Going In Circles / Weigh-In Monday

“I know nothing stays the same
But if you’re willing to play the game
It’s coming around again”

Here we are again. Monday, already. I have no idea where the last week went. I have absolutely nothing to show for it, except for a few books read on my Kindle and some videos watched on YouTube. Of course the dreaded “Shark Week” is upon me again, but I’m hoping (finger crossed) that this month isn’t going to turn into another “Shark Fortnight” as I’ve been taking my Mefenamic Acid every morning without fail. But the usual hormonal bloat is here as expected and I’ll just go ahead and get my weekly weigh-in out of the way, because it too is showing exactly what I expected: a few pounds of “ghost-gain”. Last week I maintained, after a previous week’s loss of 5lbs. Last week I was 14 stone 9lbs (205lbs) and today the scale says I’m at 14 stone 12lbs (208lbs which means I’ve “gained” 3lbs this week. Really?

Urgh. I know it’s just hormones and water weight or whatever, but I’m starting to think I might be in a sort of plateau phase right now. It’s hard to know, because when I look back over my ‘Fat Stats’ for the past few months, I’m still doing the same thing where I:

  • Gain weight during “Shark Week/Fortnight”
  • Lose Weight
  • Maintain
  • Gain weight again because yet again “Shark Week/Fortnight”

Which is totally normal for me, but I’m not sure if my cycle is the thing causing me to have so many problems, or if I’m genuinely in a plateau phase right now. If it is a plateau, then cool, whatever; I knew I was due to hit one sooner or later because I’ve been losing steadily and happily enough for the past 6 months. I just wish I didn’t have to deal with the annoyance of “Aunt Flo” creating havoc for me, for anything up to 2 weeks out of month, because I’m starting to feel like I’m going around in circles. Gain, lose, maintain, gain. Repeat every month, ad – literal – nauseum.

If this is a plateau phase (however cunningly obfuscated by hormonal interferences) then I’ve planned for it. I expected it to happen and would be happy to use the few techniques I have at the ready, should weight loss start to stall for an extended period of time. I’m still not counting any calories in any of the food I eat, so there’s that to consider should the need arise (I was going to start reducing my portion sizes, but things seemed to be going okay without me needing to pay much attention to it, although that might be worth looking at now). I’ve also been reading up on some ways in which I can start to incorporate ‘Intermittent Fasting’ into my diet – which will need a bit of jiggling around with medication and whatnot, but should be ultimately doable if I work it out properly.

Plateaus just happen – especially to those of us with a lot of weight to lose – so there’s no need to get stressed about it. Just stick to your plan and keep doing what you’ve been doing for a few weeks and see how things pan out. Obviously, as we lose more and more weight, the amount of food we actually need to consume also decreases, so if weight loss stalls for more than a few weeks, it’s probably time to take a look at the amount of food you’re eating and maybe try reducing it a bit. I know all this and am fully prepared to start making the necessary adjustments to my diet, should it be the time to do so.

But I’m not entirely sure if I am in a plateau phase or not, because of the weird way that my weight fluctuates so much every month, because of my cycle. And I don’t want to jump the gun and begin tinkering with my food intake too early, because that will only mean I have even less wiggle-room to play with once the real plateau phase kicks in. I swear, the menopause can’t come early enough for me…but if my mother is anything to go by, I’ve got another 20 years of this monthly crap to endure before “Aunt Flo” finally packs up her stuff and moves out for good. Yikes!

Maybe it’s a plateau, maybe it’s just my hormones, maybe it’s Maybelline…frick knows what’s behind it right now, but I’m guessing this whole lockdown bullshit isn’t helping things. I’m definitely sleeping more and moving even less than usual, which is probably playing into how much food I actually need to consume every day. And my joints have been hurting a lot more than usual which means I haven’t been making much of an effort to go out for a walk, but then I never used any additional exercise as a means to increase or aid my weight-loss, so I doubt that’ll be having any impact in and of itself. I guess I just feel pretty ‘meh’ right now. Lockdown blues, hormonal mood, fibromyalgia playing up…I’m probably just being a whiny bitch, lol.

All I can do right now, is just keep on sticking to the plan, try to ride out this latest “visitation” and see where it leaves me at the end of it. I’ll probably give it a couple more months just keeping on with how I’ve been eating and then see if I need to re-evaluate my intake. Sure it’s annoying and frustrating to feel like I’m going in circles, but I knew going into this new way of eating that weight loss is rarely linear and that patience was going to be key to success. One thing I won’t be doing is veering off plan or giving myself any pathetic excuses to eat any carby junk. Sure I’ll probably have the odd bitch and moan on here about “Aunt Flo” and her shenanigans, but even if the scale is going up and down and all over the place, I’m committed to this way of eating for health, for the rest of my life. There are no good reasons or excuses for going off-plan and I’m not about to start trying to invent any, just to acquiesce to the inner sugar-addict who will forever be a monkey on my back.

My kitchen is stocked with plenty of good, nutritious foods, and I have some protein bars, nut butters and shakes on hand for those moments when I can’t countenance the idea of eating anything too substantial, but still need to put something in my stomach to take my meds with. I’ve also got a 12-pack of ‘Nano A Protein Pancakes’ on order from Amazon (because yes, my hormonally addled brain was seriously craving something cake-like and that ‘buy-it-now’ button is literally the devil in disguise, lol) which are allegedly going to be delivered by Thursday 1st April (omigod, we’re almost in April, already!) but the way my Amazon deliveries have been going lately, frick knows when (or if) they’ll actually get here.

I know, I know, I could probably make these myself, but I fricking hate cooking anything and it would have taken just as long for a packet of protein pancake mix to get here, as it would these pre-made ones (no, I don’t have a bunch of baking ingredients on hand to just make stuff…the only thing I have in common with Martha Stewart is our inherent dislike of taxation) and I was feeling very sorry for myself as “The Communists Started Squatting In My Neighbourhood And Began Kicking My Arse From The Inside Out”. The ingredients aren’t what a lot of people would consider “clean” keto, but I’m not actually doing any official keto, just low-carb with a maximum of 20g carbs a day.

Ingredients
Pancake: water, whey protein (milk) (VOLAC Volactive Ultra Whey 80 Instant), egg yolk, humectant (glycerine), wholemeal flour, sunflower oil, fillers (disodium diphosphate, sodium carbonate, calcium carbonate), maize starch, sweetener (sucralose), salt, preservative (potassium sorbate, sodium acetate).

Filling: water, sweetener, flavouring, modified starch, refined vegetable fat, low-fat cocoa powder, thickener (carboxymethylcellulose), flavouring, salt, preservative (potassium sorbate), emulsifier (polysorbate 60).

The nutritional panel says that each one contains 13.1g of carbohydrate with 2.8g of that being sugar. It’s tempting to just go with the amount of sugar in each one, but looking at the ingredients list, I think I’ll be better off counting the 13g total carbs when I eat these. I’m not planning on eating them every day (this month’s “Shark Week” will probably – hopefully! – be done with by the time my order even arrives) and I’ll try to keep most of them back until next month’s “visitation” when the hormonal need for something cake-like, rears its ugly head again.

But for now, I’m just going to settle for a protein-collagen-keto shake and a little squeezy sachet of ‘Pip & Nut Almond Butter’ to keep me going. I think I might even be up for a steak this evening – lord knows I could do with the iron boost! And I’ve got some ‘Green & Black’s 85% Dark Chocolate’ to have with a cup of coffee later in the evening or before I go to bed. The G&B bars are nicely portioned off into rows of 3 squares. 2 rows / 6 squares (18g) comes in at 4.2g of carbohydrate, with 2.6g of sugar. Being really dark and intense, those 2 little rows are just the right amount to give you a nice little hit of chocolatey loveliness, without any added polyols. Perfect for this time of the month.

Anyway, that’s all I have to share with ya’ll this weekly weigh-in. I really must get around to posting some mid-week stuff in here too…I just seem to keep blinking and before I know it, another 7 days have rolled around. Fecking lockdown bollocks! Right now, I’m off to lie down and listen to ‘Chemtrails Over The Country Club’ for a bit and try to get my arse to stop feeling like I’ve dislocated by left buttock. I’m so rock ‘n roll y’all, lol!

Stay sane folks

Blue

Woman Down / Weigh-In Monday

“The man in black
He found a crack
Inside my mind”

Okay, so where did the past 7 days go? Seriously, it only feels like yesterday that I was last getting on the scale and reporting back to y’all, yet here we are again going through the motions once more. And it’s been a really weird week for me. First off there was “Aunt Flo” who totally overstayed her welcome, but then I decided to really overdo things midweek and caused myself a bunch of aches, pains and miseries. Because a/ no I will never learn and b/ I still got things to do, regardless of how crappy I know it’s going to make me feel the following day. But, on the plus side, after what feels like an eternity, “Aunt Flo” has finally fecked back off from whence she came; and boy was the change in my entire physicality so freaking different. Literally overnight I went from only being able to eat the driest, least interesting of protein bars and nearly vomiting at the smell of my other half’s dinner, to waking up starving hungry and really wanting to eat some real food.

And eat I very much did! I had 4 quarter-pound steak burgers, a 200lb bag of broccoli (steamed), 10 brussels sprouts and grated cheddar cheese all over the lot! I was absolutely famished and needed all that protein and iron so badly after a miserably nauseated “Shark Fortnight”, that I devoured the lot in about 15 minutes. Oh and then I had a cup of coffee with cream afterwards and 18g of ‘Green & Black’s 85% Dark Chocolate’ too. It felt so freaking good to be eating a proper meal again (albeit a pretty damn huge one, but I’d been living on mostly protein bars & a bit of nut butter for nearly 2 weeks, so sue me, lol) and it might just have been psychosomatic, but I swear I could feel my strength returning to me almost immediately. Which is fantastic, because feeling like death (not even warmed up) for 2 weeks in a row really sucks balls y’know?

But I did my best throughout that period (pun totally intended) to keep referring back to Marcus Aurelius, for a bit of stoic motivational writing and at least try to see it all as a temporary thing that I would get through. Which of course I knew to be true because “Shark Week/Fortnight” seems to really floor me for a good amount of time, almost every month now. But I’m not gonna lie, there were moments when I just felt like my mood was plummeting to the ground and there was nothing I could do about it. Having fibro & arthritis is pretty miserable anyway. Getting a monthly visit from “Aunt Flo” is always pretty grim. But having a 2 week long “visitation” that in turn triggers off a worsening of the other stuff, really grinds a person down. I didn’t eat off-plan at all during that fortnight which is largely down to my having made the low-carb WOE a normal habit now, but feeling pukey for a lot of the time probably helped, lol. Although, I don’t know that eating nothing but protein bars is really all that good for anyone (it’s not something I plan on doing at any other time of the month) and the jury’s out as to whether we should be counting total carbs or net carbs; but I really didn’t care one way or the other. I needed stuff in my stomach to take my meds, but couldn’t eat much of anything or else I’d throw up. So protein bars it was. And they have a bunch of vitamins and other nutrients in them too, so I was getting some nutrition into me. But man was I ever ready for red meat once it was all over!

So yeah, thank frick that’s all over for this month! But, I hear y’all ask, what is the scale saying this week? Well, if you remember last week and the week before that, I was seeing freaking gains when I weighed in. Which was a bit annoying really because I wasn’t eating off-plan, so I knew it wasn’t a “fat-gain”, just what I like to refer to as a hormonal “ghost gain”. Thankfully the bloating has now gone-away and I’m happy that the number on the scale is a true representation of what I actually weigh now…which is 14 stone 10lbs (206lbs).

To put that all into perspective, 3 weeks ago on 15th February, I weighed 14 stone 12lbs (208lbs). The following week I was 14 stone 13lbs (209lbs) and last week I was 15 stone 1lb (211lbs) but both those weeks’ “gains” were down to the hormonal bloat of “Shark Fortnight”. Now I’ve dropped that 3lb of “ghost-gain” along with another 2lb of regular fat-loss, bringing me right back on track to where I should be. So that’s a relief. Although I’m just altogether more relieved to see the back of “Aunt Flo” and all her evil tricks – especially the sore boobs! – but that whole meshugas was really getting me down there for a bit. My mood today though, was already really good even before I stepped on the scale to see what I weighed this week; getting this reading today has only added to it.

And on that cheerful note folks, I’m going to leave you. Amazon is calling me and I have a bunch of new stationery that I really want to buy myself…maybe some more energy drinks too because I love the convenience of having a crate of them delivered straight to my door (even if the other half ends up pinching half of them – the absolute swine, lol!). I might not be able to buy myself any new clothes just yet, but I have plenty of other stuff on my wish-lists to go splurge on. Because why not?!

Have a lovely week y’all

Blue

Only Women Bleed / Weigh-In

FYI: THIS POST IS ONE GREAT BIG TMI…Y’ALL HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Okay, so let me just start off this post by acknowledging the fact that the song featured here today doesn’t in fact have anything to do with “Shark Week” (or “Shark Fortnight” as it’s become round these parts) and I know it pisses Alice Cooper off that so many people make that incorrect connection between the song and the subject matter but a/ it’s a good song and b/ I’m too crabby to care about actual relevance right now.

I think it was Roy Chubby Brown who first joked about not trusting anyone who bleeds for 5 days and doesn’t die. Well, he’d probably be denouncing me as a witch or something right now, because this month’s little “visitation” is already more than double that. And the predictably depressing corollary of that is a further “gain” on the scale, despite me not only having remained 100% on plan, but also having eaten half as much as I normally would over the past 7 days. I probably jinxed myself in last Monday’s post by saying how grateful I was to only see 1lb of “ghost-gain” when I weighed in, because here I am 7 days later and that “ghost-gain” has increased by another 2 whole fricking pounds!

