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!

 

Tumultuous Times

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…And……..breathe…..  It’s been a difficult few months. My son has been in and out of hospital, culminating early on Boxing Day by his needing to be rushed to A&E, having difficulty breathing. I kind of knew we were building up to it, but when it happened, and because it happened so suddenly, it was horrible. He had been hiding how ill he was.

I spent the next few days utterly terrified that he was on his way out. If not right then then in a few months’ time. Angus had a gastrostomy tube fitted in December and this had not gone well. He’d been in pain and without access to the painkillers he really needed (as it turned out), so he stayed in bed a lot. Staying in bed a lot when you have cystic fibrosis is wrong, wrong, wrong. You simply cannot do that. You have to keep moving. So that your lungs keep moving. If the alveoli in your lungs are constantly moving it is much harder for a bacteria to take hold and unleash micro bacterial havoc.

I visited my son every day, sometimes twice a day. We watched the stats. How much oxygen was he taking in? Too little, he needed extra O2. What about heart rate? Far too high; signs of infection (and also lung damage). I cried when I wasn’t with him. He was so thin it was impossible to see how he could still be alive. I have watched one of my children get thinner and thinner, and then die, I railed at the universe that I might have to do it again. It seemed impossibly cruel.

And then. A miracle. Angus turned a corner. The antibiotics started working. The gastrostomy tube stopped being so painful. Food was being absorbed through it overnight. This in turn led to his appetite starting to return. I could see – physically see – in his face, that he was putting on weight.

Another miracle: Angus somehow (and I have no idea how this happened) managed to improve enough so that we could go on our pre-booked family holiday to Lanzarote. Medical supplies and permissions from airports were hastily arranged. We needed to take seven huge feeding bottles in our hand luggage; way, way over the normal liquid allowance but it was all ok because Angus had a note!

As a result of us all expecting not to be going and then going we had the best holiday ever. The sun shone, Angus ate, Sorcha and Matt played pool by the pool, Ian and I swam in the sea. My mother though – aargh – managed to fall over at the airport before we’d even picked up our hire car and spent the rest of the week looking like a victim of domestic abuse.

This tale of woe has meant that my weight has been up and down and all around the houses. But some interesting stats: I started this #walkingmyselfslim campaign at 94kgs. Exactly one year later on 4th January 2018 I was 76kgs. I’m bloody proud of that! I have now been 76kg for about 3 months though…

I am still in the overweight area of the BMI chart though so I really, really need to lose some more. So… I AM BACK! Let the walking re-commence!

Today’s walk was round Mylor and Pandora. We even woke up to a little bit of snow, unheard of in Cornwall. ‘Twas lovely.

OMG I went for a run!!!!!

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I am in shock. I don’t do running, on account of my arthritic knees, my dodgy hips, my unstable back and my massive norks. Haven’t run for years. When I say run, I really mean shuffle. As in slightly more than a walk, but it would be a stretch to call it a run. Even a mere shuffle results in my tits swinging wildly about, despite being practically bandaged to my rib cage.

What brought this about? Well… by chance I watched a programme called Mind Over Marathon last night, which is about a group of people suffering from mental health problems, grief, depression etc, etc. And it’s about them training, as a group, for the London Marathon, which is this weekend. I was so moved by their stories. These are people who in some cases haven’t set foot outside their house for years, or who suffer such crippling depression that to walk, never mind run, is a major feat. I cried throughout the programme, as I suspect most people who watched it did. I suddenly found myself wanting to join them, but thought no more about it. I am 56 FFS! My running days are definitely over, although I think I could count the number of times I’ve been running in my life on the fingers of two hands so you could argue they’d never actually begun.

In an effort to communicate with my 23 year old (going on 15) son I agreed to play racquetball with him this afternoon. I haven’t played for ages. I enjoyed it. (He needs the exercise, he has cystic fibrosis). We drove home and I thought, I have my trainers on, I have my joggers on, my tits are already hoisted into a highly engineered steel structure (I might be joking about the steel bit) so if I’m ever going to try a bit of a run again before I die THIS IS MY MOMENT.

So, slightly in shock at my own daring, I grabbed my iPod and started jogging! I bloody did it! Ok it was mostly a walk, but I really did jog a little bit too. And it was bloody brilliant. Will I ever go again? Maybe. Who knows, it might encourage the scales to shift a bit.

Mending fences with a prawn sandwich

Lunch today was spent in companionable conversation with my Dad, at his house. I brought him an M&S prawn sandwich, one of his favourites. I’ve done this many times over the years but just now it has more poignancy. We are mending fences, Dad and I. This was not just a casual turn-up-for-lunch type thing, although we are both pretending that’s exactly what it is.

Until recently we were estranged. He said this, I said that, blah, blah, blah. I was hurt, he was hurt. I said to my brother recently that I got all my rows with Dad done in one year. And it’s true. Up until the point we fell out I had never had a row with him. He would often row with my brother and half-brother but we never did. Then, when all hell broke loose, over a Chinese meal, I realised I had a million grievances. Stupid really. None of them very important. Except for one.

