Friday, May 30, 2014



We picked up our new puppy, Thor, this morning. It was about an hour and a quarter drive to the breeder's house and then I got to cuddle him for the first time. He was very snuggly. I had expected him to cry and complain on the long drive home, but he lay quietly in the travel cage wedged between the kids in the back and then slept most of the way. Not a single whine.

He had fun playing with us in the backyard and exploring a little bit of the house but stayed close to us all the time. He loves cuddles and tummy rubs. After about two hours he looked tired so we put him on his day bed, which is between my desk and Tim's - it seemed a good spot because I spend a lot of my time at my desk during the day, and it's quiet and out of the way. It's a gloomy cloudy afternoon so it's quite dark in here now, and Thor has a toy that was rubbed on his siblings to get their scent on it. He lay down but when Aiden walked away he jumped out and followed him. Then stopped, came back and climbed back into bed and went to sleep! I can't believe he put himself to bed!

The kids are impatient for him to wake up again but they will have to get used to having a puppy in the house. He's like a toddler, go go go sleep.

Life is going to be a bit different but going very well so far.

Off the rails and the difference a weigh makes


I finished last night's post too soon! I went off the rails, just a little bit, for the first time.

It started at dinner, really. Every time I sit down to eat, I want to pick up a book. I've been resisting this urge, but last night at dinner (with the kids, but Tim wasn't home yet as usual on a weeknight) I gave in. Not sure why. I first told myself no, then told myself I would compromise and read a bit after I had mostly finished eating, then just picked up the book. Should have been paying attention to my kids, I know! And shouldn't be distracting myself from what I am putting in my mouth.

Not a big deal, perhaps. Or maybe one divergence from the plan leads to another. Instead of eating my planned supper of fruit and yoghurt I was craving some carbs. So I had a small bowl of cereal with extra dried fruit. Then later two chocolate truffles. I still ended up under 1600 calories but I prefer to be closer to 1400. And the real issue is abandoning all the rules of my plan like that. That way leads to giving up and continued obesity.

I woke this morning feeling rather down. I was a bit scared to get on the scale, not because of that one slip last night but because my weight hasn't really gone down since those first two days of dramatic water-weight loss. For the past seven days it's been up a bit, down a tiny bit, stay the same, up a bit, hovering around the same place. I certainly don't expect a loss every day but it had been up more than down. I feel like these first couple of weeks I should be losing a bit, not plateauing already! But finally this morning it went down again! Yay. And I suddenly felt so much better. I can't let the number on the scale rule me, but it is good to know it is headed in the right direction again.

Day 9: Selfie


I had my hair cut again yesterday. This morning I had another go at taking a selfie. The only other time I've done it was when I originally had my hair cut short a few months ago - that time I took them in the bathroom mirror. Today I tried just holding up the phone and it was actually easier, the phone didn't get in the way. I am so hip and with it, taking selfies! I took lots and deleted most of them, these are the best two:

I was, of course, pretty unhappy with all of them. Photos are always such a shock. Mirrors aren't quite so unkind, perhaps because you are always moving a bit. I thought I looked pretty good with my new haircut and I even put makeup on specially. But it the photos I just look ... well, fat.

I kept these two, the best two, anyway. I've gone too long avoiding being in photos. I don't want there to be years with no record of me at all.

I did think about the photos quite a bit as I did the shopping. It got me down a little bit, that in most of the photos I looked enormous with a round puffy face, non-existent lips and uneven eyes (in some they looked very lopsided, one eye is still not quite back to normal after the infection). But I refused to let it affect my good resolutions. We do not turn to food for comfort!

I walked yesterday after my haircut but didn't do any formal exercise today. I spent the morning shopping and the afternoon doing housework. Does vacuuming the whole house count?

Food choices are still excellent. Last night, for the first time, I forgot to pre-track what I was going to eat the next day. And this morning was the first time I wavered about my breakfast choice. Connected? But I gave myself a little shake and stayed on track.

We are picking up our puppy tomorrow morning. Everyone is so excited. I'm slightly apprehensive as well, it will be like having a new baby in the house! But looking forward to it too.

Day nine successfully accomplished!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The first week #Beck


A whole week completed.

Starting weight: 85.3 kg
Today's weight: 83.9 kg
Loss: 1.4 kg

That is a good solid loss. Halfway through this first week my weight was lower than that and I was really hoping for a 2 kg loss, but then TOM arrived and my weight wandered up again over a couple of days. Totally to be expected, and will probably happen every month. I admit I am a little disappointed it went up again but I can deal with that.

Food-wise I think I did really well this week. I only ate my planned food. Every day was within my 1400 - 1600 calorie range; even my treat day on Tuesday was just under 1600 whereas other days were closer to 1400. A couple of days I swapped food from one timeslot to another, but I still ate what was on my list for the day. I am including regular treats because I'll need to live like this for a long time, maybe the rest of my life, and I am not giving up chocolate!

Exercise was a reasonable start, three days of 30 mins. I'll increase that this week.

Emotionally I had some tough moments but got through them. Did not comfort myself with food, or eat due to boredom which is a big one for me as I work from home and I'm alone most of the day.

I think I did pretty well!

Day 7 - food porn


I went out for a walk this morning and tried to be part of the day. Blue sky; cool wind around my bare neck; bark-brown female Willy-wag-tail, so much drabber than the male bird that she's hard to see; the gnarled white trunk of an enormous gum tree. I found walking much easier than other times recently, it's nice to be over the flu and I think maybe I'm not quite as unfit as I thought. Unfit, but no so unfit that a half hour walk kills me.

