Tuesday, 28 October 2008


Maybe it's just the weather. I still feel perfectly well and am not lacking in energy, nor am I tired, but I hurt more than I did. Not more than I did a year ago - it hasn't occurred to me to take painkillers, which I had done whenever I expected to be busier than usual or, if I forgot, as a hasty result of it, and I haven't been kept awake by not having a comfortable side to lie on, and I don't have to crawl to a table to haul myself up from a kneeling position - so I am better than I was, but having been considerably better during the summer, it comes a bit hard to feel creaky and old again. Especially as I'm too proud to admit it. I've told people I'm loads better, and I am, so i can't go back on it. I'm still saying "oh pfft, I'll stave off this operation for years yet." And so I will. Well, I suppose so.

I do think it is the weather; colder and wetter, that is making the arthritis hurt more, but I'm bored and disappointed that cycling is such an effort. I feel that I'm starting from the beginning again, and I don't have the incentive any more. I do have the habit, though, and the stubbornness, so I won't slacken. But I can feel the ache of my muscles, and they feel so much firmer, so why aren't they doing the job without so much effort? It's not as if I'm expecting more than I was - well, that isn't quite so. I know that there are bits of road I could do now that I got off and walked up back in the spring - but everyone else seems to do it easily and I find it so hard. Boo. Though not Hoo, of course. I am stubborn, after all.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Z mustn't become too pleased with progress

More compliments, two people today said that surely I don't want to lose any more weight as I look just right now. I've explained that I'm still under doctor's orders; that is, he's advised me to drop to below 9 stone. I can't help feeling more relaxed about it - but on the other hand, if I'm too relaxed I won't lose any weight at all. I'm aware, as I come up to a year of losing weight, that I'm eating a whole less carefully than I did last November. I think that's probably natural - your best chance of getting into good habits is at the start, when you're enthusiastic and disciplined and if you are too much of a killjoy for too long, your social life goes to pot, for a start.

My hip has been giving me some trouble though. I don't think it's anything significant, in that I don't expect that it has suddenly deteriorated, but it is a reminder of what this is all for. It's nice to get compliments, but I need to put less strain on my joints. And, in today's wet weather, my hands weren't all they could be. I'm just at the start of cracking up and I need to keep my body mobile until my liver packs up at any rate.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Z was overoptimistic, and now isn't

I'm feeling a bit morose and gloomy, because I keep finding all over again how little strength I have. I helped carry some tables yesterday - they are not all that big, a bit bigger than card tables, but they have iron legs and are heavy. They belong to the village hall, but we borrowed them for a doo at the church hall. When Ro was little and we went to the mother and toddler group, I used to shift them without difficulty, but now, having carried a few, my bolt was shot and my arms and legs are still aching today. I made heavy weather of cycling a few miles.

I'm not sure why this is - okay, I suppose I shouldn't expect to be as strong as I was over 20 years ago, but I don't see why I feel no fitter, when cycling, than I did a year ago. I've been careful to eat a balanced and good diet and to diet slowly so that I don't lose muscle rather than fat, and as you know I've been cycling several days a week throughout the year. I don't mind progress being slow, but at the moment I feel that I'm losing ground rather than gaining it. It could be that the arthritis is getting slightly worse and this is counteracting the benefit of losing weight, or it could be that I'm just a bit tired or it may be what I should expect at my age, or it could be an effect of losing weight. My leg muscles are certainly toned, but that doesn't mean they are working better. It's a nuisance because I'd like to be cycling further afield, but it's such a slog when going up the most modest hill that there is no pleasure or feeling of satisfaction in it.

I'll persevere of course and maybe I shouldn't expect more - I said a long time ago that, when thinner, I used to not have much stamina, but in those days I was, at least, pretty strong even if I used up that strength quite quickly.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Ah... Crap.

I've had a cold for nearly a month, which means while I have not particularly inflated, I have not exercised either; as exercise is at the core of all I would like to do, I'm a bit fucked, really.

I also have FOUR pairs of running shoes waiting to be used. Grrrrrr.

I can't wait to get back to exercising, this bloody cold is driving me insane. But it's so close to gone, can't rush it... So... close...

