Friday, 26 December 2014

Christmas 2014

Go me!
I have lost 7 lbs this month.
Totally awesome.
And have not felt hungry. :)

Christmas was great. My brother came to visit, and we watched movies, ate good food because I was cooking, and went on a walk in the park.

I've had my two days of eating more carbs than usual. Tomorrow it is back on the low carb high fat primal/paleo lifestyle. This time with more walking. Am determined to get used to walking to the pool by the end of the year. So I can start the year with a swim!

Getting a denture for my missing front tooth too. That should be an interesting development. Muffled talking, mpfff mpff. And perhaps some new lenses for my glasses.

My love life continues apace - no body special, just all guys. I'm going to kiss a few and see if they'll become princely or become frogs. And I'll be enjoying myself, because I have decided just to take them at face value, because they are not ever going to be more important than me.

Yes. I am the centre of my universe. I am the person that matters. In this life, I am it. I think life is about to get quite interesting from now on.

I do want to be an occupational therapist, so getting that route mapped out and financed is my next step. And a job. Another couple of months of getting fitter and more stamina and I should be ready for anything. Viva me!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

30 days of low carb high fat - awesome!

Have done a whole month now.
Amazing me!
Have lost 5 lbs, maybe more when I get myself weighed tomorrow at the pharmacy.
I feel better.
I look better.
I got lots of compliments recently, which have boosted my self-esteem.
And the best thing is, I have found it easy.
Yes, 90% easy.
My only difficult day was going out to pizza express, but that was ok in the end because I counted it towards a 20% non paleo/primal allowance which I hadn't really been using.
I've found aiming for 1800 has resulted in my eating less habitually, and a little more on some days.
So there has been a bit of cycling of the calories and carbs.
Keeping the body on its toes :)

Now for the start of the walking.
Got to build on this. Some walks now between Xmas and New Year.
Then I start a Whole 30, that is low carb, high fat without dairy (except ghee), sugar & alcohol.
Hmm, going to miss milky tea, cheese, sour cream, yoghurt, cream & my little bit of cooking alcohol.
But have eaten like this for a couple of weeks before. It isn't a hardship.

An example:
Eggs cooked with butter, sliced tomatoes, fruit tea
smashed sardines in own oil, lemon juice, ground black pepper, chopped cucumber & radishes
chicken breast, pan fried with coconut oil, green beans, baby carrots, butter
Hmm, sub the butter with ghee (must buy ghee)
Drink lots of water
Remember my EPA, multivitamin+iron & BP drugs.

Hmm, Christmas week coming up. We are having ice cream cake. Rhubarb fool. And possibly creme bruleé. That will be the most puddings I've eaten in a while :)

Am hoping to lose a stone and a couple of pounds by the end of Feb.
Going to see what I can do. And how good I'm going to look!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Empowerment for all body types

Bringing back the sass

I've spent, its seems, almost all my life bemoaning and being ashamed of the fact that I was always, always bigger than the norm. Forever trying to make myself slimmer looking, slimmer in truth, hiding my body, disguising it with dark clothes, loose clothes, always wearing frumpy stuff which skimmed and hid. Slouching. Being a smartarse, to deflect attention from my body. Hiding in plain sight. Standing behind people in photographs. Trying always to take up less room in this life. Minimizing myself.

It has coloured my life, this dissatisfaction about my wieght & rotundity and affected my self-esteem a lot. Probably was the reason I was sexually promiscuous at an early age when really none of those boys ever made me feel special. Looking for validation in the wrong places.
And so it continued through 3 long term partners and lots of shorter affaires, flings, one night stands. Every one of those men, always commented on my fat, and how I would be happier if I just lost a little, what a sweet, pretty face I had, mention pop stars who might have similar features but be half my size, mention liking stuff like tight bottoms, tiny light women they'd dated before...a veritable stable of little pricks and pokes and sharp little digs to prickle through my fat self as unworthy, unpretty, not as good as all those other women they discussed. And I never realised it as put downs, just as advice on how to become prettier etc., merely internalizing it, and subconsciously eating away the hurt and putting it under more fat to protect my self from it.

All that changed earlier this month, when I encountered a man who absolutely loved every curve, every roll, every pound of me. Just exactly as I am now. Yes, my currently size 26/28 self. That one with the enormous bum, massively wobbly thighs, and arms like fat joined sausages. He adored my stomach, gulped and sighed over my bum, was awed and blissed out holding my soft self to him. It was a total revelation to me. Not one of my lovers previous to this one had ever celebrated my body in such a way. And it made me feel so beautiful, and for the first time in my life, I felt sexy, truly and utterly. And free. Free to be entirely myself, without trying to position myself so my body looked 'better'. Without feeling I had to perform for him, to ensure he had the best sexual time as a compensation for being with fat unlovely me, because it was untrue. He felt he was the lucky person, and that was so gloriously sweet. And I am smiling even now while I think of this. If nothing else, this man did me the biggest good turn of his life, he gave me back my confidence in myself, without my having to change one iota of my being. And for that he defininitely deserves his place in my hall of heroes.

From this, I have had the confidence to be myself in almost every thing I have done since. I've been sassy. I've been sociable. I've gone out and done stuff unthinkable of just 6 months ago. Perhaps part of it is that after a long period of depression my chemicals have rearranged themselves. Or it was just time for my brain to re-engage in life. But these last 3-4 weeks, which coincided with my going back on the paleo/primal bandwagon have been the best weeks in the last 5 years. Even if I encounter any fat-haters from now on, this memory will be one that will make me feel great, and know that I am just fine, whatever size I am.

So, thank you, Harry, I will always cherish your memory, sweet man.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Yay! Downsizing again

Am downsizing again, finally.
These three weeks of eating low carb, high fat, moderate protein have finally paid off.
Hopped on a scale last week, and was sadened to see I weighed 343 lbs with my clothes & boots on. Must have gained a whole lot more than I thought, with my 3 months of carb ingesting overeating :(

This week, the scale told me I'd lost a whopping 5 lbs! :D :D :D
Worth every day of feeling less than great last week.

