Cold Feet

This is probably the most literal blog post title I’ve created so far.

I. Have. Cold. Feet.

Not metaphorically, in the sense that one can have second-thoughts about pursuing something, no my feet are literally like blocks of ice. Why am I telling you all this? Why have I written a blog post all about my frozen toes? Well, because this has never happened to me before. Seriously. I cannot remember a time when I ever had cold feet before. In my life. And it’s weird. I mean sure, it’s snowing outside and it’s the beginning of January, but this isn’t something that’s ever happened to me in all my years of icy cold winters.

So what’s going on?

Well, I’ve lost a bunch of weight haven’t I?

Yeah, turns out that when us fatties shed some flab, we start to experience the joys of cold weather just like everyone else. Except maybe even more so, because when we’ve spent 365 days a year for over 30 years, cosily ensconced in our whopping layers of sub-cutaneous insulation, we’re used to always having that fat on our bodies throughout all 4 seasons. Bodies are smart and they work around the clock to maintain a level of homeostasis that stops us from overheating in the summer and freezing to death in the colder months. But when you suddenly change up your bodily composition (and while 50lbs isn’t the hugest amount of weight-loss, it’s still pretty substantial) so it’s carrying less of that insulation around with it, you’re definitely gonna notice it.

I’ve never liked the summer months. I hate the feeling of the sun on my skin and the shorter nights / longer days that are filled with way too much intrusive daylight; but I also hate the warmer temperature and smothering levels of humidity. I’ve often thought it largely to do with my being so overweight for all my life, but I also come from a Scottish family (who hail from the North-East of Scotland which regularly sees temperatures of -10°C / 14°F and lower in winter) and many of them who are of normal weight, also dislike the heat, so it’s probably a mixture of both. But having always loved the winter and colder months up until now, I’m beginning to wonder if the increasingly lower amounts of fat on my body will make me change my mind.

I implemented the changes to my eating habits back on 31st August last year, which was right at the end of the summer. Maybe I didn’t pick the right time to choose to try and lose all this weight, because as the temperatures outside started dropping with the change in season, I began to use up some of my fat-stores, thus exacerbating the way those changes in temperature felt to me and my shrinking carcass. Of course I’ve always noticed the change in the weather (I look forward to being able to wear my super-snug winter coats in winter, every year!) but this year…I’m really noticing it. I wore gloves for the first time in years when I went into town a couple of day ago – something else that felt bizarrely foreign to me – so it’s not just my feet that are feeling it. To paraphrase a bit of La bohème: My (Not So) Tiny Hand Was Frozen!

And I’m not sure what to think about this. I mean, obviously I’m not going to suddenly decide that life was more pleasantly toasty and warm before I lost weight, ergo I should just intentionally gain it all back again. But it’s one of those things I never even considered before deciding to lose weight. It’s not something I’ve heard people talk about when discussing their own weight loss experiences. But it must be pretty common right? It can’t just be me.

So I did a bit of Googling and it turns out that feeing cold after losing weight is actually a pretty common phenomenon and there are a ton of forums out there where people are complaining about this exact thing. I found an article on Insider called “8 unexpected — and negative — things that could happen when you lose weight” in which Caroline Apovian, Director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Centre at Boston Medical Centre says:

“Your body is going to lower your metabolic rate when you lose weight to try to conserve energy. And in conserving energy, it doesn’t have a lot of extra calories to keep you warm. Another reason you might feel colder is because you no longer have fat acting as an insulator.”

Caroline Apovian, Insider.com – Jan 10, 2018

Both of those explanations make total sense but in my case I’m not as worried about it being as a result of my reducing my caloric intake. I don’t count calories right now, but I know I eat quite a lot of the little blighters just seeing the of the size of my meals. 2 porterhouse steaks and asparagus, mushrooms fried in beef dripping with broccoli and cheese is my favourite meal right now and I’ve gone from eating it 1 to 2-3 times a week. That’s a typical evening meal for me and it comes in at over 1000 calories alone. Add to that a protein shake with added collagen powder & almond milk for lunch, a protein brownie cookie for breakfast, coffee with cream a couple of times a day (with the occasional couple of pieces of Perlege chocolate to accompany it – yum!) an energy drink and pieces of ham and cheese and some nuts or nut butter throughout the day…and all that probably comes in at just under 2000 calories in 24hrs. Which is allegedly around about what a “normal” woman is supposed to eat every day. Sure, that’s still less that what I was previously eating, but it’s certainly not the kind of caloric deficit that one would expect to have a particularly negative effect on their metabolism.

