Saturday, 31 May 2008

Z doesn't eat. Much.

I've completely lost the eating habit over the last few days. It's because I feel a bit fraught and also the Sage isn't well, which is a rare event that always makes me feel overstressed - for one thing, I get really worried and for another, he's a real pain when he's ill - sorry, but he is. He's so unused to it that he becomes a Complete Wuss.

Anyway, there is a small secret part of me that can't help wondering what effect this sudden hardly-eating thang will have on my body. Probably none, which is fair enough - after all, I don't expect to put weight on after an unexpectedly big meal - but it's my best chance of losing anything this month. I'll weigh myself sometime when I feel up to disappointment, but I'll measure myself Right Now.

35, 27 1/2, 38. Peculiarly enough, this is an inch down on the bust and an inch and a half down on the hips, (from 9th April) but half an inch up on the waist. Maybe I sucked my breath in really hard then, or maybe it's just redistributing. 38 inch hips are damn good for me, I'm not inclined to grumble.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Feeling groovy.

Yes, I am.

The last few weeks have seen me in the gym 3-4 times a week, with other exercise on top. In those sessions, I generally have one where I do more weights and a little bit of cardio, then the others I focus on cardiovascular exercise. I'm only in the gym for about an hour and a half, so it's long enough to be enjoyable and short enough to leave me wanting more.

My legs feel great, and the muscles are really responding to everything I'm asking of them. My chest and shoulders are also doing well… In fact, it's all working brilliantly so far – except predictably, I have added a kilo in weight to bring me up to 105. That's pretty heavy… But I feel fantastic, and my diet is pretty good, I'm drinking far less… It's all good, dawg.

One day last week, I went to the gym in the morning, then played two hours of tennis in the afternoon; there was no stiffness anywhere on me, even my groin (a common area of complaint after playing tennis because of the sudden lateral movements) was fine. That weekend, while resting from work and exercise, we went for a walk on the Horseshoe Pass for three hours up some seriously steep hills.

I'm happier, enjoying life a lot more, it's all good. I'm drinking less wine and more beer, so not getting drunk (when I switch from wine to beer, I tend to simply switch volume without allowing for a difference in alcohol… Yes, I know. Mental), and I should be well prepared when travel time comes around next month, with lots of sitting around in airports and hotels, and therefore beer drinking.

Really, I feel great, and it's a consistent great. And rather than going once and coming on and saying I fell great, isn't exercise brilliant, it's been three weeks of it, and I want to do more and more. I think the balance is just about right... My only complaint is that as I've been doing some dips in the gym (where you raise and lower your body using just your arms – like a reverse pull-up, I suppose. Or would that be a push-down?), it's re-built my arms and chest quite quickly, which has affected my golf swing… and as I've only just started playing golf, it's annoying that what I had worked out no longer works. Grrrr.

I'm burbling. And I'm off to the gym again in the morning. Oh, did I mention that I go with a friend now? The motivation is just to be up and ready for when he comes round, which I didn't have before; I would roll out of bed, eat breakfast, then start work. This way I get up around 6:40, ablute, potter, get picked up around 7:15, gym, then a nice walk home of about 20 minutes, then a bath, and start work around 9:30 - 10am. I get a shitload more done even though I start later and finish earlier than I used to.

I believe what I am in is a win-win situation. Right, that's quite enough of my burble. Now to just wait for that lard to start sliding off.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Life is but a dream

I've just been talking to a friend on the phone and I asked how her arm is now - she broke it, back in the winter. She said it's much better, but now she's recovering from an attack of shingles.

Now, that's another consideration when an old dear like me loses weight. It's really vital to stay healthy and eat enough to be well nourished. I'm scarfing back yoghurt for the calcium, now that little butter and cheese is ingested and eating a lot more protein than the last time I dieted 20 years ago (only 12 lbs to lose then, which went in a mere 3 months, and stayed off for 5 years, ho hum). I'm concerned about osteoporosis, but also about a healthy immune system. Shingles is one of the things we middle-aged and upwards dread, and you are inclined to get it when you're run down.

I've been pondering the thought of more exercise. I'd quite like it, which is something I never thought I'd say, but the tennis I used to play is out for me now - well, I haven't tried, but I can't run and I'm not sure about the sudden darting about needed. Maybe doubles with an agile partner?

Anyway, the other thing I like is rowing. We used to have a little dinghy on the river bank - it's a little branch of the Waveney near us - until it was stolen, and we often used to go out in it. However, the water level drops dramatically in the summer and silt builds up, so parts of the river aren't really passable, even in a small boat. So I wondered about a rowing machine at the local gym. But the thought bores me so. It's different, out on the river, quietly rowing along, watching the wildlife, the water so clear that you can see fish and water weeds on the river bottom. And, even if it's just a nice tree to moor by while you eat a picnic, you have a goal and a sense of achievement at the end. It's the reason I chose cycling; because I go somewhere. I don't think I'd have any motivation to keep up exercise purely for its own sake.

I could buy a machine, I suppose. If I threw enough money at it, I'd have to use it to justify the expense. After all, if I can part with £800 on a new Mac and £1000 on the car in one week, there's no reason that I can't go daft on another piece of machinery, is there?

No, you're right. A new boat would make more sense. And lifejackets - I could take the children for outings on the river.

...and this is my friend Gym.

I went to the gym this morning for the first time in ages. I discovered a short time ago that a friend who goes in the morning before he goes to work was struggling with motivation, and despite loving getting up early, I've been struggling to get out of bed before 7:30... So I thought we might both benefit from combining our efforts in the morning, kinda.

