Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

“I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood”

Before I begin, can we all just take a moment out to appreciate what an absolute banger of a tune this is? I know I post a lot of songs on here (tunes with some relevance to the topic at hand) and I doubt anyone clicks on them most of the time. But this classic from the 60’s is only 2.30 minutes long and you should totally just take a little time out to pop in your headphones and get down to some good old vintage pop music.

Okay, so what is the title of this post (and the related music link) really about today? Well, it has to do with a comment I received in a message from someone – who shall remain nameless – wherein they accused me of being “overzealous with success”, in regards to my having adopted a low-carb WOE. Which really surprised me; not in the least because the individual in question purported to have read this entire blog. Yes, this chaotic record of all the ups and downs that I’ve encountered over the past couple of months, lol.

Success? I’ve literally only just gotten started? Where are they getting THAT from? Am I presenting myself as a success? Or are other people just perceiving me as such? I’m pretty sure it’s not the former, because I’m incredibly honest about every issue, obstacle and set-back I experience along the way. So that suggests it’s the latter and that comes down to how others allow themselves to perceive my journey, through whatever lenses they happen to view the world. Which is pretty disappointing really; I’m not gonna lie.

So I thought maybe I would take the time out today to chat a little bit about exactly how I do think, when it comes to my low-carb WOE and weight-loss progress…because I’d hate for people to misinterpret my position or misrepresent my opinions.

First of all, I am – and always will be – a work in progress. Anyone who thinks otherwise of themselves, is either naïve, arrogant or just unwilling to engage in some healthy introspection. I only started down this new path of eating low-carb at the end of August. But I did spend a good few months before that, researching both the low-carb WOE and the psychology behind weight-loss and behavioural changes in general. Forewarned is forearmed after all; and I’ve always been one of life’s planners & researchers.

One of the things that really stuck out when I was looking into how to best go about pursuing a sustainable weight-loss plan, was the fact that people who were successful in the long run, treated their approach more holistically; meaning that they looked into changing their way of thinking and overhauled many of their behaviours to help give them the best chance at achieving their goals. Those who just tried to lose ‘X’ amount of weight without thinking about it in terms of an overall lifestyle adjustment, seemed much more likely to give up when things started to go awry. They hadn’t put anything else in place to bolster their efforts and attempts, so they had nothing to stop them from just throwing in the towel.

I did not want that to happen to me. In fact, scratch that: I REFUSE to let that happen to me. I will NOT be the architect of my own downfall. So I made sure – way before I even stepped onto the scale to find out my starting weight – to spend a little bit of time working out the best strategy for success, based on the choices, habits and behaviours of those who had succeeded themselves. Because why wouldn’t I? Why would anyone embark upon a serious journey to improve themselves, without first understanding a/ why they really want to achieve said goal, b/ what could thwart their attempts at success, and c/ what they could do to give themselves the best chance at negotiating all the inevitable hurdles that they will encounter along the way and be successful in pursuit of their personal goal?

I mean, it just seems like basic common sense to me, right? But if my 40 years of experience in dealing with other people has taught me anything, it’s that common sense really isn’t as common as we’d like to think it is. Do I think I’m special for thinking the way I do and being so naturally inquisitive when it comes to trying to make changes to my eating and health? Well, I’d like to say no because it doesn’t feel like a particularly special way of thinking or behaving…but after looking at the never-ending tales of woe by those who DON’T approach their goals this way and inevitably end up failing…well…maybe I do fall into that category of people who conduct themselves in a “special” kind of way. And that’s not something that necessarily comes naturally to me or anyone else; it involves making a conscious effort to really want to have the odds of success go in our favour.

So of course, I’m by no means a success when it comes to having met or maintained my goal. I really am still just coming out of the starting blocks as I progress along the path to a much lighter body and better health. But I WILL give myself credit when it comes to having successfully put the effort into researching and planning the route to my goal, as well as the amount of time I’ve spent working on trying to make sure that I have the best chance of succeeding at it. I’ve really worked hard at getting to understand my strengths, weaknesses, triggers, motivations and all the potential psychological barriers to making this low-carb WOE a successful, permanent lifestyle change. So, I’ll happily take the credit for having put the effort in, before I even began my Atkins induction. Fuck false modesty; I have no problem with feeling good about having put in the hard work.

But all that planning, self-reflection and research doesn’t amount to “success”. It just means I’ve made an effort to prepare in an attempt to give myself the best chance at succeeding. You only have to read back over all my blog posts to see how many ups and downs I’ve encountered so far – AND I’VE ONLY BEEN AT THIS FOR 2 MONTHS, Y’ALL! Lol! 2 months is nothing. The first couple of months are supposed to be the easiest; the time when the weight comes off the quickest and our resolve is at its highest. So if things have been so chaotic, week-upon-week, during the time when things are at their easiest, then heaven only knows how crazy and calamitous the next 12 months are going to be!

