After the euphoria of adrenaline that my short attempts to run produced on Sunday (link) I’ve been dealing with the after effect – which is raging cramp in my quads.
It’s not apocalyptically awful if I’m honest (I can still move) but it is surprising because it took a couple of days for the full effects to be apparent.When I climbed out of bed this morning it definitely wasn’t with my usual zesty spring and I’m sure I heard a creaking noise that sounded like a tree about to fall over in a haunted Disney forest.
Unsurprisingly this didnt dissapear with a couple of stabs at the ‘snooze’ button and after geriatrially pottering around for half an hour I headed off to the office. My walk to work was waaaaaaaay more of a chore than it usually is.
I felt sluggish throughout and didn’t enjoy it at all.
In a way this is good mind you – rather masochistically I like cramp. It means things are improving. I’m still not sure what to do with all this though. I’m cautious about what it means, and I’m still reluctant to give myself any goals that I potentially won’t keep. In the past doing that has proved to be both self defeating and demoralising – so I’m just going to see how I feel when I recover and decide what I want to do based on how I feel.
In the meantime I still seem to be subject to a rather insatiable appetite in the evenings – and whilst I’m eating good food I’m still eating too much of it.
Tub of cottage cheese
Chilli con carne made with pork mince, kidney beans, onions, broccoli, tomatoes, red pepper
Yogurt and frozen berries
Chilli leftovers + couscous
4 apples + tub of cottage cheese + 200g ham
Two bowls of slow cooker beef stew
Yogurt and frozen berries
Slow cooker beef stew leftovers
500g carrots and 6 tomatoes
Chilli con carne + half a pouch of microwave basmati rice
Yogurt and frozen berries
I know that this doesn’t seem like a bad day on the page but I’m hyper aware these days that if I want to lose weight I have to do a lot more and eat a lot less, because I’m no longer benefiting (if you can call it that) from carrying around all that extra timber.
It’s way easier for the weight to fly off when you’re carrying lots of baggage on your person everywhere you go – and in many ways I’ve not significantly modified my eating habits for at least a year.
Maybe I’m being a bit hard on myself though. I’m suddenly aware that I’m being critical of my successes and looking down on what I’ve done…
I’m probably eating a bit less overall than I used to – but I feel that things (broadly speaking) have remained the same. This is almost certainly because every time I consider how I feel about reducing my portion sizes a tiny (yet uncontrollable) part of my brain begins to panic somewhere in a corner.
On the plus side (even though I’m judging myself harshly when I shouldn’t) I seem to have found a rough ‘maintenance’ amount of food for when I get to target…
However I still need to get to target!
Today it’s been all that’s on my mind – and to try and stop myself overeating in the evening I’ve been munching carrots and tomatoes at my desk and had some lovely healthy leftover slowcooked beef stew for lunch.
Oh screw it. Who am I kidding?
I’m preoccupied by more than food – and I’m feeling self critical and a little maudlin because two anniversaries are on the horizon.
Although I didnt join Slimming World until April 2016 the turning point in my life that started all this was the death of my mother on the 28th of January, and my decision to finally stop drinking myself to death two days before she died on the 26th of that month.
For all of the water that went under the bridge between us it’s sometimes easy to forget that when I was born she was a young woman of 28. Although I know a lot of her troubled history now at that moment in time she was just a young mother with a newborn infant in her arms and there was nothing was written in stone for the future.
For all she knew the bond that she had with me would be unbreakable and we would be inseperable forever.
Time changes many things though and that potential relationship never came to pass. At the end we were barely on speaking terms and communicating with her (at least from my perspective) felt agonisingly painful.
Even close to the end I counted the moments until I could leave her company and get blind drunk.
Maybe somewhat paradoxically today I found myself, sitting alone in my lunch break looking at a photo of her death certificate.
It says ‘exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease’ as the cause of her death – and in the other significant conditions section the words ‘breast cancer’ in black biro sit there staring back at me from otherwise empty dotted lines.
I’ve not looked at this picture since the day it was taken – and it occurs to me that it was around this time that I began to accumulate documents, photos and paintings that I never really wanted to be in posession of or to own.
Like this piece of paper they’re all just scribbled words on a page but they hold a power.
Even now though for some reason I can’t bring myself to dispose of them, despite how they make me feel. They remain buried in drawers for another day filled with greater fortitude.
I’m not sure why anniversaries are so important.
It really shouldn’t matter that another year is about to pass by without her in my life – and I probably by now should have shaken off the ever present nagging sense of guilt that it’s not her death that I remember the most about those awful days, but my decision to stop drowning my problems in alcohol and to reach out for help.
It’s been 727 days since I put down my glass after finishing that evening’s third bottle of wine and never picked one up again.
I’m still struck by the paradox that such an awful event caused so many positive things to happen in my life – and despite it not really being the true anniversary of either big moment I dedicate the rest of this post to her memory and what’s changed about my life since she died.
It’s all been seen here before – but I don’t care. It’s my blog and I’ll post what I like. I’m proud of it all, and also more than a little sad that things ended the way that they did before I made what sits below this paragraph happen.
