Thursday, October 30, 2014

Minimising the damage

later Thursday:

So I went to do my tax and the online system wasn't working me for, I rang up and went through all the long process of getting through to a real person only to be told that it was a known problem, happening to everyone, try again in a couple of hours. Which I will do. But I was already unhappy and this made me more frustrated.

I had my afternoon snack even though it was really early. Then I wandered around the house like a disgruntled ghost, avoiding all the other things I could be doing, sad and unsettled, and I gave into food. Oh, I resisted for a while first. But then I crumbled. Luckily we didn't have anything truly bad in the house. But I felt annoyed with myself afterwards, defeated. I'd already had my afternoon snack before the kids even got home from school and here I was eating extra! And I thought about eating more and more. Eating had squashed down all the bad feelings for a few moments, I wanted to repeat that. But I had just been re-reading my cognitive therapy book and one of the things it talked about was getting back on track after a binge, and all the reasons it was better to stop right now than continue and make it worse. And I put the food details into my calorie tracker. And you know how many extra calories I had eaten? 200. 200 is nothing, in the big scheme of things. 200 calories is not a disaster. Certainly not a reason to give up and eat even more.

I could, if I wanted, have a tiny dinner and still get in under my daily calories, but I am not going to. I am going to have my normal planned dinner, back on track, as if I hadn't stepped off the rails there for a minute at all. I was having a bad day, I need to learn to deal with stress some other way, but I am not going to dwell on it unduly or beat myself up. I'm forgiven.

... Hmm.

While waiting for dinner to cook I ate a couple of squares of chocolate and an unknown number of cashews - I didn't weigh them I just ate them straight out of the packet. And then later in the evening I ate some more chocolate, not because I was still upset but just because I'd kind of given up on the day. Despite the part of me saying that was a wrong-headed attitude, I still went with the "start again tomorrow" option. Total damage, around 800 calories extra for the day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014



Today I felt dull and sad, a big contrast to earlier in the week when I felt quite perky. I dragged myself to the gym, dragged myself through a lacklustre workout where the screen visuals of the Grand Canyon and the French countryside seemed boring and uninspiring, made myself have a shower, forced myself to eat my planned healthy lunch instead of ALL THE THINGS. Actually, anything else would have been way too much effort to go out and get.

Still on track. Still plodding along. I'm not sick, just feeling down. Maybe worried about my mum. Maybe bad sleep. Both. Had a bad dream.

Now I'm going to do my tax. Due tomorrow. Having a bad day anyway, might as well wallow in it.

Walking for nachos


Since I don't have the car and can't get to the gym, Wednesday is an official rest day for me in terms of exercise. But today there was no particular reason to take a break, no excessive muscle soreness or tiredness, so I did 30 mins of dance. It was nice to do something a bit different, fun, with no pressure of doing a certain amount of time or at a certain intensity. I was moving my body and enjoying the music. And since I did it in the morning I felt I'd started the day off well.

Shortly afterwards I decided I wanted to turn my leftover pulled pork lunch plan into nachos with pulled pork. I don't consider corn chips to be very healthy but I have completely changed my old "lazy nachos" which were just Doritos with salsa and melted cheese - lots and lots of melted cheese - into a far more nutritious version with salsa and much less cheese plus a bit of meat, jalapenos, and topped with a big serve of finely chopped lettuce, cucumber, tomato and capsicum. And it is so delicious! But I certainly don't keep corn chips in the house as anything like that is an instant trigger food for me. Today I could only have nachos for lunch if I walked to the shops to buy some corn chips.

So I did. I got in nearly half an hour of brisk walking in the lovely sunshine and bought a single serve of corn chips plus some strawberries. No hay fever symptoms at all. Sunshine makes me happy! And I earned myself a fabulous lunch. I kept the meat and cheese proportion low and it was under 500 calories, still a very hearty lunch but I managed to fit it into my calories for the day.

We still haven't decided about Jasmine doing the extra dancing next year. Auditions are on Friday. She already does one dance class, French, karate, swimming, and trumpet for school band. Not sure about adding two more dance classes! I suppose she could drop karate to have one afternoon free. But self defence is important, and so is learning to swim (especially here in Australia). And music and languages are fabulous too. Hmm.

I talked to mum this afternoon. She hasn't been feeling quite so well lately, which is worrying. A few aches and pains coming back, sleeping a lot of each day, and her voice is really croaky again. It's nearly a year since her cancer diagnosis (breast and bone). She'd been doing so well before this, responding well to chemo and radiotherapy. She'll see her doctor soon, and hopes changing her medication might help. She sounded cheerful but there was a real turnaround in her ability to cope with things - she's been talking about moving to a retirement home but today it all seemed too hard to her. And her car got rear-ended, nothing serious, but the boot won't close properly and she doesn't have the energy to do anything about it. We have a family wedding coming up and she was very glad that I said we would be driving her but not sure how she'll deal with tiredness on the day. It's all a bit scary that she has gone downhill since I saw her last just a few weeks ago.

