29 January 2014

Bambi burgers

Wheee! A bargain, and a tasty one to boot. Our lovely Farm Shop sell locally made wild venison burgers, which are just gorgeous, and today they had them at half price.

No added crap, just good honest meat and fat, with a few spices. OK, with a batch of salad, or maybe the Brussels tops, that's tonight's dinner sorted.

... oh, and while I think about it, this seems quite appropriate too. Here's to a medicinally positive evening meal with heaps of that lovely Co-Q 10 and choline.

27 January 2014

A strange weekend, but somehow settled

Well now, let's start this week as I mean to go on - the fat lass is OK. In fact, to quote Nina Simone:
It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good

You know, with the dismal down days of the last few weeks it's really so, so nice to be writing this and even better to be feeling this positive.

OK, I am fully aware it's possibly early days, but I'm beginning to think that my black dog is reconsidering his options and maybe even deciding to call off his attack. Hey, I've seen the beast and recognised my enemy so it's a tad futile for him to continue, right?. I certainly hope that is the case.

The events of this weekend 'could' have been veiwed as a bit of a disaster. I'm fighting a bit of a bug, which has floored others around me but is neither coming-on fully nor going away right now, and we're on flood alert yet again so Sunday was spent a humpin' and a movin' stuff to safety... just in case... again! But I'm not going to allow the negativity of that statement into my head. No siree, the last few days have actually held several minor (and one major) victories.

The minor ones first... we both ate sensibly, stuck to our lovely low-carb meals and had relatively modest portions. We both felt completely comfortable with this. Better, it means that, as of this morning, my weight is back down to the 52.5kg I had got quite used to seeing on the scale but, er, lost for a while. That's just a tad below the 'happy band' I set for myself a while back, but it feels like it's the new 'right' place to be.
[just as an aside, it's sort of funny to be thinking of this as just a 'minor' victory]

Other good things include (finally) having bought a little brightly-coloured notebook to carry with me everywhere, in which to record my blessings as I count them... and I've already started getting them down in black and white. Better late than never, eh?

Lovely hubby and I have also come up with a 'looking after ourselves' plan. We've decided to go ahead with a 'picnic Friday' each week, where we don't need to mess about spending time cooking, and this way we don't waste valuable cuddling time.

Instead, I plan to support our fabulous Farm Shop (who stock local and organic produce as far as possible) and pick up whatever I can find to create a tasty, low-carb picnic feast for us to enjoy. Almost like we did for our Christmas dinner... probably just slightly smaller, less exotic and a little more down to earth. This Friday we enjoyed smoked duck breast, pork loin with rosemary & garlic, a wonderfully creamy (if stinky) Stilton, olives and celery sticks filled with soft goat cheese. Hmmm, still pretty exotic, to be fair, and absolutely wonderful it was too!

We're looking after us physically too - now he's lost such a lot of his previous insulation (a.k.a. fat suit) my lovely hubby feels the cold a lot more, so we bought a beautifully puffy down-filled gilet to help keep him warm. It was less than half price in the sales too - now that was a nice surprise.

And then we get to the big victory, and I am so happy about this I can't really express it. It just feels like a huge worry has been lifted right off me. This is G-O-O-D news.

As you know, I've been dressing lovely hubby's pre-Christmas injury daily. Well, last night when we took off the day's dressing, we realised that the large, ugly scab that we'd seen, still intact and firmly attached, the previous night had almost completely detached from the wound - and not in an 'oh, s**t' way, but because of the healing which had taken place beneath the protective scab.

It's so good to see the new, if delicate, pale pink 'skin' in its place (albeit his thumb is a tad flatter than it used to be and missing a fingerprint!). Although he's going to have to be careful with it and protect it for a while yet as it's still pretty fragile, it's a great indicator of his general good health that this level of repair has only taken five weeks when we'd first been told that it couldn't be stitched as he'd lost a bit of flesh and he 'might' need a skin graft.

I think that, in part, this must be a measure of the lifestyle (or call it diet if you must) we now follow. Decent amounts of quality protein and good healthy fats to aid the body when it needs to repair, but no grains or added sugars and minimal carbs to inflame anything. I'm guessing that's also one reason the bug I'm fighting is on the losing end of the deal (she whispers quietly, carefully crossing her fingers behind her back).

On that happy note, I'll revert to my onwards, ever... finish and think hard about what I can do to increase my exercise levels and fitness - soon!

24 January 2014

Turning around a non-stellar week

Why was the last week a tough one? Well, I think it all kicked off when, last Friday, I had a text from my brother updating me about my darling Mum's house. Perhaps I saw negative things which aren't really there, but the only thing it seemed to me that he was interested in was the fact that 'the monies' will be released soon.

