Monday, 27 August 2012

How To Keep The Pounds Off On Holiday: Climb A Mountain?

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I have a huge confession to make and that is, I did absolutely nothing to keep the pounds off on holiday!  Or should I say that I simply did not even think about it! My focus was to relax and completely enjoy beautiful Scotland. 

I ate two course meals and if I see another cooked breakfast in my life I think that I may have to scream from overindulgence!  Yet I am a little bit surprised to find that I weigh the same post holiday.

Here's how to do it.

I see no point in depriving yourself from tasty treats during your holiday.  If you take the same approach as me, make sure you slot in plenty of walking during the day to burn off the extras.  Always consider portion sizes.  It may take a minute to eat that chocolate bar, but at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise to burn it off.

For example, on arriving at Glasgow, we ditched the bags, threw on some comfortable shoes and walked around for at least an hour to soak in the views and to get to know the city.  The next morning we picked up a car to drive towards Isle of Mull, but we selected our car snacks thoughtfully.  Plenty of water, nuts, fresh fruit and a bit of chocolate.  The latter came in handy once we decided to climb Cobbler a couple of days later.

Car snack tip: always eat the fruit first, then the higher calorie snacks.  Cereal bars are useful too as they store well and can last for the duration of your holiday.  Always remember to screen your labels.  Yes you are on holiday, but your heart never misses a beat.

You will love being active on holiday.  It really makes you feel like you've 'earned' that fabulous meal you are about to have.  We did a couple of walks.  The first was in the area of Fort William and led to this beautiful waterfall.

Our second walk was up a mountain called the Cobbler.  The climb and descent took us nearly 4 hours, which includes photo stops and moments of sheer panic on the eerie 'staircase' that eventually led to some spectacular views of towering mountains and Loch Long (or a Loch of some description).  The staircase is actually a steep path created by slabs.  Tricky and slippery when wet.

It's worth the climb as the views are truly amazing, exhilarating and you'll have a sore bottom to remind you of the great climb the next day!

For anyone interested, here are some of the shots from our climb.  The first photo illustrates some of the first views from as early as 10 - 15 minutes into the path.

At this point you will feel relaxed and happy, cocooned with a false sense of confidence that the climb will be a piece of cake!  

Below are more photos.  Although we were lucky for a sunny and bright start, we did experience cloud and rain along the way.  The rays of sunshine depicted in the photo below still made the experience magical and so beautiful.  Your heart will truly be warmed just by watching the 'sun rays'.  Enjoy my 'rays of light' as I call it.  Can you see it?  We may still be walking through the 'forest' at this point.

Almost half way there, I really was not expecting to climb to the top of the summit.  I am terrified of heights, but the lovely purple littered path still made me feel safe and enticed to continue.  Such picturesque peaks!

If you are fit, enjoy the climb as you will be rewarded with plenty of monstrous views that will completely take your breath away.  For the rest of us, it is tiresome and a tiny bit more challenging if you are afraid of heights.  The only advice that I can share with you is to relax, take your time and try to enjoy the experience as much as you can.  The only thing that got me through the staircase was the Frenchman gripping my hand (or was it me gripping his..?).  Either way, I am so glad I did it.  The uphill climb is fantastic for a bootilicious bottom ladies!

I did threaten to throw tantrums when the Frenchman persisted that I continue the ascend.  I really was completely consumed with fear at one point.  I feel incredibly silly and ashamed now but very thankful that I didn't give in to my fears and reached the top.  It is such an incredible feeling when you reach the peak.  You feel proud and speechless as you take in the views of water, mountains, sky and even clouds as they fog up your view but it is at this moment when you realise that every step truly was worth it.

Very thankful that I ate that cooked breakfast.  I needed all of my strength and courage to get  here.  On reflection, physically this was not a demanding climb but mentally this was one serious challenge.

As the clouds and rain took over, we knew that we had to stuff at least half a sandwich into us rapidly and then retrace our steps back down the cobbler.

As we stepped off the final slab on the 'staircase', I rewarded myself with a cadbury flake.  Well deserved I thought.  Besides I needed something to stop the shakes.  

My favourite moment as we descended the mountain was when this beautiful rainbow appeared from absolutely nowhere!  Just amazing.  It really makes you feel like the luckiest person in the world.  Exercise truly is possible on holiday and who knows what your adventure will lead to?

Can you spot the rainbow?