Friday, 19 August 2011

Depression, exercise and damn it the doctors are telling the truth...

When I turned 44 in June (so not that long has passed) I was getting puffed out going upstairs (and I don't mean running).  I was tired ALL the time - if I had a day without a good long nap (or more than one) I was ... well, I don't know because there wasn't a day without a nap.  So naturally, when I started going to the gym it was the lightest weights, shortest and slowest distances and rightly so.  To my amazement I've managed to increase things and speed up beyond my wildest expectations. I started out struggling to walk for ten minutes non-stop - today I ran for 8 out of my 10 minutes on the running machine.  It is smallfry to many people but massively exciting to me. The result has been the weightloss - which I have to say I wouldn't have given two hoots about if I hadn't have been told to lose it health-wise.  I did my fair share of crash diets and yo-yo-ing 25 years ago!  I'm not particularly vain - no more than anyone else I know, and I am lucky enough to have a partner who is happy with whatever size or shape I am so long as I'm content and not stressing about it.  I've been overweight for a good few years now and as many women of my age come to do, I'd kind of learned to appreciate all its curves for the battle-scars, love-handles etc that they were.  Life is too short to stress about a few lumps and bumps - but if those lumps and bumps are making it shorter then I guess you have to think again. I digress..

So, weightloss notwithstanding, there's the whole energy/mood thing that is way more exciting.  I am sleeping like a log - amazing, clear, good dreams (although some are very chicken based - which is totally due to my straightforward love of my hens, nothing pervy!).  When I wake up, not only am I in a great mood I stay in a good mood. I have started the VERY slow process of reducing the dose of the anti-depressants that was increased last winter after the worst bout of depression in my life so far - and there have been a few.  I have taken them on and off (mainly on) since about 1996 and they've done a splendid job and seen me through some pretty horrible times so I have no idea if I will ever manage without them (and I don't feel that it would be essential to - they do a good job, why stress?) but reducing the dose is something even 6 months ago would have seemed impossible.  I will take it slowly - lowering the dose too quickly can cause the most appalling backlash and I just don't want to rock my boat (or Frankie's) right now... 

When my dissertation is finished (nope - not done yet - still going! Tick-tock...) I will blog more about diet and what I have learned/read/discovered.  There's a LOT of rubbish out there and a lot of sense.  Thank goodness I have a Pip to guide me on that side of things (she told me stuff two years ago that my doctor is only just beginning to recommend now... genius!).  I think it will be useful for some - well, I hope so.

So, that's my today blog.  Energy levels, mood and stamina up. Blood sugar down (5.3 on waking this morning which ROCKS!)

Hoping everyone who deserves to has a marvellous day and those who don't learn something.

S xx

Friday, 12 August 2011

Progress Report

A quick blog to update my progress.

I am still going to the gym - most days actually although my target was five per week - and I'm genuinely beginning to enjoy it.  I always thought that idea of an endorphin hit after exercise was just sporty people being, well, sporty but it seems I was wrong!  I am loving how I feel after I've really worked hard.  So that's good.  Also, if you time a trip to the gym right you are forced to watch Jeremy Kyle with subtitles and that's hilarous... sick but hilarious.  Afternoon sessions mean a full dose of Come Dine With Me (also with subtitles).  The reason I don't take earphones and listen is twofold.  Firstly, my lack of coordination is likely to mean if I multitask by listening with something that needs plugging in to both a machine and me, anything could happen.  Second, the people who actually write subtitles are appalling and make some superbly funny mistakes.  Today for example, whilst rowing (2,000 meters in under eleven minutes - I thank you) the news was on and the journalist was talking to a group of be-hooded young men about their recent involvement during the London riots.  The caption underneath read:

"Yeah, we was like at Tottenham, Bromley and cat food"

worth every penny of membership fee I think you'll agree.

Anyway - to details of my progress... drum roll... (me tapping the keyboard will have to do...)

  • I have lost just over a stone in weight so far (this means I now weigh 72 kgs in new money so have 99 to go - which sounds a lot but I'm thinking slow and steady wins the race etc - and the race is only with the Grim Reaper so hey ho!)
  • My fat belt has been put on one side to go on the bonfire I plan to have with my old clothes.
  • My old thin belt has been tightened to the third notch.
  • My bra size has reduced to 36D (which is still plenty thanks - a later blog on the purchasing of sports bras will follow when I have some more time)
  • My knickers are now size 12 as are the jeans Frankie bought for me yesterday.
  • SIZE 12!!! To be brutally honest, although I can do them up and could wear them all day, it is going to be another week before I can say I'm totally comfortable which is why they are hanging up in the sitting room to be admired - Label 'size' to the front.
  • My blood sugars are good although I need to pick up a prescription of lancets in order to be able to test now so it will be a few days before I can check it properly.  Last reading was 5.3 - which is pretty ok.
  • The vile 'lavatory based' side-effects of Metformin (diabetes medication) have worn off and their appetite suppressing qualities seem to have kicked in.
  • My BMI has dropped to a point or two and is just abot the 'normal' range (it was far closer to 'obese' before) but I am expecting to hit normal any day now. 
  • I'm crossing my fingers that my next cholesterol test will show results even though I am not taking the statins prescribed for me as I am convinced they give you brain damage (no - I have no logical reason - I just get totally ditsy when I do take them and they make my legs ache). If weight loss, healthy eating and exercise doesn't have a massive impact, then I will take the doctor's advice and swallow them.  I just have to try for myself first - that's my call, not something I am suggesting anyone else does. 
As my prize for doing so well, I have, in addition to my 'Jeans as Curtains' display (until next week), a beautiful turquoise and silver pendant, earrings and (once it has been made SMALLER!!) ring.  From the wifey. For which I am most grateful - they are very beautiful - gems and wifey: only a star like her would opt to do the diet, gym etc alongside me all the way and help prep the meals (apart from the odd bottle of beer she's following the same 'regime' - but I think that's a carb or two well earned). She is currently working across the table from me which is good because just a few minutes ago we had a slight panic that her specs had gone in the washing machine but it was a false alarm (PHEW!)

