29 June 2010

Not a happy camper

Partly down to me and, I think, partly down to the new medication but my weight has risen quite dramatically. I am back to tipping the scales at 61kg and am none too pleased to be over my 'magic' nine and a half stone barrier just in time for the wedding. Grrr!

OK, I'll hold up my hand and admit that I've not been as careful as I should have been over the last week and that some of that gain will undoubtedly be my own fault. But, and I think this is a valid 'but', I have not gone mad by any stretch of the imagination. Yet a 3kg rise (that's 6.6lbs, or nearly half a stone, fer pete's sake!) in just one short week is considerably more than my minor lapses could account for. This leads me to wonder if those pretty new HRT pills are having an effect... just as it says they might in the side-effects section of the leaflet. Since I started taking them I've felt heavy and bloated, and my rings are not falling off me as they were before... although some of that may be down to the unexpectedly warm weather I guess.

So what's the thing I'm most unhappy about? The blasted mind games!

While the logical part of me realises that I haven't instantly turned into the blob or the monster from the black lagoon, the emotional side is sobbing in horror and telling me I've blown it and failed and am fat and ugly and horrible. Not a nice place to be and I'm struggling to shut out the negative messages and focus on being the sane, rational grown-up woman I thought I'd returned to. Lord! Haven't I learned anything about this business?

Well, I can't lose the lbs in the few short days until the wedding so I just have to suck it up. My dress will still fit me so I need to stop moaning and look on the bright side. Three years ago I was celebrating losing 'some' of my weight prior to my friend's wedding, and dropping a dress size or two. Think it may be time to look back at the photos from that day and then in a mirror. Get real, fat lass!

21 June 2010

Health stuff

Well, a visit to the doc proved interesting. I'd only really gone to review three months of the HRT pills, to renew my prescription and to see if there was anything to be tweaked to make it better. Yep, there was. From tomorrow I start a new set of little pills, this time based on horse not cactus extract for the progesterone phase. Hopefully this'll even out the mood swings, which have still been pretty marked and not awfully constructive for all concerned.

In passing, and mostly because lovely hubby nagged me to do so, I mentioned my lack of energy (which seems just as bad, if not worse), the fact that I'm shaking a lot these days and that I'm almost always unreasonably cold. I'd put the latter down to losing the padding which used to insulate me. But, quick as a flash, the doc booked me in for a blood test to check thyroid function. Oh!

As you do, I Googled thyroid function later. Apparently, about 1 in 50 women develop hypothyroidism (insufficient thyroid hormone) at some time in their life, but I'd never even heard of it. More and more interesting though, the list of common symptoms of hypothyroidism describes me to a tee at the moment. Hmmm, could even explain why my weight loss seems to have stalled at the moment (I'd put it down to being tired so doing less exercise, but...). Yes, I'm still sitting at that 59kg mark, despite eating weight loss portions, which is fine if a tad frustrating. So, we'll give our wee drop of blood and see what they reckon. If that's what it is, at least it's easily treated.

The lesson here - it's well worth mentioning seemingly minor 'concerns' to the doc, even if you think it's just one of those things. I really haven't learned this lesson well through life.

16 June 2010

The old, old story

Well, I'm really rather surprised today, to be honest, and I'm really rather delighted too.

We are well into June and, as I had a spare moment, I looked back at the very first post I ever wrote back in June 2007. That initial 'Oh my God! This is why I need to do it' one. Then I thought it'd be fun to read the June posts for each of the years since I started on this marathon 'journey for life'. Call it an anniversary waltz if you like.

As I'd expected, reading the old posts showed that the weight had indeed come off bit by bit as I moved from serious obesity to where I am now. It also flagged up a few of the struggles I've faced with my journey along the way. The difference between 'me' in 2007 and 'me' in 2010 is quite amazing, but we'll come to that later.

The 2007 fat lass was quite despondent about where she'd found herself and pretty scared about the future. But, thankfully, she knew enough to realise that yet another 'diet' was not the answer. She was also quite determind to change. So, she put her thinking cap on and set out a plan. She didn't have a great deal of confidence that she could 'do it' and succeed at the whole weight loss business. The obstacles to overcome seemed too great in many ways. She was even too scared to put down in writing the true highest weight she'd reached, although no-one else read the blog at that stage, and yes she did have a fair idea of what it was. She mentally shaved a good seven or eight pounds off that figure, even to herself. Nil desperandum though, she started the journey and got on with the job.
Note to present self: I reckon she earned her first gold star right then, just by starting that journey.