I don't want to finish on a depressing note so I'll remember that I had another day of eating within my calories, exercising, and feeling happy and healthy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Core strength, or lack thereof


I actually didn't resent getting out of bed this morning! Amazing.

I went to the gym to tackle those pesky New Zealand mountains again. I tried to go a little faster, a little harder. Overall much the same as yesterday. I did the second half of NZ (there are six segments for each area, I think, around 10 minutes each), including visiting a glacier and a lovely hike to a lake. My right foot hurt quite badly nearly the whole time on the elliptical yesterday, no idea why, it stopped hurting when I moved on; today it started hurting after about 15 mins but not as bad. So that is an improvement. Maybe the elliptical set up is a bit different to what I am used to.

Then I got back on the bike to finish my ride through the Champagne region. I was just thinking yesterday, on the bike, how none of the exercises I was doing were targeting my core and I probably needed to add something else. But I was wrong. Somehow I didn't feel it yesterday, but today when I got on the bike my stomach muscles protested in no uncertain fashion. Apparently still tired and sore from yesterday. No other pose triggers the discomfort, only the bike. But it was pretty uncomfortable! I only made 20 mins today before finishing with a short walk. Ow my core.

So I got my hour of exercise in again.

After school we walked to a friend's house for a play date. I didn't feel hay-fevery at any point, and I noticed that there was hardly any Capeweed left around. And/or maybe this third antihistamine is working for me. Either way, it was great not to feel awful just for going outside. I took my own portioned out afternoon snack as well as healthy stuff for everyone. And that little walk there and back was a bit of extra exercise so it was good all round.

At Jasmine's dance class she was invited to audition for the Junior Performance group. She is keen and we all love dance here, but it is a big commitment. As well as her jazz funk she would have to add ballet and a special performance class. Three afternoons a week instead of one! Lots of driving, lots of sitting around (especially boring for her little brother), lots of expense! Three eisteddfods next year and a few other performances to commit to. And I'm not that keen on ballet (I've seen their damaged feet), although Jasmine wants to try it. We haven't decided yet.

Tim had to work very late so Dungeons and Dragons was cancelled, so I didn't need to negotiate the food. I decided to still have my low-cal hot chocolate for supper. And YUCK! I had forgotten how nasty fake sugar is. Spit yuck pthew. I must have been desperate when I had it before a couple of times. One of those "diet" things you do when you are denying yourself real food. Now I think back, I'm pretty sure most of the last packet was thrown away. As an experiment, I tried mixing pure cocoa powder (chocolate) with hot water - no sugar or sugar substitutes at all. And the taste was much nicer. Would be a lot better in milk instead of water, but it has a pretty good chocolaty taste for 40 calories a cup (two teaspoons of cocoa).

Oh my legs are sore this evening. Those NZ mountains are killers.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hiking in LoTR and cycling through Champagne


I go to a very large gym that has two floors and several big rooms of equipment as well as the group classes rooms (there is also a pool complex and a women-only gym in the building) and I've been going to the only room with rowing machines. The equipment in there seemed pretty new, there were big screen TVs with captions, and I was happy with it. It always seemed fairly empty, but then so is the whole gym at the time of day I go.

Today I decided not to use the rowing machines due to the rubbing problem (I haven't got any BodyGlide or similar yet) so I went to a room closer to the lockers (and the toilets) that always seems a bit more popular. Now I know why! The equipment is awesome! It looks the same to a casual glance but the screens do so much more.

During my 30 minutes on the elliptical, I hiked through the rainforests and mountains of New Zealand. The screen showed me moving through the landscape. It was fun and very motivating. Got to get up that mountain to the view at the top! The rainforests were lush but the mountains rocky and barren. Looked like Lord of the Rings. There were plenty of other choices of hiking routes for next time.

Then I got on one of the upright bikes I don't hate quite as much as the leaning-forward spin kind, and cycled through the Champagne region of France. Through little towns and past vineyards. I planned to only do 15 or 20 minutes, depending on how much I hated it, and then finish with a walk on the treadmill; but it was so fascinating I kept going for the whole 30. The hills were fairly gentle but still hurt going up, but the down slopes made me want to go Wheeeeeeeee!

