20 August 2016


...and the part of that word which spells 'UP' is spot on.

Sorry ladies, but I think what I'm trying to say is 'oh s**!'. The fat lass is back, and I'm sorry to say that I've fallen flat on my face and royally screwed up.

I am currently weighing in at 9 stone 4 lbs, nearly a stone heavier than my happy weight and, oh boy, does it show. My clothes are not comfortable (and some don't fit at all), and my dodgy knee is objecting to the extra load so 'happy' is a term I appear to have mislaid. In fact I'm pretty disgusted with my behaviour.

Ooh, while I remember, thank you if you're one of the lovely people who have commented on my previous posts. For some reason I don't seem to be able to reply nor leave comments back for anyone these days, but I really do appreciate your kind, supportive words.

So than, aside from the obvious singing 'la-la-la-la' with my fingers in my ears as the pounds piled on, oh and eating too damned much, what's the cause of this problem/faux pas/cock-up?

Well, you probably wouldn't be too surprised to hear that a big part of it falls squarely at the door of 'worry' - my constant nemesis.

My darling lovely hubby has had a few health hiccups to deal with over the last few months and has just started treatment for the latest one. I was pretty OK with it immediately after he'd seen the consultant, who seemed fairly blasé and unconcerned, but rather less so when I read the leaflet for the medication he's been prescribed. He's been diagnosed as having actinic keratoses, the symptoms of which are popping up like weeds at the moment, and the fluorouracil cream he's been given is classed as chemotherapy as it's function is to 'destroy cancerous and pre-cancerous cells'. Oh! That has given me pause for thought.

You see, I'd wrongly assumed that this was a pretty straightforward issue - just identify the problem, treat and forget - but it seems that I may have been just a shade over-optimistic in this. Perhaps getting such a rapid appointment with the consultant (within two weeks of speaking to our GP) should have given me a clue.

OK, it isn't a life-threatening matter but isn't quite the harmless inconvenience I'd first thought, and the treatment itself isn't a bundle of fun. My poor darling! At least the various hats he's wearing to shield him from the summer sun (when we see it) make him look marvelously distinguished.

Then there's my super sister. I'm waiting to hear how she got on having been sent for a CT scan after coughing up blood (again) a wee while ago. Shades of my lovely Mum all over again. She is being decidedly calm and stoic about the whole thing, but me... well let's just say I'm twitchy and fretting.

I am also worrying about work - or rather being out of it again. Yes, before you say it, I am very well aware that it was my choice to quit. Indeed, I still think this was the right decision to have taken as the job I had really wasn't doing me any favours, but I'm 'employed' in name only until the end of August and beginning to fret about getting another job again.

I've started looking at jobs websites again (intending to scale up the hunt properly after my sister has visited this coming week) but am not getting particularly warm feelings at the moment. This could be me 'borrowing troubles' perhaps, but that does seem to be my No. 1 skill.

I feel quite ashamed to feel this way. There are so many people in the world with much bigger things to worry about that I have (those poor people in Louisiana dealing with the flooding for a start), but I just can't find the 'off' switch for my fretting. Road-map or user guide anyone?

What I do have is a tentative plan to deal with the weight gain, if not the worries. What has worked for me to lose excess flab in the past is documenting everything I eat, and recording my weight and measurements on a regular basis. So, here goes - and the first step has been telling you good people about it.

Onwards and, this time, downwards please...

26 June 2016

Life's obstacle course

Right, going to swear. Pee, po, belly, bum and drawers! Did that make me feel better? Er, no.

Well, I gave it a damn good go, but I'm sorry to say things just haven't worked out. I handed in my notice this week. A hard, hard decision, but I think it was the right one for me.

Maybe I've let that 'gotta be perfect' side get the better of me but I just cannot make of the job at the school what I'd like it to be. Despite some lovely people, circumstances have made me realise that there have been/are too many obstacles to overcome. It's so hard to see concrete progress in sorting things out, no matter how hard I try. I've put in a lot of extra hours and a lot of effort but I just can't carry on any longer so I'll finish this school term then it's curtains for me. I'm very sad, there have been many tears, sleepless nights and difficult conversations.

Lovely husband has been fantastically supportive, but he's also been very much on my mind for the last few months too, as he has some ongoing health problems (nothing life threatening, thank heavens but hard to cope with) which aren't helping with stress levels.

I'm pretty exhausted right now and looking after me has taken a back step [shock, horror]. My weight is just about hanging in there but is right bang up against the upper end of my 'acceptable' range. I seriously need to get a grip on it as I really don't want it to get any higher. I'm trying to eat healthily, just probably eating a bit too much. Comfort eating probably as it's easier to handle at weekends when I'm not at work.

So, changes once again, and it's back to the drawing board for this fat lass. Oh well, onwards...

