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Diary of a caffeine addict - Day 1



8:30 – First cup of English Breakfast.  Smaller mug than usual.  Feeling virtuous

10:00 – Second cup of English Breakfast. Still in small mug. Smug mode engaged.

11:30 – Sudden panicked moment of realisation that we are doing the boundary walk at 12:00.  Must get last caffeine fix.  Decide on filter coffee and have it stronger than normal.  Surprisingly happy and bouncy on walk.

13:00ish – Asked Lisa while on the boundary walk if I can get a discount in my tea fund payments as fruit tea does not count as tea.  While Lisa is aware that fruit tea is the devils brew, my arguments fail.

14:45 – First decaffeinated brew of the day.  Choose Lemon and Ginger tea.

14:48 – It looks like someone has urinated in my mug.

14:59 – It tastes like someone has urinated in my mug.  They should probably see a doctor.

15:15 – Slight headache.  Can’t be dehydration as have drunk water and such today.  Possibly caffeine related.  Time to raid Soft Kitty box for paracetamol.

15:16 – The paracetamol in the soft kitty box contains caffeine.  *Expletive deleted*.

15:54 – Still headachey.  Starting to feel slightly tetchy.

16:10 – Have drunk a litre of water since 12:30 (not for ctgf, but to distract from lack of tea). There has been a need for many bathroom trips.

16:30 – Finished work for the day.  I feel sorry for anyone I meet on the drive home today.

Diary of a caffeine addict - Day 2



After an *interesting* drive home which included only minimal swearing.  I was able to sate my jitters with some decaffeinated filter coffee.  Alcohol may have also helped. 

This morning in full awareness that I NEEDED to get to work before 8:30 to get my first fix before the office opened, the traffic was a nightmare.  There would have been more cursing if I didn’t have my colleague Sue in the car.

8:30 – First cup of tea.  Oh English Breakfast, how I’ve missed you.  Served in usual bucket.

10:00 – Second bucket.  Trying not to change my tea drinking behaviour too much in the mornings in the fear that I may end up chain-drinking.  Ponders why no-one has invented the bottomless mug.  Get to it scientists!

11:45 – Final bucket of tea for the day. 

12:40 – Damn.  I timed it wrong.  I still have 20 minutes of possible brew drinking, but only if I am willing to deal with severe burns to the mouth.

13:00 – Switch to decaf filter type coffee.  I may well survive this day. 

14:00 – I’m worried about my pot plant.  I water it with the dregs of my tea everyday.  My pot plant is going to be going through detox with me and may not survive.  I should drink normal tea this afternoon as a selfless act to save my poor unwitting plant.  Amii believes my pot plant could probably do with a detox as well. 

14:39 – Starting to flag and there is only one decaf filter type coffee pot left in the kitchen.  Amii is also committed to the no caffeine after 13:00 jag and is also flagging.  This could end up with a fight to the death.

15:00 – Decide to save decaf coffee thing for tomorrow and take a new adventure into the world of fruit tea.  Today is Cranberry and Raspberry.

15:01 – Cranberry and Raspberry tea looks like Ribena.

15:20 – Not too bad, although as you need to leave the bag in to get any flavour, I worry I may accidentally inhale the teabag.

15:46 – No niggling headache today, although I seem to have hit a wall of exhaustion.

16:30 – Hometime now.  I think afternoon productivity may be suffering.

Commit to get Fit - the BSMS-8 expand



Three days into the challenge and we welcome another team member, Ellen.  I don't think we need to change the team name as Ellen actually job-shares with Lisa, who is already part of the team.

Seven of us, inspired by the Boundary Walk, have just enjoyed a second lunchtime walk in the sun in a week.  Today we went over the footbridge across the A27 to Falmer village, admired the pond and the tithe barn (and the farm shop), then headed off into UoB territory and then wended our way back to HQ via the underpass.  Half an hour.  Two miles.  Some 4500 steps (according to Jayne's pedometer).  Lovely!

Commit to get Fit - the BSMS-8 sign in



Well, that's one achievement already - I had no idea SPLASH existed, having been employed by the University for over 6 years, but I have now discovered it (thanks to Sam of Sussex Sport), registered and here I am blogging away - also my first ever blog (though I do tend to write quite a bit on facebook).

I thought Commit to get Fit didn't start until tomorrow, but having registered I've already found other teams blogging away, so I thought I ought to get straight in there.

The BSMS-8 are raring to go - not necessarily absolutely all in the same direction - but we're starting off the campaign tomorrow with the Boundary Walk (all together I think).  We've had a meeting and discussed a number of goals / things to try and I'm hoping that over the next week that will settle down into something coherent enough to write about in more detail over the coming weeks.