And that’s a better number than it was saying yesterday, lol. I don’t normally weigh myself on a daily basis, but whenever “Aunt Flo” is in town, I totally hop on the scale to see what damage she’s been wreaking on my poor body every morning, as soon as I get up. Some months are worse than others (previous months that have fallen in such a way as to make it look as though my period has had no effect on my weight, definitely made months like this one feel way more hideous, I know that much) but this month was particularly bad. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before but because of my having sporadically really heavy periods, I’m prescribed Mefenamic Acid by my GP. I’m supposed to take them as soon as I start cramping before a period starts, every day until it ends; but I react really badly to Mefenamic Acid and it makes me violently sick. To counter that I’m also prescribed Omeprazole.

Sounds fine right? Well no, not really. I’m also prescribed Co-Codamol and Diazepam for my arthritis and fibromyalgia (among a bunch of other things, lol) and Omeprazole is not only contraindicated with Diazepam (so I have to halve my dose of Diazepam while taking Omeprazole) but it can also cause constipation…which is then exacerbated by the Co-Codamol and the lowering of my Diazepam dose. Which is a really long-winded way of explaining to y’all that not only am I bloated from hormonal water-retention, but I also haven’t been able to take a shit in about 3 days.

Yeah, we’ve been here before and yes I know how to normally prevent or relieve constipation, but right now I’m so nauseated (something that happens every time I get my period) that I simply cannot countenance the idea of eating anything or drinking any more water than the bit I take with my medication. Which in itself is only contributing to the problem, I know, but I have to be careful not to throw up because then I don’t know whether or not any of my regular medications have been absorbed into my system – and I can’t just take another dose in case I end up double-dosing. This month I took the Mefenamic Acid as soon as I started to get those cramps, but I stopped taking it when it looked like this “visitation” was tapering off, because I figured everything was just about done for the month.

Yeah…no…didn’t quite work out like that. Because the very next day “Aunt Flo” came back with a vengeance and has now been FAR outstaying her welcome for the past few days. With that has come all the nausea again, so I just haven’t been eating much at all. I can really only manage a few bites of a really dry protein bar with my meds – which I know is exacerbating the constipation – and because I’m back taking the Omeprazole too, that’s also making that joyful little side effect even worse. My tits are back to feeling like giant throbbing rocks of agony to the point where I can’t even wear an underwired bra and my abdomen is so noticeably swollen, I’m starting to look pregnant. Oh and on top of all that, the fibro is also playing up too, because why the fuck not?

Seriously, the “ghost-gain” is literally the least of my concerns right now, because I know that it’s not real “fat-gain” (yesterday the scale said I was 15 stone 3lb which is 5lb heavier than I was before “The Communists Started Squatting In The Neighbourhood And Kicking My Arse From The Inside Out” and today it’s saying I’m 15 stone 1lb, which is better I guess, but still absolute bullshit, lol). I’m barely eating, I’m certainly not eating “off-plan” and yet “Mother Nature” has decided to just mock me with her hormonal tricks that have just about sucked the life out of me. I can’t take a laxative because they will interfere with the Mefenamic Acid and Omeprazole…and I really need to keep taking those in order to get this goddamn haemorrhaging to stop. And I’m trying to cut down on the amount of pain relief and Diazepam I’m taking in order to help with the constipation, but I’m in so much pain right now I simply can’t not take any of it.

So I’m completely stuck in this weird situation where all I can do is wait it out, because if I stop taking the Mefenamic Acid and Omeproazole, my period will just carry on indefinitely (which will mean perpetual bloat), I can’t eat a load of veg because I’m already backed up and permanently nauseated (I can’t let myself vomit because of all the other meds I take) and I can’t take a laxative because it will affect the absorption of said meds. I am literally and metaphorically stuck in a bind. It’s all I can do to try and laugh, by finding the humour in the whole ridiculous farce and revisit Uncle Marc on the daily, to try and stay sane throughout all this. Not that Aurelius wrote any meditations specifically on being constipated, but a little bit of stoicism does wonders for one’s mental fortitude!

So yeah, I still have my sense of humour folks, so don’t be feeling sorry for me. This is just life with a pre-menopausal woman whose body likes to remind her who’s in charge of this decrepit carcass from time to time. And the fact that I stay so completely “on-plan” 100% of the time means I never need worry that any of these “ghost-gains” on the scale are anything other than hormonal bloat (and being constipated, lol). It might be annoying but it isn’t anything new and I know it’s not the result of me choosing to eat a load of crappy carbs. And who knows what the scale is going to say tomorrow? For all I know it might show an even bigger number! It really wouldn’t surprise me because my engagement ring has become really tight just in the past few hours so I may well be retaining even more water than I was when I woke up and weighed myself. Meh!

I was initially going to wait until tomorrow to report on my weigh-in, because it didn’t feel like a real weight worth recording considering the circumstances. But then I realised that a/ tomorrow might well be worse, lol and b/ this whole hormonal cycle is just another part of the reality of having a body that I’m trying to change. There’s no shame in being held hostage by “Aunt Flo” because none of this is down to bad choices, it’s just the result of my having an annoying cycle and still needing to take a bunch of meds that don’t necessarily help matters. So I’m going to update the ‘Fat Stats’ page to reflect what the scale says today, but I’m not going to alter the figures in the side-bar because that just shows the number of pounds I’ve lost overall. Hopefully this time next week things will be back to normal (fingers crossed!) and until then I’m just going to try and be patient, maybe do some abdominal massage and let nature take its course.

In the mean-time, I hope that y’all are doing well wherever you are in the world and until next time, I shall bid you adieu.

Keep smiling folks

Blue

Baggy Trousers / Weekly Weigh-In

Other Half: “Babe, are you wearing joggers??!”

Me: “What? No. I don’t wear joggers babe.”

OH: “Those are joggers!”

Me: “BABE I DON’T EVEN OWN A PAIR OF JOGGERS RIGHT NOW!”

OH: *Points at my legs* “How are those NOT joggers?!”

Me: “Because….oh…yeah, ha ha…sorry.”

Don’t even pretend like y’all don’t find yourself having the same ridiculous discussions with your other half from time to time, because we all do, lol. And let me just start off by clearing up the fact that I was not, in fact, wearing joggers!

Do people outside of the UK even know what joggers are? I mean of course you do, you probably just call them something else. If I lived in the north of England I’d probably call them ‘trackies’ (short for tracksuit bottoms) but I don’t know what the rest of you call them. Sweat-pants? Just to help elucidate the matter, here is a picture of what I refer to as ‘joggers’:

Joggers, trackies, whatever you call them, I don’t currently own a pair of them. I am not “jogger-averse”, lol, I just tend to prefer wearing jeans or bootcut trousers when I go out and leggings when I’m lounging around the house. I will probably buy a couple of pairs when I start doing a bit more exercise, but right now I own no joggers. So what was the above conversation with my other half all about then? Well, him being the eagle-eyed fashion critic that he is, noticed me wearing some baggy black trousers and felt the need to comment on them because he hadn’t seen me wearing them before. Not because he particularly cares but because when you live with someone for a while, you kind of notice everything about them…and anything new about them. And because couples have as many banal conversations as they do deep ones on a daily basis, lol.

Like most people we’re both in the regular habit of sporting what I like to call “Lockdown Chic” right now: “that almost-but-not-quite-but-still-as-close-as-you-can-get-to-just-wearing-pajamas-whilst-still-attempting-to-make-even-the-teensiest-effort-at-appearing-properly-dressed-should-the-mailman-call” combo of whatever is comfy enough to wear around the house, but not what you’d wear to bed. You know what I mean. The other half refers to his preferred version of this outfit as his “lurking gear” – which always makes me laugh because it makes him sound like some kind of creepy old man. I call mine my “slothing gear”, which probably doesn’t sound any better, lol.

“But what about the joggers, Blue?”

I hear absolutely no one asking – because literally who cares, right? Well I do; because as I’ve already stated: I own no joggers! So what gives? Well, my “slothing gear” as it turns out. Because there’s definitely a lot of “give” in them right now. You see, what my other half had mistakenly thought to be joggers, were in fact leggings. Leggings that are now so big on me that they’re baggy enough to look like a pair of joggers! Yes, really. These leggings are a UK size 20 (US size 18, AUS size 22, EUR size 48) and they fit like regular old leggings when I bought them: stretchy but a perfect fit to the size my legs were a few months ago. I love these leggings. They only cost me about £5 a pair and I bought 5 pairs of them at the same time because I just wanted something cheap and comfy for wearing around the house. I think that was back in October or maybe September, I can’t remember exactly (because time has no meaning in these here plague times) but I know I was really pleasantly surprised at the quality of them for the price – no ‘LuLuLemon’ arse-flashing moments of embarrassment any time I bend over, that’s for sure!

And I’ve just been continuing to wear them throughout pandemic times, not really paying any attention to how well they fit me, because it’s not like I’ve got many people to impress with my fashion choices right now. The thing with losing weight is, you don’t really notice it in yourself when you look in mirror every day. The changes are gradual and it takes something like trying on an outfit that didn’t fit you before, or seeing some new photos of yourself next to old photos, for those changes to really resonate with you. Wearing these leggings every day is a lot like being in my own skin every day. I wasn’t noticing them getting progressively bigger on me because it was happening gradually, along with my weight loss. It took my other half seeing them on me and mistaking them for joggers, for me to really realise that they really don’t fit me anymore. If it wasn’t for them having a good elasticated waist, they’d have fallen off me long ago – and now that I’ve stopped to look at them properly, they’re already slackly, slipping down my much-smaller arse!

It’s just such a weird thing to experience when I’ve previously only ever thought to go UP a size anytime something started to get a bit too tight on me. This is a whole other thing to have to worry about, because not only am I shrinking, but I also have no idea what size I really am. And I can’t just go into a clothes shop and try on a bunch of sizes, because this stupid, bloody lockdown crap has all the clothes shop closed down because they’re deemed “non-essential”. Yeah, okay, but my shrinking (yet still fat) arse would like to beg to differ y’all. MY LEGGINGS LOOK LIKE JOGGERS AND I’M IN DANGER OF BEING ARRESTED FORPUBLIC INDECENCY! Lol.

So yeah…that’s been my little “WTF?” moment this week. How’ve the rest of you been? Losing steadily and making continued good choices I hope. This week’s weigh-in is brought to you by “Aunt Flo”, “Mother Nature” and “The Communists Who Are Currently Squatting In The Neighborhood And Kicking My Arse From The Inside Out”. Yes, it’s that time again folks. Yes, already. Yes it only feels like I was having to deal with all this bollocks only a week ago, but as I mentioned earlier, time has no meaning here anymore. Days are just a reason to reset my diurnal 20g carb allowance, and weeks are how we try to keep track of our regular grocery hauls. Reminds me of that poem ‘Burnt Norton’ by T.S. Eliot now I think about it:

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden…

But anyway, getting back to the weigh-in results this week, “What Are The Scores, George Dawes?” (Props to those of you who know what the heck I’m talking about!)

Okay so last week I had broken through the 15 stone milestone and weighed in a 14 stone 12lb (208lb). This week, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, the scale showed a small gain reading at 14 stone 13lb (209lb). So, “Shark Week” has bestowed me with a 1lb gain of bloat (or “ghost-gain” as I sometimes refer to it) which is really neither here nor there. I never worry at all about the temporary gains that happen during this time of the month because I know it’s not a fat-gain, merely the extra water I’m retaining while my body goes through this week (or sometimes fortnight) of hormonal nonsense. And considering how big and bloated I’m feeling right now, I’m surprised it’s only showing a 1lb gain this week. My boobs are absolutely killing me and my abdomen is so noticeably swollen, I’m really glad that those leggings have got a good bit of give in them, lol!

As always I’ve remained 100% on plan all week, so I know that I’m still completely on track to carry on losing as normal once “Aunt Flo” gets back on the train to wherever that witch hails from, and I actually have to give a shout out to my friend Stephanie aka ‘The Sorest Loser’ who pointed out something to me which I really should have noticed myself. If you look at my sidebar, it shows you how many days it’s been since I switched to the low-carb way of life. Currently it’s at 177 days and when I mentioned it to Steph, she said

“That’s half a year!”

And I swear, before she said that, I hadn’t actually made the connection. Yes, me, the girl who sits and crunches and the numbers around how far she has to go until she hits ‘x’, ‘y’ and ‘z’ milestones, somehow managed to overlook the big one showing how long I’ve really been at this now. And – don’t laugh – I obviously just had a real brain-fart or moment of number blindness with this – because when she said that, my first thought was:

“Nah, it’s only been about a third of year, hasn’t it?”

Because even I have those odd occasions where the math just doesn’t add up in my poor, addled brain. But in my defence (yes I have one, hear me out, lol) it really doesn’t feel like half a year. It still feels as though I’m brand new and just starting out on my little mission. It’s all still weirdly exciting and interesting and I’ve got motivation coming out the wazoo, y’all. I’ve never once thought that this is in any way unworkable, impossible or something I don’t want to keep on doing. Sure I have those moments of ‘Fear’ but as I’ve mentioned before, that’s always tied into my own issues around unknown variables and externalities that are beyond my control. This way of eating is straight-forward, easy to follow every day, and never feels like something I’ve having to force myself to do for some quick-fix or challenge. This is just how I eat now and (pandemic time distortion aside) that’s why half a year has passed by so quickly, without my noticing. I almost pity the crash-dieters and those making the brief temporary pushes to ‘make it all happen right now!’, because they’ll never truly understand how it feels to find a way to be at peace with their approach to eating, and their relationship with food. They’ll always just be chasing those temporary sprints and spurts of “success”, only to have them all fall by the wayside once they try to return to their “normal” way of eating again.