Because things ARE going to get harder, that much is a given! I KNOW that there are going to be weeks when the scale isn’t moving and my clothes aren’t loosening any more and my fibromyalgia is making me feel as though my limbs are made of lead. That’s just how it goes when we try to lose weight. Having problems and hitting obstacles isn’t unusual or special, but how we choose to deal with those problems will make ALL the difference to whether or not we stay the path or veer off into the nearest chocolate gateau. So whilst I won’t be any different to anyone else who is attempting to lose weight, in that I too will find myself hitting plateaus, getting frustrated and wishing I could just click my fingers and get to goal…I WILL have the benefit of having spent time anticipating these moments and given myself various coping strategies, in order to help me stay the course.

Positive mental attitude, motivational quotes and recommitting to my goal every single day upon waking, are just some of the tools I use to remain dedicated and keep my willpower fully charged. I don’t care if some people find any of that cheesy or cliché; clichés are just overused statements that have at their core, a kernel of truth that many people relate to; something that resonates with them. If you’re too cool for all that, well you do you, boo. I’m 40 years old, folks. I gave up giving a shit about what it meant to be cool about 25 years ago. (Yeah, I was anti-cool, waaaay before it was cool to be anti-cool, so…like…get rekt, lol!) If hearing about personal responsibility, mental focus and staying motivated isn’t for you then this probably isn’t the blog for you; so quit reading it, stupid! I mean, I get it, I’m awesome and you simply cannot stay away, but don’t expect me to change the way I conduct myself, just because y’all don’t like it.

I’ve said it before, but I HAVE to make this work for me. My health and quality of life depends on it. I can’t just decide that losing weight is too hard, that I’m not seeing results fast enough or that I can just live my life out in some sad form of denial, pretending like obesity related illness and immobility are totally acceptable and not at all dysgenic or disabling. If I don’t lose weight and improve my health, I will likely end up completely housebound, if not bedbound. I’m by no means the heaviest person out there and I’m a far cry from the ridiculous creatures on ‘My 600lb Life’. But I have physiological issues that have already, and will continue to, effect my mobility, dexterity and basic motor skills. These health issues will get progressively worse if I don’t make the necessary changes to lose weight. So when I tell you that I AM going to succeed at this, I’m not being big-headed or arrogant. I’m making a factual statement about what needs to happen and how I intend to make that happen.

So by all means feel free to look down upon me as just another newbie to the low-carb WOE, who naively believes that everything is going to be sunshine and fucking rainbows. That ain’t me, bro. I am NOT your average first-timer or habitual dieter. I am not the kind of person who looks upon failure as an option, regardless of whatever the goal in question is. But when it comes down to my health and my quality of life, you can be damn sure that failure is even less of an option. Some people jump into weight-loss without having anything approaching a real plan as to how they’re going to go about reaching their goals. They have insubstantial, vain or vague goals of “looking hot” or “getting into THAT dress again” and whilst y’all should do whatever works for you, chances are you won’t have fully engaged in any of the psychological work needed to truly figure out your “why, what, when, where & how”…never mind any contingency plans for when the shit inevitably starts to hit the fan. Anyone with half a brain can lose weight. But staying motivated until you hit your goal weight, then maintaining that weight loss in the long term (despite all of life’s little struggles that WILL be sent to test you) takes more than just eating within your calorie count, carb allowance, or whatever other macro you focus on, under your plan of choice.

THAT level of success comes down to mental fortitude, consistent effort, making good choices and creating a mindset that is not only prepared to experience hardship, but that knows how to navigate through the really difficult moments. You will never be permanently inspired. Not naturally. so you need to work on finding out those things that DO inspire you and motivate you, so you have them ready to fall back on, when things get tough and you’re starting to get battle-fatigued. Have you even considered what other possibilities you should have on the back-burner, when what you’re currently doing, just isn’t working for you anymore? Have you even given any thought to the fact that you ARE going to hit obstacles along the way; that your weight-loss journey isn’t just going to be a simple step from A – B?

