I am probably mad but…

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…it’s got to be worth a try, right?

My weight has been very much Groundhog Day these past few months. I lost 20 kilos relatively easily in the first 9 months last year once I’d put my mind to it. Far, far more easily than I thought I would, having been on and off diets all my life.

But then the dreaded plateau struck and I’ve been hovering between 74.5 and 77 kilos for the past 6 months. God it’s boring. On the plus side at least I haven’t piled all the weight back on again for which I’m truly grateful. And I have learned what my maintenance diet is. Essentially fairly low carb most of the time with a bit of a bread, wine and cheese blow out when I’m away from home (which is quite often).

I refuse to give up my trips away from home as they keep me sane, surrounded as I am by various family members’ hideous illnesses and diseases which I often think affect me as much as they affect them. And I refuse to not eat delicious bread when I’m away from home. Life is too short for such denial. This attitude is my lardy downfall.

I would really, really like to get down to 70 kilos and then try and hover around that weight for ever more if at all possible. There will be ups and downs I know. I will still technically be overweight even then but that will do for me, being a woman of a certain age. Don’t want to get even more haggard and wrinkly looking.

So – what is a girl to do given that even when I am being ‘good’, like now, the scales still aren’t budging? Well… I have decided to try a 48 hour fast to shake things up a bit. I am probably mad. I have read Jason Fung’s Obesity Code, which is one of the best books about insulin resistance and how we have come to gorge on carbs by default that I have read. Dr Fung recommends fasting and actually if you’re in ketosis from low carbing it isn’t (allegedly) as horrendous as it sounds, as your appetite is already fairly suppressed.

Having started low carbing properly again on Monday I am edging towards ketosis I think and hopefully by tomorrow morning I’ll be in it. I’m planning on eating my last meal tonight and having my next meal on Saturday night. Is this even possible?! I will be recording my progress. Or lack of.

Today’s 3 mile walk was around Pendennis Head and up through Princess Pavilions (of which there is a picture of the grotto, above). Today’s food was a rasher of bacon and 2 eggs for breakfast. Lunch was chicken and salad out with friends. Dinner tonight will be steak and kidney pie without the pie, and veg. No wine. Gah.

That will be my last morsel of food until Saturday, 6.30pm. Gulp.

Eat Fat and Grow Slim(ish)

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I can’t recall a time I have ever been thin. Slim, yes, for about 5 minutes thirty years ago, but never thin. I first realised I was fatter than my friends when I was about eight I suppose, though the word ‘fat’ was never used. I was ‘chubby’, it was ‘puppy fat’. When I asked my Mum what puppy fat was she made it sound like it was going to magically disappear when I got to about 13. It didn’t.

So when I reached 13 and was still inexplicably larger than my friends I embarked on my first ‘diet’. Oh how I wish I could tell my thirteen year old self not to bother! It set in motion a life time of bloody dieting. I think my first diet was simply to eat fruit and nothing else. I lasted about a day.

When I got to 15 I heard about Dr Atkins and his revolutionary low carbohydrate diet. I read his book and others such as Pure, White and Deadly by John Yudkin. Eat Fat and Grow Slim by Richard Mackarness was another one. That was it; I was convinced. This time I really was going to lose weight and be beautiful.

And I did. Lose weight. About 20lbs. I wasn’t particularly beautiful but I was beautiful-er. I found it quite easy. No more slices of thick buttered toast when I came home from school, no more bars of Galaxy. Now it was cheese. I ate a lot of cheese. I took cheese and pickled onions on skewers for my lunch at school and my friends thought I was mad. But it worked.

However. Inevitably the weight crept back on. I kept it off through sixth form college but by the time I was 20 I was back to being somewhat porky. But then the boyfriend I absolutely adored did me a massive favour by buggering off to Paris with another girl (and borrowing money from little old unsuspecting me to do so) and the weight dropped off again. I was inconsolable. I had no appetite. I hoped that if I lost weight he would love me again. He didn’t. Bastard. He messed me around and screwed with my head. He was my official First Love, although now I think about it I did fall in love when I was 16 with a boy called Derek who tried to kill himself by taking 10 iron tablets when I dumped him.