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Z resists temptation

I was really busy on Friday because it was our auction and there was not time for a proper meal all day. I'd made loads of sandwiches and I ate those, but had no idea of what I was eating. I was tired when we got home at around ten o'clock and ate a small chocolate chip cake - I wanted the sugar but it didn't taste all that special and I realise that if I'm going to indulge I might as well eat something gorgeous and get the full benefit of that deliciousness.

The next day I was still a bit lethargic and spent the whole day wanting chocolate. Chocolate biscuits, to be precise and I had some in the house, although I didn't eat any. I had to do some serious resisting. Now, eating a chocolate biscuit would not be dreadful. It would not instantly cause me to get fat and I do eat a chocolate a couple of times a month - indeed, I ate cake twice last month, one of those being chocolate cake. But I did resist all the same, because I would not have been eating it because I had made a choice to do so but in response to a craving and I felt that would be a weakness and that I'd have wanted to eat another the next day. So I chomped rice cakes and raw carrots instead, and then drank at least my share (though between 3) of a bottle of champagne in the evening.

Now, there's a funny thing. I was wearing my new size 10 skirt and was complimented by several people actually, which was nice, and talked about weight loss with a friend who has lost quite a lot of weight in the past 18 months, though a lot of that is through stress. She has a smaller bottom and legs than I do, but is at least the same size up top. She said she weighs 8 stone 3 and is a size 10. If I'm about 9 stone 7 and am also a size 10, which I am, and my skirt and trousers are not at all straining to be done up, how does that work? I reckon that if I weighed 8 stone I'd be size 6 max. She's a couple of years older than I and had a hysterectomy some time ago - maybe it's something to do with bone density? I dunno.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Pretty Damn Good!

Look, I'm sorry about this and I will get over it and not harp on about it, but remember please that this blog is as much to give myself heart and encouragement, and also give myself a record of this whole dreary *diet* malarkey, as it is anything else.

I wore my new skirt and jacket today. And, frankly, I looked in the mirror and thought 'damn good'. And I went downstairs and did this'n'that to get ready and then went into the kitchen and the Sage came in and I said "I'm wearing my new skirt and jacket, what do you think?" And the Sage, who usually says "yes fine" without looking, looked and said "You look lovely, and I do like the colour of that jacket - it looks nice and warm too, it's wool isn't it?" I agreed and said that most of my jackets are black, brown or grey and I wanted some colour (it's a sort of red wine colour) and this was the one I found in the sale, reduced to £30 (while my weight is changing so much I only buy in sales).

The thing is, he doesn't ever say anything. I don't think he's ever remarked spontaneously on my appearance and for his face to light up and an opinion to be proffered over and above what I'd asked for is remarkable indeed.

One has to take a balanced view. I might grumble that he hasn't mentioned my weight loss. But. He never mentioned my weight gain or gave any indication that he minded at all. So I can hardly complain if he doesn't say anything now. He is vastly polite and kind and he loves me for what I am, whether big or small. Nothing to complain of there and so much to be glad of. But it was so lovely to receive an *almost* spontaneous compliment.

Actually, Dilly has lost a fair bit of weight in the past few months. I said, today, that I'd seen her walking along the road and thought how pretty and young she looked (absolutely true, I was proud for her) and I also mentioned that she looks very slim. She said that her friend Sarah, who came over last night, mentioned that she had lost weight - "mind you, Sarah was the one who said I was looking fat!" Fair enough, I said, because at least she says the positive as well as the negative.

Anyway, I looked pretty damn good in my size 10 skirt and I received compliments from friends who know I've been dieting and are pleased for me. And when another friend, whom I haven't known for long, said that she sometimes looks in the mirror and is depressed (she is smart and attractive, but in her 70s and let's face it, the only way is down - for me as well as her, if 20 years behind) I said "no, look in the mirror and think "Pretty Damn Good! Appreciate yourself and don't judge harshly if it isn't merited. You look great and you should know it."

Monday, 13 October 2008

Z is normal

Indeed, I worked out my BMI a couple of days ago, and it came out as 24. Overweight starts at 25, according to this very rough-and-ready calculation - I know it doesn't take into account all sorts of things, including muscle ... but actually it's a reasonable guide for me, because I'm of an average build and physique.

I also worked out how much thinner I could be before I went into the 'underweight' category. Another 2 stone. In fact, I'd have to go down to about 100 lbs before I would be officially underweight.