So a big shout out to to Stephanie for highlighting just how long this has been my new “normal”. “Shark Week” blips mean nothing to me in the grand scheme of things anyway, but when I stop and think about how I’ve now been healing my body for a whole straight 6 months / half a year, it just makes me realise how well I’ve really been doing. Life is good y’all. It’s more than good. It’s great. So I’m going to go take my baggy-trousered, slowly-shrinking arse, off into the kitchen to make me and the other half some nice juicy steak-burgers. I’ll make some additional fries for him, but I’ll be having mine with a maHOOsive pile of Caesar salad – my mouth’s watering just thinking about it, lol. So take care, wherever you are in the world and I’ll catch up with y’all in my next post.

We’re in this health business for the long-haul folks.

So stay sensible

Blue

Freaking The Frick Out

“I am one of those melodramatic fools
Neurotic to the bone, no doubt about it”

Every so often my mind likes to short-circuit itself a bit, just to remind me of who’s really in control. This week was obviously time for my regular mini-meltdown, because I’ve just been way too sane and chill for far too long. And it sorta came out of left-field because everything’s been going really well…a little too well, if you know what I mean? And my brain simply cannot be having that. I’ve already told y’all before that I’m a bit of a control freak and I’m actually really glad that I am. It means that I am responsible for always owning my shit and making things happen. But the downside to this trait (a hot-mess mixture of conscientiousness and neuroticism) means than back when my mental health went a bit awry, this amped up into an extreme form of hyper-vigilance. I never developed OCD, but I would often struggle with ambiguity and when presented with problems to which there were no clear solutions, I would spiral a little into an obsessive quest to know all the contributing factors and predict the most likely resolution.

If that all sounds a bit wild and “out-there” well that’s probably because it is, lol. But bear with me, because I promise it will all make sense soon (no self-respecting hyper-vigilant, control-freak would just leave you hanging like that, bro, lol). Last September when I was about 4 weeks into this new low-carb way of life, I wrote a post called ‘Fear’ in which I explained how I was suddenly feeling about the whole ‘not knowing’ if I was going to be successful in my attempt to lose weight / improve my overall health. And I think a lot of people resonated with the things I wrote about because it’s one of the most popular / liked posts I’ve written on this blog so far; fear and uncertainty surrounding our ability to succeed is obviously something many of us experience when we’re striving to achieve our goals. With me though, my own fear is much more rooted in the unknown. It’s not that I doubt my own ability to do something, more that I struggle with the potentially infinite external factors that I have no way of keeping track of, or even anticipating.

So why am I going back over all of this today when I’ve been quite contentedly plodding along with my low-carb WOE and getting the exact results that I want? Well – now you have to promise not to laugh when I tell you this, because I know (objectively) that what I’m about to say is going to sound a bit silly – it’s all because of what I saw when I weighed myself on Monday. The scale said I’d lost 3lb.

“Um, isn’t that a good thing Blue, you absolute fruitcake?”

Kinda, but not really. You see, you have to look at that “result” from the POV of a lunatic control-freak like me, who hates surprises and just wants thing to go exactly the way I expect them to. It might not sound like a big deal, but I only want to be losing 1-2lb at most every week. I’ve been relaxing into a nice, predictable pace that I feel comfortable with, knowing that I’m doing this sensibly and sustainably. If I maintain on some weeks, I’m totally okay with that because I know that’s something to be expected when embarking upon a weight-loss mission; especially one like mine which is going to take a bit longer than most, because I’ve got more than 100lb to shift (probably closer to 150lb in total, but I’ll adjust my “goal weight” once I’ve hit that initial 100lb loss). I’d factored in ‘maintain’ weeks before even starting down this path. I also prepared myself for weeks where the scale goes back up a notch (even if I do get absolutely outraged at the utter audacity of the scale for telling me I’ve gained, lol). But once the initial bursts of bigger numbers were out of the way and I was settled into a comfortable pace of losing 1-2lb max a week, I didn’t really think about the potential for any weeks where I’d lose more than that again.

Losing 3lb last week really threw me for a loop.

Why is the scale suddenly showing a larger loss at this stage in the game? I’m not doing any weird challenges, or restricting my intake at all. Surely the rate at which I’m losing weight now should be slowing, not increasing? What happened to make me lose that extra pound last week? Yeah, it was around this point where I started to have another mini-meltdown, rooted in ‘Fear’.

  • “If I’m losing more than I’m expecting or hoping, does that mean something’s not right?”
  • “Oh frick, maybe I don’t have as much control over this whole process as I thought!”
  • “If I have no control over how much weight I’m losing each week, what’s to say I’ll even be able to make my goal?”
  • “What if this is the last big drop and after this I’m going to plateau for like, months?”
  • “Does this mean I’m not eating enough?”
  • “How much should I be eating then? I’m already eating to satiety and rarely hungry?”
  • “I thought I was gong to have to start reducing my portion sizes…but now…?”
  • “What if I DO get to goal weight and then I don’t know how to stop?”
  • “How am I going to figure out how to maintain my goal weight without regaining or losing even more?”
  • “Maybe I have cancer!” – Because of course, that’s always where the mind goes to when there’s any suggestion that something might not be right.

Yep, the hyper-vigilance spiral was in full force folks, lol. And before anyone says that I’m overreacting and that weight-loss is never linear blah, blah, blah….I know that. I’m well aware that I’m “overreacting” because that’s just what I do when presented with an anomaly and far too many contributing variables, for me to be able to know what caused it. (I might be a crazy person, but I’m not crazy enough to not know that I’m crazy, y’all!) Something that most people would just easily write off as the human body doing it’s own thing, triggered the part of my brain that deals badly with ambiguity. When I say I’m a control-freak, I don’t mean in the way that I dictate how others behave around me or demand a high degree of compliance from them. It’s entirely internal and I rarely let anyone else know just how much something like this 3lb weight-loss absolutely wrecks me. (The fact that I internalise all this probably played a big part in why I had such a lunatic breakdown – I’m well aware of that.) I can talk about it here though because none of y’all know who I am and it’s more like keeping a journal than actually exposing my weakness for all and sundry to see.

If you met me in real life, you’d think I was a lot more relaxed and easy-going than I really am. Because I know intrinsically that my tendencies are all about my own issues with disorder, unpredictability and the need to know / understand everything that’s going on around me. Obviously my other half knows my crazy ways – and him being genuinely ‘laid-back almost to the point of horizontalization’ is good for me, because it a/ helps me learn to accept a little more “chaos” in my life, and b/ it also means he rarely gets stressed out about anything; including my neuroticism, lol. I know that my dysgenic tendencies aren’t well received by other people, so I try to keep them in check as much as possible (knowing you’re a lunatic is half the battle, amirite?). I can even live with his untidiness, because that’s what I’ve come to expect from him. I’d actually be more freaked out if he suddenly started being more tidy. I only tell y’all all this, so you can get a better idea of who I am and why I flipped out a bit this week.

I know that I cannot have or even expect to have, any control over the actions of others or the way the world goes on around me. And I’ve made my peace with that as best I can. But I still expect to be able to control my own actions and by extension of that, how my body responds to my wanting to lose weight and improve my health. Is that an unreasonable expectation? Well yes and no. Yes because the human body is a sophisticated machine, literally and figuratively with a mind of its own. Forever growing, changing, reacting, processing and overseeing all the necessary logistics required just to keep us alive, there are far too many potential variables involved to ever truly be able to keep track of everything on a conscious level; let alone control the entire incredible thing. But it’s a no too, because we know that are some things we can do to change our bodies and affect our health. We all have to find the right balance between all that so that we can go through life relatively sane and only focusing our attention on the areas that we do have any control over. That’s why the ‘Serenity Prayer’ is such a powerful, effective part of Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step programs.

I’m not a remotely religious person, but even I can see the eternal truth and wisdom in those words – even if I do struggle with the ‘acceptance of things I cannot change’ part! The ‘Serenity Prayer’ might have codified by Karl Reinhold Niebuhr in the 1930s, but the message and the wisdom it contains has been around forever. The Stoic ‘Dichotomy of Control’ is simultaneously the most intuitively simple aspect of Stoicism to understand and the most profoundly difficult to practice consistently. The stoic philosopher Epictetus explained the ‘Dichotomy of Control’ in ‘Enchiridion 1’. The intuitively simple part of the ‘Dichotomy of Control’ is the assertion that some things are “up to us” (within our power), and others are “not up to us” (not within our power).

“Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens. Some things are up to us and some things are not up to us. Our opinions are up to us, and our impulses, desires, aversions—in short, whatever is our own doing. Our bodies are not up to us, nor are our possessions, our reputations, or our public offices, or, that is, whatever is not our own doing.”

Enchiridion 1 – Epictetus, 108 AD

Trying to get a handle on the things we can and cannot change – whilst having the wisdom to know the difference – has been an eternal dilemma taxing wiser men than we, throughout the ages. And that’s actually quite comforting in a weird way. I’m not going to try and pretend that I’m a stoic (I’m pretty sure neuroticism is the antithesis of stoicism, lol) but when I was working on getting over my mental breakdown, I started reading a bit about stoicism to try and find a bit of rational, logical guidance that I could try to use any time I had an attack of the crazies. And whilst I’ve really only skimmed over Epictetus (probably not the best thinker to start off with if you’re interested in stoicism) I really enjoyed ‘Meditations’ by Marcus Aurelius. Seriously, don’t be put off by the couple of millennia time difference, Aurelius is eminently readable; ‘Meditations’ is completely accessible to the modern reader and is filled with utterly quotable musings that anyone will find relevant and easy to identify with.

I think the reason it’s so timelessly relatable, is because it was never supposed to be something considered for publication, education or mass distribution. These were the personal writings of a man trying to control his impulses and be the best man he could, at a time when he was Emperor of frickin Rome! His personal struggle with wanting to do what is right, while also understanding his own motivations and behaviours, is something everyone can relate to – even a couple of thousand years down the line. Which is why I’ve started re-reading it recently (annoying enough I can’t find my hard copy, but I’ve got it on my Kindle too thankfully – which is probably a blessing in disguise really, because it allows me to highlight various passages that I can find again later with a quick search.)

And I’m not saying that it’s the cure-all, self-help manual that single-handedly stopped me from spiralling further into the hole of hyper-vigilance (or that just one reading of it will fix your own intrusive thoughts) but it’s definitely helped me to mentally take a step back and just breathe deeply. It’s not a long book and is divided up into 12 chapters – which are referred to as ‘books’ in themselves – so you can dip into it here and there, stopping to sit and think or maybe even journal a bit about what you’ve just read. (And don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to underline or highlight every single sentence, because this baby is all-killer-no-filler!)

It’s not that I don’t already know the advice contained in ‘Meditations’, more that I need a little prompting every now and again, to remember what I do know and put it into practice.

“Every moment think steadily as a Roman and a man, to do what thou hast in hand with perfect and simple dignity, and feeling of affection, and freedom, and justice; and to give thyself relief from all other thoughts. And though wilt give thyself relief, if thou doest every act of thy life as if it were the last, laying aside all carelessness and passionate aversion from the commands and discontent with the portion which has been given to thee.”

Book 2: The Meditations Of Marcus Aurelius

It just feels like I’m being calmed down and spoken earnestly to by some avuncular gentleman, wiser in the ways of the world than I could ever aspire to be. Taking a little time out to sit and read ‘Meditations’ was exactly what I needed to help stop me from spiralling further into a haze of hyper-vigilance. Partially because the simple act of reading itself is a very calming way for me to interrupt my crazy thinking anyway, but largely because Uncle Mark (can I call him that? Do you think he’d mind me being so ‘familiar’ with him? Lol.) just helps me to find a way back to my saner, more rational self. Because whilst I’m a somewhat neurotic fruitcake who sometimes feels the need to know all the things, I’m also a very logical thinker and problem solver who values rationality and truth. (When I told y’all I was a ‘walking contradiction in terms’ I wasn’t lying folks!)

If you’ve read anything about the ‘Big Five’ personality traits in psychology, you’ll already know how each person is considered to have a high, medium or low tendency towards extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism. Each trait can have both positive and negative elements, depending on the situations we’re in and the people we’re dealing with, and are interconnected factors which make up our individual, personalities. According to the researchers at the Personality Project, personality is “the coherent pattern of affect, cognition, and desires (goals) as they lead to behaviour” (Revelle, 2013). Meanwhile, the American Psychological Association (APA) defines personality as “individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving” (2017). So of course, it’s entirely possible to rate highly on more than one trait – I guess I’m just a super “extra” kind of person with a really big, complicated personality.

