Thursday, 28 December 2017

Sometimes, positive change is forced upon you...

So, a while back I was doing some training, and discovered a muscle imbalance. I worked fairly hard to sort it out, learned some cool new exercises, and sorted it seemed to be.

Late summer 2017, I'm thinking, awesome. I can run again. Maybe I will find a race that takes me far, far away from my comfort zone. This is going to be fun.

Then it all went tits-up. Late July/early August, I started with gout. It's only in the last couple of weeks that it has really come under control, and my blood-urate is now in the normal range. Looks like I will be on this medication for good, assuming my kidneys stay in good shape.

So what 'takeaways' do I have from this? Well, first is that gout fucking hurts. I've not had it nearly as bad as some do, but then I took measures immediately to curb its progress; I knew what it was, and I made immediate changes. I haven't had an alcoholic drink in over three months, and to be honest I don't miss it. But if I had not had to, I would have carried on drinking. Why? Because it's what I do. Or rather, from here, did. Cutting out meat was much harder, but I am now mostly vegetarian. Or more accurately, I don't seek out meat to eat. I don't mess about if the kids are eating it, I will have a little, but throughout the daytime I don't have any. If it's possible not to in the evening, I don't. I'm working on it. I had my first-ever blood test as a result. I am quite staggeringly needlephobic. Still am, but I'm getting better and better. As it was their first time enjoying my blood, they tested for everything, and I am in quite remarkable shape considering the punishment I have put my body through. My kidney and liver function is excellent, apparently. Shocked the shit out of me. Cholesterol slightly high, but probably from being a fat twat; not yet pre-diabetic, but knocking on its door. Again, that will change with what is to come.

One of the (many, many) things that increases uric acid production in the body is losing weight; being a lard-arse also doesn't help. What a splendid catch-22. But now my levels are in the normal range, I am going to go after my fat arse with a vengeance. I am around a stone (14lbs) lighter, probably largely down to the drink going; but the quantity of water I drink to help the body flush the uric acid out is almost certainly adding to my overall weight. I drink fuck knows how much water a day; I'd say 6-7 pints at work, probably another four or five in the evening. If my pee is anything other than clear, it's panic time. Dehydration is a mammoth factor in gout, and I will be fucked if I'm having that again.

I also started swimming. Just half a mile at a time at the moment, and only breaststroke, but it's a start. I also bought a bike, which I couldn't ride because of the gout's bubbling-under nature while the medication was being sorted. Now I can ride it, there has been a global recall on that model because of a manufacturing issue with the forks... Oh well. Soon though.

You know where this is going, right? I've entered a triathlon in July 2018, a half-Ironman distance (70.3 miles). I'm going to have to learn front crawl from scratch, and I've hardly been on a bike in the last ten years (got hit by a car twice while living and biking around Exeter. It wasn't fun. despite being unhurt mostly both times. I figure third time probably not lucky, so I've stayed away). I have barely run in the last three years.

Out of my comfort zone? Yep, just a bit. But fuck it. 2017's out of my comfort zone was passing my driving test. And that's one of the things that's made this possible. It's at Holkham Hall in Norfolk in July, and the kids will be there to hopefully see the results of hard, hard work, and to learn that being outdoor, engaging with the world, doing stuff, is what it's all about.

So the journey kinda starts today, with a gym trip and some cardio. I'm a fraction under 17 stone right now; I may be more like 15 stone 7lbs by early February. It comes off very quickly, and the variety in training is going to be a huge bonus as it should mean less fatigue. But we'll see what happens. I'll be reporting back more regularly, if you're out there.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Self perception, and a new understanding.

Some of this is going to sound stupid. I'm ok with that.

I gave myself a deadline of when the new baby arrives to get into shape because I know time will be an absolute premium afterward. It didn't happen, though I did get a little fitter and a lot stronger. To cure my ailments, I have been doing high intensity strength training, focussing on my hamstrings and glutes. Basically, I have been curling between 60 and 70 kg on my hamstrings for the past nine months or so, and it's basically worked. I can run again, though there is tightness. But I can at least move, and that's more than I could do before.

