Friday, October 24, 2014

Longest fast ever


Still plodding along, having good days and bad days with my eating and exercise.

My sleep all week has been horrible. It is really wearing me down. The last two nights I have tried really hard to keep my CPAP on, which means lying awake (drifting briefly into sleep then waking again) for nearly four hours before giving up each time. But even without the CPAP I've found it hard to get to sleep, and of course I wake frequently and don't have restful sleep without it.

One of my problems with the CPAP is that it has warmed up here, and having plastic stuck to my face and warm humid air blowing up my nose makes my face sweat and itch. It is really unpleasant. I've turned down the humidity twice and the temperature once over the past week, I'm turning down the temp again today so we'll see how tonight goes. I can't turn the humidity down too far or I get sore dry nose and throat.

The heat has only been the last couple of days so I don't know why I've been sleeping so badly all week. Unless it is the hay fever medication? I did switch to this better antihistamine nine days ago. Supposed to be non-drowsy but the chemist said it wouldn't stop me sleeping. Don't tell me I have to choose between bad days and bad nights.

No exercise for the past couple of days. No energy.

I've often wondered if obese people would survive a fast longer than a thin person, it makes sense that they would; that is why our bodies store fat, right? I looked it up and one guy in 1965 who weighed 207 kg (455 pounds) fasted for a year and 17 days and lost more than half his bodyweight. He told hospital staff that he was going to do it anyway so they might as well monitor him. They gave him electrolytes and yeast. I'm not sure why yeast doesn't count as food in this example, it does have calories - mainly protein but some fat and carbs. I think they gave it to him for the potassium.

Fasting can be dangerous for reasons other than starvation, heart attacks and impacted bowels for example. But it can be done, this guy basically lived off his body fat for a year. The human body is a fascinating thing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

CPAP compliance


I think one of my big problems at the moment is my lack of CPAP compliance. I'm supposed to wear my CPAP every night because of sleep apnoea. I was really good when I first got it. Then I got the flu and couldn't use it for a while, and since then I've been struggling. I rip it off after six hours (I call that a win) or four hours or two, or I'm lying awake and it's annoying me so I take it off before I even get to sleep, or quite often I decide I have a slightly blocked nose or sore throat so won't even try.

But I have to wear it for a reason. I need it to get proper sleep without waking up every four minutes or so. Today I had two naps in my comfy chair, one in the morning and then one after my kids got home when they kept trying to talk to me! My eyes just kept closing. Unacceptable. That is an unprecedented level of tiredness for me.

So I hereby make a new commitment to wear it every night. If it bugs me, well I just need to get used to it again.

Hunger reset study


I read an interesting article about a recent study that concluded that you regain weight just as fast after slow weight loss as you do after rapid weight loss. What a depressing way to word it! As if the regain was inevitable. Apparently around 71% in both groups had regained all the weight after a year. At least that leaves 29% who didn't regain it all. But the study was arguing against the idea that slow weight loss is somehow better, easier to maintain.

The other interesting thing they concluded was that it can take up to three years for your body to "reset" its comfortable weight. This is the idea that your body is somehow happier at a certain weight and if you lose weight then relax your diet you will spring back up to that set point. My understanding of their argument (it was an article not the actual study) was that this is true and is because of your body's set hunger level. It can be reset, but it takes up to three years. So once you go into maintenance mode you have to continue to be vigilant for several years until your body resets, then it should feel more normal to eat the right amount to maintain your lower weight. Thus your "natural weight" is not set in stone, it is just what your body is used to and you can change it.

I was home all yesterday, unmotivated to exercise. I spent the morning doing sitting work - writing and researching - then forced myself to do some dancing in the afternoon. I hoped that once I got started I would get into it. I managed 25 minutes before my limp limbs refused to flail around any longer. At least I tried, I really did. Gravity was just too heavy.

Today was worse. No energy at all. I did put my gym gear on but didn't get out of the house. I made the mistake of doing some work reading in a comfy chair. Slept for an hour. Sitting up, in the morning. I do often need a nap, but never in the morning! Still feel dopey and fatigued. No exercise today.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Jumping over molehills


I had a bit of dilemma this morning. Yesterday's rowing session had left sore patches under my arms again, and they weren't better by this morning. Even wearing a bra around the house hurt, let alone exercising in one. I don't believe in pushing through pain of this kind - I would likely only make it worse, tear the skin, make it even harder to exercise - but I couldn't not exercise today either!

