Friday, August 30, 2013

Plans for Spring


I've been doing a lot of thinking about how to get started (again) on weight loss and I decided I want to focus on "do" not "don't" so I went looking on the internet for a chart where I could tick off boxes for doing good things like eating vegetables and exercising. I found one that was pretty much what I wanted except it was a whole page for each day, which is a lot of paper if I was going to print them out. Then I remembered that the CSIRO diet had a chart for their plan so I went looking for that. And ended up deciding to do the CSIRO diet again.

I went back through my archives and found that I started that plan almost exactly two years ago - 3 September 2011 - and started off well but faded away and officially quit on 15 October, around seven weeks later.

It's high protein, moderate carb, low fat. I've ordered the books from the library again but had a look on their website and printed out the checklist and I think I remember everything pretty well. The hope is that if I eat all those fruits and vegetables and proteins I won't have room for junk. It is not a fad diet, CSIRO is a group of Australian scientists (government, I think) and their diet follows the current guidelines for amounts of everything.

We have a busy weekend that will include a 60th party, Father's Day and eating out twice (in addition to those celebrations). I also haven't shopped with this diet plan in mind. So I will start on Monday, 2 September. And if I have any time on the Sunday, 1 September, the first day of spring, I will "spring clean" the cupboards and throw away all the junk in the house.

I had about four days of feeling well (and I made the most of it, getting out and enjoying the sunshine) and then yesterday I woke up with a bad sore throat. Felt yuck all day, went to bed early, this morning went back to bed after getting the kids to school. Sick of being sick. My son is complaining about not feeling well too. This has been a really bad autumn and winter for illness. Oh well, it will pass.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Purple hair


So yesterday I had my lovely walk outside for an hour (it's relevant). That afternoon I decided to put some temporary purple streaks in my hair, this chalky stuff I picked up in the supermarket just for fun. It went on to my blonde hair really well, dramatic purple streaks. My hands were quite purple too. And all over the sink. And my shirt. And my face. And a bit of the carpet. And my combs. But it washed off everything ok (except the carpet) and I liked my hair.

A couple of hours later I saw in the mirror that my neck and shoulders were an angry hot pink colour. I'd put on face cream with sun screen in it before I went out, on my face and chest, and worn a hat and long sleeves, but clearly it wasn't enough. I am very fair and burn easily, so I wasn't that surprised that an hour in the sun was enough to turn exposed winter-white skin lobster red. I very gingerly dabbed on some soothing cream, and the hot pink came off on my hands! Not so much burned, as dyed.

I didn't want to wash it out straight away so last night I put an old pillow case on my pillow and put my streaked hair in a pony tail. This morning I popped into the hairdresser to book an appointment and she wanted to have a consult about what I was going to have done, so I'm sitting there and she is running her hands all through my hair, and her hands turned purple! I did warn her!

The strap of my handbag, where it goes over my shoulder, is all pinky-purple too. And every time I touch my hair I get more on my hands. I think it's more trouble than it's worth to keep in, so I'll be washing my hair straight after I exercise this afternoon.

Last night was our Salsabor lesson, so two hours of exercise in total yesterday. My legs were pretty tired by the end of dancing. And those damn mirrors again. I didn't know that lovely top made me look pregnant.

It's cold and gloomy again today, which is sad, but spring is only a couple of days away.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Out in the sun again


I went to the lake today. I was planning to write in the library and then walk, but I couldn't get parking at the library, Questacon (science museum) or the art gallery. I parked on the other side of the lake and had my 5k walk, but since I wasn't near any public building to write in I then just came home.

Beautiful weather today, warm and sunny. There were swans on the lake and lots of people out walking and jogging and cycling.

You will remember that last year I tried to train myself to run, using (on about my third training attempt) the "Zombies, Run!" couch to 5k app. I loved the app but was never able to run more than 90 seconds, very frustrating when my friends and bloggers I followed seemed to easily get to 5k and then 10k distances. I just don't have the shins for it. Just before I gave up, I bought the other "Zombies, Run!" app which is not a C25K. You get a storyline, with excellent voice acting, in segments between your own music.

I played it today and really enjoyed listening. I had random zombies enabled, you have to speed up or they catch you so I did lurch into a jog twice during my circuit. I would love to be able to run but it doesn't look like that is going to happen, so I'll just be content with long walks and the occasional short jog.

Food intake is really really bad at the moment. Don't really want to talk about it.

Monday, August 26, 2013



It was a lovely almost-spring day today and when it came time to exercise I really didn't feel like dancing so instead I went for a walk. I didn't take my music, I just wanted to immerse myself in the day. There were beautiful smells all round from jonquils and wattle and plum blossoms. Pretty but raucous sulphur-crested cockatoos were nesting in the hollows in old trees, the wind was light and playful instead of being straight from the snow fields, it was a great day for a brisk stroll.

