Sunday, 29 August 2010

I just don't care.....

I am sure we all suffer from days when things just aren't right...socially, personally, on the work front, and with families. That's life of course, and we aren't immune from trials and troubles and heartaches. It IS hard to care much about yourself though when life is tough, isn't it, even though that is probably the time when self-care is most important?

Again, it's the old 'theory versus reality' struggle. I should care for myself every day, I should remain conscious of my eating patterns and indeed what I am putting in my mouth...but some days....*shrug* it just doesn't seem to matter. Who cares if I am fat? Why should I make the effort to eat well? Know what I mean?

I shan't bore you with the gory details but son was ill this weekend - very ill - and it happened after he had a night out partying - as young men do. He was celebrating a friend's birthday and he had too much to drink. If he didn't have certain medical conditions this wouldn't matter...and usually it doesn't matter that he does what his peers do. 99% of the time it's OK. He doesn't want to be different - to be wrapped in cotton wool, and I wouldn't want that for him either. I am glad he enjoys a good social life. Aren't we all much happier when our families are content? However, when his body fails to work properly it is frightening.

Call me stupid, but given he lives under my roof still I just cannot sleep until he is home safely. I am half awake until I hear his key in the lock....and then all my motherly instincts take over and I get up to check that he is OK...capable of getting himself to bed. Most times he isn't even aware I am watching..but I am. I have to, for my own peace of mind. It's like I am cursed to be forever watchful...but I know it's just my nature. he is a man now...and no, I shouldn't have to do this..but he also has several conditions which can be life threatening, he takes constant medication, and yup...I am a worrier. I wish I could be the sort of mother who spells "It's time to fuck off" in alphabetti spaghetti round the side of his plate, and although the notion is amusing, it's not me. I am stuck with my lads until they can afford to move on...They both earn a pittance in low paid jobs..although both are bright. They've had to start at the bottom and employers have them over a barrel...lots of work for not very much pay. To their credit, they get on with it. We are all philosophers of the "That's life and sometimes it sucks" school.

I wish I could make him whole...and his brother. I wish I could make them completely well. For the last 23 years I have lived a life in limbo...always my uppermost concern being that my kids are well. His younger brother is also afflicted in the same way. Life has been a nightmare of hospital appointments, checks with specialists and constant medication and being alert for changes in their conditions. I have sort of become the rock..the anchor...holding everything together...sorting it out when it goes wrong. Their father hasn't a clue what life is like for us...he is happily oblivious. This is very much my lot.

In many ways I wish they could afford to move out - get their own places to live, but they can't. We seem stuck with each other...and really, I don't care because I love them, and for the most part they are good kids...pleasant and friendly young men. However, ask any mother who has kids with 'special needs' ....any person who is a carer...what it's like to be forever alert....relaxing in between episodes of illness but like a coiled spring, ready to jump up and act if and when things go wrong - when there is a medical emergency. I have almost become conditioned to be there...ready to spring into action at the first sign of a problem..hoping and praying I can deal with it and that I don't have to call for an ambulance. This weekend has been one of those weekends.

My man is out of town with his brother and son. He has travelled to watch his football team play away..and really it's a good job he had plans this weekend because I feel as energetic as a limp lettuce leaf now. I just wouldn't be good company. I didn't sleep much last night at all...the rushes of adrenaline kept me awake and then this morning I was busy tending to son  again...his younger brother helping - or at least providing me with tea.

Today I really couldn't care less what I eat. I went back to bed for a few hours at around midday and slept like a baby, until the phone rang at 3pm. I even seem to wake from deep sleep instantly, like I am programmed never to completely switch off - and it's very draining. Son was to care for himself and now quite alert. Daughter wanted to go and buy a runner for her hall, so she wondered if I fancied a trip to IKEA with her. I felt rather tired but thought a trip out of the house would do me I accompanied her. She has me worried too. She works so hard and doesn't seem to get much resting time. Her appetite has vanished and she has a cough that won't go away...and her chest feels tight. She is on antibiotics and has to go for some blood tests, but she looks very pale and tired. (Why do mothers silently inspect their kids for signs of ill-health? Is it just me?) I needed a coffee to perk me up, so we headed to the restaurant first. Daughter had a bottle of water, nothing else. Oh look...what do we have here? Slices of that nice, chewy almondy cake were sitting near the till, all sliced, I had one. No idea why. As I was eating it I thought it was very sweet..but I carried on. When I'd finished, I felt remorse...and vaguely uncomfortable. I hadn't really enjoyed it! Some sweet things tend to be very sickly  I find..and this had a sort of white chocolate buttercream icing on it. Ugh. I wished immediately that I hadn't bothered putting a slice of it on my tray.

How stupid though! That was definitely a case of  thinking a piece of cake would sooth me, calm me...(be nice to me?) and I deserved it. It was like I'd switched to automatic pilot. I couldn't even be bothered to pour myself a bowl of cereal this morning. I have muesli in the cupboard which my body almost 'needs' for fibre. Instead, fretting about my son and feeling completely washed out I grabbed  a handful of digestive biscuits to eat with my tea. At lunchtime I toasted and buttered two crumpets, and ate them almost mechanically. I can't say I enjoyed or savoured them...but they provided instant food.

I suppose the good thing is that my body seems to cry out for good things to eat...things which will properly nourish it. When I eat worthless calories in biscuits and cakes I now actually feel grim afterwards. I like the odd treat but 'proper' food sustains me whereas crap foods actually make me feel crap - and uncomfortable afterwards.

The boys have polished off two portions of chilli con carne I had in the freezer..I had some homemade salsa, brown rice and wholemeal pittas to go with them, so they ate when I was out and are satisfied. They helped themselves.....I have taught them to cook, sort out mealtimes etc, given I worked full time until quite recently. Me? Can I be bothered to cook for myself? No. Can I be bothered to eat an apple? No. I am not sure what I want really...Do I want anything at all?

All my instincts tell me to go and find stuff in salad drawers...and low fat cheese..and hummus..and to pile it onto a plate and eat it with some oat-cakes or sunflower and poppy seed crackers..whilst I watch something mindless and switch off. I have a million and one things to do around the house, but I think I need to restore myself by vegging out, watching TV and eating small amounts of foods which will nourish me. I also need to stop worrying about my kids. They are grown up now. I have served my time!

It's funny isn't it? Do you have days when you just can't be bothered...for any reason? In writing this I have been reflecting about how easy it is for self-love to fly out of the window. If I allow that to happen I almost damage myself with my apathy and weariness...because I don't become my first priority. Sadly, life is full of trials...we all get them in different shapes, sizes and forms..they find us. No one leads a completely charmed life.

I sink when things go wrong. I get worn down and I just don't care about me. I feel tired, worn out, and vaguely depressed that my kids have to be ill....The worries niggle away and the adrenaline rushes fade and the thick head fogs kick in. It's on days like those that I really don't have the energy or inclination to care much about myself and my needs. I look weary, I feel weary.

Oh I could be all gung-ho and tell myself that I matter because if I don't care for myself and become ill then everything will crumble. I know that, and I think it adds to my woes.

Tomorrow will be different and I'll start again, I'll build up my reserves of energy, but I am so aware that life for me seems to be about taking one step forward and six steps backwards. If I didn't feel so knackered I'd see how stupid that belief is. Life goes on....and although what's 'normal' for us, for me, isn't normal life for other single mothers, that is my lot. You have to play the cards you are given. Many others will be having a day full of caring for others, a day full of concern for the well-being of those they love, and for them too, their own well-being will take a back seat.

So...wherever you are...if you have been worrying about others today I send you my love.

I am only glad that humans seem to have been given such strong reserves of energy and compassion. It's amazing really,  and gets us through all sorts of trials, tribulations and worries. We also have incredible bounce-back-ability, (think of the trials some people have been through) and now that I have unloaded here (thank you for reading) I know that I can rescue my day...and look after me for a while.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Hot and Steamy Kitchen Fantasies.

Well, I jumped on the scale this morning and yup, the two pounds that I'd lost when I looked on Wednesday hadn't come back. Bye bye two pounds. *waves* Was nice knowing you, but you over-stayed your welcome. Looks like they've moved on. So...that's another two pounds gone. How many months has it been now? ;-)

I am getting used to not a lot happening scale-wise. It isn't bothering me too much, mainly because the weight isn't going back on...or if it does, it seems to know it's not wanted and moves off eventually. I am feeling slightly lighter...and definitely more mobile.

As those who read regularly will know, I am not going for the burn ;-) Not likely - although I DO appreciate my biggest problem is lack of movement - the sort of movement that burns calories. I can't say I have been 'athletic' in my approach but I have been fitting in movement whenever I can, even if it's only of the bending and stretching variety. Olympic athletes need not fear my training.

I have been eating sensibly and healthily for the most part....although a couple of hours ago was a bit of a disaster. Well, a big disaster really, but I'll get round to that in a minute.

My exercise? Five days out of seven I am doing thirty minutes on the bike...and I get that out of the way early in the morning. Every single day last week I ..erm....ahem....jogged on the spot in the kitchen whilst the kettle was boiling....sometimes three times a day. OK, runners can laugh, but  given I am a bit of a tea addict, I boil my kettle a lot! :) Flick the switch, red light comes on, the kettle starts it's gentle chugging sounds and off I go..up down, up, down, up down.....for about two to three minutes non stop. No one is at home. This is my guilty secret.

