“Your hand and your mouth agreed many years ago that as far as chocolate is concerned, there is no need to involve your brain.” – Dave Barry
“Oh, the scourge of temptation!” I mutter to myself as my ten year old son takes me to task over the wrecked box of chocolate in the sink. “Mammy!! WHO ate Nanny Maura’s chocolates?!” he asks incredulously. Nabbed! My eyes bulge with horror at the realisation that I’ve forgotten to bin the evidence of the previous night’s temptation fiasco with chocolate. “Well, I…eh….I had a few last night and I…..” says I and before I can finish he is in with “So, you ate Nanny Maura’s chocolates!! Nanny Maura, who was so sick a few weeks ago, who we thought might die, and who could do with some chocolate, and you went and ate it on her?!!”
I had picked out a lovely box of chocolates for my Nanny Maura for Mother’s Day recently and had left them on the kitchen table to gift to her a couple of days later. That night I had an unmerciful grá (love) for “something nice” and then recalled that there was chocolate in the house! It would be highly irregular for me to have chocolate, biscuits or sweets at home as they are too much of a temptation, knowing I’d savage the lot if they were within arm’s reach. I would swear my heart-rate elevated rapidly at the sudden knowledge that there were twenty gorgeous tantalising chocolates in the house calling my name. I caressed the outer cellophane with longing but left it alone and bolted from the kitchen, smugly proud that I had resisted. That didn’t last long however as within 20 minutes I was back in, the crinkly cellophane was ripped off and I was nose down in the box of chocolate. Yep, for a couple of minutes it was sheer exquisite ecstasy (I really need to get out more!), my mouth full of melting chocolate. Bliss! I’d practically inhaled eight of them before I came up for air and managed to cop the calorie content on the front of the box. If I ate all of the chocolate in the box I’d have to run 10 miles to burn it off. I’d already snaffled a 4 mile run’s worth of it and was well up for munching every last morsel with wild abandon.
And I paused. I paused long enough to remember that 18 stone broken woman that had been welded to the couch, allowing her life to pass her by, numbing her feelings of loss by stuffing her face for comfort, fearful of life. I didn’t want to fall back to that lonely depressing existence again. I have lost just under 5 stone now and live a more vibrant life than ever before. I want to strive to keep going to lose that final 4.5 stone. I knew that if I savaged the remaining chocolate, and Lord I wanted to, that I would be on the slippery slope to ending back on that couch, hibernating and isolating myself from my life. So I destroyed the remaining chocolate with washing-up liquid and saved myself half a day’s worth of calories and a long night of guilt and shame. All the same though, I STILL went back later to check and see if there might be one chocolate that the washing-up liquid had missed! LOL! It’s all about choices, isn’t it, when it comes to temptation and what you can live with? If I keep giving myself any old excuse to overeat and overindulge regularly, just because the food is there, I’ll just horse the weight back on. It’s empowering to engage in self-control and usually the craving will pass quickly enough, reminding myself of the feelings of failure and guilt that would ensue if I let myself go and give in to temptation all the time. In the heat of the moment I am quick to convince myself of the heavenliness of the chocolate or cake or bread or whatever but I’ve come to learn to stop long enough too to remember my long-term goals and how I am determined to reach them. Giving in to temptation and chocolate cravings does not serve my healthy lifestyle campaign. The odd time is okay, I’ve got to live a little, but the odd time is not license to lash into whatever takes my fancy on a regular basis. The instant gratification of giving in to temptation can be intoxicating but I’m learning to reprogram myself to remember the reality of my dream to be a healthy weight and live a healthier lifestyle, envisioning what it will feel like to look better in a stronger body, to feel better, to live better. The shallow and brief high born from giving in to a chocolate temptation is nowhere near the longer lasting high of living in a healthier body, having heaps more energy and genuine secure self-confidence. Besides, I won’t have a prayer of meeting a glorious man and maybe go on a few dates sometime before I’m 50 if I end up back on the couch munching on chocolate!!