A year into the journey, by June 2008 she'd made some fair progress, including enlisting the help of a dietician, just to keep her on course (weight loss by name & shame?). Her weight had come down to around 78.5kg (12 stone 5 lbs) but she'd run into some pretty challenging hurdles too. Health problems were the biggest of these and she needed something drastic. That started with admitting the problem to herself and agreeing to take the GPs advice and use the very scary steroid inhaler. That really, really helped. Another gold star for the fat lass.
Note to present self: don't, don't, don't ever hide from health issues out of fear!

Two years on and 2009 saw the fat lass some five stone lighter than when she started, with much improved health and fitness. This was fantastic, although she still struggled at times and found it hard to keep that motivation going. But she never did actually quit - the stubborn old fat lass. The interesting thing is that she has begun to learn a bit more about herself by this point. One post says "I know that I shouldn't be too hard on myself ". Hmmm, these gold stars are beginning to mount up.
Note to present self: physical changes and mental ones too. Yay, that really is progress!

And now to 2010. The fat lass has come a long, long way. She's lost well over six and a half stone since she started on this new life of weight loss and improving health. OK, she still has her struggles and her bad days and still finds the journey difficult sometimes. But she has learned such a lot along the way and is a much happier, healthier fat lass these days. She is well aware that the journey isn't over yet, nor indeed will it ever be. The view may change, but the road goes ever on.

I mentioned something about the difference being amazing. Well, yes it is, so it sounds like time for a review to me.

June 2007
BMI 37.8 = Obese Class 2 *see note
Weight c.102 kg **see note
Bust 45"
Waist 39.5"
Hips 54.5"
Thigh 28"
Upper arm 14.5"

June 2010
BMI 22.3 = Normal
Weight 59kg (-43kg)
Bust 38" (-7")
Waist 27" (-12.5")
Hips 38.5" (-16")
Thigh 20.5" (-7.5")
Upper arm 10.5" (-4")

I think the body measurements give a good indication of just where the fat lass stores the excess blubber!

*Obese Class 2 - health guidance says that if you have a BMI of 35-39.99 your risk of weight-related health problems (even death) is severe. Yep, in 2007 it really was time to get serious!

**in Imperial measurements, this equates to c.225 lbs (16 stone 1 lb) at the beginning, down to 130 lbs (9 stone 4 lbs) now. Not a million miles away from a seven stone loss - I'm pretty happy about that.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so...

Wearing my most flattering blouse (I thought those stripes disguised my bulk quite well!), that was back then in 2007....

..and this is a very recent photo (in a similar pose) from the beginning of the month.

11 June 2010

More energy please

OK, where is the darned stuff hiding? I know I must have left it somewhere around here, but I can't find it at the moment.

I'm talking about my energy... or rather, the lack of it. In the last couple of weeks, ever since we returned from holiday in fact, I've felt dog-tired much of the time. Falling asleep every evening on the bus on my way home is getting a tad embarrassing! I've been putting it down to that bug (which recurred yet again at the start of the week, dammit) but am beginning to wonder if I'm merely being a wimp.

Maybe a restful weekend will give me some time to recover. Only hitch is that we don't really have a restful one on the horizon for a while. Ho hum, maybe I'd better just get on the rower and see if some work to get the blood circulating will do the trick instead.

09 June 2010

Emerging from the chrysalis and revisiting the past

This one has been quite a while in the writing. It's been rewritten and revised a dozen times or more. I suppose it may read as kind of cheesy in a way, but it more or less says what I've been thinking about rather a lot just recently.

Wikipedia has this to say about the chrysalis:
"the chrysalis stage in most butterflies is one in which there is little movement"
and then goes on to say...
"the adult butterfly emerges from this and expands its wings"

This sounds a quite lot like where I was for years but also (oooh, so much better) where I find I am these days. It seems to me that I was locked away, pretty much immobile, hiding away inside that chrysalis for far too long a time. My obesity was only one part of that, some pretty damaging relationships, crappy self-esteem and other issues abounded too. No point airing those - water under the bridge and all that jazz. The good news is that the butterfly 'me' finally eased her way out into the sunlight and is stretching her wings. That sure feels good.

As part of this process of emergence I find I've been revisiting my past. Sounds ominous, huh? Well, no. Not at all it isn't... in fact, I'm finding that, rather than the scary, dark terrain I though I'd remembered, it's turning into a rather lovely voyage of rediscovery to a distant half-forgotten land. I suppose it's part and parcel of unearthing the real 'me'.

Recently I've realised that quite a lot of the things which were important to me in some way before my sad and weighty days began in earnest, and which were abandoned during this rather dark period of my life within the chrysalis, are being resurrected.

