“Dame” Kiri :'(

  
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So, as I’ve alluded to in a previous post, quite a bit of my current angst is to do with this kitty pictured above in the highly inelegant pose.  I’ve picked this picture because it makes me smile, albeit sadly, because this is how I’ll remember Kiri, not as she is now.  Here was about five years ago.  She was old even then, around 13, but still in good shape.  As you can see from the picture, she loved her food (and, no, that’s not because of her owner – the other one eats normally, so maybe they’re all just different like humans are) and on a hot day, she would lie like this under an umbrella I had outside on the unshaded “patio” I had at this particular flat, cooling off that giant belly by exposing it to the world.  Seeing that now, it’s hard to believe how different she is today.  She has lost so much weight that I would say she is barely 2kg now, whereas there she was 5kg or more.  She is raggedy and grubby looking and I don’t think she knows anymore that cats are actually meant to be clean creatures, because a few weeks ago she has just stopped washing herself and grooming herself.  She has lost the sure-footedness that is the hallmark of the feline species.  Way too many times lately I have seen her jump onto things and fall off, and every time I see it I wince because she is so thin that she could hurt herself and break something.  I know she has dementia just like an old person because she wanders around a lot, seemingly without purpose.  It’s like she gets up and goes to do something, and forgets what she was wanting to do, so she just stands there and if you can say an animal looks confused, she absolutely does.  Sometimes she will utter this rather disturbing miaow as though she doesn’t know where she is or what’s happening. All of this has been really hard to see the last few months but I cannot deny that the deterioration has accelerated since late last year.  So today I mustered up some courage and I finally took her to the vet to discuss the options.  And to cut a long story short, it’s time.  I know it.  I knew it when I put her in the car and brought her there, crying the whole way, because she has always hated car trips, however short, but today she didn’t utter a sound except one tiny miaow.  I doubt she even knew what was going on.  😥  The lady vet could not have been nicer or more understanding and she looked as though she wanted to cry too.  She told me that she didn’t think Kiri is suffering per se, but also that there’s nothing that can be done that will help her teeth (which are awful), and that anything she could be given to help her arthritis would just send her kidneys into failure.  It’s just time, before things get any worse and she really does start to be miserable and sick.  So I’m going to make an appointment and do what has to be done because I love her and I don’t want to see her suffering.  We can’t do that for human beings who are in terrible pain and don’t want to live through it anymore, but at least we can take the pain away for our beloved pets.  That is the only thing that is keeping me going at the moment, the thought that it is the kindest thing to do and that keeping her around just because I’m going to miss her so much would be cruel.

I honestly cannot believe how much grief this has already caused me.  I’m wondering if maybe not having her in my life is sort of like the end of an era.  You see, she was my first ever pet that I got for myself.  At the time I bought her as a tiny six week old kitten, I was living in Townsville up north.  I was only a young thing of 30 and I was very happy up there.  I had a job I liked, a good social life (probably the best I’ve ever had, on reflection). I was doing a lot of singing and hoped that in the next few years I could “do more with it”.  I named her Kiri after Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, one of my favourite singers at the time. I was single but I was hopeful that that would change and my Mr Right was really just around the corner.  It turned out that a nice man did come into my life three years later, and that was T.  Kiri loved him too – in fact, I distinctly remember being a little peeved early in our relationship because once she moved in with us, she seemed to far prefer him to me!  He went out of my life six years ago and she stayed.  She has been THE mainstay of my life for 18 years, moving from place to place with me, always a fixture sitting out the back and then driving me nuts in winter by constantly trying to sit on my shoulder – she never was one for laps like a normal cat!  I know next winter when she’s not here, I’m going to wish so hard that I had that “fur scarf” again.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I feel that in saying farewell to my poor old girl, I’m saying farewell to a lot of other things too.  I do have a tendency to live and dwell in the past and I know that.  I think this lesson has come along at this time to remind me that life goes on and we need to grow and change with it, not get stuck wishing things were like they were once upon a time long, long ago.  That happy era of my life is long gone and so has the person I was then.  My little tiny kitten is now a very old, frail animal who won’t be with me much longer.  My heart is breaking.  But I’ll be OK.  I’ve got a lot of tears still to cry, but I’ll be OK.

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The chicken or the egg?

Hello again. This is your rather depressed blogger checking in with today’s piece of navel-gazing, which is about that age old question about which comes first, the chicken or the egg?  Yesterday I was pouring out my heart to a friend in an email and she replied back that she will really worry about me once I have lost my sense of humour.  To that end, here’s a cartoon on the subject. chicken egg I guess it is still hanging in there.

So, I’ve got a bad case of the blues at the moment.  There’s several reasons for it but the end result is the same, and at the moment I am teetering on the edge of non-functionality i.e. feeling I can’t drag myself out of bed to face the day and get to work.  This is why I went to see my doctor today (GP).  I’ve said it before but it always bears re-stating – she is such a treasure and I am so lucky to have found her.  She is kind and caring but also knows when to be firm about important things when health and wellbeing are concerned.  I told her about the various things which are currently making me sad, among them my friend’s marital blow-up which has triggered bad memories of my own painful break-up a few years back (I thought I’d put it all behind me but it seems it’s still there); worry about having to go into a new team at work in March when I feel I’ve just started to really meld well with my current one – it takes me ages owing to not being a trusting person; and last but certainly not least, dealing with the grief that I’m very likely going to have to have a beloved pet put to sleep because she is 18 and has feline dementia and every day, seeing her like she is is breaking my heart into bits.  It all just seems too much and my doctor says she believes I am having an episode of reactive depression.  It certainly feels like it.  It’s not like I’m any stranger to the old black dog.  blackdog5Being close to tears a lot of the time for no real reason, that’s certainly not normal for me but that’s how I currently feel.