When watching television I make myself get up during every advertisement break. I do silly things like touching my toes...(bending from the waist I mean...) and do several slow Tai Chi movements. (I was given a Tai Chi DVD three Christmases ago and for a while I got into it.) It's very relaxing...and I laugh as I form shapes with my arms and move my body as if in slow motion, deliberately, smoothly and slowly. Again, I need the room to myself. It's fortunate my lads hole themselves up in their bedrooms most evenings, with drums, guitars, DVDs or XBoxes. If my man comes around, obviously I behave normally during ad breaks...or I make excessive amounts of tea for him to drink so I can jog away in the kitchen. When I return breathing heavily he thinks that's the effect he has on me...poor sap :)

Thinks: I suppose I could pretend I have been fantasising about him in the kitchen? He is easily pleased these days ;-)

I am also consciously dancing vigorously to music. I tend to have the radio on a lot during the day and there are times when it's so easy to fling myself around to the beat of a good song. Again, it's not a pretty sight, but I have to keep going for the duration of the record. It all adds up. I also walked backwards and forwards to the supermarket several times last week....and had to carry bags of shopping up the long hill to get back home. Again, it's not rigorous, but it's better than sitting on my arse all day. I have only kept 'healthy' foods in the house, but they are foods I actually like eating. I may have eaten too much bread and too many potatoes but cakes and biscuits don't reside here any more. I know how to get sweet treats when I fancy them...and raisins and dried (moist) apricots give me the sweet taste I sometimes crave.

This lunchtime I was caught wrong-footed. Daughter (26) had a unexpected half day off work and came straight round to my house at lunch time. "Come on Mum. We are going out for fish and chips with mushy peas - my treat." Eeeek. I'd planned to eat oatcakes...but I don't see much of my girl any more and she wanted to buy me lunch. Yes, I know - I could have had a salad. She really wanted fish and chips. (She is tiny and spare flesh anywhere.) I thought momentarily about choosing salad, but I didn't. Freshly cooked (deep fried) cod in batter is ambrosia of the Gods. Mmmmm. (Tea is nectar of the Gods of course.) I thoroughly enjoyed my fish and chips, sprinkled with salt and vinegar. I didn't protest....I merely left half the chips. I probably regained those two pounds and more this lunchtime.

Oh well. I am not beating myself up. That was a LOVELY food treat, and it was just smashing to be taken out to lunch by my daughter. It makes being a Mum all worthwhile when your grown up kids spring little surprises like that on you. Tonight I'll have a very light meal.....there are ways around falling off the wagon temporarily, aren't there?

So, all in all, it's been a good day. Hope yours has been good too...but if it hasn't been wonderful, I hope you can rescue it or make amends before the day is out. OK, I have finished here, so excuse me while I go and boil the kettle :)

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Road to the Supermarket Is Paved With Good Intentions.

I am an enigma. I can't work myself out, so gawd knows how anyone else can! I think I am part possessed! (I am laughing here - please don't take me seriously. No voice change and head swivelling of 360 degrees is going on...) I do however seem to easily overule all my good intentions. I have a good woman and bad woman lurking in the same body. The bad woman seems to be the strong one ;-)

Today's good intentions were to get on the bike once the boys had gone off to work. The house was empty apart from me and the big ginger cat at 8.15am. I'd had my big mug of tea (a must, to wake me up. I need a bucketful of tea in the morning to kick-start my system.) Hot water and lemon??? Do me a favour.....*pulls face*

Plan? To exercise early. So, boys out, tea finished, time to bike. And I did. I did thirty minutes of biking at a four resistance. Only 101 calories burned but my heart rate went up from 70 to 135 and I was warm when I'd finished. I watched TV as I biked and told myself I could finish when my programme did...but I carried on anyway, to get in the full 30 minutes. Box ticked. Yay me.

I drank a big glass of water. Another box ticked.

I had a small bowl of no sugar, no salt muesli with semi-skimmed milk. Box ticked.

I showered and got dressed. I did a few household chores and got a machine load of washing out on the line. It was a sunny, blowy day and it was good to be out in the garden. "I'll go for a walk," I thought. It was a good day for walking.

That's when the first good intention went by the wayside. I did other things..pottering about mainly, and I didn't leave the house. I took my pills for the day and my vitamin and mineral supplement. I had a banana for a snack and my one cup of coffee.

I went on the computer and sat there for far too long. I read and replied to emails. I enjoyed myself and wrote too much on message boards of various sites I've joined. I learned things too. I get lost surfing...who needs books when there is a mine of information and fascinating stuff online? I become engrossed and this is why my arse has spread over the last ten years or so.

Infernal machine and thief of time! I ought to put a hammer through it! I turned it off...deliberately, but then old habits kicked in. Instead of thinking "What shall I do now?" or "Which job should I tackle next?" guess what I thought?

I bet you can guess. Go on - try.

Yes, I thought "What can I eat?"

I had to have food. I wasn't particularly hungry, but this was a habit. This is how it goes. Stop what I am doing...have no plan, no real sense of go and open the fridge door. I tell you, my fridge door opening triceps and biceps are soooooo well developed ;-)

Ah...but I only had healthy stuff to eat. Damn my sensible shopping list! I got out a wholemeal tortilla wrap, filled it with baby spinach, tomatoes, red onion, a slice of lean ham and a tiny squirt of low fat mayo. This was OK, because it was almost lunch time. I sat down for an hour, with my wrap and a mug of tea and flicked through some old magazines. Very enjoyable. I enjoyed a pot of low fat raspberry yogurt and vaguely wondered how I'd spend the afternoon. (Sometimes it's a bind being your own boss!)

So it was about 1.30pm and all my determination had fizzled out. I hadn't achieved much, but I was on course to have a good day. The morning had been good. Lunch had been healthy...but all I wanted to do was idle..veg self-indulgent 'nothing much.' Just as I was giving myself a pep talk along the lines of "Come on you silly cow. There is so much to be done...and if you walk to the supermarket now, you can pick up some broccoli to have with tonight's meal " the door-bell sounded.

My friend Lyndsey had called to say hello, so I invited her in for a cup of tea. I hadn't seen her for a few weeks, so we chatted and caught up with each other's news. Lyndsey does peoples' gardens for a living, and although she is almost 58, she is super-fit and agile. She also swims every day too. (She ought to be my 'active' role model.) She wanted to see what was growing in my garden, so an hour later we found ourselves sitting out in the sunshine, having yet more tea. When she left I felt a bit flat....and the determination to do something/anything had vanished. I busied myself with some paper work and filing...but this was another sitting down job. I looked at the clock. 3.20pm. Hmmm. No good going out for a walk now, because the traffic would be building up on the main road...the road I have to walk down. Offices seem to finish earlier and earlier it seems. The 'rush hour' traffic starts to build up at 3.30pm and roads are busy until about 6pm. No. I didn't want to walk down a busy road and breath in traffic the walk wasn't happening. I have peas and green beans in the freezer. They'll do later. I was roasting a chicken for dinner.

And that was it really. A day in which I was going to be more active didn't happen. I failed to keep the early momentum going. I console myself that I had a lovely day and I didn't go mad food-wise.

I have had a slice of toast and honey and another mug of tea. I have also had another glass of water, and a nectarine and I have written this. I have to go and cook an evening meal in a minute (Roast chicken, new boiled potatoes, carrots, peas, green beans, sage and onion stuffing, tiny chipolata sausages - I'll only have one...but the boys like them and are ravenously hungry after a day's work - and gravy.)

So...time to reflect. It hasn't been a bad day but I really have to have a plan of activities for the afternoon too. That's when I flag and start to think "I need food!" I could have been MUCH more active. It has clouded over, the sky is now grey, but if it doesn't rain later, I may have an evening walk. I am not seeing my man this evening, so there are a good few hours of today left in which to burn off more calories. Will I though? After cleaning up the dishes when we have eaten, I suspect the sofa will call me...and the TV remote control will be just there by my side.

My legs will thank me for a walk. Yup - I will, no matter what the weather later, go for a walk before it gets dark. It hasn't been a bad day at all. I intend to walk. I just hope the bad woman that lurks within doesn't take my shoes off and glue me to the sofa later on. She is mean like that...

I leave you with the sensible Mario. (I had to stop the bad woman strangling him....)

"Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek."  ~ Mario Andretti

Monday, 23 August 2010

Crappy Commitment Levels.

Evening all. Yesterday I wrote about lacking drive. I do lack drive. I've been taking the path of least resistance lately. I know I have. I have been 'going easy on myself' which isn't making me happy and isn't seeing me shape up. I either do this or stop blogging and pretending to do this.

I also have to tweak my daily efforts in a considerable way if a) I am to see pounds falling off and b) if I really intend to do lose weight. I can pussy-foot around and talk the talk (write the words?) but unless I walk the walk with real commitment I am not going anywhere. I am fooling myself.

So, I have decided that mornings will mean getting up, doing the things I do to get the boys out of the house  and then, immediately afterwards, begin to exercise. I'd like this to become a Pavlovian response..something I do at a certain time. Something - the boys going through the door on their way to work - will trigger the 'exercise now' response.