Am back on the doxazosine. 2mg this week. Next week 2mg twice daily. Week after 2mg once & 2x2mg once. Week after that 4mg twice daily. Doc is determined to bring down my blood pressure which was a scary 165/109 last week.

I've been out and about. A little walking. Being on the doxazosine has resulted in my feeling faint, tired and dizzy a lot of the time. No energy. Plus nauseated, and feeling sick after eating :( Hopefully I will stabilize and none of those will affect me once I am used to the meds again.

Love life news: the man I want isn't responding to me, so I'm sad. The guys I don't really care that much about text and call me...oh well. Time anyway to get sorted for Christmas. It is just around the corner suddenly :) Family are coming to visit me, I hope this year.

Home made decorations this year - crepe paper chains (I found a load of art materials), a spray painted branch Xmas tree, or maybe this year I will make a pagan style ball and fill it with greenery, fruit, spices and berries. And make the house smell nice with cinnamon and oranges, yummy!

Monday, 1 December 2014


I'm enjoying myself at the moment, chatting to various men on a dating website. Something I haven't done in a long long time.

Currently I'm intrigued by one, being semi-pursued by another, and have the tender sensibilities of another to assuage. To none of these men have I promised anything apart from a chance to meet me. Yet for the first I am really hopeful. Because he is funny and cute. And I'm very much attracted to his picture. And his lovely voice. Yes, I know men post the best photo they have, and yes, they sometimes lie. I like him, his personality very much. The second man is also lovely, he is a teaser, I would like to meet him. But I don't have the same fizzing excitement as I do with the first. The third, well, I think he needs a friend. I could be surprised and find he astounds me. I won't know that till I meet him in person.

It is nice all this. After so many years of feeling miserable, this optimism and acceptance of whatever might or might not transpire is heady. And what I find the most amusing is that I have only lost 6% of my bodyweight. And have lost a front tooth. I have a long way to go yet, and I may never go out with any of these guys. But for now the anticipation of meeting is sweet and I am enjoying myself.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

1800 - week one

Did pretty good this week. Mostly lower than 1800. Low low carbs. Plenty of fat.

Coupled with lots of distractions, I wasn't so obsessed with food.
A good thing.

So, perhaps it is time to get weighed.
Dentist & Optician this week.
Dentures? New glasses?
I have another date.
Life is good.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

1800 calories HFLC - weekend start

I track food, calories and macros over at MyFitnessPal, which has been ultra helpful in showing me just where I need to concentrate on improving. High fat, low carb has worked for me recently, getting me a 19 lb loss over 3 months, so it is worth doing. Going back to eating carbs was a mistake I paid for with feeling bad, feeling out of control and stopping my exercising vibe. Hmpf. So I'm booting them out again, except for one day a week when I will allow myself to eat anything I like without calorie or carb restrictions. With my altered tastebuds and now hopefully more shrunken stomach, I'm sure of a good result and trust myself to be reasonable with this. If I do overindulge, it is just one day.

Since I'm being mostly sedentary, I've decided to give myself a boost on the weight-loss path with a lower calorie allowance. 1800 calories is do-able and allows me to have decent sized meals and no guilt. I'm big enough that I will lose easily on this even without exercising - which currently I don't seem to be able to make myself do as yet. (it's that agrophobia thing and a general reluctance to leave the house - must do something about that)

Sat -10 am and have already eaten half the new daily calories! Well, have to start somewhere. Macros good so far.
Had chicken with mushrooms in sour cream sauce & lovely crunchy red radishes for breakfast - who cares about conventional breakfast food :)

I counted 3 snacks as lunch - 4 whole walnuts (cracked open and the nutmeat taken out as nuts SHOULD be eaten, not guzzled easily from a plastic packet...), 95g of nice mature cheddar, then another 4 walnuts.
Still raining, rain expected over the whole weekend.
Must get out and do some snipping. Rose bush is growing while I skulk in the house...
Did not emerge from the house. Must do better with the exercise. People coming by on Monday, so house cleaning & some garden tidying might be a good idea.

7.30pm Had black pudding, fried eggs and fried streaky bacon for dinner. Have now used up all my 1800 calories. Now to drink water until tomorrow or midnight :)
Macros at this point: 67.5% fat, 25.3% protein, 4% carbs
This would be a good day in Dr Bernstein's book. Am going to try incorporating a few more veggies tomorrow.

Yay! Did good yesterday! Managed to keep to my 1800 calorie limit, rah rah rah! No snacking between my last meal on Sat and this morning. I drank some water, and slept at a decent hour.
Also, even though I didn't hit the 135g ideal macro for protein, I did eat decent protein at every meal - had lean chicken, nuts, cheese, eggs and bacon.
Didn't wake up with a headache this morning too. A big plus day :D :D

noon - made a early lunch since I didn't have breakfast. Too busy chortling over my success yesterday. Lamb loin chops from the butcher at Tesco, lots of fat as well as meat, yummy, pan fried in a little ghee. Tossed in the shredded red cabbage, a couple of tablespoons of white wine vinegar to counteract the fat, sour cream and water to make a sauce. Delicious.
5.30pm - nearly half a day's calories still to eat. Carbs so far: 15g

Update rest of day later.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Symbolic gestures

This morning I woke up with this thought: I must get rid of all the starchy carbs in the house.
It doesn't feel right to me, to throw away good food. But much like giving up cigarettes all those years ago, this action is right.

Symbolism has a big impact on my psyche. When I made the true decision to quit smoking, rather than the lip service of 'after this pack has finished', I still had most of a pack of cigarettes left. I methodically, and ceremoniously soaked and shredded each stick and ripped the box into little pieces. When they were nothing more than a mass of sopping wet bits of paper, filters and shreds of tobacco, I threw it all into the bin, telling myself this was it. My first day of many being a non-smoker. To help me too, I immediately put away all the rest of the smoker paraphernalia - ashtrays, matches, lighters, and vowed to myself that my home was now a smoking-free zone. It took me a while to lose the craving, and I did backslide now and then. But the end result is today I am a non-smoker. I don't have cigarettes in the house, I prefer my friends who do smoke, to smoke out in the garden, and I smell so much better these days :) Success!