Our team members are me, Amii, Denise, Lisa, Jayne, Charlotte, Pat and Nichola - we're all female support staff with different levels of fitness and layers of insulation - but we are all committed to making changes this coming month and hopefully long-term to our diet and approach to exercise.

That's all for now.  Quite enough for a debut blog, I think.

Diary of a caffeine addict - Day 3



An evening with the decaf coffee has again put the jitters on hold.  This enabled me to play a PS3 game with only minimal shouting at the television.

8:30 – First cup (bucket) of tea.  I have to admit that I’m really looking forward to it.  I think I may be sleeping more deeply, but I’m feeling more exhausted in the mornings.  English Breakfast.  Ah precious.  Put the bag in the mug, put in the freshly boiled water, open the fridge………


I pause a moment to work out my options, but the tea is already brewing.  It would feel like a sin to throw it away (this is a travesty in our household.  Every tea is precious.  Any cup of tea that is accidentally left undrunk is called ‘Steave’ and poured away with full honours).  (I have an odd boyfriend).

However it also feels like a travesty to add UHT milk to this precious, precious brew. 

I weaken. 

I add the demons juice. 

Every sip is guilt ridden.

9:10 – Nina has come by the office to say she is leaving the building to get milk.  Nina is now a Goddess to me.

9:30 – English Breakfast bucket.  I think this one tastes even better because of the horror before it.

10:45 – Time for another brew.  I believe that as no-one else in the office seems to want a beverage as frequently as I do at the moment, I am walking upstairs to the kitchen more than I used to.  Another way that cutting down on caffeine is helping with ctgf.

11:20 – As another plus. I no longer run the daily oversweetening gambit.  As I use a clicky sweetener I usually forget whether I have added one and frequently add at least 2 by accident.  Attempts to remedy this using the disposable stirrers have been spotty at best as I can never remember how many brews I have had.  Yay for over-zealous, tedious diary keeping.

11:24 – There are 4 sticks in my bin.  I have had 3 cups today.  I think Amii is messing with me.

12:20 – Time for one last cup.  I’m beginning to wonder if I’m drinking more tea than I would normally drink if I wasn’t limiting it. *suspicious face*

14:00 – Someone has made a fresh pot of coffee.  I can smell it.

14:30 – There has been further discussion about the health of my pot plant.  I think the flowers are dying due to withdrawal.  Amii believes it would be better off being repotted.  There may be wisdom in this as it falls over if you don’t lean it against something. 

14:45 – As I am taking my early today I have just made an afternoon cuppa of peppermint and nettle tea.

14:55 – Peppermint and nettle tea is odd. 

15:20 – Getting ready to head off.  No headache today and not feeling so exhausted.  This may be because it’s an hour earlier than normal, plus it’s the weekend but it may be I’m through the worst of it.  Ok I have been feeling slightly tetchy about some stuff, but I’m ending the day on a high note.

Two words




Commit to Get Fit continues... (I may actually be starting to enjoy this)



Days 4-6 (Saturday, Sunday, Monday)

I’ve gone and done it. I’ve committed myself to a 5km run this summer all in the name of charidee! So on Sunday, 14 July 2013 I will be running the Worthing Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research UK. If anyone feels like sponsoring me they can do so on my JustGiving fundraising page (shameless plug over....)

I tried to keep up the no caffeine after 1pm over the weekend and only had one slip up on Sunday. I had a cup of coffee at around 10:30pm, but I think this was justified as I was volunteering at an event at the Royal Albert Hall and wasn’t expected to get to my bed until approx 2.30am.

I’ve started training for the 5k run and have downloaded a useful (and fun!) Couch to 5k app (Zombies, run 5k) that I highly recommend.  On Monday I got out and enjoyed the sunshine and embarked on a lovely 4k jog along the beach.

Bank Holiday beach run

Day 7 (Tuesday)

Day 7 was going well to start with and I had high hopes for the day, but just didn’t get a chance (or more likely I got side-tracked and forgot) to go for the lunch time walk that I had planned. Not to worry though, I have arranged "double fitness" tomorrow with a Power Hoop session at lunch time and a jog after work.

Day 8 (Wednesday)

Unfortunately my Power Hoop buddy was not well enough to take part today so my colleague (who was Zumba-ing today) and I set off to the Sports Centre with a bit of trepidation, but with a bounce in our step.

I was soon disappointed to find that the Power Hoop session wasn’t running today after all, but we were offered an impromptu Boxercise class instead. I’ve done boxercise before and had forgotten how much fun it is and what a great stress reliever it can be. I’m definitely tempted to look up a regular class if it runs at a convenient time.