(I don't HAVE to get up early now that my oldest son no longer needs a lift into work, but I make myself get up early so I have a bit of routine in my life.) I feel better for starting the day bright and early. I begin the day industriously, making tea, making packed lunches, listening to the radio, unloading the dishwasher, ironing a few clothes from the top of the basket, but when Son no2 goes through the door and shouts "I'm off Mum. Love you..." I can flop, and I do. I have a second mug of tea and turn the TV on to catch the morning news and weather forecast. I may even watch an episode of Frasier. (Such bliss having lazy, self-indulgent mornings after a lifetime of getting the kids out and then rushing off to work in the heavy traffic...The novelty still hasn't worn off!)

This morning however I had a Doctor's appointment. My GP's surgery is about a mile away from my home..perhaps a little further. It's a 25 minute walk. No time for slobbing out this morning. I got showered, dressed, checked I had all I needed in my handbag and then set off.

I discovered as I was walking that if you don't use it - you do lose it. Your fitness I mean. I never had a problem with walking. I quite like walking but now that I am broke I don't go out much. There seems little point if I can't have a mini self-indulgent splurge along the a paper, or a coffee, or a new lipstick. I tell myself the pennies add up....all frivolous and unnecessary purchases have to stop. The bank manager will write me nasty letters if I spend when there is no money in the account! So...going to town to window shop only has lost most of it's joys. That means I stay in more than I used to. This morning I HAD to go out.

I have to go down a slight hill and then up a very steep hill to get out on to the main road. I noticed that my chest seemed tight as I was walking...and I wasn't wearing my trainers, I was wearing ordinary shoes, so as I put one foot in front of the other I could feel my full weight bearing down on my feet as they trod the pavement. Ouch. The impact was unpleasant. I actually felt heavier..slower and this walk was quite an effort. I was huffing and puffing when I got up the hill...I stopped to catch my breath. The rest of the walk to the Doctor's place was on the level, but I was aware that I was breathing heavily. I was so out of condition...mainly because I am not walking frequently anymore.After my appointment I collected my prescriptions from the chemist next door to the surgery and set off to walk home. The actual effort of walking at a reasonable pace was not easy. I was so aware that my heart was thumping even without walking on an incline. I'd just had my blood pressure taken. It was at the top of the 'normal range' apparently...140 over 80. When I got in I felt hot, and vaguely out of breath. I drank a big glass of water but really did ponder the fact that even walking - something I gave little thought to - was becoming difficult, unpleasant. Not good!

I vowed there and then to do it every single day, with no excuses. I really do fear becoming immobile. I like to walk...go things.

On Saturday I walked to the shops. I bought food-stuffs then had to walk home, mostly up hill. My bags were heavy...but I balanced them so that I had about equal weights to carry on either side of me. I was hot when I got in, and puffing a bit. Now, I have a very basic scale...but I wondered what those bags weighed. I plonked them on the scale before I unpacked them. One weighed nine pounds, the other seven. 16lbs in total. Blimey. That's quite heavy. It was a heavy load to carry up hill in the sunshine anyway, and I have almost lost that amount of weight. It really would be worth shifting seven pounds quickly. I am sure I'd feel lighter because seven pounds is actually a significant amount of weight when you are carrying it uphill. It made me think about the excess load my poor frame is having to carry where ever it goes.

Tonight I am kicking myself. Today, after my morning walk was going to be 'serious'. I didn't wildly over-eat today but what I ate was mostly crap in that it wasn't particularly balanced. I had LOTS of bread...very little fruit and veg at all and not enough water.

Breakfast: small bowl of muesli...(containing no sweet dried fruit) semi-skimmed milk. Two mugs of tea.

Snack after Docs: One banana. Water. Coffee..with a splash of semi-skimmed milk.

Lunch: THREE slices of cheese on toast, (wholemeal bread...with oat bran) spread with tangy pickle. Mug of tea. Later - one nectarine. One low fat raspberry yogurt.

Afternoon foraging: One Cadbury's brunch bar - with raisins, pumpkin seeds and hazelnuts. Five pecan nut halves, one apple. Water.

Further foraging: Six Milton's Multi-Grain crackers...dry. (I munched them mindlessly as I sat at the PC.)

Further "What else can I eat" mad woman foraging: A packet of plain crisps. (Stupidly I'd bought a bargain multi-pack at the weekend , for the boys as a lunch accompaniment. If they are in the house, I'll eat them. I felt guilt afterwards like I'd not felt for a long time. Only one pack..there were five left and there are still five left..hours later.)

Evening meal : One low fat microwave meal. Chicken Tikka Masala curry with rice. Water.

LOADS of carbohydrate. I am now burping. I didn't plan meals today...I ate impulsively, which is OK, but I know me. I'll NEVER grab an apple impulsively, or go and peel a carrot to snack on. Oh no. I rarely raid the fruit bowl like a woman possessed, or go berserk scoffing everything in the salad drawer in the fridge. In fact I threw out a whole soggy lettuce and a tray of little 'vine' tomatoes growing green mould this weekend :(

I had also planned to fit in another walk. I had a letter to post and I was going to go to the post box at the supermarket after lunch...another 25 minute walk away. Did I go? Nope. (OK, so it was raining hard this afternoon - but I like being out in the rain, so that's no excuse.) I also planned to have half an hour on the exercise bike at some point. Did I do that? Nope.

So much for all my early morning renewed commitment. I cheat on myself.

How many times can I tell myself  'Tomorrow is another day and I'll do better...perhaps?' Any of that strike a chord with you? Why am I so weak-willed?

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Missing My Carrot.

I really appreciate the thoughts and good wishes of those who comment on my posts. I know I could be writing to myself here, but knowing a few people out there read my thoughts (and sadly they tend to be 'thoughts' rather than good old "Hey I've lost a pound!" posts) really spurs me on. I can't say I am spurred on to losing weight at a good rate, (you've noticed, huh?) but I am fired up to think about what's happening to me and how I feel as I try to lose some of my 'too, too solid flesh'. *

Yesterday I wrote about how lucky I am to have a man in my life now - in middle age - who loves me just as I am. One day we'll marry I hope, and on that day I don't want to be a fat bride. I have every incentive to lose weight and work out. Most women planning their wedding give lots of thought to how they'll look on the day - and rightly so. (I didn't first time round...I didn't enjoy my wedding day at all, for all sorts of reasons, which I won't go into here.) Many women, having a date in sight, set to and shed the pounds like there is no tomorrow. They have a will of iron and off they go...and hey voila - their wedding dress looks just great on the day, as do they. They like what they see in the mirror too...and it's been a LONG LONG time since I have liked what I see in the mirror. That's how it goes, mostly, isn't it? I read somewhere recently that a HUGE percentage of all brides-to-be embark on a slimming regime once they become engaged. I can understand that....they have a goal. Could be that they'll gain all the weight they lost back and they'll become fat wives, but kudos to them for their determination and action. I have to find that sort of drive.

I am lacking drive. I know I am.

WHAT though is the carrot that's dangled that makes people just go for it? I am missing my carrot, if you know what I mean. I have lots of reasons, including health ones, to get rid of my rolls of fat right now.

I got on that blasted scale this morning and discovered I'd gained two pounds since I last stood on it. OK, so tomorrow those two pounds could be gone, but today, the scale tells me I am two pounds heavier than last time I weighed myself, whenever that was. Bugger! water retention or some other sort of fluctuation could have caused that, but I do know how good I am at 'maintenance'. I am eating sensibly, probably not moving as much as I could...and the fat is clinging to me for dear life. My fat hangs on.

Being reasonably bright all my instincts tell me I have to work up a sweat. I have to become more active. I am post menopausal and whatever anyone says, I am finding it bloody hard to shift pounds. Years ago, if I'd been eating as sensibly as I am now, I'd have FELT lighter, my clothes would have been looser and I'd have steadily lost weight. Not quickly, but steadily, slowly the weight would have dropped off, because for the most part I am not going for any calorific indulgences and my diet is a good one. I WAS more active years ago, but I ate doughnuts too. I didn't think much about junk food versus 'good' food. I ate what I fancied and because I was always on the go, I didn't gain pounds. I didn't even think about my weight and nutrition. (What a blissful state!) I ate, I moved...I stayed slim..even though life wasn't particularly happy back then. Carrots? I didn't go for raw carrots in a salad. I chose carrot cake every time. I still want carrot cake. Tell me you still want carrot cake too? I KNOW I can have a slice occasionally, but I want to be able to eat ANYTHING without having to think about it much.

Now, I either have to go for a diet of about 800 calories per day methinks, or work like a Whirling Dervish to see this fat take a hike. (I have personalised my did that happen? I see it as a leech, a parasite, an unwelcome house guest, hanging on to me, clinging on, grinning, refusing to release it's grip. It probably has it's own room and a suitcase it can pack...and it can move on whenever it wishes :)

Weird...weird...If only I could go online and book it a train ticket. I'd happily accompany it to the station and wave it off...:)

This fat isn't just a visitor. It is me. It makes up what I am.

I have every incentive to lose weight. I want to lose weight...but I have reached the conclusion that this weight, despite my sensible diet, my good eating habits will only vanish when I buy a some Lycra leggings, a new pair of trainers, a gym bag, a water bottle and a gym membership. Having said that - I have bought gym memberships before and then hated going. I never got into it...I wasted my money. Yep, foolish, but I am being honest here. I don't like going to the gym.

Now I can't afford to go to the gym, so that option isn't open to me. I could use work-out DVDs, I could devise a keep-fit programme and exercise at home every morning, and I could make sure I go for a long walk every single day.

It has also struck me that this isn't about COULD. It's about SHOULD.