I mailed a letter and bought some milk and a couple of other things, and ended up carrying about 6kg of stuff in my backpack. I had thought the day still a little chilly on my way out, with no jumper, but I didn't think that on the way home, uphill and carrying a backpack! It seemed very warm indeed.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Almost spring


I was finally feeling much better over the weekend. I did a little gardening in the spring-like weather on Sunday. Today I did my first dancing for well over a week. I made it to half an hour and had to stop, dizzy and exhausted. Oh well, I'll have to build back up to it. I am way behind my husband on the Crew Challenge of Dance Central 2.

I am so looking forward to spring. I am sick of the cold and rain and general dreariness. We've had a couple of nice days now, where it was pleasant to be outdoors (still in a jumper, though). I miss being able to go for a walk, it has generally been too miserable to spend any time outside. But soon! Already, it is still light for most of my driving-the-kids-around after school instead of the early darkness of mid-winter.

I tore my shoulder tendon nearly three years ago, and because I had lots of ongoing shoulder problems anyway I didn't realise what the problem was - I kept using it for months and trying to keep it moving instead of resting it - until I finally had an ultrasound. It took quite a while to heal and then I was left with a very stiff shoulder. I haven't been able to do up my own bra for all that time, three years!, which is particularly annoying after exercise when I have no one to help me. Well, I still can't, but I've made a lot of progress recently. For a long time I couldn't get my hand behind my back at all, now I can at least touch my thumb to the small of my back. Not so far from the bra hooks. I don't know if I'll ever have full mobility back - I only have about 90% in the right shoulder after problems 13 years ago - but honestly I will be so happy when I can do up my own bra again. I do have one front-fastening one, but it is an unsupportive post-mastectomy thing (I haven't had a mastectomy) that was the only one I could find. Anyway, I am trying to get some mobility back in the shoulder and it seems to be working.

Feeling ready to come out of hibernation.

Friday, August 23, 2013



I was in the car this morning and "Africa" by Toto (old song) came on. There was the line:

"Mt Kilimanjaro rising like Olympus above the Serengeti..."

and I was hit by this intense wave of nostalgia for somewhere I have never been. I was nearly crying.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Turning to nourishment, not comfort


I have been letting being unwell affect my weight loss efforts too much. Sure, exercising is probably out no matter how motivated I get myself (even walking the kids to school this morning was a bit of an effort) but I am eating all sorts of junk - way worse than normal. And it is showing in my "fat" jeans that SHOULD be a size too big but right now are feeling pretty comfortable.

Of course eating junk is not helping me get better either!

So today I am turning that around and eating foods that nourish me instead of temporarily comfort me.

I've made some vegetable soup with a dash of chilli flakes, so I'll go and have a cup of that now for my morning tea.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Do I really want to see my behind on TV?


This morning I went to the local shopping centre for my appointment with my doctor. As I was getting out of the car I noticed a guy with what looked like a small TV camera on his shoulder, but all black with no branding or channel. Over in the next aisle of cars was a sound man and some other people, calling back and forth about 'wait one minute', 'ok, ready,' etc. My first guess was it was an advertisement, then an amateur movie or stunt for YouTube.

Then they filmed a young couple running from their car to the shops and the woman had a row of shopping bags over her arm, all branded MKR! My Kitchen Rules is a cooking show where each pair of contestants (a couple, or a brother/sister team, or best friends, or any other combination really) hosts a dinner party for all the other contestants. One pair from each Australian state, plus a couple of celebrity chef judges. It means cooking a fancy three course meal for a dozen or more people, a real strain on a home kitchen.

Obviously they were shooting for the upcoming season. The contestants only get one day to prepare (apparently they have to submit a few menu options and they only get told which one they are doing that morning) so they have to shop, decorate the dining area, prep and cook everything all in one day; and they are only allowed to start preparing the food three hours before people arrive. In previous seasons I've seen overconfident underprepared teams eventually serving dessert around midnight. It was about 9.20am when I saw them arrive, both outside and then inside the centre going into the sponsoring supermarket Coles.

I didn't want to spoil the shoot so I just went about my business as a casual bystander. If I do appear in the background, it is most likely of me walking away from them. So, wonderful, if any of me gets on TV it will be my butt. It was very exciting though. I love that show. Go team ACT!

I had my appointment with my doctor to discuss my pelvic exam. She is referring me to a gyno, just in case, but actually thinks my problems are most likely due to my low-dose pill not being strong enough. (I brought this up last visit but she wanted me to have the ultrasound first.) So I'm changing to a higher-dose pill and we'll see how that goes for a few months then see the gyno. She was not at all worried about the little nodule in my uterus, as I'm not having any pain from it.