That means I did half an hour of exercise three times this week. A large part of my brain is berating me for not doing a lot more, but I refuse to listen to anything other than the cheering section. Yay, three times this week! Great work!

Then I came home and made lunch. I created this recipe made out of things I like but I wasn't sure about it because it only had a splash of light cream instead of being smothered in the full-fat version. But it ended up delicious. Strips of chicken breast and sliced mushrooms stir fried with garlic and pepper, then a tablespoon of light cream and a little chicken stock at the end, on a bed of grilled asparagus.

All for around 250 calories!

Might as well give you a picture of my dinner as well:

Lovely vibrant colours. The steak was delicious. It was all good. Hunger makes a great seasoning. I find I'm a bit hungrier than usual at mealtimes, which I think is a good thing. I should be hungry just before I eat!

Evening was harder. I wanted it to be snack time, mindless eating time. But it wasn't. I waited, then had my allotted supper of yoghurt.

And day seven successfully completed!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Day 6: today was harder


I resisted so many temptations yesterday afternoon! PMS hit so I wasn't feeling at my strongest, but I negotiated shoe shopping with the kids and buying them a treat without getting myself anything (had my scheduled afternoon snack when we got home), and later didn't turn to food even though I really wanted to when the kids were bickering (this was probably my hardest challenge this week, I was feeling very grumpy and out of sorts), and I only ate my allotted amount of roast potato at dinner even though it was really yummy and there was more just sitting there, AND I had a healthy supper instead of the unhealthy one that was calling to me. I was so strong. I just didn't give myself a choice.

I weigh myself every morning, and I mentally prepared myself for a gain this morning due to TOM water retention. And it did go up, by 0.1 kg. Not so bad! It helps that I am not eating my usual salty carbs. Other times the gain has been ten times that overnight.

Pre-tracking is really helping. Each evening I write down everything I'm going to eat the next day. And that is what I eat. And all I eat. The only leeway I give myself is that I write "fruit" then I can chose whichever type I feel like at the time. It makes it easier that the choices for the day are already made. Decided. Done. Takes a lot of stress away.

I've also settled the breakfast issue, which has always been a problem for me. I just made a choice that fit with my diet plan, and I'm having the same thing every weekday (varies on weekends). No decision required. That is my breakfast now, so I don't even need to think about it.

So I'm still doing really well but it was a really hard day. I had another bad night's sleep, taking the mask off at 2am because I needed to cough a lot. The PMS was crushing me all day and it was taking every iota of my strength to stick to my eating plan. I've done little else today than resist, resist, resist. I read somewhere recently (can't remember who) a woman denying PMS existed and that other women use it as an excuse. Don't we all want to punch her? Try living with these hormones two days a month. I am using it as an excuse to put off things I don't want to do. But I'm not using it as an excuse to overeat. Not this time.

I finished dinner with 200 "normal" calories left plus the 200 extra I planned to allow myself at games night supper. I provided Greek yoghurt with raspberries, and some chocolate. There was some cheese and wine. Some more chocolate. And then this:

Apparently our favourite brand of chocolate was on special. Most of this was taken away again (they know I don't like leftovers left in our house) to be brought back every week until it's gone. Even so, when looking at the empty packets at the end of the night, there was easily 100g of chocolate per person consumed.

I had yoghurt and raspberries as part of my planned diet, but I served it to everyone in fancy cocktail glasses to make it special. I spent my 200 extra calories on 36g of chocolate and one wedge of brie cheese on one cracker. That was all. I felt mildly deprived late in the evening when I would have like to nibble on a bit more, but I shrugged it off.

Day six accomplished!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Planning ahead


I had a much better sleep and was also able to keep the CPAP on all night. Yay! And my eye is almost completely normal. More yay!

I realised I need to plan for Tuesday night supper. During past diet attempts, I have asked people not to bring junk food that I like, or other times we've all decided we need to eat more healthily. But it only lasts a week or two, then the junk returns. None of the others are noticeably overweight, and they are all a lot more active than I am, and I think that games night is their only splurge for the week. So they enjoy it without too much guilt. But obviously it is a problem for me.

As well as providing something healthy, I've decided to allow myself around 200 calories extra to snack on games night. On a couple of other nights a week I'm allowed a small amount of chocolate if I have the calories left, but this will be in addition to the day's regular calories. I don't want to forgo healthy food to save calories so that I can eat unhealthy food. 200 calories isn't a lot, but it's enough to enjoy. I'll wait until everyone has arrived so I can see what is available before I chose, and put it on a plate, and savour it. Apart from that I will stay away from the food as much as possible (not easy, it follows us around) and use my cognitive therapy techniques to avoid going outside my self-imposed rules - using various self-talk methods.

I still have to work on focusing on my food while I am eating. My idea of a dream food binge would be a family size packet of chips of some kind. But would I be concentrating on every mouthful to get maximum enjoyment? Not at all. I'd be in front of the TV with a book as well, seemingly doing everything possible to distract myself from the food. It doesn't make sense. Why eat something supposedly purely for pleasure yet only devote 25% of my attention to it? What a waste! The only answer I've seen is that I know I shouldn't be eating it so I'm distracting myself so I don't feel that guilt. But that reasoning doesn't work when I'm eating a healthy meal. Is food that boring to me? I profess to love it.

So far with the meals I've eaten alone, three lunches, I've managed to get through more than half before caving in and picking up a book. My first draft of that sentence was framed in a negative way (only made it half-way), but then I changed it. I'm practising giving myself credit. I get though more than half-way! That is a big leap from years of turning my mind away from the food I am putting in my mouth. And snacks eaten alone, which don't take as long to eat, have all been eaten mindfully. Real progress.

