First week at the gym


I did my two gym sessions this week!

As mentioned in challenge 3 I joined the gym at work about a month ago and started a gym routine before Christmas. As I didn’t go into work during Christmas I had a break of about 10 days (but went swimming and did a 12 mile walk during the Christmas break).

I got straight back into the gym this week and did my two sessions. OK, this isn’t a big deal for many people but I’m hoping that posting updates from time to time will keep me motivated…

The main reason for limiting my gym sessions to two per week is because I work from home a couple of days a week so I’m often only in work for 2 – 3 days. On my work at home days I’ve taken up swimming at lunchtime as otherwise I spend 8 hours sitting in the same spot and barely moving (and feeling like a cross between a wallowing hippo and a sloth…)

At the moment my gym routine is fairly basic:

  • Rowing machine: 10 minutes
  • Cross trainer: 10 minutes
  • Cycle: 5 minutes
  • Weight exercises: 20 minutes
  • Treadmill: 15 minutes

A cardio warm up at the beginning, followed by a weight session and ending with a warm down. Mixing several exercise machines throughout the session stops me from getting bored and also exercises different muscle groups.

My swimming routine:

  • Fast walk to the pool: 15 minutes
  • Swimming (a mix of breast stroke and back stroke): 30 minutes
  • Fast walk back from the pool: 15 minutes

Rather than take the car and swim for an hour, again so I don’t get bored with the monotonous up and down the pool swimming lengths I prefer to gain the full hour of exercise from a combination of fast walking and swimming!

I hope I can keep this up throughout 2018… I am certainly feeling much more energetic even after 4 weeks!







Detox Day 1

Weight: 9 st 10 lb

So this morning I started my one week 800 calorie detox!

I set out with an ambitious menu plan for the next 3 days (as devised by me… I am not a dietician or nutritionalist and it might not be the healthiest…)


Day 1: Wednesday

2 x scrambled eggs and a handful of blueberries (250 calories)

Raw organic peppers with hummus (200 calories)

Home made broccoli and Stilton soup (350 calories)

Added 2 squares of dark chocolate, a handful of unsalted nuts and a vegetarian (mushroom based) sausage to bring the calories to 1150… (see below)


Day 2: Thursday

Plain porridge with raspberries and blueberries (200 calories)

Plain yogurt and a handful of mixed nuts (200 calories)

Home made sweet potato curry (400 calories)

+ 350 calories!


Day 3: Friday

2 x hard boiled eggs (200)

Pret salad (250)

Tuna steak and roasted vegetables (350)

+ 350 calories!


Saturday to Tuesday TBC…


Day 1 (Wednesday) review:

Today began well and, even though I felt hungry, I religiously stuck to the scrambled eggs for breakfast and hummus for lunch with just water and organic fruit tea to drink.

I went swimming at lunchtime but by about 3 pm with zero coffee and zero carbs I had an awful crashing headache and started to question why I am putting myself on an 800 calorie per day detox???

I’ve successfully lost 7 lb in the last month with increased exercise and improved eating. I am pleased to have lost this weight particularly as the last month included Christmas with the usual festive temptations. I’ve therefore decided already that cutting down to 800 calories, even for a week, is too low for me. I’m not sure how people on the 8 week blood sugar diet can manage this for 8 weeks! I am hoping I can continue to lose weight and achieve my goal of 9 stone without taking drastic measures.

In addition, the main purpose of this detox week is to give my body a break from alcohol and chemicals (such as those found in processed food) and to give myself a healthy start to 2018 and my approach towards turning 50…

I’ve read several articles recently which have linked drinking coffee to a longer life expectancy. I suspected that having no coffee today may have contributed to my afternoon headache and sure enough, as soon as I had a cup of coffee, the headache disappeared about 20 minutes later.

I’ve therefore tweaked my January detox by now including 2 cups of coffee each day and increasing the calorie count to 1150. Everything else will remain the same… and most importantly I am aiming for zero alcohol for a week!



Preparing for the Detox…


Good question…  why do I want to detox? I am hoping a week or so of giving up all nasties from my diet will continue to motivate me towards a healthier future. I’ve read conflicting articles to suggest either the liver and kidneys are super efficient organs which don’t need detoxing or others which strongly recommend regular strict detoxing plans with weird drinks and things to ‘clear and refresh your gut’.

As with many health ideas there is never any conclusive evidence of what is right and what is wrong however if nothing else, surely giving up alcohol and adopting a super healthy diet for a week must be a positive thing?


Hmmm… another good question… I can’t start today, 1st January as I’ve already had two coffees (which are probably to be avoided). And you do need to think about and plan these things to ensure you have the necessary food in stock. You also need to consider how to manage your social life during the detox week… We have a shopping delivery tomorrow night so maybe 3rd January would be a good day?

Which one?

Following a recommendation from a work colleague before Christmas, this morning I eagerly downloaded the 8 Week Blood Sugar Diet book by Michael Mosley. Essentially this is a very low 800 calorie diet for 8 weeks which claims to reverse the negative effects of a high sugar western diet and lower one’s blood sugar levels. Apparently there is evidence to suggest that surviving on 800 calories a day is now a health benefit! I had previously understood this to be a damaging way to lose weight but the book says that as long as you follow some basic rules about eating more protein and less carbs, you will burn fat…

However after scrolling through and reviewing some of the recipes, I don’t think I can follow the suggested menu plans… firstly, they contain food items I don’t tend to eat (red meat being one) and secondly I would need a huge shopping order for all of the different ingredients and would either end up throwing most of it away or eating the same thing for 3 days running (and thus not being able to follow the different recipes for each day).

