16 June 2019

Still here, still trying

To be honest, that's all I can really say right now.

Unfortunately, I've had a particularly tough time over the last week or so.

Why is this?

Well, work has certainly been one aspect. Circumstances have meant that it's not been my finest nor easiest week. Maybe that phase is over, maybe there's another avalanche waiting to engulf me. Who knows. I certainly don't. But I'll keep showing up, and I'll keep doing as much as I can. Stubborn? You betcha!

Secondly, I received a copy of my assessment, as was sent to my doctor, there it is in black and white. Oh sh*t. It wasn't all a bad dream after all, it really does say what I thought it did, and it's there. In writing... Set in stone... Shared... Visible... On the record... No taking it back.

The other more affecting part is that I've been working on that project my counsellor set, to try to put down in precise words a description of those long-buried feelings and my pain. This has meant opening the box and taking a long hard look at said feelings. Exhumed and unburied, they are not a nice sight and I'd can only say that, like a rotting corpse, they stink.

She did warn me this would not be a quick, nor an easy task. By damn, she was correct!

Doing so, rather unsurprisingly perhaps, has truly unleashed the beast which stalks me in the night-time (hmmm, in the day-time too). I have to say he's a pretty effective beast and has done a damn good job of mauling me, biting chunks from my psyche and gnawing away at my innermost insecurities. Result = bad dreams, early hours worries, and tears 'R us.

This in turn has led to a week where I've been pretty fragile. So I've ended up 'coping' with the added angst the old-fashioned way. Not exactly bingeing, but certainly having several days where my eating has been anything but stellar.

Keto? Nah, you must be 'aving a laraarrf! Days where I made decidedly poor choices though (how's that for a weasel-words way of putting it).

Want to hazard a guess as to the effect of this? Yep, you've got it in one. That's one kilo upwards to be exact - 63.5kg and unimpressed.

But whoa, stop, halt! OK, let's not get too disheartened here (come on, listen to yourself girl) and let's not pile misplaced guilt onto whatever negativity's already in place.

Yes, it's a gain. No, I'm not pleased. But, you need to take on board that there will be no true healing until this hurt is exposed, recognised, picked apart and dealt with. I guess it's like lancing a boil - it's going to hurt like a bitch but it really is necessary.

If it comes with some collateral damage, so be it. Just ride it out for now and deal with it when you can. Still, I'll try a little harder this week.

I'll work on sticking to health-giving food choices. I'll drink my water (try to cut down on the caffeine a bit). I'll do my very best to remember why this is necessary. And I will be kind to myself. I'd naturally be kind to someone else in this position, so I need to be there for me too.

OK, big girl knickers are pulled up and in place, so it's onwards ever...

09 June 2019

So, what's happening?

Firstly, I want to thank those of you who have left me comments - you've been so kind and I really do appreciate it.

So then, let's get to it. On the weight front things aren't exactly fantastic. Fact is, I seem to have gained an extra kilo (up to 63kg again) in a shade under a couple of weeks which, as you can probably imagine, doesn't please me much. This is despite following the keto-style diet which has worked for me in the past.

OK, let's look at why the direction of travel isn't the required one.

To be brutally honest I'd best mention that I did have a serious slip-up on Tuesday last, when a barrow-load of stress got the better of me. I ate more nuts than I should have and wolfed an individual bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate that day. Sadly, this was a decidedly pointless variety of stress-relief as I didn't really enjoy it that much at the time, and felt like crap afterwards. The stress didn't go away either!

Other than that I thought I'd been pretty virtuous for the whole week. Or have I? Hmmm, if I think a little more closely about what I've eaten, I realise that I've snacked on chopped brazil nuts or almonds on a couple of days, and nibbled on pork scratchings too. That's in addition to the salad boxes I've made for lunch and whatever our evening meal has been.

Overload? Probably, so I guess I need to rethink snacks. My options are either a) don't have any at all, or b) radically change what I consume. Things have to change, so thinking cap on.

On the 'looking after me' front, things have gone a little better. 

