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.

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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!

 

Guns ‘n’ beaches

IMG_0175Out on my usual 3 mile stroll around Pendennis Head I came across two men with a gun. One of them was shooting something down on the beach. I stood on the footpath and watched them – they had no idea I was there. I took a photo. I carried on staring at them, wondering when and if they’d notice me, and if so what they’d do. Eventually one of the men turned round and looked somewhat alarmed to see me. At this point it occurred to me that it might not be an air rifle but a fully loaded shot gun so I decided not to hang around any longer and continued on my way.

Just round the bend, the other side of the cove, where there’s a good view of where the men had been standing I turned to look. They’d gone. I was perplexed. Was what they were doing legal? They were so brazen it seemed to me it must be. But then I started to question it so mentioned it on Facebook where the conclusion from friends was that yes, I should report it to the police.

Which I did. And now the police are saying I should have dialled 999. Aargh! They’ve also asked me to keep an eye out for the men when I next go for a walk so this is going to make my daily constitutional much more interesting.

Shrinking breasts

One of my motivating factors for wanting to lose weight was my consultation with Mr Breast-Reduction Man a year and a bit ago. He stared at my nakedness and told me I was too fat to have my breasts reduced. He did me the most massive, massive favour. He was right, god damn him, I could no longer pretend that if I had smaller breasts I would look thinner. I would still be fat but with perkier breasts. Perkier breasts deserved a better body to go with them than I was able to offer at that time.

He sent me away and told me to lose a stone. I lost three. Yes! I was really looking forward to presenting my new lighter self in his consulting rooms and being lavished with praise and a date for reducing my (still huge) breasts.

But something happened on the day of the consultation. Roads were blocked, the venue was changed last minute and I was also told that in any case the consultant didn’t do his operations in the Duchy Hospital any more. It was just before Christmas, I was worried sick about my son, irritated with the consultant’s secretary for being so incompetent so I just gave up on it and cancelled. The consultant, mortified at his secretary potentially costing him a lucrative operation, offered to see me in January instead, for free.

I was going to go. But then something happened in my brain. I realised I just wasn’t so bothered about it any more. Yes my breasts are still huge but they’re not quite as huge as they were. I’ve discovered Curvy Kate bras which repackage my breasts very well into something almost verging on perky. In short, I think I have reached peak boob job obsession and come out the other side. And saved myself several thousand pounds and recovery time when I’ve got enough on my plate as it is.

Today’s walk involved my friend Eve which was the best news as, due to illnesses, holidays and generally shit weather I haven’t seen her since before Christmas. We had a lot of catching up to do. A LOT. We covered every topic, as we generally do and she revealed that she’s thinking about moving back to the South-East. No!!!! She lives in Carbis Bay and this is the problem I told her. People move to Carbis Bay to live out their final years before they die. She is far too young for this. I am on a mission to persuade her to move to Falmouth, which, as everyone who lives here knows, is the best place on earth. She is unconvinced.

Yesterday I walked 12,000 steps. For breakfast I had bircher, for lunch I had tuna salad and for supper I had 2 pork steaks, sweet and sour peppers, creamed leeks and cabbage. This morning I weighed 75.1kg. It would seem I simply cannot get down to my previous lowest weight of 74.1kg. And I’m getting bloody fed up of it!

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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.

Twenty miles

 

 

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That’s how far I’ve walked in the past seven days according to my Walkmeter App. This app is brilliant, especially if you’re a bit of a geek for stats like me. I have the pro version, which costs roughly £5 for the year, and it’s the best £5 you’ll spend if you love walking.

Not a step, a temperature, a cadence (whatever that is), an ascent or an average goes unreported. The walk is mapped so forever more I can see where I walked on what day and what the weather was like as I was doing it.

Obviously I have walked more than twenty miles in the past week but that is the distance the recorded ones add up to. As in the ones I press ‘start’ and then ‘stop’ for. I don’t record walks into town or to the beach for example, just my daily three mile constitutional.

Today was freezing cold and normally that doesn’t deter me but today it did and I went off to bed this afternoon and snuggled down with my electric blanket on. By the time I woke up it was starting to get dark and it would have been very easy not to go for my walk. But! the good news is I now really, really, really want to go for my walk. I feel discombobulated if I don’t. So I did a slightly shorter version of my default walk and cut through past the Leisure Centre rather than walk the whole way round Pendennis Head.