So, despite my qualms about throwing away good food, I am prepping myself to do this. It has to be a fairly dramatic gesture for it to make an impact on my subconscious. And a symbolic date too. That is the key, I believe, to my success in changing my diet and lifestyle forever. Because I don't want to be the diabetic, high blood pressure, asthmatic sufferer any more. I saved my lungs before, I can save the rest of me again.

As it is dry food, perhaps to salve my conscience I will put it all into the garden where it can feed little creatures in the ground while it rots down. I've just had a flash thought of a Ancient Greek tale of Psyche's trials set by Aphrodite, one of them involved sorting out a mess of mixed grains and pulses...and she was helped by little creatures :)

Goodbye basmati rice, you big sackful, you! Goodbye flour, I shall miss making bread with you - maybe one day long into the future we'll meet again occasionally. Goodbye pasta, oh, how I will miss you, my favourite - but I have managed these few weeks without you already.

My ceremony is going to have stages this time. Clearing my cupboards. Pouring all those foodstuffs together in a heap in the garden and mixing it with compost. Then digging it into the earth once it has rotted down a little. I'm not throwing away good food, I am returning it to the earth, where it will feed the ground and eventually feed my plants - giving me beautiful flowers and fruit. Psychologically this will help my mind to accept this behaviour.

Why has this come to a head now? I have noticed that instead of getting smaller, my arms seem to have gotten bigger, bulkier and the skin feels tight on them. My thighs have expanded, and also feel tight. My belly has lost that loose skin feel it had three months ago. Although I have changed my habits and generally don't eat as much starchy carbs as before, I still have access to them in my home. It is time to gather all those remaining bags and pack them off. It is time to make a clean break finally. It is time to give myself another gift of good health :)

Friday, 14 November 2014

My sooper-dooper bread rolls

My bread rolls turned out great this time. Baking is a chancy business for me, sometimes I get great results, sometimes not so great. It is probably due to the fact I never seem to follow a recipe twice...or I'm ad-hoc-ing some of the ingredients!

Made these last night because I had a real craving for bread and there was none in the freezer. This recipe was a success :) Sort of a combination of classic dinner rolls and artisan no knead high liquid method. Possibly too because I allowed the dough to rise 3 times and baked them in a properly hot oven.

Super-dooper bread rolls - 16

650g Sainsbury strong white flour,
1 tsp Sainsbury Basics fine salt
2 teaspoons Silver Spoon caster sugar (mine is scented with vanilla beans in the jar I keep sugar in)
1 packet Tesco instant yeast (7g)
200ml cold Tesco whole milk (homogenized - what is it with this practice??)
200ml just boiled hot water
2 tablespoons Farchioni Il Casolare Extra Virgin Olive oil (this was the ad-hoc, I simply glugged in the oil, so could be more or less)
additional sprayed oil on the parchment lined pan (I used Filippo Berio EVO pump action spray bottle)
1-2 tablespoons sunflower oil for kneading

Whisk all dry ingredients together in large wide mouthed bowl.
Combine all wet in a jug and whisk before pouring onto dry
Using fork or spoon, combine until dough comes together
Knead briefly with oiled hands in bowl - 1 or 2 minutes, scraping sides. Dough will be soft and a little sticky. Do not add extra flour. Form dough into a ball by pulling down sides to underneath.
Oil bowl and return dough, rolling in oil to cover all surfaces.
Using a large clean supermarket carrier bag, spray insides with a little oil, rub together to coat, then cover dough loosely.
Place in cold oven or similar draught free space for dough to rise - 90 minutes minimum.

Remove plastic bag, knock down dough, reshape, re-oil, replace oiled plastic bag cover and allow to rise again - 90 minutes minimum.

Spray oil onto parchment baking paper lining baking tray.
Remove dough from resting place. Remove plastic bag. Knead briefly.
Divide dough into 16 pieces ( I made this many because that was what fit my baking sheet).
Shape dough. (I made classic spheres)
Flatten each piece between palms, then form into a smooth ball by bringing edges together underneath and pinching and pulling in several times. Place on oiled baking pan, pinched side down so about 1 cm of space inbetween.
Shape all dough. Can snip or brush with egg wash, scatter with seeds, salt flakes, dust with flour now.
Cover with oiled plastic bag loosely and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

15 minutes before dough fininshed rising 3rd time, turn oven on to 225ºC.
Remove oiled plastic bag. Check dough has risen to twice the size.
Place in top 1/3 of oven, bake for 20 minutes. Tops will be nicely browned and bases will sound hollow when tapped. Rolls may have joined together depending on distance from each other. If you don't want this, use a bigger tray and space rolls far apart.
Remove, split rolls from each other and alow to cool on a rack for 10 minutes before eating.
Each roll is 174 calories, 29g carbs.

I've eaten 5 today and frozen the rest. :) They were fab warm from the oven with some fresh slightly salted butter. And just as good cold later on. The crumb was soft and open, crusts were crisp. Yummy. I'm going to try this again in a couple of weeks with chopped kalamata olives and a little extra EVO.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, I am pruning down my rose climbers and buddleia, and perhaps cutting down some branches from the eucalyptus, golden elm and apple trees. Perhaps strip back all the climbers on the chainlink fence. My plan is to chop and heap up stuff, then when that's all done, spend a couple of days moving the debris to the skip in easy bucket loads. When all of that has been cleared I can examine the fence and see how to dismantle one section so the shed can be delivered.

The last few days it has rained and rained and I have been feeling sad & blue. No rain, just clouds and sunshine predicted for tomorrow, yay!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Inspector Bird

We're getting a new shed, so today I've been in the garden moving stuff and clearing out the paved pad where it is going. As I was hauling all those big tubs, large bags of compost and picking up plastic plant pots and other paraphernalia I noticed someone was there. A little red breasted robin was only a metre away from me, hopping around, sitting on the branches of the overgrown rose climber - his beady eyes trained on my efforts. Inspector Robin Bird was a genial little companion to my afternoon exercise. I hope he got himself a good meal out of it - I certainly uncovered plenty of earthworms!