Because my GP is the person who referred me to the weight loss specialist, inevitably the discussion turned to how my weight was going.  I told her (and she could probably see) that I’ve experienced a reasonably rapid regain because all my depression and anxiety is making me want to run back to the “safe” (ha, ha) arms of my old friend, food.  It’s not helping, of course, but I think this will always be a pattern I’m going to have to be aware of because it’s as old as time for me.  Anyway, half the problem is being aware of what’s happening and I am, so that’s a start and a tiny positive.  Another is that now I’ve told someone else about it and I’m going to get help from a psychologist.  There is the lingering question of whether I need to take some kind of SSRI drug to help me get back on an even keel.  I know this may be a controversial topic to some but I’m happy to openly admit I’ve taken them in the past and I’ve found them very, very helpful at times in getting me through rough patches when the normal things which help me out of my dark places aren’t working. It may be what I choose to do this time as well – I’m going to sleep on that one and see how I feel in a couple of days.

Anyway, the point of this post refers to something I said to my doctor today, and how she answered.  In my last blog entry I made mention of the fact that I feel like whenever I try and lose weight, I feel as though I keep coming up against a huge obstacle in my mind time and time again, and this obstacle is stopping me from following through on this process and actually getting to where I want to be.  She said she actually thinks the opposite.  She thinks that there isn’t any underlying issue, that being fat all these years is what’s causing the issues I have and that if I were to lose weight and be a normal size, this “obstacle” I keep thinking is there won’t be there anymore.  In other words, my weight IS the problem.  Now, I’m not sure I agree.  Am I fat because I have problems, or do I have problems because I am fat?  Which is it, chicken or egg?

I’m very confused now because I didn’t expect her to say that.  But she also repeated her advice from my last visit, which is that this is actually a much more simple process than I’m making it, and really all I have to do is make (another) start and keep going when I hit the inevitable roadblocks.  The psychologist will hopefully be able to help with anti-roadblock strategies.  I do want to keep seeing the specialist for accountability but 2015 is going to be the year when I do weight loss a bit more my way, not his way.  I want to see what happens if I don’t feel I have to eat what feels sometimes like an impossibly low amount of calories to get to where he thinks I should be.  Surely, instead of feeling so freaked out at the idea of having to try and stretch 1,100 to 1,200 calories over a day at this size, wouldn’t it be more helpful to have up to 1,600 and actually do that?  I’ve been finding the thought of low calories so scary these days that it’s stopping me from re-starting because I know that’s what I’m expected to do.  The fearful thoughts lead to the bingeing and the beating myself up because I can’t do it.  Surely it makes sense to allow myself more and not feel as though I’m defeated before I even start.  If I have less, well, great, but if I’m having a day when I’m hungrier, it makes more sense to me that I’m “allowed” to have a little more food on that day.  Because, like everybody else, I do have days when I am not especially hungry and I do just fine even on 1,200, but I have a lot more days when that is a struggle, and I cannot always afford the very expensive drugs the specialist prescribes to help with the hunger; not to mention, I’m not that keen on taking medication if I don’t absolutely have to.  Even feeling like I have a bit more control back heal your lifein this area has cheered me up a tiny bit because my self-talk in this area has been nothing short of brutal.  😦

Finally, one more positive to come out of today: I bought this book. Now, I don’t know if anybody else out there has read it.  It certainly has some out there ideas and even from what I’ve read so far, I can say I don’t agree with everything, such as her saying that diseases such as cancer are caused by people’s negative thought processes and them holding on to old hurts and fears.   There’s also some reincarnation stuff which doesn’t really fit with my own belief system.  But from what I’ve read so far, the good far outweighs the bad.  I truly believe I was meant to buy it.  I went into a book shop hoping to find something which would help me work on my inner turmoil.  I saw this book (and it is exactly this edition) and when I picked it up, it was extremely pleasing to me visually because it’s got beautiful illustrations and all differently coloured pastel pages and the words are in a pretty typeface.  And that doesn’t make any difference to what’s written within those pages but it’s at least half the reason I bought it, the other half being the fact that someone at my gym once recommended it to me as she felt I would really get a lot of benefit from it.  I figured the way the book looks would only make me enjoy it more because it’s so beautifully done.  I’m going to read the book and do the exercises she suggests.  Doing something to help myself has to be a step in the right direction and perhaps the psychologist, when I see them, can help me build on what I’ve done myself.

Anyway, this is yet another rather depressing post but writing this stuff down is so helpful.  The saying “better out than in” doesn’t just apply to gas. (See, there’s my sense of humour struggling to escape again).  It certainly applies to my mental meanderings.  I think that’s enough for now and I am going to do something very prosaic and grounding – hang up some washing.  Might write about something else later.

Just give me a reason

Yes, three posts in the one day.  I reckon this might be a record.  I obviously had quite a bit of mental stuff stored up and this is the third on my list to be blogged out of my head.  Boringly, though, it’s about my old “favourite” subject of weight loss.  Sigh, here we go again.

Right now, I wish I had had some great experiences of being thin in my life.  I think if I had those, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I think I would have wanted to head back to those and recapture some of the old thin me before I get too old to do it.  My problem has never been that I can’t lose weight, because I can.  In my 20s, one of my many thousands of diets (with an early version of Jenny Craig, by the way) got me to within 10kg of my current goal weight.  So why didn’t I keep going and hit and surpass that mark once and for all?  Why on earth do I keep half-doing this?  Why am I so worried about a life where dysfunctional eating isn’t a huge feature, where my weight is just a physical expression of how much mass my body takes up and not something which tends to blot out almost everything else like a total eclipse of the sun?  What the frack is it going to take?