22 March 2016

Tempus fugit

Goodness, here we are in 2016 and Easter is already upon us. I've been away a lot longer than I'd thought... So, hello again to anyone out there who might remember this MIA fat lass.

Yes, I'm still here, still moderately healthy, still 'fighting' those daily demons to prevent a reversion to my former fat lass days, still following the low carb, high fat and moderate protein regime (it's not a diet, dammit!) and loving it, and I'm extremely glad to say that, insh'allah, I'm still on the winning side.

My clothes still fit me, the scales needle lies somewhere in the ballpark I'd call my ideal range and, although I am not doing much 'formal' exercise, I'm moving a lot (on my feet most of the day, lifting, carrying and walking a lot!) so I'm still fairly fit for a woman rapidly approaching 56.

A lot has happened since my last diatribe. Having been invited to more interviews than I care to remember, then being pipped at the post at every turn, I finally gave up on writing yet more pointless and unsuccessful applications for the sort of job I 'thought I ought to'. I'll admit to hitting a really low patch - that damned Black Dog sank his teeth into my hide and the beggar shook me like a rag doll for a while.

Instead I applied for something a bit less glamorous, something I'd done off and on for decades (since I left school as a callow young thing with damn all to show for it) and didn't really expect to go back to. OK, so it doesn't really make use of all those hard-won qualifications I worked so hard for later, but what the hell - they are just letters after my name. There are other things which are pretty important in life.

I have returned to my secondary education roots and, yep, I'm working at a local school as a science technician. This has meant setting aside those pipedreams of a nicely inflated salary to help build a bit more pension cushion, but on the plus side also means a great deal of fulfillment.

It's a fairly rural school, at the edge of the city, so I see trees and hear birds every day, and start early enough to greet the odd bunny in the mornings. The travelling is OK, on local bus which runs to time. How extraordinary! Oh, and I'll also get most of the school holidays.

Both the teaching and suport staff seem a decent bunch, and the kids have been a real eye-opener - and in a good way. I'm called 'miss' once again every day, I have doors held open for me, I hear 'please' and 'thank you' regularly. Not bad, eh?

All credit to a strong and dedicated management team for promoting a great ethos and holding good behaviour and discipline dear to their hearts. Biased I may be, but it doesn't harm that the Head and his Deputy are from my neck of the woods in South Wales. OK, I confess we do have a sprinkling of little blighters (hey, I've remembered how to bellow at times like this), but they are definitely in the minority.

Sounds great, doesn't it? I had a bit of rough start mind you. One week into a very hands-on, practical job I developed cellulitis which meant I couldn't use my right hand for around a week as it hurt like the devil and swelled like a bitch. Not ideal! I can't express how grateful I am for the existence of antiobiotics (and a very efficient medical service) in dealing with a rather painful and very inconvenient episode. Still, another storm weathered and it made for an interesting and fast-track 'new job' learning curve.

My intention is to write something here now and again, if for no other reason to keep my mojo going when it comes to maintaining the weight loss. It's also good to look back and see how far this journey has brought me, especially when I have the Black Dog days. So, hope to see you around. As always, onwards ever...

03 November 2015

Tricks, treats and consequences

With Halloween, and All Soul's Day, just behind us I thought it was about time to make my confessions. The fat lass, it seems, has lost the plot.

Let's talk about the tricks first as these led directly to the rest. My mind (I rather hesitate to say brain here - that appears to have taken leave of absence!) has been playing these on me just recently. Maybe it's been inadvertent, but maybe (more likely) with a dose of collusion on my part - the jury remains out at the moment.

You see, I've been sitting on my backside completing a plethora of online job applications of late. Not my favourite task, ever... particularly when they all seem to come to nought. I have got SO very fed up answering the same damn questions, with each and every organisation's application worded just differently enough to make me have to 'rewrite' the script every damn time. I'm also mightily tired of trying to portray myself in an engaging, positive and unmissable light, and in no way at all overqualified for this not fantastically paid but 'fascinating sounding' job. Er, me? No siree, not even slightly. C'mon someone, give me a shot and I'll show you I can do the damn job! Whinge, whinge...

Whether this has been the only trigger, I don't know. Inactivity certainly plays a part too, and it could still be some of the leftover stresses from the move as well, or even some of those old family issues raising their ugly heads again. Whatever the real cause, my internal dialogue (or the devil on my shoulder) has been pretty active of late too, and whispering slippery, subtle, dangerous words like 'working hard' and 'deserve' and 'make you feel better'.

On the back of this 'permission', my mischievous mind has also suggested (and, of course I've readily accepted) a variety of treats. Nothing 'bad' you understand, but...