How much do I want to lose weight?  Forget 'could' or 'should'. If I stop and think about things like high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, general ill health and premature death then COULD and SHOULD have to be banished from my weight-loss vocabulary. I am getting older, and when you get older, things do seem to take longer to work. My metabolism is more sluggish. My hormones have given up the ghost. I have to accept that and do the extra work required...with supplements if need be. I also don't have as long on this planet as I used to have. Will I still be moaning about my fat shape one year down the line? This isn't about looking good in a wedding dress, although I aim to, this is a MUST - for life.

That is one enormous fuckin' carrot, isn't it?

Friday, 20 August 2010

The Bride To Be...Or Not?

I wear a beautiful aquamarine and diamond engagement ring on the third (podgy) finger of my left hand. The man who gave it to me, who asked me to marry him, I have known for almost almost six years now. This is a LONG engagement. Want to know why?

There are several reasons, but one is - there is NO WAY when I get married for a second time that I am going to be a fat bride. No way. A younger girl, bursting with love for the man who asked her to marry him is usually on cloud nine, planning the big day, dreaming about the ceremony, choosing a fabulous dress and almost always, deciding to slim down so she has no bulges and blobby rolls of fat on show when all her family and friends watch her make those wedding vows in a gorgeous gown. She is the centre of attention.

Shudder. The centre of attention. Cringe. That's one of the reasons why I just can't go through with a wedding. I attended my sister's wedding a few months ago and the pictures of me..(in most of the photos because I was family) are completely ghastly. I was a fat, middle aged blob in turquoise who THOUGHT she looked nice on the day, but I almost cried when I saw the wedding album. (I've chopped a bit of one of the pics for you to see...sorry if I've bodged it up. See how I've positioned my body behind my sister's as much as possible!)

OK, so lots of incentive to slim? Yes, I have every reason to lose weight. However, I am not going to be a young, blushing bride in the first flush of youth this time. I was, way back in 1978 when I took the plunge the first time. That marriage, which I thought was for life, which I entered into for life, 'till death us do part' etc, produced my three lovely children but it wasn't a happy marriage for the most part. It ended after 18 years.

During all those years I was slim. I'd been a good and faithful wife. He hadn't been a good and faithful husband. I was distraught. I'd been alone for lots of the years of my marriage..Sadly, my husband wanted me, but I think he realised he also wanted a bachelor existence too, so me and the children came a poor second to his friends, work mates, beer and the social life provided for him in the pub. It was a lonely time...18 lonely and sad years with a drunken man coming home to us at some shout, criticise, insult me, then fall asleep on the sofa. The next morning he was like a lamb...almost unaware of the upset he'd caused and my distress the previous evening. This was a regular occurrence. I dreaded hearing his key in the front door lock after a while. However, I was busy...raising our children, alone, working full time and also looking after my dear Mum, who was getting on in years and needed help and companionship as she became frail. In those days I didn't eat for comfort, I wrote everything down. I unloaded...and have books and books of late night/early hours of the morning sad and tearful ramblings. I needed an outlet or I'd have gone mad. I shall have to destroy them. I wouldn't want my kids ever to read them and feel guilty about my suffering or that they couldn't help me. They never knew how unhappy I was. I wore a mask - to them and the outside world...every day for many years. I was embarrassed, scared and ashamed, but I had done nothing to be ashamed of.

And then I divorced...finally this pathetic worm turned. I engaged a solicitor and against all my principles, started divorce proceedings. I knew it was the only way if I ever wanted to be happy again - to be myself again. I didn't want to bring the children up in such a caustic atmosphere either. They couldn't be damaged by things they saw and heard late at night. It wasn't right. Their father didn't care, didn't think about their little lives...their fear. I didn't care much about me, but I had to protect them, whilst I was strong enough to do so. I was beginning to crumble. It was such a traumatic time...and they should have been the best years of my life. I was young, slim, pretty, energetic..successful in the workplace and a good mother and daughter. I was also in pieces inside...a nervous, frightened, exhausted wreck.

I came away from the solicitor's office having started divorce proceedings and I slipped my wedding ring off my finger. I was in the city centre..The tears sprang to my eyes. I was SO unhappy. Big, fat tears ran down my cheeks and I found myself heaving with emotion and sorrow....and I remember finding a bench..partially hidden by shrubs and greenery...and sitting down, in the middle of town, and sobbing my heart out.

I rebuilt my life - with little confidence. I wanted nothing from my ex husband. No financial aid. I would support myself. I would pay for everything. I am proud. I needed a clean break. I didn't share my sorrow with many people. I kept my pain from my Mum. We were brought up not to wash our dirty linen in public. I quietly went about trying to make things 'normal' at home and continued working, to pay the bills and keep a roof over our heads. I felt hollow inside though, for years afterwards.

It's amazing. When you go through times which are bad...sorrowful, painful...years later, you realise just how strong you really were. I didn't break. I wanted to..many times, but I didn't. My Mum and my kids relied on me. Now I am here to tell the tale and have a ring on my finger again because I said 'Yes' when my man asked me to marry him in 2007. (No fool like an old fool, eh?) We've been together since early 2005.

"I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They've experienced pain and bought jewelry." ~  Rita Rudner
The man I am engaged to my fifties...(and he doesn't have a pierced ear) is nothing like my ex husband. I suspect he'd walk over burning coals for me. He is lovely and we laugh lots. We like a lot of the same things. He is good company. I trust him implicitly. He is kind, generous, hard-working, loyal, reliable and funny. He is young at heart like me. Neither of us can believe we are officially middle aged! Where did those years go? He isn't an Adonis..but to my eyes he is gorgeous. Who wants a God? He is in his fifties like me, and looking forward to retirement. He is a widower and we both have grown children who are young adults and live with us. THAT'S why we haven't married.

My kids live with me in my house..his son lives with him in his house. We could buy one big house together..and start married life with our three young men in tow, but really, that's not ideal. I am not sure it would be good to have to live with a drum-playing, rock/death metal music-loving 23 yr old, or a 21 year old into his guitar, X Box games and mad about cars...and strange hip-hop music or whatever it's called these days. (Hell, that ages me. Rap, trance, dance, garage, R and B, hip-hop...??? What is it called?) Then there'd be his loved-up 20 year old who keeps strange hours, is joined by the hip to his girlfriend and also likes his X Box and never turns the TV off!  All three go to work and work hard but they don't earn much. They play hard at weekends too...which means they drink and come home late. It's not ideal..but been there, done that. It's what young people do. It's a phase. They are good boys, with good hearts, have never been in trouble with the police etc...don't do drugs.. and they're probably not much different to other young men enjoying their youth. It is time to cut the apron strings though...

So me and my man carry on...almost 'dating' still, travelling back and forth between each others homes, holidaying together, weekend-ing together, cooking for each other during the week. We are together but apart - and I suspect we both quite like it this way! It's ideal...but we aren't getting any younger. I also like my own domain. After choppy waters and many storms, my present peace and calm and being mistress of my own abode is lovely. All I have, I've worked hard for, in difficult circumstances. I love my place. I am quite attached to it, although it holds some unhappy memories. That's all water under the bridge now though.

However, back to the weight business. I ought to lose weight. I should lose weight. Not just because I'll look better in a wedding outfit, but because I'll feel better and be healthier. I want to live a long, long life with my man by my side. I don't want this happiness snatched from me prematurely. He loves me just as I am, but I was slimmer when I met him...although still 'plump'. He was there when I became ill, when I was in and out of hospital, having operations, and then immobilised, recuperating and gaining weight. I may have gained weight because I was contented at last. If he mentions my losing weight (and he doesn't - I always broach the subject of my 'fatness') I know he urges me to do it because he worries about my health..not my size.

I felt uncomfortable when I saw a cartoon recently...A fat woman walked into a bridal shop with her mother to choose her wedding dress. The assistant who was expecting them, saw them approach, eyed them up and down, and as they came through the door she blurted out 


I cringed. I am not going to be a fat bride, a tubby bride. End of. If I don't get my skates on though, I'll not be a bride at all. I suspect we are putting obstacles in the way of getting a place together....although my man does live very near to the place where he works. He can walk in and pays no transport or parking costs. It makes sense for him to remain there whilst he is working. He also has a very good job, with the minimum amount of stress, which is great as he winds down at the end of his career. He isn't 65....the official retirement age. He has nine years to go! Things are very cosy and comfortable just as they are.

My weight is yet another barrier preventing me 'plighting my troth" but we are happy. 'If it ain't broke, don't mend it' seems to work for us...but I really must focus more and put some goals in place. There has to be some point where we sit down and make plans! We have lots of dreams. Girls often dream of being a bride. Older women can only see the pit-falls. Fatter older women run for the hills rather than try on large-sized wedding gowns! :)

OH...sorry for another long post! I promise, when the big day finally arrives, you'll hear all about it. I'll be so happy to share it with you, and I'll post pictures of this happy and hopefully slim woman...For now, I am a happy, fat woman.


'Cos he did something that no one else did
Friends said it couldn't be done
But all his love I know I've won
'Cos 3rd finger, left hand
That's where he placed the wedding band

Martha and the Vandellas

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Back In The Groove, And Being True To Myself.

Groovy. What on earth does 'Back in the groove' mean anyway??? Hmmm :) Anyway, just to let you know, in my best Austin Powers way, that all is groovy-ish here.