And the truth of the matter is that all too many people who claim to want to meet a weight-loss goal, simply haven’t given any of that stuff the slightest bit of thought. They find themselves “suddenly” just caving in to festive treats and then feel guilty afterwards…which is entirely unsurprising when they never took the time to sit down before they began to change their WOE and actually think about how they would approach these situations going forward. They will find excuse after excuse as to why they are eating whatever candies are on sale during every festive period, rather than work on trying to understand why they feel so compelled to periodically indulge in all that crap and find a better way to deal with it. And let’s face it: every single holiday celebration now has a selection of “treats” available for us all to indulge in, all year round. If you’re going to go off-plan every time there’s another holiday food you believe you have the right to indulge in, then you’re obviously still stuck in the mindset that has you believing that food is more important to you than your goals. And hey, you totally DO have that right to eat whatever you want, whenever you want to; it’s your body and you can do whatever the hell you want with it. But you really don’t have the right to sit and feel sorry for yourself, expecting others to sympathise with you when it was YOU who made the conscious decision to eat off plan.

I simply refuse for that to be MY story. I don’t consider myself a success at all right now…but you can take it as read, that I WILL be successful in losing the weight, improving my health and altering my behaviours and habits going forward, to ensure I don’t wind up backsliding. I don’t care if I have to tinker with every single macro, every type of food and every added ingredient. If I have to try out IF, OMAD, EF, keto, paleo, carnivore or whatever other WOE out there involves not filling one’s body with a huge number of carbohydrates…I WILL find a way to get myself to where I want to be. And I don’t think that’s arrogant or over-zealous. That’s confidence. Self-belief. Determination. Commitment.

So to anyone who reads this blog and misunderstands my focus and my passion, I ask you to think again and maybe go reread this post a couple of times, so you really get to understand what motivates me at a core level. Because the only person I have to impress in all this, is me. The only person I am in competition with, is the person I was yesterday. The main reason I write all these posts and fire up my motivation, is so that I have somewhere I can go to air my thoughts, clear my mind, let off steam, tell the truth and have a permanent record of everything I’ve done, in my attempt to get healthy. If someone else enjoys the anecdotes or is able to see the value in a lot of the things I say, then that is an added bonus. But I’m not doing any of this for anyone else. This is all about me and it’s for me.

Because I am the centre of the universe.

And so are you.

So act like it, while you still have time to do something about it.

Stay focused y’all,

Blue

Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail…Right?

Today’s post was inspired by my blogger-buddy Mel’s recent post, in which she look into the recent practice of ‘Intuitive Eating’ and whether or not it really stacks up as an effective, useful tool for those looking to lose weight. I’ve linked to her post below, which y’all should definitely go check out because she does a way better job than I do, at properly examining the pro’s and cons of IE. And you should totally be following her blog ‘Lighter, Brighter Me‘ too, because she does a lot of posts like this, where she critiques various weigh-loss tools & techniques (and she also uses the word ‘arse’ too, which immediately gets bonus points from me, lol!). So yeah, go read what she has to say first, before checking out my own random waffling. Enjoy!

What Is Intuitive Eating?

We’ve all heard it, the old adage: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” And I for one have always been much more of a planner than a seat-of-your-pants kinda gal; but for some reason, when it comes to one particular part of this weight-loss journey, I’ve actually stopped thinking too far ahead.

What part is that?

Meal planning. Or lack thereof, in this particular instance.

Now when I say I’m normally a planner, I mean I like to know what I’m going to be doing today, tomorrow, this week, next week and as far into the future as possible. Maybe I’m a bit of a control freak, but whereas my other half is super laid back and just lets life come at him any which way regardless (something that drives me absolutely nutso at times), I feel like I need to be prepared for whatever’s going to happen, in order to stay sane.

I have a planner that I normally put together myself, which has a future log for the coming year in it, a calendar for every month and then weekly lay-outs that list everything I need to do on a particular day (as well as a separate part for recording my meals, my water intake and the time I take all my meds in a 24hr period). I also keep notebooks for separate things that need to be tackled – project based notebooks – which themselves are divided up into ideas / brainstorming / plans / timetables, and I schedule certain tasks to happen on certain days each month, well in advance too. And it’s just as well that I do, because if we left everything to the other half’s “c’est la vie” way of thinking (complete with Gallic shrug) we’d never get our prescriptions renewed, we’d forget to pay our bills and we’d probably never know when anything important needed to be dealt with. He’s an amazing man my other half, but if he has one particular peccadillo that can really piss me off, it’s his total nonchalance when it comes to planning ahead. (Babe, I love you, but omigod would it kill you to make a note of when you have a doctor’s appointment coming up?? GAH!)

But I digress…this is supposed to be about me (It’s ALL about me, duh). So yeah, like I said, I’m a natural planner and normally apply that mentality to every aspect of my life. You’d probably expect therefore, that as I’m doing my best to lose weight by switching to a low-carb WOE, I’d take that approach and plan the absolute shit out of my meal-times, snacks and overall consumption. Right?

