I can’t believe it’s that time again! Another Monday. Another weigh-in. These ‘scale days’ are coming around quicker and quicker with every passing week and I swear it’s because we’re now in Autumn – my favourite time of year. Summer always drags by, one excruciatingly fetid day blending into the next, as I try to find the coolest place in the house to camp out in and wait out the dismal torture until September rolls around. Then, as soon as the air cools and the leaves start to turn red, gold & brown, time speeds up and whooshes past me, until Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas are all disappearing in the rear-view mirror and the Winter Solstice arrives to mark the time when days start to become longer and lighter again. I dread that time every year, because it marks the end of my favourite seasons and signifies an upcoming Spring and Summer, which I absolutely hate.
But enough of the miserable gazing into the future for now. Because today is a GOOD day. It is gorgeously cool and Autumnal, my home is filled with lovely steaks, chicken, ground beef, gammon and all my favourite vegetables (asparagus, broccoli & cauliflower). It’s 11.45pm and I’ve just gotten up – because screw you and your normal circadian rhythms, we do things a little differently round these parts – and weighed myself to see what the past week has done to the numbers on the scale. Before I share my weight, I just have to mention how different the past week has been to any/every previous ‘TOM’ weeks. If you remember my last post, I was completely blindsided by the arrival of my period a few days ago, because I hadn’t had any of the usual PMS symptoms signalling the upcoming arrival of ‘Aunt Flo’. No mood swings, no space-hopper bloat (not until the actual first day of the ‘visitation’ – and even then, it was far less than I’m used to) and no mad cravings for chocolate.
And I’m going to credit it entirely to the way I’ve been eating. It’s the only thing I’ve been doing differently and since going low-carb, I’ve felt a whole helluva lot better overall. I’ve had far fewer and less intense cramps, only one small hormonal spot on my jawline and whilst it’s still not done with for this month, this period has been less heavy and just less intense. So I have quite a lot to be happy about today, as I’m sure you ladies out there will understand. I did weigh myself a few days ago (see my previous post) to see how the scale would reflect this TOM, and it showed a gain of 2lb which I wasn’t at all bothered by, because I knew it was simply hormonal water-weight. I haven’t cheated once since going low-carb, so when fluctuations like this happen, I don’t have to wallow in guilt or second-guess myself to try to figure out why it happened. It’s very freeing to just be able to accept that my body will do this from time to time, no matter how carefully I adhere to my new WOE.
So, weighing myself today I wasn’t expecting to see any movement on the scale. The ‘red peril’ is still in town so I just assumed that the 2lb water-weigh gain would still be hanging around for the next few days. But…when I read the little display on the scale, it showed my weight as 16 stone and 11 pounds.Which means I’ve dropped that 2lb of water-weight, along with another extra 1lb of flab for good measure! How’s THAT for a good ‘Shark Week’ result, eh? A single pound loss overall might not sound impressive to many, but I’m extremely pleased with that result. Not just because that’s a perfectly healthy amount for my body to be shedding in a week, but because it’s happened during ‘Shark Week’ – a time when we all know how much our bodies prefer to hold onto our weight, than shed it.
I’m taking that as an absolute win for me! My body is responding to the efforts I’m putting in to make it healthier and I feel so much better for it. I wasn’t expecting any losses this week, but this wonderful body of mine managed to pull a nice little one out of the bag, putting the (sugar-free) icing on the (keto-friendly) cake, lol. We’ve got some nice, thick porterhouse steaks in the fridge, so the other half is going to cook me up one of them, along with some asparagus and Portobello mushrooms for my “brunch” and until then I’ve got my coffee with coconut oil in it, to sip on as I update my various social media accounts.
Time is flying by and the US election is only about a week away. With any luck I’ll be appearing as a panellist on a You Tube politics/econ channel during election night, so I’ll have to start preparing for that soon. Time really is passing by incredibly quickly. But for today I think I’ll just try to live in the moment a little and enjoy this week’s little win.
Lots of luck to everyone getting on the scale today. May all your efforts be rewarded with results.
Sometimes, rage can bring you to achieve your dream.
Use your rage to do it better.
Use your rage to keep going on.
Choose how your rage will influence your life.
Yes, it’s hard.
Yes, sometimes you just can’t do it.
It’s ok to fail. Choose to learn from it.
Do better then next time.
We all have to learn to use our rage to build instead or using it to destroy.
Be a person who is using rage to build.
It’s not about anyone else. It’s all about you.
In our society it’s usually easier to use our rage to destroy. It’s even ok with some people that you use your rage to bring pain around you. Don’t be among those. Be someone who understand that you have the choice to use your rage to build something better.
When you’ll look back, you’ll be proud of those moments. They…
I appear to have forgotten what day it is again. Or at the very least, what time of the month it is, because guess who’s in town again? Yup, ‘Aunt Flo’ is here again, but for the first time in I-don’t-know-how-long, I forgot that my period was even due. Yes, me, the planner-obsessed, forward-thinking lunatic that I am, forgot that my period was on the way. Like…um…WTF?
If you remember last month’s ‘visitation‘, I was preparing for it about a fortnight in advance; then I had lots of lovely PMS symptoms for about 5 days before the ‘red peril’ was actually upon me and it was right at the forefront of my mind for a good couple of weeks before it actually arrived. So what went a bit awry this time? Well…I think it must have something to do with me having been eating strictly low-carb for the past couple of months. Because for the first time in forever, I didn’t have any hideous PMS symptoms!
No change in mood, no swollen boobs, no sweet cravings…nothing. Then this morning I woke up to find that mother nature had visited her ‘curse’ upon me. Surprised was not the word. I had to check my calendar and journal to make sure that I wasn’t going losing the plot, or that my body hadn’t just gone mad and decided to bestow an early ‘visitation’ upon me. But when I checked the dates, it was indeed correct. I’d just neglected to remember that it was due at all. And that really weirded me out.
Okay, so a bit of back-story for y’all: I’ve been sterilised since I was 29. I never wanted children and didn’t want to have to worry about getting accidentally pregnant. It’s a decision I’ve not only never regretted, but have been amazingly grateful for, ever since my doc gave me the go-ahead to have the procedure. The only downside to it was that a month after the sterilisation I came off of birth control pills, which I’d been taking since I was 16. I thought that would be a good thing – not having fake hormones flooding through my body all the time – but what happened afterwards was a bit of a shock. As my periods came back, they got progressively heavier, longer and more painful with each month. Not just a “normal” heavy, but an “up to 10 days long and sore enough to take my legs out from under me”, heavy.
After visiting my doctor he came to the conclusion that I had endometriosis, but it had been kept from presenting itself over the 13 years I’d been taking birth-control pills. When I got sterilised and came off the birth-control, my body started to recalibrate itself and no longer had anything preventing those really heavy, long, painful periods from arriving every month. (My sister has had it for years too, so it’s entirely likely that I would also have it.) I’ve since had diagnoses of fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis – both disorders connected to inflammation (along with a boatload of other causes/effects) – and it’s not unusual to find that women who suffer with Fibro and/or PA, also suffer with endometriosis.
So why am I telling you all this gross information? Well…I might be jumping the gun here, but I’m beginning to think that my eating low-carb might actually be helping to reduce a lot of my symptoms and associated problems with endometriosis. I’ve been prescribed Mefanemic Acid for years now. I’m supposed to take them on the first day of my period to shorten their duration and reduce their overall impact. They’re a strong anti-inflammatory (so strong that I also have to take Losec capsules with them too, because they have a tendency to make me throw up) which also help with the pain. Sometimes I try to avoid taking them for as long as I can, because of both how strong they are and how inconvenient the side-effects are. But I always inevitably end up having to take them at some point, because my iron levels can only plummet so low before I end up being admitted to hospital!
So, yeah. Periods are usually a little bit more than a minor irritation round here. I say usually though, because this month has been a totally different experience. Like I already said, I had no PMS symptoms beforehand – which is something that hasn’t happened since I was on birth-control pills. Today my boobs are a little bit sore and I feel a bit bloated, but nowhere near what I’m used to. I just weighed myself and the scale reads 17 stone exactly, so I’ve “gained” 2lbs over the past couple of days, but I’m literally just writing that off as hormonal water-weight, because – as always – I’ve remained 100% on-plan. When you never cheat, it’s a lot easier to see these temporary blips on the scale as just that: a blip; nothing to get stressed out about.
Without going into too much gross detail (yeah…probably a bit late to be concerned about that, huh?) I haven’t had the same level of heaviness that normally hits on day 1 of my TOM. I’ve had a couple of abdominal twinges, but not the “normal” debilitating pains that leave me winded. And I have zero cravings for chocolate (which, if you’ve been following this blog from its inception, you’ll know is a miracle unto itself, lol). Everything about it is just so different and the only thing I’ve been doing differently with my life, is following a low-carb WOE. When I got my period last month I hadn’t been eating low-carb for very long, but I still noticed the absence of intense cravings. This time around, I’ve been eating this way for much longer so I guess the effects are more noticeable?
Obviously, this is still early days, so everything is just a bit of a guess, as to the long-term benefits of eating this way. Endometriosis is always exacerbated by being overweight, so it could just mean that by shifting some flab, I’ve helped to make my periods less insane. But I’m still hugely overweight and I’m only a couple of stone lighter than when I started. That doesn’t seem like enough to be impacting my periods alone. No, I’m more inclined to believe that it’s what I AM and am NOT eating now, that is effecting my overall health – my monthly cycle just being one of the things benefitting from my cutting out sugar from my diet.
I could be wrong (it DOES happen at least once a year, lol) but I know for certain that eating this way is better for me. Even if the scale doesn’t move (or if it goes up 2lb like it has there today) I’m still making healthy choices and staying committed to a better way of eating, for a better way of life. I’ve got a long way to go on my weight-loss journey and will have many more of mother nature’s little “visitations” to deal with (before the menopause comes along with a whole ‘nuther boatload of subsequent challenges for me – yay for being female, lol) so it’s anybody’s guess how things are going to play out month-by-month going forward. Right now there just isn’t enough evidence available to conclude one way or the other, what has caused this month to be so different, but it sure is interesting.
So, on that note I will end this weird, rambling post for today. Bodies are weird. Wonderful, but weird. Implementing changes doesn’t always just affect the one thing we might be hoping to target. Sometimes it’ll throw up something you can’t believe is connected to your goal and other times it’ll surprise you with some added bonus that helps brighten your day. If the past day or so has taught me anything, it is to be prepared for those added bonuses.
It’s coming folks. Whether you celebrate it or not, Christmas Day is just around the corner and I’ve been thinking about what that’s going to mean to me, now that I no longer eat sugar/carbohydrate heavy foods. Every year I go down to my parents’ house on Christmas day, stay overnight and come home at the end of Boxing Day after spending the 2 days with various family members who drop in to celebrate with us. My mum is an amazing cook. I know, I know, everyone thinks that their mother is the best cook ever, but my mum is the real deal!
I grew up eating almost exclusively home cooked meals, and over the years my mum has expanded her already fantastic repertoire of recipes by travelling all over the world, getting inspired by various local cuisines and bringing home a multitude of ideas and experiences to incorporate in her home cooking. And at Christmas, she always likes to include a little something from one of her many trips away, in the vast cornucopia of foods she serves up on Christmas and Boxing Day.
On top of that, my parents also have a fruit & vegetable garden, in which they grow fresh produce along with a bunch of stuff that my mum then turns into chutneys, jams, pickles and liqueurs. As part of our Christmas gifts, she always presents us with a little bundle of these amazingly flavourful little jars, containing whatever items she decides to make the most of this year. (Her blackcurrant jam, cassis, rhubarb vodka and chilli salsa are particularly excellent.)
So as you can see, food plays a really big part in the way the family show love and celebrate this time of the year when we’re all together in one place. Over the years I have been incredibly lucky to be able to experience the fruits of my parents’ labours; both literally and metaphorically. So, it is with a heavy heart, that I finally made the decision I’m here to talk about today: to indulge in carbohydrate heavy foods, or not?