I did 20 minutes of Zumba at home on the Kinect this afternoon. More progress!! It was on the easiest intensity setting, and I still found it hard work. My legs were burning after 5 minutes! I have a hard time accepting that this is where I am with exercise at the moment. I tend to be a bit all-or-nothing, if it's not an hour of sweat it's not good enough. Any less is not worth the time it takes to get changed into gym clothes, then afterwards shower and change back ... and see where that kind of thinking has got me! Lots of exclamation marks today! Anyway, I am aiming for 30 minutes of exercise a day, in a combination of walking and Kinect games. And if I only have time or fitness for less, then any exercise is better than none. But it looks like 30 minutes is do-able, especially broken up into two sessions over the day. I did a short walk this morning, so I have done 30 minutes today.

The Zumba game told me I had burned 408 calories in 20 minutes. Hah, I wish. 20 calories a minute? Maybe Usaine Bolt does that over his 10 second sprint, I don't know, I certainly don't achieve anything like that. For my own records, I guesstimated 5 calories per minute. Even that might be a bit generous.

It is a bit sad that a year ago I could have done that sweaty hour of dance. But I'll get back there. Daily progress.

Eating only what I should


This morning we went out and bought stuff for new puppy Thor (who we are getting next weekend), a small selection of which is shown here:

Our local pet shop is relocating to several suburbs away so it was having a 50% off sale, which was handy. I wouldn't have bought dog food or anything there regularly so I don't care that it's moving away, but it was good to be able to get the dog bed and travel cage cheap. I love the squeaky fox toy.

We chose a name tag that said "Stud" on it in the example one, and assumed that it was just a sample name that ours would replace. But no. The tag now says "Thor" with my mobile on one side, and "Stud" on the other.

We didn't get any snacks at the shops, even though we were there through morning tea time. When we got home, Jasmine made lunch for us, turkey burgers, and I just had a turkey patty and salad. I decided I could have half a bread roll if I wanted after I had finished the rest if I was still genuinely hungry. I wanted it, but I wasn't hungry, so no. Strengthening that resisting muscle.

I haven't been sleeping well at all this week. A combination of trying to get used to the CPAP all over again (not very successfully) and having a sore itchy eye. I take a long time to get to sleep then wake in the wee hours and lie there for more than an hour until I finally give up and take the CPAP off, which seems to help me get back to sleep. Still having unpleasant dreams every night, too. So I was really tired this afternoon and spent an hour in bed after lunch (still not able to sleep!). Then we did housework for a while. The Lego bombsite aka Aiden's bedroom is looking a lot better. We might actually be able to let Thor in there without worrying about him choking on something.

I found my old cross-stitch stuff in his wardrobe. I haven't done any for ten years, since I had kids, so I threw a lot of stuff out. Kept the finished items, some of which I may get around to framing one of these days, and a few half-done things. There is one embroidery I was doing when pregnant with Jasmine of a flower fairy with sparkly wings. It is all done except for one arm! But it got put to one side as soon as I had a baby to look after. Maybe it will get finished in time for Jasmine's first daughter...

Jasmine (who enjoys cooking now I finally let her go near sharp knives and hot pans) made Dutch pancakes with jam and whipped cream for afternoon tea. I just stayed out of the kitchen. Didn't look at them at all. I'd already had some mixed nuts with Mexican chilli and lime seasoning (really yummy, I'll buy them again). Jas actually brought the plate over and offered me some at one point, but I just said no thanks and she took them away again.

Dinner was a bit more of a challenge because I love roast beef and potatoes, but negotiated successfully. Didn't overload my plate and no seconds, not even when I was putting leftovers away. I was very tempted to eat some little bits of vegetable stuck to the pan. Vegetables are healthy! And it was just a tiny bit. But I was very full, perhaps a tiny bit overfull, and one of the Beck rules is to only eat when sitting down. I want to get out of the habit of mindlessly eating more than I need. Every bit of food I put in my mouth counts.

I still have some calories left and I've been feeling a bit hungry in the early hours of the morning as I toss and turn, so I'm going to have some yoghurt before I go to bed. Apart from that, I'm done for the day. Day four accomplished!!!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Chocolate and cauliflower fried rice


Yesterday I had been looking forward to a square of chocolate after dinner but then found I didn't have the calories for it, so didn't have it and I was ok with that. But later I realised that with about 20 calories to spend I could have several chocolate chips. I weighed out seven tiny little dots. I laid them in a pretty circle on a nice little plate and took them to the bath with me. With candles (although that has more to the with the fact that the bathroom light is broken). My husband went out for an evening with some friends and I luxuriated.

And ended up eating three chocolate chips, worth about ten calories. Seriously, they could have comfortably fit on my little fingernail. But it was enough. I wasn't interested in eating the rest, so I didn't.

I'm giving myself a lot of credit for this. I didn't eat out of my plan. I worked out a way I could have a taste of what I wanted without going over my limit. I stopped when I had had enough, even when the rest of the chocolate was sitting right there beside me.

Amazing, though, that 2 grams of chocolate has the same number of calories as a whole Lebanese cucumber of about 100 grams.

Today's exercise, in the Beck book, is practising leaving food on your plate so that was serendipitous. Tick!

Today for lunch I tried making cauliflower fried rice. Jasmine had specially asked for ravioli today so the rest of the family had that but I am trying to keep my carbs low-ish. I am not a fan of cauliflower - in fact when I make cauliflower cheese I use half broccoli and I only have the broccoli (I love broccoli) - so I don't even know why I tried this. Other people said that it's nice even if you don't like cauliflower much so I thought I would give it a go.