I realise that is a very non-inspiring and negative paragraph, but it is an honest one nonetheless.  I have always said this blog is not going to be like the other ones, where I’ve stopped blogging as soon as things go pear-shaped.  If it’s happening in my life, it’s going to get written about, come hell or high water.  But I just feel really out of step with society – well, I pretty much always feel that way, but more so than usual.  Everybody seems to want to lose weight.  Most people I know who do, their reasons are all about looking hot or looking better or wearing a bikini, etc, and it’s so hard to look to them for support because that just isn’t where I’m coming from.  It might have motivated me a little once, but as I lose weight this time my body is not assuming quite the shape I remember and that is causing extra angst, because now I’ve started to think, well, if I put all this effort in and end up as a horrible misshapen blob without even the fat padding out the wrinkly bits to make them look slightly better, I’m not going to like that one bit – and yet I know that’s very likely what will happen, and all because I’ve been so stupid and slack and dragged the chain and went about this in a half-arsed manner when I was still young enough for things to bounce back.  Am I angry at myself about that? Hell, yeah.  Is it helping?  Not one bit.

I started taking all of this seriously because of a health scare with my heart.  That proved to be an excellent motivator and it’s spurred me on to get where I am today.  I’m still quite a bit down on my heaviest weight and what I have done appears to be enough, for the time being, for my heart to settle down again, and for that I am thankful.  But that doesn’t mean I want it to come back, or that I want to regain more and undo all of this hard slog.  I really don’t.

So here I am, firmly stuck in limbo land with both feet in quicksand on either side of the fence, immobilised by my current lack of purpose.  The title of the post says it all – I need a reason to do this, or I can’t do it.  Maybe I need several reasons.  And it turns out that running away from something only works to an extent.  If you don’t know what you are running towards, or even what you’d like to be running towards, of course you’re not going to get anywhere.  And I honestly don’t. know.  I think I need some serious psychological help.  And the expert that I see for my weight loss, he would rather that I take antidepressants so that I can get this done.  I don’t agree. Unless I plan to take them forever, sooner or later I just HAVE to deal with this stuff, or I will never overcome it.

The other day I found out there is a book out there which I simply must read.  The girl who wrote it is a lot younger than me, but when I read an article about the book a spark ignited inside me, because she has actually dared to write about a subject which no weight loss programme pusher would ever let see the light of day.  And that is, what if you lose all the weight…and you are STILL not happy with yourself or your life?  We’re programmed to think and believe that you WILL just be happy, because, well, why wouldn’t you be?  You’re not fat anymore!  You should be dancing in the streets for that reason alone!  But to believe that’s true is a chronic oversimplification of the facts.  Here is a link to an article about the book.

One of the things she said really resonates with me.  ““It’s the most shocking thing.  You pin your hopes and your dreams on ‘When I’m thin, I will… fill in the blank.’ You think everything will be better once you lose the weight. And it wasn’t.”  And so did this: “Mitchell had never been a depressive person before — the food was a numbing agent against those feelings. Now, despite losing the weight, she was sadder than she had ever been before.”  Wow.  I’m pretty sad now.  How sad might I be if I didn’t have food to numb what sadness I do feel?  😦  And I’ve been telling myself, “When I’m thin, I’ll_____” for the last 25 years or so.  Yet, here I am, not thin.  And I’m starting to think a normal weight is just not something I’ll ever be able to achieve because the idea and the process still overwhelms me.

Maybe I should only be aiming to lose 10kg, and then deciding, when I’ve done that, that I might like to try for another 10kg.  Maybe I need a lobotomy.  Maybe I need a new support system.  Well, I know I do, because the one I had doesn’t exist anymore.  Someone I thought was a good friend has temporarily lost her mind, it seems, and decided to run away from her home and family to some random person met through (of course) Facebook.  Maybe we will end up friends again (although right now I doubt it, because there’s been breaches of trust and those are hard to overcome) and maybe we won’t, but I cannot rely on this person for weight loss support anymore.  I told my friend about this yesterday and his opinion was, well, things happen for a reason.  Maybe she wasn’t a good weight loss support for me because we’re currently both in a failing position, but as long as we are both there, we both tell each other it’s going to be fine.  And when I think about it, he’s right.  We’ve been doing that for the past four years.  We’ve gone from both being successful, to me failing first, to her failing four years ago and also putting all the weight back on, and we’ve both been stuck ever since.  In fact, the weight loss support system I used to have when I lost 45kg those few years back, I still am in touch with those people too.  And I don’t know why.  It’s yet another reason I am backing away from Facebook for a month.  Maybe I need to sweep a new broom through all of this and just finally, once and for all find a different way of making this work. Because the things I’m currently doing aren’t working.  Not a surprise when you realise they are the things I’ve been doing for years.

Well, I’ve just read through all of that and it’s one confusing post. I’ve just blurted it out to get it on paper, or at least out of my head. Right now I don’t have the answers I need, but I am going to read through this again later, and tomorrow, and I’m going to actually make a plan.  I have five weeks of holidays starting on Wednesday 28th, and if I so choose this can be the healthiest holiday of my life, when I have the chance to put into place some great strategies, good exercise routines, food menus, etc.  What a pity it would be if I didn’t use that time as well as I can, without the all-consuming spectre of working my strange hours looming over it all.  So I’m determined not to waste the time.  I just need to actually, for once in my life, make a plan and stick to it, so that I’ve got something, ANYTHING, to sew my days together into some kind of recognisable pattern with intention to it rather than just aimlessly floating along, all too easily thrown off course by the storms and rapids of bad days, stressful situations, sickness, etc.

Here’s to new ways of doing things.

Life without Facebook? Gah!