So, I’m not completely writing off the possibility of this new “feeling cold” phenomenon as being something to do with a decrease in my metabolism, but I’m inclined to think that it is as much – if not more so – to do with there just being less insulation on my body. And my levels of sub-cutaneous fat have been decreasing at the same time as the seasonal temperatures, making the effect feel so much more noticeable. But whatever the reason, I guess it’s just another one of those new things for me to have to get used to. It does have me wondering though, just how much more “noticeable” the whole temperature thing is going to get. There are some accounts on a reddit weight-loss board where users claim that since losing 100lb+ (and maintaining for a few years) that they now always feel the cold; no matter what time of year it is.

Yikes! Life as a much slimmer person sure is going to be different, huh? But I’ve always wished that I could wear more cosy seasonal stuff like hats, scarves, gloves and lots of layers (stuff I’ve always just been too warm to wear previously) so there are definitely some positives to being more sensitive to the cooler weather. The other half has absolutely zero sympathy for me though, lol. It’s almost a meme to hear about guys who complain that their wives and girlfriends have freezing cold hands and feet, but up until recently, me and himself were the exact opposite. At well over 6ft tall and with a slim, athletic frame, he was always the one with the deathly cold feet and I’d always laugh at him for needing to find gloves to wear outside during the winter. Now though, the joke’s on me I guess.

I still can’t imagine me ever coming around to the notion of loving – or even liking – the longer days and shorter nights of summer (I will always be a princess of darkness and a lover of the night in my jet-black heart) but maybe I’ll at least find the previously inescapable heat somewhat more tolerable as I continue to shed this weight. One reason I’ve always given about why winter is so much better, is because it’s a lot easier to find ways to wrap up and escape the cold; whereas escaping the heat of summer is a lot harder. (You can only take so many items of clothing off in public before the police come along to arrest you for public indecency.) So if one of the side-effect of losing weight is that I don’t feel as suffocatingly hot during the summer months, that’s not all bad. Especially if I then get to wrap up in multiple layers of really cosy other stuff during the winter. I may even have to invest in a pair of slippers to wear around the house (I’m so rock ‘n roll, lol). But as with all things this weight-loss process continues to throw at me, I’m just going to have to learn to roll with it and take the rough with the smooth.

Stay cosy folks

Blue

Weekly Weigh In / Crunching Numbers

I’m fucking awesome.

I mean I’ll explain in a minute (not that my awesomeness really ever needs explaining) but first lets just get the weekly weigh-in out of the way first. This week has been utterly uneventful and as a result I have lost precisely nothing, merely maintained. This seems to be a kind of pattern for me now: I lose nothing one week, then do really well the week after. So I’m losing something everything every fortnight and I’m perfectly happy with that; long may it continue!

BUT!!!! Today, is a pretty special day for me, because I have been following my new low-carb way of eating for 100 DAYS! Yes, you read that correctly, I have been sugar-free and loving it, for 100 days! How awesome is that? I haven’t had a single cheat day or eaten anything off-plan that entire time and I’m so insanely happy to have to made that decision to change, 100 days ago. It just sounds like such a big number – because it IS! and I’m really proud of myself; as I should be. Eating this way has made me feel good, lose weight and improve my overall health, so I have absolutely no intention of changing ANYTHING right now.

But hitting this awesome milestone got me to thinking about other numbers and milestones I can look forward to hitting in the (hopefully) not too distant future.

Let’s crunch some more numbers so I can see where I am right now.