And it’s not like my being conscientious isn’t compatible with a degree of underlying neuroticism. I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to applying myself to tasks that I really care about and actually want to succeed at; being a bit neurotic about the things that are beyond my control might seem unreasonable at times, but it’s definitely understandable when you look at the bigger picture. I’m not naturally extravert, but I’m able to be gregarious and social when needs be; it just exhausts me whenever I have be around lots of people and afterwards need to retreat to the quiet calm and restorative peace of my own company at home. I’m not hugely open to new experiences either, but I will push myself to try things if I think there are some benefits to it. As for agreeableness…yeah, that totally depends on who I’m around. I can be the nicest, most polite and friendly person you’ve ever met, but if I don’t think you’re deserving of my time, pleasantries or good side, I won’t just play nice for nice’s sake. Woe betide the poor unfortunate miscreant who underestimates my feisty side and ends up getting into an argument with me, lol.

As you can probably gather from all that, I’m a mixture of various traits – like everyone – but I’m incredibly self-aware of the aspects of my personality which can sometimes get in the way of my being happy. I know my weaknesses and I’m forever looking for ways to improve on the areas which might not being helping me get where I want to be in life. That’s why I really like the underpinning ethos of stoicism and the writings of Marcus Aurelius. They speak to my rational, logical side and force me to reassess the neurotic side of me which causes me to feel as though things are beyond my control. And that’s what I’ve been trying to tap into this week after that 3lb loss made me feel like things weren’t going the way I wanted them to. Some people who had a weird extra loss might have looked to other weight-loss resources in order to feel better about how things were progressing. But I knew that it wasn’t the loss itself that was the problem – like I said before, I’m perfectly aware of how weight-loss isn’t a linear process and that logically, there will always be weeks when the scale shows something I’m not expecting. It’s all to do with me and the way I respond to the unexpected.

And that’s why I reached for some Marcus Aurelius, rather than the reassuring words of someone else going through a similar weight-loss experience. I know I don’t think the same way as other people, so their words regarding their own experiences aren’t necessarily going to resonate with me. No, what I needed was a good stern talking to from a 2000 year old Emperor of Rome (because, why the frick not?). And it definitely worked, because I now feel a lot less ‘freaked the frick out’ and better able to accept the unexpected number on the scale. Because it’s not about the weight; it’s about dealing with the unexpected, trying to let go of the reigns of control, and ultimately it’s about ‘Fear’.

So, what was the point to this entire ramble? What can you take away from everything I’ve said today? Well basically, it’s that knowing yourself and understanding why you do the things you do, is the most important factor in wanting to enact change. Yes this post was about weight-loss on the surface, but it’s actually about the way in which I deal with the unexpected. A 3lb loss instead of a 1lb or 2lb loss is really neither here nor there; in fact I’m probably going to end up seeing a gain on next Monday’s weigh-in because it’s “Shark-Week” and I’m bloated and I always gain in “Shark-Week” (or “Shark Fortnight” as it was last time!) That extra pound that I lost last week means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. But it really brought to the forefront my own issues with control, surprises and how I deal with the unexpected; things I know I have to work on for myself.

Whether you’re trying to lose weight for yourself, or if you’re attempting to change some other aspect of your life, it’s absolutely essential that you not only understand your motivations for doing so, but you really need to know yourself and how your own personality plays into your ability to succeed or the likelihood of failure. And when you truly understand what makes you think and act the way you do, you can then figure out the best tools to have in your arsenal whenever you find yourself getting in your own way. It’s really easy to look at something like weight-loss as a simple numbers game that revolves entirely around the food we eat and the amount of exercise we do. But it’s so much more than that and that’s why the answers to any issues that crop up around weight-loss, can’t simply be found in the areas we initially think to look for them. For me, I found answers and solutions in the writings of Marcus Aurelius and the ideas involved in stoicism; because that helped me to understand my motivations and guide me towards a calmer sense of acceptance of the things I don’t have complete control of.

Everyone is going to be different and what strikes a chord with me isn’t necessarily going to resonate with you. But when dealing with our emotions, thoughts, feelings and behaviours it’s the underlying motivations that we need to deal with, not just the superficial effects that initially seem to be the problem. For some people therapy is the best route to them being able to better get to know themselves, but I would never do well in a therapeutic setting. I don’t trust people to know or understand me better than I know myself and I don’t have the patience to have to faff around with trying different people, when I know that I have the capability of working through my own issues myself – using the writings, words and wisdom of individuals who speak to me in a way that makes sense. But you have to find out what works for you personally and you just gotta find out the best way of getting know and understand what makes you “you”.

Change is always difficult, but it will never hold unless you already have a firm foundation on which to build upon. Trying to fix all the external components that we dislike might work at first, but you have to know why you developed the negative thing you wanted to change in the first place, if you ever want to make those changes permanent. So go do all the things that make you happy, healthy, slim, pretty and successful – you owe it to yourself to be the best version of yourself that you can be. But know that none of the changes you make on the outside will ever really stick or truly make you happy, unless you also work on fixing who you are on the inside. So be honest with yourself, work on getting to understand yourself and remember that change comes from within.

Stay complicated folks!

Blue

Newsflash! Weight-Loss Is Boring! And It Should Be!

Okay, let’s be real folks. Losing weight isn’t all that interesting. I mean, it’s exciting and new when you first begin out on a new regime, fuelled by all the promises of what the end result will be, and it’s cool to see the progress pics and update videos by other people trying to lose weight, but the everyday process itself? Yeah it’s pretty bloody dull. But you know what? That’s exactly what you should be aiming for. Probably not what you wanted to hear, but lemme explain.

Everyone starts out on their weigh-loss mission pretty psyched – and that’s completely normal. We prep ourselves by reading as much as we can about our chosen plan, immerse ourselves in weight-loss communities where we can share stories, pick up tips and get support, and it’s so cool because it’s new and different and exciting. We’ve gotten to a point where we’re able to accept that we have a problem and then realise that fixing that problem is completely within our grasp. We feel empowered with all this new knowledge and as we start making the necessary dietary changes, we feel amazing because we’re getting results. We’re fricking doing this, y’all!

And it’s great. As long as we’re sticking to our plan and doing all the things we’re supposed to, the weight continues to come off, albeit a little more slowly than it did in the first few weeks. But the scale is still moving down and everything’s working and yet…suddenly it doesn’t feel that exciting any more. We’re no longer feeling the newfound excitement we felt right at the beginning, and the end is still quite a way off. So it’s only natural when some of us start looking for other ways to get that feeling of excitement back. Maybe we’ll add in a fitness challenge – those always seem really popular – or maybe we’ll consider changing up our plan – eating challenges are also all over YouTube. What we’re looking for is a return to that high we felt way back when we first started out on our weight-loss regimes…but that’s not necessarily a good thing.

The phrase “This is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle” has become a bit of a cliché, with many people repeating it verbatim, without really living by it. But the reality is, that for weight loss to not only be successful but sustainable, this really does have to be a complete lifestyle adjustment – not just a quick fix to get us to our goal weight. And like it or not, for this to BE a lifestyle change and not just a fad, we’re really going to have to expect the whole thing to become a bit boring. Is cleaning your teeth every day a blog-worthy event? I doubt it. Do you get ripples of adrenaline coursing through your veins every time you wash the dishes? I hope not. (I mean, you do you boo, but if that’s what really gets you going every day, you might want to look into trying a new hobby…just saying.)

What I’m trying to say is that whilst eating can be a part of how we celebrate or socialise, it really shouldn’t be the focal point of our entire day. I’ve mentioned this before, but my other half is a tall, athletic guy who has never really had to worry about his weight (except for one time when a course of medication for an injury caused him to lose his appetite a drop a little too much weight – but that was soon remedied by reducing his meds). He turned to me earlier while we were watching ‘My 600lb Life’ and said:

“You know, I’ll never really understand what all this is about.”

And thinking that he meant the severely super-morbidly obese people on the show, I told him that I didn’t fully understand their mindset either; that their pathological relationship with food is far more dangerous and damaged than mine has ever been. But he shook his head:

“No…I mean, I’ll never understand ANY of this weight-loss stuff. I can’t imagine having to think about everything I eat, all the time, every day. It’s completely alien to me.”

And he truly meant it. Don’t get me wrong, he’s incredibly supportive and frequently reminds me that if there’s anything he can do to help me with this, then just say the word; but it’s a whole other country to him, this world of weight-loss, fitness and food-plans. Which is exactly how it should be for someone with a totally normal relationship with food. Sure, it pays to be at least somewhat informed with regards to nutrition and activity levels, but for those who have never experienced any weight issues or food allergies / intolerances, food really isn’t that big of a deal. They enjoy a nice meal out, or a special celebratory dinner, but for the most part, food is a fuel that they need to consume in order to not die. If it tastes nice, that’s great, but they don’t feel the need to make every morsel some hyper-palatable gourmet offering that Heston Blumenthal would be proud of. And that’s one of the huge differences between those of us who have good relationships with food, and those of us who don’t.

A lot has been said recently about the notion of ‘Intuitive Eating’ and the twisted way that the ‘Fat Acceptance’ have chosen to bastardise it for their own ends. But the ideas at the core of ‘Intuitive Eating’ do make sense…for those don’t have a screwed-up relationship with food. It’s exactly how my other half eats every day. Sometimes he wakes up wanting a fried breakfast; other days he gets up and doesn’t want anything to eat for a few hours. Some days he’s happy to have a few smaller snack-like meals throughout the day, and on others he prefers a big roast dinner with all the trimmings. Aside from my obsession with wanting him to up his protein intake a bit, he normally gets enough of a wide range of food in his diet to keep him strong, lean and healthy – and he doesn’t ever stop to second-guess any of the food choices he makes.

(Yeah, I know…I really should hate the dude for that, but he’s pretty to look at and I can’t reach up to change the lightbulbs, so I like to keep him around, lol.) My point is that his relationship with food is the kind that we all should aspire to having ourselves. And part of that relationship will involve our having to find a way to stop food from having such an intense hold on us that we think about it from dawn ’til dusk. I hate to piss on everyone’s Cheerios, but not every meal needs to be interesting or exciting. What’s important is that we figure out how to get sufficient nutrition from our diet, find a plan that allows us to lose weight without feeling hungry or deprived, and then just go about the rest of our lives, like normal people do.

I’m not saying we can’t enjoy our food or that y’all should be suffering on some foul diet made up of foods you actually hate (because that shit ain’t sustainable for anyone in the long term) but if a lot of our food choices end up being pretty boring, that’s not the end of the world. That’s normal. Going out of your way to try and imbue every meal you consume on your weight-loss regime, with amazing flavours, textures, colours and fragrances, isn’t how most people eat. The very fact that we treat going out to dinner or having a celebratory birthday meal with such reverence, is precisely because they’re supposed to be special experiences that elevate the humble meal to an altogether different level. And I think we as a society have forgotten that.

“By the end of the 19th Century, fine dining restaurants had become part of the landscape for the wealthy aristocratic Europeans and upper-class Americans. These groups transformed eating out into an art form. Through the 20th century, restaurants continued to evolve through two world wars and the Great Depression. The 1950s saw the rapid growth of fast food, while the 1960s marked the beginning of casual family dining and chain restaurants. By 2000, more and more families were dining out on a weekly basis.”

History of American Restaurants in the 20th Century

Eating out regularly is still a relatively new concept for the working & middle classes as a whole. And it’s no coincidence that our ever-expanding waistlines have gotten bigger at exactly the same rate as the explosion in choices with regards eating out. It has become so much easier and cheaper for the average person to eat out, that dining culture is no longer the preserve of the upper classes. Everywhere we go there are myriad options to cater to our taste and wallets, offering intentionally hyper-palatable food combinations that we can choose to eat on the premises, take home or even have delivered to our doors. And we’ve gotten so that we almost feel as though we’re entitled to all this choice and convenience. We work hard, raise families, keep households, attend schools and at the end of the day we’re exhausted. So of course we feel like we deserve to ‘treat’ ourselves and our families to something quick, easy and tasty. But all we’ve really done is condition our taste-buds and our dopamine circuits to associate food with always being something that should taste epic and provide a massive bang for our buck.

So when we finally realise that we’re fat and out of shape, we naturally start to try and make our new food-plans really tasty and interesting and exciting, because we’re still trapped in the mindset of a person with a fucked up relationship with food. We look for recipes that will provide satisfying alternatives to the foods that we over-consumed to get fat in the first place, because we’re still obsessed with making food the focal point of our daily lives. And we really need to stop doing that.

Hey, I’m not claiming to be free of this way of thinking folks. I say all this as someone who realised a while ago that my own relationship with food was completely skewed, because of the type of ‘stimulant seeking’ mentality I have. I wrote a blog post about that very realisation which ya’ll can read here: Stimulus Chick. I know that I have a very active mind that loves to be stimulated and hates to be inactive (I have never been able to ’empty my mind’ and meditate and probably never will, lol) and that ‘stimulant seeking’ mentality plays out in the way I have approached food. Y’all, I’m as bad as everyone else with this, but it’s something I’m working on fixing because I don’t want food to be the controlling aspect of my day-to-day life; I’ve got way too many other things I could be focusing my attention on. And that’s why I’ve come to a second realisation about food, weight-loss and why it’s actually completely normal and healthy, for it to all be incredibly mundane.

When I look back at my previous posts on here I can see that I have yet to shed that obsession with having amazingly tasty food all the time. I’m not altering my behaviour, merely finding an alternative conduit through which I can continue to satisfy that ‘food-centric’ mentality. And I see it in so many other people who are trying to overhaul their diets and implement permanent “lifestyle” changes too. Letting go of the idea that all food has to be hyper-palatable and exciting is difficult. It’s scary and that fear is rooted in our aversion to the unknown, and filtered down through these comestible crutches we develop over time. It’s hard enough to cut out something like sugar from our diets; taking the next step towards a relaxed – almost nonchalant – form of ‘Intuitive Eating’, where food is no longer a perpetually intense, sensory experience is something else. But it’s what I truly believe is at the core of a successful lifestyle overhaul and a healthy relationship with food and eating.