But I realised something recently, and it's priceless. I was in the same room as my former brother in law, and he was moaning about being in a 34"-waisted jean. I thought, I would love to wear a 34" waist... But then I thought about it. A lot. I used to wear a 34", when I was 14 or so. Now I am in a 40" or 42"; back when I was in (slow) marathon shape, I was in a 38 and not that far off a 36".

Now I know that 36" is a bit more realistic, though I would be happy with a 38". So why the change?

I realised that I am not the same shape as most people. Yeah, sounds stupid, but it's an understatement. I'm pretty short – 5' 6" – and very wide. Kind of like a box. It's why I don't wear suits for work; I just end up looking like security, albeit security standing far away.

Where was I? Oh yes, not the same shape. So today, I took this realisation a step further. Now, I know I'm pretty big, and not in the way that most fat blokes say: "I'm a big guy" or, "I'm husky". I mean, I'm really big, I put on muscle very easily. I once laughed my ass off (privately) when a visitor to a shared flat had a 15" collar on his shirt, and asked a group in a pub, 'who the fuck has a neck so tiny, how does he hold his head up?' They all also wore 15" to 15.5" collars. At the time, I wore 17.5", now I wear an 18". My chest as measured today is 49"; most men are under 40". In shape, mine is more like 46", so there's some boob in that...

But my thighs are the best indication. Fern, at 38 weeks pregnant, measured her waist under her bump today. It's smaller than my thigh circumference. There is very little fat on my legs but a lot of muscle, and each thigh is 29" around. That's 3" less than my former brother-in-law's usual waist size.

I'm never going to be a 32" waist, and can you imagine how that would look? I can curl an adult's weight on my hamstrings, and push three adults (actually, I can do more but the machine weight stops at 200kg) with my legs; my core strength is excellent, and I have a strong, broad chest and shoulders. I know I need to lose fat, and it can come now with greater sobriety and the ability to actually train. I am trying to embrace that strength and enjoy it, and accept that I am a boulder; I'm never going to be that lovely, long, lean build some men enjoy.

I'll always be able to pick them up and bench press them, though.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Pissed off, but improving

All this weight, I've put on all this weight. Like, dude. 35-40lbs. It's a lot.

Z told me not so long ago to eat less. I think the problem is more to eat less shite, and to drink significantly less. I know that's been a huge part of my additional calories over the last 18 injured months.

Injury though, may now actually really be manageable. Mostly with the application of heat, so that's nice and easy. It seems the problems are my calves, and my quadratus lumbator or psoas muscle in my back. They are the source of the stiffness that can become quite debilitating (I will never forget my 37-weeks-pregnant partner having to dress me. Not a good day).

My better half bought me some new road running shoes just after Christmas, and they remain in the box, unworn. She has written a note on top in black felt pen that says, "Please wear me!"

Soon, my pretties. Soon.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Old fool

Since my husband died, I've discovered that I still need to show that I care by preparing food for someone.  And that's been me.  So I have been, on and off, rather obsessed with cooking and with making lovely food.  Last winter, I was on a real baking binge, making bread every few days and cake at least once a week - which I mostly gave away.

In the summer, I turned the Aga off for a couple of months, so rather lost interest in cooking on my little Baby Belling.  It's kicked off again since, though rather less obsessively.  I have, however, recently taken up with a long-term friend who has become much closer than that, we love each other dearly and see a future together (and I'm coming out here, this is the first time I've said so on the open internet) and we both love cooking and eating as a bonus - though neither of us is inclined to overeat, fortunately.   But it's fun cooking together.  And eating together, obvs.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Z is stable - in respect of weight, anyway

It took a post from Badgerdaddy for me to realise for how long I've neglected this blog.  Last time I wrote, I'd been losing weight without trying but worse, so had my husband.  It turned out that he had cancer of the oesophagus and nothing could be done about it and he collapsed and died in my arms, literally - and unexpectedly - in August last year.

