Thank Goodness for the NHS

On Tuesday I noticed a small lump and some pain behind my ear. Combined with the fact that I thought I had a urinary tract infection and I needed to get a mole checked, I thought it might be a good idea to go and book an appointment at the doctors yesterday to have a bit of an overhaul and deal with everything all at once.

An hour later I was sitting in A&E at the local hospital, with a strong antibiotic prescription for the UTI, an immediate referral for suspected mastoiditis (acute infection of the mastoid bone at the back of the ear) and I’ve been referred to a dermatologist in the next week as the mole ‘needed urgently looking at.’ Continue reading

Runspiration Update

imageIn a moment of what I’m now considering to be temporary insanity in April, I signed myself up for the Birmingham Half Marathon, taking place in October. As a smoker with a penchant for cheese and about 60lbs of excess weight on my ass, the idea seemed utterly ridiculous – at the time I found it difficult to climb a flight of stairs without feeling out of breath. There were a number of people around me who must have been thinking the same thing, responding with ‘really?!’ and wry smiles when I told them what I intended to do.

I must admit, I procrastinated for a while after that, using excuses of a busy workload and being tired to avoid getting into any form of training routine. I did a single run in May (and when I say run, I mean I walked for half of it while I coughed my lungs up), managing 1.36 miles (2.2km), and that was it. Continue reading

13 Miles? What Have I Done?!

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AAARGH!

In a moment of utter madness today I agreed to sign up for the Great Birmingham Run, a half marathon, in October.

13 miles. Sh*t.

One of my colleagues excitedly asked me if I wanted to join the rest of the faculty, who had all agreed to take part, and before I had time to think I found myself agreeing to it. If my friends can do it, so can I, and I can raise some money for a good cause too.

Indeed, I’ve been inspired by a number of people recently. My friend Rob has just completed the London Marathon and as I was watching the highlights the other day in the hope of seeing him, I was thinking to myself that I would like to do that one day. My friend K, who is now thankfully in remission from breast cancer, is doing the Race For Life with her daughters in June.

But 13 miles? Sh*t!

When I was in my teenage years, I was extremely fit. I swam for a team, played badminton for a team and had my brown belt in karate. I did horse riding and represented the school in cross country. I had a strong, muscular body. I even had a six pack.

However, when I went to university, I stopped exercising, drank lots of alcohol and started smoking more, and consequently put on weight. Lots of weight. The Freshman 15 became more like the Freshman 50, and over the years it has continued to increase. My six pack has turned into a barrel. At the age of 33, I am now overweight, unfit and extremely unhealthy, and I absolutely hate it.

Before my 30th birthday, I bought a dress to wear for my birthday night out. It was strapless, black and so expensive that I almost cried when handing the money over. However, it was just a little bit too tight, highlighting the least flattering parts of my body, and so I decided to start running to lose some weight.

I remember that first attempt. I bought the recommended running apps, sorted out an inspiring playlist, gave myself a goal and set off with a positive attitude, determined to do at least a mile. By the time I had reached the end of my road, I thought I was going to die. My face had turned bright purple, my heart was beating out of my chest and I was covered in sweat. I turned round and walked back home.

I had done less than half a mile, and had walked half of it.

However, over a period of months, I gradually built up my distance, until it got to the point where I could do 5km without breaking a sweat, and I found that I actually started to enjoy it. Actually, that’s a lie, I enjoyed the feeling that I had after I had finished the run. I hated it when I was actually out there.

It worked – I wore the dress and felt good.

Three years later, I have slipped back into old habits. I’ve put on the weight I lost, and then some. My smoking has increased again, and I have turned to food as comfort in times of stress. I’m tired all the time, I can’t fit into any of my favourite clothes, and I have started to dread the warmer seasons because I can’t hide my wobbly bits underneath hooded sweaters.

I’m not concerned about being ‘thin’ – I think that women of all shapes and sizes can look equally as beautiful – but I want my strength back again. I want to be able to fit back into flattering clothes again. I don’t want to feel like I’m going to pass out every time I run for the bus. I’ve talked about it on the blog before, but never really followed up with anything. Now, I’m paying money (which I never joke about), I’m making promises to my friends, and I’m making myself accountable to thousands on readers online. Now, I have to do it. Indeed, I need to do it.

amyAt the beginning of this year I set myself some small goals that I didn’t initially share with anyone else: change my job, and lose some weight. I’m well on the way with the first one, and this weekend will be the start of the second.

But 13 miles???? SH*T! Do you think they would let me run it horizontally?