Does that mean I’m suddenly going to become the most clean-eating, nutrition-focused, A+ example of how to eat? Um…no, I’m a work in progress folks; always have been, always will be. But I do want to try and take a mental step back from having an obsessive preoccupation with the food I eat. It’s going to be difficult, because I’ve a/ got a whole 40 years worth of habits to try and undo, and b/ also need to make sure that I’m sticking to my low-carb WOE by always having enough of the right food on hand to tide me over. But I’ve been eating this way for just over 5 months now. I know what I can and cannot eat and going forward, just grabbing something simple to eat because it meets my nutritional needs, is how I’d like to start regarding most of my food choices. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to be eating foods that I enjoy or not enjoying the food that I eat, because I will never get sick of eating steak! But not every meal has to be a sensory adventure. Food is and should be primarily, a source of fuel. And I need to remember that.

So, if you take anything away from this post, let it be this: weight loss is going to get boring over time AND THAT’S A GOOD THING! If you’ve been plodding along for a while and you’re no longer excited by your food choices, don’t immediately rush to try and inject a sense of excitement back into your life. At least not for the reasons I’ve been talking about today. Most of us got to where we are – being overweight, addicted to sugar and having a dysgenic relationship with food – largely in part through us abusing our pleasure / reward pathways with a constant stream of sensory overload from hyper-palatable food sources. Simply put, we’ve gotten addicted to the pleasure gained from eating. And it’s hard for us to let that go.

But if we’re ever to find our way back to having a normal relationship with food, we need to work on breaking that association between food and being constantly, pleasurably stimulated. It sounds trite, but finding other avenues from which to get our kicks, really is the best alternative. Cultivating interests outside of weight loss and food is a healthy route to living and eating like a “normal” person. I know it’s really tempting to want to ‘shake things up’ and find new, exciting ways to lose weight, but by always seeking that new injection of stimulation, we’re only feeding into that same cycle of ‘stimulant seeking’ behaviour. Deciding to do an egg fast for a week might get you some great results on the scale, but is that how you’re going to eat for the rest of your life? And how do you think your body is going to react once you return to how you were eating previously? By all means, consider things like intermittent fasting as a permanent way of eating that will become boringly second-nature over time; but if all you’re after is that initial ‘high’ you get from doing something new and different with your food, then you’re never going to find your way out of this ‘stimulant seeking’ behaviour around eating.

Like I said, right now I’m as guilty of this as the next person, but I’d like to think that by coming to this realisation, I will be better equipped to do something about it. Because I hate the idea of something as mundane as food having such a powerful hold over me. I want to eat to live, not live to eat.

Stay boring, y’all!

Bue

Standing Still

“Am I standing still, beneath the darkened sky?
Or am I standing still, with the scenery flying by?”

Bleugh. What a week. Up and down and all over the show. My body has been on a little adventure of its own over the past 7 days, just making things up as it goes. Last Monday I was surprised to have seen a 2lb loss on the scale because I was just into “Shark Week”. Today…um…well we’re still in “Shark Week” (although it’s looking more like “Shark Fortnight” now) on day 12 of this joyous visit from “Aunt Flo” (who really has long outstayed her fricking welcome this month). I won’t go into gross details or anything but it did feel like “Mother Nature” was messing with me, when after 7 days, it seemed as though this particular “visitation” was over…only for the “Communists To Move Back Into The Neighbourhood And Kick My Arse From The Inside Out” again, the following day. Sometimes it really does just be like that, y’all.

And I broke my rule of only weighing once a week again over the past 7 days because I could just tell that my weight was doing some real weird things with all the bloat and whatnot. At one point (I think it was Saturday, but I can’t remember for sure) I got on the scale and it was saying I’d gained 5lb since my previous Monday weigh-in, despite me having been a/ asleep for about 16hrs a day minimum and b/ not having eaten any proper meals on a handful of days that week, due to my feeling so nauseated. I knew it wasn’t a real gain, but it still shocked me to see a 5lb increase when I saw it on the scale.

Thankfully, as “Shark Fortnight” is now (hopefully) winding down, that weight has disappeared again, and when I got on the scale today to get my Monday weigh-in reading….it said I weighed exactly the same as I did last week, lol. No loss, no gain, just maintained. So I’m still 15 stone 3lb (213lb). No worries, it is what it is (and what it is, is the hormonal bullshit that comes from being a woman, lol) and at least that “ghost-gain” bloat of 5lb fecked back off to wherever the hell it came from before I weighed myself today! If I’m being 100% honest, as I stood on the scale it did keep flickering between 212 and 213lb, so I may well actually be half a pound down from last week, but I don’t measure in half-pound increments, so I’m just going to stick with the higher amount of 213lb and call this week a flat maintain.

So, nothing really worth reporting on today. Looking back over the “Fat Stats” page, you can definitely see a pattern where every 4 weeks or so I always seem to have a 0lb loss or random “ghost gain” whenever the “painters are in”, so I’m nothing if not predictable! These things just happen every month and will continue to do so for as long as I’m still getting these joyful little “visitations”. I know it’s nothing to do with my food intake (still going strong with my 100% commitment to the low-carb WOE) or anything else that I’ve done; it’s just nature being the cruel mistress that it is.

Right now it’s just after 2.15am where I am. I’ve been up and about for an hour or so now (yes, I keep strange hours), so I’ll probably start thinking about having something to eat real soon. Steak burgers and broccoli sounds pretty good – gotta get those iron levels up, right? So I shall leave you all to get on with your own days wherever you are and I’ll have a couple of other posts lined up for y’all later on in the week. Be good to yourselves and keep on, keeping on.

Stay cool folks

Blue

Revenge Of The Chia Seeds / Weigh-In Day

I feel like Mr Blobby so much right now. Bloated, swollen and unsteady on my feet (not that my being clumsy is anything new, but it certainly adds to my current miserable state). Before I go any further, I just want to warn y’all that today is going to be another great big, fat TMI filled post where I talk about going to the bathroom. Not in an unnecessarily graphic way or anything like that, but I figured I’d just give y’all a heads-up so you can at least say you had fair warning.

Okay, so let’s begin this little recap with some details about the kind of medication I take on a regular basis. For years now, I’ve been prescribed Venlafaxine, Sertraline, Diazepam, Propranolol, and Zopiclone which I take on a daily basis. None of these cause me any problems, but I’m also prescribed soluble co-codamol (Solpadol: 30/500) to help with the chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia and arthritis (I also take ibuprofen regularly too, but I just buy those myself OTC). The co-codamol is to be taken a maximum of 4 times a day – which comprises 2 of those soluble tablets per dose – but for the most part I try not to take the maximum daily dose unless I really need it.

This past month however has been an absolute nightmare for the arthritis. Despite my having lost 50lb over the past 4 months, the colder weather has been causing my knees to swell and seize up, worse than usual, making it really difficult to get out of the house, up & down the stairs or into town. They hurt when I wake up, they hurt when I go to bed and they have me shuffling around like The Tin Man from The Wizard Of Oz all day long. So, I’ve been taking the maximum dose every day for the past week or so…which has had a rather unpleasant side-effect: namely constipation.

I wanted to try and counter this side-effect without having to resort to more medication, so I looked into finding a more natural source of relief and discovered a wealth of online information touting chia seeds as the perfect solution. Almost entirely made up of dietary fibre, they’re deemed fine for people on a low-carb or keto diet, so I bought myself a big old bag of the little blighters and went ham adding them to every salad and shake I consumed. The texture they added to my protein shake didn’t bother me and when sprinkled (liberally) on my salads, they added a nice bit of texture and a taste similar to that of poppy seeds. Great, I thought. Let nature take its course.

Only it didn’t. In fact things only got worse as I ended up going 3 whole days without pooping – something that never really happens to me, what with my always having a diet rich in lots of vegetables. By day 4 I was hideously uncomfortable and starting to have really awful premonition about my having to go see a doctor and end up being given some horrendous suppositories, so the day after New Year I shuffled into town (still walking like The Tin Man with my arthritic knees) to buy some ‘Max Strength Senakot’ laxatives. Part of me thought however that they might not be strong enough to do the trick, so drawing on previous experience with sugar-alcohol filled candies, I also picked up a bag of sugar-free gummy bears, sweetened with maltitol – just in case. (For anyone unfamiliar with the powerful side-effects associated with this kind of product, please check out the hilarious product reviews left on Amazon, by some rather surprised customers, lol.)

When I got home, I took one of the Senakot tablets with a pint of water and tried to wait it out. But 3 hours later, nothing was happening. I was so full and bloated and uncomfortable with no relief in site, so I just thought:

“Fuck it, time for plan B!”

And proceeded to eat the entire bag of sugar-free gummy bears. I mean, that had to work, right? Trust me, I was desperate. I just needed something, ANYTHING to work, so despite knowing how powerful these innocent looking jelly sweets could be, I just chowed down on every single last one. And I waited.

And waited.

And while I waited, I decided to do a bit more Googling on those chia seed things. This time I entered:

“Can chia seeds cause constipation?”

into my browser and, lo and behold it turns out that while chia seeds can indeed be consumed as a source of dietary fibre in order to prevent or alleviate constipation…they can also have the opposite effect in someone who is a/ not used to consuming them b/ intolerant to them, or c/ taking too many of them at once, or in their dry format. Okay but, WHERE WAS ALL THIS INFORMATION BACK WHEN I WAS LOOKING INTO THEM ORIGINALLY?? MIGHT HAVE BEEN A REAL HELP BACK THEN, INTERNET!

So yeah, these chia seed demons, have a specific property that causes them to swell up and create a gel-like blob around them (mucilage), when they’re soaked in a liquid for over 20 mins. Lot of people use them to make chia-pudding, which creates a kind of tapioca-esque consistency when added to coconut, cashew or almond milk. But that little property they have also means that if you consume them dry, you’re sending these little moisture-absorbing bastards into your digestive system, where they will proceed to draw water out of any available source as they make their way through your intestinal tract. And what subsequent effect does that dehydration have on one’s body? Yup, constipation. So I was basically trying to alleviate the constipation I already had…by adding another ingredient that was only going to make the situation worse.

Yay me!

I swear sometimes, if I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. It’s nothing new for me to make a situation worse, by trying to make it better. I shouldn’t even be left in possession of a human body without adult supervision FFS. But that thing with the chia seeds really is something that everyone should really be aware of, if they’re ever considering adding them to their diet. They absolutely can be added to salads the way I was doing, but I think you really need to ease yourself in to the amount you consume, as well as making sure that you drink plenty of water at the same time. I tend not to drink water with my meal because I don’t like to get a fake sense of satiety by filling up on liquids that will only wear off quickly after – making me feel hungrier again, sooner. That was definitely where I went wrong with my own approach.

But anyway, back to the sofa on the day after New Year. I’d taken the Senokot which hadn’t provided any results and then scarfed down an entire bag of sugar-free gummy bears to try and get things moving again. About a half hour an our after eating the gummy bears, things were definitely starting to “happen” in my gut. Gurgling, bubbling noises and an increased sense of bloating had me feeling like I was actually going to explode. It was all going on in my stomach and what felt like the very top part of my duodenum; nothing further down. But it was fizzing and growling and really starting to freak me out. Had anyone ever died because they blew out their intestines with sugar-free candies? Oh god, was I going to be the first one? Visions of my name forever being associated with it, any time anyone ever googled it, filled me with pre-emptive embarrassment.

“You always knew you’d end up famous for something terrible, Blue!”

Seriously, I was really starting to freak out. I couldn’t remember when I’d last cleaned the bathroom. If I was going to be found dead in there with an exploded colon, I at least wanted to know that no one was going to find fault with my housekeeping standards.

“Why is nothing happening??!”

Always being a stickler for priorities, my brain then started to think about when I’d last shaved my legs.

“Oh frick…if this shit doesn’t kill you, you cannot be seen in the ER with fuzzy legs Blue. Screw it, tell the other half not to call for an ambulance until you’ve given them a once over with a razor!”

It’s amazing the kind of thing that go through your mind when you think something really bad is going to happen to you. I could just imagine people talking about me after I’d died:

“Exploded her colon apparently…first time it’s ever happened a a result of eating too many gummy bears.”

“Uh-huh, they named the condition after her. Blue’s disorder.”

“Yeah, but did you hear what else they found when they did her post-mortem?”

“What?”

“Scruffy mare hadn’t shaved her legs in over 4 days!”

“Really? Mind you, the paramedic did say they’d found 2 empty toilet roll tubes on her bathroom floor, so…”

I was halfway through imagining all the awful things that would written about my little gastrointestinal incident in my obituary, when the sugar-alcohols REALLY kicked in.

Yikes. I won’t go into any unnecessarily gross detail here, but you know that scene from ‘Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory’ where Augustus Gloop falls into the choco-river, gets sucked up into a pipe and stuck…only to get shot out of it again like a bullet, once sufficient pressure had built up behind him?

Yeah. That’s all that really needs to be said about that. But suffice it to say, I was in and out of my bathroom almost a dozen times over the course of the evening/night, as the gummy bears worked their magic on 4 days worth of “backlog” (juvenile pun, totally freaking intended).