Today has been a carb blowout day - loads of sandwiches. Tomorrow I will be back on the primal wagon for a while.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Creak creak

I've had a busy couple of days. Manic cleaning, then today, walking around a garden centre. I haven't been so active in weeks. Had a good dose of Vitamin D despite the rain. I have sore muscles, sore feet, a sore back, and aching arms but I'm otherwise feeling great. :) And I have company and am being sociable, my sister is visting. Tomorrow I am seeing other relatives, and my fitbit is back online. Today's steps 1500. A good start from almost complete inactivity.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Wet and splooshy November

So here I am again. It's been a dreadful summer for me. I slumped into a depression that segued into feeling panicky about getting out of the house, kept putting off going shopping, cancelled appointments and basically hid under the covers. Not good. I'm feeling a little better now, because I have run out of meds, and I am almost positive being on them contributed to my slump and has probably contributed to my general meh feelings over the last few years since I started taking them.

Going to the doc tomorrow, going to ask for some help with the depression that's non-drugs, I'm also going to say that I want to try getting better without the meds, or just be on a small dose. Getting a new weight update too, I'm hoping for a same or just slightly higher number, because part of that depressive episode was feeling sorry for myself and eating stuff I really should have left on the supermarket shelf.

This last week I've been eating better. My mum told me my face looked a little thinner, yay for disappearing jowls! The fitbit will be back online too, so stepping out is my priority.

Its damp, wet and slooshy outside, but in here and in my head things are getting brighter. For inspiration I looked online at people who have rehabilitated themselves from tremendous odds. If they can do it so can I.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

British Summertime

I am back in the UK, and currently the weather is being gracious. Sunshine, minimal rain, temps in the low 20s. So this is good.

Am still recovering from the flight back and the jet lag, my sleep patterns are still a little all over the place. Catching up with all my medical tests, not so great, but walking to get them done, great :) The route up to the surgery is a nice one, lots of pretty plants to look at and during the morning the sunshine is ace. It also features a little bit of a slope which is still a challenge for me, but good for my heart function and lung function. Today I also went to the library, but since I was feeling a tad tired from not having any breakfast, (on account of doing a fasting blood test) I shelved the shopping till tomorrow.

I've a nice little list of NSVs too :)

My pants and underpants feel looser and much more comfortable. I can wear my XXXL T-shirt without stretching it at the bottom to fit over my hips. I can step into the bath without worrying about creaking noises from the tub. I can walk all the way up one flight of stairs using both feet instead of doing a step/rest/step/rest action. Losing 22 lbs since the start of March 2014 has given me so much more physical confidence in my body. I don't think I am snoring as much. I find it easy to get up from my ultra low sofa! And best of all, I no longer feel like a overstuffed sausage :)

I'm looking forward to an awesome summer of walking about, gardening, fixing up my house and getting fitter and healthier :)

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

High blood sugar and infections

This morning's blood glucose reading was 7.2 mmol/l. Certainly higher than I want, but thankfully not so high as it could have been, so I'm good. Illness causes stress, and stress can elevate blood sugar readings.
I have a pretty bad cold - sore throat, coughing, gritty eyes, blocked ear canals & sinuses & lots of feverish episodes (sweated buckets). Am still trying to keep as much within my low carb directives, but eating fat and protein is not palatable at the moment. Fruit seems to be what I crave, so fruit is what I am eating. And soups, and stews, courtesy of my lovely Mum. Chef is ill, so Mum is back in the kitchen, bless her.
My life has now narrowed down to lying down in darkened rooms, coughing, sneezing and feeling sorry for myself. This will pass, and hopefully next week I will be back in the pool.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Half a stone

Got weighed today at the local Tesco machine. Awesome result! I am now 7 lbs lighter than before.

Total loss now for this summer since end of March 2014 is 19 lbs.

I am nearly 2/3 of the way to my mini goal of 30 lbs lost. Yay!

Swimming is brilliant. I've got another few weeks here with Mum. Here's to another significant loss before heading back home.

Have been investigating how much it will cost to swim when I come back, definitely worth getting a monthly season pass if I am swimming more than 2x a week. As swimming is MY preferred activity to all other forms of exercise, this is worth investing in.

All other days I can go for a nice long walk for an hour around my local park. Weekends I'm going to attempt one big walk somewhere nice, where I can enjoy the scenery.

My next goal after getting to 30lbs lost is to get to sub 300lbs. Then I am getting back on my bike, yay!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Worries and Solutions

It's the 2nd of June and I have 3 and a half weeks more with Mum. I have been worrying of late about various things: that I don't want to leave her here by herself, what work I am going to do to support myself when I go back, how I can sustain the low carb eating and the exercise habits I have developed over the last two months. Most of it is needless. I know that I can always sell some possessions, I have too many anyway! Jobs may be scarce but knocking on doors, using my contacts and just plain applying for them is proactive and will keep me busy. The house itself could be a source of income, a housemate or two will certainly make things livelier and ease the financial strain. And Mum does have a support network of friends to keep an eye on her for a few months while I organize my life so I can return for a longer period.

Getting off my meds becomes even more imperative now. I'm disappointed that my blood pressure is still high. The last reading was a couple of days ago, 29 May, 149/88 for 68 beats/min heartrate. My fasting blood sugar reading is a little more encouraging down to 6.5 mmol/l from 1 June. I am pleased to note that on 28 May my widest part (hip and belly overhang!) measurement is now 66 inches and my waist is now 44 inches. I still feel heavy and lumbering, even though moving and getting up and walking up stairs is much easier now.

That last thought, about stairs. Maybe that is what I need to do, walk up a few flights of stairs every day. :) If swimming proves to be too expensive for me to do when I go back, walking and stairs will be my exercise. Parks and roads, towpaths are free of charge, days I have a bus ticket I can go somewhere different to my local places and still be able to get home without exhausting myself :)

I do love to swim though, so I am going to try and make that a priority in my budget and schedule.