Back to the inquisition by my eldest son so in the kitchen. I decide I am bringing my sister Emma down with me as she owes me big-time. “It was your Aunty Emma actually. She arrived in last night and was a bit grumpy and fancied some chocolate so she lashed into them, having six, and yes I did have two but we realised it was a bad idea so we wrecked them with washing-up liquid to save ourselves from polishing off the lot!” He stares at me out over his glasses, wordlessly, not impressed one bit. The next day Emma brings the boys off down town to help them buy me something for Mother’s Day and my youngest son suggests to her to buy them some croissants. When she readily agrees, he looks at her out over his glasses and quietly murmurs, “It’s the least you can do Emma!”, referring to the chocolate fiasco the night before! Bless! I’ve done well actually in that I’ve a few Easter Eggs hidden for the boys around the house the last couple of weeks but, just in case, I’ve bagged them up and given them to my sister to mind as I’m not sure I could count on myself to behave when a chocolate temptation strikes again!
“Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive.” – Joanne Harris, “Chocolat”
My Running Update
Running Session One – We start off as usual with a good warm up which includes resistance bands work, lunges, short runs, and more that I cannot recall right now! Suffice to say that every night I am battered by the end of the warm up and the quitter in me wants to pack it in before the run even starts and bolt off home! I’ve yet to actually stomp off, I know I’ll feel epic when I follow through with it and just get it done so take my place on the track, trying to ignore my inner grump. Tonight’s training run is something called a tempo run. Gary explains that it will be a little bit faster than normal, that the pace should be “comfortably hard”, that we should still be able to talk to the person beside us but will find we would rather not! The run is divided into 3 sections of 6 minutes each, with a quick recovery water break in between them. The whistle blows and off we go! I have found it challenging over the weeks to determine a reasonable pace during training runs, depending on whether I’ve to run “easy” (Ha! It’s NEVER easy!), run “comfortably hard” or run “hard” and also depending on the time allotted to each interval. Sometimes I’m way too eager and set off too fast, only to find I’ve to slow down before that interval segment is complete so gauging the correct pace for endurance as opposed to speed is a big challenge indeed. I cover 0.56 miles in the first 6 minutes at an overall pace of 10:51/mi which I am chuffed to bits with. For the second 6 minutes I find I am chattering again so am distracted from giving myself that extra push as am using up energy trying to talk AND breathe at the same time while running so my overall pace drops to 13:40/mi and only cover 0.44 miles, in comparison to the first 6 minutes. How sobering! I’m determined to pull myself together for the third and final 6 minutes, concentrate on breathing and pushing forward and keep yakking to a minimum. I triumph with an overall pace of 10:24/mi, covering 0.58 miles, a little further and faster than the first 6 minutes. WHOOP! Checking back over my training diary I realise that this is the first time EVER that I’ve gone below the 11:00/mi pace for a sustained running period. I know the segments were only 6 minutes each and just over half a mile each, so hardly a 5km or anything but God that is massive for me! For someone who was only able for running intervals of 30 seconds with 3 minutes walking in between them when she started running, this is massive progress for me and as slow as that progress is, it is still progress! I choose to own it and this spurs me on to keep stretching and moving out of my comfort zone, giving me a quiet confidence to want and strive for more.
Running Session Two – Tonight’s track session is the dreaded gear affair where Gear 1 is to walk, Gear 2 is to run easy, Gear 3 is to run comfortably hard and Gear 4 is to run hard. When Gary announces what is ahead of us there is an audible intake of breath with groans of horror at the back of the pack where I take my usual position. I grimace in dismay at the challenge ahead and having a sloth-like attitude will not help so may just get on with it! I start sucking on a clove rock sweet for comfort. The session is split into 3 segments of 9 minutes each, with a recovery water break between each segment. Each segment consists of (Gear 1 – walk – 45 seconds, Gear 3 – comfortably hard run – 45 seconds, Gear 2 – easy run – 45 seconds, Gear 4 – hard run – 45 seconds) x 3 reps. Judging a reasonable pace for each gear is the usual challenge, trying to remember to settle on a stride that is demanding but not ridiculously excessive that has me breaking up at the side of the track and slowing down or rolling over, beaten. It’s hard going so I try keep pace with Sorcha beside me who is flying it and who is magic at taking lots of smaller steps as advised by Gary so I try concentrate on improving my cadence as I batter around the track. We attempt to talk a few times but it’s futile as we are just squeaking at each other, like chipmunks on speed, so we just nod and grimace at each other instead, focusing on running and breathing at the same time. From the back of the pack where I am clip clopping along, feeling sluggish and clumsy I admire the two chaps at the front who are running with speed, appearing so light on their feet and super fast. Some of the more experienced runners have a toe-curling Gear 5 included in their session too which is the last 15 seconds of their Gear 4 interval, where they are like a pack of stallions galloping at speed past us. It is an exhilarating sight, to witness so much power, effort and stamina. I’m thrilled to bits to see I’ve covered 0.87 miles in the first 9 minutes segment and at an overall pace of 10:36/mi. The second segment is slower at 0.72 miles covered with overall pace of 12:50/mi. With dawning horror, I realise I have forgotten to save the results of the last 9 minute segment and I quite fancy that it was another lovely pace of about 10:30/mi but to be honest, even though I did look at the screen at the end, I really just cannot remember the results now! All in all, another intensive and invigorating training session with Adrenaline Running Club.
