28 January 2015

Heaven on a plate...

Oh my goodness. Well, that last post was by way of scene setting in some ways. Now as part of this new more fat, less carbs regime, last night's dinner was a 'cheap and cheerful' experiment - one which worked beautifully and which will also give us a plenteous dinner tonight. This is one experiment which I'm guessing will become a fat lass and lovely hubby standard.

In essence it was 'roast' turkey legs, the legs being a nice dark, juicy, fatty part of the bird. These ones were 'roasted' reaaaally gently in the slow cooker for about ten hours though. It went like this - washed the two gargantuan turkey legs (boy, these are big boys!), and patted them dry. Gave 'em a light grind of sea salt and black pepper. Nothing else.

Popped the legs onto a low rack in the slow cooker (er, they only just fitted). Added NO liquid at all, nor any other ingredients. Set the slow cooker to Low, and just let the legs get on with it for about ten hours without opening the lid.

Result? Great! The meat turned out beautifully. Very tender, falling apart and wonderfully tasty. Better yet those tricky hard tendony bits that hide away in the centre of the meat slid out easy as pie. The skin had browned nicely, but it wasn't exactly crisp so as an added treat we pulled it off an popped it under a hot grill. Instant turkey chicharrones for our starter. Bliss!

A plate of the meat with buttered broccoli and kale was just divine. We have more to come tonight (two legs providing one hellacious amount of meat), and a bowlful of the most amazing drippings which I somehow think will form the basis of a cabbage soup.

Just wish we'd taken a photo.


To remind myself that any 'tweaking' will take a little time, as well as the effort... before the effects will show.

Hmmm, after a wee bit of head scratching my darling lovely hubby and I have made the decision to tweak things a bit and to reduce our carb intake even more and increase the fats.

This is because his daily blood glucose readings, although still perfectly acceptable, OK, reasonable and within limits, are not quite as stellar as they used to be (now in the low- to mid-5s rather than the mid- to high-4s). Nothing scary, just a noticeable shift over time.

Now that could be down to a natural progression in the diabetes over the years, despite all we're doing to migtigate things (after all, we have been told that it is, unfortunately, a progressive condition), or it could just be an unnoticed shift in our diet meaning we have been eating more carbs that we used to (and this'd be a bigger deal for him with Type 2 diabetes than for me).

Either way, we're going to see if we can make some changes and make a difference. Let's see what happens, eh?

23 January 2015

Colour me happy, happy, happy!

Yippee! I'm not about to shuffle off this mortal coil imminently, it seems. Yep, got those blood results back and it appears to me that those lovely 'keto' gurus have got it absolutely cracked about the lack of 'danger' in eating plenty of tasty nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut, saturated animal fats and the like and steering clear of the sugars and starches (even grains - yes, even the 'healthy' whole grain option).

So, without further ado, but with a positively delighted fat lass drum roll:

21 January 2015

Connie good, fat lass bad

Well, I'm delighted to say that I did get back on Connie, the lovely rower (let's hear it for good old Connie), and I have increased my morning times since. That's all well and good and I am really pleased with the way it's going. But, oh, if all of life were like that.

Unfortunately, there's a 'but' and that is that I seem to be battling a nasty case of the Januarys... or should that be 'oh hell, now what else can go wrong' January blues! This is mostly a work-related thing so in theory I 'should' be able to go home at the end of another (hassle-filled) day and forget it all. Should... not can!

It's been pretty full-on since that oh so distant festive break ended (whoooee, but that seems like an age ago now...) and things have not exactly gone smoothly since. I seem to be paddling like hell to get nowhere fast a lot of the time, and feel like I'm falling behind on planned work because of all the fire-fighting stuff!  This 'too much going on' has quite often stopped me getting out to walk at lunchtimes too, and I'm less than impressed. And the stressing and mild sense of panic also means I want to eat... anything will do. This is somewhat of a daily struggle.

Although I've mostly won on this 'eat me' front, so there haven't been any disastrous effects on my weight (er, yet!), all this doesn't do much for my positivity and, for some silly reason, I can't let go of it at the end of the day. I guess it doesn't help that often I wake up and fret about things in the early hours too so I have also been growing increasingly tired.

Worse, I'm taking my bad attitude, frustration and short temper back home with me and my poor lovely hubby catches the brunt of it nine times out of ten. Not a great plan for maintaining marital harmony. Thankfully, he's a very patient, understanding man, so I'm very lucky.