I had brunch with a really good friend yesterday and I mentioned to him that at the moment I have this feeling that the universe is breaking the components of my life down into little pieces, and that I really have a strong need to evaluate all of it and figure out what’s working and what isn’t.  And I mean everything from my friendship group/support group, what I do with my time, what I do with my money, etc.  You’d think by the age of 48 I’d have all this stuff sorted out, but I do not, and it’s about time I did.  The reason which seems to be compelling this life overhaul is (and it’s no big surprise) weight loss, or lack thereof.  Surely there has to be a reason why I’m able to do it to a certain point, but something in me is rebelling against the idea of really, truly kicking on and becoming the smaller person I’ve never actually been.  But I don’t know what it is and until I work it out, I feel I’m fated to life the rest of my life in Groundhog Day, or the weight loss version thereof – always trying to do the same things over and over again, with slight variations, only to come up against the massive roadblock (which probably resembles the Great Wall of China) in my brain and failing over and over again.  Frankly, I’m tired of it.  So, if doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, then it’s time to start acting with more sanity.  Which brings me, in a roundabout way, to Facebook.

So, why am I writing about this ubiquitous part of so many of our lives? Facebook 1 Well, you see, another friend I’ve known for over 25 years, one who is like a sister to me, she doesn’t use Facebook at all.  Neither does her partner.  Neither of them ever will.  She said to me when she was visiting before Christmas, and I mentioned what I was thinking about doing, “I don’t really understand why you stay on Facebook.  Just about every time you tell me something about it, it’s something that’s annoying you and pissing you off.”  And even though I obviously do get some enjoyment out of using it, I have to admit…she is exactly right!  And that made me wonder why on earth I spend so much of my life immersed in something that bugs me so much?

In the last couple of days, I’ve been reading articles by others who have done the unthinkable, left Facebook either temporarily or permanently, and getting an idea of their impressions of what quitting Facebook (or other social media, although I don’t use Twitter or Instagram, etc – Facebook is enough of an addiction for me) or social media.  Most agreed it was a very positive thing to have done.  They acknowledge that they now miss out on hearing news about certain important things because that is now THE way to announce anything from a birth, death, marriage, divorce – you name it – but they have kept faith with the idea that people who really mean something to them will find a way to let them know.  They speak of increased productivity, finding ways to connect with real friends in “old-school” ways such as, God forbid, picking up a phone or actually meeting up with someone face to face or writing them an email actually directed at them and not them and the 200 other people who are your Facebook “friends”.  More than that, though, they spoke of a feeling of a relief that the “noise” of Facebook was finally turned off.  They said they found it liberating.  On a more disappointing note, they spoke of the thunderstruck reactions of their friends and family, as though they had been talking about giving up brushing their teeth for good instead.  And they did experience a bit of this: “Oh, did you see such and such?! Ohh, that’s right, you’re not on Facebook” accompanied by an almost pitying facial expression.

Since I read this I’ve been trying to make sense of these types of reactions.  Why is it such a horrible idea to people for someone to not be on Facebook?  Is it something we’re all SO addicted to, possibly without any comprehension of the depth of that addiction, that we find it impossible to imagine living without it?  Is it because people feel if you stop using Facebook, you actualFacebook 2ly cease to exist somehow? Is it social hari-kiri? At the end of the day, this is a computer application.  If the thought of giving it up horrifies you that much, I’ve got news for you – you may need a support group!

And then I got to thinking, what do I actually like about Facebook?  OK, well, I like the fact that I can easily keep up with family members I don’t get to see much, seeing their pictures and hearing what they’ve been up to.  I like that through it, I see things that make me laugh and get exposed to music I might not otherwise hear.  I like cute cat videos.  (What? I do!) I like playing Scrabble with people online.  And I like hearing about things as soon as they happen (must be the failed journalist in me, I think).

But here’s the kicker – what DON’T I like about Facebook?  What was my best friend talking about when she said I’m constantly annoyed by Facebook?  Rather than actually explaining it in words, I think a few memes can sum it up.

Facebook 6

Facebook 5

Facebook 4

Facebook 7

To put that into words briefly, I dislike the over-sharing (I honestly cannot BELIEVE the stuff people are prepared to say on Facebook, the dirty laundry they are prepared to share with anybody and everybody who is a friend of a friend of a friend).  I dislike the rampant narcissism (though I’m probably someone who’s been guilty of it myself, making me dislike it more.  People posting 10 selfies a day, that’s just not normal! Having photo sessions done of everything and anything, just so you can post them on Facebook and have people “like” them to stroke your ego? Pfft.)  The hashtags – don’t get me started!!!  (It adds no clarity to your posts when you follow them with #todayIwentoutforacoffeeandranintoafriend, does it?)  I hate witnessing the massacring of the English language, where people can’t be bothered to type in actual sentences anymore.  I don’t enjoy being exposed to the nastiness of keyboard warriors who would never be brave enough to say to a person’s face what they are happy to spout off in Facebook. I’m tired of Facebook being used for rather intimate pictures of people’s children, complete with helpful hashtags so that the nasty types out there can easily search out more pictures of their children.  (This is probably a by-product of the work I do but, really, these days you have to think worst case scenario with children 😦 )   I’m so, so over people feeling the need to post about their workouts.  I mean, it’s GREAT that they are doing it, but if they don’t post about it on Facebook, did it not happen?  Shouldn’t you want to work out because it’s good for your body, not because doing a workout will bring praise and approval when people like” your posts about how many calories you burnt or how much you sweated?  Hell, I have one “friend” who posts, believe it or not, when she drinks a protein shake, complete with some really dumb hashtags.  But more than anything else, I hate that it’s lazy.  I see someone has a birthday and I wish them a happy birthday, but if Facebook didn’t exist I wouldn’t even KNOW their birthday, so how much of a hypocrite does that make me?  I wouldn’t send them a card by snail mail or even email.  That’s a small example but it doesn’t sit well with me – I said it to prove I’m just doing what everyone else does, and they find it OK, but I really don’t.  I dislike that I have over 200 friends on Facebook (used to be more but I culled some), but the amount of true friends I have in real life, I could count one hand, so why do I need the reinforcement of these “fake” friends?