One or two people have asked me what I'm doing diet-wise and whilst I must point out I'm not qualified to recommend diets to anyone and if you plan to do a diet it is your own and your doctor's thing, I am finding Patrick Holford's 'Low GL Diet' very good.  It is basically sensible eating with portion control and very carefully managed carbohydrates (my weakness and it would seem, my poison).  The only part I haven't mastered yet is the giving up of the tea.  I did try cold turkey but a pick-axe-like headache and a lack of vision made me decide to come back to that once things elsewhere are more sorted!  I think for now the vice of tea is a fair one.  Otherwise it is ok - some nice recipes and two snacks a day on top of meals.  The Patrick Holford recipe for Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes is particularly yummy - no, actually, really, really yummy.

Well, that's about it.  I'm delighted I've managed a good start but I'm not complacent.  I've already upped my game at the gym by moving onto a more intense 'workout'.  Sometimes I even get my legs and arms going at the same time on the crosstrainer but it does depend on who is next to me.  I find it very difficult not to fall off when on one side there's a great, fat, sweaty bloke going really slowly and on the other an abnormally muscled child-woman going at 300 revs a second.  It throws my rhythm all out and things get a bit fallopity in the arms and legs department! 

Right, nose back to the grindstone - dissertation time. I have a hot date with Mr. Dickens and he doesn't like to be kept waiting...

Saturday, 6 August 2011


Foodstuff and the failure of super-powers

A breakfast of yogurt (calcium and vitamins), oats (filly-uppy and cholesterol lowering + fibre), walnuts (good for the blood sugar and cholesterol levels), almonds (ditto) and apple (quercetin - I think that's the right spelling, if not, apologies - also for blood sugar and general filly-uppy-healthy stuff)... topped with a sprinkling of... GARAM MASALA.  Yup. Should have been cinnamon (helps increase the body's ability to use insulin effectively).  I know Garam Masala has a little cinnamon in it, and it is fab on a curry but for brekkie... on my oats and yogurt...  BLEURGGGHHHH!!!

Please note, and Frankie can confirm this, one of my usual super-powers is to be able to open the spice drawer and go straight to the one thing I want/need accurately without having to rummage - which is impressive given the chaos in there - this morning my powers failed me and I have learned that sometimes reading the label like ordinary folk is a good idea.
Just peeping out from under the organic (ooh, get me!) stock cubes in the green pack there's a tub with a white lid.  This is a mystery item.  Label: lost... Use by date: uncertain... Contents: unknown.  Yet still I don't throw it away.  Perhaps I should sprinkle it on my breakfast tomorrow and see what shakes down?

Thursday, 4 August 2011

A brief hello

This is just a very quick post to update on my health progress - I'm going to be eyebrow deep in dissertation stuff for the next couple of weeks so may only dip in a bit.  Once that beast is out of the way - well, the PhD starts (at least, it is supposed to - I'm wondering if I want to put myself through it right now!).

Anyway, latest news is my blood sugar has been regularly hitting 5s which in 'Diabetes World' isn't bad AT ALL compared to the double figures I was hitting.  When I wake it is low 6s which is also an impressive drop.  Now I just have to maintain that.  Which is the hard part.

Weight-wise, I'm doing OK so far I have lost 10 lbs 7 oz - I have been making it to the gym at least 5 times in a week and sometimes Yoga too.  I've had a no Yoga week this week due to pulling my back (not doing anything bendy or gym-tastic - I bent over to get a drink of water from a water fountain and it twinged just a bit so I've been resting it a little).  The whole what to eat thing is a whole other blog and I'm going to be delving further into the ridiculous amount of conflicting, mad and downright dangerous suggestions out there for diabetic blood sugar/weight control.  Low carb, high carb, high protein, low fat, high fat - you name it, someone's selling a book about it. And claiming that their 'diet' will cure diabetes... er.. yeah - I'll come back to you on that one.

My weight loss so far means I am on the verge of moving from a BMI in the 'overweight' realm to the land of 'normal'.  To have a major impact on my diabetic control, I have to head deep into normal before I can relax a little so there's a long journey ahead.  ONWARDS! Through the Valley of the Diets with its protein pits and carb caverns, into the great big beyond...

In other news, I saw a real dragonfly yesterday and my sunflowers are about to bloom.  Which is good because wifey is away and I need to fill up the gap with something smiley.

Probably a day off gym tomorrow as the parents, sister, nephew and nieces are coming for the day - and possibly my youngest boy (20) and his girl too.  This means noise, cooking, eating and more noise.  It'll be fun. Staying focused on the sensible will be a bit of a challenge but I'm ready.  Except for the hoovering....