The more logical half of me manages to keep relatively calm and cheerfully say 'hey, all this shall pass' but, unfortunately, my emotional part has her fingers firmly stuffed in both ears and is singing 'lah lah lah lah lah' at the top of her voice whilst running around like a headless chook.

The upshot is this - I'm officially fed up with January. Could we give February a try please? Who knows, it 'might' be better!

To end on a more upbeat note, I've been for my mid-life 'are you going to keel over soon' health check and it was hilarous. It started pretty well when the automatic 'I guess your height, weight and blood pressure' machine decided I was two inches shorter than I actually am! Ho hum. OK, so we corrected that pronto. Not that it's a huge deal, but hey, these are 'my' records and a three percent error will make a noticeable difference to that jolly old BMI value you know.

Then I did a silly thing and apologised that my BP was bit higher than I'd expected (at 129/59). Hmm, must admit here that this was because the fat lass got a tad tetchy when the instructions on the high-tech whizz-bang machine and what you 'actually' have to do didn't tally = instant grrr and raised BP! Oh, the rather surprised nurse said, but it's really good and your resting heart rate (55 bpm) is great too! Alright, so our perception differs a little here, but never mind.

Then the weekly alcohol intake, exercise patterns, smoking, family health history questions came and went. All responses seemed to make her a happy bunny. Doing OK so far... and those bloods results (full lipid panel amongst other bits and bobs) are still to come back, but the reaction when we discussed diet was an absolute cracker.

I was asked whether I felt my diet was 'good', 'poor' or 'alright'. Now who's going to say anything less than positive, eh? I told her mine was 'super' thanks. She then asked if I was aware of the 'low-fat diet' advice so I said that indeed I was, but added that I totally ignored it.

Oooops! There was a sharp intake of breath, so I explained that I followed a ketogenic diet and this helped me maintain substantial weight loss (at this point she checked on my records to see what I had been, and 'ooohed' a bit).

Then, because she looked a wee bit bemused at this 'ketogenic' business, I started to explain what it was, i.e. low carb - yep, this seemed an acceptable thing to do, with moderate protein - er, I guess that probably seems OK, and that this means my diet is high in fat - WHAT!!

Oh dear, I'm not convinced that she (or her student) expected me to manage to leave the consulting room before I dropped like a stone from imminent heart failure. Hmmm, I think both of us might look at those detailed blood results quite closely. An interesting morning, eh?

Onwards, and a shade frustratedly, ever...

14 January 2015

Be careful what you say, fat lass!

 Oh heck, no sooner do I mention that "I now suffer far fewer and less severe infections of all sorts" than I get bitten by a stomach bug. Grrr, typical or what! Hmmm, 'bottoms' seems an appropriate comment.

It kicked off Friday night and I thought it must have been something I ate to start with, but no. I can only say that an 'interesting' weekend ensued... more detail than that you do not need. Indeed it's only just getting back to normal(ish) today. Food of any sort has been way, way down my priority list, but I've drunk for England.

One of the few nourishing things I've been able to handle is good old beefy Bovril.
Childhood goodness reincarnated.

I've ached and felt like a wet dish rag, and although I have been at work (er, several people have probably wish I'd stayed away, since I've been pretty cranky) it's knocked me off the morning's rowing - damn it. I hate it when I get derailed, especially just as I'd started stepping up the times. Still, can't be helped and I'm hoping I'll be back at it before the weekend.

Maybe a gentle row tomorrow?

09 January 2015

Do you think I'm getting old or something?

Oooh er missus. I've been invited to visit my GP's surgery for a 'mid-life' health check.

Now call me a tad cynical, oh, and downright bloody ungrateful if you like, but as sweet and nice and fluffily helpful and caring as this all sounds, it does seem to be just a shade off the mark to me. To be called in for a chat now, just because I've attained the magic age of 55, seems to miss the point a wee bit.

Why? Well I'd say I'm in better overall 'physical' shape these days than any time I can really remember so maybe a health check at this point is less likely to be beneficial than perhaps it could have been.

You see I can't actually recall being invited for a similar 'health check' of any kind while I was morbidly obese, seriously unfit and a long-term drug-dependent asthmatic - but hey, I guess I was a few years younger then. Maybe it's hindsight's 20:20 vision dictating this poor attitude on my part, but I can't help but think that it might have maybe, just maybe, had a positive effect on my thinking and actions had I been warned of the pretty imminent dangers of my crappy lifestyle back then. Still, water under the bridge and all that.

