OK, this is not really what I wanted to write when I returned, but because it cannot all be doom and gloom I'll start with something nice.
Lovely hubby and I went out for a meal yesterday, in lieu of our birthday meal (er, more of that later). I had an onglet steak for the first time (thank you very much for offering it, Hotel du Vin) and it was fabulous. I'm a real carnivore by choice - a steak hound, with my usuals being either rump or rib eye, for both flavour and texture. For me, there's no point having fillet, although I know a lot of people differ.
Well, my medium-rare onglet was amazing. It was a little more on the rare side than medium, if I'm honest, but that suits me just fine. If it could, it would have hopped off my plate and cantered around the room for a while before settling back down for yours truly to enjoy. Beautifully seared on the outside, full of meaty, almost gamey, flavour and with a gorgeous colour and texture, it was a serious treat! It came with some lovely hand cut chips (yes, I did eat some but not all) and a grill butter. The latter amazed me. I've never eaten butters of any kind with my steaks as I've always figured they detract from the meat, but made an exception for this one. It was laced with pink peppercorns, anchovies, juniper berries, parsley and lemon and was incredible, really enhancing the flavour of the steak.
The not so good stuff is what lies behind our original birthday meal not happening quite as planned. There we were, away on holiday in our lovely remote location, but my darling lovely hubby had a problem. After just a day or so, we ended up spending time at the local hospital to find we had to cut our break short and return home. Not going into great detail, but he's had a serious setback after the operation he had in August and needs major surgery pronto.
So, surgery Mk II will happen first thing on Tuesday, with his fantastic surgeon from August back at the helm... thank heavens! Wish her (the surgeon) and him luck.
30 October 2011
OK, this is not really what I wanted to write when I returned, but because it cannot all be doom and gloom I'll start with something nice.
20 October 2011
Well, I won't be around for a while.
I'm off for a well deserved, relaxing break with my darling lovely hubby. Yes, we'll eat some nice things, but we won't go mad and we will do as much walking as we can in the lovely fresh (chilly?) air.
It's really nice to be going away having met the target I set for myself. More work will ensue when I get back though!
18 October 2011
Hmmm, Friday was a day to remember in a lot of ways. Celebrations, appointments, oh... and getting stopped by the police.
Er, no, it wasn't because I'd done anything bad... but because the driver of the taxi I was in was a bit naughty and didn't get away with it. He also left the meter running while he was being booked and I had no time to complain as, by then, I was running mega-late for a hospital appointment - dammit!
The weekend was good - dragged ourselves out of bed on Saturday for a frosty walk in the park while it was still dark, and decided against a greasy spoon bacon sarnie to celebrate!
I also got myself out of breath because I decided to see how far I could push things on the rower. The answer was, quite a way, although maybe not quite as far as I'd hoped. I more than doubled my usual time and pushed it as hard and fast as I could (oooh, I felt that later), just to see what I could do. Unfortunately, after about fifteen minutes of hell for leather rowing, I found my breathing just couldn't keep up. I almost fell off the thing when I finally decided enough was enough.
Time to test my peak flow again (after I'd recovered) and, guess what? It has indeed dropped down towards crappy levels again. OK, one step forwards, one backwards. Keep at the inhaler and see how things go.
No further weight loss to report but I'm OK about that.
13 October 2011
No real reason for it, but today is just a 'bleh' sort of day.
Woke with absolutely no enthusiasm for it, but pushed my backside onto the rower anyway. So far, so good. Didn't want breakfast so brought it into work to eat later. It was just OK... not my usual response to lovely hubby's beautiful porridge.
Went out and walked at lunchtime but it was a miserable experience. It was damp and drizzly and there seemed to be a gazillion people getting in the way. Hey, you lot, have I gone invisible or something? For heaven's sake, I'm wearing a bright red top! Picked at lunch when I got back and left most of it in the fridge for tomorrow.
There've been a series of irritating work problems. Nothing big, just irritating. They haven't done much to improve my 'bleh' mood. I know I can't be Mrs Sunshine every damned day, but this one? Frankly, I'll be happy to see the back of it!
11 October 2011
I've felt a bit hesitant to do so as I'm still coughing (and shifting some less than pleasant gunk) from the bug and my breathing somehow doesn't feel 'right', even now. I guess the asthma can't be quite back under control just yet. But, I knew I'd have to see where I was at some point, so out came my snazzy little meter and I gave it a go.
Fabulous! I was delighted to find that my PEF has improved quite substantially after just a couple of weeks on the rower and stepping up the walking. It's back up to an average 430 l/min, from that rather frightening 370 l/min. OK, that is still a tad on the lowish side from my previous 'good' levels, but we're getting there.