Running Session Three – I was fretting all Friday night about the run today and don’t feel much more confident this morning at the thoughts of the 5 mile (8km) run ahead of me. It’s been years since I’ve run this distance and I’m feeling pretty apprehensive at being able to run the whole way. If I have to walk some of it, well then I will but I really want to be able to push myself that little bit further and stay running/shuffling the entire distance. The part I am dreading the most is the 2.8km long stretch between the end of Green Road and out on to the Kilkenny road and up to the Athy Road roundabout. In my mind this seems fearfully arduous before I even take my first step. We all warm up nicely and the run starts with two laps of the track and then we are out on the road. A couple of girls cheer and share words of encouragement as they pass me by and I wish them luck also and tell them I’ll see them Monday on the track as I know full well that they will more than likely be well gone and home to shower by the time I straggle back to the track! There’s a chill in the air but it’s a glorious morning for a run. I try settle into a steady pace that’s not crazy fast but not lazy either. I lose final sight of the last Adrenaline runner in front of me about maybe 1.5 km into the run, delighted all the same at keeping them in view for that long anyway! My eyes bulge when the hill on Hanover road that I had forgotten about looms into view but marvel at myself when I can reach the top without slowing down or needing to stop. I give the thumbs up to another runner on the far side of the road and he waves, exclaiming “Keep going! Looking strong!” Surprisingly, I am feeling very strong this morning and am actually ENJOYING the run! All the torturous runs with a big contrary head on me are worth it for a run like this. I make my way around the back of the college and am still high on the fact that I am feeling so good so now the 2.8km route to the Athy road roundabout does not feel as intimidating at all. I just focus on the next landmark or next junction, enjoying each and every step and feeling so grateful to be out running. On Dublin Street outside Bramley’s I nearly end up in a heap as my heel catches in something and I go flying, legs and arms everywhere like a new-born giraffe but miraculously land back on my feet and stay going. On reaching the Athy Road roundabout I laugh at myself as have just whispered with relief that I have only 2 more kilometers to go. I must be making great strides when ONLY 2km to go seems like such a short distance! There’s that barbarous hill by Cannery Road to deal with first though. I speed up a little, delighted that I haven’t needed to walk at all and reach the track entrance just as Gary is locking up. I speed by, roaring “I still have another 0.3 mile to go to reach the 5 miles!!!” I’m feeling pretty Olympic when I see that 5 miles light up my Garmin screen and smile to myself for the entire walk back to the car. I stretch and have a lovely natter with Gary. All my efforts, every training run, every day I turned up when I didn’t feel like it, joining Adrenaline RC, losing 5 stone, it’s all been worth it for a run like this today.
My Weight Loss Update
I had a sneaky weigh-in on Friday and was 2.8lbs down so had hit my 5 stone loss but when I weighed in on Monday I was only down 1lb!! That’s the weigh-in that counts so I really may knuckle down and get past the 5 stone loss and build back up some momentum. 4 stone 12.5lbs lost so far, 4 stone 8.5lbs to go!!! WHOOP!
Avocado & Black Tiger Prawn Salad
Continuing to feed my addiction to spinach there is lashings of it in this salad where the creamy avocado is a great combination with the tiger prawns. 458 calories per serving. Enjoy!
- handful of fresh spinach, about 25g
- one small avocado, halved, peeled and destoned, flesh weighing about 106g
- 15g Good 4 U Quinoa Sprout Mix
- 25g blueberries
- 25g black grapes, halved
- 85g cooked black tiger prawns
- 10g sweet chilli sauce
- 6g Good 4 U Super Seed Sprinkles
- freshly ground black pepper
- Plate up the spinach, quinoa sprout mix, blueberries and black grapes.
- Place the avocado halves in the middle of the salad and drizzle over the sweet chilli sauce.
- Top the avocado with the tiger prawns, sprinkle with the Good 4 U Super Seed Sprinkles and some freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.
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