Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Z has feeble arms

I've taken a load of exercise in the last couple of days - loads for me, that is. I've cycled or walked about 15 miles as well as a 3/4 of an hour aquacise session. This took my determination to the limit - I have to say that it's the sort of thing that bores me rigid. I'm deeply disinclined to do things with people, and I found it unenjoyably hard. In fact, there were quite a lot of the more bouncy things that I couldn't do because I don't have the balance with my right leg and having to twist to right myself really jars my hip. I was obliged to explain to the concerned leader that I'm fine, I just have a dodgy leg and I'd do what I could. This is all right as an exercise in humility but it wasn't much fun.

As long as I interpreted the exercises to suit myself, I think it was all right as a work-out. There are a couple of things - I need something on my feet to stop me slipping, and it will also enable me to wear a lift in my right shoe, which should give me better balance.

The other thing was that I discovered how feeble my arms are. Shockingly so. You know the long tubular foam thingy - can't think what it's called - we tied a knot, put it around a leg to increase resistance in the water and waved the leg around. I couldn't push it deep enough into the water to get my leg into it. I can't lift my leg awfully high anyway, but I could barely get the whole tube submerged. I used to have really strong arms, but that was a long time ago.

Anyway, I cycled to and from the pool and later cycled to the high school again. I made it nearly up that hill - I think I could have but I was pretty knackered by then so I walked about 5 or 10 yards just for the breather. I cycled up the drive to the car park, straight past the bike sheds and up the slope to the meeting centre doors, chaining it to the guard rail at the top. I explained to the Head that I'm too lazy to walk 50 yards from the bike shed. This is absolutely true, but you see how I manipulate people's view of me 'she says she's lazy but she arrives all hot and steamy on her bike when she could just drive here - she is being humorous and is not lazy at all, alors' - but actually I am. I'll carry a ludicrous amount of stuff to save myself two trips and in any situation I'll automatically work out the most efficient way to move, to save myself any effort at all. This is evidently the reason I've become so miserably unfit. I'd rather just sit and watch you all frolic around happily being energetic.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Feeling great, feeling shite, feeling good

Yes, that's my diary for the last week since being on the herbalist-imposed 'diet'. I felt great. No bread, I think, was the key. No bloating at all, felt good, had plenty of energy, and weirdly I didn't want to eat lots of carbs like I normally do.

Most odd.

I ate fruit for breakfast most mornings, if not fruit (usually tinned, I must confess, as I discovered tinned lychees are a small fraction of their price in a shell. Go figure) then eggs and sometimes a bit of bacon. Snacked on carrots, and sometimes oatcakes. Ate a normal-ish lunch, which may have been egg-related if I didn't have eggs at brekkie, or may have been jacket-potato related, or fishatarian. Evening meal, which generally came post-gym, was jacket potato with nowt on, plus chicken breast and roast parsnip, broccoli and carrots.

But then the diet thing ended, and I was allowed yeast and wheat and all that crap again. We went out for a meal yesterday to a local pub with my mother in law, and I had a vegetable jambalaya for lunch. Interestingly, they listed the ingredients in the menu, except one – and when it arrived it was fucking covered in celery. Bastards.

Salad is part of what's bee disagreeing with me, so I just ate a couple of bits of raw pepper off that, and ate one small slice of garlic bread, and ate my celery-picked-out jambalaya. Then the child only ate half of her lasagne, so I finished that, too. Then I had dessert, which was some ridiculous toffee thing with a small scoop of ice cream.

I felt shite afterward. Huge, bloated, and shite – and it wasn't a quantity thing, despite what it might read like! The jambalaya was a small portion, and half a child's lasagne... well, not a lot. More than most people might eat, but less than I might. And really, it didn't sit well. Felt totally lethargic afterward too.

So I'm still mostly sticking to what the herbalist advised as regards bread and a few other foods - and beer, hopefully, as she's suggested soemthing to help me handle the full moon. Feel fine today after a big-ish cardio workout last night, and fruit for breakfast this morning. I feel better again. Not bloated, just fine. Will work out again tonight, I think I'm on the cusp of 100 kilos... Weighed myself late last night before I left the gym and I weighed, after a day of food and lots of liquid, 102.3kilos. I'm not unhappy with that.

I'm unhappy that I didn't get to spend any time with my lovely wife though. She was tired and went to bed shortly after I got home, which is fair enough as it was around our usual bedtime. But I had to cool down, have a bath, and relax a bit ready for sleepage, so I stayed up for a while.