So, this is what I’m going to do – I’m going to see if I can live without Facebook for a month.  There, I’ve said it.  Even despite all of this negative stuff I’ve just said about it, the thought of giving it up for that long just makes me so twitchy and restless.  Clearly I am as addicted as anyone else out there, but the difference is I’ve finally recognised it’s probably, for me, a destructive addiction that needs to be curbed.  I’m not sure what will happen after the month has passed by but I’ll assess it once I get there.  I would hope I find that sense of peace and freedom that others say they have.  I hope I find extra time in my day to do more useful and productive things.  I hope it makes me much less grumpy not firing up the phone first thing in the morning and seeing “Just went on a bike ride for 100km. #coffee #refuelling #workout #bike #cycling #wheels #shoes #friends #helmet”  (Yes, I realise my hashtag hatred is becoming slightly irrational!)  And more than anything else, I want to find the time to catch up with my REAL friends, who actually mean something to me, who I write emails to, who I go out of the house to meet up with for brunch or lunch, where we speak to each other and nobody looks at their phones.  I want to connect with new people in real and meaningful ways.

This weekend is going to be D day for my FB blackout.  Wish me luck – I am certainly gonna need it!

2015 update

Hello out there in blogland.  So, this is my first post in quite a while.  I’ve managed to go for well over a month with no posting.  There are a number of reasons for that but I suppose the main one I need to mention, seeing as this is a blog about my health/weight loss, is there’s been neither of any going on in my life since I last posted.  Thankfully it hasn’t involved anything to do with my heart, but my health in the past month has been pretty bad.  I spent at least a week having and getting over a nasty stomach bug (and sorry for the TMI, but for quite a few days I really couldn’t afford to be far from a toilet at any time).  That one really knocked me flat but I was getting better just before Christmas.  And then, while my resistance was down, I started a run of five night shifts on Boxing Day (you’ve got to love the challenges that shift work can throw at you) and boom, a summer cold got me.  Well, actually, I think it might have been more than that because as I write this today, I’m still coughing quite a lot and due to this, my sleep hasn’t been the best as I keep waking myself up needing to have a coughing fit.  So, what with all of these factors, I’m not feeling in the peak of health right now and I haven’t been near the gym in a month, something I hope to rectify next week.

As for my weight, well, I suppose the worst possible thing which can happen when you are trying to lose weight is for some of it to find you again.  That’s happened.  I’d rather not go into details about how much because I already feel bad enough about things.  It’s too much, but any gain is too much. The first gain happened last time I saw the specialist.  I knew I was going to gain and at thgarfielde time I didn’t really care much because I almost felt like my previous huge loss of 5.6kg in two weeks was a “false” loss anyway, caused by practically starving myself and drinking less than I should have in the day or so before I saw him.  Since then I’ve regained a bit more again but I’m not too concerned being as festive season gains aren’t unusual for anybody.  I’ve managed to drag myself back to the scales and actually acknowledge what was going on.  This is a big thing for me because it harks back to a behaviour pattern I’ve had for an extremely long time, and that is not weighing myself ever, at all.  I guess you could say it is an extreme form of major denial.  It’s like if I don’t know exactly what I weigh, I don’t weigh that.  And all the logical signs i.e. feeling heavier and fatter, clothes not fitting as they should, etc, can still be telling me – no, screaming at me – to acknowledge what is going on, but still I will not go near the damn scales.  When this has happened in the past, it’s gone on for ages and ages and when I’ve finally managed to work up the courage to weigh myself, I’ve usually been utterly horrified by what I’ve seen, even thought I “knew” it was happening.  Hmm, reading that back it makes me sound kind of crazy but when it comes to weight issues, I think I actually do have some kind of disorder, so the behaviour fits that.  Anyway, the point is that since I started becoming more serious about all of this last April, I still do lapse into non-weighing behaviour from time to time but I am getting better at “facing the music” and owning up to things, so rather than focus on the negative aspect of the gain, I’m going to give myself a little kudos for not letting things get too far out of hand.  Because if there’s one thing I am very good at, it’s gaining weight.

There are other factors at play here and my plan today is to write about them because I just have to get them out of my head.  They are sitting there festering and churning around, leading to this general feeling of mental malaise that only does one thing – makes me want to eat, and then eat again, and eat some more.  How I wish so much that I was one of these people who, when they are in this headspace, actually stop eating because they cannot face food.  Mental malaise plus weight gain is not a good combination.  But I’m not, and this is my reality, so there is a clear need to seek alternative methods of dealing with these stresses.  Blogging is one part of my strategy.  The other part is that today I’m going to go on a long but easy walk.  I’m well enough that I can certainly manage that and I’m sure it will do me good and help me get into a better place mentally.  But while I’m doing the washing, I’ll be blogging away between loads.  More later.

Pics as promised *gulp*

Pictures6

Okay, everyone, you’re going to have to promise to be gentle with me because here is my progress collage.  Oh, this is hard! I know I’ve lost quite a bit of weight and there is no doubt in my mind that I look noticeably different now in the pic on the right (taken this afternoon) as compared with the first one (taken at about my heaviest weight ever in February last year).  When I see the pics, though, I have to say in some ways I am disappointed that I don’t like the second pic slightly more than I thought I would, and by that I mean I’m FAR from happy with this body even as it stands now.  In fact, looking at the pics I can totally see why it takes such a large weight loss for people to notice differences in someone who started out as obese as I was (well, still am) because to the uneducated eye, the person on the right is still a very overweight person, just not as overweight as the person on the left.  I see the current picture, I see lumps and bumps that I don’t like and don’t want to see, but they are there and I am not good enough at Photoshop to pretend they’re not.  I suppose I could have taken a pic wearing Spanx, too, but that wouldn’t have been honest.  The before pic has no Spanx and neither does the after pic!  I am naturally pear-shaped and the other observation I would make is that I’m living proof that you lose weight from the top down! I can see HUGE differences in my face and head and upper body, even my arms, but it’s still a bit of a mess from the waist down.   So we have quite a ways to go as far as physical appearance goes.