  • I have lost 44lb so far. That means that I have only 6lbs to go until I reach the halfway point of my 100lbs goal.
  • I am 3lb away from being under the 16 stone mark (15 stone 13lb) which I think I last saw in my very early 20’s.
  • I am 17lbs away from being under the 15 stone mark (14 stone 13lb = 209lb) which isn’t a weight I can remember being since I was about 14/15 years old.
  • I am 27lbs away from weighing 199lb and getting into the magical world called ‘onederland’.
  • Being 5ft small, I will move from the description of being ‘very obese’ (according to the NHS BMI chart below) to being just ‘obese’ when I get to 14 stone 7lb (203lb). I am now just 23lb from hitting that new BMI marker.
  • And, according to that chart I will be merely ‘overweight’ once I hit 11 stone (151lb), which means I’ll need to go beyond my initial goal of just losing 100lb, to losing 119lb (that’s only a further 19lb which I can totally do if I decide to extend my goal after hitting the 100lb loss). In order to reach THAT marker, I need to lose another 75lbs. Will I decide to go down that far? Maybe? Possibly. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves yet, lol! (As for the ‘healthy weight’ BMI category…yeah, naw…that ain’t gonna happen!)
  • I have just tried on some older clothes (items that never really fitted me, but were too nice to give away – I guess I must’ve just known on a subconscious level that I was going to eventually lose the weight at some point in the not-too-distant future!) that are a UK size 20…and they fit! When I started out on this new WOE I was a UK size 26. So I’ve dropped 3 dress sizes! WTF? I’ve also gone down a shoe size from a UK 7-8, to a UK 6-7. Thanks to my dad (from whom I also inherited my sexy monobrow – yay genetics!) I will never have small, dainty feet. But I’ve just bought some new DC’s in a smaller size to celebrate, because I LOVE a nice, chunky, skate shoe as much as I adore a fierce high heel/platform combo (short chicks: y’all know where I’m coming from here!) It’s just really cool to see the weight coming off from my feet as well.
  • And I’m a few months away from turning 41, so I’d really like to get to that 14 stone 7lb (203lb) milestone and into the ‘obese’ category (YAY FOR BEING ‘JUST’ OBESE! Ha ha…) and maybe into ‘onederland’ by then? That would be a pretty awesome present to give myself. By that point I should also have been over 150 days “on-plan”…and that just sounds like even more of a big frickin’ amazing achievement!

So yeah, that’s a few numbers I’ve been playing around with because, why the feck not? I don’t care if it sounds egotistical or overly self-congratulatory…I’m doing brilliantly and I’m real proud of myself. As well I should be! Effort + consistency = results.

So let the results speak for themselves!

Blue

Who Am I? (Who Is She?)

I’ve been reading lots of real life success stories recently, from people who have lost 100lbs or more through changes in diet and exercise. People in this weight category are around about the same as me in terms of how much I have to lose, so their stories in particular resonate with me. Most of them seem to take about a year to 18 months to get to their goal weight, which is pretty much what I’m expecting for myself, but whilst their process and progress are what ultimately fascinate me, there’s another factor in all this that has really got me weirded out.

Looking at the ‘before & after’ photographs that everyone includes in their weight-loss story, I’ve been struck by just how different these people look once they’ve managed to lose 100lbs+ (some of them don’t even look like the same person) and that has made me realise that once I make it to my goal weight, I’m also going to look a helluva lot different to what I do now.

So, what the hell AM I going to look like???

Obviously, I’m still going to be short (I’m literally 5ft small), with long, straight dark brown hair (I have great hair!) and big brown eyes (my eyes are also lovely!). But I’ve never not been fat. I have no pictures to look back upon and say “Ooh…one day I’ll look like that again!” because in every photograph of me from childhood to just last week, I’ve been a short, fat, round, dwarf-statured creature, with big boobs and cherub-like cheekbones. Sure, I’ve dyed my hair red, blue and purple over the years…and I’ve worked some pretty epic make-up looks along the way. But I’ve always been the same shape and size.

What will the non-fat, no longer round version of me look like??

I have absolutely NO idea!

I’ve tried to look at the ways in which those successful people’s faces have changed after they’ve lost weight, to try and reimagine my own facial structure altering in a similar way…but I just can’t do it. And it’s a really strange feeling, to think that the person I’ve seen staring back at me in the mirror all these years, will one day in the not-too-distant future, no longer exist. In her place will be someone I’m not at all familiar with. Someone I don’t recognise. Someone completely alien to me. And I’m struggling to get my head around that.