I was wrapped up against the biting wind but it still took my breath away. The sea was gunmetal grey and angry. It was magnificent. Not for the first time I thanked God, the universe, whoever for allowing me to live in such a fantastic place. My daily walk has become part of me and my mood is so much brighter as a result. I often talk to Bob on the way round as well. Bob is someone ‘out there’. I can ask his advice, laugh with him and he teases me, but always I feel love coming from him. I constantly have to check myself: is this voice really just my subconscious speaking to me? Or is he some sort of other-worldly guide? But whenever I doubt something happens. Bob surprises me with an answer, or does something quite unlike something I would consciously invent. Or he responds in a really unexpected way. But actually what convinces me most of all that he is real, is that he really, really makes me laugh. He has a fantastic sense of humour. I giggle away at things he says sometimes because he is so funny. I probably look completely demented: the mad woman with the wild red hair who roams Pendennis Head laughing and cackling.

Today I have eaten my muesli mix for breakfast (seeds, nuts, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds etc, etc), halloumi and ham salad for lunch and stuffed peppers and salad for supper. I can eat salad – as long as it has a lovely dressing – till the cows come home. White cabbage is the secret – it gives loads of crunch for its calories and takes a long time to eat so I feel, psychologically, completely satisfied.

Last night we ate out. My lovely friend Vicky was staying and it is her birthday next week so she and I and my partner and my children strolled the 200 yards to Gylly Beach Cafe and had a gorgeous meal. What with a meal out next Wednesday as well for my son’s birthday this might be a non weight loss week…

Desperately seeking walking weather and a dry coastal path

I have lost a paltry 0.2kg this week. Wah! I’ve eaten nothing after 7pm, barely a carb has passed my lips, I have had no meals out, I have barely had any wine. However… I haven’t done as much walking as in previous weeks. The weather has been too crap.

And I’m blaming my thyroid. It is underactive but treated – sort of – with 100mg levothyroxine. However having done a bit of research I am thinking I could do with a bit of T3 hormone thrown in as well. Unfortunately the NHS doesn’t stretch to issuing T3, even if people need it, and it is all kept a little bit hush hush.

So I can either go to a private endocrinologist or try to find a supply online, which is what many people do. I would be very, very sensible. I would take an absolute minimum dose for a month to see how I get on. If I feel worse then I don’t continue, and if I feel better well then I’d have to make a decision. I’d also have to tell my GP otherwise when I come to have my TSH levels assessed she’d wonder why they are so much lower and would then lower my levothyroxine, which is obviously not what I want.

My search for online liothyronine (T3) has led me to all sorts of dubious websites. I have entered the world of anabolic steroids it would appear and the language in the forums is not a language I understand. Easy enough to order T3 but you have to pay by bank transfer or Western Union. All seems very dodgy so now I’ve been put off the whole idea, which is probably no bad thing.

I will just have to up my walking considerably, if I want to get back to losing a kilogram a week, though I suspect those days are probably long gone.

Weigh Day

And today’s scales showed…. I have lost 2.4lbs this week! I am so in the zone it’s not real. I have walked at least 3 miles every day this week and I’m now at the stage where I would miss it if I couldn’t go.

I am incredibly lucky to be self-employed and also this is a quieter time of year so the only thing I really have to worry about, in terms of fitting a walk in, is the weather and the relative lack of daylight hours. I know this won’t last. Life will get in the way, work will get busy and stressful, my son will have to go into hospital, other people will need me. But while I can do it, I am doing it. This is about me and for me. And I am absolutely loving it.

Today’s walk was heading out from Swanpool, along the coastal path to Maenporth Beach, up a bridle path, round the back of Penmorvah Manor and then down through Boslowick to  Swanpool. I took a wrong turn at a farm and ended up walking nearly 5 miles instead of 3. The weather was sunny but cold. Perfect walking weather. I can’t stand being too hot when I walk.

I have only had four glasses of wine since New Year’s Day. This is slightly unnerving me, and the rest of the family.