My best scenario? No meds at all, not for hypertension or for diabetes. Eating low carb consistently, no wheat or gluten, no added sugar or excessive fruits, perhaps with some very low carb weeks and intermittent fasting. Having my finances sorted so my house pays for itself with some renters on a long lease so I can come back and stay with Mum while they are there. Finding a job or a career or building a business that I can do here and over there so I can support myself. In short, re-invent myself totally!

Heh. It's a tall order, but I can do it. Make small changes, make some big leaps, set some practical measures in place. Talk to my family, maybe they will have some good advice on how I can do this. Time to change my life around again in a major way.

The best thing is, now I do have the energy to do this.

Possessions weigh a person down. I'm going to pare mine down a lot. No doubt even after I have done my cull, I will still have lots, but it will be stuff that I can use when I come back. I'll hopefully choose some responsible housemates who will look after the house well. I'll think of some kind of business that I will enjoy and will allow me to live anywhere and still run it and make a living from it. And I get to be with my Mum.

I've just read through what I have written and laughing at myself. I am expecting a total transformation in two scant months? Hah, get real, doofus! It is going to take me a couple of years to really transform my body and my health. But the other stuff, the possessions and earning a living, that I can address now. A few months more getting healthier and maybe doc will reduce my meds or even take me off the diabetes stuff. Being fat doesn't mean my brain has stopped functioning, I can work, I just have to show people that I can. Millions of fat people have jobs. And I'm going to apply for lots. And think outside my narrow work thoughts box!

A zumba class might be fun to try when I go back, so doing some stair climbing and more walking this coming month is my addition to the 5x 1 hour swim weekly.

Writing about these worries has helped me pinpoint how to go about resolving them, instead of enlarging them in my mind to big hurdles. I'm not minimising those concerns, just making sure that my self, my subconscious gets the message that I can deal with it, and to pre-empt any tendency to go hide from the world again. I've got energy now, and the way to keep that momentum going is to keep plugging away at my present course, and start paying attention to other stuff so I can achieve this goal. So I've clarified to myself what I want to do next. So what I do next will be in support of getting to this goal.



Saturday, 24 May 2014

Feeling cranky

It's Saturday and I am feeling cranky. I ascribe this to not going swimming, eating carbs beyond my allotted higher threshold and snacking while indulging in my worst vice - late night reading! Lack of sleep can be laid at that last activity...perhaps my hormonal cycle plays a part as well. I'm normally quite even tempered but this last week I have been quite cranky and short-tempered with everyone!

The thing I can fix quickest is to just go swimming everyday, no matter how short the time. The pool and that water always makes me feel happy. Of course my happiness is at its highest if the pool is empty and it is a sunny day, but I will no doubt be feeling good just dipping into that lovely vat of blue for half an hour of moving my limbs in a vaguely swimming fashion. Note to self: attempt the pool everyday. The worst scenario, the pool is full of kids. The best, I arrive at a time they're all at lunch and I'm only sharing the pool with a few adults and their babies :)

Carbs - well, I've been letting sugar, starches and grains back into my menu that's why. If I get more strict about root veggies, starchy veggies and stop eating grains & sugar again, my carb count will go right back to sub 100g again. Maybe keep some veggie sticks for snacking on instead, so I get good carbs. Use that beautiful pesto we made last week with some home made mayo or sour cream dip for some healthy fats.

The reading is a habit I managed without for nearly a month. Perhaps doing some walking indoors listening to music will help me sleep, and save the reading for daytime hours. My sleep pattern has been erratic of late, got to sort that out. So much better to be awake from dawn than snoozing the coolest prettiest part of the day away. Dawn here is around 7ish anyway, so I'm not talking super early.

As for my hormonal cycle, I just wish my body would get on with it. Exercise definitely helps, and so does eating low carb, moderate protein, high fat, no added sugar, no gluten.

Intellectually I know all these things, and physically I know they all work well for my fitness and health. But sometimes that siren call of wheat, sugar and especially sweet wheat sugary food gets overwhelming. Good thing then that I have that 80% 20% rule. Today is in that 20% of eating just what I want, so perhaps that sort of eating has been contributing to my crankiness.

Ah, so good to vent into a blog about all these things that racket around in my brain. Some of it makes practical sense, others are just cathartic to remove into words.

OK, may be time to put on my sandals and just go for a little saunter around and build up some Fitbit steps. That way when I tuck into that yummy bread & butter pudding for dinner tonight I won't feel quite so cranky tomorrow!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Awesome Mums and being the one mile swimmer again

Yesterday I did it. After 4 days of inactivity because weekends I don't swim, was too tired Monday due to lack of sleep, and Tuesday it rained heavily all day, I was itching for some swimming. Yesterday the sun shone. And shone. And shone. The pool was beautiful, blue, and I was down there early, 10.30am. So I got in and swam. I swam my usual 40 lengths/1 hour. Then I thought, let's do another 10. I have this little trick of marking the limestone tile at the far end with a wet handprint at the end of each alternate 25m. So I counted 5 handprints. Then I thought, the sun is still shining, it is hot, the water is so cool and lovely, I want to stay here. So I did another 10. Beginning to feel a little tired and hungry. Again I thought I've done 60, might as well do the next four for a mile. And I did. I marked each end lap with a double wet handprint. It was sooooo satisfying! And I was totally chuffed to bits. :)

I've swum one mile!

Compared to me of 2 months ago, who could barely manage walking 100 yards without having to stop for a breather or to unkink her sore aching back, the me of today is totally bouncing with health. I can walk continuously at a slow but steady pace for over 45 minutes without any back pain. I can swim 40 lengths continuously easily and happily. And I swam a whole mile yesterday. Awesome. Just awesome.

Today I swam 44 lengths. I've noticed that I am now marginally faster, another bit of awesomeness for me :)

And I have just one person to thank for all this: my lovely Mum, who has encouraged me in my low carb high fat diet, who is always supportive even when I fall off my chosen path and who is always here to listen to my rambles about diet and fitness and who has even to adopted some of my new eating habits and is feeling better for it.