Well you’d be wrong. And no one is more surprised at that than yours truly here. Because I went into this on day one, with a firm plan of what I was going to eat, for every meal, of every day on that first induction fortnight. I spent hours in the supermarket meticulously scrutinising every label on everything I purchased to make sure there were no hidden carbs/sugar in anything (I mean when you find out that a single serving pack of precooked chicken breast has had HFCS added to it, you learn pretty quickly not to trust ANYTHING on the face of it.)

But then reality kicked in. And by reality, I mean appetite. Which for the first 72hrs was RAMPANT! The minute I told myself I wasn’t going to be eating sugar…yeah…I wanted sugar. My brain went into the addict’s frenzied headspace – which is really just your psyche going through the 5 stages of grief with added hunger pains for good measure:

  • Denial (I’m not really a carb addict, I’m just hungry – FEED ME SUGAR!)
  • Anger (Why the hell can’t I just eat carbs like everyone else – FEED ME SUGAR!)
  • Bargaining (Well, maybe I could just reduce my carbs gradually…one bar of chocolate on my first day can’t hurt – FEED ME SUGAR!)
  • Depression (This is shit; I miss chocolate already – FEED ME SUGAR!)
  • Acceptance (Okay, I guess is just my life now – FEED ME WHATEVER!)

And the only way I was able to get through those first 3 days, was by constantly shovelling down any low-carb foodstuffs I could get my grubby little hands on. Those carefully planned out meals I’d spent all that time thinking out in advance? Yeah…no…they went right out the window as I did everything I could to stave off the raging hunger (which was really just cravings) consuming my every waking thought. I was stuffing fistfuls of ham and slices of cheese into my mouth whilst I was cooking a chicken and steaming some broccoli and cauliflower; I was chugging back a whey & MCT oil shake while gammon steaks were under the grill; and I was chomping down a protein bar whilst waiting for my other half to make me an omelette.

Thankfully I was able to coast through a good amount of time over those first 3 days by sleeping my way to the promised land of ketosis. But it was still pretty hairy during waking hours. No amount of Pepsi Max managed to convince this addict going through withdrawal that the sweet taste it was supplying was enough to satisfy my jonesing for sugar. But I got through it. Headaches and cravings eventually gave way to that weird moment when my body switched over to fat burning mode and all cravings went right out the window. Hallelujah!

And with the arrival of ketosis, there was of course the disappearance of my appetite. Great. Now I can just eat the meals I planned to eat in the first place, right? Well, um…no. Not really. Because now I had the exact opposite problem to the insatiable hunger of those first 72hrs. Now I didn’t want to eat ANYTHING. That roast meat & veg I had pencilled in for dinner today? No thanks. I really don’t feel like eating a big meal right now. The chicken salad I planned to have for lunch the following day? Urgh…please! I really can’t face that at the moment. And with that ALL my plans for eating certain meals at certain times and on certain days went out the window. In fact, at the end of the first week I had to throw out a bunch of fresh produce, because I simply hadn’t eaten them within their use-by date. I don’t know how much money I wasted trying to buy enough food to cater for an appetite I no longer had, but it really pissed me off to have to toss so much of it in the trash. Oy vey!

Shopping then became an arduously boring task, where I had to look for things to eat which would keep for longer (whilst still being suitable for Atkins Induction) and also figure out just how much fresh meat & veg I could realistically expect to eat in the next 7 days. I have to limit my shopping to just once a week, because my annoying health issues cause me to hurt and seize up after every trip out. I can’t just ‘nip to the shop’ multiple times a week to keep buying things I run out of, so a degree of planning is still pretty important. But actual meal planning? Fuhgeddaboudit.

I can sit and draw up all the pretty plans I want at the beginning of the week, detailing every meal and beverage and snack I intend to eat for the coming seven days. But when I get up on any given day, you can damn well guarantee it, that I am NOT going to want whatever it is I’ve got scheduled in for consumption. Some days all I want is a protein shake for lunch and a chicken salad for dinner. Other days I wake up and the only things that sounds appetising are burgers and sausages and eggs with mushrooms. And there’s no way to know before time, what it is my impaired appetite will see fit to allow me to consume. And when I think about it, maybe that’s okay. Maybe the human body is smart enough to know when it needs more of one type of thing than another. Maybe, just maybe, even my obliterated metabolism is still able to intuit what’s suitable and right for a certain time or day. And maybe I should try to learn to listen to it.