I made a comment after my last post that I tend to beat myself up unnecessarily because my weight-loss progress is SO slow...and often stalls. I do tend to think "Why am I bothering?" and I also feel that if I really were bothering properly I'd have a super-dooper plan of exercise and eating which would see me shed pounds regularly week after week. Instead of being rather spongy and blobby I'd be toning up and all my clothes would be too loose now. I am a slacker - maybe?

All I can say is, my clothes ARE slightly looser and every day I am conscious that I have a 'plan' - the plan being that I remain aware of what I am eating and try to move more in 'some' capacity every day. Eeeek. When I read that back it sounds like a a very vague attempt at weight-loss. I could do more. I know I could. I could burn more calories, eat even less, plan meals precisely, and move much more in a way which targets the blobbiest parts of my body. Basically - I could be more focused and more energetic.

Could you?

It's a bit of a dilemma, isn't it? Well it is for rather laid-back types like me who tend to dislike the way in which I feel we are subtly manipulated into feeling that as overweight people we are lacking, not like-able, rather ugly and the latest scourge of society. Fat people are not allowed to feel comfortable as fat people.

OK, having said that, I think we are all aware that being overweight isn't particularly good for our bodies. We ought to know that and we ought to bring our kids up so that they don't pile on the pounds and become couch potatoes. That is a good wake-up call that recent and global 'fat-awareness' has brought with it. We can stop the descent into morbid obesity becoming the norm. We can think about what we are doing to our bodies. Many of us need to.

We can bring our blood pressure down by shedding pounds. We can move more and engage more when we are lighter, we become more flexible, we have fewer embarrassing trials - ones that don't happen to people who aren't fat, and our bodies function better if we put good stuff into them. Our self-esteem improves when we know that we are tackling a problem rather than allowing it to escalate. It's for THOSE reasons, and the last one in particular that I keep going.

I'd also say that I can't pretend that I ignore the awful realisation that I don't look good when I look at myself in a mirror or in photos. That's the reality. I don't want to look skeletal like Mrs Beckham...I don't want to emulate trendy size zero models. I just want to get rid of the rolls of fat. I DO want to look and feel better. Vanity DOES come into the equation, but more than that, making an effort and looking after myself IS important. We can easily lose sight of that.

I can slob out, rage against the whole 'diet industry' and defiantly sink a Big Mac and fries every day, or I can just get on with being true to myself. In being true to myself I drink more water. It's good to flush the system out. I don't buy foodstuffs which I know will tempt me beyond endurance. If I keep them out of the house I have to snack on the oatcakes, cottage cheese, dried fruits which I keep in the cupboards. I'll enjoy all the foods I love in moderation and I won't beat myself up if I occasionally indulge in foods which would NEVER make it into boot-camp kitchens. I am no saint, nor should I try to be. I'll move more because it actually lifts me to do so. Movement releases those feel-good endorphins. I need that..otherwise I could spend my days slobbing out, and a day in which I have achieved little or made no real effort leaves me feeling low and rather useless. I should be able to motivate myself, and I have found that if I think too much about it, rather than just getting on with it, I can become defeatist.

There. That's MY groove. It's a shallow groove. I am not busting a gut here...but I am aware and conscious that I can make small changes, daily, that are helpful.

That's about as deep as it gets folks..but if you too are stalling or finding the going is getting tough..if you feel defeated some days, please come and share my shallow groove. I won't have media moguls breaking down my door to sign me up for a book deal or to make  the "Grumpy Woman Trudges On" work-out DVD. Those lovely people who have posted and told me I am doing OK when I feel I am not, have helped me beyond belief. I have become conscious of my progress. It's not wonderful progress, but me and fellow trudgers ARE pointed in the right direction. I think we are enjoying the scenery as we go :)

Thanks for your faith in me. You really ARE groovy, babies.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

The Long And Winding Road...

Just been listening to that Beatles' track. One of my favourites and quite apt. This weight-loss business IS a long and winding road, isn't it? I am reminded that this is LIFE..not just a short journey, and it's hit me that it's going to be quite hard to ALWAYS be conscious of the foods I eat, and ALWAYS conscious of the amount of movement I do.

I'd like to say that eating sensibly and exercising daily were now second nature to me, but they're not. I am not sure whether to shrug in a 'don't care' manner, or to blush, because I am a bit of a weight-loss struggler. All I know is, I am fighting lots of mental battles daily...and I really am not fired up to go without foods I enjoy, or to move just for the sake of it. Yes, a blush is probably the most appropriate emoticon to use now.

After my third child was born I decided to shape up and all I know is, it was like my feet had wings. I was flying. I was so into 'doing the right thing' and challenging myself every day, and meeting no self-resistance. The weight came off easily and I toned up. I got into a routine and didn't even think much about getting down on the floor to do ab crunches or cycling in the air. I ate small portions of everything, avoided fatty foods, didn't buy junk and just got on with it. Every morning I did my exercises before breakfast and showering....and then I got three kids out of the house and to the child-minder, and went to work for the day!

Now, I have lots of time on my hands and seem reluctant to spend much of it deliberately moving my body. OK, so I am older, but I am still the same feisty woman who doesn't like to admit to failure, ever. Yes, my post-menopausal metabolism has certainly slowed down, but I get the feeling I could give it a kick-start by exercising more, moving more, working up a sweat occasionally. So why don't I just go and DO IT! Why the reluctance? I have no idea.

Reluctance : a lack of eagerness or willingness; disinclination

Fortunately, good eating habits over the years (or at least not having dreadful ones!) have helped me slightly this time, so I can honestly say I am not eating junk in great quantities or binge eating, but all that has done is helped me to fat, sluggish self.

I am deep in the midst of health procrastination - surely the most stupid, self-harming procrastination ever, yet I can't shake it off. It's one step forward, two steps back. I have lost another pound..over the last couple of weeks. That what my scale tells me this morning. So, for all my efforts I am now back to square one...the weight I was a month or so ago. Five pounds gained, and five pounds lost again - eventually. As I have said before, please don't look to me for inspiration. I am being honest here...I am giving you my 'middle-aged, not very fired-up or enthusiastic about this' reality.

I am taking comfort in the fact that I have lost a stone - 14lbs, since I began this blog. Even my blogging tales are about little progress. Losing is better than gaining I suppose.

I want to be running or flying, but instead I am trudging, dragging my feet. I maintain that the biggest part of living a healthy lifestyle is the mental bit. It begins and stays in the head and self-motivation and inspiration comes from there...or doesn't! Any external encouragement tends to be temporary. We have to drive ourselves on and can't rely on cheer-leaders telling us to get back up and carry on. It's good that they do, but what's the point of getting up time and time again only to stand still or to retreat back to where we came from the minute our cheer-leaders go off duty?

I am on a bend of a long and winding road...and there are rocks blocking the road ahead, which I have to get over, around, under....or find the strength from somewhere to shove them aside. There is a rock right in front of do I tackle it? Go away and think about it for a while, or start pushing? This is my life. If I want I can choose to find a cave and get off the road...I can stagnate in there. I seem happy to stagnate and I just can't tell you why!

Hmmm. Comfort zones. That's it I think. I prefer my comfort zones to life on the road. Only, if I stay in my comfort zone I am not going anywhere....and that cave can be a dark place. We all know that. Dilemma. At least I am not filling my cave with pizzas, chocolate, ice cream and doughnuts. The boulder hasn't gone over the opening yet. :) Laughing here. There is always hope, isn't there?

All I know is...I am doing it - or not doing it - for ME. You are doing it for you...and for no one else. I conclude that life on the road has to be a better place, even if I am trudging along, reluctantly and slowly.

Trudge along with me please...anyone else out there who isn't speeding along full of bounce?

I'll leave you with this. You'll know I am not one for schmaltzy stuff and hearts and flowers etc..but I'd read this in my cave and enjoy it.  C'mon, Let's trudge :)

"When things go wrong as they sometimes will;
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill;
When the funds are low, and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but have to sigh;

When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but do not quit.
Success is failure turned inside out;
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;

And you can never tell how close you are
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit-
It's when things go wrong that you must not quit."

~ Unknown

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO !!!! Stupid Woman!

OK, so I am not really berating myself THAT much :)

I'll explain the reasons for my agitation/self-flagellation in a minute...(Oh, and sisters...fear not. I am NOT a stupid woman, my inner feminist is alive and kicking, but I am allowed to call myself that just for now. I have a stupid head and a sensible one. They are interchangeable it seems.)

I've had a nice day. It's been good - up until 30 minutes ago.

I'd made arrangements to see a teacher friend of mine in Leamington Spa..a short bus ride or drive away, a lovely Georgian town with fabulous regency and early Victorian architecture, lovely formal gardens and lots of decent shops - many of them small, independent retailers - such a pleasant change from all the chain stores in shopping centres up and down the land. (Most malls in big towns and cities - and even small towns, are identical in terms of the shops available...)

So today, my exercise was going to be lots of walking. My lovely man allowed me to take his car, so it saved me the hassle of waiting for infrequent buses. I was rather worried about using it - it's a Jag - a present to himself after an investment policy matured last year. He's always wanted one, has worked very hard all his life, so he treated himself. We are a long time dead, as they say. My insurance covered me, but I was a little nervous about taking it out and driving it. I've been the passenger so far. I had a practice drive last night and got used to it - and it was LOVELY to drive, very easy to handle and very responsive.