But then, when I think about it, that 32kg I have lost has already made a massive difference to my life.  If anybody doubts this is possible…if anybody thinks, “Well, you’re still huge – how much could really have changed?”, I would ask that person to spend the next week carrying an extra 32kg (70lb) around in a backpack.  After they’ve done that, I’d ask them, “Now do you see?”  Aesthetically I can see my body has a long way to go still and probably some sort of surgery is going to be required later.  That’s how it is because I’m 48 now and I’ve spent way too long zooming up and down the scale, and my skin is starting not to spring back so well.  Nobody’s fault except mine and it is what it is.  But physically I know how much better I feel already, how much easier everything is to do, and I mean everything from bending over to pick up something you have dropped to walking around the shops, to getting in and out of a bath or a deep chair – the list is positively endless.  And whilst it would be wrong to say I’m brimming with confidence, I definitely have more than I did.  And when I reach my next big goal, which is the 50kg lost mark, I hope to be able to post a progress pic which shows even more changes.  I’m sure that going to the gym is going to assist in that area because a bit of extra muscle could work wonders. 🙂

So, there you have it.  Maybe I might be surprised and people can see far more change than I can.  I definitely do have a habit of being incredibly hard on myself.  Peace out xx

Weight update

So, today I had to visit the weight loss specialist again.  I was only there three weeks ago and, as per this post, that visit did not go so well.  In fact, to be perfectly frank, I’ve spent the last two months, give or take, on a really big-arse plateau.  Part of the problem was my body really quite liked being that weight.  I’ve heard it said that the more weight yo-yoing you do throughout your life, the more plateaus you will encounter going back down because your body “remembers” the weight range as a set point and tends to want to settle there.  I, of course, did not help matters by really not trying very hard, but I must have had an eye on the main goal because I never gained more than 300 grams and I don’t even count that as a visit to the loo would have taken care of it.

I’m pleased to report that today went much, much better and in the last three weeks I’ve lost 5.8kg, or nearly 13lb in the old money.  This has brought my total loss to 32kg, or just a tick over 70lb.  And now, speaking of milestones, whilst working out the conversion sums, I’ve noticed I have made it under 300lb.  Gotta be happy about that 🙂

The specialist is really pleased with my results and said that since I also lost centimetres, and you lose approximately a centimetre per kilogram, and my centimetres and weight loss tallied pretty well, it’s a real loss and not just fluid.  I do believe the medication he prescribed for me last time (the stabby one, as I like to call it) is helping, but I also believe my gym activity helped more.  Sometimes to make bodies change, we have to give them a reason to change.  My body has been used to nothing else except walking for a couple of years now, and whilst that’s good, walking can only do so much for your upper body and core.  I’m now doing exercises that use different muscles, as well as exerting myself more in cardio and ramping things up a notch, and my body has been forced to adapt.  Bodies are so good at that but we don’t give them enough credit.

I think I’ll have to do some progress pics really soon.  Surely there will be a noticeable difference now!  It can be hard for people to see weight loss in a really obese person, I’ve found.  If someone who is a size 10 loses 5kg and is a size eight, everybody can see it because every single kilo makes a significant change in their appearance.  With being fatter, though, I think in the minds of most people, you are some kind of amorphous blob and it’s only when you shed huge numbers that people start doing double takes and saying uncertainly, “Um…have you lost weight?”  I’ve had a few people doing double takes at work lately, actually.  When you then tell them, “Well, yes, I have – about 30kg,” they always look astonished and you can see their minds ticking away, “But…she’s still pretty fat.  Oh, my God, what must she have weighed?!”  I don’t care anymore, though.  Let them do the sums.  I am doing this for me.  If people notice and are happy for me, great, but the only one I really want to notice and be proud is, well, me.  And I am. 🙂

“It’s gym, Jim, but not as we know it”

Hello! Me again, borrowing an old catchphrase in order to write about my gym.  Yes, I now have a gym again because I decided to rejoin a gym of which I was last a member about two years ago, and now that I’m back I cannot imagine for the life of me why I ever left, because this place is pretty special.  And I’m about to tell you why, although I have a feeling I’m going to end up sounding like their PR representative!

If you are not very overweight now or you haveworkout never been very overweight (and by that I mean at least 20kg to 30kg overweight, not 5kg!), try to imagine what it might be like to enter most gyms and see something like this.

Now, if you look like this, more power to you! Even though I’m sure you have insecurities of your own, because even the most beautiful-looking and perfect-seeming people do, you would at least fit right in physically with a roomful of people who also look like this.  You would feel like you belonged.  You would not stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.

workout overweightNow imagine that you are entering such an environment, looking more like this.  Imagine how daunting it can be even walking into a place like that.  And the thought that some people will stare and judge you is bad enough, but for me it’s also the idea of feeling humiliated because I walk slower than the others, struggle to get up off the floor, am far weaker with the weights I use, et cetera.  And even though I know rationally that if I weigh X amount more than the size 8 girls/buff blokes, of course I’m going to find it harder to do every single thing they do, I still feel embarrassed about my lack of fitness and how much I let myself go.  And then there’s another important obstacle to overcome – as I’ve said in previous posts, I’ve traditionally never been a fan of exercise, and I think it’s entirely because I’ve spent most of my life considerably overweight.  Exercise, for me, means bad things – pain, tiredness, great difficulty, a real awareness of body parts flapping around that you’d rather were not flapping around, plus when I was at school I was especially bad at sports too, so the associated humiliations of that put me off sport and exercise more.