I digress. Not seeing Lovely Wife is what I struggle with in terms of exercise. Yes, we do some exercise together, but I do love just chilling with her, playing cards or talking rubbish. Have to find some way to make it all work together that doesn't involve getting out of bed at 5am.

Things I would like to achieve before October:
1: Lose weight on a large scale, but sensibly. I'd like to be lighter, but that's why I'm here. I think the herbalist was a significant step toward this. I don't think it would be outrageous to think I could be a couple of stone lighter by, say, mid-July. Especially if I can perform the next step of the plan – I've spent two months making my legs super-strong and injury-proof; next step is road running in the morning, and gym work in the evening. Split it up so I get more time with the family and more benefit from the exercise. I think it's a winner. So from 102 kilos, I'd like to get down to 90 kilos, a loss of around 2 stone, or 28lbs. Another part of this is continuing to play a bit of football, playing more tennis, and I plan to start circuit training in the next couple of weeks to see how I like it. Body feels great, the training has really worked – just need to up things a little bit now and see where it goes.

2: Run a race. Could be a 10k, more likely a half marathon. On top of that, I'd like to beat my PBs, which wouldn't be that hard – 56:29 for a 10k and 2:08 for a half marathon. A sub-2 hour half would make my year, and a sub-50 10k would be outrageous. But just beating my PBs would do for now.

3: Buy some clothes that fit. t-shirts fit fine, but Lovely Wife keeps pointing out that my jeans look ridiculous. I've gone for very loose fitting jeans for years, partly because my thigh muscles are enormous and it's actually not that easy getting jeans that fit them comfortably. Perhaps buying big jeans helped my mind and waist relax into filling the rest of the space too...

Monday, 23 February 2009

Z Contemplates her Navel

I'm doing a bit of encouraging self-evaluation. It's not so much for now as for me to look back on in months to come. So if you'll bear with me I'll itemise a few changes over the last 16 months.

End of October 2007 - Weight then - nearly 70 kilos, nearly 11 stone. Weight now - well, it'd help if I'd weighed myself before starting this, but I can't be bothered now so I'll go by the last time I did - nearly 60 kilos, 9 stone 6 lbs.

Cycling - started in November 07, I'm still doing it. I still don't enjoy it, but I've kept going and while I'm not a lot fitter I'm better at it. I was no end pleased to get up two hills this morning that I wouldn't have done in the cold weather.

Swimming - I started gently by taking the children to the pool. Then that tailed off and I haven't been for months. Bad. However, that is being dealt with and I'm going to an aquacise session tomorrow. Weeza is planning to go swimming in a time-share hired in a private pool, if I go too I can do exercises then.

Walking - no worse. I avoid walking much, though I'm all right on flat ground. Now I've been told one leg has become shorter than the other, I should be able to correct that with an insole and I hope that will make walking easier and the limp less pronounced (it isn't always heavy but it is always there) which will get me doing more steady but not strenuous walking. Badgerdaddy kindly sorted out walking poles for me (I think it'll be a long time before I am sufficiently unself-aware for me to use them both) and that will help too.

Help - yes, I've asked for help. This is not like me. It's the final remnant of early shyness perhaps, that I don't like to bother people, that I'm worried what they'll think if I make a fuss, that I'll look silly. It's also a remnant of not being girly. Oh you know, think Famous Five. George might have been an irritating little tit swaggering around pretending to be a boy but at least she wasn't wimpish like Anne, always proudly polishing her saucepans and looking in admiration at the clever strong boys. I looked sweet and girly but I wasn't once you knew me, and I associated asking for help because you couldn't manage or because it was hurty with being girly. Sigh. Yes, I know. Anyway, I'm not either shy or with inapproprate ideas of what being capable means any more. I've asked for advice and I'm taking it, which is equally useful.

This morning, I went into a room in search of a tee shirt among stuff dumped on a bed and caught sight of my bare middle in a mirror on the way. You know when you catch yourself unawares and discover what you really look like for an instant? - well, I found that my middle doesn't look at all fat but it looks very flabby. Also, my outer thighs are fine but inner thighs are distinctly wobbly. I'll aim to build up to doing something about more specific exercises with that in mind, but for now I'm more likely to do them for health rather than cosmetic reasons.

So, targets for this year - and I am not beating myself up about this, I'm not going to be at all unrealistic and it'll all be achievable without changing much about my life.