So this morning, Dave came and picked me up at 7:30 - he was 15 minutes late, the fucker - and we went and gymmed. I loved it, it was bloody great fun, and I feel great again. It's been months since I've felt this good, and every ache and twinge I had has gone. No doubt some of that is endorphins, but I suspect most of it is the benefits of a really excellent stretch. I always stretch for six minutes or so after warming up, and then for as long as I feel like after working out. My right leg has been giving me grief; the hip has felt like someone with flaming shoes was kicking me in it (a result of sitting on my arse, working, and not walking enough. A ligament shortens after a while and it feels truly shite). Now though, it feels great, and even the hamstring – which almost cramped when I tried to stretch the quadricep recently – feels like it should.

Here's another indication I haven't been getting nearly enough exercise – I have a monthly subscription for contact lenses, and at the moment I have enough for the next 13 months, wearing a pair every day. I usually only wear them for sport, so a month's worth will usually last six weeks to two months anyway, but that many sitting on the shelf… Well, it's ridiculous.

Dave mentioned he might be up for it again tomorrow, or Friday. I'm going to try and get him to do both. It was good.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Z contorts

I don't know whether it's a result of the weight loss, the exercise or simply that the weather is warmer, but I've been much more flexible recently. As I sat on the floor this morning making my feet soft and beautiful I mused that sometimes in the last few years I've hardly been able to reach to cut my own toenails. I can wear 3-inch heels again (wedges or fairly solid, haven't tried stilettos yet) and although I still am asked frequently if I've hurt my leg, I'm often not aware that I'm limping.

Can't run of course or even hurry, although I always walk briskly, and I try to remember, when going up or down stairs, to lead with my good leg. But there are things I can do that I couldn't do a few weeks ago although, since anyone whom I know reads this is young enough to be my child, I won't embarrass us all by mentioning them; nevertheless, the Sage was impressed.

I don't think I'll have lost weight this month. I may be wrong, but I've sneaked a little more fat - olive oil, butter or crème frâiche - into my cooking. I haven't eaten anything bad otherwise, but I've a very efficient metabolism and can't get away with anything much. Also, we're coming into the soft fruit season. I don't eat anything with the fruit - not cream or whatever, but I demolished most of a bowl of cherries the other night. Fruit sounds all right, but it's all more food and it's sweet too.

I'd hoped, after 7 months, to have lost a stone, but I'm trying not to be discouraged if I haven't dipped to 9 stone something. Time or weight goals aren't a good idea, because how do you build yourself up to carry on if you miss a target?

Anyway, so I'm focusing on the positive aspects - less aching and more movement, and also fewer bulges. I said, the other day, that I don't look thinner to myself, but although I don't have a flat stomach (frankly, I doubt that's going to happen, ever), I am smoother and sleeker at the sides. My waist doesn't have that little roll each side any more. And I can at least feel my ribs, even if it's only, I daresay, because I know they're there. Can't play a tune yet, though.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Big heads, small bodies.

I think I could perhaps have a career in film or on television. Most actors have bloody great big faces, disproportionate to their bodies certainly. Many actresses do to, but from what I've seen it's largely a male thing.

I do, too. Well, I think I do. I remember when I lost a lot of weight in a short space of time, my head looked enormous. In fact, my head is one of the first places I lose weight from (including my face, of course), along with my hands and feet, which is very strange, I can tell you.

I was pretty porky when I lived in London last. I had been wining and dining my lady friend at the time, and when we broke up I was devastated, as she had been a close friend before we got together, for many years.

I wasn't interested in food, just coffee, cigarettes and that's it. I got by eating All Bran, as I just couldn't be arsed doing anything else. Seriously, try eating two bowls of All Bran a day (or whenever you're hungry) and you'll lose a ton of weight. I did that for about six weeks without even thinking about it, and next thing you know I've dropped from 17 stone+ to a little over 14 stone.

That's a hell of a drop. Work – at the time, I was employed primarily by QVC, which was great fun – had suggested, politely and kindly, that I take a holiday. Looking at the pics now, I can see that I have a movie star's head, if not the looks to match.

Hmmmm. I'm sure there was a point to this when I started typing. Arse.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Looking in the mirror

Everyone else seems to lose weight so quickly. Gordon McClean ( casually lost 11lbs in a couple of months and seems not to think that the weight is falling off quickly enough. I know that I can do that, or I could once, but on such an austere diet that I couldn't face it ever again, not at my age. If you're younger than I am (and I expect you are) then believe me, it's easier to lose weight at the age you are now than when you are older. And skin is more elastic. I'm distinctly worried about where all the spare skin is going to go.

I've been thinking about body image. I can't remember looking in the mirror and thinking I looked slender. Maybe when I weighed under 8 stone, when my second baby was a few months old. I couldn't keep weight on then and had jutting hipbones, though not unhealthily so. But even then, I still thought I had a fat arse and thighs.

The other side of this coin is that, if I always look a bit overweight, I can't see when I'm a bit more overweight. To me, I look much the same as I did thirteen years ago, before I put on the 2 1/2 stone. And I look the same now as I did seven months ago, when this whole dieting nonsense started, although I've dropped a size and the waist of my new trousers is already loose.

Blimey, Badgerdaddy, you've just left a comment on my last post. This happened before - when I was writing that one, you left a comment on my other blog. This is quite alarming synchronicity.