So, this morning I drove off to meet a friend up from London, visiting relatives in my neck of the woods. We planned to have a natter and a coffee in the Pump Rooms cafe. I parked the car (carefully and cautiously!) a long way away from our meeting place, so I had a decent walk getting there. It was nice to see her and we could have spent the day together, but we both had plans for the afternoon. I was quite hungry, but avoided the cakes and the lunchtime meals being served, which looked very nice. (Gotta watch the pennies coffee sufficed and we were too busy chatting and catching up to eat really.) We hugged, parted and went our separate ways. I had a nice long (fast) walk back to the car-park in the sunshine, stopping now and then to window-shop or browse without spending money. I enjoyed myself. I had to go to the bank in a neighbouring town, so I drove there, putting my foot down on the by-passes. (I think I'd quite like a fast car, even though speed limits here are 70mph on motorways.Driving was a real pleasure.) My old car is lovely - I am very fond of 'her' but she's over ten yrs old now and likes to take it easy. I'll be glad when she's mended, but in a way, having no car is a bit of an adventure, involving walking and checking out bus routes to get to places.

So, I drove to a smaller town, parked again and went to the bank. In the one long high-street there are charity shops galore, selling second hand goods to raise funds for good causes. I had a good old browse in almost every one. It was fun. I picked up some books for next to nothing, and for my man I found a couple of virtually new CDs to leave in his car as a thank-you gift. I was hungry but decided to drive home and make myself lunch there. I was slightly relieved in a way to park my man's car on the drive. Phew! I could relax - no damage :)

I made myself a sandwich of turkey and ham, filled with salad (Lots of red onions, green peppers, tomatoes, lettuce and light mayo.) I washed it down with a mug of tea...then had a low fat raspberry yogurt.

I'd been active and I'd eaten well. I'd met a friend, 'shopped', driven a fast car confidently...and it had been an enjoyable day. UNTIL....

Son number two arrived home from work...and just as he did, the ice cream van pulled up outside. I am sure that van driver times his arrival with my son getting in. Son opened the porch door as the van's tinkling chimes sounded..Then he vanished, only to return with a double cone for himself, and one for me! Bless him. He was being 'kind' but feeders aren't kind! Aaaargh! He hadn't remembered I was trying to eat healthily. He'd done the same thing a couple of weeks ago! Damn that ice cream van! There is no ice cream in the freezer, but when one is presented with a double cone of swirly, soft ice cream - with chocolate flakes in each cone, what does one do???? I you let it melt or do you lick it? I don't need this sort of dilemma!'s been a good day apart from my ice cream indulgence. I am kicking myself that I didn't anticipate what son would do...and kicking myself that I ate it...and enjoyed it. Not because I think such treats are 'wrong'..(they're not if they're planned and accounted for) but because today I wanted to test myself a bit...wanted to check out my resolve to do this..properly....and ice cream didn't figure in the plan. Ah well. It's no good beating myself up. The 'damage' is done...and yes...I DID enjoy that double cone! (Mixed emotions hard to convey. I am mentally bashing myself up...but gently.) I am going over to man's place tonight, to return his car and have dinner with him. He's doing a low-fat spag bol. I'll have mine without cheese, without garlic bread (sigh) and without much spaghetti! Bugger! :)

In future I shall be hyper-aware of those ice-cream van chimes...I feel quite tired from lots of walking, (about five miles I estimate) but it's a 'good' tired. I am already thinking about meals for tomorrow and the route I'll take on my walk.

Lesson learnt today? Things don't always go 100% to plan...accept the glitches, work with them, but adapt so that at the end of the day, you're still on course. That's what I am doing! :)

Pythagoras said ~ "Choose always the way that seems the best, however rough it may be. Custom will soon render it easy and agreeable."  I only hope he is right.

Another week, determination renewed.

Yesterday's anxieties are behind me - until next Saturday night and the worries the boys' weekend revelries bring. Who'd have kids eh? I love them with all my heart but they do cause me so many sleepless nights - literally. Ah well. "It just wouldn't be a picnic without the ants." ~ as someone once said.

I start this week with a new determination. I've been dragging my feet, allowing life to get me down more than it should. I have to rise above problems, and I can.

I really hope I don't flag and give up on myself.

I tend not to binge eat, or become an all-out glutton, but I eat odds and ends when I feel out of sorts and can't be bothered to care for myself properly. I pick at foods..bits and pieces...and don't cook nutritious meals. Fortunately my 'picking' is just that - a slice of cold meat here, a glass of milk there, one biscuit, an orange, a yogurt, a piece of Edam cheese, a bowl of cereal, a handful of almonds....anything I can get my hands on really, which doesn't require cooking. (It's a good job I rid my cupboards of junk and convenience foods.) All these nibbles aren't too calorific fortunately, as meal substitutes. I think I have kept my intake below 1500 calories on both days this weekend.

I have lost one pound. That's heartening actually, because although I gained weight two weeks ago, I have taken all but one pound of it off again. I seem to be the world's best 'maintainer'! Now, if I can MAKE myself walk more and get on the bike more often I hope I'll see a steady weight loss. I have to dredge up every ounce of determination I have. Life is often in turmoil here for one reason or the other, but that's life. I can't hope for it to run smoothly given our circumstances. There are going to be anxieties, there have been for the last 23 years or more, but should I shelve my wanting a smaller, healthier body because life doesn't always run smoothly? Life doesn't run smoothly for anyone, but it's so easy to allow down times to put a spoke in the wheel of determination and see us grind to a halt. Like I said yesterday...who REALLY cares if I am fat or thin? I have to remind myself that it does matter. I am not getting any younger and the body does break down slowly as we age. We don't function as well if we are not fit, if we are not eating properly and if we are morbidly obese. If I don't determine to lose weight now, when will I lose weight?

Eating sensibly (all things in moderation and no more than 1500 calories a day) and consciously making myself move more cannot be that hard. I CAN do this. What's more, I WANT to do this.

This week I aim to do my very best, one day at a time.

"Don't be discouraged. It's often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock."

Monday, 9 August 2010

A Bad Weekend...

It's not been the best of weekends, for lots of reasons.

I don't think I have used food to stifle my emotions though. There's a light spot in the dark. Hooray me, but I have however just neglected myself...It's been a "Shrug. What's it all about Alfie?" weekend, one in which I thought deep thoughts, and ruminated about the whole 'meaning of life' stuff - which of course got me nowhere. I always conclude that life happens - some of it's good, some of it's bad, most of it is mundane. Get on with it. It's good to think though...and I always turn to writing to unload when times get a bit heavy. I wrote lots, mainly last night, in the early hours when I was feeling scared and anxious. Times can be bad, unsettling, worrying and everyone gets their fair (or unfair) share of problems and concerns. I bounce back from bad days/times and although I haven't eaten well..I haven't eaten more than 1500 calories per day since Friday.

On Friday my debit card was refused for a payment I wanted to make. I scrabbled round in my purse and fortunately had just enough cash on me  - most of it in loose change - to pay for my goods. I felt flustered. I checked my balance on a nearby cash machine...and yes, I'd gone beyond my authorised overdraft limit. My occupational pension wasn't paid in until Saturday and most of it would be sucked up in re-balancing my account, which meant I'd have a pittance to live on for the rest of September. I mentally thought about all the ingredients I'd need to make reasonably healthy meals for the whole of August/first week of September. Soups and beans on toast sprang to mind! In many ways, I relish a challenge. The bills would be paid...and I could magic up good, healthy meals...I don't like to be defeated. But it played on my mind, all the same.

On Saturday I went out with my man for the day. I am lucky - I have this distraction. I am fat, but loved. Our kids have grown up so we can spend days together, doing what we please. We went to a garden centre on Saturday - one which specialised in ponds, water systems, fish etc. We've been there a lot lately. It was a lovely sunny day and we browsed. We both like gardening but he is more active than I am. He isn't overweight at all, and although in his 50s like me, he is full of energy. I helped him choose plants for the pond..marginals..and he chose some boulders (pricey!) for landscaping around the edges. (He's been building a big pond at the bottom of his garden for months. It's his project.) He picked up a few bags of gravel, and then we went and chose some fish to add to the ones he already has in there. Between us we picked out six. When he paid for this lot at the counter - over £100 worth of hobby items - it hit me a bit. My man has spent a FORTUNE over the months on this project of his. I am glad he is able to do it., but I felt a huge wave of worry and sadness sweep over me. I used to be able to spend without thought...I could indulge in hobbies..treat myself to things, and I can't any more. Now...that's a pathetic whinge..and I know it. (Don't chastise me, please.) I am doing OK...but it niggles at me constantly that I am one pension payment away from going broke. I shan't, because I am sensible, cautious, prudent etc, etc..I'll go without and we'll manage...but oh how horrible it feels to have to question every purchase I make. As I write this I am aware that so many people would consider me extremely fortunate. I know I am....but with aging and lack of money it's like I have a new vulnerability. Add to that the changes that getting older brings..the loss of looks, attractiveness (yeah..looks are superficial I know) and a body which has spread..which is blobby, which I want to cover up in shapeless clothes...I feel a bit of a 'lesser' person. I am a poor, worried, fat, middle aged woman...and thinking this, I brought myself right down. Stupid - I know.