To my mind the betterment of my general health in the past seven or so years has been nothing short of amazing. The weight (OK, let's call it what it really is - fat) that I've lost is one aspect for sure, and is a powerful positive. My current BMI of 20.8, just below half way along that 'normal' band, is nice to see as at the start of my weight loss it used to be over 39 which is... er, not so good! Sure, I'd like to drop another pound or two and things could probably do with being a little more toned, but we're working on that. I'm certainly one helluva lot slimmer than I was for way too many years but this, taken alone, misses the point slightly too.

Very much more importantly in my eyes are those nice positive effects upon 'me' and my health that derive from losing almost half my previous body mass and fundamentally changing my diet and lifestyle. These show in all sorts of ways.

Simple things, like my skin being clearer, so no more sore spots or fungal infections where the fat bits rubbed and sweated (yeah, I know - TMI). My dentist has commented that my teeth don't have the same old levels of scale and gunk deposits and my gums are in better health. I now suffer far fewer and less severe infections of all sorts (even colds and sniffles are not as they used to be, if/when I do pick something up). And I know my blood pressure is fine, thankfully. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the benefits I see have an impact (and a good one) on my mental outlook too - my confidence has improved and I'm more the 'me' I thought I'd lost forever.

My achy joints may still remain, as a legacy of years of abuse, but they bug me considerably less that they used to. Funnily enough, life's general aches and pains must have reduced too, as there are barely any painkillers in our medicine cabinet and those which are there date back a while - a thing I've only just realised. What's more, between improvements to joints and lungs I can happily run up a flight of stairs (or more) without near collapse or an asthma attack.

Of particularly precious note to me is the breathing side. After decades carrying those damn things everywhere I went (out of necessity) I've been off all inhalers for a looong time now. In fact, the only medication I'm taking is HRT. My peak flow, which I still check from time to time, is still nicely above the predicted levels for a female of my age (without asthma) and that makes me very happy indeed. Thank you exercise and weight loss.

Now, I do have a wee niggling minor concern for when I go for this check. This is that following a ketogenic, low-carb diet as I do, I'm wondering whether I'll be read the cholesterol riot act/scare story as my bloods are pretty likely to show the effects of this way of life, and my total C and HDL-C levels might well be elevated... although I may be fretting without need and borrowing troubles here. Who knows yet.

If this is so, I don't mind a bit (read Cholesterol Clarity for why), but the NICE guidelines the Health Service have to follow, but which I believe are flawed, may well decide that I urgently 'need' statinating... hmmm, we'll see. It ain't going to happen, even if that's what I'm told will 'benefit' me.

05 January 2015

New Year off to a reasonable start?

Well, I think I'll label this festive season a success.

My darling lovely hubby and I had a super break, walking on the beach for hours on Christmas Day (cold, but beautiful), and with some absolutely gorgeous seafood to enjoy (oooh, that lobster!). As the whole period was pretty moderate overall, it didn't result in any weight gain. Thanks, methinks, to the joys of low-carb.

Saying that though, I'd still like to shed a couple of pounds and get comfortably back into the lower end of my 'happy' range, and get those flabby bits under some semblance of control. With that in mind, as of December 27th I'm pleased to say... er, I think I am anyhow... that I'm back on the rower in the mornings.

It's only 'I think' right now as things are still a bit of a mental battle at the moment (until dear old 'habit' gets itself together and kicks in). Especially true today, my first day back at the coal face. Stumbling out of bed this morning in the dark and chill of 5 a.m. when that blasted alarm clock woke me from a lovely, cozy, snuggly slumber and making myself get on the rower and 'do it' first thing was definitely a challenge!

Still, it is nice to know that I am actually walking the walk and doing it, and that the motivation to continue and ramp things up as I get a shade fitter is also there (fledgling as it is), so to paraphrase John Leyton just a tad...

When the mist's a rising and the rain is falling
And the wind is blowing cold across the moor
I hear the voice of my darlin'
The rower I loved and quit a year ago...

...Connie, remember me!

All in all I'm fairly happy with the start of the year, though I do rather think that I need to cut down on imbibing good whisky for a wee while... those single malts were too just nice over the break and that is a habit I don't really want to continue through 2015. Strictly weekends only from here on.

Onwards, as ever...

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