And I’ve decided that this year, I’m not going to be taking any “time off” from my low-carb WOE. There will be no “cheat days”, no “just one bite” capitulations and no excuses. I just don’t see any real point in going back to the way of eating that made me so overweight and unhealthy in the first place, just for a couple of days, only to have to work hard to get myself back on track and into ketosis after Boxing Day. Those first 3 days on Atkins induction were HARD. Withdrawal from sugar was NOT pleasant and I really don’t want to have to put myself through that again. Not without good reason – and my mother’s home cooking, as amazing as it it, just isn’t a good enough reason.
I know she’ll be cooking at least 3 different types of meat for Christmas day, along with 4 or 5 types of vegetable, so it’s not like I’m going to go hungry. There will be plenty of on-plan foods I can still eat and I already weird my family out (my mum is Scottish) by not drinking any alcohol – I’m pretty much entirely teetotal these days. Booze just ends up making me feel like crap the next day, so I don’t bother with it anymore. I’m sure that if they managed to get over me refusing the finest Champagne, wine and home-made liqueurs, they should also get over me not wanting to indulge in most of the sugary, carb-laden foods they serve up.
And besides, this is my heath we’re talking about here. My parents are incredibly intelligent, reasonable people; I know they’ll understand me wanting to do something that will improve my health and quality of life in the long run, because like all good parents, they only ever want what’s best for me. So I’m not worried about telling them that I won’t be indulging in everything they be serving up. But I do feel a little sad that I won’t be partaking in all the goodies on offer. Not because I want to eat foods that aren’t good for me, but because I know how much time and effort goes into their Christmas meal preparation…and it’ll be the first time ever that I won’t just be consuming as much as I can fit into me, with gratuitous abandon.
But I made a decision to take my health into my own hands when I switched over to the low-carb WOE. I decided that losing weight and feeling better, were far more important to me in the long run, than whatever fleeting enjoyment I may experience from eating sugary foods. And I remain committed to that decision. I hear from a lot of people about how if this is something they are going to stick with permanently, then they need to be able to give themselves the occasional “free pass” to “fall off the wagon” every so often. But it’s not “falling off the wagon” as far as I’m concerned: it’s making a conscious decision to disembark and wander off on the detour or set-back of their choice.
Everything we do comes down to us making choices, be they good or bad, at every step throughout our lives. I’ve already lived a lifetime making bad choices and I’m reaping the consequences of those bad choices today. I don’t want to keep making bad choices and then making excuses for them. I want to be healthy. I want to live long and live well and I can’t do that if I continue to make bad choices when it comes to food. Every time a person on a low-carb eating plan goes back to high-carb, sugar consumption, it doesn’t just cause us to gain weight, it puts our endocrine system and entire metabolism under strain as it struggles to deal with the huge amounts of sugar suddenly flooding our bodies again.
Then of course is the struggle to get back on plan. I read so many stories by people who veer off plan (for whatever reason they tell themselves) only to find what they intended to be a brief break, has turned into an extended binge and they’re struggling to get back into the low-carb WOE. All too many seem to end up falling by the wayside for weeks, months or even years…turning up back on the forum some time later with introductory posts titled something like “Back Again”, “Here I Go Again” or “Been Down This Road Before”.
And I’m not into that way of existing. I don’t want to live with myself knowing that I made a conscious decision to fuck up. I enjoy the feeling I get from being good to myself and staying the course. I want that feeling to continue. And it will do, as long as I keep making good choices. So my good choice this coming Yuletide season, is to put my health first. Tasty foods be damned; because I’ve got a much bigger reward in the forefront of my mind.
Yule is the Celtic/Pagan festival around the winter solstice. It is a time for coming together with our loved ones during the darkest months, looking back upon the past year and reflecting upon our blessings before the days start growing longer in the spring. That is what I will be focusing on this Christmas: the good people I have in my life, the love that I receive on a daily basis, and all of the blessings that surround me. THAT is what makes my life worth living.
Not a bloody mince pie. (Yes, even my mother’s mince pies!)
Ahh…it’s been another one of those weeks, folks. Filled with more silliness obviously sent from on-high, to test me and see how I’d react to the latest dietary spanner in the works. It’s a good job that I’m incredibly zen about this weight-loss thing being a guaranteed long, slow, drawn out process, because life really is coming at me with curveballs ever since I committed to this new, permanent, low-carb WOE. We had the fibro flare up in week 2. The TOM scale going up and down in week 4. Last week I managed to slip on my kitchen floor, fall and trigger a bout of costochondritis/swollen fingers, and now this week hit me with the wonderful side-effects from having taken a short course of Tramadol for the rib pain: really bad constipation! I’ve basically been a walking disaster area, ever since I began eating low-carb…so to have lost 30lb already, despite all the crazy bodily shenanigans, has actually been pretty awesome!
I seem to have lost my powers of clairvoyance which allowed me to “feel” whenever I had gained, maintained or lost though. With each new incident, I find myself less and less able to predict what the scale is going to say each Monday upon waking. (I’m still not doing the daily weighing thing…it just feels very counter-productive when I’m wanting to see the bigger picture on a weekly basis). But this week has seen me bunged-up and bloated with a wonderful bout of constipation, thanks to the Tramadol – which are famed for creating this side-effect in those who have to take it. It was a few days ago at about 5 o’clock in the evening when I realised what the problem was, so I didn’t have any way of getting to a chemist to buy some Dulcolax or whatever. I’ve never had to take a laxative before (salads and veggies having always played a big part in my diet) so we didn’t have any in our medicine cabinet. But here I was, bloated like a human space-hopper, too late in the evening to obtain any proper “relief”…so I had to get creative, lol!
In my house I had a huge stash of protein bars (various brands) and a large bag of sugar-free butterscotch candy. I’ve not been eating a whole protein bar in one sitting anymore and the butterscotch sweets which I had kept in a little tub next to where I sit on the sofa, had gone largely untouched. I’d bought them in case I needed to have something sweet after a meal, but after the first week or so doing low-carb, I no longer found myself wanting that single, sweet piece of postprandial, sugar-free candy any more. So I still had almost a whole bag still left. And knowing just how potent the effect that sugar-alcohols can have on one’s digestive system is when consumed in excess, I got to thinking that they might just be able to help me out of my current “predicament”. So I ate 2 whole protein bars that contained maltitol, swigged back 3 cups of black coffee with 2tsp of coconut oil in each of them and started to make my way through as many of those sugar-free candies as I could stand.
Which wasn’t as easy a task as I’d first imagined. I think they’re sweetened with a mixture of maltitol & xylitol and taste incredibly sweet. Not just a normal level of sweetness, but an enhanced, concentrated faux-sweet taste that obliterated my taste-buds and made the inside of my cheeks pucker. It was nauseating, but I wasn’t consuming them for pleasure…this was for “medicinal purposes”, so I crunched back a few more and waited to see if they would have the desired effect.
Which they totally did. Within 30 minutes my stomach had started to make all of those really bizarre gurgling noises and then…mission accomplished. So as I mentioned to someone else on the lowcarber.org forum yesterday: I’m not a medical professional, so don’t take any of this as actual advice…just know that if you’re ever in a (literal) bind and don’t have any Dulcolax on hand, a hefty dose of sugar alcohols and some coconut oil WILL do the trick. #LifeHack, lol.
But once that “situation” had been remedied, I was left “not knowing” just how this strategic binge of sugar-alcohols was going to affect my weight this week. I learned from about a month ago, that I cannot eat sugar-alcohols with abandon, as they interfere with my weight loss (my consumption has been restricted to just 1/4 or 1/3 of a protein bar in the morning, so I’m not taking my meds on a completely empty stomach). And I consumed quite a lot of the evil stuff in my attempt to “get things moving again” in my gastrointestinal tract. I’d basically just written off the past week as either a stupid gain, or a fortuitous non-move at best.
These things happen in life (although they definitely seem to happen with a greater frequency to me, if I’m honest) but this whole low-carb WOE is a permanent change of lifestyle & eating habits for me; not just some quick fix I can use to allow me to fit back into my size 4 dresses and have the guys at the office fall all over themselves to flirt with me (oh, that type of vain, deluded, cretin is definitely out there, lol!). No, I’m in this for the long haul and I had prepared myself mentally for all the potential forks in the road that I might encounter along the way. Gaining this week isn’t something that I’d lose my shit over. I’d just carry on sticking to my plan, knuckle down and work at making those next 30lbs disappear off to wherever the first 30lbs went to.
As it turned out, today’s weigh-in actually showed a loss of 5lbs! Not gonna lie, I was pretty shocked, but very pleased. Not just because I actually lost weight this week, but because my scale read 16 stone & 12 pounds. That’s the first time my weight has been in the 16’s for over a decade. In fact, I don’t even know when I last weighed this much, because I didn’t bother weighing myself over the years. Didn’t even own a scale. But I know that I can now get into a tailored cashmere coat that I haven’t been able to get into in over 10 years. Which is awesome, because the coat is beautiful and I only ever got to wear it a handful of times – hopefully I’ll at least get to wear it this winter and then I’ll just donate it to a charity shop in Spring because it’s in immaculate condition and I have no intention of needing to wear a coat that size the following winter.
So…yeah! Another 5lbs gone as of this week. Good times. Absolutely loving how well things are going weight-wise (even if the fact that my clothes are starting to hang off me now, means I’m going to have to buy more of them…only for them to then get too big or me and have to buy even more new threads…and that just feels like such an unnecessary ball-ache, lol. I hate shopping!) The previous week was annoying (as many weeks have been recently) so with any luck, I might just be due a nice, boringly uneventful, upcoming 7 days. But then even if it does end up being about as newsworthy as the 18th of April 1930 was, knowing me I’ll weigh myself next Monday and find out I’ve somehow managed to gain a few pounds, despite remaining 100% on-plan. Because I will remain on-plan. This WOE is working for me. It is making me healthier, making me happier and incredibly easy to stick to. Why WOULDN’T I want to keep eating this way?
Anyway, that’s the update for this week. Hope this post finds you happy, healthy and doing well with whatever it is you’re working towards.
This post today is dedicated to my buddy lowjax over on the lowcarber.org forums, whose consistent dedication to his own weight-loss goals inspire me to keep motivated with my own. The guy has been hit with random health-problems that came out of left-field and thwarted his attempts by forcing him to change up his eating habits again, after he’d been doing so well with keto. Many people would have just given up right there and then and relegated all of their hopes and dreams to the scrap heap. But not this guy. He’s gotten back on the horse, re-evaluated his WOE and gotten back on the horse, ready to attack his goals again.
And I LOVE that! That’s a person who isn’t taking shit lying down. He isn’t making excuses for himself, or playing the victim…he’s just getting down to the task at hand and getting the results…and that is SO motivating for someone like me to see. I know he hasn’t had it easy and even he knows that this isn’t going to be a quick-fix or an easy ride, but that’s why he’s such a positive influence on me (and why other people should also see him as such, take heed and follow his lead!)
Success is contagious. Successful people push other people to also be successful, which is why I really appreciate having people like that around. Failure is also contagious – especially the kind of failure that comes from those who won’t take responsibility for themselves and see the downfall of others as a way to offset their own guilt and apathy at not putting in any effort themselves. There is no place in my world for enablers and emotional vampires. They are beneath me. But give me a hard-working, goal-oriented role-model to look up to and I’m right there ready to let their success spur me on too.
Both lowjax and I are around the same weight and age. We’ve both had health problems that will be improved massively by our losing a fair bit of weight. I know men and women lose at different rates – and of course, no two people’s bodies are the same – but we have somewhat similar journeys ahead of us. So when he succeeds and starts to see results, that’s like a positive affirmation that I too can succeed and get results too. I’ve said it before, but I’m not the kind of person who really benefits from being patted on the head or having my hand-held through challenges. I like no-nonsense, direct action that delivers. So seeing someone else really get their head in the game and start to talk about the “hard conversations we need to have with ourselves”, is exactly the sort of motivating talk that resonates with me.
