It’s hard to believe what happened to me after my summer holidays. Although I came back mentally refreshed I seem to have had some massive breakdown in my immune system. I have issues with an eyelid infection and I have had more cold sores than I can remember for a long while. Luckily my problems are more cosmetic than serious and I haven’t let it upset my goal of getting back into shape as quickly as possible.
After I got back from Ireland it was easy to set the mental switch from gluttony to denial. As with all of my successful diets porridge is a key component I brought back some Flahavan’s Jumbo Oats with me. With porridge as my daily breakfast I have been well set up for the day. The next change is that I restricted my bread intake to the minimum so I have either a ham roll or some crackers for lunch with a piece of fruit or some fruit and fibre cereal. I have been eating a normal dinner but with no sweet afterwards.
Not eating in the evening is always the hardest habit to break but it is so key to fat loss. I can easily eat more in the evening than in the rest of day combined. Even without chocolate or crisps I can but away bowls of cereal or slices of toast without a problem. Eating becomes a lazy pastime when you let it all go. Luckily I can reprogram my brain quickly and the hunger pangs are tempered with gallons of tea.
So far I have lost over two kilos. I was 79kg at the top but now I am under 77kg. I have been doing 100 press ups in sets of 20 for two out of every three days. I am getting to the gym as often as I can and I just changed my subscription so that I will be able to access gyms in more places where I will have time to kill. Since Luna will have more training with the national group it will be useful to be able to get some gym time in Amsterdam and Utrecht. I am glad that losing weight is still quite easy for me. I hate being overweight but sometimes sheer laziness prevents me from focusing on keeping in shape. I am glad to be on the right track again.
After missing out on the family get together in Portugal in May we really wanted to get to Ireland to catch up with the family. Although it wasn’t ideal to take a break again so soon after the summer holidays, last weekend was the only practical option.
With Ireland the quality of any visit is largely dependent on the vagaries of the weather. We flew into Cork and happily we were greeted by very fine weather. This time I took over the driving duties from Aga which was largely a bad idea. The car we were given (a Nissan Pulsera) really didn’t suit me mainly because of the lack of bite in the clutch so I kept losing traction when starting on the most minor of inclines. I think that I will get an automatic next time I rent in Ireland to cope with any hilly terrain.
We made good enough time the first day to be in Clare for an afternoon swim at Cappa. I was surprised that the girls were all brave enough to jump in as the water is much colder than the Med. On the Thursday we went to the White Strand for the day with my sister and her kids. It brought back a lot of memories from my own childhood. The beach is much smaller than I experienced it as a child but relative to my current size the relative proportions are probably changing the perspective. On Friday we went to the cliffs west of Kilkee. Normally we would go to Loop Head and the Bridges of Ross so the cliffs there were basically new to me. I had been driven along there in my childhood but any precise memories have been erased. There really were very few visitors considering how amazing the cliffs are. After the cliffs we met up with some friends in Kilkee and had a fish dinner at a local restaurant. On Saturday my middle sister took the girls and two of their cousins for an adventure day out so Aga and I went walking around Aylevaroo. My older sister cooked up some amazingly delicious curries for dinner. Actually we were spoilt with tasty food every day as my mother is a fantastic cook too.
It was a really fine break in Ireland. It was good that the kids got to spend some time with their cousins and for us all to connect with our family again. Everything will be starting up again soon with work and school and sports as normal so things are going to speed up again now that that the holidays are behind us.
I used to imagine that I could never be overweight if I didn’t drink alcohol since beer and all of the associated rubbish used to contribute directly to any excess baggage I was carrying. The key to slimming down in the past was cutting out the booze and getting to the gym. Unfortunately I didn’t account for age effects when I was looking at this from my egotistical twentysomething viewpoint. As it turns out you ideally need to eat less and less every year just to maintain a stable shape/weight.
All of my adult life I have been yoyoing but at least the extremes have become less dramatic. Especially since giving up alcohol completely two years ago the top of the cycle has stayed under 80 kilos but I haven’t managed to get to a stage where I can prevent the gain/loss cycle. It’s all down to my rat-like addictive tendencies. There is almost nothing that I like that I can eat or drink in moderation. That means that I have to cut out chocolate, crisps, pastries, cakes etc. completely or I ended up consuming way more calories than I burn in the gym. The other thing that is much clearer in my forties is that going to the gym only helps burn some excess calories but if you are putting in way more than you are burning you can still pile on the flat.