My son, my beautiful first born child, had a terrible accident at Dad’s house. He died. But Dad never once asked me if I’d like him to move house afterwards. So all the years of visiting Dad since have been the most horrible, painful reminder of what happened 25 years ago. And until we had our fall-out I hadn’t realised how much I had suppressed anger about that. And boy did I feel bloody angry. He could have moved, but he chose not to, like what happened was nothing.

Anyway. Tis done. Dad and I have now made up (my mother is now not speaking to me but that’s a whole other story) and my peace offering was a prawn sandwich. I meanwhile had an M&S salad for lunch which was delicious but left me so, so hungry I could have eaten one of the cats this afternoon. I didn’t though. One of the things I am really, really trying to change permanently is not to snack. Ever. So I drank a load of fizzy water, went for a walk and when I came back I made some (delicious, though I say it myself) cauliflower rice to go with the Thai curry Angus had made (also totally delicious).

Tomorrow is weigh day….

 

Breakfast: poached eggs on rye toast

Lunch: M&S salad

Tea: red Thai curry, cauliflied rice.

Walk: Pendennis Head

 

Emerging

A few things have shown signs of emerging this week. Crocuses, daffodils, and – dare I say it – possibly a waistline. Yes, I was staring at myself in the mirror this morning, waiting for the shower to warm up, when instead of the usual bemoaning of my hideously large, drooping breasts my eyes instead landed further down on my waist. It is going in! It actually indents a little where a waistline is supposed to indent!

This has made me very happy. What has also made me happy this week is that I lost 1.2kg, which makes up for the paltry 0.2kg I lost last week. No rhyme or reason, have eaten exactly the same, in fact had a very nice meal out this week which I didn’t the week before. So I have now lost 6.4 kg or one whole stone. Yay!

I am also happy this week because my partner and I have booked a holiday in Tavira, Portugal for about six weeks’ time. It will be my favourite sort of holiday in that we will use Tavira as our base and we will spend our days touring. Seville is high on the list. What is slightly weird about it is I was expecting my son to come too (he loves holidays) but no, he wants to go on holiday with his friends instead. I was at first gobsmacked, then delighted, then scared.

Scared because my son has cystic fibrosis and he is often very unwell. He takes about 30-40 tablets a day, just to keep him alive. He has had to give up university, give up lots of things in fact, because of his illness. It is of course unfair but he copes with it with very good humour and a huge degree of stoicism. He lives at home and being his mum I can tell instantly if something’s wrong, if he’s coming down with an infection. He will be away for a week and will be drinking and carousing. I’m so pleased for him yet also bloody terrified!

Yesterday Angus was 23 and to celebrate we went out for a meal at Olivers, my absolute favourite place in Falmouth. Fabulous food and no I didn’t have pudding, but I did have coffee with home made petit fours which were to die for and possibly even more calorific than a pudding. The scales will reveal all next Wednesday…

It’s all about the head

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Let’s face it, dieting is actually really easy if you’re motivated enough. If someone offered you a million pounds if you lost 4 stones in 6 months you’d do it, wouldn’t you? Well, unless you’re already very rich and slim. I’ve always said this – it’s not the dieting that’s hard, it’s keeping your head in the right place for long enough to make a noticeable difference that’s the problem.

So where’s my motivation been the past few years? Why have I got fatter and fatter and not done anything about it? Well it’s not been for a lack of trying. I do think I’m finding it easier now that my thyroid meds are stable. Before I would cut down and cut down but never lose that much, so I just gave up after a few weeks. And the cycle would continue.

This time, weirdly, I am losing weight, and losing weight fairly consistently. (Though I’ve only been doing this 4 weeks, so not really long enough to tell just how consistently). But I am also definitely more motivated than before.

For a start my beloved partner is really, really overweight. Morbidly obese. He was when I met him and we developed our friendship through walking. He knew I didn’t fancy him so he lost weight because he wanted to be with me. Aaah! However…. a major house renovation, moving to a new town, worries over my son’s health and the both of us have turned to food for comfort. My partner is now back up to the weight he was when I first met him and I am actually a couple of stones heavier than I was then.

It is not wanting my partner to die that has really motivated me this time. He is a bit of a secret eater and struggles with denying his greed far less well than I do. He has no stop button. Like me he doesn’t eat crap food – he doesn’t like puddings or beer for example – but he eats far too much of everything else.

After 8 years together I realised he was never going to lose weight for as long as I remained fat too. Fair enough! And he shocked me a couple of months ago when he revealed that he thought of me as being as fat as him. I was completely shocked because a) I hadn’t realised he saw me as that big, (and crikey maybe I was and was in denial), and b) it showed me that he thought of himself as far slimmer than he actually is. He has body dysmorphia. (For the record my BMI is about 32 and his is about 41 so in my eyes a big difference!)

So to encourage my partner to lose weight I was going to have to lose mine too. So here I am. I lost another 2.4lbs this week, making 11lbs in total and my partner has now lost 12lbs altogether. Yay! He is already asking me if he’s lost enough yet… He has about 6 stones to go…