I pulsed half a raw head of cauliflower, not too much stalk, in the food processor until it was about the size of grains of rice. Actually ten seconds was a bit too long and it turned out a bit smaller than that. I finely chopped and stir fried some mushroom, capsicum, baby corn, shallots and lean bacon in a little olive oil, then added the cauliflower grains, a dash of soy and a splash of chicken stock, some celery salt and some onion powder; and stir fried a little longer. Half of what this created was a filling lunch for only about 116 calories and 3.8 grams of carbohydrate! And it was really nice. I couldn't taste the cauliflower, only the other stuff I put in, and it looked pretty much like fried rice. I feel this is a bit low in calories for lunch and it's not my intention to starve myself, but with a cup of tea I was satisfied so decided to wait until afternoon tea time before having anything else. Why eat when you are not hungry?

I also like quinoa "fried rice" but that takes longer because you have to cook the quinoa first, and no one else in this house likes quinoa so it's a fair bit of work just for me and usually I can't be bothered.

We went out for a family walk in the afternoon, 30 minutes, which is more exercise than I've done for a while. I walked briskly and steadily while Tim and the kids raced ahead or lagged behind to climb on something or blow a dandelion clock. I was pretty tired by the end and for half an hour afterwards, then I was ok. It's the third Chase the Stars 5k weekend, can I do it half today and half tomorrow? Anyway, it was good to get moving. My infected eye is a lot better today and overall I feel so much healthier than the past three weeks.

Dinner was yummy and I put perhaps a little too much on my plate. As I neared the end I was full but it tasted nice so I wanted to keep eating. Then I remembered that I was supposed to practice leaving food on my plate if I was full, so I left the last little bit. It was hard though, I wanted to eat that last piece of saucy chicken. But I have leftovers of that to go with the other half of my cauliflower rice to have on Monday lunch, so I can look forward to eating it then.

Three successful days in a row!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Another healthy day


Another successful day of eating healthy food, and not too much of it. My swollen bloodshot eye improved enough that I dared go out in the afternoon and do the shopping, but I did miss Aiden's school concert which was sad. Because I didn't go before lunchtime, I had to make do with what food I had here and had an omelette for lunch which was yummy but a few more calories than I had planned, so now I don't have any to spend on a piece of chocolate after dinner. But that is ok. I can look forward to it tomorrow night. I am comfortably full anyway. I am scheduling in a treat several days a week, but only if I have calories left to spend.

I forgot to mention yesterday's big victory over myself. I had to clear the cupboards of junk and I threw out a few things (not the chocolate, which I love as a treat but isn't a trigger food for me - I don't binge on it) but there was an unopened box of savoury biscuits that I left there. I bought them "for the kids" for an event that didn't happen so I was going to save them for next time I needed to provide something. But I knew they were a big temptation for me and it was on the cards that I would give in and eat the whole box by myself. I was resisting throwing them out because ... they were a whole unopened box, what a waste (of a whole $2 or so, big deal) ... I would need to provide something for the kids next week anyway (I could buy something then, maybe something healthy instead!) ... I wanted to be able to eat them myself and maybe in a couple of days I wouldn't even be dieting anymore (very bad reason!). So I opened the packet and tipped them into the bin so they couldn't be salvaged even if I got desperate. A no-fail environment is much easier than one full of temptations.

I picked up my new jeans today, tailored to shorten the legs. They are the biggest jeans I've even owned so they will be something to measure waist-reduction from. Can't wait until they get so loose I need to buy new ones!

Two days in a row.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Two good things, one bad


The first good thing is that I ate really healthily yesterday. I've chosen to use the guidelines of the CSIRO diet - high protein, moderate carb, lots of fruit and veges and not much fake stuff - but I am also keeping it within calorie limits (1400 - 1600). I am reading that Beck diet solution book and I've been practising things like not reading when I am eating (very hard for me! I read while watching TV, in the bath, I'd read while typing this if I could) so I can register what I am eating, and not overeating when I am full - not even vegetables. It was such a relief not to be stuffing myself with carbs every few hours. And I weighed myself this morning, I have lost 1.2 kg! since two days ago as my body gets rid of all the water retention caused by the carbohydrates. I've started today with a good breakfast so it is still going well.

The second good thing is that I was able to wear my CPAP all night! First time since I got the flu. I woke quite often during the night, and it made my nose a bit sore (have to get used to it again) but presumably I got some better quality sleep in between. I've had bad dreams all night the last two nights, lots of stuff about my kids like my brother-in-law not paying attention and driving the car over a dock into the water and worrying about getting my children out before they drowned. And dreams about being really angry with various people. Not sure what is going on there. But anyway, the sleep is improving, thank goodness.

But the bad thing is my eye. It got really sore and red on Tuesday and the doctor gave me ointment for conjunctivitis (probably from my flu) which seems to be helping slowly. But this morning I woke with my eyelid hugely swollen and I'm all puffy right around the eye. It's impairing my vision and I look like the elephant man. Tim checked Dr Internet and it says conjunctivitis can get into the eyelid, so it's probably just that. I need to do the grocery shopping today, and also my little boy is singing in a concert at lunchtime at the local shops (he's better today), but I feel super ugly and also I'm not sure if I should be driving. I'll wait until lunchtime and see how I am.