Because all of us need to be having those “hard conversations” with ourselves if we want to conquer our inner demons and work through our psychological barriers to success. We can have as many high ideas about implementing change, adopting better eating habits and achieving our goals as we wish, but unless our heads are properly in the game, we’ll never stay committed and those goals will forever remain unattainable pipe-dreams. I know I probably sound like a bit of a broken record when it comes to focus, motivation and goal oriented thinking. But that’s just how my brain functions: if I want to continue to be motivated, I need to continually make the effort to keep myself motivated. And yes, that sounds like some circular reasoning right there, but I’m aware that at some point the onus is entirely on me to make the magic happen. The buck starts and stops with me.
I’ve just started reading a book called: “Changing To Thrive: Using the Stages of Change to Overcome the Top Threats to Your Health and Happiness – James O. Prochaska & Janice M. Prochaska” It’s a recently revised version of a book the authors wrote over 20 years ago and based on something called ‘The Transtheoretical Model Of Health Behaviour Change’ which Prochaska devised along with C.C.Di Clemente. I won’t go into the full details right now (I mean, I haven’t even finished it yet) because I want to write a future blog post that better sums it up; but it involves figuring out what stage of change an individual is at, then using behavioural psychology to find ways of helping to propel the individual along the way until they reach a point where they are no longer a high risk for relapse.
It goes into the relationship between thought and action and I’m enjoying the way it tries to take hitherto unsuccessful individuals and find them a route to permanent change, through a reinforced alteration of behaviour and attitude. And attitude, as you all know, I have in spades! Lol. Today just seemed to be one of those days when the universe was sending out some kind of synergistic message to me, by having lowjax post about his recent moment of revelation regarding his own need to change, at the exact time that I was reading about that mental process in the aforementioned book. I’m not really a supernatural, spiritual person or one who goes in for the woo, but it certainly felt that the universe was trying to tell me something today, lol.
I’m just going to guess that it means our success is written in the stars!
Every day on this low-carb WOE I learn a little bit more about my own body and the biological processes behind ketosis. Figuring out what real hunger is, as opposed to cravings or appetite, has been quite an eye-opener – something I’m still getting my head around every day – but just this past week I had another curious side-effect leave me quite literally, scratching my head.
I’ve been having some serious itching going on!
Mostly on my trunk/abdomen, but also under & down my arms, on my scalp and behind my knees. Now I have fibromyalgia and some people report itching and swelling as part of their various joyous symptoms; but I’ve never really suffered it myself before now. I did wonder if it could be a lovely new symptom to add to the repertoire – especially as I’d had a really nice bout of costochondritis render me sofa-bound for a good few days – and was preparing to have to go down a whole other avenue searching out creams or other medications to keep this horrible irritation under control.
However, the gods of knowledge and information seemed to be smiling upon me for once as I happened across a term on the internet, whilst browsing through some low-carb/keto websites – a term that immediately made sense to me, after I’d suddenly found the aforementioned itching seem to disappear.
The term I found was keto rash and it was on the dietdoctor.com website.
Have you ever heard of it? Well I hadn’t, until now. But the article I’ve linked to above – as well as the very busy comments section – described perfectly all the symptoms I’d been having, along with an explanation as to why they’d suddenly disappeared. To quote the website:
“When in ketosis sweat can contain the ketone body acetone. Acetone can be irritating at high concentrations.”
Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt
And in the suggested solutions it mentioned showering after exercising to get rid of said acetone heavy sweat. Which is exactly what I’d done prior to feeling my own mad itching dissipate.
Now before you ask, yes, I do shower regularly, lol. But do you remember me telling you that I’d had a nasty attack of costochondritis over the past week after one of my spectacularly stupid falls? Well over those 4 or 5 days, showering really had been completely out of the question. Yes, it was gross. No, I don’t make a habit of it. And yes, I was in that shower, quick as a flash, as soon as my decrepit carcass would let me. But it certainly explained why I’d been briefly plagued by such intense itching – along with what had caused it to stop.
If a person’s sweat in ketosis is especially high in acetone, and acetone is irritating to one’s skin, then by having had to go a number of days without showering, the acetone levels present on my skin must have been much more elevated than they usually are when I’m able to shower daily. Once I was able to shower again, that acetone-heavy sweat was washed off my skin and no longer presented any irritation.
Obviously, this was an immense relief to me – both literally (no more itching) and figuratively (not having to go search out more treatment, for yet another symptom associated with an underlying illness I have) but if the comments section is anything to go by, many other people seem to suffer much worse from this keto rash thing, than others. For one, I didn’t actually develop a rash per se; I merely ended up with some redness where I’d been scratching (where I could…because limited mobility meant some itches just had to be ignored – yes this was incredibly frustrating, lol). But for many people, it really does present itself with a rash. And they don’t necessarily get the same relief that I did, just by jumping in the shower.
Who knew that eating low-carb could cause such a thing? Not me. Not before now. But it just goes to show the amount of physiological changes that are constantly taking place when we decide to remove sugar/carbohydrates from out diet. I still only consume a maximum of 20 carbs a day as I’m continuing with the Atkins induction stage a bit longer than most people do (it’s perfectly fine and something that Dr. Atkins suggested that some of his patients do if they had quite a lot of weight to lose and weren’t feeling particularly bothered by the restricted carb levels). If anything, I probably run around an average of 15 carbs a day which many would consider to be very low carb, but it works for me and I don’t feel as though I’m being particularly restrictive anymore.
But for those who are really suffering with keto rash, the Diet Doctor suggests upping one’s intake from low/very low carb, to a more moderate level of around 40-50g per day. I’m not a doctor and cannot speak for anyone else’s experiences, but I didn’t seem to be too terribly afflicted with the keto rash. Continuing back with a normal daily showering routine seems to be more than enough to keep it at bay, for me, for now. I really don’t want to have to up my daily carb amounts and come out of ketosis when it has so many other benefits to me than just weight loss. If the keto rash was to return, well there are some other suggestions both in the article referenced above and the subsequent comments section, that I would definitely want to try before having to ruin my low-carb WOE. This is something I want to continue doing forever. I’m really not willing to start adding sugar back into my diet when I know just how many problems it has either caused me or exacerbated, over the years.
But at least for now everything seems to be fine again. The costochondritis has been ebbing away for a few days now (which is really good, because that shit can stick around for anywhere up to 6 months if you’re especially unlucky) and I can shower as normal again. The itching is no longer a problem and I seem to have discovered what it was that was causing it all along. Problem solved.
Which means you can bring on the next little obstacle for me to deal with, dear sweet body of mine!
(Just kidding; I’d kind of like a bit of time off from the new-fangled symptom shenanigans, thank you very much!)
Before I go any further, I’ll just go ahead and give the weigh-in update… insofar as there isn’t one, other than I just maintained. Which is fine, because I was actually expecting a stall to hit me around this time. To be honest, the way this week has played out, I’m actually surprised the scale didn’t show a gain. Not because I’ve eaten anything off-plan (I’ve stayed 100% true to the low-carb WOE ever since switching to it) but because I’ve been so swollen and puffed up, I was sure I’d at least be registering some water-weight. So getting on the scale today and seeing I had maintained was actually a pleasant surprise.
Okay, what was so bad about this past week? Well the clue is in the title. Fibromyalgia really is the “gift that keeps on giving” folks. You can be happily just pottering about the place one minute and the next “BAM” one of its curious little symptoms will just come out of nowhere and have you wondering what you did to deserve this latest assault. This week’s fresh hell didn’t quite come out of nowhere, but I sure as shite didn’t expect to end up spending the past 5 days slumped like a jellyfish, clutching at my chest and crying whenever I had to cough, sneeze or take a deep breath. Yeah, it’s been a real joy.
What happened is one of just many incidents that have occurred in my life, as a result of my being an absolute, grade-A klutz. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it in here before, but I have the worst sense of balance. I regularly veer off into a wall when trying to walk through a door, drop things for absolutely no reason and fall down more often than your average catatonia sufferer. My spatial awareness is also pitiful meaning that I’m frequently banging into tables, chairs and anything else I think I can just walk past without incident. Over the years this has led to me having to visit the ER so often, I’m surprised my mother didn’t end up getting investigated for potential child abuse. I’ve broken bones in almost every part of my body – something which no doubt really plays into the various arthritic pains that plague me today.
Anyway, I was in the kitchen, doing the dishes. Not many because there are only 2 of us in our household and I was happily humming along to some music playing from my phone. I was actually in a really good mood (never a good sign, lol) because the other half had bought me a bottle of ‘Black Opium’ perfume for having been so good at sticking to the low-carb WOE. Not because he was surprised at me sticking to it (he knows how stubborn I am, lol) but because he was especially proud of me for doing so, whilst still making him things like chips, baked potatoes and freshly baked bread. So yeah, I was happily drenched in fragrance, finishing up with the dishes and about to head back into the living room so we could watch some YouTube videos together on the big TV.
I turned off the tap and in my sock-clad feet, spun around on the linoleum and…hit the deck like a ton of shit! Oof! Obviously I’d hit a patch of water that had splashed onto the floor while doing the dishes and in my socks had just gone absolutely flying. Okay. So I fell down. Nothing new there – right? Well yes…but also…I don’t know exactly what set off the chain reaction of other stuff in my body, but it was definitely fibromyalgia related and possibly also connected to the psoriatic arthritis. I started to get up off the floor, feeling okay at first, but then I noticed that my fingers were both stinging and throbbing where I’d put my hands out to break my fall. I knew they weren’t broken (because I’ve done that a couple of times before, lol) but I knew they didn’t feel right.
And then the really bad pain kicked in. Right in my chest. Tight and stabby-sharp, but deep and throbbing all at the same time. Immediately I started yelping and staggering through to the living room where my other half was already shouting:
“Babe? What was that? Are you okay?”
Now he’s used to me banging into stuff and falling over. It took a few years of us being together, but he’s now just sort of used to it happening. At first he used to freak out and worry about me, but I always ended up just waving off his concerns, telling him everything was fine and asking him not to fuss. So he no longer immediately freaks out when he hears a bang and the subsequent:
coming from another room. He knows I hate fuss or sympathy and just expects to be presented with my latest impressive bruise, cut or scratch once I’ve picked myself up and dusted myself down. But this time I staggered into the living room clutching my chest and he thought I was having a heart attack. Cue him going into stress-mode, blurting out loads of questions and talking about calling an ambulance. (A guy can only be asked to ignore so much I guess, lol.)
But it wasn’t a heart attack. I knew immediately what it was, because I’ve had it before. Some people say it feels like a heart attack, but having never experienced one, I don’t really have anything to compare it to; although the first time this happened to me I did think I might have been going full myocardial infarction at the tender age of 35. So what was it that was choosing to bless me with its presence this week? A joyful little thing called costochondritis. I won’t go into the full blown description of it because Nikki – aka – ‘The Brainless Blogger’ does a much better job of it —> here. As Nikki says:
“It is swelling in the cartilage between the ribs and the sternum and the pain can radiate through the chest often feeling like a heart attack. It varies from mind to severe. It can be stabbing, aching, burning and it can be in one location specifically or just all over. It can come and go.”
But yeah, I knew what it was immediately and after convincing my other half that I wasn’t having a heart attack, didn’t need an ambulance and that it was just that ‘stupid chest thing’ that I’ve had a few times before, he calmed down, brought me some pain meds and I tried to get as comfortable as possible on the sofa. Which wasn’t all that comfortable really. It hurt badly to sit up really straight, but it also hurt a lot to lie down on my back (probably something to do with having my rather impressive – and therefore weighty – boobage pressing down on my ribcage.)
So I slumped.