With no bra I couldn't go to the gym or out in public (um, headlights) and I couldn't do any jumping (overweight 44 year old who has breastfed two children, bouncing is not a comfortable option) so I procrastinated for a while but with no intention of avoiding exercise altogether. A bit of abraded skin wasn't going to stop me.

I ended up doing an hour of Just Dance 4 and really enjoyed it. I had to modify some moves a bit but not as much as I'd expected. I avoided tracks I knew included a lot of jumping around. JD4 is a couple of years old and contains such gems as "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen and golden oldies like "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley. Lots of fun, actually. Cheerful. In the past I'd earned 5 stars on every dance on this disc and I still remember a lot of it so I didn't have to concentrate on learning the steps. I just danced along and enjoyed myself.

I'll have to cut out or cut back on the rowing for the moment.

My other perceived "molehill" today was that I had a terrible sleep last night. For some reason I tossed and turned for several hours (with my CPAP on for a couple of hours then without it, unfortunately taking it off didn't seem to help). And then I woke at dawn, also for no reason I'm aware of. I think I got 4 hours sleep. So I fully expected to be exhausted and sleepy all day. But as usual my perception of how my night went has no relationship - or perhaps an inverse relationship! - to how I feel the next day. I was fine. Didn't need a nap.

A friend of mine, whose kids are also close friends with mine, came over this afternoon. They have been overseas for a month so we had a lot to talk about. So that was lovely. And aside from the general catch-up, there were several other good things. I had a chocolate bar before they came (that's not the good thing) and I wasn't at all hungry so I didn't eat any of the snacks we put out for us and the kids. I could easily have eaten some snacks, it was all right in front of me the whole time we were chatting. But I had nothing other than my cup of tea. I was proud of myself for keeping the calorie damage limited to the chocolate and not make it worse.

Another good thing is she can probably babysit for an upcoming event, which will be very convenient for us. And thirdly, she asked me a question about the name of something that she said she'd asked a couple of people about and they didn't know. I did know. She said she knew I would. And I felt all warm and fuzzy inside, not just that I knew something but that my friend had confidence that I would.

Tuesdays are our busiest day, we still have dance class and dinner (chicken casserole already in the oven) then Dungeons and Dragons to get through. D&D is the trickiest, health-wise. I am offering grapes. But other people will bring junk. And I think I've had as much as my calorie budget can allow for the day, unless I spend my daughter's dance class doing calisthenics on the sidelines! Maybe I can do surreptitious isometrics.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Climbing the mountain


I knew I wasn't going to lose weight this week. I hadn't quite anticipated gaining a whole kilogram. It is a strongly worded reminder that I can't eat whatever I like, even if I am exercising a bit. So I'm back to restricting my eating from today.

Restricting. Now there is a word. I have quite a vivid mental image about dieting. Me not dieting - I have big doors in the front of my body open to the world. Fresh air, bright streamers, freedom, all flow in and out of my body. It's a warm spring day with a light pleasant breeze. Me dieting - the doors are shut. I am cold and rigid and hunched over like the Tin Man without his oil can. Nothing gets in, nothing gets out. Gloomy.

Probably not the best frame of mind to bring to a diet. I need to work on that just as much as the actual eating.

I have a big motivation at the moment, one that speaks to vanity. I just realised my cousin's wedding is just under four weeks away. I have talked about my mother's family before. Aside from me and my mum, they are all very slender, tanned, athletic. My aunts in their 60s all still play competition tennis and look fabulous. I definitely feel like the ugly duckling amongst them. I'm the smart fat one. Now we are all adults I only see them at Christmas and the occasional wedding or other big event. And every time one of these occasions looms I feel despair about my weight. I even avoid going sometimes. I am not exaggerating when I say mum and I will likely be the only overweight women at this wedding. Actually, what with the cancer mum has lost a lot of weight so it will just be me.

Just thinking about it makes me feel depressed. I'm so short and dumpy, like a hippo in a giraffe colony.

Four weeks. How much can I lose in four weeks?

So I wasn't in the best frame of mind when I went to the gym. But I went! I started with 30 mins on the elliptical. I put the resistance up to 5 (up from 3 last week) and it was much harder. It felt like I was climbing a mountain. No speed intervals today, I just slogged on. With my eyes closed some of the time. Pushing, pushing. Not giving up. Not feeling very happy about it.