I didn't exercise yesterday, and even walking the kids to school this morning was an effort. I assume I've still got germs having a party in my body. But it could be partly psychosomatic, feeling miserable about my sore eye affecting my energy levels. I'm so looking forward to being well again! But I am not waiting to get well before I do something about my weight. If I can't exercise yet, I can control what I eat. And healthy food can only help.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Glucose test cancelled


My little boy called out in the night that he was feeling sick, and is still in bed sleeping next to a bucket. So I couldn't go to my glucose tolerance test.

I've decided not to reschedule. My doctor didn't think I needed one yet, I've been testing myself at home and I'm about the same, and I just can't take another high-carb day. I know a lot of people love carbs, my husband thinks a meal without them is woefully incomplete, but I am happier with a more moderate amount. I feel awful on a very low carb diet, but also yuck on high carbs. I've put on about 1.5 kg over the three days of carb loading. I need to lose weight, not gain it! So I'll wait another year to do the test.

We are not a healthy family at the moment, with Aiden vomiting and my husband Tim with bad sinus pain (and snoring all night) but he went to work anyway, and me with my persistent cough and now conjunctivitis. The ointment on my eye makes the world a blur. I managed to keep the CPAP on for three hours last night which is an improvement, but with my coughing and Tim's snoring and Aiden being sick I don't think I got any extra sleep.

I've been reading my library books. The one with tips by people who've been on Biggest Loser gave me one word to take away - "maturity". That has kind of stuck with me. To stop being a whiny baby about having to work to lose weight.

Another book I really enjoyed was The Clothesline Diet and it's sequel. It's more of a personal memoir than a diet book. This lady really captured the public imagination about 10 years ago - an overweight Australian housewife who was too embarrassed to exercise in public started by walking around and around her clothesline in her backyard. In the beginning she had to hold onto it for support. She also cleaned up her diet and eventually moved on to exercising where people could see her. One interesting thing about her diet is that it is all about low fat. Nowadays sugar and carbs are more usually seen as the enemy, although of course fat is limited too. Fads and fashions change.

Now I am reading the Beck Diet Solution, which is not a prescriptive diet but a cognitive therapy plan to help you stick to whichever diet you choose. Things like eating mindfully, reminding yourself regularly why you want to lose weight, getting rid of temptations. All practical stuff. There is a new thing to focus on each day for six weeks. I need to work on concentrating on what I am eating rather than reading while I snack, so that my brain as well as my body knows I've eaten. It also suggests choosing a diet plan but also a backup diet, so that if the first one isn't working you can go straight to the backup instead of (as I usually do) faffing around for weeks and months wondering what to do next.

I'm up to choosing an exercise plan, something I'll need to think about a bit. With only a week until our puppy comes home, I won't be joining the gym just now or anything that takes me away from the house for long periods. It might a short walk plus using Kinect games. Last time I got a puppy I was working full time and I felt so guilty being away all day leaving her alone. I used to spend my lunchtimes driving all the way home for a short visit. This isn't forever, but when Thor is so little I want to limit the time he is alone. For the first four weeks, until he is fully immunised, he won't be going to the park or anywhere there are other dogs, so it will be our house and backyard. Then he can start to take walks with me. So excited about getting our puppy!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014



My mum saw her oncologist yesterday. She found out at the end of last year that she had breast cancer that had spread to her bones, and since then has had chemo and radiotherapy and bone strengthening injections. The result is good, the tumors in her breast and pelvis have shrunk, and none of the others have grown. So I guess that is good. She finally has some kind of prognosis, now that they can see she's responded well to treatment, they told her "a few years". Better than a few months. But with her own father still going strong at 96, dying in her mid-70s will be way too young. Her mother died of a different kind of cancer in her 80s.

She had one mammogram about 20 years ago but found it unpleasant so never had another one.

I would hate for my kids to know that I had all the warning signs for various health problems and did nothing about it and died in my 50s of a heart attack.

I had my own doctor visit this morning. Tim had the car and it's only a kilometre away so I walked. Quite tiring. Still have this cough (still can't use my CPAP). But nice to be out in the crisp late-autumn sunshine. I told her I'd got the reminder letter about doing the glucose tolerance test and she was surprised and said she thought every second year was often enough. But I'd already made the appointment and been carb loading for the past two days so she gave me the referral anyway. And said two years next time. I do really like my doctor but my only problem with her is she doesn't always take things as seriously as I do (which might be good for me!) and she doesn't seem to think pre-diabetes is worth keeping a close eye on. She added a string of other tests for them to do at the same time so I had to ring the pathology place to tell them. Lucky they were fine with it. I was a bit nervous because when I booked the test I kind of had to lie and pretend I had the referral in front of me which of course I didn't as I didn't have it yet. And I thought I was being so clever. Oh well, organised now.

We also talked about my sleep apnoea (I hadn't seen her since my diagnosis) and I told her my blood pressure had gone up but the sleep doctor guy had said it would go down again when I got some sleep. She tested it and it was fine! So that is awesome news. Back down to my usual low levels. Even though I haven't been able to use my CPAP for two weeks.

Of course she told me losing weight helps fix sleep apnoea. My weight has been going up about half a kilogram each day with the carb loading. Luckily that ends at 9pm tonight then I fast for the test, and then I can get back to normal eating. That is, not my usual normal! A healthier version.

And finally she looked at my eye, which started hurting yesterday afternoon and by bedtime was a bloodshot red ball of pain. A bit better today but still sore. She couldn't find a scratch so gave me some ointment for conjunctivitis.