Advice is needed here people…

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and dont forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

Want To Find New and Interesting Blogs?

One of my favourite things about the WordPress community is the sheer variety of interesting and exciting blogs that are available. Here are two that I would highly recommend – they’re totally different in style and content, their authors are brilliant and I’m sure you’ll find that they’re absolutely worth your time!

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Jolene, at Valley Girl Gone Country is a Southern California girl that moved to Arkansas. Like Suzie81 Speaks, she writes about her life and experiences, but she is also an avid reader and has built a solid reputation reviewing independent novels. Her blog is beautifully written, honest, witty and for those of you that love books and stories, or wish to have your own creations reviewed, this is the blog for you! Jolene was one of the very first people that I ever communicated with when I joined WordPress, and her support, her friendship and her insight has helped me through some very difficult times!

You can also find Jolene on her social media sites:

Twitter: @joleneVGGC

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jolene.cecil.3

 

Helena

Helena, at Helenatubridy.com offers support for effective change for life. Starting as a nurse and then a UK midwife, Helena is now a psychotherapist/hypnotherapist, fertility & IVF Coach and miscarriage counsellor and her blog discusses ideas on Mindfulness, EMDR and CBT approaches, Fertility and Maternity Reflexology. Her blog is insightful, intelligent, informative and a must read!

You can also find Helena on her social media sites:

Twitter: @fertilityexpert

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FertilityInMind

 

With 10,000 members now in the Suzie81 Speaks community, I’m sure that there are lots of you that will enjoy these blogs and the genuinely lovely women that created them. Check them out, follow, comment and share with your bloggy friends!

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

 

A Reluctant Runner…

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After reaching my heaviest ever weight last week, I decided that I was going to stop blaming the scales and do something about it. I’ve cut back on the rubbish that I have been eating, substituting it for healthier options (I discovered quinoa – there’s a sentence I never thought that I’d say) and this morning I decided to go for a run.

A few years ago, just before my 30th birthday, I bought myself a stunning designer dress in preparation for the party that I had organised. I had never spent that amount of money on an item of clothing before (or since – my diabetic cat and her vets bills have seen to that) but I decided to treat myself. The dress was just a little bit too tight for my liking and showed all the wrong lumps and bumps, but it gave me the ultimate motivation to lose the weight that I had been procrastinating about for months. I bought some decent running shoes and several times a week I ran up and down my local park with my best friend, puffing and spluttering my way through it in a manner that closely resembled Phoebe from Friends.

I hated every minute of it, but over time it got easier and I discovered that after just a few weeks I could do 5k with relative ease. My plan worked – I managed to lose just enough weight to feel comfortable in the dress and I thoroughly enjoyed wearing it.

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Two years later, I’ve gradually slipped into old habits, and have not only put the weight back on, but I’ve added an extra 15lbs that snuck up on me and slapped me in the face when I stood on the scales recently. I’m pretty ashamed of myself. My dress now doesn’t even go past my hips, and this has prompted me to set a goal over the summer to change my lifestyle, lose the weight and wearing the dress again – it’s too beautiful to be just sitting in the wardrobe. So, this morning, I put on my running gear, set my Nike app, my 5K tracker and my playlist and did some warm up exercises. It was a glorious morning and the park next to my house was almost deserted.

Thirty minutes later, I arrived home. I had completed just 2km and burned 153 calories walking and running in timed intervals. Just like two years ago, I hated every single footstep – the only saving grace being the awesome playlist that I had set myself. My face appeared to have been replaced with a bright red, sweaty tomato with eyes, my legs were jelly, my chest was burning and I almost felt like I was going to be sick.

Gorgeous.

Still, everyone has to start somewhere! Here’s to a sweaty summer!

What about you? What’s your exercise of choice?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog.

How To Gain 60lbs In Five Years

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This was me when I was 16 years old. While it isn’t obvious from the picture, I was a slim and healthy teenager. I ate good, home cooked meals and exercised daily – I swam for a local team, I played badminton for a local club, I had achieved a brown belt in karate, I liked horse riding and I represented my school in netball, cross country running and badminton. My appetite has always been huge, but my weight and health was never affected because of the active lifestyle that I led.

Sixteen years later, my reflection bears no resemblance to the naive, frizzy haired person in the picture. I moved away from home when I was 18 and by the time I was 23 years old I had gained almost 60lbs. My clothes no longer fitted me, others had started to comment on this obvious weight gain and my confidence was shot. For those of you who are wondering how I unknowingly achieved this, here is a step-by-step guide. Continue reading