Thursday, 13 September 2012

Back on Track

The kids went back to school last week and the nation’s parents breathed a collective sigh of relief. I love my children more than life itself but seven weeks is a long time, especially when Summer decides to not actually bother turning up. There were moments of delight: a few days in the glorious East Neuk of Fife in Scotland eating award-winning fish and chips and breathing in the salty tang of seaweed, a couple of days on the shores of Coniston Water with a picnic, canoe and fleeces and meeting up with friends at the local park for a good gossip BUT if I was being really honest it wasn't the dreamy summer I had been hoping for (see previous blog about me aiming too high in School's out for Summer).

So last Tuesday night the school uniforms were ironed (the one and only time this happens during the entire school year), packed lunches were made and PE kits were re-assembled.  Wednesday morning dawned bright and sunny. This happens every single year - seven weeks of rain during the holidays, first day back at school and the sun comes out to play.  As I dropped my youngest at nursery, parents were giddily chattering, catching up with each other and much to my relief everyone appeared to have same excited glint in their eye. There was a collective sense of relief that it was all over for another year.  I might be “projecting” my own emotions on to these other parents; for all I know they were all absolutely gutted to be giving the care of their children over to professionals for 6 hours a day, but I suspect not.  I am sure I saw one Mum skipping out of the gate of the Nursery.  I personally chose to reign the skipping in a bit and chose to celebrate with my husband (also off work – woo hoo) with a cappuccino and a slice of toast with Nutella in the garden with only the sounds of the birds to break the silence.
The goddess Vicky Pendleton wearing an impractical
alternative to lycra.  The chafing must be horrendous.

We then decided to take advantage of our child-free day with a bike ride round Coniston – a route we do quite often.  However I am by nature an optimist and thought it would really enhance the day if we extended the usual 14 mile route by actually setting off from our house and doing a return trip (32 miles).  I haven’t exercised at all for seven weeks so why I thought a 32 mile bike ride up some massive hills would be a good idea is anybody’s guess. We set off up the hill out of town and five minutes later we passed my Dad standing at the end of his road holding out water bottles (actually a half-drunk bottle of tonic and some tepid lemon water). He later said it was his way of making us feel like “Wiggo” and “Cav”. This made me chuckle (actually “wheeze” is a more accurate description) and slightly ominously I was feeling the strain in my legs even at this early stage of our cycling endeavour. Our optimistic, over-ambitious plans were a surely a recipe for disaster. However I am delighted to tell you that it was utterly brilliant.  The sun shone, the lake sparkled and the prawn sandwich and triple fried chunky chips at the pub half way round were sublime.

We couldn’t walk when we got back and I had to apply Germoline to areas for which Germoline was probably not designed but we were on a post-exercise, sunshine vitamin D induced high. My mother-in-law then made the most enormous roast beef dinner (on a Wednesday night!!).

So exhausted and with a tummy full of roast potatoes I decided that this was the day I would start to get back on track with my MS diet and fitness plan and decided to log the exercise on my app.  I was ecstatic about the 1500 calories I had burned on the bike, not so thrilled about the 2500 calories I apparently had consumed that day.  I weighed myself and discovered I have put on four pounds since the start of the holidays.  Hacked off doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Those of you have read my previous blogs will know that I am supposed to be following an ultra healthy low fat diet and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that triple-fried chunky chips and midweek roast beef dinners are not a part of this plan.  It is not rocket science, over the past seven weeks I have had a glass or two of red wine most nights, I have eaten chocolate, chips, cake, ice cream, lots of bread, butter -  in fact a lot of the things I ate regularly before I started the diet in January and to put it bluntly, I feel like crap.  My residual MS Symptoms which were leftover from last year’s big relapse have started to make their presence felt again, I feel lethargic and my hands and legs are tingling.  My body is giving me one big HINT – get off your lardy arse and start eating vegetables again.

Perhaps part of me was still a little sceptical about the impact that a change in lifestyle could have on my MS. But the last few weeks have been a huge wake-up call. Surely it is too much of a coincidence that as soon as I stop following the diet and exercise regime, my MS seems to suffer.

So it is time to stop the denial, shift my mind-set again and try and re-discover my enthusiasm for healthy living.   This will not be easy – I love cheese, I am yet to be convinced of the merits of Quorn, and “Homes under the Hammer” is back on BBC1, but there is nothing like some ominous tingling in your feet to focus your mind.


  1. Brilliant reading Mel...!
    Good news is there will no stodge at the beach just lots of seafood,salad and veggies! Lots of red wine which is good for the heart and lots of laughs ....good for the soul!.......and in case of a deprived male/ child revolt some "healthy carbs" which we will disguise as something that looks like it's not good for you!
    Can't wait to see you guys....... 6 weeks and counting.!!xxxxxx