What the f**? To quote some devilishly handsome bloke from a film "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn". The point, to me anyway, is that this is perhaps a final reminder of losing our mother - not something to be celebrated. Maybe (as lovely hubby gently pointed out) I'm being too hard on him, but I got very mad, and so, so sad, and ended up feeling even more down and depressed than I had been.

So I did the obvious thing and leapt off the wagon. I won't detail my sorry story, other than to say that Christmas cake is not known as one of the low-carb staples and that I paid for my mistakes... oooh, how I paid.

However, I going to tell you the positive side of the story too.

In fairly short order I realised what I had done/was doing to myself - both physically and emotionally. So, I kicked my backside (metaphorically, anyhow) and got back to drinking copious amounts of good clear water, eating moderately of my low-carb repasts, and walking as much as I could. It was a fairly stressful week in a few ways, but (with a lot of help from lovely hubby) I managed to hang in there.

And, thanks be - that fairly small (but scary!) weight hike I saw mid-week has come back off, and I feel more in control once again. My emotions are better settled and I feel rather more like 'me' again. Victory, in my eyes anyway.

I will end with one more thought - best expressed by my Mum, but in her absence by the picture below.

15 January 2014

Is this poor old nag ready for the knackers yard?

Ho hum. So much for my galloping plans and enthusiasm then. If you asked me how 2014 is going so far (and I don't advise it...), my answer would, sadly, be unprintable!

Far from banishing my unwanted black dog, the sneaky blighter seems to have closed in on me and has now got its fangs sunk into my posterior. Worse still, the damn thing growls and howls in the night so I've not been getting a great deal of that lovely beneficial sleep. If anyone knows how I can disengage the beast, or where I can locate the 'OFF' switch to shut down the worries and negative thoughts in the middle of the night, I'd dearly love to know.

Oh sure, I'm still trying to remind myself about the good stuff in life each day, but it isn't making all that much headway with my positivity at the moment. And did I buy that pretty little notebook to record my blessings? Did I hell as like!
[school report card would say 'must try harder' here]

Then we get to the exercise part. Well, there is some good news as I'm still walking... which is a positive thing in several ways, it seems. Work carried out by the University of Illinois has revealed this:

Pretty exciting stuff, eh? Hey, this should give that miserable black dog something to think about, and it also helps keep my fitness levels from completely falling off a cliff.

The less good news is that the abs work hasn't actually restarted yet. I know it's a sad and sorry excuse but, just when I thought I had a work-around and could dress lovely hubby's injury in the evenings, my lack of time in the mornings has been made worse.

Wouldn't you know it, this is because our local public transport 'experts', in their infinite wisdom, have messed with the timetables and cut some services (which they, of course, deny!), leaving me even less time to get my sorry self up, washed, dressed, fed and out in time for the damn bus. That's if I want to stand a chance of getting on the remaining service. As to Connie? Er, let's not go there. I know I'm sounding pathetic, but I'm angry as heck and am struggling (a lot) with this.

Right, enough of these moans and grumbles... all I can say is thank the Lord for low-carb at the moment. Things really aren't all that bad. My weight remains pretty stable and I'm not 'desperate' for the comfort foods of the old days, although thoughts of chocolate (albeit 90%) are crossing my mind periodically. Heaven help me if I was fighting sweet and comfort food cravings in earnest too.

So, instead of saying my usual 'onwards, ever' this time, I'll say it's more a case of just move one foot, then move the next foot, repeat and keep plodding along. The old nag may be struggling a bit, but she's NOT headed for the knackers yard just yet! Things will improve for sure and, if I think logically, I do know that. I've just got to get to the place where that happens.

06 January 2014

The plan...

OK, 2014 is under way and this horse is ready to gallop!

Said I'd think about how best to combat those 'negatives' I have hanging around at the moment, so here's some first thoughts and the beginnings (at least) of the plan.

Black Dog (a.k.a. depression) defence tactics - remember each and EVERY day to remind myself about Mum's 'blessings'. Recognise, and count, at least one blessing - remember, they really do exist. Don't rush - take time to think carefully about it and appreciate it. Spend a moment or two being properly grateful for it. Rinse & repeat. It may help to actually write them down... we'll see.

Fitness - walk, walk, and walk some more as a first stage. Find (make!) time to get back to the abs work in the morning (at the moment, this may mean re-negotiating when lovely hubby's dressings are changed). Make a start, and gradually step things back up and do more. Add back in the upper arm weights (yep, actually use those odd shaped things covered in dust!). Longer term... get back to my love affair with Connie the Concept rower. She's been neglected and needs to feel loved again (oooh, I'm guessing this'll probably hurt, but what the heck!).

