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...

14 May 2017

Been a long time...

...but I am still here, and still reading what you lovely people write, although things have been relatively hectic of late so I haven't commented too much. 

Hmmm, busy. Now some of that is probably down to working full-time again. Funny how it consumes such a lot of my time, eh? That said, a few months in, I'm still enjoying the 'new' job, although people seem to have been leaving in their droves since I started. Something I said perhaps? Nah, don't be daft. 

It's good, in part, because I'm still learning - every single day. It's keeping my mind active. I'm constantly problem-solving, and I've been a bit surprised that I enjoy the interaction with people from around the world, and the feeling of being at least 'some' help to a fair number of them. 

Having been a lady of (enforced) leisure for some months beforehand, it's been a bit of an adjustment. I am finding that I get fairly tired in the evenings, especially by the end of a week, so feel less inclined to write. Hey, do you think the fat lass could be getting older? You betcha!

Life has dropped a few worries my way too, but that's life for you. Nothing too horrendous, but you know what it's like at 2 a.m. when the bad thoughts won't stop and let you get a good night's sleep.

Another time-hungry thing, I'm still heading to the gym three times a week (for a fantastic 2 hour session at the weekend at my favourite bodybuilding/boxing gym, interspersed with two shorter sessions in the carpeted luxury of that workplace gym before work).

I am seeing gradual changes too as I am definitely stronger than when we first started. Now and again though (er, like yesterday) I do get a bit disheartened and feel like I'm not making sufficient progress - whatever the hell that actually means. 

On these days, which usually coincide with seeing beautifully proportioned, slim, strong young women doing, apparently quite effortlessly, something I struggle with, I feel ancient and useless. That's when I become super conscious of my saggy regions of excess skin, the remaining fatty deposits (around the belly and thighs in particular), and those 'oh so attractive' flabby bits. There may now be some muscle underneath, but it's masked by stuff it would take a surgeon's skills to uncover, dammit!

But, for when this does happen, I have a cunning plan. Yep, the fat lass still puts her 'cunning plans' to good use.

What I do is this. I stop, and mentally kick my posterior (only mentally as yet - I need yoga classes to get flexible enough to do it for real), then remind myself of a few home truths.

Things like the fact that I am loved, just the way I am. Such a tiny thing to say, but so very important. I'm loved by my darling lovely hubby, by the best sister a woman could have, by other family and by friends. I am so lucky.

Things too, like 'who' and 'what' I am these days, and whatever I may 'look' like, is the result of over 57 years of living, some of which (actually way too many) were lived being morbidly obese, inactive and in a fair degree of pain. You know that old saying about reaping what one sows? Well, I guess that's me. But, that was then... 

...and this is now. And I am 100% sure that 'now' is a very much better place. Yes, I remember the way things were and, although I regret a lot of it, it generates a deep sense of gratitude. 

I may not have a model's body (never did and never will), but I have a body which works pretty well in the circumstances. It hasn't failed me and it keeps trying to make things better for me. It's lighter than 'before' (at around the 55kg mark still). It's stronger than before. It's healthier than before (I think - no, I'm certain of it). It gives me less pain and, when clothed, I am content that it looks quite reasonable.

You know what? I'm going to keep on treating that body kindly. I will continue with the weights work to keep the prospect of muscle-loss and osteoporosis at bay (and I may even look up a yoga class to get a bit more flexible). I will give it good, wholesome food to eat, and clean fresh water to drink (with the odd scotch, I'll admit). I will remember to appreciate it.

Hey, does that remind anyone of anything? Yes, I am becoming more and more like my darling my Mother, and counting my blessings. Now if that isn't a good thing I don't know what is!

Onwards, and holding that gratitude like a beacon, ever upwards...



05 March 2017

An interesting week


It has been quite a week. As ever with life, there have been some ups and a few odd downs, but simply beginning, and knuckling down to get on with it, is the only way forwards.

I'd say the most positive part of the week was starting my new job (albeit I was scared stiff on my first day), and deciding that it was indeed the correct choice to have made. Did I mention that I'd been offered another job, on the day I signed my contract, which I turned down?

I think this one offers me stability and a fair bit of scope for the future, but isn't utterly overwhelming to start with. The journey is fine and the people (I'm part of a team of eleven) really do seem to be as nice, and friendly, and supportive as I'd hoped too.

With everything that has happened in the last few years I really appreciate landing something like this that doesn't send my tentative, much-shaken confidence running for the hills. Yes, I have a LOT to learn (serious understatement), but I feel supported, not simply left to flounder!