In the past few years, since the last time I lost weight and was SO damn sure I would never go back to where I was (but then I did), I’ve joined about four different gyms.  The intention is always there, along with the hope that somehow a spark of motivation will somehow spring to life and blossom into an all-consuming exercise fervour.  But guess what?  It NEVER happens.  It won’t happen.  I know this now.  I’ve read enough of Craig Harper’s work (check Craig out yourself via this link) to know that motivation does not get this job done because it is a fleeting mindset that soon passes.  What gets actual, lasting results is dedication, a willingness to get uncomfortable and do stuff you might not actually FEEL like doing, discipline and commitment.  So I recently decided I’d joined my last gym unless I was really prepared to USE it.  Which brings me to Green Apple.

In order to appreciate just why I’m even more of a fan than ever now, I have to go back a few steps to earlier this year when I first started getting AFib (as per my first ever post on this blog).  At the time it started I was a member of another gym, a women’s only gym which had just become a 24-hour centre.  I naturally thought this would be good for me as a shiftworker and that I’d be able to go anytime, so I joined.  (For the record, even with 24-hour access I hardly ever went, of course!)  When I started getting AFib I had to tell the gym about it and I’ve never seen them want to get someone out the door so quickly.  Put it this way – I’ve left more gyms than I care to mention and they ALWAYS want you to pay an exit fee.  But this time, they told me all I’d have to do is go and see my GP and get her to write a letter saying I was not allowed to exercise, and they would let me go without paying a cent.  Job done.  So they were clearly very freaked out (or their insurers were) by the thought that I might cark it whilst exercising there and somehow they’d end up being liable.  That is why they let me go so easily and I guess in a way, I don’t blame them.

I only started back at Green Apple a fortnight ago, and every new member starts with three visits to an exercise physiologist (as opposed to a PT – EPs in Australia have to be far more qualified).  This one was fantastic and he listened to my concerns with neck and middle back soreness owing to being a call centre worker who spends 8 hours a day stuck at a desk doing keyboard work, and worked out ways for me to exercise the muscles I need to without causing me extra discomfort and pain.  And then, when I told him about my AFib, it was like I had said I had a hangnail.  He said he could point out about 20 other gym members who have AFib also and nobody had any issue with it at all.  Everybody has first aid training and can assist me in the (admittedly unlikely) event that it ever starts up during exercise.

You see, most gyms like to tell you they are inclusive and everybody can join.  I can’t speak for any other country but I can promise that in Australia, they are most definitely not.  Sure, yes, they will take ANYBODY’s money, but that does them no credit because if the only people they can actually help are those who already look pretty hot but wish to look slightly hotter in a bikini for summer, then that’s the only people they should sign up.  It is dishonest and irresponsible to recruit others but of course they will keep doing it because people who don’t fit in will just do what I have done – not go, but continue to pay because they have to.  Gyms make most of their money from lapsed members, of course.  What’s great about GA, though, is that they really CAN say they are entirely inclusive.  I’ve seen people there who must be 80 if they are a day.  I’ve seen kids in their teens.  I’ve seen the normal gym people who are reasonably young and fit (or older and fit).  I’ve also seen people who are blind, people who are disabled in some way, and plenty – PLENTY – of people who have weight to lose, in all amounts from a little to a huge amount.  And guess what?  Nobody cares.  Nobody judges anybody.  Nobody gives you a second glance, not even if you are brave and get in the pool in your togs!

You don’t see fully made-up Lorna Jane-wearing types there (this is a well known Australian exercise clothing brand with a certain image – I’ve heard from someone who works with the company owner that she only likes to see size 8 to 10s wearing her brand, so naturally I just dislike it on principle).  You don’t see meatheads grunting over weights who look as if they’re there to either buy some roids or pick up women or both.  It’s just ordinary people like me or you, or our mums and dads.

The equipment is not fancy.  There are only three treadmills there and they are all manual.  Yes, honestly!  I don’t know any other gym in Brisbane that has manual treadmills but I don’t care.  I don’t use them anyway because I prefer to walk outside anyway  The gym is not airconditioned.  It looks more like a house with a few rooms and a patio out the back.  There are interesting bits and pieces in higgledy-piggledy fashion around the place, all sorts of weird stuff you don’t see in most gyms, but that’s a huge part of its charm for me, plus the fact that the pool is a little tiny thing which looks more like the average backyard pool than a gym’s pool.  But it does the job.

And the worst part of this story?  The fact that I’m lucky enough to live a 10 minute drive from this wonderful place – and I somehow decided to leave it the first time! I clearly lost my mind at the time.  Now that I have a new appreciation for this health journey I’m on, I don’t have any intention of leaving or going anywhere else ever again.  I’m exactly where I need to be and I know they will help me get this done. 🙂

Prepare to be incensed

Occasionally, something you come across in the cyber world makes you absolutely despair for the state of society and some of the behaviours that some of its members consider acceptable. The other day, this popped up in my Facebook news feed.

I am horrified by the fact that a poisonous, hateful man like this actually makes his living running seminars at (so I’ve read) a couple of thousand dollars a pop, teaching men how to pick up, use and discard women, using what can really only be described as tactics which actually border on domestic violence.  Everything in the linked article bears testament to the fact that here is a man who LOATHES women with a passion.  Sure, he wants to bonk them, but other than being a receptacle for his various bodily fluids and a tool for him to satisfy his no doubt perverted desires, he has no use for them whatsoever.  And one can only assume that the men who attend his seminars (I almost cannot let myself believe ANY woman would want to be seen dead at one) despise women just as much, but need to get laid, so they require strategies to enable them to achieve this goal in the fastest, most painless way (for them) possible.

Now, this man (and I use the term loosely), Julien Blanc, has proudly been pictured wearing a T-shirt which says “Diss fatties, bang hotties”, and I know he and his acolytes hold the belief that a woman like me feels this way about his “education program” because as a “fattie”, not a “hottie”, I am just jealous and bitter that I could never, ever be considered “worthy” of being with someone like him.  If I was slim and attractive, they reason, I’d be perfectly fine with these seminars because I’d be constantly getting hit on by men like this all the time, which is what is currently missing in my life.  Right? WRONG. This fattie would rather never have sex ever again and go out and buy 20 cats than ever, EVER be with such a revolting excuse for a human being as that man.  Interestingly enough, whilst there is a trend in Australian society for women to be attracted to “bad boys” who are absolutely no good for them and treat them horribly, I personally find kindness far more attractive.  As for this kind of mean-spiritedness and utter disrespect and dehumanisation of the entire female gender, well, I’d be hard-pressed to think of a bigger turn-off.  So why the Julien Blancs of the world feel a fattie like me is crying herself to sleep at night over the lack of someone like them in my life, I have no clue because it could not be further from the truth.