I've had a follow-up appointment with my counsellor which, although pretty harrowing, emotional and exhausting, brought to the foreground and gave voice to some of the bottled-up pain I've been carrying with me for a long time and suppressing like fury. Interesting. Not at the time perhaps, but certainly ruminating over it in the aftermath. 

I have been given a little project to do as a result, and that is to think this through quietly and in some detail over the next couple of weeks, seeking out the exact words to explain my feelings. Easy enough, one may think. Not so. None of the words I've tried out so far truly express feelings I've spent so long subjugating. A long way to go on this one...

I have also had an NHS assessment to determine the shape my current difficulties are taking, and to look at the type(s) of long-term support that might be suitable to assist me to help myself. Sounds good, huh?

Well, yes to some extent, but it was actually quite a shocker too. I'd duly completed my questionnaire and was ready and (...sort of) willing to discuss the answers to the questions in greater detail on the day. However, a couple of things brought me up short. 

Once I'd said I was fine in this respect, I wasn't expecting to return to the part of conversation about the possibility of harming myself. But we did, touching on this rather sensitive spot several times in fact. Now let's get this straight. I most definitely don't feel I'm in any danger of acting upon my most negative thoughts, but I guess the fact that they exist raised a flag of some kind.

The other thing to take the wind from my sails was being advised that the depression I'm experiencing was classed as 'severe'. Along the numerical scale used in the assessment I am apparently pretty close to the worst end. Oh bugger! That anxiety is not quite such a big deal, but it's also a bit more embedded than I thought. 

I guess it really is time to address this situation and move towards some form of resolution. My little book of daily positives is a step in the right direction.

However, I'm very aware that I have a long road ahead of me and rather a lot of work to do in this respect. That's both a scary proposition and hopeful, in roughly equal measures from where I'm standing at the moment.

So here goes.

As I always say, and mean every single time I say it. Onwards, ever...

29 May 2019

Damn, just damn

Well, I've been away for an age again and as you may imagine that means things haven't exactly been going well. I've pretty much ended up descending into a deep, dark black hole

Why? A combination of s**t ganged up on me and things went completely to pot after the New Year. Yep, I guess that includes a pot belly!

The nastiest news was that my weight did hit 67kg for a while. That meant at 10 stone 8 lbs I was over two stone heavier than my 'happy weight'. Crap!

While I'm glad to say that has come down a bit, to 62kg at the moment, it's still not good. It's also been a very hard slog even to get this far.

I mentioned back in December that some of the strategies that have worked for me in the past just don't seem to be cutting it any more. Sadly, that's still the case. I'm trying, but any progress is very slow.

OK, that's the weight, but my mental health has also taken a pretty big hit. I guess I've mentioned it a few times but haven't really laid it out in too much detail (keeping head planted firmly in the sand, I guess), but the last X weeks... well, months really... have been somewhat tough.

I've struggled in some nebulous 'can't cope' sort of way. I've been down, bluesy, sad, under the weather, prone to tears, you name it - often with no identifiable cause. My confidence, always somewhat tenuous, has taken a nosedive. There's absolutely no single concrete reason for this, that I can see - just a whole load of smallish setbacks which have piled up like a snowdrift. Unfortunately... that's just the way it just is.

It's quite a while back that my old nemesis, the Black Dog, saw his chance and leapt at it. He invited himself in by sneaking through a crack in the door, made himself comfortably at home with a cup of tea and settled in for the duration. He's there now, the little beggar, half hidden in the shadows and grinning at me with his teeth ever so slightly bared, displaying his defiance and contempt. Once he'd made himself at home, he invited along his old mate Anxiety for the ride. Fun, huh?

Suffice it to say I don't like this at all and hate the way I've been feeling. I'm so tired of just soldiering on. Some days are alright, but on others my 'worries' feel like I've managed to avoid being run down by a car only to be hit by a bus I didn't even see coming. Don't get me wrong. I don't need to tell you that there are so many people in this world for whom life is a whole lot more of a struggle than it is for poor old me. But still...

It's taken me some time to get to the point where I'd accept that I need some extra support, but I finally have and I have recently started counselling. The jury is out as to how well I'll do, but at least I've begun.