I’m now back at my desk (the bounce in my step had gone due to exhaustion by the time I got back), but I’m feeling very virtuous! I’m even looking forward to my run tonight!

Slowly but surely Committing to Get Fit



Day 1 (Wednesday)

Today the team went on the organised boundry walk around the campus. The sun was shining and it was the first time in a long while that I’ve purposely left the office at lunch time for a reason other than grabbing a bite to eat for lunch. The walk was lovely and a gentle introduction to a month of CTGF and it was great to see and learn more about the area that I’ve been working at for the last year.


I returned to the office feeling invigorated and ready for my lunch and have now been booked onto a Power Hoop session next week. Apparently it’s in the Dance Studio which has a wall of mirrors. Eeep! Anyone know if you can Power Hoop with your eyes closed?

Day one of no tea or coffee after lunch was difficult, but I was able to refuse the offer of a cup of tea from colleagues on the University of Brighton campus and I somehow survived the afternoon with no caffeine-withdrawal grumpiness! Roll on Day 2!    

Day 2 (Thursday)

Day 2 has started slowly. I was very much in the need for caffeine all day, but stuck to coffee and tea only in the morning and then switched to water in the afternoon. This was a big achievement for me as I don’t normally do water. I went out for a lunch time walk in the sunshine – it may only have been to the pharmacy and back but it is better than sitting at my desk all day.

Without thinking I drank a cup of tea at my Slimming World group. Blast! I was doing so well. But all was soon forgotten when I weighed in and had lost 2.5lbs that week. The CTGF challenge has come at the right time for my weight loss goals as Slimming World has helped me lose over 4 stone in a year and I am now only 3.5lbs from my target weight. Once there I will need to be more active to help me stay at my target weight so hopefully I will build up some new habits during this challenge and keep them up as a part of my day-to-day life!

Day 3 (Friday)

Today the team are going on a walk at lunchtime but unfortunately I was half asleep this morning getting ready for work and have not brought any appropriate footwear (if I was at school this is when I would be handed a pair of lost property plimsolls and be told to get on with it). I will instead man the office and go for a wander around campus after my colleagues return and enjoy the sunshine.

Plans for the Bank Holiday weekend

I will be heading up to London for the weekend and will hopefully be continuing with lots of walking, avoiding caffeine after midday and eating healthily. On Monday, on my return from the Big Smoke I will go for a jog helped along by the Zombies, Run! App on my phone (if you don’t know about this app look it up – it makes running a bit more fun.) I also plan to look into some 5k runs happening this summer and register to take part on one.

Ta-ta for now!


BSMS-8 - my week so far



Over the bank holiday weekend I got out and about quite a bit - and made sure I walked everywhere, which meant either carrying my 2.5 stone 2-year-old or pushing her in her buggy, so I did some incidental weight training.  On Monday I went to a fete where they encouraged onlookers to join in with a Zumba demonstration - I'm afraid my husband forbade me from joining in - he thought I'd be an embarrasment - I did climb up / slide down the big slides at Monkey Bizness quite a few times though.  

Over the weekend I didn't manage to keep up the water drinking to the levels I manage to while at my desk (and my wine intake was pretty impressive in the wrong way), but I did manage to avoid diet coke and, in fact, I am still caffeine free 9 days into the challenge!

On Tuesday I tried Dynamic Yoga.  Oh dear!  I felt such an old croc!  I very nearly gave up about 5 minutes into the session, but with the honour of my team-mates in mind I kept going.  The teacher, Karen, was very kind - and by the end I felt I'd achieved something - and at the very least it had helped me catch up with my daily stretching target, which had gone out of the window somewhat over the weekend.

I had wanted to do a lunchtime class on Wednesday, but a 2pm meeting at the hospital prevented this.  Team-mates left the office excitedly to try Zumba and Power Hoop, both of which I want to try before the end of the month.

Today, encouraged by Jayne, I am going to enter a gym for the first time in at least 14 years.  Hahaha!  Let's see what happens to the old croc today.  Last time I went to a gym I was fit, relatively young and strong enough to do an hour's circuit in the gym followed by a mile in the swimming pool.  I wonder if I'll last 15 mins?  This challenge is making me feel very old ....

And tomorrow, we're off for another team walk at lunchtime.  I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone else has been doing.  Hopefully that will cheer me up if I'm despairing regarding my own efforts.




The Story So Far...



So we're at the end of the first full week of ctgf.  My previous posts have pretty much just focussed on the caffeine depravation as it was the hardest thing I was doing, and therefore constantly on my mind.   I really feel for anyone who has tried dieting as they're probably going to have a similar relationship with food when they start trying to avoid it.  Absolutely impossible!