But anyway, it has encouraged me. Like many - most? - women, I can't estimate my own size accurately. Since I have always looked at myself and seen fattish, I can't really differentiate between degrees of fatness. If I looked fat at 8 1/2 stone, then it didn't make much difference being 10 1/2 stone, because I still looked fat. I had to be near 8 stone to recognise that I was about right, and even then I was aware of the size of my hips and I didn't have thin legs.

This is stopping right now. I am not fat, I do not look fat and I will not think of myself as fat when I am not, or look into a mirror and see fat. I still weigh more than I will do in a few months, but although I choose to lose more weight and I want to become more toned - yes, Badgerdaddy, I'll give that ball a go, though I'll have to watch that video a few more times before I remember what I'm supposed to do with it - I am looking fine (actually, this is quite hard to type, I keep wanting to put in disclaimers - 'for my age' or 'considering' or 'if it weren't for *insert body part* - but I'm not going to) and I have gone down 2 sizes in less than a year, and that is Damn Good.

So to celebrate, I went and bought a pair of jeans and a skirt, just for the sake of being able to buy a size 10. Funnily enough, I also bought a jacket - a close-fitting knitted jacket - and that's a size 12. In years gone by, my sizing was the other way round. If I had 37" hips, I'd have had a 32" bust. Now, I'm still about 35". That's fine, the best part of my weight gain was getting a cleavage for the first time and I hope I don't lose it.

Friday, 10 October 2008

I am not addicted to weighing myself, it just happened...

Oh okay, I happened to come downstairs in my dressing-gown this morning to fetch some newly-washed clothes that needed ironing. So, as I'm rarely downstairs in a state of undress, and the scales are kept in the porch, I trotted out there, took off the dressing-gown and weighed myself In The Buff, keeping a sharp look-out for the postman.

9 stone 7 lbs exactly. Hah!

So now what do I do for the rest of the month?

Cheered by this, I toddled back upstairs and tried on those 20-year-old age 13 boy's M&S jeans and this time I could do up the waist. I could only get the zip up about half an inch, but it's still progress.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Weight down, a little

9 stone 8 pounds, and as there's still 3 weeks of the month to go, I'll revise my target of losing 20 pounds in a year and go for weighing 9 1/2 stone instead; less than a pound difference in the weight loss but a nice round number. I tell people who ask (what's with that, then? Do you go around asking people how much they weigh? At least half a dozen people have asked me.) that I weigh nine and a half stone already, so I should aim to be telling the truth, I suppose.

I always weigh myself with clothes on by the way, but if I'm wearing a belt I might take it off!

I was very, very tempted to make cakes, I just felt in that mood, but I resisted, because I couldn't help pinching off bits of the chocolate brownies as it was, and I realised that I would eat any cake I made; and possibly not the one slice it would be reasonable to permit myself, but little bits several times a day until it was finished. That still wouldn't be so bad, but I know it would leave me with a sugar craving and a general longing for cake. If I'm going to give in to any bad temptations at all, I'd rather they were for cheese.

Having said that, I buy Maltesers and jelly babies, and sometimes other chocolate, to help retain good cheer at meetings - I also provide fruit for those of us who don't eat the sweets - and it's not unknown for me to take one of those, especially if I haven't got around to eating much in a day. If I go just too long without food, then I'll either be so ravenous that I'll not know when to stop or else I'll get a headache and feel exhausted, and a touch of sugar staves either of those off for just long enough to get some proper food ready and into me.

Monday, 6 October 2008

A bad week.

Not just in terms of waistline, either.

Been away with work from Monday to Friday, and this involved four flights, umpteen trains, four hotels, and some beer. I was quite pleased with my beer consumption, which totalled only 11 pints for the week. This is partly because I had a horrible cold for the week too, I think. But even so, it's less than it could have been. Not much to do on the outskirts of Coventry on your own for three nights, for example.

Food-wise I tried to be a little sensible at least. It's very hard when you're away with work though, as healthy-ish food in airports simply doesn't exist. But I didn't eat too much, on the whole, and got plenty of sleep and did lots of work.