Oh sure, they've all been low-carb so I haven't felt too sinful, but as we all know in our saner moments, even low-carb excess has a knock-on effect. Shame I seem to have mislaid 'sane'. A dollop of cream in my coffee, a handful of nuts here and there, a small bag of pork scratchings, cheese and olives at lunchtime (when a good breakfast suffices and we don't usually eat any lunch!). The odd snifter of scotch, or glass of red.

Get my drift? Yep, strangely enough that's also what happened to the scales! We'd managed to 'forget' to weigh ourselves for a couple of weeks, what with the birthdays and other excuses, but got back on the scale at the weekend. Oh dear - our very own Halloween nightmare! The damage for me? Two extra kilos. TWO of the blighters! There they are, cheerfully taking me over my magic eight and a half stone mark for the first time in I don't know how long.

Something went bump in the night alright. That'd be my sense of well-being and with it my self respect. Well, I can't say it should have come as a complete shock as the waistband of my jeans appeared to have 'shrunk' even though I hadn't even put them through the laundry! Darling lovely hubby fared less disastrously, but even he'd gained a kilo.

Right, we know 'what' to do, it's just a simple(!) matter of knuckling down and doing it. In the meantime, all I can do is repeat Flanders and Swann's 'Pee Po Belly Bum Drawers!' and get back to the drawing board. Onwards, and all that...

14 October 2015

Health... so glad we have it

Though it is only Wednesday, it's been an interesting week, and one which has reminded this fat lass just how damn lucky she is.

Monday brought news that my cousin is not doing so well, and his gastric problems (for which he had major emergency surgery a couple of years back) have returned. I don't know the full details yet, but am rather concerned for him.

Tuesday saw a visit to my new GP to discuss staying on HRT for a while longer [pleeeeez!] and also to see what could be suggested to relieve the damn nuisance which my left knee has become (an old tale, but somewhat worse these days - after weeks of shifting furniture and boxes I guess).

I went primed, having done some background reading as I was half expecting the extended 'increased risks' fight over the HRT as I've been taking 'my' version of mother's little helpers for more than five years now. I was dreading it, to be honest, as I thought this would be time to stop, and I still remember all too well how awful the start of menopause was... Almost everything I've read indicates that symptoms return, sometimes in spades, if you come off the medication - even if you are gradually 'weaned off'.

Thankfully, we were able to have a very sensible discussion, both about HRT and some possible alternatives. My lovely (female, and fifties) GP turned out to be pretty amenable to my continuing the status quo for another year, at least, given that I've not got too awful a family history and have done a lot in lifestyle changes to mitigate some of the more obvious health risks associated with HRT. Phew, so looks like I get a temporary pass on morphing back into Alecto, my old mate the Fury - that one characterised by constant, unceasing anger.

Then came the big surprise. A few years ago when I talked to my previous practice about my dodgy knee I was fobbed off with physio (which helped a bit) and an x-ray (which was a pretty pointless exercise for something I suspected to be soft tissue related). This time I was offered an MRI scan(!) to properly investigate what's happening - probably damaged cartilage. Watch this space.

Today brought another health related day trip, this time to the eye clinic with my darling lovely hubby. Wow, up here (a well respected teaching hospital) they are SO organised, and so 'human'. I know that sounds odd, but he was treated with care and respect and kindness by everyone we encountered, from start to finish. We were very impressed.

His somewhat 'chopped about' eye (after macular hole surgery, full retinal detachment repair and subsequent cataract surgery) was thoroughly checked over and found to be in a pretty good state, except that a small, leftover suture was discovered to be working it's way out. The consultant was not happy to leave it there and before we could think for a moment, having administered a local anaesthetic eye drop, whipped out a pair of fine tweezers and scalpel and removed it on the spot. Goodness, we didn't have time to worry - he just motored on and did it, and it was all over in a flash. Perfect, and some tiny droppers of antibiotics to take home too - not even a wait for a prescription!

The other eye was also checked very carefully as there was a minor concern about the scan showing the retina being slightly 'uneven'. With the history from the first eye... better safe than sorry, eh. Looks like things are OK though, and there is no sign of any new (diabetic related) damage to either eye. Thank goodness - we'll take that!

What made me pause for thought though was the number of other people there for their eye appointments. Everyone you could imagine, from mums with their tiny babies to very elderly and infirm people in wheelchairs, from an extremely smart gentleman in a pinstriped suit with a posh briefcase (a lawyer maybe?) to a poor chap who looked almost down and out. All there because they had problems of some sort with vision. The fact that I am absolutely fine in this respect and lovely hubby is doing OK is a big blessing, and one I must make sure to count.

So, that combined with the fact that we are both fit and strong enough to have walked there and back (there are hills here too) gives me some pretty amazing blessings to take account of today. Autumn colours and a little sunshine add a few more. Whatever happens in life, there are always good things too. Sometimes, when times are uncertain or challenging, I just have to be reminded of that.

Onwards and most definitely upwards...

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