The recent wake-up call I so desperately needed

I hope that everyone had an amazing Bank Holiday weekend. I think the highlights of my weekend were volunteering at my local parkrun – I also had a go at writing the event report – completing a pain-free run, clearing out a load of junk, and catching up with some family friends. Thanks to a few manic weeks at work and the fact I’ve been feeling a bit gloomy, I haven’t blogged much recently.

Anyway, back to the point of this blog. Earlier this month, I had a major wake-up call at the doctors. One of those “I’m 40 now, I need to start taking care of myself” kind of reality checks. Six months of eating far too much processed food and checking out virtually every pub in Wallingford has taken its toll. If you have issues with food, BMI etc I’d recommend not reading any further.Too much food and drinkWhen I discovered that my blood pressure was substantially higher than it should be during my routine pill check-up, I wasn’t surprised. I’ve always experienced white coat hypertension, however, this time, the high blood pressure readings have continued at home.

I have high blood pressure, in less than 12 months I’ve gone from healthy to high blood pressure; it’s time for me to make some significant lifestyle changes. So the healthier regime has started. I’ve allowed myself a couple of months of excess, now it’s time to get sorted.

I mean the camera doesn’t lie; the photos taken on my 40th birthday and during two recent parkruns should have spurred me into action.

It’s not just the terrible photos. I’ve been experiencing joint pain and feeling lethargic, bits of me wobble when I’m on public transport, I’ve had to buy new trousers as my Size 12 work trousers felt like they were going to burst and, finally, most of my online banking seems to be pub and food related. The list goes on. For someone with half a brain, I’ve been pretty stupid.

And then I weighed myself and checked out my BMI. It was 25.2; for the first time in my life I’m classed as being overweight. Another much-needed wake-up call.BMII understand the limitations of the BMI, however, in my case, I don’t think I can blame my reading on muscle weighing more than fat! It’s not all doom and gloom as I only need to lose 5% of my current weight. Fingers crossed I’ll start to lose weight once I start running three times a week

I just hope that my replacement bathroom scales – I was a little concerned about the accuracy of my cheapo scales – don’t add on a few extra pounds. I would have a go on the scales at Boots in Wallingford, but I’m not sure how to take clothing into account.

In an attempt to lose weight and to reduce my blood pressure, I’ve come up with some fairly basic but hopefully effective healthier eating and drinking ‘rules’:

  1. Don’t skip breakfast – at the moment I rarely eat breakfast and end up snacking before lunch
  2. Eat more fruit and vegetables – at the moment I’m nowhere near 5 portions a day
  3. Actually open some of the selection of healthy eating books I’ve purchased over the years
  4. Cook more meals from scratch – at the moment I’m eating a lot of processed food
  5. Only one takeaway meal a week – I need the occasional treat
  6. Cut down on sugar – do I really need sugar in my tea? Probably not!
  7. Drink more water – ideally 6-8 cups a day – and not more Diet Coke
  8. Don’t stop off at the pub after work every evening
  9. Don’t sneak into McD’s when waiting for the train
  10. Finally, stay away from the confectionary aisle in Sainsbury’s

Can you think of anything obvious I’ve missed? I’ll be sure to write some sort of progress report in a couple of week’s time.

So apologies for the somewhat dull blog, however, I think it’s important for me to share the highs and the lows of my life. I’m now going to spend some time planning my meals for when I’m back in Four Oaks. I may also get around to reviewing some of the products I’ve been sent, a couple will help with some of the ‘rules’ I listed earlier in this post.

Can you recommend any cookery books for people who are useless at cooking? I once made vegetable soup that tasted so rank, my pet labrador dog wouldn’t touch it. I mean dogs are meant to eat anything.

Can you think of anything I’ve missed off my healthier eating and drinking rules? I’m sure there’s something really obvious, I can’t think what it is!