I spent the rest of the morning shopping - picking up dry cleaning, socks and pjs for the kids. There were I few things I needed for myself but that didn't go well. My jeans split a month or more ago and I've been wearing my older "fat" pair that are men's jeans, a bit saggy at the crotch, and a size too big. I was determined to get some new ones today. But I went to my two favourite shops and tried everything on and nothing was even as good as the ones I had on! Either my stomach sagged or if it was reined in I had a huge muffin top, or if they fit at the waist then the crotch drooped. If they fit my thighs nicely, I couldn't zip them up.

I used to have an hourglass shape, a bit overweight but with womanly curves. Now I am just apple-shaped. It was very discouraging to not be able to find a pair of jeans that fit nicely.

I also tried on a sports bra, as mine all dig in painfully around the rib-band. The one I tried on was even worse, it was like a vice and left a welt after only being on 30 seconds. The assistant suggested an extender.

I'm starting to need an extender to get clothes to fit?

I've had some kind of stomach flu for a week so I haven't been exercising, but I have been eating. It's really cold so I've been craving salt and fat.

There have been other stresses, too. My husband has been unhappy at work for a while - and on medication for high blood pressure due to stress - and looking around for another job. Things have suddenly got worse so he really wants to get out and is willing to take a bit of a pay cut if it means a better work environment. But we might need to move house in a hurry, even to another state. I actually want to move, but it is a stressful situation all the same.

I need some other way to deal with stress, sadness, boredom, anger, happiness, tiredness etc than eating.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Empty house


Usually during the week there is the hustle and bustle of getting the kids ready for school, then they and my husband are gone and the house is quiet. It is nice, peaceful.

Today (Saturday) there was the hustle and bustle of getting the kids organised, then they and my husband were off for the day. And the house feels empty and lonely and cold.

I didn't go with them because I've been sick for a few days. Still washed-out and a bit unwell today and I didn't want to pass on my germs (especially to my baby niece) and I couldn't cope with being social all day either. The plan was originally to go for the whole weekend but they are coming back tonight, which is nice.

The house is missing them already.

Thursday, August 15, 2013



I was able to look up my pelvic ultrasound results online today. I haven't seen my doctor yet but I'm as capable as reading the report, finding definitions for the terms, and then searching the internet for things to alarm me as anyone.

Turns out I have a small submucosal echogenic nodule which suggests adenomyosis (directly from the report). This means some of the lining of my uterus has grown into the muscular wall, causing heavy and irregular periods and the between-period bleeding. It is not a dangerous condition but in some people can be extremely painful, to the extent that you feel like you are in the last stages of giving birth. There are some treatments (mainly to control the pain) but the only cure is a hysterectomy. The causes are unclear, but may be related to too much estrogen or trauma (like during pregnancy or a C-section). It is most common in women of my age - between child bearing and menopause. It generally goes away when you hit menopause.

Since I only have a small nodule and annoying symptoms but very little pain, I am not planning to have a hysterectomy. One thing I have had trouble finding on the internet is the progression (if any) of the condition. Will the nodule stay small, or will it grow and get worse? Over the last couple of years I've gone from light spotting between periods to quite prolonged and heavy flow, so that would indicate it is gradually getting worse.

Things I have been attributing to possible peri-menopause and/or just being overweight and unhealthy may have been influenced by this. Feeling run down, depressed, fuzzy brain, PMS, night sweats, clots and my uneven periods even though I am on the pill (sorry if that is TMI, but if you've read this far you're not too squeamish). It can also cause migraines, enlarged uterus (which I don't have), really bad cramps, and rapid weight gain, among other things.

Recommendations include eating mainly unprocessed food, getting enough sleep, hormone-balancing drugs and anti-inflammitories.

Obviously I need to talk to my doctor soon.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nudity and other stuff


I had my pelvic ultrasound today. I was really nervous about having to drink a lot and then not wee for 2 hours. I had to do that for ultrasounds when pregnant and remember how painful it was. One time in particular I ended up crying on the toilet afterwards, in pain but unable to unclench enough to wee.

But it turns out it's not so bad when you don't have a baby sitting on your bladder. I'm not saying it was fun or anything, but not as bad as I was fearing. Actually I think the most uncomfortable bit was when he was pressing down on my side because my postural muscles are always so tender!

The radiologist didn't rush me off to hospital or make any worried noises so I assume there was nothing bad. I'll go see my doctor soon to check.

I was watching TV the other night, and it went straight from one of those Next Top Model reality shows to a documentary about a guy who takes photos of ordinary nude people. He was up to volume 4, featuring men and women from Las Vegas, and ended up with an exhibition and a book with pairs of photos, the same person dressed and then naked. And showed the subjects looking at their own photos. I'd just been watching scantily-clad model hopefuls - tall young slender girls - and the contrast to normal people was weird. Lots of pudgy tummies and big thighs and breasts small or fake balloons or saggy; thin people and short people and old people. I don't usually think much about the influence of the media on women's (and men's) body image but it is true that I generally think of TV people as fairly normal. Yet they are nowhere near "average" in body shape or general attractiveness.