The times when I have been slim have almost always been the result of severe emotional trauma. I need to break that cycle. I need to not be relying on the next catastrophe to lose weight. I need to grow up.

So here we are, forty years on, and I’m still low-carbing. In the intervening years I have tried every diet imaginable at some point and I can now safely say, after exhaustive research, that the only diet that works when you get to my age and have hypothyroid and metabolic disease is low carbohydrate. Or to use its current cooler name, ‘ketogenic’. The sad thing is that after years of dieting I can’t even get away with eating much cheese on a low carb diet. And that is a very sad state of affairs.

Gains… and desperately worrying losses

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Life is a bitch and this is why: while I am trying, very hard, and with painfully slow success to lose weight, my son is also losing weight. Except that he’s not trying. He’s trying to do the opposite in fact. His weight is now so low that I wonder if he can come back from this.

I lie awake at night worrying, worrying, worrying. It all started with the hideous bug Mycobacterium Abscessus which he started growing about 4 years ago. At first he kept on top of it – ish. Then, as more and more drugs have been tried to get rid of it my son has become more and more nauseous. The side effects of these very powerful antibiotics are bloody awful. The jury is still out as to which is worse – the symptoms of the illness or the side-effects of the medication. And worse still, there is no guarantee the medication will work and it often doesn’t. In my son’s case it hasn’t.

But still we try. Meanwhile A gets thinner and thinner and now just looks so ill and is a bag of bones. I literally cannot bear to look at him. He is in hospital now. Partly routine, he has to go in for IV antibiotics about every 4 or 5 months, but partly because I actually can’t cope with his being at home. I cannot watch him not eat. He won’t be here in 6 months’ time if he doesn’t put on weight.

There is hope. He has agreed to have a gastrostomy tube fitted so that he can be fed overnight straight into his stomach. But even that’s not straightforward. The operation itself, although a very simple one, could cause an infection which in turn could lead to sepsis because A has exhausted every single antibiotic there is. Once the peg is fitted he could still feel very sick and be unable to tolerate overnight feeds.

If someone had told me when I was younger that of the three children I would give birth to two of them would end up being tube fed for entirely different reasons I would a) never have believed them, and b) made sure contraception going forward was ultra robust. Almost worse than your child dying is watching your child suffer I think. I still have nightmares about the suffering my eldest child endured before his death.

But, this blog is supposed to be about my dietary successes or failures so, moving on: I am doing pretty well! In fact, I think trying to lose weight and doing exercise are a distraction from the pain going on around me in the rest of my life. I dread to think what I would be like now if I was going through this but still very fat and miserable about that too. Hideous.

I have now lost 18 kilos. Yes! 39.6lbs! I am two-thirds of the way there. My breasts are still massive unfortunately. I veer on a daily basis between deciding I definitely am going to have them reduced in size by a kindly surgeon to deciding that they’re not actually that bad (I have now discovered I am a 36GG not a 42DD so yes they are that bad) and it would be a complete waste of £6000 plus the recovery time, the scars etc, etc. Currently I’m thinking not to have it done.

They do really get in the way when I exercise though and being the age I am they are more like large Spaniel’s ears when I’m not wearing a bra rather than buoyant and sexy orbs. It’s not a good look. My breasts alone in a way are what incentivises me to keep going. If you are genetically pre-disposed to store a lot of fat in your breasts, which I clearly am, then the body will hold on to that fat until it has no choice. So in other words if you have large breasts then that area will be the first to get bigger if you gain weight and the last area to get smaller if you lose weight. If you have small breasts then the opposite is true. So… if I lost more weight would my breasts then get smaller? Properly smaller? It would be fantastic if they did so I’m going to give it my best shot. Though as I’m losing about a pound a month by the time I’ve lost the requisite amount of weight to make a difference I will probably be 87 and past caring.