And what progress in identifying those positive motivational markers? Well, the jury is still out and considering their verdict at the moment, but I think Gwen has a point when she suggested that I might emulate her and cease wallowing in the loss of the old markers and allow myself to be passionate about the benefits this new low-carb (semi-Primal) way of life has to offer.

Here goes...

03 January 2014

Maintaining... what's in a word?

Warning - a rather long fat lass blether lies ahead, as this one's been mulled over a lot and been a work in progress for some considerable time. You may need to make yourself a coffee (or a stiff drink) before you carry on.

To 'maintain' something is often defined as:
to keep in an existing state
to preserve from failure or decline

Ooooh, that's actually quite a scary word when you think about it. Why's that? I'd say it's a pretty daunting prospect in many ways, because it implies 'forever'.

Well, in my case, although right from the outset, I stated that my weight loss journey was just that, a journey, and that it was not, nor ever could be, about a 'diet' as such, but a lifestyle change, I guess I kind of slid around taking on board the change part being 'for life'. Er, in my own mind anyhow.

Yeah, you've got it. That small (but vitally important) nugget that I sidelined and put to the back of my mind was the part about 'maintaining'. You see, at the time, the 'losing' was the most important aspect. And that's not really too surprising, looking back. I suppose that was the case because ever getting to 'maintenance' seemed so far off in the future, and implied that I'd be successful in the first place...

You see, despite my desire to lose my much-hated fat suit, when I set out I was hopeful but not hugely confident. Let's just say that my track record with weight loss hadn't been particularly stellar through life!. No, let's tell it like it was - it was crap. So, in the early days of shedding the pounds I didn't, perhaps couldn't, truly grasp the idea of maintenance. Let me try to explain.

Looking back to when I started, and then while I was in the midst of losing my weight, I had a carefully considered plan in mind. There was a 'sort of' target to head towards which, essentially, was to get shot of that damned blubber (the plan for which was examined, then tweaked and revised more times than I can really remember). Along the way I put in the hard work to achieve my goals, and regularly reviewed how I was doing and looked at where I should head for next.

I set, aimed for and hit a few milestones (some small and other more significant ones) along the way, and got regular feedback about how well (or otherwise!) I was doing, to track my progress, in part by by measuring myself and using the scale.

Nice positive feedback, and all good stuff it was too as the plan worked. I dropped from being a very obese and decidedly unhappy fat lass to the woman people see today. Yes, it took some time to accomplish (I started the process way back in 2007), but then so did getting fat in the first place, so I was OK with taking my time.

Move to the present. These days the world at large accepts the fat lass they see now as the fat lass that's always been. What I mean by this is that, even though it isn't the case, many people I come into contact with have in general forgotten (or maybe never even knew) that I used to be obese, or indeed any different to the way I appear now.

One consequence is that this means that those occasional rather flattering if mildly embarrassing congratulatory comments on how different I look (oooh, more positive feedback) have long since come and gone... sigh.

Having lost all the weight I wish to (well, near enough), my game plan now is quite different. It's changed, of course, because rather than striving to 'lose' weight, the new goal is to remain roughly where I am.

By the way, this is currently hovering around 52.5kg, with a 'must do something' red line set at 55kg (where it has crept up to for a short time in the past). I'm happy to allow myself a safe weight range or 'band' to sit within, which I've set at somewhere between 53 and 54kg. The long-term plan, then, is to keep myself in this "existing state". Or, said another way, to "preserve" myself from "failure" and that nasty old "decline" back to obesity.

Sounds simple, huh? Well, I'll be the first to admit that this low-carb business surely does help me, but it's still not entirely plain sailing.You see, it's that 'long-term', or should I say the 'permanent', nature of this lifestyle change which has the potential to raise the odd obstacle for me. That's what I need to get my head around.

Why? Well, remember that bit about getting regular (and positive) feedback in the past? I still do measure myself now and again, and I still weigh (almost daily, although I record only once a week). So I guess there is still an element of that feedback.. up to a point. Trouble is, when you see the same, or fairly similar, numbers on the scale week in, week out, it's still good (of course!) but things can, and do, tend to be a wee bit less exciting.

You see, in 'maintenance' mode we don't get to see that magical 'progress' of weight loss. We are no longer watching the needle on the scale drift decidedly downwards, demonstrating that our dedication and hard slog isn't in vain. Nope, that needle merely stays in roughly the same position. Nor can we track the contents of our wardrobe gradually changing to a smaller and smaller size, and congratulate ourselves on our 'good work' in that respect. As I mentioned, we certainly find that we no longer hear those lovely 'wow, don't you look different/younger/great' comments.