Sure we should all strive to be healthy and strong, but most of us are still never going to look like TV people. No matter how hard I tried, I could never at any point of my life have looked like those models. I'm about 10 inches too short, for a start.

My perception of normal is skewed by what I see on TV even though I see real people every day too.

I'm not going anywhere in particular with this. Just musing.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013



Last night Tim and I had our second Salsabor lesson. It was supposed to be the third, but with all the busyness last week I arrived late and drove round and round unable to find a parking spot and couldn't cope and went home (after picking up Tim).

Last year, as a 10 year anniversary present, I arranged for us to do Ballroom Dancing lessons. There were some problems with it, the main one being that we kept having to swap partners so rarely got to dance with each other. We were there to spend time doing something together! There were other issues too, like one really unpleasant woman who smacked one of my children on the hand for eating too much from the fruit platter! and we gave it up after a few lessons.

Salsabor, which is Latin dancing, at least has an average age of about 30 instead of about 70 (I may well be the oldest person there at 43). We still don't get to dance with each other much though. We warm up and learn the new steps without a partner, then after partnering up we dance for only a couple of minutes before we move on to the next person. Luckily everyone seems nice and it's a fun kind of exercise. I just wish I got to dance with Tim, which is really what I am there for.

The very worst thing about it is the mirrors.

It my own head, when not actually looking at myself, I am a bit overweight but generally pleasing to the eye. In particular, when I talk to (or dance with) men I assume I am attractive. I don't mean I flirt with them, or that I expect them to fancy me, it's just my default assumption that I am nice to look at; kind of cute. And then I see myself in the wall of mirrors, when I see I am fat and dumpy and short and old.

Any time I see myself in the mirror or in a photo I get a bit of a shock. I am so much fatter than I imagine. The dance studio means the realisation is forced on me over and over. I am not really comfortable until I am partner dancing with my back to the mirrors, with men smiling and chatting as if it is not torture for them to dance with me.

I've been really struggling with my moods lately. I don't know if its connected to my menstrual issues. Probably, as they are both hormonal. My doctor is sending me to have a pelvic ultrasound next week as I am having heavy between-period bleeding even though I am on the pill. I feel like I have PMS several times a month. Depressed and unable to cope and therefore very snappy and irritable. I don't know what she expects the ultrasound to find. I've been resisting doing too much internet research, I have a tendency towards hypochondria and I'd be sure to find something dire that more-or-less matched my symptoms and I'd be suddenly sure I had uterine cancer or something. It's probably just peri-menopause.

My diet hasn't been very good this week, but at least I am getting two things done every day: writing my novel and exercise. As long as I can tick those two off each day I don't feel too bad.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Dance concert


Last week was really busy. My daughter had her dance concert on Saturday night and they had a rehearsal every single day leading up to it. Plus all the usual extra-curricular stuff we do. So although my days have been pretty relaxed, the afternoons have been hectic and I'm glad that is over and we are back to normal.

I got the tickets for the performance ok, after all the stress. I didn't even have to pay! The mother of one of Jasmine's friends gave me her complimentary tickets - her mother is one of the teachers at the dance studio and as the family were all involved in backstage stuff they didn't need the tickets, which were in an absolutely prime location. I was so so lucky to get them, as they had been sold out for ages.

I really want to get the mother a thank-you present, I just need to think of something nice. Our daughters are good friends and go to each other's birthday parties but I don't know the mother that well, just to say hi to.

The dance concert was much more elaborate than I expected, it was in Canberra's main theatre and the costuming was magnificent. Of course the four-year-olds were rarely all doing the same thing at the same time but they were cute enough to get away with it, and the older teenagers were really good. The show went so late though - nearly 11pm which is ridiculous considering there were lots of little kids in it. I think most of the tiniest ones went home at interval, which is when Tim took Aiden home. Luckily Jasmine was in the first Act. I stayed until the end though so Jasmine could have her bow. As soon as the curtain went down I was out of the theatre and literally sprinted for the stage door, I was one of the first there which was lucky as they only let us in in batches. Got Jas changed and out, and by that time there were a couple of hundred parents standing out in the Canberra winter night waiting to be let in.

The downside to not having diabetes (there is one, along with all the upsides) is that I haven't felt the same urgency about perfect diet and exercise. Trucking along ok, but not as careful as I was the week before. Had a bit of a cold and didn't exercise for three days, sugar crept back into the diet etc. Feeling all motivated again today, what is it about Mondays?

Time to go and dance.