And I can do something else that I've mentioned more than once - something my lovely Mum used to do. Actually write down (yep, list in black and white) the reasons I am blessed. Express my gratitude for the good things I have in my life. And try to identify the positive things about 'me' (though I do find it difficult to see the good, not just the negatives).

If I write down just one little thing a day, that list should begin to build. If I watch it grow and read it back to myself, however corny it may seem, it might just give me another weapon in my personal armoury to help me beat off the Black Dog.

I am going to try to post here more often (er, at the moment I can't realistically make promises), as I know it has helped me in the past and your support has been a boost too.

Ah well, let's keep my fingers crossed. For now all I can really say is my customary onwards, ever...

13 December 2018

What's occurring?

Blimey! It's December already and nowhere near the start of the month. Deep breath - er, hello world.

I can't imagine there's many out there to remember this rather 'absent' fat lass but, surprisingly, I am still here. If there is anyone left, I can almost hear the question "And where exactly is 'here' these days"?

Well, I'd love to report that all is Yuletide cheer and joy, but reality is not quite along those lines. Let's get the toughest bit out there first. About an age and a half ago, way back in May, which I gather is over half a year back, I wrote:

"My weight is currently 61 kg = 134 lbs = 9 stone 8 lbs. That's more than a stone higher than my 'happy' weight, and an increase of more than 10% of my body weight. Hell, it hurts typing that."

As of the start of the week, my weight is 59 kg = 130 lbs = 9 stone 4 lbs. Oh crap, when you look at it this is not really sterling progress for this time-frame, is it?

Sure I have lost 'some' weight, but it's minimal and has been a damned hard slog, with one step forward, two back (and repeat). Here I am still a kilo above the top of my 'Ideal Weight' range (for my age/height/frame) which is 58 kg = 128 lbs = 9 stone 2 lbs. A long way away yet from my 'Happy Weight' of 54 kg = 119 lbs = 8 stone 7 lbs.

Is this from lack of trying? Well, of course it is partly, as earlier in the year I wasn't truly committed, whatever I thought, so backsliding was commonplace.

However, in the six or so weeks since the end of October I have been putting in a great deal more effort and trying a helluva lot harder, and still my progress is minimal. Some of the strategies that have worked for me in the past don't seem to be cutting it any more.

What am I doing right now? 
Low carb (keto) eating, with just two meals per day.
Intermittent fasting in the form of time-restricted eating. In practice, this is not eating after about 7:30 in the evening until at least 11:00 the next morning, usually longer than this.
Minimising snacks (with chunks of cucumber and mooli being my most common snacking choice).
Remembering to drink water as often as I can, and keeping the alcohol to one glass of something at weekends.
Weighing myself regularly, and checking measurements too.

What am I NOT doing right now? 
Moving my ass. Sadly, my 'new' new job is seriously sedentary and I'm sat on my tush for the vast majority of the day, tied to a computer.
Because there's a lot to get done (jeez, understatement here!) I'm working extra hours so I'm too damn tired to even consider a return to the gym.
Now it's winter I'm not walking to or from work in the cold and dark, and weekend walking isn't too tempting either.
Oh yeah, keeping the stress to acceptable levels - this is so not happening (the new role is... pretty hellish, if I'm honest).
Not getting enough sleep, despite being tired (see stress above), waking frequently, having bad dreams/nightmares and the odd 2 a.m. panic attack.
Ah, and to add to the mix, the continuing effects of coming off HRT are still giving me grief.

What am I proud of?
It's tempting to say "not much" here, but there are some chinks of silver lining to my cloud.
Although my weight isn't much changed, my measurements have reduced and my podgy, padded middle is a shade less overstuffed. I am wearing a pair of work trousers that I could barely get done up a few weeks ago.
I'm also really delighted that having just 'enjoyed' the third of this year's festive celebrations today, I have stayed true to my low carb ideals. No sweeties, or chocolate, or mince pies, etc. for this fat lass (and there have been and still are a wealth of temptations in the workplace!).