I'm listening once again to music I used to love, but had 'set aside' for years (sometimes decades) as hearing it opened up a whole host of memories and often made me feel sad or bad in some way. Music from my sun-filled youth, before life took a turn for the cloudy and negative. Music I grew up with and was comfortable with, from people like Joni Mitchell (I recently bought a copy of 'Ladies of the Canyon' on CD and now can't stop myself singing 'The Circle Game'). Music from the Who, Led Zeppelin... and the like (she says, showing every one of her fifty years!). Doesn't mean I'll abandon my new musical loves, but it's nice to listen to my old half-forgotten friends sometimes too.

I've started re-reading some of my old favourites from my younger days too. Books from authors like Jack London and Nevil Shute are ones I've enjoyed again recently. I've been amazed to find that many of them have as much, if not more, to recommend them to my fifty-something mind as they did on first reading them in my teens and twenties. Franz Kafka and Anton Chekhov are back on my list of books to re-read too. I'm not quite back to three volumes of Lord of the Rings yet, but maybe someday... if I ever have a little more time?

I guess what I'm saying is that I feel like I'm appreciating life more widely now than I have done in a long time. Of course it isn't a picture-perfect, rose-spectacled 'ideal' life. No-one truly has that except in fiction, do they? I still have my moans and my struggles sometimes, my successes and the days when I just feel a failure, the sometimes painful legacy of the damage I did to my body because of my obesity and negative mindset. That's to be expected. But it's the life I'm living, it's 'my' life, and it's so much more full and beautiful and precious than I thought possible. My darling Mum has had it right all along when she's told us down the years to "count your blessings". Not sure I truly understood what she meant until now.

So is this just about the weight I've lost? No, I don't think for one moment that it is. But it probably comes from some of the lessons I've learned along the way. Maybe, just maybe I have grown up a little and learned to love the person in this skin... just a wee bit. To count those blessings and to see a little more worth in the person I am. Sure it's taken a while, but that's OK, so did shedding that 'fat' cocoon I hid myself away in.

This journey isn't over, despite my finding myself at a weight I never dreamed I'd see again. My journey will continue for the rest of my life, to keep the healthier body I now have in decent order and, hopefully, to improve it further (she says, glancing down at the loose skin and saggy belly). It will take hard work and dedication and motivation, just like losing the weight has done. I'm sure the journey will have it's high sunny mountain tops and deep dark valleys, like everything in life. But I must remember why I began the journey in the first place, and not hide from the fact that I did damage to myself when I didn't look after the precious thing I have - 'me'.

So, a note to self - remembering ALL of your past, not hiding from it and avoiding it's bad parts to concentrate on only the good, is a positive thing. Being mindfully 'aware' of the good things that 'now' has to offer (like health, life, fun and especially good things like my beloved lovely hubby) is something to take time to notice, reflect on and appreciate each and every day.

There's a quote I stumbled upon recently (don't know who from) which reaffirms this, and says so much more to me.

“One day at a time - this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.”

03 June 2010

No fool like an old fool!

Am I stoopid, or what?

I knew my tummy wasn't entirely happy with much food or many types of food still. So what did I do yesterday when I got overwhelmed by work?

I ate chocolate! Dear Lord - when will I ever learn?

My tummy is reminding me this morning of just what a dumb idea that was. Serves the old fat lass right! Time to shake off her crazy thinking and remember my 'healthy, sensible and moderate' plan.

On a good note, walking into work this morning was wonderful. Dappled morning sunshine, birds singing and even a guy fly-fishing in the smooth waters of the river. Started the day well - let's try to keep it that way.

01 June 2010

Don't try this at home

Well, our holiday was fabulous and wonderful and marvellous and... more details later. I would say it's great to be back, but that wouldn't be entirely honest now, would it?

One thing of note. A remarkably effective weight loss method seems to be to pick up a bug while you are away.

Left home weighing 62kg and ate pretty well as normal (trying some lovely new things... in moderation) for the first week. Then, went and caught my friendly neighbourhood bug and instantly stopped having any interest in food at all thank you very much indeed, and came home weighing 59kg. Still sitting there this morning, in fact, I'm now slightly under the mark.

Felt like a very sick puppy indeed for a day or so.

Copious bottles of water (at room temperature - nooooo, not cold, please!) was the only thing which kept me going for several days. Even my beloved tea tasted 'orrible!

A week down the line and my appetite still isn't what it usually is. Is that a good thing, or a bad one? Can't make up my mind right now.

I guess it's progress, but hmmm, it's not a method I'd recommend. Mind you, even being ill couldn't spoil the great break for us.

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