And for the rest of the week I couldn’t shower, I barely slept, I couldn’t write with a pen & paper, couldn’t cook and basically just slouched in a semi-contorted position with a hot-water bottle on my chest, for a few days. You know it must have been bad, because I couldn’t even use my laptop properly. I tried logging on a few times, but just couldn’t get into a comfortable enough position to do anything…and there was the added thing with my fingers to deal with too – yay!
One of the lovely symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, is the tendency for one’s fingers to swell up like sausages. This happens to me from time to time (usually when the weather is switching up the barometric pressure, or during my TOM) but can also be ‘triggered’ by physical stresses or trauma. When I fell in the kitchen, I automatically put my hands out to break my fall. The ensuing impact caused my fingers to swell up and also sent enough shock waves up my arms into my chest to set off the costochondritis in my rib cartilage. And all because my stupid, unthinking, klutzy ass decided to spin around on a linoleum floor in socks. *Le sigh*
So it’s been a pretty shitty few days, as you can probably imagine. Do NOT however feel sorry for me, or offer me any sympathies – I hate that crap. As annoying and miserable these things can be, I’m very much used to them. And let’s be honest here, many more people have things far wore than I do. I don’t share these little experiences to elicit sympathy from y’all; I just like to keep shit as real as possible. If what I chat about is something you experience yourself, then I’m sure you’ll find yourself nodding in agreement with me from time to time. And if you don’t have fibromyalgia or any form of arthritis, well I hope you at least find my tales of wombling woe amusing.
Because if the idea of this chunky chick trying to pirouette in her socks and then hitting the kitchen floor like a ton of shit doesn’t make you chuckle, then you really have no sense of humour!
The one who’s always “starting tomorrow – for realsies!” – about half an hour before she slinks off to the nearest multi-outlet-food court to inhale something from every big name fast-food franchise.
“Yeah, I was going to start on Monday, but that’s the day after my niece’s Christening and my mom is making her famous 42 layer voodoo cheesecake…and if I don’t agree to take home some of the leftovers, she’ll be so offended…and there’s no way I can just throw that stuff out…that cake costs a fortune for her to make and what with her being on welfare, it’s just cruel to waste all her hard work and money.”
Why is she telling you this? I mean, you’re not even really ‘friends’…you just sort of know someone who knows her boyfriend and for some reason that now makes her think you really give a shit about whether or not she’s:
“Definitely going to begin once I’ve eaten all the junk food in my place! Pinky swear!”
She’s telling you because she knows that YOU’RE doing something about YOUR weight and every time she sees you, she’s reminded of her own inability to commit to a plan of her own. She wants you to tell her that it’s okay…that she’s fine to put it off until the twelfth of never, because your ability to knuckle down and commit already makes you a success in her eyes. In reality, she can’t be bothered to make the changes you have and deep down she knows that. So she lies. To you, to anyone else who will listen, but most of all to herself.
I hate people like her.
Yeah, yeah, we’re supposed to be “understanding” and have “empathy” for those who are struggling, but struggling means that someone is actually trying to achieve something – not perpetually whining and courting sympathy whilst doing absolutely nothing to help themselves. And we see these people everywhere, all the time. Anywhere you go, be it at work, in your family, your circle of friends or online, these energy-sapping emotional vampires are always looking for validation that they’re good…and for forgiveness for their weakness.
Which is hilarious when you think about it. Who am I to grant you absolution for your sins? Your failure does not concern me. What concerns me, is the way these vampires and their relentless attention seeking starts to wear others down; others who really are “struggling” as they try to navigate their own journey to a healthier weight and body. Good, decent, honest-to-god, hard-working people who despite their own struggles, will always take time out to try and offer support or words of wisdom, no matter how many times those leeches come crawling back for more.
Because they will keep coming back for more. Once an emotional vampire has their fangs into you…once you let them know that no matter how pathetic they are you’ll still give them a psychological pass for their laziness, they know they have you. You doubtlessly have nothing but the best of intentions, listening to their woes, day in day out. You have great sympathy for the misbegotten creature who has latched on to you, because you too understand what it means to have a weight problem. You equate your struggles with what you mistake to be their struggles. But you’re forgetting that they are not struggling. They are whinging, moaning, bitching, crying and making up just about any excuse they can think of, to explain away the fact that they can’t be bothered to make the changes you have. You’re not in the same boat.
I’m not a whiner, I’m a doer. I don’t really have any time or energy to waste on a whiner. If you aren’t going to help yourself, then fuck you, that’s your problem. If you really are trying to achieve something but you run up against a stumbling block, then hell yeah I’ll get right down in the mud with you to help shoulder that obstacle. But if you piss and moan about how
“It’s so unfair! Why can’t I just get back into my size 4 dresses by complaining about my weight – crying burns calories, right?”
then all I am going to do is laugh at you and get back to walking my own path, doing my own thing and saving my attention for those who deserve it – namely those who are trying hard to succeed themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect – nor do I strive to be. But I do work hard to stay committed to my goals. Of course I, like everyone else, will struggle. I will have days when getting to my goal weight seems like something so far off and unattainable, that I falter and allow myself to mess-up. It won’t be something I plan on doing often, but being human I know that I’m not infallible. I only truly fail if I don’t get right back up and back on track immediately. Which I will do. And you can take it as read that I won’t be one of those tragic attention whores, who glom onto others for head-pats and reassurance that I’m a good girl.
Thankfully, I’m not the kind of person who really needs the support of others in order to get where I want. Sure I enjoy shooting the shit with my fellow fatties, learning from their experiences, sharing tips and passing the time, but it’s not their support I do any of that for. I like being self-reliant. But I understand those who do want the support of a group; of those who can fully empathise with their own struggles when it comes to weight loss. And like I already said, I’m more than happy to help those who truly want to help themselves.
But I will never have any time for emotional vampires. I will never let them leech off of me and try to get me to play along with their bullshit games. They serve no purpose to me, so I just look, laugh and save my pity for the victims they manage to sink their teeth into. Every day I see them sucking the life-blood out of these gentle, caring folk and it angers me to see the manipulation tactics they use, to keep their victims coming back time and again. Because losing weight is hard. The leeches know this – it’s exactly why they can’t be bothered to put in the effort themselves. But it’s made even harder for those who get sucked into the orbit of an emotional vampire as they waste the time, energy and emotional capital they could be investing in themselves, on enabling the bad behaviour and shitty choices of others.
Which is why these leeches annoy me so much. It wouldn’t be so bad if they just floated around, periodically announcing that once they get to the perfect time/day and manage to have that magically perfect moment, they’ll definitely start back on some plan they’ve barely researched for themselves, but heard how well a bunch of other people are doing on it. If they were simply whining into the ether, then most other people would be able to just ignore them and write them off as a toxic waste of energy. But they don’t. They get right up in the grill of some genuinely nice people who are simply too kind of their own good. They NEED that continuous flood of sympathy, attention and reassurance that allows them to wallow in their self-made misery, whilst making zero effort to actually improve themselves.
Being fat is hard. Losing weight is hard. Choose your hard.
But don’t bring that emotional vampire shit anywhere near me, if you don’t want me to stake your right in your cold, dead heart.
Cause I’ve got plenty of steaks to play with, bitches.
Today I thought I’d just put together a little motivation board made up of some of the quotes I’ve found whilst browsing Pinterest. I’m not a “softly-softly” kind of person who responds well to the “Care Bear Hugz” type of motivation or support. I like my motivation the way I like my men: tough, take-charge and free from bullshit. I already have a man just like that and now I have the corresponding motivation board to match:
People making excuses for a situation they got themselves into, annoy the bejeezus out of me; but people who continue to make excuses for not getting the results they wanted when they didn’t put in any of the work, really boil my piss. Too many people live a life full of those excuses and it’s pathetic. Everyone has life stresses, but the good, decent, hard-working ones among us, actually put in the effort to try to make the changes needed to meet our goals. I salute those people. They inspire me to succeed every day.
The rest of them…well…they’re the ones who’ll have to live with their weak-willed, lazy, piss-poor choices for the rest of their lives.
I really am becoming remarkably able to tell whenever I’ve gained or lost these days. It’s bizarre, because I’m really heavy and the amounts I’m losing aren’t significant enough to really be at all noticeable on a week by week basis, but I just get a “feeling” and more often than not lately, I’ve been correct.
I started off last week wondering if I was due to hit my first inevitable stall. I though that might be the case up until a few days ago when I just woke up with this “feeling” that I’d lost weight. I don’t weigh throughout the week, so it was only this morning when I got to see what the scale said and sure enough it showed a reading of 17 stone 3lb – another 4lb loss! Yay me!
I’m convinced that was a little whoosh that happened later on in the week…because of that “feeling” but I’m not about to start getting on the scale every day just to find out when exactly these things really happen. I have no desire to become a slave to the scales – bollocks to that, lol! Maybe I’m just way more in tune with my body than I thought I was? Who knows? I’ll definitely keep looking out for those “feelings” though whenever I get them though; it’s a fun little addition to this whole weight-loss process and still allows me to keep each Monday weigh-in a surprise. (I’m not normally one for surprises – that’ll be my inner control-freak, ha ha – but I’m enjoying getting on the scales every Monday morning to find out if my efforts the previous week have paid off.)
Today has been largely straight-forward: had to nip out and pick up some medication from the pharmacy and some more onions to go with my steak-burgers…something I’m developed quite a taste for: locally sourced, fresh meat, fried and served with a little onion, a Portobello mushroom and some grated, locally sourced (award winning!) mature cheddar on top. I’ve definitely found myself becoming quite the meat-fiend lately. It must just be what my body wants/needs and I’m more than happy to comply with its request for more beef! I seem also to be naturally gearing towards a much narrower eating window each day. I’ve given up trying to eat 3 times a day, because I just end up feeling like I’m eating for the sake of it. I have 2 meals a day, spaced about 4 hours apart, unless I also need to have a couple of bites of a protein bar to take my meds with (I’m not always in the mood to eat soon after rising). I currently have 3 half-eaten protein bars just lying around the kitchen and living room where I’ve bitten off a couple of bites where needed and left the rest for another time. The other half finds it hilarious that I do this now, because he’s never before seen me leave half of anything uneaten or saved for later. Wonders will never cease!
That’s really all I have to add for this weigh-in update today. I’m feeling a little sore and stiff after having ventured out and about earlier – the changing barometric pressure probably has something to do with that – but I’m going to get in a bit of skincare stuff before I have my dinner. Facial peel and moisture mask to help counter the cold, blustery weather I’ve been out in. If I feel like it, I might add a little bonus post later. I’ve got one drafted up and ready to go, so watch this space folks.
Here’s to another good week of eating well and seeing results y’all.
Things I thought I would really miss when switching to a low-carb WOE:
Fish & Chips
McDonald’s Sausage McMuffins / Big Mac, Fries & Thick Shake
Thick buttered toast with jam / peanut butter & Marmite
Macaroni Cheese with cayenne chilli pepper
Dairy cream fudge
Boiled new potatoes
Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate bars
Southern fried chicken tortilla wraps
Chinese take-away Singapore style chow mein
The reality however, has been very different. In those first few days before slipping into ketosis, I was of course craving every single kind of carb-heavy, sugary food I could think of (withdrawal is a powerful thing) but once my system had used up all of its reserves of glucose and glycogen, all my cravings fell away.
Okay, so if I’m being entirely honest, that lust for chocolate cake has still hung around at the periphery of my consciousness, leaping into the forefront of my minds eye any time I overdid it on the protein bars, or when my TOM hormones were up the wazoo. But I haven’t been tempted into actually buying or eating any of it – even when I’ve been face to face with the stuff in a coffee shop, or in the supermarket. My resolve has remained strong and those little cravings soon dissipate when I turn my attention to something else or eat some protein instead. And I’ve researched a few keto recipes for chocolate cake, which would only put a 3g/4g dent in my daily allowance…but I’m trying to hold off on making one until I really, really want one and know that nothing else will do. (The main point behind going low-carb was so that I could embrace a healthier way of eating for the long term – not some dumb crash diet so I could “lose 30lb by X-date and get into some size 4 clothes and look super hot to all the boys!” So I don’t want to get into the habit of indulging in keto-cake on a regular basis. I know that’s a slippery slope and I refuse to allow myself to undo all my hard work, just so I can keep my sweet-tooth hooked on “healthier” alternatives.)