My big goal in the next while is to lose at least five kilos so it’s going to be a case of cutting out the rubbish and getting back into some kind of shape. There is nothing like beach time to remind you when you are getting too big for comfort.
We had a fine breakfast before leaving for the airport. As usual I was having a fight with my natural instincts to go overboard with trying to prevent a breakage on the part of the kids. It’s something that wears me with having a hire car too. I know how pedantic they can be about the smallest scratch and when you hire from a price leader you have to be prepared to pay for any minor damage. This time all was in order and we were nicely on time for our flight. Ljubljana has a small airport which makes it very convenient as a starting point.
Traveling with children is a real up and down experience. It is the penalty for bringing children up in a relatively privileged environment that they show incredible inflexibility at times. It drives me nuts if they won’t just eat a small sandwich they get on the plane and then complain about wanting something that they ‘like’. It’s such a strange idea. Most of the world is confronted on an ongoing basis with the reality of being deprived of choice and then a tiny minority of mankind has this sense of entitlement.
We have a long layover in Zürich so it’s going to be a long day but we are halfway home now and the holiday had not hitches which is just what you need when so many of the details are planned so far in advance and you worry that you might have missed something important. It’s hard to believe that I used to turn up in random cities in the evening without even thought about where I would have a bed for the night.
Despite the sultry heat I managed to sleep well in our little house with just enough room for five. We spent the evening before in the mountain village. we had dinner at a Slovenian restaurant and shared a platter groaning with various meats and vegetables. It was really delicious and the owner was really friendly and helpful. After dinner we sat outside relaxing in the garden until it was time for sleeping. The breakfast was pretty extensive this morning and set us up for the day.
The drive up to Lake Bled was smooth but it got really busy as we came into the town. We ended up parking by the old train station up top and coming down to the lakeside. It is really beautiful and that explains the enormous popularity with tourists. We met some RG friends from Holland which was really great fun. The girls got a chance to go out on the paddle boards and enjoy something a little bit different in the idyllic setting.
The last night on the island ended with plenty of tears. Each of the girls had a crush on one or more of the dance crew and it was like something from an American summer camp movie listening to them afterwards. God only knows what they will be like when they have a real holiday romance. It was also sad for Luna saying goodbye to the RG trainer in the crew as they had struck up that bond that there always seems to be between practitioners of that most elegant of sports.
We set off early for the ferry back to the mainland and we didn’t have long to wait before making the crossing. There were plenty of mad drivers on the road but we made it back to Slovenia in one piece. We are staying in a village in the foothills of a ski resort and it is quite peaceful with some lovely views. We will go to Lake Bled tomorrow to enjoy our last day on holidays. We have certainly experienced a lot and it was the right time to get away. I am sure that I will be back in Croatia before long.
Today is our last day out here on the island. The girls don’t want to go back but I am ready to leave now. It’s been really nice and I want to come back to Croatia but this is probably the last time we will go to a family hotel. The older girls are more self sustained now and Nadia adopts their ways by default. There are a lot of babies and worn parents around. I like being a parent but I don’t really like the ‘parent’ look. Now that our kids are reaching the twenties it will be nice to go into another zone without screaming babies and bits floating around the pool (I swam in the sea exclusively to avoid that). I swam with the three girls out as far as the buoy today which took it out of Luna and Nadia. Daisy had no trouble though, she is an all weather swimmer. She reminds me the most of my younger self.
I am really positive about the Croatians we met though. They are a more optimistic type of Slav, like the Polish but without all the ennui. There is lot more to see in Croatia and I really like the language. We just got a small taste of the country this time, it would be great to explore more so maybe bringing our own car the next time would be the key.
I am glad that my brain has recovered and I have had a chance to study some Japanese and read all of my German magazines. It scares me when my brain refuses to engage. It’s good to be committed to work but it can’t eat up your essence or you end up living to work rather than working to live. This holiday came at the right time.