Here's to awesome Mums and being a one mile swimmer again.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Me in May 2014

Me at 343 lbs on 2 May 2014. Just so I have a record of what I look like now to how I will hopefully look like (smaller, slimmer, fitter, better hairstyle!!) next May. :)
top: the Kermit towelling djellaba
bottom: me at 343lbs

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

More pancakes and swimming times

On 23 April 2014 I recorded a loss of 10 lbs since the end of March, according to a weight & height machine at our local Tesco supermarket. So that is a total loss of 12 lbs in the year since 10 April 2013 which was when I first stepped on a scale after starting to log my eating on MyFitnessPal.
My highest weight during 2013 was 358lbs on 4 August 2013, and my lowest 349lbs on 5 July 2013.
Good to know my stats!

Since the end of March 2014 I've lost 1 inch off my hips, 1 inch off my waist & my neck is 1/8 inch smaller! Should have taken more measurements, but these will do for now.

From the end of April 2014, I've been swimming. The first week, I swam for half an hour for 2 sessions, then I did 40 minutes. I am S-L-O-W and a mite creaky still. This week I have managed 50 minutes and nearly an hour. Still slow, and I'm only just getting back into the swing of using those long unused muscles! It feels fabulous to be back in the pool too.

I have a great Kermit green towelling djellaba that my Mum made for me out of 4 towels. It is just the thing to slip over for traipsing through the condo paths back to Mum's flat. Soaks up all drips and best of all, preserves my modesty! Especially when waiting at the lifts with a load of contractors with wheelbarrows full of building sand (someone is refurbishing one of the upper flats)!

Today a friend of my Mum's and her son came to visit. He's just come back from his special vocational school where they taught him printing skills. However what he wants is to learn how to cook & bake. So today we made buttermilk pancakes with blueberries. First I showed him the Joy of Baking video on the internet. Then we wrote down the recipe on a piece of paper. In the kitchen he read out the ingredients and I collected them onto the table. Then he measured each one out, it was really sweet how much he was concentrating on getting it right! Dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in another. Melt butter in the microwave. Put the dirty cups and utensils in the sink yourself and not just give them to Mummy! Stir the dry ingredients so everything is well mixed. Mix the wet ingredients together as well. Then add the wet to the dry, and mix gently. Until you can see no flour. Then came the exciting part, the cooking! Grease the pan with the melted butter. Use the paper bundle. Keep the gas flame low. Lift one heaping spoon of batter onto the pan, spread it out gently patting it. No, not swirling it, it isn't thosai! Yes, like this, very good. Watch for the bubbles. See how the edges are getting a little dry. Take a peek under. If it is nice and brown, flip it over. Lots of praise for getting it right. And I got him to make most of the pancakes, and to decorate a few batches with blueberries. And to do the clean up! His mum was there giving him instructions in Chinese as well as me talking in English and Bahasa. It was a great session, lots of laughing, giggling and high fives on how great the pancakes were. A photo was taken of the finished product for posterity too :) My mum was really pleased as well, as this young man is someone she has known since he was a little 7 year old, and she used to teach him at catechism class on Sundays. He is now nearly 21 and getting interested in girls, so we do a little teasing now and then! He was telling my mum how at his school they have Phys Ed and how he hates doing press ups. I said he should carry on doing them because that will give him big muscles and all the girls will like him very much! He chortled so much at that idea, it was cute.

It has been a great 5 weeks being here. I feel great. I am looking better. My skin is thanking me daily, it has become lovely and soft, and now it is getting a bit of a tan, lots of Vitamin D. I think my belly is shrinking, it is early days yet. I do know that I now have bags more energy, I can walk continuously at a steady pace for 45 minutes when at the end of March I could only manage 5 minutes before having to stop for a breather or to sit down.

Wheat has been pretty much eliminated from my everyday eating. My added sugar consumption is quite low too. I had one pancake today, with blueberries in. I had a carb meltdown last Sunday, indulged in a lot of banana oatmeal choc chip sugar-free cookies and ate a load of Zip chocolate wafer bars, but the next day I got back on the Low Carb High Fat eating. Last month my carbs were generally below 100g, this week a little higher. I am eating rice, corn on the cob and sweet potatoes in moderation, these are good for days I do swimming. I still eat quite a bit of fruit which perhaps I need to cut down on, as they can trigger insulin and blood glucose spikes which isn't good for diabetics.

I've learned a little more about gluten free and low sugar cooking and baking. Some recipes have passed my Mum's taste and yumminess standards, others have been, maybe we won't have that again!


Tomorrow we are having banoffee pie. This will be made with a ground almond/honey/egg white crust, dulche de leche made in the oven this morning, fresh bananas dipped in lemon juice for a bit of zing and to prevent discolouration, whipped coconut cream and sprinkled with shavings of milk chocolate, as Mum doesn't like the 99% dark cacao Lindt bar that we have. It isn't low sugar, but as a one time treat I think it is great. I've done quite a few desserts now using coconut milk - mango ice cream, mango coconut jelly, coconut chocolate pudding. I've made amaretti and buttermilk pancakes. On Mother's Day Mum is getting churros with chocolate sauce and we are having moussaka, as she really likes aubergines cooked in olive oil. And I will make almond cake or lemon polenta cake for her soon.

The best thing about changing my eating habits? I've influenced my mum too, as she eats the food I make. Her GERD has improved, her continuous belching episodes have almost been eliminated, she is sleeping better and snoring less, she has only had one cramp attack. He blood sugar is down from 7mmol/l to 6 (it used to be 5.7 until recently) She has also found she is snacking less, and the snacks she used to like, eg iced gems, oreos, peanut biscuits, sweets etc don't appeal as much. She still has a sweet tooth, so I made her amaretti which she really liked.

My blood sugar seems to have settled in at around 6.7 now. I will hope for a lower number with all the exercise plus the low carb and losing weight. My goal is to have 5.5 numbers or lower habitually. And to get off my Metformin. And to get off my blood pressure meds. This may take a year or more.