1 Starting tomorrow, get in the swimming pool. If I can't do it for fun, which I can't, overcome my resistance to 'joining in' and exercise with a class. Success criterion(oh go on, let me be a complete twat here) - I'm still doing it at least twice a month by the end of the year.

2. Buy new shoes as necessary, get used to wearing insoles. Get walking shoes, do more walking, use the pole Success criterion - once I've corrected my leg length, limp less when my hip isn't actually hurting.

3. Lose the rest of the weight Success criterion - weigh less than 9 stone by the end of October. This is so achievable. If I really pushed myself I could do it in a couple of months, but I am not being overambitious, that's when I risk failing and discouraging myself.

4. Carry on cycling. Success criterion I think I've already said it.

Right, if I can do all that, won't I be pleased? And I've got 8 months.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Z isn't a stranger to the chocolate bar

It has to be admitted. I don't lose weight by being sensible but not thinking about it. A more-or-less diet has become my way of life, but that just keeps me stable. If I want to take more off I have to work at it.

At least, now the weather is warming up (and I think having my bike tyres pumped up has helped) I'm finding cycling easier. And I'm going to walk a bit more too, in a gentle ambling sort of way. I'm doing these simple little exercises the physiotherapist gave me too, though they will not lose me any weight for sure. I think the point of them is to promote the release of more synovial fluid to lubricate the joints a bit more. But for me, the exercise I take is to tone me and raise my metabolic level, not to build muscle as such. It isn't enough to burn fat either. So it's back to diet.

I'm becoming casual, I can see it. I seem to have decided that if I am pretty strict for a few days I can lose a pound and then relax for the next few weeks. It's a bit dieting for the lazy. Hm. Yes. That seems to sum it up.

Monday, 16 February 2009

I went to see a herbalist...

A real one, not a drug dealer. I went to her on Trophy Wife's advice, as some things seemed to be giving me an upset stomach, and I wondered if she might be able to help me with some skin problems.

So anyway, according to her tests, I need to stop eating, which should increase my weight loss considerably.

Actually, what her tests showed were some things I strongly suspected - that my body has a problem with iron-rich leaves, and tomatoes, for example. After our chat, I'm off wheat and anything with yeast in for a week, and then we see how it goes.

On the plus side, I feel pretty good. On the bad side, she also advised no starch for breakfast, and as toast with Marmite is already out, that also rules out cereal. I've had six eggs the last couple of days, so I'm trying to ease off those a bit... What does that leave? Crisps?

Other meals are fine. Though I've been advised off quinoa too. Pasta, apparently, is fine though. Durum wheat is not part of the problem, I am told, as long as I have it in moderation.

It also means, interestingly, that I will make Stepdaughter and TW's dinner, and make my own separately. This is a good thing, as I can eat a bit later, for example, after going to the gym in the evening. They are both used to eating pretty early, which I've struggled with a bit, so this could work quite well, and mean I get some exercise in. I don't like exercising after food, y'see, so this is ideal; exercise after work, until, say, 7pm, then return, wash, and eat. Job done.

I weighed myself yesterday as I'm curious as to what this will do by the end of my seven days, particularly without bread. I weighed 102.5 kilos yesterday, and I must admit, I feel pretty damn good.

Oooh, I could have raw carrots for breakfast, maybe.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Z does up a Zip

You remember those boy's jeans I mentioned here and here? I put 'em on again today and, though I've only lost a pound or two since October (oh dear, I'll have to do something about that soon) I could do up the zip with not much trouble at all. I mean, no lying on the floor or anything like that. So progress again.

Unfortunately, all that displaced flesh sort of bulged up over the waistband. Still, shall we not think about that and focus on the positive?

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

whales aren't always weighed, even at the station

Well, I phoned this morning (because I am resolute), and was a bit disconcerted to be offered an appointment at 3 post meridiem et hodie (3 o'clock this afternoon, darlings). I was already dressed in quite light clothes, but changed in the afternoon to less revealing knickers, just in case, and removed my cardi, for ounces count when you are likely to be weighed. I cycled in to the surgery, for it was bright and sunny, albeit cold. Ice still lingered where the sun hadn't shone (no need to check your arses, darlings, I don't mean there).

Anyway - and this is advice for anyone who ever needs to go to the doctor and knows what effect they wish to have - I gave the impression I wanted to. I like and respect my doctor, let's start with that. I also know him and have done for many years, as my children were at school with his, the better part of 30 years ago. He is a fine diagnostician and a fine doctor. He is straightforward and kind, but his bedside manner is a bit limited. He mostly respects you, if you are intelligent, if you take responsibility for yourself, though he is quick to support those who can't help themselves. He switches off a bit if he thinks you are being a wuss. That's fair enough, actually I'd love to be a wuss but none of my family supports that either (actually, my mum did but i didn't like being mummied so I spurned fussing, which is a bit of a bummer now, really) so I have to act strong and independent so that, when I flag, I get the encouragement I secretly crave all the time.