But that wasn't the only positive bit. I went to the gym yesterday, after recovering (mostly) from the cold and sore throat which had kindly broken out just in time for my first day at work - typical, eh? When I woke up I still wasn't feeling 100% so didn't expect much more than a gentle, let's get back to it session. Indeed, I took it easy and dropped a couple of weights to begin with. But that was fine, and seemed too easy, so I soon reverted to my 'usual' weights... until I got to the compound row.

By now I felt pretty confident so set the weight a shade higher. For the first time ever I used the 56kg setting on the stack. It might not sound that big a deal, but that's more than I actually weigh! Progress is definitely being made - the fat lass is getting stronger.

Oooh, I forgot to say - there's a gym where I work too. It's fairly small, so slightly restricted with the equipment on offer, but it does mean that even if I can't make it to my beloved boxing/bodybuilding gym more than once or twice a week I have another option. It even has carpet on the floor - what luxury. Now that's what I call work benefits!

One down side was passing on my grotty coldy bug to lovely hubby. He seems to have been hit rather harder by it, poor love. He doesn't feel good, though he's not sneezing quite as much, and still looks a bit pale. Still, it is only a cold and he will get better. In that we are blessed - all too many of our friends and acquaintances have a lot more to contend with.

I'm trying to look after him as much as I can - he deserves it. So, for dinner tonight I've slow cooked some chicken legs with mushrooms, celery, green pepper, onion, garlic, tarragon and a quartered lemon. Oh yes, there are a few bits of leftover Polish sausage in there too. It smells great and should be nutrient-packed to help him fight the bug.

I've also made a nice big bowl of red and white cabbage salad (plus a varied assortment of odds 'n ends of veg bits from the fridge) so I can take some for lunch each day this week, with cheese or eggs or cooked meat. The canteen at work is nice (airy and open, and subsidised too), but not exactly low-carb friendly.

The last two paragraphs probably indicate that I'm still trying to eat as healthily as possible, with good food and as much variation as I can manage, and am still a firm adherent to the low-carb way of life (I simply will NOT call it a diet!). This means my weight is holding pretty stable at between 54kg and 55kg.

You know what? My darling Mum was dead right about having blessings to count. Onwards, chaps...

20 February 2017

A rollercoaster day

After yesterday's good stuff, this morning looked set to kick off in decidedly disappointing vein. An email popped into the inbox first thing, to tell me that a planned interview (scheduled for tomorrow) was being postponed. 

That didn't exactly fill me with joy. Indeed, it did rather make me wonder whether the multi-coloured elephant from the last post had got the message. It dumped something on me alright, but that 'something' didn't quite feel like positive vibrations. 

Through the day, I also got pretty antsy awaiting the result of last week's interview. The longer the day went on, the more convinced I became that when the call finally came it would be of the 'thanks, but...' variety again. So much so, that I decided it was best to look for other jobs to apply for, found one that was worth a shot, and got stuck in to yet another bloody application.

However [drum roll here], I have good news to report.

I had a phone call mid-afternoon to offer me the job. In fact, it gets better. I was offered the full-time, permanent position not just the fixed-term contract I thought might have, maybe, perhaps, possibly be offered... at a push, if the wind was in the right direction and the stars were aligned in my favour.

Yep, the fat lass is happy. If truth be told, I'm even more delighted as the interview process threw up a few things I hadn't been aware of. There were just four of us to get as far as to be interviewed, after fifteen of us embarked upon a morning of 'assessments' which included 'group activities' and timed 'computer-based' tests. Whilst the assessments were not really 'difficult', they were certainly challenging. Me being me, and my confidence not being the highest these days, I didn't feel I'd covered myself in glory by the end of them... just sort of done OK. 

Now I'm pretty used to there being considerable competition for any job these days, but I was surprised to hear that this one had had nearly 200 applicants. Just getting to the final phase seemed like success to me. But being offered the job...? Yep, I'm very happy.

I will wait for the contract, for references to be taken up, and a 100% definite start date before I go out and paint the town red but it looks likely that I could start as early as next week. I really liked the team members I met last week. They seem a friendly and supportive bunch and I feel that once I get settled and used to the new role (it's always intimidating in the first few weeks) I could fit in with them and be happy and content working alongside them. I have every digit crossed.

Hey, maybe the elephant got the message after all. Whatever, thanks go to my pachyderm pal!

19 February 2017

Positivity?

Calling all positive vibes... come in, your time is up!

On the job front:

1) I'm waiting to hear back after an interview last week which seemed to go well... though you never can tell

2) I'm preparing for a second interview this week, and hoping for a good outcome... though you never can tell

I daresay I'll report back at some point in the week. Until then, onwards, and so on.

 
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