Right now, I'm feeling good. This eating plan feels right to me. I am not hungry. I do little snacking, and when I do it is usually low carb choices like cheese, nuts, fried dried ikan bilis (anchovies). Early days so far, but yes, so far, so VERY good!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Making pancakes and not eating them

This is a first for me, making food I like yet not eating it.

Today I made pancakes for breakfast. Heresy! Wheat alert! Nope. These were banana and egg whizzed together with some ground almonds and fried in dollops in a greased frying pan. They were yummy - sweet and fruity. My mum tried a couple and said she wouldn't mind eating them again. Quite high carbs though - 23g of carbs for 9 small pancakes. An occasional treat for the future.

Later in the day I made a whole heap of buttermilk pancakes for my mum. She's the only person who will be eating them. I had a sniff at the finidhed product, and they are lovely, fat and squishy. She's having some for breakfast tomorrow before going to church.

I thought about eating one, but luckily, I desisted. So this is now me in my third week of eating whole foods, paleo -ish, carb low for my diabetes. I have had some breadcrumbs in aubergine parmigiana and around some tuna fishcakes, but apart from a little rice at the beginning of the month, a potato now and then, roasted sweet potatoes a couple of times, and Indian Dosa (Thosai in Tamil, a lentil & rice crepe), mini pasta in minestrone, and one pasta meal, starchy stuff has not passed my lips.

I'm sleeping better, I feel more energetic in the mornings, and now I am getting used to it, I find I don't miss the carbs really. So all is good chez moi at the moment.

I would like though, to be able to get myself weighed and see if I have lost any lbs. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Carb counting

Yesterday, my carb count was 88g - 16.7% of my total calories for that day. Result! My other macros were 138g/ 53.6%, protein 160g/30%, fiber 12g (a bit low)

This is a vast improvement on some carb counts from the previous 3 months! My body is feeling much better now. I seem to have gotten over my jet lag and the attendant water retention - I can SEE my ankle bones again, and some veins at the top of my feet, yay!

Drinking lots of water too. Yesterday was the first day I drank anything resembling caffeine too - some green tea at a local mall café where I ate 3 chicken satay sticks, some cucumber and a tablespoon or two of satay sauce and watched my mum eat a slice of truly decadent chocolate cake without a qualm! Yes, truly! I found myself admiring the beautiful slice but not wanting to eat it myself. Goodness, WHO IS this woman?

I find now, after 10 days of actively downsizing carbs, I have become very sensitive to the sweetness of food. I relish that found in fruits, but don't like it in other stuff, eg some meatloaf made by another family member which was drenched in tomato sauce and to my mind and palate, quite unacceptably sweet.

I've also managed to keep my mitts of Mum's collection of sweeties and snacks. Amazing! I am so astounded by my current behaviour I am in awe. As an example compare these two stats exactly 3 months apart. I'm currently pursuing a low carb high fat ideal with paleo/primal principles in whole food eating.

9 January 2014
(high carb, low fat MFP recommended macros) The overeating was my own idea... This was a day I ate a lot of bought bread and sweet pastry products and ate a lot of butter with it. Ahem.
9 April 2014
After two weeks of actively consciously choosing NOT to eat sweet stuff, breads and starchy foods, and to eat more protein, veg, good fats like olive oil, butter, nuts.

My blood sugar done on a random test yesterday with my new monitor was 5.9 mmol/l. Again, awesome. I feel better, I hope I have lost a little weight, going to keep this up, and keep that carb count below 114g for this month.

Here's to more awesomeness from me for the rest of April! :)

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

new setbacks new approaches

At the end of last month I finally had the results back from my blood test done in mid March. I am definitely diabetic and have been prescribed Metformin and told to carry on eating well and to lose weight.

Not much new there really... I have had really bad headaches, wild mood swings, dizzy spells, fuzzy vision, extreme fatigue and bouts of very bad melancholia. Most of which I had ascribed to the menopause, but given this new revelation, this now explains somewhat my rapid weight gain. Although much of that could be ascribed to my lack of movement and eating the wrong things.


I decided to be proactive this time. I have been reading about different approaches to tackling Type 2 diabetes. And since carbs seem to be the persona non grata at this party, I have started downscaling my carb consumption, and really sticking to the whole foods philosophy. :D A little difficult sometimes as I am staying with my mum for a few weeks and she has lots of sweeties and crunchy processed crispy goodies around!

So far so good - it has been 4 days of this new way of eating and I am still getting to grips with it. As with all new things, initially I am being rather unimaginative! I am sure this will improve later.
As I haven't cut carbs right down, I am still allowing myself fruit and one serving of starchy carbs a day.

My carb:fats:protein ratios are 30%: 40%: 30%
My last weigh in was end of March at 353 lbs.
Just going to re-measure myself so I have a record for the changes in 3 months :)
I have a plan for plenty of swimming and walking too.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Scaling new pinnacles

It is interesting that on days I have done a lot of walking around, that my appetite is greatly reduced. I guess that is because I am so tired!
Today's personal mountain conquered: my fitbit tells me I have done over 10000 steps today - !!! Now, that is absolutely amazing. I did it over several little trips throughout the day with frequent stops so I didn't tire myself out by doing too much.

A trip to the surgery this lunchtime then back home for lunch.
A trip to the dentist this afternoon and back home via the shopping centre.
A trip out to my local pub with a friend for the first time in a year and back home after a sociable evening over a single pint.
Then a few extra steps walking about the house as I was so close, 9600 steps when I got home from the pub. :)

I've checked my calories for the day too, and even with having a pint of beer AND steak & chips for dinner I am still under. And I've had plenty of fresh air, interacted with the rest of the world and been sociable. Marvellous :)

A Very Good Day!

I am very grateful that my local council puts in benches here and there. Having a short rest has really been helpful in my wanderings today.

I kept looking at all the cyclists zipping past. I am SO looking forward to being lighter and more in control of my muscles in a few months so I can get back on my bike. That's going to be me this summer...

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Jill walked up the hill...and trotted back down again!