But yeah, aside from that occasional longing for a big old hunk of squishy, chocolatey, frosted goodness badness, the things I thought I’d really miss, really haven’t actually bothered me. For the most part of course, I’ve simply not had much of an appetite to speak of. I can go a long time without eating…although the moment I begin to eat, the hunger does start to fire up again, reminding me that I’m supposed to still be eating something at least once a day. But a lot of the flavours I thought I’d miss can be satisfied in a variety of low-carb ways. Mostly by just losing the bread and the side of potatoes or chips (proper chips – British chips…the kind that come with battered fish, not the bloody snacky, crappy things that we call crisps!)
No, the thing I’ve sort of begun to feel as though I’m missing, isn’t a particular food, or flavour or take-away joint. It’s a feeling. The feeling of being stuffed!
Now please, before anyone decides to chime in with:
“If you’re still hungry, you’re obviously not eating enough! There’s no need to go hungry on Atkins!”
Yes, I’m well aware of that. And I’m not restricting my intake of food to the point of making myself hungry, before you ask. As I’ve already mentioned both in this post and throughout this blog before, my actual appetite is incredibly diminished. When I do eat, I eat to the point when I feel as close to satiety as I think I am and stop. I consume plenty of protein and fat, along with a bit of salad or some steamed broccoli & cauliflower. And when I’m finished I’m not hungry and I feel like I’ve consumed enough.
But that’s not how I used to roll, before I switched to low-carb.
I didn’t eat until I was pleasantly full or satisfied; I would eat until I was fit to bursting. My plate would be piled high and I wouldn’t stop until I cleared it. It felt completely normal to eat enough food for 2 men (men who were doing a physical job consisting of hard, manual labour) and then keep on eating until everything had been demolished. My eating habits were so messed up, that I would go all day without eating, then come the evening put away at least 3000cals in a single sitting. (I dread to think how many carbs I was putting away every day!) And despite that hugely bloated feeling that would hit me as my engorged stomach caused me to feel incredibly uncomfortable, there was something disgustingly satisfying about feeling just so incredibly…full!
I don’t know why this became such a norm for me. It’s not like I was ever starved as a child, or had food withheld from me for any reason. I’ve always been able to afford to buy and eat whatever I wanted, in whatever quantity I desired. I’ve never been or felt unloved at any point in my life, so it isn’t a substitute for nurture or affection. And I don’t eat to quell my emotions either. If I’m sad, I lose my appetite – the size of my arse alone is a testament to just how happy I’ve been throughout my life! So I really don’t know why I felt so content eating myself to the point of barely being able to move after dinner. I know that my desire to always clear my plate hearkens back to my childhood when my parents would insist upon me finishing everything I was given; but that doesn’t explain the weird, grotesque pleasure I seemed to gain from always wanting to eat and eat until I was close to doing a Mr Creosote.
But eat I did and stuffed I was. Happily, disgustingly, despicably full.
And I simply do not eat that way any more. I take what I need, eat what I feel my body requires and stop when I’m “satisfied”. Only I’m not always really, truly “satisfied” – hence the added air-quotes – because I’m just not eating to that point of sheer gluttony anymore. Most days I’m fine with that, but some days I really feel as though I’m missing out on that ridiculously full feeling. Which is bizarre on the face on things, because it wasn’t a remotely comfortable feeling. It felt awful: that creeping heat rising up my neck, the waistband of my trousers straining against my swollen belly, and the almost laboured breathing thanks to my distended stomach battling with my lungs for extra space to spread out into. Not nice.
It was hideously unpleasant and weirdly pleasurable all at the same time – and I’m not some screwy BDSM type who gets off of my own pain. The only thing I can possibly chalk it up to, is the fact that so much of my food was taken up with carbs/sugar. Being a carb-addict I probably (like all sad, pathetic addicts) needed to keep pushing the envelope whenever I got my “fix”; so the junkie-high feedback loop in my brain made me want to consume more and more every time, to try and get back to that big “high” it remembers having had in the past. And because the only time it remembers being given that immense sugar-high was during a time when I was stuffing myself to the gills, does it now equate that “rush” with the bloatedness?? Could that be reason for my desire to feel so completely “full”?
I’m not your average fad-diet, flip-flopping air-head. I think long and hard about everything I do…and everything more besides. When I bump up against a problem or a niggle, I like to find out what’s behind it – often in a bullish, determined way…but also at other times in a much more careful, deliberate manner. Either way I don’t like not knowing – especially if it feels as though my own behaviours are manifesting some subconscious shenanigans, that are creeping in on the sly when they think I’m not paying attention.
Because the human brain is a crafty bastard. If it wants something, it’s gonna do EVERYTHING in its power to try and make sure it gets it. Which is why beating an addiction is about 30% to do with getting over the physiological dependency and 70% is you getting over the psychological dependency…something that doesn’t just go away overnight or disappear as soon as you’ve gone through physical withdrawal. That’s why addicts so often relapse. Even when they’ve been through rehab and detox; unless the underlying psychological reasons for that addiction have been worked through, the habitual behaviours, triggers and social interactions stop the addict from being able to make a complete break from their dependency.
I am a carb-addict. I will always be a carb-addict. Eating low-carb for 5 weeks and moving my body over into fat-adapted ketosis might have cured me of my immediate physiological dependency on sugar…but it sure as shite hasn’t undone years of maladaptive behaviour or erased any of the negative or positive associations my brain and body have made with regards to sugar consumption. I’ve made a good start by changing my eating habits and trying to retrain my brain when it comes to things like eating, satisfaction, satiety, appetite, hunger, cravings or a thousand other issues surrounding food. Yes, I’m on the right path, but I’m not remotely cured. I’m not sure if I ever really will be. This is something I’m going to have work on every day for the rest of my life. Some days it will be harder and others it will be easier and I understand that. What I’m doing now is trying to mentally prepare myself for whatever sneaky little ways my brain will employ to try to get me to give it “just one more” fix. It’s going to throw up all these reminders of days gone by, when eating to excess felt so damn good. It’s going to put me through the wringer, confronting me with emotions I didn’t even know were connected to food and even concoct a bunch of lies, to get me to go off plan. My own brain WILL be working against me.
I’ve always known that for someone to be successful in changing their eating habits in the long term, it has to be as much to do with a shift in their mindset as it does a movement on the scale. And yet despite understanding that on an abstract or theoretical level, I’m only now beginning to truly know what that means as I find myself plagued by the various games of subterfuge and self-sabotage that my own mind is trying to play with me. I know that I can have incredible willpower when I need to summon it. And that will undoubtedly help take me a long way in this battle to get myself to a healthier weight and overall physiology. But I’m not invincible (no matter how many times I try to tell myself that I am) and eventually there will be cracks that appear in my psychological armour. Little niggles or strange, unidentifiable behaviours that have a much deeper root cause. If I don’t continuously keep on striving to address and work on those idiosyncratic issues, then I will at some moment be caught off guard, at a weaker moment and who knows where that worrying path might take me.
Today my brain was telling me that it wasn’t happy, or satisfied by simply eating enough to satiate my hunger and fuel me as a very overweight human being. It told me it wanted to feel full again. Not just full, but stuffed. Why? Not because it was hungry. But because it wanted something that it associated with those times of intense gluttony. It sought the reassuring sensation that went along with my reprehensibly replete, postprandial corpulence. It remembered that along with that gormandising came a super-mega hit of the sweet-stuff and all the serotonin kick-backs it elicited. So I think it tried to make me remember how much I enjoyed feeling full, in the hope that I might go ahead with all the other dysgenic behaviours and choices that had previously culminated in me getting some of the white-stuff get inside me.
But as much as I feel as though I’d really love to experience that gluttonous glee “just one more time”, I simply cannot let it happen. I could at any point in time choose to “cheat” or give myself a day off, but what would that really achieve? One brief passing moment of intense exhilaration…followed by a boat load of guilt, annoyance and huge disappointment in myself for having given in to my basest of urges. Sure, I could tell myself that “I’ve earned it” or that “everyone needs to treat themselves with something naughty every now and then”, but the reality is I DON’T need to refill my brain and body with it’s drug of choice. I haven’t “earned” a full 4 days away from this way of eating, only to have to go back through sugar withdrawal AND also have to start right back at the beginning again of my psychological journey to mental wellness.
I’ve said it before, but this is not a vanity project for me. This is about my health and my quality of living, going forward into the second half of my life. I made it to 40 despite being massively overweight, without being diagnosed with diabetes or any other metabolic disorders. My blood pressure, fasting glucose etc has always been fine. But I wasn’t going to continue to be so lucky forever. The illnesses I do have affect my joints, my muscles, my connective tissues, my brain, my skin and so much more. And the one issue lying at the centre of all these problems – the single most contributing factor to how all those other health issues were slowly losing my my quality of life – was my weight. My ridiculously heavy weight, putting pressure on all my joints and threatening to exacerbate my fibromyalgia & psoriatic arthritis. Type II Diabetes was only around the corner surely.
Any time I take off to “cheat” isn’t a “reward” to me…it’s me letting the addiction crawl back in, take control for a while and do even more damage while I eat carbs/sugars with abandon. Why would I do that to myself? Surely I deserve more than to just derail all the progress I’ve made so far and play havoc with my “recovery”. It’s weird: if I was an alcoholic drying out or a heroin addict coming off the smack, no normal person who cared a jot about my wellbeing would tell me that it’s okay to have “just one more” drink or injection, because I “deserved it”. Everyone knows that those addicts need to abstain from the very substance upon which they had become addicted to. But when those of us who are addicted to carbs/sugar start to make excuses as to why we think we should be able to have “just one cheat day” or “just one day off”, there are no shortage of people queueing up to tell us that it’s okay.
“Everyone needs a day off every now and then.”
“Enjoy your break and just get back on the wagon again tomorrow.”
Really? Is that what you’d be saying if I was planning to go off and have myself little “break” from recovery, with a few hypodermic needles full of heroin? I very much doubt it. And if you would say that then you’re not a friend or a supporter – you’re my enemy and you want to see me fail. So why don’t we view those who encourage food addicts to slip the same way? I’m inclined to believe that at least some of the people who rush to tell the sugar-addict that it’s okay for them to have a day long binge back on the white stuff, are in fact the very people you do NOT want to have around you. They’re not just enablers, but they want you to fail. Maybe so that they can a/ smugly do better than you or b/ set up a nice background of “understanding” in order for them to have their own relapse. Someone who cares about you, wouldn’t want you to backslide into an addiction you’ve been working so hard to rid yourself of.
I don’t want that to happen to me. I don’t want to slip or backslide. Doing so isn’t just a “mistake” or “falling” off the wagon. Cheating or going off plan would be me making a choice. A bad choice. And I’m not about to sit here and make pathetic excuses for making bad choices when no matter how badly my brain is trying to make me eat some sugar, it would be solely and completely my fault. My bad decision making. Being carb-addicted may well be a hard habit to break, but that’s something I’ve chosen to do and I plan on sticking to it.
Just a quick one today to update the stats after my weekly weigh-in. I know technically it’s actually really early on a Tuesday morning here, but I’ve been asleep for about 14 hours and am only just about able to bring myself to post here now. I’m still super-tired and will probably head back to bed again real soon, but I had to at least hit the scales and see what – if any – changes there were to be seen on this week where one ‘has the painters in’. (Sorry, I swear I’m going to stop talking about my TOM sometime real soon…it’s just pretty relevant to the whole losing weight thing so I want to put all the info out there for y’all to point and laugh at.)