I've been testing my blood frequently over these past few days and I'm pretty sure my status of pre-diabetic will be the same. The numbers haven't been too bad, even with all the carbs. So I'm feeling like I can tackle everything.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Carb loading and fat jeans


I've resisted buying new clothes for weeks months years because I wanted to wait until I lost some weight, but the blue jeans I wear nearly every day in cooler weather started fraying on the inner thigh seams and there are now actual holes. I don't have that much else to wear so the situation had become critical. Today I forced myself to go jeans shopping. I tried on quite a few pairs but ended up getting the same ones as last time which are actually men's jeans. But in a bigger size. Sad face. The same size were just too squeezy and gave me a horrible muffin top. I know they stretch, but then they also shrink again when you wash them. The old ones had had a year or more to get to their current comfortable shape.

I forced myself to get them because I need something to wear at the size I am now, even if I'm not happy at this size. They have to be taken up, of course, because of my short legs, so I won't get them for a couple of days. I'm hoping my old ones hold together for that much longer.

I also got some track pants to walk in during winter.

I'm feeling ok about myself, actually. Really determined to get healthy and lose this weight. I still can't use my CPAP due to frequent coughing fits (tried again last night but had to give up) so I'm tired, but I'm over the flu and feeling so much better, even with the coughing!

I started carb loading this morning ready for my glucose tolerance test on Thursday. I always grumble about carb loading. Yes I like toast and potato and rice and biscuits and fruit and pasta. Just not in these quantities! It makes me feel kind of sick. They do know I have insulin resistance, right? So strange, to be deliberately eating the stuff that makes my body sick, so I can so just how sick I get! Like when Dr House makes someone run on a treadmill to see if they have a heart attack. But it's all for a purpose.

My mum is shrinking


We spent the weekend in Sydney, Saturday with my husband's relatives (now mine too, of course!) and Sunday with mine. We took my mum out to lunch because it was her birthday today, and Mother's Day last week.

Nearly the first thing I said to her, perhaps a little tactlessly, was something like "you are shorter!" It's true I was wearing my hiking boots with lots of tread on the soles and she was only wearing slippers, but nevertheless she has always been a few inches taller than me and now she was shorter. She agreed that she felt she was shrinking a bit, especially with her limp, and she also said her own father (who just turned 96 and is going strong, still living in his own house and having family over for dinner regularly) has shrunk down to her height over the past 20 years. I can't afford to shrink when I get to my 70s, I have to stand on a chair to get to my own high cupboards as it is!

Mum was doing well. She has a long-awaited follow-up appointment with her oncologist this week and she's hoping for some answers and a prognosis now they've had time to see how the treatment is working.

I think I did reasonably well negotiating all the bad food this weekend. Not brilliantly, but I resisted quite a bit of junk that I could have easily scoffed down. Like today at the restaurant; I should have had no dessert, I could have eaten a whole dessert, but what I actually did was share a dessert with my mum. A compromise.

I also took my niece out for a short walk with the pram. Apart from that, lots of sitting in the car or in people's lounge rooms.

I am starting carb-loading in the morning for my blood test on Thursday, and I am determined to eat all those extra carbs while not overdoing the total calories.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Library excursion


I had a vaguely embarrassing moment in the library today. I had selected about six books on various aspects of dieting - prescriptive ones and inspirational ones and personal story ones - but my card didn't work at the self-service check out so I had to go up to the counter. It was another aspect of the uncomfortable feeling a lot of overweight people get when buying fast food, feeling judged by the server (who probably doesn't care). I felt like desperate fat person, with a stack of weight loss books when clearly whatever I was currently doing wasn't working. One or two would have been bad enough, but six? Trying to get healthy should be a lot less embarrassing than, say, buying enough fast food for three people, but I still had to steel myself. I guess it's like walking into the gym for the first time. We expect judgement whether we are trying to get healthy or in conspicuous consumption.

I'm not planning to try to follow the advice of all these books, but I enjoy reading that kind of thing and the good ones can help motivate me. One that I grabbed is about intermittent fasting, which I don't intent to try because I think it is counter-indicated for those with insulin resistance, but I like to know the current trends. I also got the Beck diet solution, which I think is more about working on bad habits (like eating in front of the TV) rather than an "eat this" book. And tips from people who have been on Biggest Loser (US version, unfortunately, not Aus).

I am really starting to feel the effect of sleep apnoea, after a week without my CPAP. Tried to use it last night but couldn't because I was coughing too much. I find it harder to cope with things, and definitely more snappy with the kids.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Time for another test


My, doesn't time fly. (And what an original thought!) I just got a letter from my doctor saying it's been a year since my last diabetes test and it was time for another one. I've made an appointment with my doctor next Wednesday, she's very hard to get in to see, so I can get a referral, then I do the three day carb load which would mean I couldn't do the test until the week after...

Hmm, we get the puppy that weekend so I don't want to spend three hours away from home just then. Maybe I should book the test and start the carb loading early so I can do the actual test the day after I pick up the referral instead of three days later. I only have to show the referral when I actually go for the test, and I can get the carb-load info off the web-site. I don't need to wait until I have the referral before I start the next step in the process. I am brilliant!

We need to buy all the stuff for the puppy, too. A little doggy bed and everything.

Anyway, I was surprised to get this letter because it seems not very long ago that I had my last diabetes test. At that time I'd had pre-diabetes for a year and thought I had improved but then during the test became convinced I'd got worse. So when I saw the doctor for my results I was deeply sure that I had diabetes and when she told me my blood sugar was down near normal level I nearly fell off my chair. I'd been right the first time.

This time I am very unsure. I haven't thought to check my blood at home for ages, although I have the equipment (from when I had gestational diabetes). I have gained quite a bit of weight these past four of five months - due to the sleep apnoea I believe - and I'm not sure how sleep apnoea itself, or the high blood pressure caused by the sleep apnoea, interact with insulin resistance. All those factors interact with each other. So it wouldn't be that surprising if my insulin resistance is worse.

