Experiments

 

 

‘Tis the end of summer. I have put on 3 kilos, or half a stone, but I’ve enjoyed every mouthful. It has been a summer of barbecues, steam fairs, festivals, camping fry ups (see photo) cider, bread and more bread. It has not been a summer conducive to becoming a lean, mean, fighting machine. So in an attempt to mitigate the worst effects of having a bloody lovely summer I’ve been experimenting. Having lost 20 kilos the very, very last thing I want to do is to have to do it all over again. That would be horrible.

I have tried various mitigation attempts. This has ranged from eating two meals a day, to doing the 5:2 diet, to only eating one blow out meal a day. And I can report back. They’ve all worked after a fashion, in that if I hadn’t tried them I would have put on far more than half a stone, but what’s been interesting is what I can live with, or not live with.

The 5:2 diet – I followed this properly a few years ago, with some success, but I couldn’t keep it up. Essentially I was miserable for 2 days a week. In fact I was miserable for 4 days a week as I would also be miserable the day before a 500 calorie day, in anticipation. So it just wasn’t sustainable long term.

One blow out meal a day: yes it was lovely to have whatever I wanted. Puddings, wine, sourdough bread – bring it on! And weight wise it worked. I didn’t gain but annoyingly I also didn’t really lose much. And I missed my lunch. I felt hard done by, angry.

Two (fairly sensible) meals a day: this was much better. I could still have my humungous salad at lunchtime and a normal(ish) tea, in that I allowed myself a few carbs such as pasta, rice or potatoes. But I didn’t overdo it. This definitely worked, in that I didn’t feel massively deprived and had I not had too many meals off plan when eating away from home I probably would’ve lost weight.

I have done very little exercise the past 3 months, due largely to my breast operation, but also because of laziness if I’m honest. It’s been too hot to do fast walks and I wasn’t allowed to lift weights so that just left swimming. Now I have absolutely no excuse when it comes to swimming. I am enormously fortunate to live only a 2 minute walk from a lovely beach. We have had the best summer on record. So I’ve been every day, right? Wrong. For some reason I’ve only swum a handful of times. I blame busyness (with work) and partly laziness.

But now! Stand aside! I’ve reacquainted my body with an exercise class. I recorded my highest weight for many months on Monday, which has both depressed and galvanised me. I’ve never been able to get below 75kg for anything other than a couple of days so I would love to get to a new low. ┬áSo, after a 3 month hiatus I did a bars, bells and balls class on Tuesday. I was nervous, god knows why, but it was great to be back.

I have also started walking again now the weather has cooled down. Walked 8 miles yesterday. Four of them unintentional. (Got lost).

I need to do this. My daughter is getting married next year and I need to look bloody gorgeous.

I could scream

One of the hardest things about trying to lose weight over the years has been the need to cook highly calorific meals for my son, who has cystic fibrosis. The kitchen needs to have drawers full of chocolate, crisps, cakes etc, simply because he needs the calories. Of course he eats healthy meals as well, the cakes etc are the snacks he needs to make up the calories.

So I’ve never been able to simply ‘not buy any biscuits’, as many a diet article will tell you to do. I’ve always had to have these highly tempting things in my house. Still, despite the mountains of roast potatoes I’ve cooked over the years, Angus remains very thin. He is improving though now that he has a gastrostomy tube.

Anyway I digress. The reason I could scream is because despite loving my son very much I also find him so frustrating I feel like leaving home some times. He does nothing, or very little, to look after himself. When he’s in hospital he always promises that when he gets out he’s going to do more exercise, lift more weights, maybe get a part time job, be more helpful round the house etc, but he never, ever does. I went away to Center Parcs for a weekend recently and when I got back he’d not taken his tablets. The tablets that I help him make up, in little pots, that sit by the chair he sits in when he’s watching television in the sitting room. I couldn’t make it any easier for him.

If he doesn’t take his tablets he will deteriorate very quickly and end up back in hospital. Which he professes to hate. I have tried everything to motivate him. Bought him a treadmill so he doesn’t have to leave home to get his exercise (what the hell was I thinking?) I have paid for memberships to racket sport clubs. I have suggested he might be depressed and told him to go the doctor. He was prescribed a low starting dose of citalopram and then never went back to get the dosage increased to an actual therapeutic dose. I have offered to pay for 6 counselling sessions. He went to one, said it was quite useful, but then refused to go to any more. I have paid for holidays, meals out, take-aways every night he’s in hospital, bought him a car so that he could do a college course that he’s never capitalised on, the list is bloody endless.

But. I’ve had enough. The final straw was when I found myself bribing him, financially, to take his medicines, do exercise etc. Even that didn’t work. I have to just accept that if Angus wants to be ill and stay ill then that is his right. But I don’t have to put up with it going on in my house. Angus will always hold the trump card because if he gets ill, which he can do very quickly, then he knows whatever hard stance I am trying to take will melt away in my panic that I’m going to lose him.

I have lost one son (not to cystic fibrosis but an accident) and I don’t want to lose another. But I have to just accept that I probably will. I now have to try some tough love, knowing all the while that in the short term, and maybe the long term, it might make Angus’s health worse. It is shit. But I am all out of ideas. I’m quite terrified of implementing the plan my daughter and I have come up with (which is that he goes to live with her for a bit, she won’t stand any nonsense from him) but if I’m honest I’m more terrified of what I will do if I don’t take this stand. I am so close to just running away. I’ve had years of this and I’m worn down with it all.

***

Last week we had snow. Actual, lying on the ground snow. In Falmouth! This is quite unheard of as we normally have mild winters and we are on the coast. In terms of walking myself slim it was fantastic because I couldn’t bear to stay in, I was out in it, walking miles, taking photos, slithering around but having the best time.

In dieting news I am so fed up of losing and gaining the same few pounds that I’m now trying a bit of 16:8. That is, I only eat in a window of 8 hours. So I’ve been skipping breakfast. Now I’m not one of those mysterious people who ‘can’t possibly face food first thing’. No, I am one of those people who LOVES breakfast. In fact it’s probably my favourite meal. So this is quite hard but so far I’ve been replacing breakfast with either an exercise class or a bottle of fizzy water. I will report back as to how it’s going. Or not!