We began the week waiting for the ‘visitation’ to hit, expecting it to show a gain on the scale….and it did NOT disappoint, lol. Yeah, I managed to gain 3lbs overnight (and no, I wasn’t trying to ameliorate my PMS with chocolate and cake and whatnot…it really just did that all by itself!) which disappeared again a day or so after upon arrival of ‘the communists currently squatting in my neighbourhood and kicking my arse from the inside out’. Every TOM for me is a total joy that lasts anything from 7-10 days and we’re on (I think) day 6 now, so it’s still going on, pissing me off on a daily basis, and sucking my will to live. Because of that I wasn’t expecting much else in the way of weight loss this week. I’ve remained 100% on plan and not been tempted to indulge in any evil carbage, but I still feel bloated & sore, like a well-kicked space-hopper.
So imagine my surprise when upon venturing onto said scales earlier, it showed a reading of 17 stone 7lb!
“Another 3lb down? In this economy?”
Well, I’m pretty shocked, but I’ll definitely take it. I’m at the point where anything from 1-3lb loss a week is the normal amount I can expect to lose, so this is just a reassurance that things are still pretty much ticking over as normal – even if I do feel like death warmed up and wish I could just donate my uterus to anyone who wants it. (Seriously, if anyone wants it, just enquire within. One responsible female owner. No previous tenants. Free to a good home. Not even really joking at this point.)
So 3lb down. All good. Stats have been updated and we now head into the next week still not particularly hungry, eating & staying on plan, and keeping on keeping on.
That ominous, terrifying feeling in the pit of one’s stomach that signifies some impending sense of doom.
It’s not depression – I’m way too familiar with the black dog that has previously sat upon my shoulder – and it’s not really anxiety – something else I’m more than adequately acquainted with. No, this isn’t just my brain playing tricks on me with its neurochemical mischievousness, this is a genuine worry, rooted firmly in reality, about the potential for something terrible to happy in the near or not-too-distant future.
I’m afraid of failure folks.
Now before you start to guffaw that
“honey, we all worry about screwing up”
at various times in our lives and for multiple reasons…I KNOW that. I’m human too (believe it or not) I’ve faced challenges and difficulties like everyone else and I’ve had times when it’s felt as though I was skating through situations by the skin of my teeth. We all do. But this is different. This is new to me. I’m not used to doubting my own ability to achieve something I decide to put my mind to. I’m a very stubborn little madam and a lot of the time, it’s my own sense of personal pride that forces me to tune into an inner indomitable source of determination. I don’t like letting myself down – and I sure as shit don’t want other people to see me failing to meet my own standards – so it’s probably more obstinacy than tenacity, but either way, it’s served me well any time I’ve set my mind to something. My other half always laughs whenever someone provokes me into a battle of wills:
“Dude, seriously, she is never going to give up; might as well quit now and walk away, save yourself the hassle, cause she’s as stubborn as a mule!”
And he’d be right. I’ve done a bunch of moronic shit, just because someone said I couldn’t do it. And I’ve achieved some cool stuff too, because I just went out there and decided to do it. I’ve never really not had faith in my ability to do things, largely because I was raised to understand the meaning of hard work, the importance of dedication and the value of constantly learning new things. I was also raised to believe that I am utterly fucking awesome, which did actually turn up to be completely 100% true!
Joking aside though, I’ve recently found myself experiencing some genuine self doubt. And I don’t like it. What has caused this psychological-wobble in my normally steadfast psyche I hear you ask? Well it’s all down to my having spent hours on the lowcarber.org forum, reading through the journals of a few of the members on there. It’s a pretty big site, with vast archives of information, articles, recipes and whatnot, but what really “makes” the site, are the members, their experiences, their knowledge, their input and their own weight-loss stories. “Journals” are a function whereby members can create a thread of their own, in which to record anything they like, whilst having other members visit, read & comment on their entries. It’s not perfect (I do have one, but for me, having this blog gives me more room to do what I want, so I use mine for mini-musings & updates) but it’s a great way to keep the community aspect of the forum interactive, and many people find that updating theirs regularly, helps to keep them accountable. For a newbie who wants an inside view on real people living a low-carb life, it’s incredibly insightful. Members are very honest about their losses, gains, screw-ups, cheats, worries, carb-blow-outs and a whole load of other things that you might not even think about before embarking upon a new WOE. I’ve really enjoyed reading through a few of them over the past few weeks, but just recently, they’ve started to give me ‘The Fear’.
So many people start off so positively, choosing a plan, sticking to the plan, truly embracing their new way of life and the resulting weight loss. These are smart people who have taken the time to read a lot of literature on not just the various low-carb approaches, but the science behind them and various other biological/physiological processes that happen in the human body. They’ve planned their low-carb WOE out well in advance, they’ve stayed engaged with the forum and everything seemed to be going great-guns…but then, for some reason, in SO MANY instances, they just lose that motivation, stop eating on plan and end up either gaining a load of weight back that they have to re-lose (often with some extra bonus pounds because mother nature is a straight savage like that) or they disappear forever, never to be heard of again. And there are quite a lot of people who have to keep coming back and recommitting to a strict, low-carb WOE, time and time again, because for whatever reason, they just went awry.
And that fucking terrifies me.
Because what’s going to stop ME from being one of those people? How do I know that I won’t hit a stall after a couple of months and after seeing no movement on the scale, just lose my shit and go “fuck it”, headfirst into the nearest chocolate gateau? How do I know I won’t hit the bloody menopause and just randomly gain 20lbs overnight, because – again – mother nature’s a bitch (and at 40 years old, I have no idea how close that not-so-little change is for me). Obviously life is always throwing up a bunch of little emergencies and crises – for all of us – but I’m not as worried about those external issues, because I’ve never been an ’emotional eater’. I’m worried because this is something that might just be beyond my control; beyond my ability to achieve. Our bodies might be the most sophisticated machines in the known universe, but my god, they can be temperamental, unpredictable mofos at times. If the human body was a motorbike it’d be an highly-tuned, expensive Italian model: sexy AF and a lot of fun to put through its paces, but ridiculously prone to random break-downs. Okay, so my body is more like a 1970’s Fiat Punto (squat, slow & perpetually plagued with engine issues), but you know what I’m getting at.
I don’t want to be sitting at my computer, 10 years from now, recommitting to a low-carb WOE for the 5th or 6th time, hoping that this attempt will be the one that finally succeeds. That’s not me sitting in judgement of those who are on attempt 4, 5, 6 or 10 – far from it. Their honesty, their heart and their faith in getting the plan to succeed are incredibly humbling and very inspirational. No, the reason I don’t want to have to still be trying to make this work for me 10 years down the line, is because I just don’t think my body has that long to fix this issue, before my health issues cause me to lose mobility altogether and become potentially bedridden. I’m not doing this to look “hot”. I’m of average attractiveness and being slimmer isn’t going to change the fact that I already have an amazing other half, who has never made me feel anything less than perfect to him. I’m not about to go full cougar mode and start trying to bed a bunch of younger men (I mean, I’ve always had more of a thing for the older guys to be honest, but you know what I mean) if I manage to hit goal weight. Heck, I’m still going to be 50lb overweight if I hit GW, but it will have made a huge amount of difference to my health and hopefully slowed the progressive deterioration that will otherwise destroy any quality of life I may have once enjoyed.
Reading those journals…those incredibly candid real life tales of so many people who started off their low-carb WOE with much the same preparation & mindset as myself, only to fail…it’s really put the frikers on me. Sure, a lot of them got back up, dusted themselves off and got right back on the low-carb wagon (many, many times in many, many cases) but my brain has started freaking out. What if that happens to me? What am I going to do, if I just can’t make this work? What will happen to me if I get to my halfway point, mess up, gain everything back and another 30lbs into the bargain, and never manage to get my weight fully under control?
I know what most people will be thinking:
“Well you just start again. You try again. You only fail if you give up entirely!”
Yeah, I know that. That’s what I’d say to someone myself. But I’ve already put this off for far too long and my body is screaming at me to sort my shit out ASAP, because if I don’t, things are only going to get worse. I can’t afford to fail and fail and fail again. The quality of my life, as well as that of my other half, depend on me succeeding in getting my weight under control. Naturally, my immediate instinct upon approaching a problem, is to meet it head-on and engage my stubbornness, my focus; my obstinacy. I’m used to being able to apply myself and get what I want. But this particular problem has so many potential secondary problems, that may or not be within my control; which is evidenced by the sheer number of other people who fail to make it happen for themselves. Of course there are the success stories on the forum – those who have gotten down to GW and maintained it – but they are far outweighed (no pun intended) by the swathes of member profiles who have failed & quit, or failed & kept on at this, in a perpetual battle with the bulge.
Studying the journals and the testimonies of those who have faltered, fucked up and failed, I find myself scrutinising their every word. What was it that made you stop? Why did you go off-plan? Why didn’t you just succeed the first time around? I know the answers would be many and varied, but I feel as though if I could just pin down the exact reasons and understand their motivations, I’d somehow be able to better prepare myself and avoid those same pitfalls. I know, I know, I’m asking for answers that people the world over have been wanting to know for aeons – I might as well be asking someone to figure out the secrets of the universe and forward them in an email to me in their lunch-break. But I desperately want to disaster-proof my own attempt at getting to a much healthier weight AND maintaining it.
Right now, all I can do is recommit to this new, lifelong WOE, every single day when I get up. I need to begin every day with the same proactive, determined mindset that I began with a month ago and never lose sight of my goal. This is a loooong road I have ahead of me and temptations will present themselves all along the way. I need to find a way to make my resolve bulletproof and maintain my motivation going forward. I’ve found it easy enough so far, but I’m not naïve enough to believe that it will continue to be that easy for me. I just wish I knew the “secrets” behind why some people succeed and others fail. My brain wants facts; stats; explanations that it can qualify, quantify and use to keep me on track. I just want the sure-fire key to success.
And it IS relevant, believe me (not that anyone should really ever have to have an excuse to watch clips from ‘The IT Crowd) because dear reader, today I am STILL in the throes of what feels like an unending bout of PMS, waiting for the inevitable, so I can see what it does to mess up my weight. My temperature is up a bit, I’m a wee bit snappy with the other half (sainted long term sufferer that he is), I feel bloated like a space-hopper and my tits really hurt: achy and warm, yes it feels like my tits are on fire. Yay for mother nature.
I had expected the monthly “visitation” to be upon me by now – my body sure has been telegraphing its arrival well in advance – and for the first time in my life I’ve actually been wanting it to just hurry up and happen, because I really want to see what affect it will have on my weight. Will it make me gain a load of water weight? Will it derail me completely and make me regain some actual poundage (excellent word!) or will it just make me hit a stall and sit where I’ve been all week? I have no idea. I have no previous TOMs to compare it to. This is the first “visitation” from mother nature, since I started my low-carb WOE and I’m desperate to know how it will affect everything.
Throughout the previous week, I went against my own rule of only weighing every Monday and found myself hovering over the scale every day to see if I’d get that ‘whoosh’ of sudden weight gain I’ve been anticipating. I hate daily weighing. It makes me feel like a slave to the scale. I don’t care if my weight goes down 3lb on Wednesday but shows only 1lb lost overall by the following Monday. That initial drop, for me, doesn’t count. It’s what I weigh on Monday that matters. Any clinging to the notion that I lost some earlier on in the week seems a little delusional to me. I mean sure, I weighed 15 stone…once (looong time ago, lol). But that was then, not now. I’ve gotta draw the line under things on weigh-in day and just go with what the scale says. To gain too much satisfaction from having lost “yesterday” is like dwelling in the past because the present is too miserable to want to face up to. That’s not me. I’m about facing down the shit that’s right in front of me and dealing with it. Clinging to the weight loss of a few days ago when I’ve gone and regained some since just makes me feel like some big fat Miss Havisham, sat in my wedding dress, reliving the time when I believed someone loved me. Fuck that noise.
