Push and pull

I have been very, very good for five or six weeks. No bread, no sugar, nothing with flour and no alcohol. It has not been fun.

The office is awash with morning teas that I have valiantly avoided and although my trousers feel a little looser around the thighs and bum, my waistband still fits. It is slow work compared to the last time I made a big effort at the end of my thirties when I shed around 3 stone (20 kgs) in 12 weeks. I really do not feel halfway there right now.

My knee has been less painful and I hope it is because there are fewer kilos pressing down on it, but any weight loss is certainly not as a result of any activity I have been doing. The other day, I accidentally discovered that my iPhone has been tracking my steps after I recently upgraded my work device to an iPhone 5. (Yup, a 5 – no danger of my headphone jack disappearing anytime soon).  Anyway, it appeared to have a native app that tracks my steps and as my phone is rarely out of my hands or pocket, I was disappointed, but frankly not surprised to see I was only averaging 6000 steps a day. All I would need to do would be to replace driving the dogs to the park twice a day with walking – but now that my knee seems to have settled I was a little reluctant to risk stressing it out.

Still nothing ventured… I will have to walk all day, every day in a few weeks and right now the local parks are dotted with plump figures in ugly oversized T shirts and Lycra puffing up and down in an effort to regain their pre-winter fitness. Today I decided to become one of them.

I started in the morning by walking the dogs down to the park and back. My reward was the sight of some Spring pansies – a flower I used to see a lot in England but is less common here. I love their two-part, two-tone heads and their bright purples and yellows. Plus a score of nearly 6000 steps. My knee felt a little achy but was OK.

The next bit was trickier. Before my operation, I used to take the dogs on a much longer walk on the weekend – around five kilometres, or three miles in the old money. It was a largely urban route, describing a large square, the third corner of which ends at the park I was at this morning. It usually chews through at least one podcast and ensures the dogs will want a good dinner and an early night.

I took a couple of paracetamol before I set off and was glad I did, because it became immediately clear that my first challenge was not going to be the distance, but the excitement of my dogs, who instantly remembered every house with dogs on the route and pulled like Huskies to get there. Without the benefit of a sleigh, I found myself leaning back at about 45 degrees to try and counter their enthusiasm as I was dragged, limping  at speed along the pavement.

Fortunately, this lasted only a kilometre and then they began to settle down, but it did mean that my knee was pretty tired and achy around halfway in. Still, it was perfect walking weather and I had plenty of entertainment to listen to. I pulled the small bottle of water from my bag, had a sip and poured a little into a bag, which I used as a makeshift water bowl for Archie who had seriously miscalculated his own stamina and drank it gratefully.

Slightly rested, we carried on through the parks and home. Chicken and rice for the dogs, who are now fast asleep, and an ice pack for my knee. My first time out on that walk for a while, but my phone tells me all I need to know: 14, 658 steps.

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