I am slowly getting activity back into my everyday life. Today it was foregoing the bus in favour of walking up the small hill to the doctor's surgery. Go me!

Helped that this afternoon it was warm, sunny and dry - with a little hint of smoke, which got my mind wondering about that rather than thinking about the steepness of the road I was walking up. It isn't far, less than 1000 steps acording to my fitbit, but it is a little steep towards the last part.

I made it, with a few strategic stops to give myself a small breather of a few seconds. Keeping my pace slow and steady too, so I was giving my lungs the chance to keep up with my leg muscles :)
And then I walked home, via the pharmacy, without stopping once. :D
All these little wins. Reclaiming my life. So good.

Doc is pleased with me. My BP is lower, he is glad I have maintained instead of gaining (my usual pattern for the last few years) and apart from coming back for a blood test to check my sugar, he doesn't want to see me for a few months, hooray!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Doing more in little chunks

Yesterday, my fitbit tells me, I clocked up just over 2.7 miles of walking. I am SO pleased with myself. Over 6,000 steps...

I gave up my car last year, and getting to places I normally wouldn't think twice about is much more of an effort, and quite often I would finesse it by having stuff delivered instead of going out myself and getting it. Witness grocery deliveries and the postie and me being on very good speaking terms! But yesterday, I had a parcel waiting, and because it needed to be sent on somewhere else PDQ, I bit the bullet and planned myself a little day of getting there, getting home, repacking my item, and getting to the post office to send it off. To reward myself, I arranged to meet up with a friend I hadn't seen in a while at a local café, so score as well on re-integrating myself into society. :)

I won't lie. I did take the bus because otherwise I would have been doing far too much at this point for me. As it was I had to stop occasionally to get my breath back, but again, I did it. All exercise is good in my current frame of mind. When I am fitter, I will think about the quality of that exercise :D oohh am quite looking forward to going to a dance class or some activity a few months from now. zumba? aqua-aerobics? a small hike? A smorgasbord of choice awaits!

While I was out yesterday, on the way to the café, I noticed some very cute little watering cans, in bright yellow and red. They have been occupying my dreams last night - perhaps there is some potential there for artistic endeavor. I am imagining them filled with strawberry plants. Or painting ladybirds, flowers and bees on them. Trying out some traditional barge designs. Or at the very least,  sending one as a sweet little present for a small person I know. Along with a packet of sunflower, nasturtium and bean seeds, and a matching rake and trowel. Of course, all this necessitates another little trip, and some walking miles for me... it is nice to find life interesting again.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014


Okay, it has been 6 months since I last stepped on the scales. The beginning of September 2013... Between then and now I have been battling quite severe depression, moodiness, hot and cold flushes, cranky aching joints, inexplicable muscle stiffness - aha, maybe I might possibly be going through the menopause? !!! eureka moment for me once I realised that was what was happening.

Most of last year has been pretty miserable for me. Even having my mum come visit for a couple of months during the summer didn't swing me out of my funk. But these last couple of weeks the clouds have been lifting - both metaphorically and physically. The rain, which has been almost ceaseless for the last couple of months has given way to the odd day or two of sunshine and clear skies. Temperatures are still nippy, but just being outside in the sunhine has been so invigorating.

So. Getting down to business. Today's trip to the pharmacy clocked me up to over a mile of walking. Yay! And I now tip the scales at 351 lbs (that's allowing for all the clothes & shoes I had on today which I weighed separately when I got home! - hey, I KNOW that is obsessive but every little loss counts!)

The good news is I have managed for the first year in many, to keep my weight stable! In recent years my trend has been to put on between 10-20 lbs every year... so I am enormously pleased with myself.

The next few months will bring me many changes - I will be doing a lot more walking around, and a whole heap of swimming. Time to take some measurements this week, so I can see my progress 3 months down the line later this year.

But for now, I am going to sit back, enjoy my lovely cuppa and pat myself on the back for my success at standing still :)

Saturday, 1 March 2014

happy shopper

During the last few years I've gotten into the habit of ordering my groceries to be delivered. I still like doing this but today I decided to trot down to the local supermarket with my trusty pink shopper to haul my spoils home instead. It was a gloriously sunny day today, lovely balmy temperature too, a huge change from the chilly sopping wet conditions of most of the past two months. So I followed all that sunshine outside and feel such a sense of achievement. Sure, I puffed away, and I only walked very slowly, and had frequent little pauses, but I did it.

Yay, me!

Next time, I'll wear a few light layers so I can take them off as needed. My lovely purple plaid coat was a trifle overwarm for today! Hopefully, all this exercise will pay off in terms of me getting back into all those gorgeous smaller coats that I already own. :)

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

small walk

Huffed and puffed all the way, but made it around the half mile block at a nice steady pace. Did the walk this morning at 10.00 am because why wait 'til later when I might put it off because xyz reason.

Ha! Take that Procrastination, I smite thee one blow. Heh. :)

Yep. Have been reading far too much olde worlde fantasy fiction.

I DO feel good though. It was only a little walk, but damn, I DID it. ** happy dance**

Roll on tomorrow.

Hmm, funnily enough it being windy and wet kind of helps too. I feel all snuggly in my boots and nice warm coat, it doesn't feel like exercise. Maybe all those extra ions floating about from the wind energy help too. Just spectulating.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

an overwhelming urge

Got up this morning at 5 am. It was dark, raining, cold. But amazingly I wanted to go out for a walk! So I did. Only a little one, just to the pelican crossing and back, 0.2 miles. I got myself some nice cold air into my lungs, worked a few muscles and came home feeling very pleased with my effort. I feel energised.

Over my breakfast cuppa, I've worked out a few more little routes, block walks that I start and come back with a changing view the whole way, starting with a small 0.5 mile one. I quite liked walking in the cool dark, before there are many people, cars or even birds awake.

So the plan is to do another walk later today, when it is dark again. And tomorrow morning. And again in the evening.

Have to start somwhere. Got to love myself more and not just with cake!

Oh yeah, and darn it, my fitbit ran out of juice so I've no idea how many steps I did take. Good thing I have a new battery to fit in it to record my journeys.