Then I got on the rowing machine and did my 20 mins there. I put that up to 5 as well, but it didn't feel much different to 3. I used to row on resistance 10 and I don't know that it feels much harder. But I'll move up gradually anyway. While rowing, I started trying to turn my point of view around. First I thought about changing my picture of me "not dieting" to being bloated and sickly and sad. But then I decided not to. I don't want to demonise any kind of food. I don't want to link having a treat with feeling horrible. So instead I worked on my image of me "dieting", changing it from the very negative deprived unhappy picture I had to something more positive. Here is what I came up with:

I am standing on the top of a mountain, which I have just climbed. It is sunny and fresh with a magnificent view of nature. I am pleasantly tired, but not exhausted because my fit healthy body can climb a mountain without feeling like I'm going to die. I feel happy and calm. I am a bit hungry, and there is a picnic laid out with delicious healthy food. The fresh fruit is especially appealing to my well-deserved thirst. There are no artificial restrictions on what I can or can't eat, because I will enjoy eating the right amount of healthy food to nourish and replenish my body.

So, that is what I am trying to picture when I think of myself being "on a diet". Not restricting, but nourishing and nurturing my body so it can do the things I want it to do.

I finished at the gym with 10 mins on the treadmill, not fast but on an incline. Another mountain to climb! But by this time I was feeling quite cheerful. And they had an old repeat of a sit-com on the nearest TV and it was quite funny. So I ended on a high.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sunshine and afternoon nap


This morning my children were taking turns wrapping themselves in a double doona and "evolving" then emerging from the cocoon. Cute.

Despite apparently snoring all night I am feeling much better today. It hasn't been a bad 24 hours. You know some illnesses make you feel miserable, either from pain/nausea etc or because somehow they depress your spirits. This one didn't affect mood at all, my husband said the same when I mentioned it. Despite a sore throat and aching body and fatigue, I just felt like myself and was able to enjoy various non-active things instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself like I often do when sick.

I weigh in tomorrow after a week of starting back at the gym. I don't expect to have lost weight, my eating has been pretty bad. A few hours of exercise can't compete with that. But my current focus is getting back into an exercise rhythm.

Quiet day today. I at least got out into the backyard and did a bit of weeding, cut back the huge rosemary shrub and watered a couple of dry plants. Lovely sunshine. The vegetable garden is looking good, most of the seedlings survived their first couple of weeks. The strawberry plants are covered in little white baby berries. The pansies are still blooming. The gardeners came a couple of days ago so the lawn was all neatly mown too. We've been here for nearly ten years and I probably spent the most time I've ever spent in our backyard this past winter, when we had the puppy. It's nice to be out there when it isn't freezing, or raining, or pitch black!

After being outside for ten minutes I came in and had a nap. Afternoon naps are awesome.

Back to the gym tomorrow, and I'll start tightening my food intake.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Excuses and Lessons


I didn't go to the gym yesterday. I could give you my list of excuses (which would not stand up under scrutiny) but the real reason was that - as I planned to walk around the lake and go on to other things straight from there - I was wearing normal clothes not my exercise gear. And in my normal clothes I just didn't feel "in the mood" for exercise. I skipped the walk and was busy all morning. I was not busy in the afternoon. Various times throughout the day I told myself to get changed and go to the gym, but I never did. Too much effort.

I bought myself new hand weights, 3 kg each, and did about 15 minutes of various moves with them. So I guess that was something. But there was no reasonable reason why I didn't do a lot more. Gym, walking, dancing, a whole array of choices. I told myself I would make up for it on Saturday morning, so I would still have done four sessions this week.

My husband called me at lunchtime as he was feeling sick so I went and picked him up from his work, he spent the afternoon sleeping. He feels better today but I feel like crap. My body aches and I feel like I'm trying to swallow a golf ball. Bloody germs. Hopefully just a 24 hour thing that I will fight off.

I can turn this into a learning experience. Two lessons. Firstly, like many people I need to do my exercise first thing or it won't get done. (For me first thing is after I get the kids to school.) And I need to set myself up for exercise, not make it easy to avoid it. Get into my exercise gear when I get up in the morning! Not allowed to get changed or take off tight uncomfortable sports bra until I have exercised!

And secondly, don't assume that tomorrow will somehow be easier than today. Or even as easy. Do what you need to do when you get the chance because tomorrow might not be what you expected.

Yes I am cranky with myself for not exercising yesterday. But on the bright side I did three good sessions at the gym this week. That is a decent start.