This man is currently poisoning our air in Australia.  He was booked into a few of the higher end hotels in various capital cities until they realised what he was really all about, and so far at least three have cancelled the bookings and will not be hosting the event.  What I would love to happen is for him to be deported and banned from ever coming back.  I believe he is from the USA and if any of you out there are reading this from that country, please, PLEASE take him back!  More seriously, though, I find it very sad that there was ever considered to be an audience here for this type of hatred.  I really thought we were better than that.  If he goes home with his tail between his legs, having run not a single seminar, that would be a great outcome.

“I think it moved!”

costanzaHello out there in the blogosphere 🙂  Thought it was about time I brought you up to date on my latest weight misadventures and shared a little bit of better news on that front.

So, when I was last talking about weight stuff, I was struggling big time with fighting the urge to binge eat at least some of the time.  I had a few stresses going on my life and I was wrestling with the concept of facing up to giving up my food “crutch” for good in the longer term.  These thoughts led to binge urges and sometimes I gave in, sometimes I resisted.  The end result was some absolutely brilliant maintenace, which would be fine if I actually wanted to stay this weight – but I don’t!  However, I have managed to find some encouragement in all this staying the same weight that I’ve been doing.  For one thing, if I’d REALLY been off the rails, I would have effortlessly gained quite a bit of weight back, and the fact that I haven’t means, I would like to believe, that something is finally “sticking” in the recesses of my mind, that these changes are more permanent than I thought they were. For another thing, the fact that I’m still here writing this blog is positive, too.  No matter how many or how few people out there are reading my ramblings, the important thing is the blog is still in existence and has been so through bad times as well as better times.  In the past, as soon as my weight loss efforts stalled or started to fail, any writing I’d been doing totally fell by the wayside.  I am pleased to still be here, having this great outlet for my thoughts.

I saw the specialist for the first time in about five weeks on October 28.  Yet again my visit saw me pretty much staying exactly the same apart from a tiny gain of 300 grams which was probably a drink of water I’d just had, so I don’t count it.  I may have mentioned that my weight loss specialist usually comes across as a very intellectual and learned man who is perhaps somewhat lacking in the bedside manner department.  Well, the other day when I saw him, I actually felt quite ashamed (if that’s the right word) of what I perceived as my lack of effort.  I felt bad because my wonderful GP went to the trouble of referring me to this specialist because she cares about me and wants to help me be healthy, and on some level it felt like I was throwing that in her face.  Most of all, though, I felt like I was letting ME down, and of course in this process you do have to make yourself the centre of it all because if you can’t do it for YOU, you won’t be able to do it for anybody else.  Anyway, my specialist really surprised me because when I rather embarrassingly burst into tears trying to explain to him how frustrated I’ve been feeling with myself, he was great about it.  Of course, being a scientist, his first answer was to tweak the medications he has me taking because, as he explained it, if he is expecting someone like me, whose RMR has been measured at 2,400, to keep their calories to half that amount, it IS a difficult task and if he can provide help to make things a little easier, that’s what he is there for.  I certainly wasn’t displeased to decrease the dose I am taking of bloody Cymbalta.  When I first began taking it we were coming into winter so I didn’t notice this awful side effect that I’m all too aware of now that summer is nearly upon us – the dreaded Cymbalta sweats.  And they suck.  I was on 60mg until the other day and once I overheated even slightly, the sweats started and they don’t go away easily unless you sit down and fan yourself or something.  Pretty embarrassing and quite unpleasant.  I’ve done a lot of Googling and it is a well known side effect, although not everybody gets this symptom.  Lucky me!

Anyway, my next request to the specialist is to stop taking it altogether because he has tried me on a new drug called Victoza, and so far I think it’s wonderful! Doing some more Googling tonight, I’ve found out that it’s actually a diabetes medication, and I don’t have diabetes.  Apparently someone, somewhere has worked out, though, that it can really assist in hunger levels and satiety in people who don’t have type 2 diabetes.  I was warned that it could cause bad nausea and I have another friend who sees the same specialist – she told me she’ll never use it again because the one day she tried it, she felt like throwing up all day.  Me, though, Miss Cast-Iron Stomach – not even a skerrick of nausea, but along with that, a feeling of, if not fullness, much less interest in food and much less hunger.  It’s hard to explain.  In fact, I don’t think I CAN explain it but I don’t care.  I also don’t care that it’s a relatively expensive medication because my health is what’s at stake here.  Giving up stupid Cymbalta will help pay for this medication.  I think it’s very important because it’s helping me and this morning, to paraphrase our old friend George Costanza in the pic at the top of this blog entry, “I think it moved!”  And by that I don’t mean the same “it” he did, since I don’t have one of those ;).  I mean the scales!  This morning I saw a new low that I have not seen so far on my “journeeeee” and I am absolutely stoked about it!

I see the specialist again in another fortnight and even if I can just limp over the 30kg total lost mark, I’ll be very happy with that result.  I know if I can stay on this current good path, I can do this.  I’ve also decided to rejoin a great gym near me on a month-to-month basis to see how I go.  I’ll write a separate blog about that at another time but I am feeling really positive about that, too.

So I’m ready to do some more heading onwards and downwards and I look forward to having some more positive things to say on this front.  I really was getting very tired of the same old view from this plateau and I really want to put it behind me for the last time!