It probably sounds a big arrogant, but I know I’m actually quite pretty the way I am now. I’m kind of lucky with the way in which my body has spread my weight all over very evenly, so I don’t have hugely unsightly lumps and bumps. I have big boobs, go in at the waist and out at the hips, so I also still have some shape to me and like I mentioned before, I have lovely eyes and great hair, which I’ve always taken great care of. This isn’t meant to sound big-headed or vain, I’ve just been quite blessed with the way I look, despite being overweight. I say all this now because I’m kind of worried that by losing a significant amount of weight, I might actually also lose the cute way I look at the moment. What if under all this flab, I’m actually some hideous, weird-looking or just dull old crone? What if the non-fat me is ugly?

I know that’s not how most people think when they imagine their thinner, future selves, but then I’m not most people. I didn’t go into this in order to look “hot” because I’ve never been dissatisfied with my looks. I did this because of my declining health. But now that I’m a third of the way to meeting my initial goal of losing 100lb, I’ve started to wonder just what future, thinner me will look like…and whether or not I’ll lose my looks, along with all the excess weight! What if my being pretty has always been contingent on me being fatter and I have to trade that in for better health in the long run?

It’s doing my head in, just thinking about it. I’ve already wrecked the other half’s head too, by having a mini freak-out at the possibility of my getting ugly. He has no idea what to say to me to reassure me, because he’s always been tall, slim and good looking. He doesn’t age like other people either so he’s constantly being mistaken for someone in their late 30’s, when he’s closer to 50 than 40. He’s never had to worry about his looks, so trying to get him to understand the weird uncertainly that I’m trying to prepare for, isn’t the easiest of thought experiments. I think he just assumed that I’d be even happier with the way I looked once I’d lost the weight – not suddenly UNHAPPY about it! Poor guy…he really does have to put up with some total basket-case moments from me sometimes!

But I can’t get the thought out of my head. I have no concerns about my being able to lose weight – there’s no question in my mind that I’m going to be successful. Sure, I might have had a little bit of the FEAR a few weeks back, when the full scale of the task at hand stretched ahead of me like some far-fetched goal. But I’ve got my head completely focused on my goal now and I’ve spent a lot of time working out various strategies to keep me on course, ready to navigate whatever obstacles come my way. So mentally, I’m fully prepared for whatever it takes to get me to my goal weight. But what I’m not prepared for, is what that success is actually going to look like, once I do get there.

This really is unchartered territory for me. I have no frame of reference on which to base my expectations and I hate not feeling completely in control of how things are going to turn out. I mean, I am completely in control of the efforts I am making and will continue to make, but I have absolutely zero say in what I’ll naturally end up looking like when I finally am 100lbs lighter. Will I still do my make-up the same way? I love a nice, dramatic smoky eye which right now looks great on me…but will it still look ‘right’ on a smaller me? How will I stand and hold myself when I’m 100lbs lighter? I’ve always been a ‘shoulders back, head held high’ chick (kinda goes with the territory when you’re a veritable Oompa-Loompa – sans the orange skin) but will I find myself naturally standing and holding myself differently, when smaller? How will my gait be affected? Will I have to put more of an effort into making my presence felt and making myself stand out? Am I suddenly going to look older once I have less fat on my face to plump out the wrinkles – something that currently makes me look a lot younger than my 40 years? Enquiring minds NEED to know!!!

So many questions…so much to think about…and no real immediate answers with which to reassure my racing mind. It’s such a weird thing to have to think about – surely I can’t be the only person who has these questions and concerns? I can’t be alone in worrying that the person who will inevitably emerge from beneath these layers of flab, might not look the way I want them to – can I? Because everyone I read about always seems to be convinced that their future, thinner self is going to be prettier, shapelier and just generally better looking. No one seems to be worried that the opposite could be true. Only me. And I know I’m a weirdo (that much will NEVER change) but there must be at least a few other people who have similar concerns about how weight-loss is going to alter their looks?

Anbody?

*crickets*

I guess I really am on my own with this one then.

Sigh.

Blue

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

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