Back to the daily weighing though…aside from making me feel grimy and pathetic like an anorexic who jumps on obsessively, to see if 2 bites from an apple have caused the scale to to move…it didn’t show me the results I was expecting. I was SO SURE that I’d see a gain (I feel bloated enough to be holding a gallon of water under my skin right now) that I was almost disappointed when it didn’t happen. Is that a bit mental? Probably. But I sort of expected it as a sign that my body was doing everything normal, like every other woman during this time of the month. NOT seeing any, kind of has me wondering WHEN that gain is going to hit. And for some reason, in my head, I feel like the later it occurs, the bigger it’s going to be. I have no real logical reason for that…except maybe my tortured noggin is equating the fact that when periods are a bit late, they’re a bit more “intense” (lol, I’m trying to not gross out my male readers here), with TOM weight gain. I don’t even know if that makes any sense to me right now. I just want it to happen so I know where I stand. Do you know what I mean?
Mother nature is a cruel mistress, I know that much. And I know that once the dreaded “visitation” IS upon me, I’ll be miserable and moaning for it to be over, but at least I’ll have gotten to see what the scale makes of this little occasion. Right now I’m feeling uncomfortable, because I DON’T know what to expect. I hate not knowing or understanding things. It torments me. (I’ll never empathise with those who have incurious, apathetic minds. I mean sure, folk say ignorance is supposed to be bliss, but not round these parts. I want to know EVERYTHING and I want to know it all NOW!) Seriously mother nature, just curse me and be done with it!
Anyway…so despite the daily weigh-ins, nothing showed up to suggest I was due to get my “visitation”. Quite the opposite in fact. Because when I got on the scale this morning to get my official weekly stats, it showed me as having lost another 6lbs over the past week. Which is great. I mean yes, I’m happy with that and it will go down as an official new weight because that’s what it read first thing on a Monday morning, but I’m also sort of reluctant to be too happy with it, because I’m still waiting for that TOM-related “fluctuation” to hit. I know that probably sounds a bit batty to a lot of you, but I’m trying to navigate previously uncharted (for me) seas here. Once I’ve gotten this month’s “visitation” over and done with and things go back to normal, I’ll feel much more comfortable and safer in the knowledge that I kind of understand my own body more. Because this is all a bit new and weird to me. It’s the first time I’ve properly decided to try to lose weight and been committed to the process. I’m not one of those yo-yo dieting women who spent their 20’s counting calories and trying to aerobicize away whatever meagre fat grams they allowed to pass their lips. I’m still finding my feet and won’t be comfortable until I’ve got a another month or so under my belt.
But yeah, as of now, last week is showing a loss of another 6lb. And yes I am happy (when I’m not being a massive, crotchety bitch who dissolves in a tearfully pathetic and dramatic collapse every time I drop a pen, or knock something off the counter) with that, but I’ll be happier this time next week when I can say I know a bit more about how the whole “visitation” shenanigans will/do affect me. I don’t care if it makes me gain a bit back for a few days, as long as I know where I am and what to expect in the coming months.
This has probably been the most miserable sounding, unappreciative, anti-climactic response anyone has ever given to almost losing another half a stone in a week, but hey, I’m nothing if not original, y’all. You guys don’t come here to read the same old boring food diary shtick saying:
“This is what I had to eat today and this is what I weigh. I bet you’re fucking fascinated!”
If I achieve anything with this blog, it’ll be to give a real, honest, true account of what goes through a middle aged woman’s mind, as she tries for the first time, to fight the flab.
Because anyone can tell you what they had for dinner…but who else is going to tell you that their tits are on fire, huh?
No one who isn’t charging you money to see them on their ‘OnlyFans’ that’s for sure.
Okay, so before I go any further, as you can see from the above pic, today’s conversation is going to be about mother nature’s curse upon all women, so male readers probably won’t want to tune in for this particular post. And no, you won’t be berated by me for wanting to get the frick outta Dodge; I’m not one of those demented feminist fuckwits who seem to want to emasculate men on every level – which recently seems to include trying to force y’all to want to talk about periods and become all au fait with everything menstrual…for some weird reason – no, I’m still of the old-school way of thinking where I’m perfectly happy for you guys to just, give us haemorrhaging-harridans a pound of chocolate and a wide berth. This is our gross and annoying burden and there’s no reason y’all have to be equally grossed out and annoyed during these few days too. So yeah, if you don’t fancy reading this entry, I totally understand and will look forward to seeing you here again for the next post. Conversely, if you’re not fussed by the ‘Red Peril’, well by all means stick around. It’s not going to be indelicately gross, or anything like that. I just thought you boys deserved a heads-up so you can make the choice for yourselves.
Right, now we’ve gotten that little proviso out of the way, we can get down to the subject matter at hand. Namely….‘SHARK WEEK’! (I love that term!). Because I’m into week 3 of Atkins now; I’ve been doing okay and have decided to continue on at the induction level of 20g carbs max per day, for the foreseeable future. Currently I’m happily in ketosis and have very little appetite. I’m having 3 “meals” a day (small breakfast, shake for lunch, meat & veg for dinner) and am trying to make sure I consume enough fats to keep me losing steadily. I’m not having any real cravings for anything sweet for the most part. But in the upcoming week, all that is probably going to change…and I’d really like to be prepared for it!
Yes, it will be my first encounter with ‘Aunt Flo’ since embarking upon a low-carb WOE and I have no idea how it’s all going to play out. I’ve never been one of those psychotic chicks who seem to morph into a combination of both ‘Carrie’ AND ‘Mommy Dearest’ whenever I’ve ‘Got The Painters In’, but I do notice some mood changes. For about a day before the ‘Red Wedding’ itself, I’m usually a lot more sensitive, prone to crying over cat videos on the internet and also a little less patient with my other half. But I’m by no means impossible and that’s probably going to be about the same this next ‘Time Of The Month‘…right?
What I AM more concerned with, is the godforsaken cravings. Jeez…I mean I’ve always had a sweet tooth and have been known to literally inhale a Snickers bar when the mood takes me. But in the few days leading up to the arrival of ‘Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons’ I become a one-woman treat-seeking missile. Cravings so bad that they fill my mind with a constant film-reel of images of cake, chocolate cake, chocolate cookies, chocolate mousse, chocolate bars, and steaming mugs of hot chocolate with marshmallows melting on top. IT’S LITERALLY ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT!!
All day. Every day. For about three days leading up the ‘Big Day’ I become irrationally fixated on almost nothing but chocolate. Often even forgoing any real food, in favour of another box of Cadbury Creme Eggs. Yes. I get THAT ridiculous.
But this time around, things are going to be very different. I’m not going to be able to consume sugar-laden, choco-fests with wild abandon – I’ve chosen not to eat that way anymore. So what will I be eating? I don’t even know yet. Shit! I’m really going to have to try to prepare for ‘When Arsenal Will Be Playing At Home’ this month aren’t I? For one, I have no idea how those cravings are going to play out. Will they rear their ugly heads as usual, mocking me with their tempting offers of a nice, easy break from this WOE? I can almost imagine them like actual demonic temptresses inside my head…Disney-esque witches, bitches and crones, all beckoning me over to the ‘dark side’ (where I have it on good authority that they have cookies!) Will I be strong enough to fight them off, or will my weak, cramp-ridden carcass simply succumb to the path of least resistance and end up caving in to the craving-monster and whatever it is she demands??
Urgh…I just don’t know folks. I’ve been taking a chromium picolinate with my other supplements for a while now. I don’t know if it’s had much of an effect on my sugar cravings thus far – the ketosis itself seems to be taking care of that right now; but I’m hoping that they might at least help a little in staving off the usually insane cravings next week. Also, I have no idea if those cravings will be as bad as usual, now that I’ve been sticking to no more than 20g of carbs a day. Maybe they won’t be as severe this time around – who knows? But the fact that this IS such uncharted territory, makes me somewhat worried; worried enough to want to have something potent in my arsenal, should the dreaded craving-monster slap me upside the head with one of its tentacles of temptation.
So I’ve been looking through a bunch of recipes on Pinterest, for a low-carb alternative to my usual ‘On The Rag’ fayre. I’m really not much of a cook. I hate it in fact. I’ll never understand anyone who cooks for pleasure or to relax…for me it’s a grim, boring, messy, pain in the arse which takes me away from doing other more interesting things. Like reading. Or watching politics & econ streams on YouTube. I spend as little time in the kitchen as possible, so any new recipe I might try is going to have be real simple. I wanted something like a chocolate cake, but most of the recipes for proper cake seemed to have a lot of almond flour in them and were too carb-heavy for where I am on the Atkins plan. Then I cam across the following, which seems absolutely perfect for me: Keto Lava Cake that comes in at about 4g carbs per serving.
It’s quick, it’s easy, it involves very few ingredients and it doesn’t require me having to purchase any other new kitchen equipment. Served with a little whipped cream, this could be a real life-saver in those moments of hormonally driven weakness. The recipe is courtesy of LowCarbSpark.com and can be found in its entirety here for those who are interested.
The next easy recipe I settled on was for something I can either eat WITH the lava cake (if I’m feeling especially sorry for myself at that particular time) or just have in a bowl in the refrigerator to dip a spoon into, any time a rogue sweet-tooth needs some immediate comestible amelioration. Easy Keto Chocolate Mousse! The recipe makes 4 servings (allegedly, lol) at just 1.5g of carbs a serving; so it’s still well within my daily allowance if I want to eat some with the aforementioned lava cake. Hell, I could even go buck mad and eat all 4 servings in one sitting if ‘Bloody Mary’ leaves me with a desperate hankering for some sweet, sweet, puddin’, lol.
Ingredients 2 oz unsalted butter
2 oz cream cheese
3 oz heavy whipping cream, whipped
1 tbsp cocoa powder
stevia, to taste
Directions Soften butter and combine with sweetener, stirring until completely blended.
Add cream cheese; blend until smooth.
Add cocoa powder and blend completely.
Whip heavy cream and gradually add to the mixture. (You may also add 1 tsp of coconut oil or MCT oil.)
Spoon into small glasses and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
(This recipe comes courtesy of Low Carb Diem and can be found in its entirety here)
So they are the 2 simple recipes I’ve decided to try and have a go at this upcoming week, in order to try and have something safe, but still decadent to eat, whilst ‘The Communists Are Squatting In My Neighbourhood’, and kicking my arse from the inside out.
As I’ve said before, I’m not normally an emotional eater. When I’m sad I tend to lose my appetite. But once the hormonal-bitch-mode is upon me, that tetchiness really makes me want to just lie face-down in Willy Wonka’s Choco River, until the ‘Crimson Tide’ retreats back later in the week.
I’ve also got some Agnus-Castus supplements to take, which are supposed to help with cramps, but because life is never simple and god obviously hates me, I also have some Mefanemic Acid to take if things get a bit too heavy. I don’t think either of those will have any negative contraindications, either with my other meds/supplements or my WOE. Other than that, there’s not much more I can do to prepare for the upcoming ‘Season Of The Witch‘.
But if anyone dares to try and suggest that I do fricking YOGA to relieve any of my symptoms over the coming week, I will NOT be held responsible for my actions!
Women have walked free from murder charges, thanks to PMS you know?
There’s a really interesting way of looking at our life challenges, running throughout this blog post. It’s not a ‘weight loss’ blog or post, but the underlying notion of seeking out ‘that which we really want, but are scared to try’, is universally applicable to all of us with dreams, plans & goals. It’s also just a really gorgeous blog, so y’all should definitely go check it out.
Yeah, yeah, I know…double contractions in written English aren’t exactly ‘Strunk & White’ approved, but this isn’t a thesis and you ain’t my lit prof, bro, so allow me a little artistic license, m’kay? Okay, so cursory castigations out of the way, we can now move on to the much more important matters at hand…namely, the size of my arse!