What am I pissed off about?
Well, my weight is obviously a major one. What I want to see on the scales and what I do see is not motivating in the least, making this period harder for me than I can say I appreciate.
Getting older doesn't endear itself to me. My darling Mum always said that old age doesn't come alone and she was right - it brings things like dry and sagging skin, dry eyes, aching joints, sleepless nights, health concerns (for me and for loved ones), constipation, and a raft of other fun things.
I'm actually also quite angry about work. I won't go into detail but it isn't exactly what I (or others) had been led to expect.
My other, and possibly biggest, problem is that old faithful, the Black Dog, who is my constant companion at the moment. Here he is again with a rumbling growl, firmly attached to my side, having invited his good mate 'Anxiety' along for good measure.
Things have been pretty rotten in this respect recently. Lovely hubby gently mentioned how concerned he has been about me, and what he said he was worried about really shocked me to the core. More than for myself, I really hate how this crap is affecting him.

So, what's next?
Keeping on doing the good things I'm doing.
Learning to be patient and keep the end goal in mind (now I'm heading for 60 this stuff isn't as straightforward as it was back in my 40s - things take longer).
And, once the darkness of winter begins to lift and work shakes down into a more manageable routine (please Lord!) I will get this flabby bottom moving more. Whether that will involve gym membership, or something else, it's just too soon to say.

Hey ho. Onwards, ever...

23 May 2018

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Well, it appears that Christmas, New Year and Easter have all come and gone, but it's still the season to be... er, brutally honest actually.

You know how when someone disappears from the weight blogging world for a while you kind of wonder whether everything is OK? Oh no, you perhaps think, I hope it hasn't all gone pear-shaped.

Well, since I last wrote something here - way back in May last year - it has. I'm feeling decidedly pear-shaped, and not a little disappointed in myself. In fact, re-reading that post and a few earlier ones makes me realise just how badly things have gone wrong.

Hey kids, let's go to to hell in a handcart!

So, to get back to the title, let's focus on the 'good' for a moment, well... 'good' being a bit of a relative term.

I haven't gained back all the weight I lost. Sounds alright, doesn't it? Well I suppose if one looks for silver linings, this is a microscopically paper-thin sliver of one.

You see, then there's the 'bad'.

OK, I'll just get the worst news out of the way. My weight is currently 61 kg = 134 lbs = 9 stone 8 lbs. That's more than a stone higher than my 'happy' weight, and an increase of more than 10% of my bodyweight. Hell, it hurts typing that.

Worse, this is somewhere I have been for a pretty long time. Up a couple of kg, down a couple maybe, but close to this figure for waaaay too long.

Now, technically, this scary figure is apparently still within some mythical 'Normal Weight Range' BMI band so some might say that it isn't quite an unmitigated disaster yet... but it rather feels like it's headed there.

Oh yeah, while I'm at the 'bad' part, I'll confess that the gym and I appear to have broken up. More of this later.

Which sort of leaves the 'ugly' part?

Alright,let's get down to the rest of it. The results of 'bad' mean that I feel and look flabby and unfit, and my clothes (particularly around my tubby, and rather matronly middle) tell me this is very real.

Huh, how did this happen? Why? Well, of course there are some contributory factors at play - yeah, yeah, aren't there always. This has not helped, but the blame is still squarely on me!

Yes, that's right - the real reason is down to me. That's 100%, as I know full well that I have choices, and appear to have consistently made crap ones.

Probably the biggest factor (a.k.a. excuse) is that I came off HRT a while back. Goodness, it's probably about eight or nine months ago now!

That decision was made after several conversations with my GP about the length of time I'd been on it, risk factors and the like. Mind you, it's a bit like guesswork, as no-one seems to be able to tell me very much that's actually the accurate and copper-bottomed truth when it comes to matters menopausal. Anyhow, a consensus was reached using some arcane formula and off HRT I came.

I'd like to say it was a good decision, but it hasn't exactly gone smoothly (oooh boy, that's putting it mildly).