Despite knowing that if she was still alive she’d probably find some way of undermining these achievements the fact is is that I owe every single one of them to her passing.
- I was unable to sleep in any position other than my left side or sitting upright at 34st 8.5 lbs. Now I can sleep on whichever side I choose (including my back) and no longer wake up in a panic because I think I’m suffocating
- I’ve walked the cumulative 3000 mile distance from San Fransisco to New York (and almost 1000 miles more) since joining Slimming World
- I overcame Plantar Fasciitis, two torn calf muscles, ligament problems in my left thigh and shin splints caused by my weight and persisted with my walking and exercise
- I’m no longer taking medication to control my (type 2) diabetes – and have a HbA1c reading of 28 compared to 94 when first diagnosed
- My blood pressure is down from borderline hyper-tension to that of someone 20 years younger than myself
- The usual resting heart rate of an adult male in his mid 40’s is around 70bpm. Thanks to all the exercise I do now mine is currently around 40bpm.
- I’ve dropped from the 8xl shirt and 66in waisted trousers I was wearing to XL shirts/large coats and waist size of 34-36in (depending on the retailer)
- I can put my socks on
- I haven’t broken any furniture by sitting or lying on it for over a year and a half
- I can buy clothes from pretty much any supermarket or high street store. They cost approximately 75% less than they used to at specialist retailers
- I can now fit into cars and taxis, including the smallest ones available in all my local dealerships AND get the seatbelts on (I tried them ALL!!!)
- I can take the train or the bus because I fit into public transport and can walk to and from where it stops
- I can fit in my bath
- I don’t get out of breath walking up hills unless they’re really steep
- I can mow my lawns without being in agony – and maintain my gardens
- I can stand up without grunting or straining from pretty much any position
- My skin no longer burns instantly when exposed to the sun (often it doesn’t burn at all now) and I don’t have dry eczema all the time like I used to
- I no longer wear glasses for reading and have dramatically improved eyesight due to my diabetes being under control
- I can sit in restaurant or cafe booths – in fact ANY kind of fixed bench or table seating is accessible – as well as garden picnic tables and plastic chairs.
- I can go to the cinema and not have to pay extra for premium seating because I don’t fit in the standard seat or am worried that they will break
- I can walk up to 17.5 miles a day and average 20,000 steps daily and 70+ miles every week. Previously I couldn’t walk to the end of my street 200 metres away
- I can concentrate for much longer periods and take in (and retain) information a lot faster
- I need less sleep – usually 5-6 hours is enough now. I used to need at least 10 because it was so hard to get rest with sleep apnea
- I can now walk a mile in 14 minutes and 51 seconds. When I first tried to do a mile it took well over an hour to an hour and a half with continual rest stops. I usually have to stop every 7-8 miles now.
- I can jog up stairs
- I can jog back down stairs
- I’ve taken large amounts of outsized clothes to charity and by donating with gift aid have helped other people by doing so.
- I haven’t had an alcoholic drink since January 26th 2016
- I’m now able to buy clothes from charity shops as well as deposit them and when I do they cost around 1/8th of what I previously was forced to buy
- I can take a selfie without hating myself
- I have climbed Snowdon
- I no longer have constant oedemas (fluid retention) in my ankles
- I can go outside wearing shorts without feeling self conscious
- I don’t need to get my shopping delivered and I often walk two miles to the supermarket and carry it miles back home in a rucksack
- I can stand for long periods without crippling back, knee and tendon pain
- My knees no longer hurt all the time. They used to be painful even when I was seated
- I can’t hear my own laboured breathing when I sit and relax
- I no longer sweat all the time regardless of the temperature and I need to wear thick socks, gloves a coat and a hat to go outside in the cold
- I regularly meet lots of new people through my efforts, Slimming World and my blog
- I’m now confident enough with my appearance and fit enough to stand and speak in front of groups about my weight loss. Previously this would have been impossible because I quickly became breathless and physically shook from the effort of standing upright
- I no longer get publicly bullied and called names related to my weight by youths (and adults) on the street
- I’ve gone from eating (and burning) 7,500 calories per day to around 2000 and because of this my shopping costs around 2/5ths of what it used to.
- I can ride a bicycle again
- I can sit in an IKEA Poang armchair without fear of breaking it
- I can do press-ups
- I can do sit-ups
- I can climb ladders and use stepladders (none held my weight before) to get into my loft
- People I know frequently fail to recognise me in the street until I speak
- I’ve never spent more quality time with friends, family and people that I care about in my entire life – and when I do we’re usually exercising so I seem to be promoting positive behaviour in those that mean something to me
- I no longer make excuses not to meet up with friends I haven’t seen for a while (or don’t see them at all) because I feel embarrassed about putting lots of weight on since they last saw me
- My friends and family can hug me and put their arms all the way around me
- I’ve appeared in the Leamington observer (link)
- I’ve appeared on BBC local radio to tell my story
- I can run (although not very well yet)