A few weeks on and there are now 387 days until I turn 50!

It’s not easy but I think I am progressing very slowly in the right direction. I remain committed to my goal despite having had to negotiate a few birthdays and celebrations where there has been cake. I have, of course, eaten the cake! After all, I want to be in this for the long haul and don’t want to be denying myself pleasure, rather I want to find myself in a place where everything is more balanced. Hence, I can eat a slice of cake rather than devour the whole cake!

I have created a playlist of motivating songs to get me through 30 minutes of cycling and circuit style exercises in the morning. Ideally, I’d like to do this every morning when I first get up but given that my fitness levels had reached an all-time low, I find myself having to build up my fitness slowly and steadily. Cycling is a good way into exercising for me: I can do this from the comfort of my own home and my body weight is supported. I would love to be able to go running but my body weight would do too much damage at the moment. Hopefully, this is something I will be able to revisit in a few months.

Those mornings when I have completed my 30-minute cycle, I feel more alert and confident. I love joining in with the songs; they trigger memories of a healthier, more motivated time of my life. Lines like ‘I will survive’ or ‘Search for the hero inside’ or the Rocky theme tune really inspire me. I look forward to a time when I am more automatic in the morning and exercise is once again embedded in my morning routine. But, as I am at the beginning of this journey, I must watch out for the thoughts that sabotage me – the ones where I think, I’ll just watch this / do this and then I’ll cycle and of course, I don’t!

In the last few years when I slipped up after starting a diet, I’d just think ‘Oh, I’ve blown it! I might as well give up.’ I am trying very hard not to let that happen when I make choices that are not so good this time. I really need to make a long-term change to my health and not just a quick fix. It would be foolish of me to think I wasn’t going to slip up, so I need to have a much better response for when I do. Positive thoughts and reflective thinking will help me stay on task as well as drawing on support from those around me.

Having recognised my need for peer support, I have joined a slimming club also. Something that I have done numerous times in the past with varying degrees of success. The difference is that this time, it is not the only thing I am doing to make a change. I have enjoyed the ‘virtual class’ I have been attending and hope this is something that they can continue to offer when normal services are resumed. As a single, working parent I always find myself short of time, so not having to travel to a class makes the class much easier to fit in to my weekly schedule. It is also slightly shorter because there is no weigh-in at the beginning; we do that in our own houses and in our own time. The main thing is that I benefit from the pep talk and shared stories of other people in the group.

Lack of planning has often contributed to my food failures in the past. Tired after a day of work, I’d be on the way home thinking of everything I still had to do – make dinner, organise my daughter, make lunches, do some sort of household task and may be even finish a presentation for work the next day – and, I’d pick up a pizza to put in the oven thinking it would be quick and easy and let me get on with the other jobs. Of course, over time, that has been a main contributor to the situation I find myself in now! Wary of being caught out, I have filled my freezer with slimming meals, vegetables and fruit and just a few weeks into my new regime, this seems to be working well.

I have a few more weeks before schools resume in Scotland and my hope is that my routines, although still fairly new, will be up and running at least. This should help to keep me on track while I negotiate the change from holiday time to school time, as we know, this is always a bumpy transition and perhaps, even more so this summer when we don’t really know how things in schools will pan out over the next year.

Looking ahead I feel positive about the future.