I've generally felt a bit like a pile of c**p ever since. My joints hurt - it's not just the dodgy knee these days. My skin tone has gone to hell in a handcart. I am back to sleeping poorly, with near-nightly disturbances and a welter of bad dreams and night sweats. I seem to have an almost constant mild, off-colour, slightly achy 'heading for a bug', feeling and the black dog is a regular, if slightly distant companion, sniffing around my ankles once again almost as though he wants me to know he's there but has chosen not to take up full-time occupation...yet.

Those delightful, so-called 'night sweats' are not constrained by the hours of darkness either. My dodgy thermostat has retinstated itself so my temperature regulation has gone haywire once more. I'm shivery cold one minute, but blazing hot the next with an unwelcome return of the human waterfall sessions. Oooh, what fun!

The problem is, I can't 'just go back' to my old HRT medication, even if the medical profession would agree, as it simply isn't available any more. This has not helped, but all of this is still an excuse. The blame for where I am right now weight-wise is still firmly on me!

Exercise next. To begin with, in my 'new' job (which I still love) I'm hardly what you'd describe as active. I'm sat on my expanding tush in front of a screen all day, most days. Quite a difference to just about almost everything else I've done in my former life.

I've also been away from the gym since before October. This is a real problem, as it's not just a matter of weight and shape, but also one of keeping osteoporosis at bay so it's a pretty serious omission.

Yeah, sure, there are lots of reasons for this (a.k.a. excuses, such as being crazy busy in the job for a while so spending lots of hours working overtime, a period of illness, a bloody painful minor injury and the growing collection of painful joints). Sure, all contributed to 'some' of the absences. But the sad truth is, when my once-good habit was broken I let it continue. I haven't got back in the groove - despite having 'tried' a few times (albeit in a rather lacklustre manner).

Hell, it's not even as though I'm doing much walking these days. This not helped, but that weight gain blame is still on me!

And then there's the big one. You know the one I'm about to mention - this is all about food choices. Yes, I have fallen right off the wagon here, not only in 'what' I've eaten, but 'how much' I've consumed and 'when' I've chosen to feed myself.

First off, I dove right in and took the opportunity to indulge in 'treats' of scones and Welsh cakes during our holidays last year (dragging poor lovely hubby along with me for goodness sake). Not a good plan! And guess what? We've just returned from another holiday and we'd indulged even more!

Low carb were these 'treats', you ask? Nope! Not even close, and while we're still eating home-cooked fresh food at home a ketogenic diet is right out of the window. Keto? What keto!

It's taken a toll on me too, as I continually seem to be 'fancy hungry' and craving similar c**p.

Then there is the problem of larger portion sizes than I know are wise. Moderation is NOT my middle name, and I've probably consumed more alcohol than I should have too.

When I've been eating has also slipped off a cliff. Sure, we are still only eating a full meal twice a day generally speaking, and these are relatively healthy meals, definitely hitting a lot more than the 5-a-day guidelines. That said I've slipped back into the habit of taking snacks to work, and nuts have been a killer here.

But it's not just the content - also the fact that the intermittent fasting has taken a hit. As my 'fasting period' has shrunk, so the fat lass has grown. For this the blame is squarely on me!

For a little while I almost got away with it to some extent, gaining a bit then 'being sensible' for a week or so and losing the odd pound or two. Mind you, I never quite got back down to my 'happy' weight, never mind stayed there. The lbs crept slowly upwards, so I think I've been hiding my head in the sand for quite a while.

Worse though, there seems to have been a definite sea-change since Christmas, and what was 'just about acceptable' (who am I kidding?) when I'd reached 57kg (9 stone) crept upwards to 59kg, suddenly leapt up to 62kg, then higher again to 64kg. Yes kiddies, that's over 10 stone in old money! At that point I really got scared and tried to begin to turn things around.

So, where am I now? Well, I may be down a few kilos but I'm still sitting, unhappily, at 61kg. I know that I have to change. I'm struggling with the will to be consistent in changing.

There, that's it. That's the awful truth.

All I can do is keep on trying to get my head back in the game. You know my usual sign-out. Onwards, ever...

based on a design by suckmylolly.com