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!