Of course, me being me, I obviously wasn’t happy with the amount of physiological torment I had already wrought upon my poor, bedraggled carcass; so deciding that green tea would be potentially calming and soothing on my stomach, I made and drank a cup of matcha…and proceeded to then throw it all back up again immediately after. Because, why the fuck not? I swear, every single muscle from my alimentary canal to my arse was in agony. When I finally thought it safe to go to bed, I couldn’t even bear to let the other half drape his arm around my waist – the way he always does when we go to sleep. And when I woke up I felt like I’d been in a fight. It was all I could do sip warm water and slump on the sofa the whole day and even now, it still hurts like hell. I didn’t eat for nearly 2 whole days to give my body a chance to recover because it felt like I’d pulled internal muscles and they probably needed a bit of a rest after their little ordeal.

So why…oh WHY when I got on the scale today, did it have the absolute audacity to tell me that I have apparently GAINED A FREAKING POUND in weight, since last week? Are you kidding me? I haven’t consumed enough food for that to even be POSSIBLE! Gah! But, my abdomen is still bloated and sore and whilst the initial “problem” has been taken care of, the subsequent stress on my body has obviously left me inflamed and swollen. Hence the alleged 1lb gain.

I can’t even.

But yeah, that’s what’s been happening here at “Maison Bleue” this week. Just another example of how sometimes I really can’t do right, for doing wrong. As usual, when I was eating it was all 100% on-plan and despite both that and those 2 days of not eating at all, I still managed to wreak enough havoc on my body to make it show a 1lb gain when I weighed myself today. Meh. But it is what is folks. I’m not really that bothered by what the scale says right now because I know it’s not a real number I need be too concerned about. I’m just going to carry on as normal, eating the way I’m supposed to and let things get back to normal in good time.

So I hope I’ve at least managed to make some of y’all giggle at my latest dietary escapades, but if nothing else please consider this a cautionary tale as to the potential bad side of chia seeds. Consume them appropriately, ya hear?

Stay hydrated folks

Blue

Nobody Just “Falls Off The Wagon”

I don’t know what it is about the process of attempting to lose weight, but it sure does bring out some really annoying attitudes, pathetic excuses and dumb ways of phrasing shit in a lot of folk. Otherwise rational, reasonable people start to talk about this pretty straight-forward process like they suddenly lost their inner BS-detector. One phrase in particular that really annoys me is:

“I fell off the wagon!”

AAARRRGGGHHH! Even just typing it out sets my teeth on edge! It’s a phrase borrowed from other addiction recovery programs, but all it really means is:

“I chose to fuck up.”

Saying you “fell off the wagon” is nothing more than a cutesy attempt to shift the onus of blame away from yourself and make it sound like you’re just a passive victim of an unfortunate accident. Which is bullshit. You didn’t just slip, trip, land face-first into that Big Mac & French Fries, you made the choice to purposely go purchase, procure and proceed to eat that stuff. And unless you have a legitimate medical condition that causes you to get up and do weird shit in your sleep, that pint of Ben & Jerry’s you inhaled at 3am wasn’t accidental; you WANTED to eat it and you DID eat it. #NoSuchThingAsSnaccidents

It’s infuriating, listening to people who would otherwise be totally candid about their goal-oriented behaviours, suddenly go all coy and refuse to own their shit. People who would normally be perfectly okay at admitting to their not having made a deadline on a project, or having to confess to not learning a new language or skill as soon as they’d hoped, go completely bat-shit crazy when it comes to being honest about what they’ve been eating. It’s as if there’s some extra-special kid gloves we’re all supposed to handle each other with, just because we’re trying to shift a bit of flab. Why is that? Why are people who are trying to lose weight, so terminally reluctant to just fess up and tell it like it really is?

I sat and tried to figure it out earlier today and the closest I could get to what felt like a real reason, has its roots in the notion of sin. In the Christian tradition, the seven deadly sins refer to seven vices relating to our core human passions or desires. These vices speak to our most instinctive drives, hence their relevance to understanding human behaviour and motivation. Regardless of whether or not one considers themselves to be Christian in the religious sense, those of us who grew up in western nations are still what you’d call “culturally Christian”, having been exposed to multiple Christian traditions, celebrations, teachings and ways of thinking throughout our lives. Sin might not be something that you necessarily think holds any sway with you, but if you grew up in a society that still recognisess ‘Gluttony’ as one of the ‘7 Deadly Sins’, there’s a chance you may have internalised both the concept itself, and the way in which said ‘sin’ is played out in all media.

Gluttony (Latin: gula, derived from the Latin gluttire meaning “to gulp down or swallow”) means over-indulgence and over-consumption of food, drink, or wealth items, particularly as status symbols. In Christianity, it is considered a sin if the excessive desire for food causes it to be withheld from the needy.

And make no mistake, gluttony is very much considered to be seriously sinful behaviour in the bible:

Gluttony in the Bible:

  • Gluttony plunged the whole human race into a state of sin and misery with the first transgression (Genesis 3:6).
  • Gluttony, or “excess of food,” led to a curse of utter destruction upon Sodom, the standard example of God’s wrath and judgment (Ezekiel 16:49).
  • In Moses’ day, when Israel craved meat in the wilderness, the Lord sent quail. “While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck down the people with a very great plague” Interestingly, the name of the place was called “Kibroth-hattaavah” which means “Graves of Craving” (Number 11:18-34Psalm 78:26-31).

(The above bullet points were taken from Christianity.com)

Now without getting into the ecumenical differences between the Roman Catholic interpretation of Mortal or Venial sins, and the Protestant way of grading certain degrees of sin, it’s still obvious that gluttony has been viewed as a very ‘sinful’ behavioural trait throughout all of Christendom. Which probably goes some way to explaining why we view fat people as being disgusting. It’s not just that obesity is unhealthy and can make the overweight individual appear noticeably short of breath, sweaty and uncomfortable; it’s also something that goes to the very core of what we as a civilised society, believe to be in direct opposition of that which is good and honourable and righteous. And unlike other sinners, who commit various other moral transgressions, fat people wear their sins on the outside for all the world to see. There is no hiding the evidence of gluttony – from God OR anyone else.

It goes without saying then that to embark upon a concerted effort to lose weight – to renounce gluttony – is therefore a righteous act of contrition. It shows that the individual in question has sufficient moral rectitude to make themselves right with their maker…or at least begin to respect their mortal selves. (There is also a wealth of studies which found anorectics – mostly women suffering from self-induced anorexia nervosa – often associate their abstaining from food, to be considered by the sufferer as making them ‘pure’ and ‘clean’ and unsullied by the giving in to mortal temptation. There’s actually a really good book that those of you who are interested in the history of disordered eating and religion, should definitely check out. It’s called “Fasting Girls: The History of Anorexia Nervosa” (Vintage) by Joan Jacobs Brumberg and it’s a fascinating read. The overlap between religious practices and eating habits goes far deeper than many of us actually realise; but it sure does explain a lot of the stuff I’d tried to summarise here, in my sinfully, heretical, atheistic way!)

Perhaps that’s why the successful seem so full of zeal as they claw their way back to salvation…and in turn, why those who fail feel so utterly condemned to damnation. At least on a somewhat subconscious level. I’m not suggesting that everyone who tries to lose a bit of weight is literally enduring the agonies and the ecstasies of a religious transformation. But there is a lot to be said for the notable parallels we can draw from the origins of gluttony as a sin, and they ways in which we regard fatness, obesity and weight-loss as a society.

Those who claim to have “fallen off the wagon” are actually internalising the notion of having “fallen from grace” (which makes sense when you bear in mind that the phrase gained popularity by members of Alcoholics Anonymous – an organisation structured upon its roots in Christian fellowship and the concept of giving oneself over to a “higher power”.) But to have “fallen from God’s grace” doesn’t mean that you accidentally sinned, it is very much because of your intended actions that you have “fallen from his grace”. Your sinful ways have caused you to lose your seat with Christ at the right-hand of the throne of God. So too then must you accept, that when you choose to “stray from the path of righteousness” when following a weight-loss plan, you are not accidentally “falling off the wagon”, but choosing to jump off it, of your own (God given) free will.

Because (to labour the biblical reference a little more – bear with me!) the Roman Catholic church instituted the sacrament of reconciliation (penance, confession) precisely for the possibility of the forgiveness of our sins. (It is vitally important that Roman Catholics’ confess sins on a regular basis, especially if one is in “a state of Mortal sin”. A person who dies in Mortal sin cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, and is doomed to eternal suffering in hell. So, what happens if you do not complete all the penance, or don’t confess all the Venial sins – the not hell-worthy ones – in your life before you die ? You go to purgatory. The Final Penance. The penance you do at the end of your life on the way up to heaven, if you even make it after a million years of purging.)

Now recent uses of the term “purging” aside (yeah, I ain’t touching THAT issue with a barge-pole right now – even if there’s lot to be said for the emotive associations that can also be found within both the sacred and the profane) the basic idea is that only by the truth can you truly be set free. And I think that’s a very real, idea that we could – and should – try to take on board when talking about how we’ve been doing on our current weight-loss journey or new way of eating.

Basically, if you fuck up, just admit that you fucked up. Take ownership for both the conscious decision you make to abandon your plan AND the subsequent actions that you CHOSE to carry out. Couching your behaviour in terminology designed entirely to modify their impact is dishonest. You are doing both yourself and the person you are relaying this to, a disservice as you treat them like someone too stupid to know what you really got up to. Do not insult the intelligence of someone by playing down your choices or making them sound like the inevitable yet unintended consequences of your utterly innocent actions. We know what you did; please don’t patronise us.

Just own your shit. Stop wrapping it all up in some cutesy aphorism that you hope will absolve you of your sins. Confessing what’s in your heart is what will bring you the absolution you really need.

So the next time you make the choice to eat a bunch of crap, don’t just try to play it down as a minor “slip-up”. Be honest, to yourself and anyone else you share your weight-loss journey with. Confess, take responsibility and start to think a little on why exactly you felt the need to make the choice you did. Because it was a choice and if you want to stop making that same choice, then you need to figure out what it is that keeps making it so easy for you to make those bad choices. What you DON’T need is a bunch of molly-coddling enablers, rushing to smother you with their own empty platitudes…which are really just their way of justifying their own bad choices, without having to take any personal responsibility either.

The more you lie to yourself, or to others, the less likely you are to truly get a handle on your weight, or other issues with food. And the more you try to couch your actions in cutesy little terms like “I fell off the wagon”, the longer it’s gonna take you to conquer your demons.

We owe it to ourselves to be as brutally honest with ourselves as we can. As painful and uncomfortable as it may be to have to admit that our “flesh is weak“, in the long run it will benefit us so much more. We are only ever as sick as our secrets, so learn to walk with honesty & integrity and the truth will inevitably set you free.

Choose life. Choose whether to eat that cake or eat the whole buffet. But own your choices and grow to understand what prompts you to make those choices. And choose the words you use to talk about those choices too. Allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to show why you chose to act the way you did in that moment. When you do all of this, there are no deep dark corners anymore for which you need feel ashamed.

Stay honest folks – especially with yourselves,

Blue

Lose Yourself / Weigh In Day

“You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go (go)
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime”

I know a lot of people would probably disagree with the sentiment that “this opportunity comes once in a lifetime” but that’s exactly how I’m viewing my new way of eating and the subsequent weight loss & health benefits. That doesn’t mean that should I have occasion to choose to eat “off-plan”, that I’ll throw in the towel, because I won’t (If I do choose to eat carbs, I’ll simply get back to eating “on-plan” again as soon as possible). What it does mean is that this is the only way for me to become healthier and happier, so I’d better not give up and go back to the way I used to eat. Because if I do, then I’m basically just saying that I’m okay with spending the rest of my life housebound, bedbound and a prisoner in my own body. And I’m not. Not at all.

So yes, this is my opportunity of a lifetime to lose the excess weight, improve my mobility and stop the conditions I have from being unmanageably detrimental to my quality of life. THAT is the primary motivating force that I keep at the forefront of my mind at all times. THAT is what makes me feel so confident in my ability to do this and succeed in the long run. And that’s what makes weeks like last week where the scale actually went UP (like…um…really?) easy to just take in my stride, because I can already feel how much better this WOE is making me feel. I refuse to choose to mistreat my body any longer. I’m choosing to be healthy. And it’s working!

But getting on to this week’s results on the scale, it’s definitely been a better 7 days than the previous ones were. And that’s largely down to it no longer being ‘Shark Week’ (thankfully) which was obviously the reason behind that 3 POUND GAIN!! (Sorry, I will stop going on about it soon, but it was just such an annoying extra downside to an already miserable week of hormonal grossness). It’s literally only just ticked over into Monday, but I’ve got a bunch of other stuff to do today so I figured I’d get my weigh-in out of the way and get to updating my stats on here.

So, how did I do? Well I managed to shift those 3lb of “ghost-gain”…AND another 3lb for good measure! So technically 6lb shifted, but in reality it’s a 3lb loss, which is absolutely perfect! I weighed in at 16 stone 2lbs (226lbs) and that brings my total weight lost so far to 3 stone 2lbs (44lbs) which is great because I’ve smashed through the “I lost 3 stone!” milestone and I’m just 3lb away from getting into the “15 stone +” weight bracket. I don’t even know when I last weighed “15 stone +”, probably my late teens? And if we’re talking about mini-goals and other imminent milestones, I’m only 27lbs away from being in the magical world of “onederland” – something that I have absolutely zero recollection of ever having previously experienced. I mean, I must have been there once…obviously I had to go up through the 100’s to get into the 200’s, but I went years without weighing myself; so I really can’t think back to a time when my weight was that low, lol.