I just did a very unscientific test on myself. I think it is about two hours since I had a afternoon tea but it's supposed to be exactly two hours - and also I just had about eight m&ms half an hour ago, so this test means little. But 8.4 mmol/L (151 mg/dL) is a bit higher than it should be at any time (ie even straight after eating m&ms) if I didn't have insulin resistance. If forced to guess from that limited information, I would say I am still within the pre-diabetic range. Obviously worth checking properly.

Monday, May 12, 2014



Today I am totally feeling like a human again instead of a zombie snot-machine! Yay! I won't be running a 5k, but I was able to walk the kids to school and I will get back into my writing instead of staring blankly at the TV all day.

It was my twelfth wedding anniversary yesterday. Happy anniversary darling!

I did remember to weigh myself yesterday, 83.9kg (down from 84.8 the week before, my peak of 85 the week before that). I'm determined to keep that downward trend going even now my appetite is coming back.

I was thinking last night about how my beliefs about what I like eating haven't really kept up with the reality. I don't know if this is influenced by a physical addiction to some foods (it is fairly well accepted now that sugar is addictive but that is not my demon, and I've never heard of a salt/fat addiction) or if it is a psychological thing - I have enjoyed foods in the past so I expect to still enjoy them even though a big part of me knows I won't. Or is it that I am just stuck in a mental rut where I take the junk food automatically?

As an example; say I am craving some fresh fruit. I'm a bit thirsty and maybe I've eaten something fatty that makes the idea of a crispy juicy apple really appealing to freshen my mouth. Put a great looking apple in front of me beside a packet of salty fatty chips and I will likely still take the chips. Even though I don't really want them. I don't really understand this behaviour, but it needs to stop. It's ridiculous.

This is probably just classic comfort eating - using types of food that actually make me feel worse in a mistaken idea that they will make me feel better somehow.

So I am working on telling myself "I don't really like that food" (if that is true) or "I don't really want that right now."

Twenty years ago I enjoyed sugary soft drinks and cordials. Gradually I found them too sweet and started reducing my consumption. Now my favourite drink is cold water with a squeeze of lemon juice. I am not being virtuous in drinking this, I am not making a sacrifice of taste vs health. I genuinely like it the best and find sugary drinks nasty. I want to get to that place with some other foods that I still eat even though I no longer enjoy them much or enjoy but feel sick if I have too much. To recognise what I really want and go for that instead of automatically taking the unhealthiest option. Eat the apple, dammit!

Insignificant humans

There are more organisms in a teaspoon of dirt than the number of humans on the planet.

The End

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Freaky atoms

There are more atoms in a teaspoon of water than there are teaspoons of water in the Atlantic Ocean.

The End.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day


I got some lovely presents and cuddles in bed, then breakfast cooked by my husband (not in bed). It was kind of a struggle to appreciate it all because I was feeling pretty sick and really just wanted to be sleeping, but I enjoyed as much as I could then went back to bed for the rest of the morning. And another nap after lunch. In a lot of ways I am feeling much better today, I don't ache nearly so much. But I have a runny nose and a cough and can hardly keep my eyes open. But hopefully this new phase means I am on the mend.

I'm a bit cranky with Facebook today. The Eurovision song contest is on tonight, we watched the two semi-finals and I was really looking forward to seeing the final. But we see it more than a day behind the actual event which is on the other side of the world (Copenhagen this year, I think), and Facebook has a "trending news" stream at the side that gave away who won! So annoying! I was being careful not to watch the news on TV today, just in case, I didn't know stupid Facebook would give it away.

Eurovision is awesome. Every country in Europe (or most of them) put in an entry, an original song. And it is so so random. My favourite last year was a male Romanian opera singer, dressed basically like a vampire, who did most of the song in falsetto. There were little Russian grandmothers doing a song a couple of years ago, they came second. There are some atrocious performances and some really good ones, you never know what you're gonna get. People on trampolines, people whistling while playing violin and drums... This year the stand out for me from the semis was the bearded lady from Austria. She was clearly born a man, with a male voice and a beard, but in all other ways looked very female - the hair, the make up, the slinky dress. It was quite confusing to watch. But a great singer and song, a powerful performance, as well as being voyeuristically entertaining.

We were supposed to have a party tonight with people coming over to watch but of course I am too sick so we cancelled. And now I know who is going to win. Where is the dramatic tension?

NB I talked to my mum on the phone but I'll see her next weekend for her birthday.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Missing out on meeting Thor


I am feeling very sad and sorry for myself right now. Tim and the kids have just left to go and meet our puppy Thor (but not bring him home for a few more weeks) and I couldn't go because I am too sick. Partly I couldn't face the hour drive each way, even full of cold & flu medication, but also I am always very conscious of trying not to pass on my germs. I would hate to give them to the puppies! (The internet jury was out on whether dogs could catch human flu.) Tim will take lots of photos for me. Not the same. I had a bit of a cry after they left.

Not being able to use my CPAP due to the runny nose, so therefore poor quality of sleep, probably isn't helping. I seem a bit worse each day. Of course I was very run down to start with after four months of terrible sleep. I have a very sore spot just in front of my right ear (is there a sinus node there?) and my face aches and even my hair aches. I wet my pants sneezing this morning.

It is Mother's Day tomorrow and we are supposed to be having a Eurovision party tomorrow night and then Monday is our wedding anniversary and I can't imagine enjoying any of it.