None of this is a huge problem as such, but I'm finding that it does contribute to making things (e.g. goal setting and tracking progress) a little more tricky.

Slightly more of an issue is that ANY form of actual, honest to goodness 'positive' feedback, not only the type mentioned above, is rather thinner on the ground these days. Indeed 'negative' feedback is a much more commonplace thing to encounter.

Feeling one's usual clothes become a tad tighter round the waist or, as has happened now and again, noticing that little increase in weight from the scales needle if food intake increases or the levels of activity decline (for whatever reason) isn't truly my cup of tea. It may be an 'oh b***s! moment and a wake-up call to engender doing 'something' to counteract the problem, but it's not exactly cheering, and for me it's not hugely motivational!

It may sound somewhat dull and unispiring, but 'progress' now seems rather more closely aligned to standing still. Hmmm, running to stay in place, eh? Oooh, there's fun!

This whole idea has the fat lass a little bit scared. I don't want to over-dramatise things, but to me it screams out 'dangerous waters' because I feel that it could be all too easy to become bored or complacent. If that happened it's entirely possible that I might take my eye off the maintenance ball. I could lose motivation, and find that, little by little, I drift gradually away from the straight and narrow.

This fear hasn't materialised yet, thank heavens, but I have to admit that now and again (especially when I get particularly stressed or tired... and there seems to have been a fair dose of both in the last year) I've begun to feel the first twinges of the 'yah boo sucks, don't want to' mentality surfacing when it comes to good food compliance and exercise.

So, I feel that I must think ahead and do something here - before indolence and complacency takes a firm hold over the rest of the winter and beyond. What I definitely do not want is for this lazy(?) and lacklustre lass to turn back into the fat lass again.

To keep myself moving along that straight and narrow pathway, I think I need to find myself some form of 'positive' feedback. I want to identify a different, but measurable marker (or maybe markers) of success for myself, however small it may be. Then I need to start tracking and recording that marker to keep my motivation motor running.

And then... well, all I have to do is keep on keeping on... for life.

It's probably an appropriate time to haul that dusty old thinking cap out of mothballs once again. Perhaps I'll have a chat with Baldrick, and see if we can come up with one of his cunning (and long-term) plans. Any suggestions you might have would, of course, be very gratefully welcomed. Onwards ever...

02 January 2014

Goodbye 2013...

...and, d'ya know what, a fairly hefty chunk of me is saying 'good riddance' to you.

OK, OK, I guess that's probably being a tad harsh. I am aware that it wasn't wall to wall, unceasing bad, and I know I do have to remind myself about the 'blessings' which did indeed form a part of last year. However, from where I'm standing at the moment it simply wasn't the best twelvemonth I can remember, so I just cannot say I'm too sorry to see it gone.

I'm quite happy to give things a try again with a new one - let's see what happens in the next twelve months, eh? So, hello 2014, and here's hoping you'll be a gentler, kinder year.

A quick review... where am I right now?

Well, the festive season had a few more challenges hidden up its sleeve to throw at me (like changing dressings daily, and flooding... again!) but, dammit, I survived em. Like Friedrich Nietzche once said, "that which does not kill us makes us stronger" - yep, right on, Fred!

I'm pleased to say that despite all of this fun and hilarity, oh and being given various boxes of chocolates, biscuits and other sugary stuff (er, kind, but sort of pointless), I didn't fall off any wagons so I'm still in ketosis and my weight is still slightly under my 'happy' band of somewhere between 53 and 54 kg.

I'm weighing in at 52.5 kg right now, which means I have managed to claw back a tad more than a kilo from my 'dramatic drop' low from when lovely hubby was ill. My thanks go to cheese and double cream. You were a big, big help with this but, being the ungrateful soul that I am, I don't want to continue gaining. Our relationship is about to be put on the back burner again for a while - don't take it personally, eh.

Hmmm, what else? Well I probably drank a bit more than I should have over the break (a good selection of single malt whiskies to choose from is my downfall). That's already been cut back - a shame but, oh no, I don't want to get that habit ingrained.

My fitness, however, is absolutely rubbish at the moment. I may still be at a lowish weight but I don't feel toned or strong or capable. What I actually feel is tired and run down, despite those quietish days at home.

Worse, the dreaded black dog has been sniffing at my heels almost daily over the break, and I've found that I can rapidly turn into the human waterfall... and rather more often than I like. Enough of the tears and tissues, if you don't mind - I'd rather have a bit of light relief and laughter now.

Need to address both of these 'negative' things - and soon. Right here at the beginning of January seems like a good time to start again with both. So, here we stand at the brink of 2014 and it's onwards, ever...

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