Also, at the end the machines tell you how much energy you've saved, in relation to how long it would power a lightbulb (not all that long, actually). I asked at reception if that energy from my pedalling was actually saved/used but the girl had no idea. She said she would find out.

I worked hard and ended with my usual tomato-red face so the program was motivating not distracting. This reminds me of those heady first days after I found the "Zombies, run!" app to make walking/jogging more interesting.

Yesterday my nutrition was pretty close to perfect. Right number of calories, fruit and vegetables, dairy, healthy fats. Eight drinks, which is great for me. The only way I know to reduce calories without missing out on essential nutrients is to cut carbohydrates, but I am still eating some. Fruit, yoghurt, potato. Avoiding anything processed. On track again today so far.

I can't be perfect every day, I certainly don't expect to be. And I want to have treat foods sometimes. One meal on Saturdays (not all day!) is my planned treat. That allows for eating out, or a party, or having dessert at home, or a favourite meal that isn't quite as healthy as I am eating the rest of the time. A few extra calories.

Tuesday night supper is an ongoing problem. This week I will offer vegetable sticks with dip, and I am buying myself low-calorie hot chocolate sachets. I don't usually have anything fake or with pretend sugar, but I have had this brand (Jarrah) before and like it, and a real hot chocolate with milk and sugar and maybe marshmallows is just too many calories! If I want a mini-treat on Tuesdays it needs be very mini indeed, because I am going to stay within my calorie limits and I don't have a lot of wriggle room. So it's probably a single square of dark chocolate, or sipping a low-cal hot chocolate.

I had a much better sleep last night and feel good today - even though yet again I didn't wear my CPAP for long. Shortly after I put it on we had a power blackout so I couldn't use it. When the power came back on I wore it for a while and did sleep, no idea for how long, before ripping it off again. Oh, and I dreamed I had these two tiny carrot sticks, about as big as my little finger, and it was mid afternoon but they were all the food I was allowed for the rest of the day and I had to check them out of the library and then they got covered in books and papers and I couldn't find my carrot sticks... diet anxiety? Still, feeling good today.

But I miss sugar in my tea.

The other day I put a sugar cube in my tea instead of a sachet, not realising it was 4.5 grams instead of the 3 grams I was used to. And it was so sweet and horrible! So I don't like extra sugar. But I like some. Trying to give it up. Going cold turkey.

Sweet sweet sugar.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A small surprise weight loss


I lost 0.5 kg this week which is wonderful considering my diet and exercise efforts were very erratic. I was expecting a maintain, so a loss was a lovely surprise.

I've decided to go back to weighing daily (when I remember). It seems to work better for me. I give too much power to weigh-ins when they are less frequent. As you may have seen I can get very upset about an unexpected gain! If I weigh every day, I allow for fluctuations and don't get upset about them, while using the general trend to keep track of my true weight. Sundays will be my "official" weigh in day.

I will also be more diligent about tracking my food. Again.

I had a somewhat better sleep last night, although I still only managed to keep my CPAP on for around four hours. I can see it is going to be a real problem in hot weather. Sweaty. A folded tissue between me and the plastic helped a bit but kept working its way out.

Yesterday we decided to go to a cafĂ© for lunch. We sat outside next the lake and shared a pizza. I was already not feeling very chipper before we went out, but I kept feeling worse and worse, and by the end I was sneezing and constantly blowing my nose, and when we got home I collapsed into bed and slept for half the afternoon. There is less Capeweed around, I'm hoping it is getting to the end of its flowering season, but there was still plenty around the car park where we were. Yesterday made me reconsider the effectiveness of my antihistamines. The first one I tried (Loratadine, trade name Claratyne) made me very groggy and woosy; the next one (Cetirizine hydrochloride, trade name Zyrtec) didn't seem to have any side effects (unless it has affected my sleep) so I thought it was better. But have either of them actually helped my hay fever, or is it just that I haven't ventured outside for weeks? Because the first time I go out and sit in the "fresh air", I get all the symptoms back again. Maybe they are doing nothing at all for me. I had one more to try, Desloratadine (trade name Aerius). When I was folding clothes that had come in from outside I started to get itchy eyes and nose etc so I went and took one and the symptoms did subside fairly quickly. So maybe the pills are doing something as long as my exposure to pollens is minimal. I'll just stay inside for a few more weeks. It is such a shame missing spring though. I don't know why it has hit me so hard this year. Possibly general run-down-ness has made me vulnerable.

Excellent food compliance today. All nutritious stuff. And I've felt much healthier today than I have all week. Which is cause and which is effect? Each is positive feedback for the other; eating well makes me feel healthier which makes it easier to eat well...

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.