Anyways, asides from caffeine, other stuff happened.  After the boundary walk we had another team walk on the Friday lunch.  This was kinda cool as we got a chance to shoot the breeze a bit outside of our usual work environment.  Good times.

Over the bank holiday weekend I (mostly) stuck to the no caffeine after 13:00 and possibly slept better for it.  No withdrawal, no jitters, groovy.  I went to a wedding in Hackney on the Saturday (well nearly) and due to the joys of replacement bus services learnt how unfit I am through trying to run from Dalston Junction to Hackney Town Hall in less than a minute.  Not surprisingly 10 minutes late I arrive doused in sweat and breathing so heavily that large men walking in front of me, turned around with frightened expressions on their faces in case I was a sex offender.  For anyone who doesn't know me, I'm a tiny, little glasses wearing, femme looking girl.

For the rest of the weekend we had some folks visit us, and fortunately one of them was a domestic Goddess and so was able to help me to do more of the making stuff from scratch.  We also did some walking and exploring so a pretty healthful weekend all round which included some frolics in the sunbeams.

From Tuesday things kinda continued on the exercise front I've either walked a couple of miles a day, or cycled on the exercise bike for 25 minutes to an episode of Blackadder.  There was also the joy of zumba on Wednesday, which I then followed with a Blackadder cycle session, and surprisingly still had use of my legs on Thursday.

So that's about it. Daily exercise is going ok and I'm going to start upping the time I spend on the exercise bike.  Doing all the home cooketry is working well and so far no-one has got food poisoning.  And the caffeine thing is no great shakes now.  So yep.  Looking forward to trying more classes and such, and possibly being able to do that running thing. 

BSMS-8 The saga continues



Well the baton has been handed to me to write our team blog while Liz is away. (Look, it’s already started with a sporting metaphor. Skills.) 

So what have the BSMS-8 (9) been up to in the past week?  Well after a dynamic start to committing to get fit with lots of walking, gymming and classes; it seems that half the team hit a mid-month slump similar to the mid-afternoon crash you get if you don’t get your coffee.  (ok, I may still be a little obsessed).

Lisa admitted to not having a great week exercise wise with only one lot of kickboxing and volleyball.  I believe these occurred at different times, otherwise she has just invented her own extreme sport.  She does say she is doing well on the water front though.

Jayne also believes she hasn’t had a great week although she has walked a mile and a half on 3 out of 5 mornings to get her bus.  We also did have our team walk on Friday lunch, where we went to Stanmer Park and apparently did 2 miles.

Liz had a superbusy week with work as she was trying to get everything done in time for her holibobs.  However she has said she will be spending a great deal of her holiday running around with her two year old!

Pat has continued with her Pilates classes and came on the team walk to Stanmer on Friday.

Amii again feels that she has not had a great week for exercise, but did manage to get from Old Steine to the train station on Thursday night in 11 minutes.  Please remember this journey is all up hill and she didn’t feel breathless at the end of it.  I believe this should be counted as a win. She is doing as well as possible on the caffeine thing, especially as she has recently changed to a new medication which has left her feeling groggy and drowsy. 

Nichola sadly wasn’t able to come on the Friday walk with us this week due to this horrible thing called work.  However she has rediscovered the nature reserve near to her home where she has gone on long rambles with her children.  She has also been swimming with them weekly, and is now contemplating getting a new bike. (I should rethink that sentence.)  Nichola also shared with us some writing on the hunger scale (where 1 is starving to the point of feeling dizzy and 10 is eating to the point you feel uncomfortably full and sick.)  This scale has made her think more about what she is eating.

Ellen has been amazing and has taken part in the Friday walks.  She has also been swimming weekly and been on her exercise bike at home twice last week.

Charlotte has been our star this week though, as she went to the talk on goal setting and has stepped up her activities.  She has started planning more exercise related things as she will achieve more if she plans it first.  She has also been looking seriously into her diet and cooking food in advance.  She has eaten more, but is eating more healthily and having homemade soup before lunch which has helped kerb the unnecessary afternoon snacking.  She has also been sleeping better due to her exercise regime.  In fact I believe I just saw her heading off to the ‘Sleepless in Brighton talk’!

And me?  Well I have been another one experiencing a slump.  The stopping caffeine after 13:00 is mostly happening, although I am possibly a little more lax on this than Amii.  However this has been due to my old sleep cycle re-establishing itself even with the reduced caffeine intake.  Foodwise however, I’ve been going great guns with doing all the home cooking.  Not necessarily healthy cooking, but home cooking nonetheless.  With exercise I haven’t done as well as planned.  My goal to do one exercisey thing a day was possibly a little overzealous, but I am doing about 4 exercise things a week.  These include little walks to the village, and popping onto the exercise bike.  I have also been to another zumba class which took place on Saturday *gasp!*  Again I found this awesome, but was a little bemused by running into 2 of our students while flushed and sweaty.