This is not a blog about widowhood and all that - without a husband who couldn't eat and was losing weight drastically, my own weight has stabilised.  I cook and eat and look after myself.  I haven't weighed myself for ages, but am about half of Badgerdaddy's present weight - blimey, Badge darling, what's that about?

Diets that leave out major food groups aren't for me.  I'm glad that butter, eggs, salt and so on are readmitted to the spectrum of permissable foods - but I'd never given them up anyway.  I know that more people nowadays have to be careful about what they eat, eg gluten or wheat, but I'm not one of them.  I have no reason to think that I'm allergic or intolerant to any food.  So it's about putting the fork down and not overeating, as far as I'm concerned.

Success is a bit up and down in that respect, admittedly, but overall I'm still a size 10, which is what I want to be.  I think I look pretty damn good and I am happy with my size.

My second hip is getting painful and, whilst it's not imminent, I feel that a hip replacement isn't that far away.  A year or two, I should think.

It's been a while, Rib ticklers.

A long while.

I got injured. Well, I had a niggling issue with a hamstring that became a larger complication on a couple of occasions, to the point that the doctor prescribed two painkillers to take together (Naproxen and cocodamol) and my partner actually had to dress me… Yeah, not ideal.

It's put a real stop on exercise. Plus, we had a son, and he is quite ridiculously beautiful. I actually get stopped in the street by strangers who comment on how utterly gorgeous our children are. They put a lot of stress on time, those little people.

We moved house too. And I am busier than ever with work.

But I've put a LOT of weight on, I would say around three stone, which is over 40lbs, US Fat Fans. I'm right alongside the heaviest I have ever been (17.5 stone (nearly 250lbs, US Fat Fans), in London 15 years ago).

I can't believe I let myself get to this point. That I barely even noticed I was there until I realised nothing fitted me any more and had to buy clothes just for a work trip.

Fucking fuck.

I'm totally out of shape, and actually feel too heavy to run at the moment. My plan is, when I feel a bit more rested (ie Monday), I will cycle to the gym at lunchtimes which will both help my hamstring, and help me be less fat.

There is more to come, but I have to get back to work. Speak soon, Rib ticklers.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

So, I lost some weight, kinda.

I did. It's true. Around... Well, I don't actually know. between one stone and two. More importantly, I have lost fat and gained muscle – the weight loss is definitely fat. I have more core strength, more muscle through my shoulders, back and chest, and my body shape has changed a little bit.

If I'd quit beer, it would have changed a hell of a lot more, I suspect.

It's come about because of working with the coach in the US, who has put me on a schedule to inspire my body to burn more fat while exercising. It's also made me a faster runner, and in much better condition all round.

She also put me on to a book which might be a game changer for me - Grain Brain, which is by an American neurologist arguing that grains, carbs, gluten and sugar are what's killing our brain and its ability to function, and are as such responsible for the rise in many maladies and a factor in an incredible amount of things from depression to diabetes and more obvious ones. It's a fascinating  book but one that's taking me a while to read. I had flu recently (came on after a big weekend where I saw Pearl Jam, celebrated my 40th birthday, and watched the World Cup Final (on TV, obv). Oh, and received my decree absolute the same week. No wonder I got ill) and concentration has really been an issue for a month.

Anyway, while observing my own diet, I do eat quite healthily - lots of vegetables, good quality meat (mostly venison, which lives wild on nearby estates) - but what has alarmed me is not the amount of alcohol I consume, but the amount of sugar I was not recognising that is in the booze. I have never, ever craved alcohol; though recently, I noticed I have been craving sugar. When I stayed off beer for October, looking back I can see now that this was the month I rediscovered chocolate. If I don't have a drink of an evening now, I'll find chocolate or ice cream or something similar.

I'm a fuckin' addict.

But on the plus side, sugar consumption is a hell of a lot easier to handle than alcoholism. And with handling that, will come dramatic weight loss. Let's find out, shall we?