Lots of people are currently talking about ‘Intuitive Eating’ as another fad or hype beast from the ‘eating for health & wellness’ community. Numerous books are being written by a variety of authors (some of whom have actual credentials, but many others who are really just trying to capitalise on the current trends for some lovely shekels) instructing us to simply tune into our bodies’ internal sense of moderation and regulation, in order to lose weight. Moderation? Regulation? Does this 235lb lump of lard look like it knows how to moderate its own food intake? If I could regulate the amount of carbs and other macros I consumed myself, I WOULDN’T BE IN THIS STATE IN THE FIRST PLACE! Grr…

But I get what they’re trying to say when they tell you to listen to what your body is telling you it wants/needs. Not because I would ever have previously been able to hear anything other than

“I need more chocolate, STAT!”

coming from my own carb-addicted carcass; but because now I’ve lowered my carb intake to fewer than 20g a day, I’ve freed up my mind to be able to think more about what it actually needs, as opposed to what my hyperinsulinaemic system thinks it wants. (Which was always, invariably…sugar.) And as I’ve been reading more about zero-carbers and carnivores, who base what they eat on any given day on how their bodies feel when they wake up in the morning, it does make sense on a very primitive level. When I was eating however many hundreds of carbs a day (I really have no idea how many and I’m kind of terrified to go work it out), what I thought was hunger was probably mostly just sugar cravings. (I mean, you can’t get to 270lb and be truly hungry for more ‘fuel’ can you?) All I’d feel is a coercive prompt from my stomach saying “FEED ME!” and I’d give it whatever I fancied. Which more often than not was small in regards to it’s portion size, but massive with regards to the carbs and calories it contained. (Box of buttery, dairy cream fudge anyone?)

But now I don’t have the carb-addict’s constant craving for sugar. I don’t even have what I can call a real appetite anymore. I can easily go 24hrs without eating and then when I do decide it’s time to consume something, I just sort of tap into what my body is telling me it wants and go with that. Today that just so happens to be sausages and salad. Would I have had that planned out on my little menu scheduler? Probably not. But then the entire concept of what actually makes a meal these days has been completely up-ended. Gone are the days of meat, potatoes and veg with gravy…in are the new-fangled combinations of chocolate protein shake and pork rinds! Or the mindblowingly dull 3 burgers and nothing else. Yep, things are a whole lot different around here now come feeding time.

And so it is with a heavy heart, that I must put away my plannerish-things (as far as food is concerned that is) because for once I have to admit that I actually don’t have complete control over what it is I’m going to eat every day. I mean obviously I’ve banished carbs (not including my 20g max daily allowance) but once that’s just accepted, there’s no craving for them and then all that’s left is what my body decides it wants on a particular day. It’s very freeing, but it’s also very strange and something I’m still getting used to. But maybe it’s good for me to not have every single moment of my life planned out to the finest detail. Perhaps it’ll do me good to let go of the reins and try living somewhat in the moment.

And right now, this moment is all about those sausages I’ve got under the grill. So on that note, I’ll bid y’all adieu.

Until next time folks

Blue

I’m Going Down / Weigh-In Day

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.

Be good to yourselves,

Blue

Positive Rage by Serge ‘Mage’ Cote

I really like this post. Anger can be an incredibly motivating emotion and if we tap into it, it can work as a fantastic driving force behind the actions we undertake to reach our goals.

From Mage Mind

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…

View original post 9 more words

What…Already? / Weigh-In Day

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.

Any maybe to pay attention to the calendar.

Blue

All I Want For Christmas

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!)

Make good choices y’all,

Blue

Drop It Like It’s Hot / Weigh-In Day

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.

BUT!!!!

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 & 12lbs. 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.

Until next time,

Blue

Going The Distance

“Because he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse
He’s going the distance”

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!

And I’ll take that.

Blue

The Itchy & Scratchy Show

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!)

Stay well, y’all

Blue

We All Fall Down / Weigh-In Day

“Let the bodies hit the floor, let the bodies hit the floor…”

Well this a been an absolute fecker of a week.

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:

“Ow!”

or

“Fuck!”

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.”

Such fun!

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!

Have a hilarious week, y’all.

Blue

Damn These Vampires

“Feast like pagans
Never get enough”

That girl.

You know who I mean.

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.

(And garlic for days and days, lol.)

Blue

Motivation Station

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. Not me.

Stay motivated y’all

Blue

In My Feelings / Weekly Weigh-In

“I’m smokin’ while I’m runnin’
This town and you better believe it, honey
I’m laughin’ as I’m taking no prisoners
And taking down names”

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 (241lbs)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.

Take care

Blue

A Hard Habit To Break

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
  • Chocolate cake

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 will be harder and others 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.

Chocolate cake cravings be damned.

Blue