Under the Weather
April 22, 2014
Back at the day job after a four day Easter break which last Thursday promised so much but which in reality, left me feeling let down and disappointed.
I made the mistake of trusting the Met Office. I saw the television weather forecast on Wednesday evening and got very excited. It spoke of blue skies and warm temperatures.
It made mention of sunshine and included the phrases “a chance to get out and about” and “Bank Holiday” in the same sentence. That was good enough for me.
Plan were duly drawn up including making sure the Gazebo was standing proud and ready for guests; getting Lovely Husband to uncover and dust off the barbecue; hunting out the “outdoor dining” equipment (I have to confess that the Hudson Household do have an extensive range of plastic eating equipment following years of using the “normal stuff” and spending hours picking glass or china out of the Mediterranean gravel when a “mishap” occurred...).
Good Friday dawned and LH and I were in the garden as early as was decently possible (being considerate we decided that our neighbours had probably decided to have a lie-in on the Bank Holiday morning)... and by 10am the Gazebo was taking centre stage in our back garden. I then left LH to deal with the barbecue (sorry, I’m never going to abbreviate that to three letters); calls, texts and emails were issued to friends to let them know that the “most exclusive Beer Garden in the County” was open for the 2014 season and they were cordially invited to the weekend’s events and I headed out to the local supermarket in search of food and drink for our guests.
It took me an hour to make it back out of the store and I headed back to “Captain” (my lovely little gold car with a boot big enough to hold food to feed the five-thousand) and was horrified to discover dark grey clouds and a distinct chill in the air.
Still... You know me and PMA; it was probably only a temporary “blip” on the radar. I was sure by mid-afternoon the Met Office would be proved right. I was wrong.
By 2pm it had got so dark that we had the kitchen and living room lights on; by 2:30pm LH and I were so cold we had the central heating on; by 3pm the texts and calls started from friends as, having extended an invitation to arrive Chez Hudson anytime from 4pm onwards for the Gazebo Grand Opening, they weren’t entirely if “tonight was still on”. and ever the optimist I replied ‘Yes’.
At 4:10pm the first of our friends arrived. At 4:15pm the first rain drops arrived and the temperature had plummeted. Plans needed to revised and quickly. The Gazebo was sealed; the barbecue re-covered. By 5pm hailstones were covering the back garden and our living room was packed. Steaks had been wrapped in foil and put in the oven; the lovely baby potatoes were boiling on the hob; corn on the cob was cooked and foil wrapped; salad was retrieved from the fridge and the final flourishes added. Garden chairs were brought into the living room and LH’s computer room (adjoining the living room) and we were good to go.
It wasn’t the evening we had planned… but it was a great evening none the less.
Right about now I’m guessing you’re wondering what on earth this has to do with the weight loss journey. The answer to that is “flexibility”. You know what a fan I am of planning and preparation. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t be flexible when circumstances require it. The Bank Holiday and school half-term are great examples.
Most of us have our routines and schedules. We stick to them because the work; because they make life easier and because we feel like we are in control. We know what we need to do; when we need to do it and why we need to do it. But every now and again circumstances change; dirty great spanners can be thrown into the works and our original ideas have to be reviewed and revised accordingly.
When I am “on track” and the Hudson Household is running to “schedule” I feel in control. Of course I could do with a couple of extra hours in every day, and if an eight day week came into effect I would easily be able to fill the extra twenty-four hours, but by and large I know how the week should flow and most of the time it does… but I can’t rely on that all of the time, which is why I need to be flexible. A half term with cold wet weather is an entirely different proposition to a half term of sunshine and soaring temperatures; a Bank Holiday with a surprise visit from family or friends requires a completely different approach to the usual occupancy of the Hudson household.
The weight loss journey is no different. Most of the time we have a plan, a system, a routine which we know works and which we stick to, but every so often we are forced “off track”. We need to accommodate different circumstances and situations whilst being able to stay “on track” with our weight loss plans.
My Easter Bank Holiday plans were originally designed with my weight loss mission in mind. The food was great for alfresco dining, with grilled steak, salad, a few small boiled minted potatoes and a mini corn-on-the-cob going down a storm with the assembled crowd whilst still being utterly WLR compliant. The drinks selection included lager, beer (standard and alcohol-free), wine (standard and low-cal), alco-pops, fruit juice, “diet”-brands and mineral water. What I had realised was the exercise benefit that the evil Easter weather gave me.
The “al-fresco” games included giant jenga; “big chess”; and an Easter egg hunt. The “internal” games were largely based around our games consoles. The result. Most of us worked up a sweat with the tennis; the football fans got utterly competitive with the penalty shoot-out and the effort required was considerable. I made brief mention of a fitness programme that I use which involved an initial assessment which predicted your “physical age” as opposed to your “actual age” - it was the hit of the evening. Everyone was convinced they were “physically” five years younger than the number based on their birth certificate. All of them wanted to prove the point. They were willing to be weighed, measured and tested (grown men actually willing to “do” the hula hoop”), and the results shocked many of them. Me…? I was utterly confident. If my weight loss journey has taught me anything it’s that doing “something” is better than doing nothing; that “little-and-often” is far better than “lots-once-a-year”.
I now know that nothing is “banned” but that “small treats” make a big difference. I did the tests; stepped on the scales and came out four years younger than my birth date. Given that LH is five years younger than me, I am satisfied. I also know that twelve months ago the results would have been very different.
In terms of my extended weekend, I was “under the weather” and disappointed that plans had to change. In terms of my weight loss weekend the bad weather proved to be a blessing in disguise. I earned extra exercise calories whilst enjoy quality time with family and friends; I managed to stay on track with my food without my guests evening realising they were being WLR-compliant; and I got chance to look back at my journey and realise that all the small steps mean I have covered quite a distance.
As they say, with every cloud (be that a fluffy-white-one or a dirty great rain-filled one) there is a silver lining.
Here’s to us all finding our silver lining.
With a Hug
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