On balance with the suggestion by many that detoxing doesn’t make any difference and given I don’t want this to be all too time and life consuming I have decided to try a combination of both this diet and Juliette’s Weight Loss Resources 7 day detox plan.

I am hoping the combination of the low carb/800 calorie blood sugar plan with some of the sensible ideas of Juliettes plan will result in a healthy start to 2018. (And hopefully an additional couple of lb’s being shed this week…)

Personalised detox

So… here is my one week detox plan:


  • Lots of vegetables and salads of any kind
  • Home made soups
  • Low sugar fruit (blueberries, raspberries etc)
  • Smoothies (small ones)
  • Oily fish (tuna, salmon etc)
  • Quorn
  • Free range chicken
  • Free range eggs
  • Beans and lentils (kidney beans, chick peas etc)
  • Unprocessed natural oats
  • Unsalted nuts
  • Dark chocolate (small amounts)
  • Natural yogurt
  • Occasional small amounts of wholewheat pasta
  • Herbal or fruit teas
  • Water



  • No alcohol, coffee or tea update: will permit myself two coffees a day!
  • No sugary drinks
  • No processed food
  • No high sugar or dried fruit (bananas, raisins etc)
  • No breadcrumbed or battered food
  • No pastries, cakes, biscuits or sweets
  • No bread, white rice or white pasta


Organic where possible and with an attempted limit of 800 1150 calories a day… (800 is just too low for me…)







Looking forward to Portugal


Travelling is the greatest passion of my life so many of my 50 challenges and experiences this year will be travel related. The first one is to Portugal’s Algarve for a few days with Chris, my husband.

My Dad and step-mum retired to the Algarve a few years back and live in a lovely spacious apartment in Lagos. I’ve been to see them several times and January is often a great time of the year to visit. If we’re lucky we will experience a little slice of warmth and sunshine and an escape from the usual cold grey English weather. (Although even if it is cloudy,  January in the Algarve will be at least 10 degrees warmer…)

Compared with the busy summer months, January is also lovely and quiet with few tourists. The beaches west of Lagos are breathtaking with wild sweeping sandy bays and spectacular rock formations.







January weigh-in

OK, so I’ve made a commitment to myself to get to a weight of 9 stone and actually stay there for a year in the hope it will turn into a long term habit!

Since the age of 15 my weight has yo-yo’d up and down between a svelte and somewhat skinny 8 stones to a rather more cuddly 10.5 stones. At only 5’3″ tall and of medium frame apparently at my age my target weight is 8 st 10 lb.

Various factors have influenced my weight fluctuations over the years but mostly it has followed a similar and rather neat orderly and circular process:

  1. Realise I’m getting a bit chubby and clothes becoming tighter
  2. Decide I need to ‘nip it in the bud’ and lose weight
  3. Lose weight
  4. Get to desired weight
  5. Get complacent and lose focus
  6. And back to 1 again…

This little cycle has been the summary of my weight for the best part of 35 years!

About 5 years ago I had a shift of mindset lightbulb moment and rather than dieting focused on the blindingly obvious “eat less and exercise more”. By making a conscious effort to have smaller portions and take up more exercise I actually managed to hover at around 9 st 2 lb for over 3 years.

However this became rapidly undone when my husband Chris and I spent 2016 travelling the world and before I knew it, I was at 10 stone again… and failed miserably to shift this additional stone throughout 2017…

So how can I reach a permanent and healthy weight of 9 stone?

With my 50th birthday looming I had a sudden desire to kick myself up the backside and shock myself into a healthy weight loss programme. This shock happened on 4th December 2017 when a health check at work revealed my weight had crept up to 10 st 7 (eek) and my cholesterol was on the border of high!

A bit of Googling suggested that a high cholesterol can lead to all sorts of unpleasant health issues most notably heart disease and strokes.

This, together with the desire to feel fitter, have more energy and generally improve my overall health prompted me to join the work gym (instantly) and take up swimming (the following week).

Since 4th December I immediately increased my exercise levels with gym sessions and swimming which motivated me to eat properly and reduce the alcohol, sugar and bad carbs from my diet.

So I’ve had a bit of a head start and thankfully I’m not starting 2018 at my highest ever weight!

Weight today: 9 stone 10 lb (62 kg)

Still a little way to go but I’m pleased with this… my next weigh in will be in February 2018…




Welcome to my blog!

Argentina road trip

Thank you for visiting ’50 at 50′ where to celebrate the year I turn 50, this significant milestone in my life, I decided to set myself 50 experiences and challenges.

Follow me on the journey through my year of turning 50 where I will post regular updates on each of the 50 challenges.

And hurrah… the first part of my first challenge i.e. setting up this blog is now complete!

The above photo was taken in November 2016 during an Argentinian road trip from Salta to Cachi. More information can be found at From Blue to Green

Do please leave any comments…