But there’s no need to get ahead of ourselves just yet. Things are moving along at just the right pace and I’m feeling more and comfortable with this WOE with every passing week. A lifetime spent eating steaks, brisket, burgers, roast chicken, ham, cheeses salads and my favourite protein shakes and brownies sounds just fine to me. There’s absolutely zero deprivation in a diet like that – and by “diet” I don’t mean method of weight-loss, but the way in which people eat every day for the rest of their lives. I know I’ll probably have to start tinkering around with macros as I lose more weight and get closer to my goal, but right now I’m just happily munching my way to a healthier me, without a whole lot of effort.

So that’s how this week’s weigh-in played out folks. Lord only knows what the scale will have to say for itself next week; but, no matter what, y’all can rest assured that I will continue to stay “on-plan”, plodding along contentedly as I work my way back to health.

Have a wonderful week!

Blue

Ends With Benefits

“Wonder how we got so far
Do you remember who you are?
Wanted just to make you proud”
~ ‘A Wonderful Surprise’, The Downtown Fiction

Things are starting to feel really, really…real! I don’t know how else to describe it, but it’s as if I’ve only just become truly aware of what all this effort to lose weight, actually means. For the first time since I switched over to the low-carb WOE, weight loss has become something tangible that I can not only notice, but notice the benefits of. And that’s frickin awesome!

I started out on this path with a very basic goal: to lose 100lb, improve my health, decrease the impact that fibromyalgia & arthritis had on my mobility and head off the possibility of becoming bed-bound at worst, or house-bound at best. I’m obviously not on par weight-wise with the people you see on ‘My 600lb Life’, but I began this change to my way of eating at double the weight I should be, for someone of my Oompa Loompa stature – 5ft – and I have 2 conditions which will get progressively worse, the older I get. So I had no choice but to face up to the fact that it was my own fault, for not doing something about my weight, if my massively fat arse ended up preventing me from living a full and happy, healthy life.

Challenge accepted!

And things have been plodding along exactly the way I’ve both wanted and expected them to, with me currently about 1/3 of the way along my goal to lose 100lb. I’m losing sensibly and sustainably, not too quickly (after the first month of rapid loss, it’s settled down into an average of 2lb a week, with some weeks only showing as me maintaining, which is just the body’s way of taking stock and giving itself time to recalibrate and readjust to the recent fat-loss.) I knew that if I simply stuck to the plan, the flab would shift and my health would improve, massively. But “knowing” that fact and really “understanding” what it means, are two different things altogether.

Rather than being some far-off goal that I have yet to see myself making any inroads into, I’m now getting to see and feel the results of my efforts thus far. That has catapulted the entire concept of ‘losing weight & feeling great‘ from the abstract, into the here & now – and it’s both brilliant and bewildering. Take today for instance. I’ve been waiting on a delivery from Amazon for about a week now and most days the other half goes and checks the post, which is down on the ground floor of our apartment building. We’re on the second floor, which means having to go down 2 long and 2 short flights of stairs, then back up again any time we have to check the post. Nothing major, but when you’re at least 100lbs overweight and have arthritic joints that often hurt just getting out of bed, it can be a real struggle to get up and down every day.

Today though, the other half was having a lie-in and I really wanted to see if my new journal had arrived, so I grabbed my hoodie, threw it over my nightie and dashed out of the apartment and down the stairs to see if I was in luck. Turned out I wasn’t (le sigh) so, not wanting to be caught out in the hallway, fresh out of bed, looking like some hobo harridan, I ran back up the stairs as fast as I could, desperate to avoid running into any of my neighbours.

Hang on. Roll that sentence back again would you? What did I just say I did?

“I ran back up the stairs as fast as I could…”

Come again?

“I RAN!?”

Yep, I ran. As in ‘the past tense of run’. As in ‘moved my fat arse at a hitherto unseen pace, up 4 flights of stairs, without being pursued by a wolf’. I ran. I did it without thinking and wasn’t remotely sore or out of breath when I got back into my apartment. That might not sound like much to some, but this time 2 months ago, I would have had to walk slowly up the stairs, getting breathless by the 3rd flight and then had to deal with cramping calf muscles for the next hour or so at least. Today though? I leapt out the front door, raced down stairs and ran back up again, without so much as thinking about it. No breathlessness, no soreness, nothing.

Is that what it feels like to be normal? Because I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty buzzed about it. But it got me to thinking: what other benefits of this weight-loss thing am I going to see and feel and experience, as the number on the scale goes down? What other things could I dare to hope to experience in time?

A common theme present in some of the books I’ve been reading recently, involves using a mixture of long AND short-term mini-goals in combination with your main goal, to help maintain your motivation through regular ‘hits’ of positive reinforcement. When you have a rather large goal to tackle and you know it’s going to take a long time to get there, it can be difficult to stay focused through willpower alone. So setting yourself a handful of other mini-goals – things you’d like to achieve or see happen as a result of striving for your main goal – can help keep you fired-up and dedicated, through the long, hard (sometimes boring) slog towards success.

Despite already knowing this, I still haven’t gotten around to coming up with my own list of mini-goals that I’d like to achieve along the way. I’ve just been so focused on shifting 100lb to feel better, that I’ve neglected to incorporate any other targets or non-scale victories into my approach. And I really ought to, because even my willpower is finite (and I’ve got hella impressive staying-power!) so creating a handful of motivation-boosting mini-goals to help keep me happy and dedicated, is something I’m going to have a think on.

Today’s wonderful little surprise after running up and down the stairs, really hit home the benefits of getting regular little hits of positive reinforcement on the way towards my main goal. So I’m setting myself some homework this week: I am going to come up with a list of at least 20 things I want to see, experience or achieve along the way to losing 100lb. They can be big or small, profound or silly, sacred or profane. But they need to be a/ something I genuinely want to achieve and b/ something I can realistically attain (so no getting to model for the Victoria’s Secret Spring Collection…not this year anyway, lol!)

Now I just need that cute new journal to arrive so I can start it afresh with my little list of mini-goals, ready to be checked off along the way.

Stay dedicated y’all

Blue

Lies! Damned Lies! / Weigh In Day

I’m just gonna come right out and say it: MY SCALE SAYS I HAVE GAINED 3LB THIS WEEK! The absolute nerve of it! How very dare you scale; how very dare you!

Like, what did I ever do to deserve such bullshit? Eat off plan? Nope. Never. Not once! Did I eat more food that I normally do? Nope – probably the exact opposite actually this week. Have I been doing some sort of exercise that could account for me gaining muscle mass? Ha ha, good one. Hardly. So why the frick are you trying to tell me that I’m 3lb heavier than I was this time last week, scale? Hmm? WHY YOU GOTTA DO ME LIKE THIS?

Lol. It’s okay folks, I’m not really as outraged as it seems, just slightly annoyed. The evil ‘Aunt Flo’ is visiting again right now, so it’s probably more to do with that than anything else. And whilst last month was a lot less…umm…intense than usual, it would appear that things are right back to being as horrible as they ever were this month. (So much for my optimistic theory that my new WOE might be some sort of cure-all that would see much better ‘visitations’ every month – sigh!) I’m as miserable as I ever was this time around: exhausted, nauseated, dizzy, wracked with aches & pains and just generally out of sorts. Oh and I have an absolute beaut of a zit on the right side of my chin too – thanks ‘Mother Nature’, you uber-benevolent bitch!

I could tell even before I got on the scale this morning that I was bloated and felt heavier than I did a few days ago. BUT 3 FRICKING POUNDS?/? Urgh…it’s enough to make me wish I WAS just being a greedy, fat bitch and stuffing Dairy Milk bars into my pie-hole! Well, not quite, but almost, lol. I haven’t actually eaten a real meal since Saturday afternoon/evening when the other half made us steaks (I was craving them so badly I made him bring “steak-night” forward a couple of days) and since then have only eaten a protein bar, broken up into four separate bites that I’ve had with my meds. Not because I’ve been trying to starve myself, but purely because I’ve since felt way too sick to even countenance the thought of eating real food. (I nearly threw up yesterday when I could smell someone else in our apartment building cooking Sunday dinner and the scent of it almost tipped me over the edge!)

Now my damned carcass is probably going into starvation mode or something, thinking that I’m deliberately trying to not eat, and so it’s determined to hold onto those extra pounds for fear of not getting fed again any time soon. Which is pretty frustrating, because I have a brisket in the fridge that I wanted to make, 2lb of ground beef that I got to make burger patties, fresh chicken breasts that will need eating soon and a bunch of fresh vegetable produce that I’ve just not been able to do anything with for a few days. The mere thought of even touching any of it – let alone eating any of it – makes me shudder right now. Gross. I can’t even drink coffee FFS!

Sorry, this wasn’t supposed to be a terrible “woe is me” diatribe, but I’m just so pissed off right now. Hormones from hell, nausea and a BLOODY GAIN OF 3LB ON THE GODDAMN SCALE?? Urgh. Somebody, just put me out of my misery already! I know there are going to be some people out there secretly quite gleeful at my having “gained” this week for absolutely no reason, so I’m glad to be able to cheer their miserable selves up a little bit this week. But let’s be honest, this isn’t a real gain. Unlike them I don’t take days (weeks, lol) off to gourmandise myself on off-plan foods, so I don’t need to worry about those 3lbs evaporating back off me, once ‘Aunt Flo’ has been sent packing back to whence she came!

I can only imagine how shitty it must feel to get on a scale every week and see repeatedly horrendous results, gaining and regaining and knowing it was entirely one’s own fault. To continually go off-plan, “cheat” and see the resulting uptick on the scale week upon week…that’s just not something I’d be remotely able to accept. But each to their own I guess. Maybe some people just have a weird masochistic stream which makes them live for the constant uphill struggle. Not me though. It’s annoying enough to have to accept a week like this every now and then, either through hormones or my fat-cells filling up with water just for shits ‘n giggles. I ain’t about to jeopardise my health or scupper my efforts thus far by returning to my prior eating habits – certainly not because of something as trivial as bloat.

No, we’re just going to try to be magnanimous in this temporary defeat, chalk it up to ‘Mother Nature’ being a cruel mistress and continue on doing what we’ve been doing from day one: sticking to the plan and letting nature take its course. Tis but a slight, impermanent set-back – not even that really, but with one’s hormones up the wazoo, it doesn’t take much to bring out our inner-harridan and have us ready to explode at any minor annoyance. All I can say is, next week had better be ready to display a more acceptable outcome or that bloody scale’s days will be numbered!

Anyway, screw updating the stats. I refuse to accept this week’s “results” as anything more than the hormonal bloat and a minor blip. If nothing has changed come next Monday’s weigh-in, I might update the figures to show my absolute lack of progress; but for now I’m not even going to entertain the idea that I’ve gained 3lbs in the last 7 days, and instead consider myself the same weight I was when I last weighed in. If y’all don’t agree with my methods well guess what: you’re not my real dad, so you don’t get to tell me what to do! M’kay?

Onwards and upwards folks!

(Maybe that should’ve said downwards, eh?)

Have a lovely week y’all,

Blue

EDIT: Okay, so I decided that I would update my weight this week in the ‘Fat Stats’ page, because a/ I didn’t want to not have any data entered in for this week and b/ I’m not some pathetic weakling who can’t face up to a bit of hormonal bloat. Let the ‘Fat Stats’ represent the reality of what’s going on and hopefully next week will look even better by comparison.

Just Another Weigh In Monday

How is it Monday again? I mean, it’s actually nearly Tuesday now, but even so…where the frick did the past week go? I have done absolutely NOTHING all week. Zilch. Nada. Sweet FA. I woke up a couple of hours ago and for a moment there, I wasn’t even sure what day of the week it was. Outside my bedroom window the rain was beating a crazy tattoo on the canopy of trees up above, everywhere was pitch dark and all I could think of was how badly I really needed to take some painkillers, get some coffee and make myself a hot-water bottle.

Then I remembered!

It’s Monday. That’s weigh in day! Time to find out how the past 7 days efforts have affected the number on the scale. So I did what I always do on Mondays: I went to the bathroom and dragged the scale out from its little hidey-hole under the table (I will never be one of those people who just leaves a scale out all the time, willing me to hop on it at any moment) stepped on it and…

Er…I don’t know. I couldn’t actually remember what I weighed last week, so I didn’t know what the number in front of me today really meant. Had I lost? Had I gained? Or was it just another one of those pesky maintenance weeks? Wasn’t that what had happened last week? Oh frick, I had no idea. I’m never particularly great upon first wakening, but I had these sort of sciatic pains running up and down my left leg, from my coccyx to my toes, which was making the whole ‘standing in place to get a reading’ thing difficult enough. But today, I could tell that the ‘Fibro Fog’ had descended upon me.

In case you don’t already know, ‘Fibro Fog’ (or ‘Brain Fog’) is just another one of the wonderful symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. It’s basically a cognitive impairment that causes the sufferer to lose track of time, forget what we’re talking about mid-sentence, get words mixed up, makes us disoriented, decreases spatial awareness, plays havoc with our short term memory and just generally makes us feel as though we’re losing our frickin’ mind. Yeah, super fun stuff. It’s especially frustrating when you’re an otherwise pretty intelligent person who has always prided themselves on having a quick thinking mind and the ability to learn anything you put your mind to. Eating low-carb does help to alleviate it, but some days, especially when fatigued, it rears its ugly head and leaves me feeling really stupid; and that’s not something I’m used to feeling. Like today. It’s taken me nearly 2 hours just to write this much of a post…and I haven’t even told y’all what the weigh-in result is.