So...Saturday wasn't a good day...and Saturday night brought even more cares and woes...and extreme anxiety. My man took his fish to his pond, we had a cup of tea and a quick freshen up and then we went out to eat. I ordered salmon with peas and beans and a small jacket potato. I couldn't eat the potato because it had a funny taste and was hard, like it had been twice-cooked, or re-heated at least.  That was OK..the fish and veg filled me up anyway. Man complained and they took a small amount off the bill. I drank water..felt pleased with my choices (no craving other things on the menu) and when we'd finished man drove me home. It had been a nice day but my financial situation was playing on my mind, worrying me, although I didn't voice my fears or concerns. Man couldn't stay because he had to drive some distance to pick up his son from a works function. Both my (grown up) sons, my young men were out. Sadly in the UK there is a bit of a binge-drinking culture amongst the young. They drink to excess and fall over and/or cause trouble. Police are always on full alert on Saturday night in all the UKs towns and cities. The weekend starts on Thursday for many of them and young people often drink until they fall down. My boys aren't too bad. They drink and socialise, but never in the week and they don't drink at home. They are both anti-drugs. They aren't interested. Saturday night tends to be their night for going out. They attended a friends BBQ and then a group of them went into town and hit the pubs and clubs. Youngest son was staying with friends and oldest would be home later.

What is it with mothers? If I expect my boys home at night I don't switch off properly until they are safely in.

I got ready for bed at about 1am - I wasn't really sleepy - and settled down with a book. I felt drowsy and eventually nodded off, but slept with one ear open. I heard the noise of the diesel-engined black cab outside at 3am. I opened the curtains to look out. Son got out - looked unsteady on his feet, paid the driver and then wandered/staggered off, down the hill away from home..and out of sight. I got up...I was jolted wide awake. I was puzzled, anxious and now wide awake and phoned him on his mobile. I asked him where he was and what he was doing and he said in a slurred voice "I need time alone...I want fresh air, and a walk." (I may have mentioned he is a bit of a Forrest Gump...he walks and walks and seems to need the exercise.) He often walks the six miles home from town after a night out and I worry...but he is an adult now..I can't confine him, but equally, under my roof I need to be the door-keeper. Eventually he returned..walking slowly and unsteadily. I opened the door to save him fumbling for his keys and wished him good night. He needed his bed. I heard him flop down on his bed..and soon he was snoring. Now..OK..except he has medical problems, and I worry. I can't help it.

I told myself worrying wasn't going to help and I went back to bed and fell into a light, restless sleep soon afterwards. I was woken an hour later by the front door and porch door being opened. I was sleepy and confused but my heart was thumping all the same. I peered out of the window again to see son, fully clothed, walk to the end of the lawn and then purposefully sit down. He then lay down and curled up into the foetal position. In my night clothes and bare feet I rushed out...It was almost 5am..dawn. The grass was cold and damp..I bent down, took his arm and asked him to get up. He had been sleep walking and for some reason headed for the lawn...thinking it was his bed. Fortunately, he got up...his eyes were glazed over and he wasn't with it at all. I guided him back to his bedroom and to his bed, where he slept. I wondered though if he was OK...did he need his medication?

That was it. My heart was pounding. I watched him like a hawk all night. I was too wide awake to go back to bed or sleep. I had a small glass of milk and  one digestive biscuit - an anxious tummy - in knots - needs soothing. As I sat there, son's bedroom door ajar, me in the study space on the to look in..I wrote and wrote...trying to get all my feelings out..on to paper. I felt tied up in knots and uneasy for all sorts of reasons. I also felt quite sore that my ex husband, father of the three children, hadn't a clue. I was resentful that he'd gone his own way, many years ago, and left me to the job of bringing up the children (two with chronic medical problems) alone. Oh it all came out on paper. I was tired of seeing to the kids myself, with no back-up....even though they are in their early twenties now and perfectly capable of looking after themselves. They don't though. They are very blase about their conditions. I am still alert and anxious, wanting no harm to come to them..knowing that on the occasions they drink too much, things could go badly wrong. Yeah...I had a pity anxious, scared pity-party.

I sat up, watching the sun come up..feeling very little, feeling quite numb, but aware of my anxiety. If I could I'd have run away. I felt quite trapped. Son woke fairly early with a raging thirst and asked me why I was up. He drank water and told me to stop watching him before he went back to sleep. Fair point - but he was the cause of the anxiety and if anything went wrong in the night, I am the in-house para-medic. (I have had to call an ambulance out before...when their care is beyond me.) I told him in no uncertain terms why I was wide awake and why my sleep had been disturbed.

Morning had broken. It was 9am. I had a banana, read for a while...(my head was buzzing and not ready to switch off) and put some clothes in the washing machine.  I eventually fell asleep on the sofa..knowing son was OK...and I slept until 5pm, which means the day was wasted. I haven't eaten much..but what I did eat were bits and pieces..another biscuit, more tea, water, a small orange, a yogurt...a slice of cold meat..a few slices of cheese, a slice of toast. I couldn't be bothered to cook, and I couldn't be bothered to go and shower. I pulled on yesterday's clothes, feeling lifeless, groggy and knowing I'd had a washed-out day. I phoned man and cancelled our evening together.

I often wonder why I bother trying to lose weight. Sometimes I think "Does it really matter? Why bother?" The world turns, whether I am fat or thin. Am I worth this effort? I am of course, but sometimes I really understand why my own well-being isn't a priority. Life gets in the way, and crushes any enthusiasm I might have to better myself. I'll bounce back. I tend to do that, but this weekend, I didn't really care that I was fat. It really didn't matter.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Brace Yerselves! I Am Gonna Be Inspirational! I might be inspirational. No guarantees but it's about time I tried, especially after yesterdays mega-whine. People who read and comment have buoyed me up so far. Their comments and suggestions really help. I'd like to give a little bit back.

The first point I'll make is...I have started today well. Deliberately. I felt so out of sorts yesterday I just couldn't get my act together. I WANT to get my act together, because after all, this is my life. This is it...right now, as a fat woman. This isn't the run up to something better. This is it - right now. We don't get a whole new life when we become thin people...and it's not going to be better or worse because I lose weight...It'll be the same. I'll be proud of myself for wearing smaller clothes and for moving faster. I'll be proud of myself initially for 'doing it' - for taking the steps I need to take so my body loses some of it's fat coating  - but those days will be like these days. I may feel lifted because I like eating well and exercising more, but there will be days when I feel down too, thin body or not. The house will be the same, the people in my life will be the same, my circumstances will be the same..and life will, thankfully, hopefully plod on.

I am not waiting for that magic time when I look in the mirror and see a less podgy, smaller woman. I can't allow this process..a life long process, to define me. I am me, living. I can waste my day or I can achieve today. I can make all sorts of decisions which will either make me unsettled and dissatisfied with my efforts, or I can decide to follow this plan I have in my head..and just get on with it. Today I have started well. Up at 7am, one mug of tea and a small banana...I ironed a shirt and packed a lunch for my son, who no longer needs me to take him to work because he has flexi-time, so can make it to his office under his own steam and on the buses. Great. (I have no car anyway whilst mine is being he has no choice!)

Then I had a think. Some quiet time for reflection. Over the years I have printed out and saved snippets from the internet of bits that have inspired me...not just to do with slimming but to do with life generally. I dug out my folder and had a browse...with another mug of tea on the table in front of me, obviously! I came across this, and I can't credit the author(s) unfortunately, and it's a mish-mash of several articles if I remember correctly, and not just about weight loss, but it did give me a bit of a kick up the backside. I'll leave you with this. Hope it kick-starts you too, if you need pointing in the right direction today.

I entitled it "JUST DO IT!"


You'll feel even sadder when you haven't done the things you planned to do.
Guilt doesn't feel nice. It drags you down and paralyses you.
Get up, and something right now towards achieving that goal of yours, no matter how small.
Then do another small something, and another. Drink water. Dress well. Take care of your appearance. Write down a plan of action for today. Decide what has to be done next, and just do it! Make good choices. You can quit when you like, but you need to get some momentum going to get you out of that rut.

Get up, think positively...start small, but START!

You'll feel good when you do it...that thing that gives you a good beginning to your day, or the action that improves your day, or the one little thing that means today hasn't been a complete disaster. (Believe me, I know)

Just do it! You can do it!
You can do it - and stop looking for avoidance strategies. No one else can do this for you.

What does today hold? Decide what it will hold for you and the steps you will take to make today a good day. You have to make it happen.

You can do it! You'll feel 100% better than you do now for achieving one small thing that you have been avoiding attending to. The guilt weighs so heavy...but in a few minutes, the guilt can disappear if you tackle that problem - whatever it is.

Winner or loser? Your choice. Remember, life is short.

You deserve success, not stagnation and a rut!
Go, go, go!
Start now. Right now!

(Turn off the PC now. Right now. Go and achieve.)


Thursday, 5 August 2010

Really Lacking Motivation...

Hey ho. Another day. Another day feeling sort of down. No real reason, but if I were to guess I'd say I have too much time on my hands and no real purpose in life any more.

Oh don't get me wrong. I have plenty to do around the house and in the garden - but I don't feel inspired to do it. Those jobs are there every day, and if I do them today, they'll be there again nope, no inspiration in that quarter. I read lots of 'self help' stuff. Inspirational, motivational stuff. The message always is "Just do something. Don't wait for the time to be right. Just do it." I have all the patter, all the advice, and I'd be able to coax and encourage someone else to make something of their day - but can I shove myself in the same direction? No.

Sometimes the advice is "Go with the flow. Feel your moods, your discontent. Embrace it" etc. Have done that too. I am OK. I am cheery generally. I just feel a bit stuck. I have no the social interaction I used to get every day has gone, as has a sense of responsibility and a structure to my day. I didn't think about my days much. They were hectic. I just got on with them.