Ok, pity party over. It's the weekend so I have my husband home to look after me (after he gets home from cuddling our new puppy, I'll get to cuddle him lots soon, stop crying) and I can sleep or slump in front of the TV or play computer a little bit although I'm finding that a bit tiring, and just relax and get well.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Virtual fishing


Unless you want to hear about my aches and fatigue and runny eyes and aching teeth, I don't have a lot to talk about today.

I went fishing in the Jade Forest this morning. No, not real fishing. In World of Warcraft, a computer game with lovely graphics. Instead of having to deal with cold weather and cold water and nasty stinky flapping fish and dead worms, I sat in a warm room and stared at a rippling stream surrounded by willows and cherry blossoms and white cranes. And the virtual fish didn't flap or smell or actually die. And I didn't have to eat them in real life either, bonus!

I took some pretty screenshots but can't find them to post here. I really need to become more computer literate one of these days. So I can show off my pretend fishing spot in a peaceful corner of a violent world.

I also planted some virtual carrots and melons.  Because you can't have too many pretend carrots as big as you are, even if you are a minotaur.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Random purchases


I'm down with the flu at the moment which is annoying but I'll get over it. I did the grocery shopping this morning, feeling yuck the whole time. There is an Agatha Christie story where the dénouement is based on the fact that if you are worried or sick you are more likely to do what you are used to, stay in your groove. But today I was the opposite. Leaning on my trolley handle, dragging myself around the aisles, I was grabbing random things. Oh, a tin of chicken soup. That sounds good. (We never eat tinned soup.) A new flavour of chocolate (lime twist) that sounds a bit nasty but lets try it. Silverbeet, how about some silverbeet!? (I've cooked it about twice before ever.) I bet my kids would like this new flavour of biscuits (yes, they probably will, I think I'm on a winner with this one). I like frozen raspberries best in my yoghurt but I think today I'll get mixed berries even though I don't like the blueberries...

It wasn't all unhealthy stuff, it was just random stuff.  What do you do when you are sick? Stay in your usual rut, or branch out like I did today and probably regret it? I shop from a list so the core of meals are fine, but I got unnecessary things and some weird substitutions.

There is another Agatha Christie that flummoxes me because a key clue turns out to be that a woman named her son Evelyn after herself. Even granted that Evelyn is usable by both genders (although that is the only context I've ever seen it as a boy's name) would you name your opposite-gender child after yourself? Seems odd to me.

I read quite a lot of old-fashioned English books and I often find the names funny. Dick and Fanny. Beverley for a boy (I have an Aunt Beverley). But the racism! I probably didn't even notice it as a child. I felt guilty sometimes for re-reading old favourites.

I'm watching a lot of reality TV at the moment. Cooking shows, weight loss, singing, home renovation, dancing. Love them. Nowadays there is usually at least three things running so something on every night of the week (sometimes several on competing channels, and I have to choose my favourite and/or record one). My mum also loves them although she goes for different ones - Survivor and Race Around the World. My dad only watches sport which I find mind-numbingly boring. My husband barely watches TV at all, he plays computer games in the evenings. But he's just through the arch in the study, so we can see each other and speak to each other.

Urg, why do my teeth ache when I have the flu?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Attractive celebrities with ugly partners


Today I clicked through to an article about attractive celebrities with ugly partners. I guess I was curious. One of the couples was someone (Pierce Brosnan, I think) with an overweight wife - she was thin when they married and had put on weight since then. The author of the article seemed totally astonished that not only were they still together (how noble of him to stay with a fat wife!) but that he publically claimed to not only still love her but still find her attractive! (Must have been lying, right? I mean, she wasn't thin any more.)

I looked at a few more of the pictures and I couldn't always tell who was supposed to be the attractive one in the couple, then I got to Matthew Broderick with Sarah Jessica Parker and I thought, well ok I used to have a bit of a crush on him and a lot of people think that SJP looks like a horse though it is a bit harsh to call her ugly ... then the caption made it clear that she was the "gorgeous" one and he was the "ugly" one! I gave up on the article and read a few comments and they all reflected my opinion that the author was an idiot and a bully who (probably) wouldn't go up to someone and tell them they were ugly but somehow thought it was ok to say it on the internet. And that the "ugly" people were generally pretty normal looking and some rather cute. Just not as glammed up as their famous partners.

Anyway, just thought I would share that.

So on Tuesday I was gambolling over the hills like Maria from the Sound of Music (I even sang a bit from the hilltop! No-one around.) but since then the TOM hormones have kicked in and gravity is too heavy and yesterday I cried when I couldn't get my laptop to behave and it's all too hard. Feeling a lot better this evening.

Not that I would have minded if anyone was around to hear me singing. I can be cripplingly shy in some situations but I love singing to an audience.

I should probably go and see my doctor and see if my newly-acquired high blood pressure needs any treatment. I've seen the sleep doctor guy a few times but we haven't talked about that (except that the sleep apnoea caused it) but I haven't seen my regular doctor. Does it go away now that I am getting better sleep? I'd rather not go on medication for it, my husband is (his high blood pressure is caused by stress, he is fit and not overweight) and it did have some side effects. But of course if I need to take medication that is better than having some kind of cardiac event. My local chemist lets me test my own blood pressure there, I haven't done it for a while.

One thing that has improved is having to get up to pee during the night. Apparently this was not just a matter of being awake so much I was more aware of needing to go. I didn't really take in the explanation but it was something to do with the heart struggling and trying to get rid of extra fluid so it could beat more easily? Causing me to get up to the bathroom more often. I've gone through several nights now without having to get up at all which is a really good sign. Definitely getting better sleep this week.