So overall we’re doing ok.  We’re all doing more than we would have been doing without ctgf, so those of us feeling a little down for not doing so much as previously should be feeling pretty awesome about doing stuff in the first place.

Til next week then.  Same Bat–time, same Bat-channel.

I may have jinxed myself in my last blog



I think I may have jinxed myself in my last blog saying that I was starting to enjoy the CTGF month. The last week or so has gone a little bit pear-shaped to say the least.

My twice weekly jog in training for the Race for Life hasn't really happened as I've been busy at home in the evenings and weekends packing up boxes, decluttering the flat ready to put it on the market. Although I've not been running I'm still sure this counts as I've been a lot more physical than I would normally if I'd been vegged in front of the TV.

I'm definitely feeling the benefits of my weight loss over the last year and was pretty amazed when on Thursday evening I legged it up the hill from the Old Steine to Brighton Train Station to get the last direct train home. I made it in 11 minutes and was barely out of breath when I got on the train with 2 minutes to spare.

I'm hoping that over the next few days I'll be able to squeeze in a jog or two somewhere and actually have the energy to do so. I'm on new medication which is making me feel quite lethargic, but on the plus side its making me very thirsty so lots of water is being drunk!

Ta ta for now. Hopefully my next blog update is a bit more active than this one!


BSMS-8 Commit to get fit - catching up



The month is coming to an end and I personally haven't blogged since week 2.  I know my other team members have been flying our flag in the meantime, though.  My excuse for not blogging is that I was on holiday in week 4 and frantically busy trying to finish everything on my desk before my holiday in week 3.  This stuff stopped me blogging, but it did not stop my personal commitment to CTGF and to my lovely colleagues who have been so encouraging and supportive.

So on the day of my last blog I did get to the gym with Jayne.  I didn't overdo it and my 15 mins or so on the cross-trainer went far quicker than I had expected.  I spent some time on a bike too and stretching and bending on the mats.  Will definitely not wait 14 years or so until the next time I go - hopefully very soon indeed.  I planned to go again the following week, but paperwork for a meeting prevented me - perhaps tomorrow ...

On the Friday of week 2 I managed to get out of a meeting with about 3 mins to spare before the team embarked on our second Friday lunchtime walk.  We did the reverse circuit that we had walked the previous week with steeper upward hills and were speedier too - felt like progress!

Week 3 was a bit of a washout due to the amount of work I needed to do before my leave coupled with lunchtime meetings, but I managed to keep up with my commitment to drink lots of water and stayed caffeine free (apart from a cup of coffee I accepted after church without thinking).

Last week I was on holiday - in centre parcs in Longleat, Wiltshire, which is known for being hilly.  Every day I covered quite a few miles, either pushing a buggy or jogging along to keep up with my toddler on her scooter (I've decided to buy a scooter soon so that we can scoot together).  We also swam a lot, which was quite hard work at times, especially when the wave machine was on and I was swimming against the tide in order to keep my daughter upright on her woggle.  I'm afraid I failed seriously on the no caffeine front, allowing myself coffee and one or two diet cokes, but I did also drink a lot of water (and wine, but I never said I was giving that up).

From the beginning of CTGF I had wanted to try a Zumba class.  Yesterday was my only opportunity, due to clashing meetings etc on all the other possible occasions.  I LOVED IT - and will definitely continue going whenever possible after CTGF has finished.  I didn't feel quite as much of an old croc as I did in dynamic yoga and, since I have a dance background somewhere in my childhood, I managed to keep up with most of the moves.  I also definitely felt bendier / stretchier than I did at the begining of the month, which is a very pleasing result!  The teacher, Gemma, was really encouraging - and very smiley Smile and fun to watch.  Zumba music makes you feel very young and "with it" - perhaps I should seek an opportunity to try out those trendy moves in a club, though that is bound to embarrass my husband and / or daughter ....  hmmm, perhaps I'd better just keep them for the classes ...

So, tomorrow is the last day of CTGF.  I will definitely miss it.  It has been a great impetus to try new things and get out and about more.   Thank you so much for allowing us to use the facilities / attend classes for free (that made a world of difference).  The encouragement of my team mates has been brilliant - we have shared what we have individually been doing and urged each other to do a bit more / go for it.  I hope we manage to celebrate with a final Friday walk - or if not, perhaps I will venture back to the gym.