I'm pretty relieved, to be honest. Given that I've been using two inhalers daily for ages (although the reliever isn't coming out as much now) I was quite worried about my previous readings. I had visions of having to go back to the GP and, probably, onto different, or more, medication. That's something I dread, however unreasonably.
Don't get me wrong - I am very well aware that there are a lot of people whose asthma is on a whole different severity scale to mine (which is pretty mild, really), but it is something I find scary. Can't figure out why.
But... if I can keep up the exercise efforts, and see some more improvements by myself, then that may be a way off yet. Who knows, I may even be able to get to the stage that I won't need to use that preventer... again!
A quick aside - there's another improvement too, and it's one from which I benefit. That is an improvement to my lovely hubby's health and fitness. He's rowing in the mornings too (building up times and rates gently like me) and he's eating sensibly. He has lost a fair amount of weight already, gone down more than a size in trousers... and is looking GOOD!
10 October 2011
And altogether quicker than expected too.
No sooner do I decide that my fitness, particulary the quest to improve lung function, is a much more pressing target than my weight loss goals at the moment, than my body decides to make it's own decisions and drop another pound or so.
I was hoping, by the end of this week/beginning of next, to get to down to 58kg and was happy to be making progress in that direction. But, this morning I hopped onto the scales to find I'm already there. In fact, I'm just a shade below that mark. Wow!
I am not complaining in the slightest, mind you. Indeed I'm delighted. I can now set my 'line-in-the-sand' right here and get on the road to stage two of my goal. That's to get comfortably below my current weight... and stay there.
As to the fitness, well the rowing went well today and I'm thinking of upping my strokes/time a bit tomorrow. I've been a bit scared to check my peak flow again, so far, but am going to bite the bullet tonight.
07 October 2011
My oh my, but the world looks rather different from when I started along my weight loss journey. Interestingly, it didn't take too long before some fairly major changes (both mental as well as physical) became apparent.
As an example of how things changed, I wrote something exactly three years ago today (around sixteen months into my journey) which is worth re-reading. If you are interested, you can find it here.
Three years ago, I'd done a lot of soul searching, made a lot of changes and adjustments and made a lot of progress. I had just about made it into a UK size 14 pair of trousers for the first time and I was ecstatic! That size (which seemed an almost unattainable goal when I first started out) was what my 'please, please, please Lord' target had been at the time.
I've changed quite a lot more since then, over the intervening three years. There's been a whole lot more soul searching, a lot more hard work and progress (and a little backsliding too) but I think I can say it's for the better. It is certainly for the smaller as I've just bought a pair of UK size 8 jeans - deep, rich chocolate brown velvet ones. Once again, I find I am jubilant, though this time it's more for the feel of this soft, luxurious garment than the size. Wearing them will make me feel like a duchess.
The poor old fat lass I was when I began my journey did not like herself at all. She was scared about the future and felt oh such a failure. Today's fat lass is a whole lot healthier and so very much happier in her skin.
Sure, today's fat lass still has her worries. One thing that resonates very much is the death this week of an athlete - Graham Dilley, the renowned England test cricketer and bowler who died at the age I will be in just a few short days time. Added to this is the loss of Steve Jobs - a man barely older than me, seemingly with access to all the medical help money could buy. Makes you think - there but for the grace of God...
Yes, there are things I'd still like to change or improve (think belly flap). Yes, I still have my struggles and periods lacking in drive and motivation to make progress.
I started out with the intention that my journey was to be a change for life, not a quick-fix diet. I've said a lot about change over the years, but that is still my intent. One other thing hasn't changed. That is a firmly set and continuing commitment to keep right on going towards a healthy life. My mantra? Never give up, never go back.
Maybe I'll have Joe Pike red arrows tattooed onto my upper arms [lol].
06 October 2011
...and that's in two senses. Ooooh, the fat lass says, that feels nice.
First of all, the fitness levels. Rowing in the morning is getting better, to the extent that I've increased my time by a third over the last couple of days and I'm now up to 200 strokes. My stroke rate has increased too, although it still isn't quite back to expected levels. I won't say its a walk in the park just yet. It's still a hard slog at the moment, but it is definitely becoming easier. I'll re-check my peak flow at the weekend and see where we are with that. Hopefully I'll see some improvement.
As time goes on, bit by bit, I'll keep increasing my time/strokes until I get back to where I want to be. I'll also start to add back in some abs work in the mornings again. Then (and only then) I'll look at getting back to the gym. Baby step by baby step, fat lass. Don't forget that gently does it is the way to go.
The motivation is there, I just pray to stay healthy so I can continue this way. I'm still fighting the last tendrils of the blasted bug so still coughing and wheezing a bit.