10 thoughts on “The recent wake-up call I so desperately needed

  1. Derek Lee says:

    Not dull at all Emma, you make some interesting points which I’m sure many people will identify with. It is so easy to get caught up in cycles of unhealthy habits and to forget how good we actually feel when we are eating more healthily (and drinking less alcohol!). Your proposals for change look sound. I’m a great believer in the value of making small achievable changes. I can’t see anything obvious missing from your plan. Good luck and I look forward to reading of your progress!


    • Emma says:

      Thanks Derek, I do sometimes worry that I’m boring people to tears with my real-life type posts. You’ve given me the confidence to continue to share some progress updates. I’ve always had a slightly unhealthy relationship with food, I sometimes don’t think I’ve got an ‘off’ switch; I can carry on eating until I make myself feel ill. I’m sure that when I start my new job next Monday, I’ll have less time to spend in the pub. I know that once I cut down the amount of time I spend in pubs I’ll feel better. I will miss the social side of living and working in Wallingford. Finally, thanks for the ‘good luck’ I think I’m going to need quite a lot of luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Maria @ Maria Runs says:

    I think focusing on what you can do, rather than what you can’t, is a good way to look at things, because if you are always thinking “I can’t eat this” then it will be on your mind. So maybe try to add in some fruit or veggies to each meal, instead of trying to take things away, try and focus on drinking more water or herbal teas instead of thinking about what you can’t drink, aim for a walk after work if that is when the pub temptation comes in. Does that make sense?
    Good luck with it.


    • Emma says:

      Thanks Maria, you’re right, if I keep telling myself I can’t eat and drink certain things then I’m going to want them more as they’ll be on my mind. It’s like the time I tried to ‘ban’ myself from drinking Diet Coke, it had the opposite effect as I wanted what I’d told myself I couldn’t have. I’ve been drinking more water as I’ve been reviewing a really cool water jug. I’ve even been brave enough to drink Thames Water. I don’t think the pub temptation is going to exist when I start my new job; I’ll be so tired I’ll probably want to head straight home. I’ll also be losing my Wallingford drinking buddies. I’ll be sure to write a couple of progress reports.


  3. swosei12blog says:

    Ha! That’s pretty bad if a dog will not eat something. Your list sounds like everything that I should be doing too. As someone who knows his way around a pub, if you are going to drink, you could alternate between beer and water. Yeah, I know water is not as much fun as beer or gin (in my case). Rather than drinking 4 or 5 pints, you’ll prob drink 1 or 2.

    Good luck with your new/continuing fitness goals.


    • Emma says:

      Ha ha, tell me about it. I was rubbish at cooking and eventually was made to sit through double maths instead. The irony was that I love maths so it wasn’t really a punishment. Yes, I most definitely know my way around most of the pubs in Wallingford. My favourite pub keeps bringing out new beers which doesn’t help as I want to try them all. I do end my nights with a pint of Diet Coke, not as good as water – tap water in Wallingford tastes vile – but a little better than beer. I have a feeling the drinking will reduce dramatically once I’ve left Wallingford. Did you know it’s World Gin Day on June 8th…


  4. AnnaTheApple says:

    I agree with Maria – don’t think about taking things away from your diet but rather ADDING things. Like lots of fruit – fruit is great! Strawberries, berries, kiwis, melons… and OF COURSE, apples.
    Don’t try and do everything all at once because it’ll set you up to feeling really bitter about losing all the fun… and it’s easier to fail. Try and make small gains each week. And allow yourself to still have fun! Life is too short after all. Big changes take a while to set in.


    • Emma says:

      Thanks Anna, I know I’ll drink less (if at all) once I leave Wallingford. I’ve got one more week and have four leaving meals/drinks to attend then it’s all about the healthier choices. This time of the year is great as fruit seems to be quite cheap. When I’m in the office I’ve been eating strawberries, grapes and apples rather than crisps and chocolate.
      Yes, I aim to continue to have fun. I’ve already asked if I can re-join my old running club. That should mean less drinking and more running with likeminded people.


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