All is well in my World today. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous despite it being late October and the bowls team I was selected to play for, won an important match. We were coincidentally playing against a club called Wellworthy Bowls Club and I just cannot help the play on words that has slipped from my fingertips. Fortunately, my bowls did not slip from my fingertips and I actually gave a reasonably decent maiden performance – as you can see from the photograph above, my uniform was a little out of the ordinary for a bowls match, but I thought to myself “as you have it girl, why not flaunt it?” I hope I did not put the other team off as I bent over to bowl! After the match my team mates and I piled in to various cars and went to the other team’s club house for a fabulous carvery lunch followed by desserts for those who dared. I was not one of the darers as I am still trying to be careful and don’t want to pile on the pounds again.

Fully replete, I drifted home to change into something a little more comfortable and then set off for a walk along the beach and back across the cliff tops. The views were breath-taking, the air crisp and clear and the temperature perfect. Could there be a better way for a girl to end her Sunday afternoon?

Now back to my New Year’s quest to shift the 4 extra stone that my lovely Doctor insisted I was carrying………

I knew from my days at the Ballet School, that it was important to identify all the triggers that tempted me to over indulge. Mine have always been sweets and chocolate, chocolate in particular. So the temptation was duly removed. Every Snickers, Kit Kat and Boost bar, two boxes of Bendix mints and a large slab of Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut were ousted from the house forthwith and a promise made to myself not to weaken and buy more. The Doctor had forbidden alcohol on account of my blood pressure and of course, chips or take-away of any variety was banned.

A trip to the supermarket followed. I stacked my trolley with vegetables of every variety and made sure that I bought all the fruits that I liked in order to please my sweet tooth. Better by far to eat the natural sugar in fruit than the mass of refined sugar to be found in chocolate bound together by oodles of pure fat. I bought skimmed milk instead of semi-skimmed and as much lean meat and fish as I could afford. Sweet potatoes replaced ordinary spuds and brown pasta replaced white. I am not a bread eater, so that was not a problem and I love oat cakes and porridge so breakfast and lunch were easy. And that was that…. No gimmicks, no pills, no starvation. The equation is simple – cut down on what you eat and increase your exercise and sooner or later you will start losing weight…

I made myself take at least one long, brisk walk every day, sometimes two, covering three or four miles a day. To begin with it was hard and I was often tempted to give in, particularly when the weather was bad as I am a wimp in the cold or wet. But I am a force to be reckoned with when I get the bit between my teeth and I made myself persevere, willing myself forwards every day. After a week, the scales were quietly smiling at me and by the end of the first month they were positively beaming. There was no doubt about it, I was shrinking, much as a fine wool jumper put on a hot wash!

Along with my new walking regime I started to bowl three or four times a week which assisted me in more ways than one. Not only did it give me exercise, it helped me meet and make loads of lovely new friends who welcomed me to the club and soon made me feel at home. It kept me busy, relieving boredom and of course, whilst I was out of the house, it removed me from the temptations of over eating. My Doctor thoroughly approved of my new hobby and prescribed as many trips to the Bowls Club as possible. Very soon my blood pressure problems were behind me completely and I felt energized and healthy again.

As the pounds fell off, so my mood lifted and in early February I started to paint once more. It is hard to describe how much this meant to me. My painting nourishes my soul but when my soul is grieving or under stress, I find it incredibly difficult to produce a single stroke and cannot put brush to paper at all. By the end of February, not only had I lost almost two stone in weight, I had completed PANSIES, my first painting for many months and the first of a series of flower paintings entitled THE FOUR SEASONS, which inspired the entire concept of SWANSONG CREATIONS.

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