There's also the weight loss. It may not be doing a great deal to resolve my concerns with that belly flap, but as of this morning, with just a tad more than a week to go until my self-imposed deadline, my weight has dropped once again.
It seems to have settled nicely at 58.5kg. That's just a pound away from target and my goal now seems acheiveable. Just a little footnote but, Janey! I can't remember the last time I was that low as a 'true' weight! It must have been decades ago and I probably didn't have grey hair.
I won't celebrate in earnest just yet, but I will say that I'm pretty pleased.
05 October 2011
Setting this aside, some people may think that seems like an awful lot of drinking to be done, but it isn't all that bad in practice. Water forms a major part of a lot of things so fruit juices, soups, fizzy drinks (bleh!), tea and fruit & veg, and indeed anything soggy (i.e. with a high water content) can help chip in to this amount.
The BDA add that intake should increase during hot weather (like the last week or so) or during/after physical activity. But, they also caution against drinking "too much" (although, sadly, they seem to omit to quantify this in any way), as this can lead to problems with brain, heart and muscle function if it dilutes the salts needed by our bodies too much.
There's a quick 'n dirty guide to see if you're drinking as much as your body needs. If your wee is a nice pale straw-yellow colour then you are probably drinking enough. If it looks dark yellow, you probably need to drink more.
So how am I doing? Well, the wee test seems to say OK, but I find I need quite a bit more than those 'recommended levels' per day to keep to a nice pale straw colour and feel less than 'OK' if my intake drops.
So what exactly do I drink in an average day?
Breakfast - a large cup of tea (with a small amount of skimmed milk). I just cannot function without it!
Arriving at work - usually a mug of herbal tea (Often drunk after it's gone stone cold! Oh well.)
During morning - a mug of lemon tea
Lunchtime - rarely anything, occasionally a small amount of tapwater
During afternoon - a mug of lemon tea
Throughout the day - one (sometimes two) 1 litre 'water-bottles' of tapwater
Evening - BIG* glass tapwater
Overnight - BIG* glass tapwater
To this can be added fruit, soup and other soggy stuff.
* my BIG glass mug holds about 470ml
Blimey! To see that totted up, and finding it's a good bit more than 3 litres on an average day, I guess I'm definitely getting my fair share of the wet stuff!
Hmmm. why do I get though so much? Well, whenever you cared to ask me, I'm pretty much almost always thirsty! Given that the typical 'I'm thirsty' sensation isn't supposed to be triggered until you're already dehydrated, if I listened to thirst as an indicator I'd be drinking gallons!
To be honest, this fact rather worried me until I talked to my GP about it a while ago. I was tested for 'all-sorts' (yes including diabetes, which was my first worry) and everything came back absolutely fine. Now I just figure that's the way my body operates, and so... the fat lass hits the bottle.
03 October 2011
Well, I got back on the rower yesterday for the first time in ages and, while I was pleased that I'd done it, it was rather a shock. Oh dear.
I knew I'd lost fitness and I am also well aware that I am still trying to shake off the last of this damned bug (antibiotics round two prescribed on Friday), but wow! After a mere five minutes rowing, and not pushing it hard at that, I was gasping, coughing and shaking and feeling very slightly queasy. My usual (OK, my 'expected') stroke rate has dropped dramatically too, so that it took me well over five and a half minutes for 150 strokes. It also took me quite some time to recover. Not good.
This morning's stint was damned hard too. It felt much the same, and I rowed about the same, rate and time-wise. However, I didn't feel quite so breathless at the end although recovery time was still pretty poor, I wasn't so shaky and didn't feel queasy. Progress?
What's shocked me more is measuring my peak expiratory flow (PEF) rate. Again, I haven't done this for a little while and the result has certainly made me sit up and take notice. My asthma apparently isn't as well under control as I'd thought. My average peak flow (from three readings) was only 370 l/min today! That's really poor considering that it is generally around the 450 l/min mark, and that was the case not all that long ago.
Somewhere in the region of 450 to 460 l/min is about the expected 'normal' value on the charts used to calculate expected PEF for a woman of my age and height, so dropping this far down is quite a surprise... and not a pleasant one. It has convinced me that I need to continue using the steroid inhaler as well as the salbutamol for some time yet.
It's also shown me, quite graphically, that I need to build up my time and stroke rate on the rower gently but steadily, and keep at the walking too. Sure the eating needs to be good and healthy but my priority and focus has now shifted away from pure weight loss. Improving my fitness, particularly lung function, is definitely top dog at the moment.
Making this point more than merely a slight concern is a recent report linking the use of HRT (which, of course, is so relevant to me!) to an increased risk of severe asthma attacks
Having been hospitalised by a severe attack in the past, I do not want to go there again.