Anyoldhoo, this is the chap who suggested that I called in every few months to tell him how I was getting along, then was puzzled when i did. So it's been a year now. So I was sensible and practical. I explained that I'd been fine; markedly better in fact, during the summer but much worse once the weather turned cold and wet (it was wet most of the summer, it's the combination that counts) and that I didn't expect anything to be done about that, it was simply an observation (didn't actually say that conclusion, shrugs etc say a lot). However, my knee hurts a lot more and limits me somewhat. He asked if it's the same knee as the hip, and suggested it's referred pain. I agreed that I think that too, but that my concern is that my (sometimes heavy) limp might damage the knee or the other hip. I wondered if I might get advice somewhere about what I could do to prevent that.

Darlings, I said the right thing. He said he thought that was a splendid idea and that I can self-refer to the local cottage hospital's physiotherapist. He also said that when I might be referred to a consultant with a view to a new hip is my call. I explained that it's a bit difficult, not knowing whether I'm 2, 5 or 10+ years away from an operation. I explained that he wasn't helping in that respect. I respected his inability to help. Or was that inclination? Doesn't matter. I didn't use either word. "I quite see that I asked you an unfair question, but you haven't actually helped..." was pretty well what I said. He said that if I can wait until post-60, that will be good. But it was meant (I appreciate, as usual it was unspoken) to hint not advise.

He said that he thought my suggestion (physiotherapy) was a good one and we left each other happy. "You look very well" he said at the end, his glance (for I am adept at reading glances) meaning 'you've lost weight and are better for it". I assured him that I'm in excellent health. He didn't suggest weighing me. It wasn't mentioned. We're both very polite, very English and slightly to the upper end of middle class. What is unsaid doesn't need to be said, because we both know what we meant.

That is, he'll do what I ask, but I have to ask and I'll only do so when I have to because my quality of life is impaired to an extent that is not acceptable to me. Neither before nor stupidly beyond. In other words, mutual respect.

Fuck. And other sweary words. On the other hand, I wasn't weighed. which has to be good, yes?

Oh, and he asked me to move my leg about a bit to check my knee. That is, to raise it in a goose-steppingly sort of way, and then to try to kick my own bum. He said my knee is flexible. Which isn't unexpected, I'd have been disconcerted to have been told I've knee problems. Nonetheless, as a result of such exertions, it's been hurting all evening. Will you respect me less if I say 'fuck' again?

He also recommended a stick. Not a walking stick, but one of those poles, you know. Oh dear lord. What a tit I will look. I so motherfuckingly despair. In an awfully British and sensible and slightly upper-middle-class way, of course, as you know.


Sunday, 1 February 2009

Z plans to procrastinate

i've been quiet, after a brief January flourish, because not much has happened on the dieting front. I cycled into school three days out of five and didn't enjoy a moment of it, mostly because I'm so damn slow. One day, I was overtaken on a slight uphill incline by a lady who I know to be at least 80 years of age. I can't help it and I can't go faster, any more than I can walk faster than I do, or can not limp nearly all the time. I am building myself up to go and talk to the doctor again.

Not that I know quite what I'm going to say. I don't know how much it 'should' hurt or how much I 'should' limp at the stage I am, which I don't know either. I should find out, I suppose, and I guess that's what I'll enquire about. He said, when I first went to him, that it's my call. He'll refer me to a consultant when I ask him to. But being referred doesn't necessarily mean that I think I'm getting near the time I should have a new hip. I find it hard to believe that, though I recognise I could be refusing to accept it. But it doesn't hurt *that* much and last summer it was fine most of the time.

The thing is, I'm okay about the hip. What concerns me is that limping is putting a strain on my knee and my spine and my other leg and that this will bring nearer the time when any or all of them will give me trouble.

There's another reason I'm disinclined to go to the doctor, which is that he will want to weigh me. He nearly had to force me on the scales last time and then I nearly cried, which really rather upset him (which was quite sweet of him). And oh lord, isn't that humiliating - both the being weighed and the crying.

Anyway, I'm going to make the appointment. But probably not tomorrow. I think I can pretend to be much too busy for a while yet.