS to my search? Well, my thinking was if a place had links with the NHS then it should be reputable.

Google result

When I saw they had also featured on both the BBC and Channel 4, with links to the videos on their website, I felt even more reassured.

FitFarms provide retreat style breaks with the addition of lots of varied exercise, nutritional food, a range of informative workshops, a mentor and three months after care programme.

I found out all the details and how soon I could go, which was a couple of weeks away at the end of June, and spoke to Mr F – if I went away, it would be big financial commitment as well as an organisational challenge for us.

Although Mr F was very supportive of my new, more energetic lifestyle, he obviously knows me very well and raised a couple of valid concerns. His main concern was that I would return from the course initially full of motivation but that as time passed, that would wain or something would happen that prevented me from going to the gym and I would start to feel guilty, to think I had failed again and wasted everyone’s time and all of that would lead to another big depression.

Initially, I took this on board and agreed it was not for me but in my heart of hearts, I knew this was the life line (literally) that would save me. So, I came up with an plan that would hopefully a) prove to Mr F that I was committed to this new life and b) give me something to focus on and aim towards when I got home. So what was the idea? Run a 10k event for Mind, obviously!

Needless to say, Mr F was duly surprised and impressed and supported me and my new plan 100%. Feeling excited and nervous I booked my five night course with FitFarms, bought my train tickets,  juggled the children between Mr F and some fab friends and signed up for the Kew Gardens 10K*. A new chapter, a new beginning and I was RUNNING towards it with my mind and heart open to all the new possibilities!

*If you would like to sponsor me you can by visiting http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=MoreMiriam&faId=624097&isTeam=false

I’M SWEATY AND I KNOW IT!

Oh my WOW! I experienced a first today at FitFarms that made me stop mid kick boxing and cry out! The whole class, Trainers and my fellow Clients alike, stopped full of concern. What happened? Well, for the first time ever, I sweated SO much that it rolled down my forehead and into my eye! I was so confused at this alien experience, then shocked when I realised what was going on and finally, and rather strangely, elated!

When I explained to the group, they all gave me a cheer and a round of applause – they are such a lovely, supportive lot!

I was so amazed that, once we finished the set we were working on, I had to take a selfie which was immediately photobombed! 
   

 

(I’m planning on writing more posts about my FitFarm adventure, so do pop back!)

RUNAWAY

Today, aged 41 and a 1/4, I ran away from home! Suitcase carefully packed, lunch made, and with a spring in my step I practically skipped up the road.

The last time I ran away, aged approximately 6 and 1/2, it was a different story! Suitcase stuffed with random, fistfuls of socks and pants, nothing to eat or drink I dripped, yes dripped, my angry little self down The Dip to the bus stop. I can’t remember the exact details but they included me getting up from the Sunday lunch table, hand on hip and telling my Mother “You wouldn’t dare!” as she threatened, initially as a joke, to pour her glass of water over me. Needless to say, even the might of a 6 and a 1/2 year old’s fury cannot match the power of The Mother One!

I had no plan. I was going! Leaving my horrible, smelly family FOREVER!! Luckily for me, my family quite liked their 6 and a 1/2 year old so they gave me ten minutes to calm down, then  came and took me home. Luckily for them, the Sunday bus service was shocking!

Today, I have a plan! My family is not horrible or smelly, well most of the time! I am not, in fact, running away. I am running towards… 

…towards a healthier, happier me!

Let the adventure begin!

#ThisGirlCan

Yesterday was momentous! To say I feel proud of myself is an understatement! Why am I feeling this way? Well…I ran! Yup! That’s right…Mrs F, Mum, Miriam, me… R.A.N! 

  
No, there was no fire, no children in peril, no monster chasing me. I chose to run, not Olympic speeds (yet), but far from the nervous, self conscious shuffle that I am known for on the school run! 

I chose to run the last six, one minute intervals of my 45min power walk. I gripped the supporting bars like my life depended on it and went for it!

#ThisGirlCan  #whoopwhoop

I WISH…

2015/01/img_4642.png

I saw this on facebook this week and it got me thinking… I’ve always been ‘the fat one’, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel fat and felt that people saw me as fat and judged me for it.

Don’t get me wrong, I know I am fat. I know I eat too much and do too little but I also feel that a major factor in my steady increase in size is linked to the way I have been viewed by others over the years.

To illustrate this here are a few photos of me:

2015/01/img_4639.jpg

Me aged about six. I recall being the fat girl in class and having to visit a dietitian about my weight.

2015/01/img_4636.jpg

Me aged about thirteen on our first ‘proper’ holiday. I felt HUGE.

2015/01/img_4641.jpg

Me getting ready for my 18th birthday night out. I recall feeling so frumpy and chunky compared to my friends…

Twenty two years on from that photo, I would LOVE to look like that! Maybe, one day, I’ll look like that again…

I NEED A MATINÉE

According to OxfordDictionaries.com, the definition of a matinée is:

An afternoon performance in a theatre or cinema

However, for me, it has two additional and totally different meanings.

The first has been used in my family since I was a child. It refers to the fact that my lovely Mum (funnily enough pictured with me in front of the Gielgud Theatre about to watch the matinée performance of Blythe Spirit staring the fabulous Angela Lansbury) used to sit down to watch the Sunday matinée after cooking us a yummy, if sometimes ‘interesting’, family lunch and five minutes into the film, would fall fast asleep! To add to our amusement, she would wake up five minutes before the end, give the newspaper she had been ‘reading’ a shake and ask what had happened! This happened with such regularity that, if we feel tired during the day, we say we could do with a matinée!

IMG_2200-1.PNG
The second meaning is one that, I think, only I use. It is directly linked to the very same matinée films mentioned above. I have such fond memories of childhood Sunday lunches – the whole family together around the table, talking and laughing and critiquing Mum’s latest concoction. And these happy family get togethers were always followed by a matinée and, if we were lucky a box of Milk Tray or Dairy Milk chocolates. Sometimes it would be a glorious Technicolor musical, others a more serious black and white drama. Either way there were, more often than not, tears. Sometimes tears from laughing so much at a funny scene or one of us joining in, tunelessly, to one of the big numbers. Sometimes tears triggered by the moving, often war time based, story. Either way, most weekends I’d have a good old cry or, as I now call it, a matinée.

My life today, while in no way hard, is full of pressures and tensions that the little girl of my childhood could never have imagined. I often get to a point when I know that the best way to move forward is to have a big cry and just let it all go. There really isn’t anything like letting all your emotions flood out of you, the relief and release is truly cathartic. It won’t change the situation or the things I have to deal with but releasing all my emotions and tension helps to face my troubles head on, a stronger and more in control woman.

So, should you need a matinée, be it the need for a good film, a nap or a good cry just do it, you will feel better for it!