Anyway. I just had to go check back on the blog home page to see what last week’s weight was. It says 233lbs, which is is 16 stone and 9lbs. Today, the scale read 16 stone and 5lbs / 229lbs, so that’s a loss of 4lbs this week! Pretty good even if I do say so myself.

I’m very happy with that. I’ve also since taken my painkillers, some diazepam and had my coffee, so I’m slowing beginning to feel more human, which is great because it’s ‘steak-night’ again and I’m looking forward to having the other half rustle me up my usual: 2 porterhouse steaks, some asparagus tips and some Portobello mushrooms. Monday nights have officially become ‘steak-night’ in our household, which is awesome because if I’ve had a good weigh-in I get to celebrate with a really tasty meal, and if I’ve had a less than ideal weigh-in, I get to commiserate with a really tasty meal. Win-win!

So I’m going to just take it easy for the rest of the day (night?) enjoy my meal and maybe zone out to some Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Here’s hoping that y’all are having a good evening wherever you are and I’ll catch up with you guys again in a couple of days.

Blue

Changes

It’s started.

The changes I’ve been making to my eating habits have become noticeable to my other half:

“Babe, you can really see you’ve lost weight now.”

GULP!

I didn’t really know what to say. I wasn’t prepared for it. We were stood at a bus-stop and I’d just turned sideways to stop the rain getting in my eyes when he said it. And I should have been ecstatic, right? The hard work I’d been putting in had finally started to become noticeable on the outside. Good news huh?

Well…um…yeah…I guess…only…I dunno…it just sort of made this whole thing seem very real, all of a sudden. Does that make sense? I mean, of course, I knew that if I did what I was supposed to do and ate according to the plan, I would naturally lose weight. But I’m not entirely sure I was prepared mentally to actually see the results as they started to appear. So of course, me being the stroppy little madam I am, I just waved his comments away with a dismissive:

“No you can’t. Don’t be silly. It’s too soon for anyone to notice anything. You’re just imagining it because you actually know what I’ve been doing. Nobody else would be able to tell.”

And of course he’s as bull-headed as I am and won’t just give in when he thinks he’s in the right (we’re very well matched in that respect, lol):

“No, I can see it…it’s really noticeable. You’re stomach is a lot flatter. You’ve lost quite a bit of weight. Of course I’m going to be able to tell!”

Urgh…I just wanted him to totally drop the issue. I wasn’t prepared for the sudden “noticing” and subsequent conversation around me having lost weight. And definitely not at the bus-stop where I couldn’t just dip out of the room and go find something ‘super important’ to have to focus on in the kitchen. I had to stay right where I was, out there in the fresh air, with nowhere to hide and no way of escaping his “noticing”.

“For fuck’s sake babe. You’re doing great. You’ve worked hard and the results are really noticeable. You should be proud of yourself. I’m proud of you. Just get used to it and shut up complaining.”

(Did I mention how he has a real ‘way’ with words?) I knew he was right, of course – not that I was about to let HIM know that, heh heh – but it didn’t make the whole thing feel any less…weird? Yeah weird is definitely the word. This isn’t something I’m used to hearing; from anyone. Because I’ve never done this before. I’ve pretty much been big ever since I was little and just gotten progressively bigger as the years have gone by. I’ve been told I’m cute, ugly, fat, pretty, serious looking, kooky…all kinds of things throughout my life. But I’ve never gotten smaller and had someone actually notice that I’m shrinking. It just caught me off guard I guess, hearing someone tell me to my face that I looked smaller. I simply have no experience in responding to such remarks. For once, I had no “script” ready to fall back on.

Which sounds ridiculous really. I mean this a guy I’ve loved and lived with for over a decade. He’s seen me at my best, my worst, my most dolled up and my most slovenly. He. Has. Seen. It. All. And of course he’s going to notice when there are physiological changes happening right in front of him. In fact, he’s going to notice far more than anyone else, because I wear mostly nighties when I’m indoors. I change into them as soon as I get in the house. And I go to sleep with his arm around my waist pretty much every night, so he’s obviously going to be up close and personal enough to feel when the thing he’s holding onto gets a little smaller.

So why did it bother me so much that he said something? What did it trigger in me, to make me have a mini freak-out like that? I’ve sat and thought about it and I think it has something to do with my no longer being able to just happily watch the scale go down and not have to address anyone’s probing questions as to why and how I’ve suddenly gotten a bit smaller. Because once I get smaller and smaller over time, it WILL become noticeable to a lot of people. Which of course will mean the inevitable slew of questions about what “diet” I’m on and what made me decide to do it.

And when I dug a little deeper into why that bothered me so much, it brought me to a couple of somewhat uncomfortable untruths that I had to confront: 1/ I don’t want people to know that I’m doing this intentionally, because once they do, I will feel more worried about failing and them finding out that I’ve failed, and 2/ admitting to them that I’m intentionally changing something about myself, is me admitting that I haven’t been 100% happy with myself. And all of that leaves me vulnerable to the scrutiny of others, who wouldn’t previously have thought to scrutinise or view me that way.

Which is a very strange new way of feeling about myself in relation to other people. I’m generally pretty impervious to the judgement of others – that’ll be the old arrogant streak again – but one thing I don’t like to be seen as, is weak. I don’t show weakness to others because I don’t find it to be a particularly admirable quality in myself – or others. And I don’t as a rule feel weak in the presence of others, because…well…that’s just how I was raised. But as I’ve said before, this is unchartered territory for me. I’m still feeling and finding my way along this path and for once I’m unable to go about life, completely forearmed and forewarned.

I may have been as prepared as I could be before embarking upon this mission, but I am thoroughly unprepared for what it might look like to actually reach my destination. And yeah, that destination is still a long way off, but there are plenty of other little stops along my journey; milestones that will creep up on me soon enough. I have to be ready to meet them all and get used to being a little bit different at every one. A new person every time that scale goes down some more. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time.

So I’d better put my big-girl pants on and get ready to meet the new version of me. Because she’s coming.

Ready or not.

Blue

A Thoroughly Uneventful Weigh-In Day

Urgh…just another one of those maintaining weeks today folks. No real reason for it, ain’t nothing we can do about it, but accept it and keep on keeping on! Weirdly enough I was convinced that I’d lost weight yesterday and jumped on the scale a day early, only to find that I had indeed dropped another pound. But it wasn’t an official weigh-day weight, so I disregarded it and today, lo and behold, I was back up a pound again, lol! Bodies are weird! So yeah, no weight loss for this week.

I’ve probably been putting my body through all manner of undue stress lately. I was awake for nearly 72 hours during the election (24 hours of which I spent moderating a stream my buddy was running) and thanks to my chronic inability to remember stuff, I ended up having to go out on 3 different days, which completely wore out my poor, decrepit carcass. Add to that the fact that I also just quit smoking and this poor body of mine doesn’t know whether its coming or going anymore. Yesterday I slept for almost 24 hours (by no means a record time for me, lol) and only ate 2 protein brownies with a couple of cups of coffee, because the thought of any real food just made me feel nauseated. So the fact that I managed to maintain my weight and didn’t just put on 5lbs of stress & inflammation, is quite the biological miracle.

Today is lovely cold and crisp; a perfectly autumnal November day. The temperature is currently 12°C ( for you weirdos on the other side of the pond, that’s about 56 °F) and I’ve still got both my kitchen and bedroom windows open, so there’s a constantly cool breeze floating through the apartment – just the way I like it! The cooler air definitely makes me feel more alert and less drowsy (I don’t understand how people live cooped up inside with central heating on blast, drying out the air and making y’all sleepy) so I think I might spend this evening catching up with some reading.

The other half is making steak again tonight, but this time we have 2 sirloins each instead of the porterhouse for a change and instead of Portobello mushrooms we have some chestnut ones and some asparagus tips to accompany the meat. I still have yet to really break out of my comfort zone and start getting more creative in the kitchen; I do mean to, but I’m also just really happy eating steak a couple of times a week and having home-made burgers on 4 or 5 days too. Burgers with broccoli, cauliflower and cheese is my favourite go-to meal these day and when I’m tired, or sore, or whatever, it’s nice to know that I can throw that together with very little effort and really enjoy the results.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard someone spout the same old rhetoric about how if you don’t get a bit of variety in your diet, then your plan is likely to fail. Apparently you’ll get bored and find yourself eating off-plan foods to compensate. Really Karen? Because I’ve always been a pretty repetitive eater. Don’t get me wrong, I love so many different flavours, textures and various world cuisines…but I also have a habit of finding something I really like, and then obsessing over it for AGES! There’s something quite reassuring about sitting down to a meal and knowing that you’re going to love it. There’s a time and a place for being adventurous, but when you’ve had a long day, you’re absolutely knackered and just want to be nourished from the inside out, by some lovely, warm food…it really ain’t the time to be chancing your satisfaction on something you’re not even sure you’re going to like. Thanks but no thanks. I’m just going to stick to what I know for now and be guaranteed a good feed!

So yeah, that’s what’s on the menu tonight and I’m really looking forward to it. I haven’t actually eaten anything else today so far and I can feel some beginnings of real hunger pangs starting to creep in around the edges of my stomach. I’ve definitely started to learn how to recognise what constitutes real hunger and not just a sugar craving, these days. I still don’t get massively hungry or have much of an appetite at all, being in ketosis. But every now and then, after an extended period without eating, I do feel real hunger. And it’s totally different to a sugar craving. It’s less urgent, less overwhelming, and much easier to just understand it for what it is: a cue to eat something soon…but the world isn’t going to end if you don’t acknowledge it immediately.

So I’m going to take my “real” hunger and go prep the kitchen for the other half to do his chef magic in, grab another cup of black coffee and start prepping my bujo for next month’s Christmas themed spreads.

Have a very good evening y’all!

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

Weigh-In Day / Loser 4 Life

“And my time is a piece of wax falling on a…termite Who’s choking on the splinters.”

(Those lyrics are dedicated to Joe Biden…who wishes he could make anywhere near as much sense as this song does, lol. #ElectionNight2020)
———————————————–

How’s everyone doing today? I’ve been having an absolute blast: getting all excited for the US Election tomorrow, getting weighed, getting out and having a great stroll in the pouring down rain (I’m a total pluviophile!) without feeling too many aches / pains / strains etc… Today was just one of those days when I felt utterly indefatigable! Able to take on the world and win! Of course, that generally means that come tomorrow I will be curled up in agony, waving my fists in the air and yelping:

“Why…why did you have to speed-walk up that hill! You know we don’t have the physical capability to just start exercising like a normal person dagnammit!”

But, I felt good today. So I’m going to concentrate on that for now and continue to revel in all that is awesome. Because GUESS WHO LOST ANOTHER 2LB THIS WEEK?

Yup, THIS girl did! Woohoo!

I know I seem to say this every Monday, but I wasn’t really expecting much of a downward scale move today. Again, I haven’t eaten ‘off-plan’, but I gave up smoking about 3 days ago and whilst I’m literally invincible right now (pay no attention to the clicking joints, m’kay? Lol!) the nicotine cravings really kicked off the sugar-cravings too; so I’ve been eating more protein bars over the past couple of days to help assuage the desire for the sweet-stuff, whilst managing to still stay ‘on-plan’.

I’ve been keeping well within my maximum of 20g carbs a day, but knowing from past experience that having too many protein bars can mess with my weight, I fully expected this week to show either a gain or a maintain. And I was perfectly happy with that. This week was all about giving up smoking; something I wanted to wait to do only once I was well established into my low-carb WOE. I finally felt as though I was far enough along this past week, so on Friday I quit smoking. I haven’t had a cigarette since I quit and I’m pretty much through the 72hr period where the nicotine has left my system and the cravings have largely abated. I haven’t been using any vaping, gum, patches or any other smoking-cessation products, just good old-fashioned cold-turkey abstinence & obstinance. Because I really don’t see the point in continuing to top-up the nicotine levels in my system, when nicotine is precisely what I’m giving up an addiction to. It just makes way more sense to me, to get it all out of my system ASAP and stop feeding the addiction full-stop. And it’s working so far. Stubborn determination for the win, y’all!

But, getting back to the weight-loss, it’s not that I’d been gormandizing myself on dozens of protein bars with abandon – far from it – I just thought that the combination of a slightly altered, nicotine-free metabolism and a few full protein bars (rather than my normal bite, here and there) over the past few days, might have showed up on the scale as a gain or a maintain. But, thankfully, I was wrong and that’s another 2lbs down, hopefully never to be seen again! I was so pleased, I almost did a little pirouette as I was walking along the sea-front earlier (listening to some legitimately awesome music BTW) but then I remembered what happened a few weeks ago when I tried to do a pirouette in my kitchen, hit the deck and ended up sofa-bound with costochondritis for days. Yeah, thanks but no thanks. I wanna be at least semi-upright and ready to cheer Trump on to win tomorrow night!

And, on that note I think I’ll wrap it up for today. The other half is making me 2 porterhouse steaks, asparagus and Portobello mushrooms for dinner this evening, so I’m pretty stoked about that – seems like the perfect way to celebrate both my giving up smoking and losing another 2lb all in the same week.

So, wherever y’all are in the world this evening, I hope you’re having half as much fun as I am, and just as much success with your own weight-loss. Remember that the only person standing in the way of your success is YOU, so don’t let yourself stop you, from going where you want to go.

Stay indomitable y’all!

Blue

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