“But it’s hard to get by, when your arse is the size of a small country…”
~ ‘The National Express’ by The Divine Comedy
Sorry – couldn’t resist. I love that song and that’s probably one of the funniest lyrics ever written. And I’m in a surprisingly good mood today too, after a bit of an unexpected win on the scales yesterday. If you’ve been following my progress on this blog up to now, you’ll remember that a few days ago, after some sickness and my rather lazy consumption of some protein bars that weren’t kosher (no I’m not Jewish…I just love sprinkling in the odd bit of Yiddish, here and there…because it sounds cool) I did a mid-week weigh-in (not something I really want to be getting into the habit of this early on in the game) only to find that I’d gained 3lb! That was pretty gutting, but I’d sensed that I’d gained the moment I got up – and I’d prepared myself for these ups, as well as the downs, before I started on this low-carb WOE. Not one to dwell too much on misery, I decided to just chalk it up to experience and carry on as normal, sticking to the plan in the hope that I could at least undo a bit of the damage before weigh-in day.
So imagine my shock when upon hitting the scales yesterday, I was greeted with a reading of 254lb – that’s 4lbs less than last week AND means that I’ve also shifted the 3lbs gained mid-week, meaning…that’s a 7lb loss overall this past week!
How in the name of all that is holy, did I manage to pull that one off?
Your guess is as good as mine, but I’m assuming it was partly to do with me still being early on in my weight loss journey (so my body is more willing to give up the extra weight) and maybe also because I remained completely, strictly on plan for the rest of week, allowing my body to get back into ketosis. Either way, I’ll take it!
It has however, made me think more on the idea of weighing myself more than once a week. I know a lot of people like to weight themselves daily (I’ve heard some say it keeps them more accountable) but if my weight can fluctuate so much in a 7-day period, I don’t think it’ll be particularly helpful to me to get on the scale more than once a week. In fact, if this past week has been anything to go by, it’s really just made me a little more anxious to have had that blip a few days ago. As tempting as it may be to want to see those numbers go down in real time, I really don’t want to become a slave to the scale, obsessively checking and rechecking the numbers after every bite, blow-out or bowel movement. Weight is always going to fluctuate for a number of reasons – I’ve still got to see what mischievous tricks my period is going to help play on the scale yet. That little gift from mother nature should be turning up in the next week I think…so if I’m being even more of a crotchety old harridan than usual, you know what to blame it on, lol.
Maybe if I have another slip-up or I decide to cheat or whatever…maybe then I’ll study the scale a little more closely for a couple of days, to try and keep track of the damage done; other than that though, I don’t see it being particularly healthy or helpful to me.
But for now…yeah, I’m happy. Who wouldn’t be? Little by little I’m starving this fat arse of mine into submission and so far I haven’t gone completely off the deep-end while doing so. Give it time though. Three months down the line from now I’ll probably be tearing my own hair out in the hopes that every strand removed will help make the scale move down a bit. But until then, I’m just going to keep on twirling my little happy dance while my decrepit joints let me, and keep on, keeping on.
I swear if I didn’t have bad luck I’d have no luck at all. Yeah, yeah, other people have it worse and all that, but how in the name of all that is holy, is my scale showing a GAIN of 3lb, when I haven’t eaten enough food all week to warrant such a fricking liberty.
“HOW VERY DARE YOU, SCALE!”
Urgh…the past few days have been crappy as all hell. There I was, getting all excited because Autumn was on the way, the temperature was dropping and everything was going swell with the low-carbing…and then out of nowhere a really miserable flare-up hit me like a metric fuck-tonne of shit (yes I’m swearing a lot today, I’m allowed to, I’m miserable, sue me) leaving me unable to get out of bed for a whole day, obliterated by a massive bastard-behind-the-eyes headache the next and cursed with barely serviceable mong-paw hands for 3 whole days.
Now I know y’all are expecting me to relay some tragic tale of woebegotten snack-scoffing, but that ain’t me mister. Almost the exact opposite in fact. I’ve never been someone who turned to food when depressed – I actually lose my appetite when I’m sad – and I’ve definitely been down in the dumps these past few days. Couldn’t walk anywhere, couldn’t shower, couldn’t cook, couldn’t use the computer properly, couldn’t do ANYTHING, except chug back the meds and hope for the best.
Foodwise, I went one whole day without eating anything. Not intentionally, I just slept for a good 15+ hours and when I woke up food was the furthest thing from my mind. The next day I was still thoroughly uninterested in eating, but my soluble pain-killers were ominously swirling around in my stomach, making me worry that I was going to throw them back up (along with my other meds) and not know how much I still had in my system, in order to top back up.
So I did a kind of a stupid thing. I got through that day by eating three protein bars. Not something that sounds altogether extreme by anyone else’s standards, but having since gone back to review the ingredients list (yasss…I know…I should’ve been more careful when I first read them…but I didn’t get to the size I am today by making wise decisions, m’kay?) I found that whilst they were showing as having 3g net carbs, they contained sugar. I mean, it’s not gonna be a lot if they only have 3g carbs in them, but I KNOW that crap was in there in large enough doses, because by the next day they’d pulled me right back out of ketosis. FRICK, FRICKETY, FRICK!
The day after that my appetite reared its ugly head again, but I’m theorising that once I was out of ketosis my body might have decided that I was being a stingy bitch and just thrown itself into starvation mode. Because on that day I had 3 pieces of ham, a piece of cheese and a cherry tomato for breakfast, 2 pieces of ham in the afternoon and some sausages (0.5g carb each) with broccoli for dinner…and then today I wake up to find that I’ve GAINED 3 BROTHERCLUCKING POUNDS??
There is no god.
I’m not due on my period, so I can’t blame it on that. I haven’t been consuming more salt, so it ain’t that. I’ve been drinking plenty of water and taking my supplements properly. I just haven’t been eating that much…and what I have eaten was full of the nasties. It HAS to be the protein bars. My meds are the same ones I’ve been taking every day for years now and my caffeine intake has been pretty low. I mean, everything’s been pretty low intake wise, but when you’re not feeling well, it’s really hard to think about food at all – never mind entirely sensibly. If I’d known I was going to gain 3lb I would’ve at least tried to do it in style. Y’know…cram in a few McDonald’s Quarterpounders, fries and thick shake or something! Actually, that’s a total lie. The smell of a cheeseburger might just have been the final straw that sent me running to the bathroom to throw up, if I’m being honest.
So today is Saturday. I wasn’t planning on weighing myself until Monday as usual, but I just *knew* that I’d gained when I got up earlier. Weird that I could sense that, but whatever. I got the scale out and whaddaya know, I was right! (Yay me!) I have no idea how this is going to be come Monday on my regular weigh-in day – I won’t be updating my stats until then – but it’s a pretty disappointing kick in the teeth, this early on in my low-carb endeavours. I’m not going to let it get me down too much though and I’m sticking to the plan as normal today, but I just know that I’m going to have a lot of these set-backs along the way, thanks to my health issues that just up and rear their ugly head, any old time they freaking feel like it. Those protein bars will have to be relegated to the back of the cupboard for the foreseeable future and I’m going to have to find myself some other ones that definitely DON’T have sugar in them. Because their are going to be days when I simply cannot face the thought of real food, but need to have something in my system because of my meds.
I also have this shake to use as a meal replacement going forward, on those days when I simply cannot face proper food, but need to put something in my stomach:
No ingredients in there to be worried about, sucralose as a sweetener and it includes a bunch of extra vitamins and MCT powder (which may or not be helpful, depending on who you believe). I had it today for lunch. “Breakfast” was a can of tuna, slice of cheese & cherry tomato at 1am; that tided me over until I had that shake for “lunch” at 10am. Dinner this evening was 2 grilled burger patties and some broccoli at 7pm. I don’t think my appetite has dropped back down yet, so it felt a lot easier to consume 3 meals today, than it did a few days ago. The shake definitely worked as a meal replacement. I only made a small one with 1 scoop of powder/35ml of water/1 tablespoon of coconut oil/teaspoon of caramel flavoured sugar-free syrup. The taste of the shake is pretty gross on its own – very sweet – but when I added a bit of caramel syrup and a good bit of salt, it became far more palatable.
That should be enough food for today. If I really feel the need for anything else to snack on I’ve got some slices of ham and plenty of cheese in the fridge. Just 2 more sleeps until the next official weigh-in. Will I still be registering a 3lb gain? Will I have lost any of it back? Will I still be clinging onto sanity by my fingernails or will I have completely lost the plot? Who knows. You’ll just have to stick around for the next episode of “My Big Fat Stupid Carb Addicted Body And The Befuddled Brain That Operates It.”
I never said I was a rocket scientist. I mean, I’ve only been at this a week. Mistakes are bound to happen, right? Bumps in the road are only to be expected. Yadda yadda yadda…
So…dear reader, just what was it that allowed me to screw-up so astronomically? Well, maths really. That and basic common sense. Was I misjudging the number of calories in a salad? Was I forgetting to add up the carbs in my beverages? Or was I failing to work out the net number of carbs in a protein bar?
No, it was none of those things. It was something even more basic and stupid than any of the above. I just…forgot how numbers worked. As in, remembering that stones are divided into 14 pounds which are divided into 16 ounces. Somehow, somewhere between trying to convert stones + pounds into just pounds, I miscalculated what my actual weight has been for the past couple of weeks. So, when it came to updating my stats on the forum, it said I’d actually gained weight.
Now I know what some of you are possibly thinking:
“This dumb broad here just doesn’t wanna admit that she ate her own body-weight in cake last week and that made her gain.”
Which, you’re totally welcome to think. But I can’t quite imagine why I’d bother to go to all the trouble of creating this blog if I wasn’t planning to at least try to lay off the Krispy Kreme for a bit. As it is, I’ve been a good girl all week and my total weight loss was 6 pounds – which is more than I was hoping for after already dropping weight after just swapping out sugary drinks – and I’m thankfully able to know this because I still have the little note I made on my PC notepad saying that when I started last Monday I was 18 stone 11 pounds: today I am 18 stone 5 pounds. So a 6 pound loss. Yay me!
It’s a very American thing to discuss one’s weight in terms of total pounds, but here in the UK people either use the newer EU standard metric system of kilos (which I am NEVER going to get my head around using) or the old school combo of stones/pounds/ounces. I was attempting to convert my weight from stones & pounds (which is how my scale measures me) to just pounds to be able to track things on there, but alas I am a moron, who can’t even use a calculator to figure shit out. Literally, can’t even.
So, I’m not entirely sure what my initial starting weight was. I can’t remember what the scale said and I only have my weight from the beginning of last week – as I began induction – to work from. So I’ll alter the stats in the side-bar as well as in the ‘Fat Stats’ page, to show me starting from thereon in. And hopefully, as time plods along, I’ll manage to keep track of things a bit better…as well as in the right direction.
As for the loss? Well I’m happy with it. I’m halfway through the mandatory induction period for Atkins, but I’m probably going to stay at consuming no more than 20 carbs a day, for a good while anyway. I’m getting used to not being preoccupied with thoughts of what to eat – although the other half is probably a bit frustrated with my forgetting that he needs to eat too. Things got so bad the other day he had to resort to making himself a Pot Noodle! Yuk! I need to be a better woman to that long suffering man of mine.
Other than that, there’s not much more to report on. I’ve been acquiring various books on Keto, food, nutrition, supplements etc and I know I need to update the ‘Bookishness’ page on here so y’all can follow along with whatever I’m reading, but the last few days haven’t really left me in a very ‘task-oriented’ state of mind, lol. It was great to smoke a bit while it lasted – the pain in my lower back basically disappeared for two days – but there’s no way I can spend my entire life in a haze like that. My brain is foggy enough as it is.
And the last thing I need is forget how numbers work. Again.
Are you sick of feeling like rubbish? Have you ever got close to your potential? What if, being the best version of you ever was as simple as: 1) Eating Lots of Meat 2) Moving about Outside 3) Lifting stuff!