Thing is though, the cold has put the mockers on any exercise for the moment. It's in its second week now, and I still feel like shite (I think this is at least partly down to all the travel and work, and not having the chance to just sit still and recover). So no running, no gym and no tennis or football for at least another week, I think. Barring a minor miracle, I mean.

Here's an example of how shite my week was in terms of incident. I went to Bulgaria on Monday, and came back on Tuesday. I took Euro with me, as I knew Bulgaria had entered the EU in January 2007. The lady at Sofia airport who was there to advise me on cabs etc explained I needed to change it to Lev (or Leva, Bulgarian currency) as no cab drivers would take the Euro and she didn't think anyone else would, either. I changed it. Got back to England late on Tuesday, went to the bank Wednesday morning to change currency back. They refused, as Bulgaria had 'switched to the Euro'. When did they do this, I asked, as I have just come back from there? Today, said the bank lady.*


*Things like this make me think I should still have a blog. Ah well. Shared here instead. Won't do it again though, honest. I put it on here because I then went outside and ate the money.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Let Z eat cake

I've discovered another nemesis. I made brownies and came home from the doo I'd taken them to with some ginger cake. I crave both. I had cheese for lunch, but only a little and dinner was altogether virtuous (an Indian dish of spicy cauliflower and potato which I served with pizza for the boys - yes, I know, what a hotchpotch - but ate on their own myself) but I sit here wanting a piece of cake. I did eat a rock bun this afternoon. I think that rock buns are the acceptable face of cakes, and I'd expected to eat one last week and didn't, so I'd sort of factored it into the diet already, so it no longer counted. Oh, shut up. Look, I'm only trying to lose a pound or two a month, you know, and I think I'm doing damn well to keep it up all this time. I will have a fruit and yoghurt day if I feel fat in the week and make up for the rock bun, which was worth it.

Anyhoo, I feel quite tempted to make a cake soon, because making the brownies was nice, even though I did cock it up a bit (see the other blog if you need to know) but I realise that I can't risk it, not for a while anyway. If I make cake, I will eat it.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Weigh in

Today, 9 stone, 8 3/4 lbs. Why is there so often three-quarters of a pound? I'm now in the 12th month of the diet, having visited the doctor on 29th October last year and been told that the pain and lack of movement in my right leg was caused by an arthritic hip. At that time, I was perilously close to 11 stone. I'd call it 11 stone, except it wasn't quite and I still clutch at that straw.

But that isn't what I meant to write about tonight. The other morning, lying in bed, I rubbed my aching right thigh. It was aching because I'd been going up and down stairs and ladders painting my flat-to-let in London. On Sunday, once I was home, I got on my bike, just to go a few hundred yards and it really hurt. My left leg had to do all the work and my right one just went round and round on the pedal - I quickly abandoned my plan to cycle 2 miles to my lunch engagement and went in the car instead.

So, when I felt the hardness of my thigh, I wasn't sure whether it was muscular tension or simply muscle. But the ache is better now and so I tried again this morning. Ooh, muscles! I don't know much about muscles except the ones everyone knows, but it's the ones at the sides and the front. Rock hard, darlings. As I prodded my way down, I could feel when there started to be some 'give' under the skin.

Today, I cycled in to town for the first time in a week (horrible weather yesterday) and it was very windy. I felt the benefit of having used some different muscles last week though - well, I think that's what I was feeling the benefit of, and I felt quite strong. Coming home was a beast though - a strong wind almost in my face and at one time I had to stand up on the pedals to make any headway at all, and that was on a flat road! My son in law said to El that this morning he had felt he was cycling with the brake on.

Anyway, at least I know that the bike is having some effect on my muscles. It's also good for my lungs. I would like to think of another sort of exercise that I actually would like to do, to work some other muscles. Getting out with the pruning saw is good for my arms, but I wonder what else I could do? I don't want to go to a gym, I really don't like swimming and I have to be careful with my legs, so can't walk long distances regularly and I can't run at all, literally. Three steps and I'm lurching.

The obvious thing is rowing, because it exercises the whole body, particularly the trunk and the arms, but the small downside is that I don't have a boat and our boathouse (yes, we have one) is in need of renovation. When we left our dinghy overturned on the bank, it got stolen, unsurprisingly. And it's the wrong time of year to get started, plus I don't have time. This is a project for another year. So, for now, what else? I can't think of anything at the moment, can you?