Even though I was often exhausted, I used to feel fulfilled. Now I don't. Oh, well go and volunteer I tell myself, and I have. I have helped out here, there and everywhere since retirement. Now however, given all my savings have gone, transport costs are a stumbling block. I just can't find the £4.00 per day it costs in bus fares to get anywhere. That sounds pathetic, but it's true. £4.00 will buy us milk and bread for a day. Lack of money also brings me down. I budget, I get by, but constant budgeting is a drain. I know many have to do it - but that fact doesn't console me.

I've looked for part-time jobs, so I can earn a wage to supplement my occupational pension. It's amazing what you have to be 'conversant' in now. Even receptionists earning a poxy basic wage in a back-street tattoo shop have to be familiar with X, Y and Z systems and have a diploma in rocket science. It's incredible.

I scour the job ads, in the local paper and online, and again, feel defeated. Even cleaners have to be super-fit. I doubt very much I'd get an interview given I retired from my last post on health grounds. Then of course, after the age of fifty you seem to be on the scrap-heap. It doesn't matter that you have a wealth of experience, wisdom, loads of transferable skills and are likely to be reliable etc, etc....doors close as you get older. I didn't think it would happen in this day and age, but it does. One of my ex-colleagues in her early 50s, a very able and bright woman who left work when the stress of it all added to her complicated family problems, has been actively looking for work over the last 18 months, and she says if she gets an interview she always, without fail, loses out to a younger person, often someone with fewer qualifications and less experience. She feels disheartened. I'd stack supermarket shelves if I could, but I can't due to the abdominal problems I had. Long periods of lifting, stretching and bending would damage all the repair work I had done a few years ago.

I feel quite stuck and discontented, although I have much to be grateful for. Let me stress that. My problems are nothing compared to what's happening elsewhere in the world and the situations some people find themselves in. I know that, but honestly...this is me, this is now...and we don't constantly remind ourselves that we are lucky we aren't in war-torn, drought-stricken places in Africa. It's all relative, and right now, here in the western world, life seems hard, despite all my blessing-counting. No fluffiness needed thanks. Yes, we are lucky, we have food on the table..but still our days can seem empty and meaningless and we can feel broke and uninspired. Life isn't permanently joyous, and to be blinkered to that reality is a form of denial.

"We must look for ways to be an active force in our own lives. We must take charge of our own destinies, design a life of substance and truly begin to live our dreams."  ~ Les Brown

Nope. That's not doing it for me today Les. It's a good point, but I am wallowing, so leave me alone.

I mean really...just WHO DOES design 'a life of substance', except those people who get rich from telling us that we too can design a life of substance? You have to be permanetly upbeat and positive to make that your motto every bloody day. I am suspicious of people who are permanently upbeat and positive.

Most posters apologise for whining. This is a whiny post - and I know it's up to me to change things, and I know moving helps, but this morning, after my half hour on the bike I didn't have the urge to conquer the world, or even the pile of dishes that needed to be put in the dishwasher. Scowl. Boring.

I feel a bit defeated and of course this has the knock-on effect of me not really caring whether I eat three slices of bread instead of one, or whether I go and peel and orange or just let the orange go dry, or turn soggy and mouldy in the fruit bowl.

I conclude that this is life. Get over it. Change it if you don't like it etc. Blah, blah blah. Yup. I have an evening meal to cook and man is coming over later. Yesterday was lovely, I spent it in town with my daughter, who treated me to lunch. We laughed and did lots of shopping. She shopped, I watched and enthused, but it was enjoyable. She also drove me to the supermarket where I stocked up on the bulky things which are difficult to carry home, now I don't have a car.

Life is good. I just don't feel very vibrant, despite being in reasonable health. No antidepressants needed. It's not that sort of 'down-ness' - more of a general discontent with so many aspects of life. I suspect many people know what I mean. Been there?

Thing is, when you feel like that you don't really care what you look like either. Why bother lose weight? Who cares if I do? Know that feeling too?

To remain permanently buoyant and cheer-leadery regarding fitness and diet just isn't me - and keep me away from cheery types like that - please.

I feel we should do all we can to be as healthy as we can...but today? Nope. Today is a drag. I haven't eaten all before me. I am not a binger, but I do use food to fill gaps. Today however, it's almost too much effort to go and spread cream cheese on Ryvita.

I feel better for unloading. Thanks for staying to the end. Tomorrow I'll have a plan of action, but's difficult steering your own boat all the time, charting the courses etc. Right now I am going to make a pot of tea (tea is a cure-all, trust me) and I'll have a bite to eat...some Ryvita and cheese, followed by that orange - which will be nice if I eat it today. I'll sit down and watch some trashy televison..(or at least catch up with some decent stuff :)

It's one of those days. I shan't go mad with food to blot out feelings of bleugh-ness. I am going with it, conscious of the fact that the clock is ticking. This really isn't how I want to spend my life. Do we all experience days like this?

Monday, 2 August 2010

Being Strong, Being Weak, Being Me.

A little kingdom I possess, where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard the task I find of governing it well.  

~ Louisa May Alcott

Hmmmm. Today has been a good-ish day in which my strength has pleased me, and my weakness has me wanting to punch myself.

Do you have to be strong all the time you aim to lose weight? I think you do. You have to have such resolve and determination, don't you? You have to get your head round the fact that you are going to do something which will involve denial. Some foods have to be avoided like the plague. Even with my 'all things in moderation' plan, I KNOW I cannot buy some things or have them in the house. If you are trying to lose weight you have to know that it will involve having a discussion with yourself every time you want to open your gob to munch something. You also have to plan and be prepared...and that means we are perpetually conscious of our eating. It's no way to live really, is it? Like I wrote yesterday, I want to return to the days when I NEVER thought about the food I was eating...and yet my weight remained fine and without thinking about it, I was active enough to burn off the calories ingested. It just happened and I remained a slim woman.

Now is now however and the goalposts have moved. I am fat now and it's up to me to do something about it..if I want to. I have a choice. No one is forcing me to address issues, although my own feeling is my poor old heart shouldn't have to pump so hard to keep me going. I mentioned in another post that I am carrying the (extra) weight of a small sofa on my back.

So today I had a hospital appointment. I have no car so how was I going to get there? Well, I could walk up the hill near my home, come out on to the main road and wait for a bus which would take me to within twenty yards of the front entrance of the hospital or I could walk the two/three miles. Stupidly, I found myself running late..I had two phone calls just as I was about to leave the house, so I decided I'd get the bus there. I didn't want to arrive all hot and bothered and flustered because I'd had to rush. I still had a steep hill walk from my house to the bus stop. I saw the vascular surgeon at the hospital who examined me then told me he'd arrange for a scan of my lower legs - so that will be another appointment in the near future. (I keep getting phlebitis which is SO painful and it's not responding to treatment or antibiotics.) I walked out of the hospital and decided I wasn't going to wait for a bus home - I'd walk it. My legs were stinging..but what's new. They sting every day, but I want to walk. I actually LIKE walking. It makes me feel good. I fear being incapacitated.

It was a pleasant afternoon and I'd bought myself a bottle of water, which I swigged at intervals. It was all uphill on the way home, apart from the last little bit which is of course down the steep hill to my front door, but I enjoyed being out in the fresh air and I know walking is good for my circulation. I stopped half way and took a bit of a detour to the supermarket. I knew we were running low on milk and bread and a few other bits and pieces so I did some food shopping and packed my purchases into two plastic bags...being careful to distribute the items evenly, according to weight.  I then walked the last mile and a bit carrying two fairly heavy bags...all uphill apart from the downward slope to my house at journeys end. I'd been walking at a steady pace for an hour. A good work-out, with weights! :)

I felt tired when I got in, but was glad I incorporated a good walk into my day. I made myself a mug of tea (there is nothing like tea when you are parched and tired imo!) and I realised I'd worked up an appetite, so I made myself a sardine sandwich and had a small salad to go with it. I love fish.. Oh, I also weighed myself this morning, and although I'd gained five pounds in the week, I'd shed two of I was able to record a three pound gain rather than a five pound one! It was all good...

Yes, it was, until I heard the chimes of the ice cream van outside.

I rarely buy ice cream. I can live without it, but son, just in from work dashed out to the van, wanting an ice lolly after his tiring day at the garage. He asked me as he rushed by..."Want an ice cream Mum?" I should have said no, but I didn't. I quite like that soft, runny, swirled ice cream from the van. Son being generous bought me a double cone...with a chocolate flake in each mound of ice cream. My heart sank when he offered it to me. All my exercise undone...but it looked soooooooo good.

Oh woe is me. What does one do? Here are the choices

A) Chuck it in the bin  B) Throw it in the sink  C) Flush it down the loo  or  D) Eat it?

I did of course choose option  D.

I am weak. End of. No excuses. I really should punch myself. It looked good, and by golly, it tasted good...right down to the last bite of the crispy cornet. I enjoyed it.

OK, so just like the toast and honey yesterday, I should have shown some restraint. I really don't fight my urges...because I don't often have strong urges..but two days running I have not put up a fight. I have fallen at the first hurdle. In fact..I didn't even attempt to jump it.

I have got to feel 'deprived' I a good way. My 'deprived' will mean I have chosen what I will and won't eat. I shan't rule out ice cream completely, but next time I have one...which could be months from will be a considered  choice and not a thoughtless, mad whim.