Life Gets In The Way

Sometimes life just gets in the way of things we love to do.

It’s been totally crazy lately with my businesses both taking off in a much bigger way than I’d imagined. I took on a number of corporate clients and have been having huge fun working with them creating some gorgeous branding and packaging which I am totally enjoying but have now had to out source. That goes against what I originally set out to do but you know you have to move with the times and keep some free time to live a little and I was finding I wasn’t having much of that so I had to re-strategise.

I also started tutoring kids coming up to the end of their basic education and because I wanted to make that accessible to all I was a little overwhelmed with demand which, me being me, I couldn’t say no to. But we had huge success in this summer’s exams and so that was tremendously fulfilling, far more than teaching in a school ever was but could have been.

My kids go from strength to strength and have such busy lives which I want to be a part of still and so as long as they want me involved I’ve been making time for them and we’ve been having lots of fun. We’re all still shrinking although I think we’re all at a point where we’re in a normal weight for height bracket now and we just focus on keeping strong and healthy and trying out new things to challenge us physically. I still struggle with food demons but it’s so much easier a fight now. I even have had the odd wild binge when I’ve been super stressed and have had a couple of complete wipe outs but the  thing is, now I eat so clean and I exercise so much I seriously feel those binges. My liver distends, I get chronic head aches, raised temperature, palpitations, bloated stomach, my bowel has a breakdown and I realise just how bad all of that sugar and processed shite is for us so I really do quickly get back onto the path of righteousness immediately I’ve had a go at destroying myself. It’s not good and needs to stop altogether but it’s not a daily thing anymore, it’s a once in a blue moon thing but even so it needs to be a never thing and I’m working on that. I always knew this fight would be forever.

Nick and I are now planning our wedding which is fabulous and very exciting. We would have been married already if it wasn’t for me wanting to get married in a particular spot and us having to do more planning to make that happen than I realised, so next summer it is even though I don’t want it to be that far away but the desire to have my perfect moment over took the desire to be his wife immediately. I’ve written a blog post about this which I will finish soon but it talks about what’s the most important thing and it might sound selfish but having a perfect moment is something I feel I’ve earned and I can allow myself that without it detracting from my love for Nick. I kind of got muddled with the two being different things and it took a while to realise that they go together and one without the other wouldn’t work anyway.

I was proposed to in a very romantic manner and I shall go into detail on that at some point too if anyone fancies a romantic gushy love story, I cry when I recall it or recount it so writing it will be just as tear jerking for me as talking about it and I’ll try to put something of my secret self into it to help any readers understand why it’s such an emotional thing for me.

Nick’s been working more in London lately and that’s another reason why blogging’s been light on the ground as we’ve been spending lots of time down there and we’ve been taking in so much of the London scene and just enjoying the city so much, myself and my son have had a wonderful summer of bonding having spent a fair bit of it exploring. When Nick’s made it with us and my daughter especially it’s been even more wonderful but I’m getting better at accepting that she has her own life and I don’t need to be a constant part of it and it’s OK for me to enjoy myself without her. That part of letting go of my first child was so hard and I’ve started a blog post about it which I’ll get around to finishing now things have calmed down again.

Nick’s ex wife moved to the Caribbean a couple of months ago and so that was pretty awful for him to feel he was losing his two youngest children. Of course that’s not the case and fortunately he is in a position to see them often, not as often as he did of course but that’s the price of divorce. I don’t mean to sound flippant about it, it’s another reason I’ve not managed to finish a blog post. It was and is a pretty sad time for me too, to feel helpless to help him cope with that sense of loss and distance. All I could do was love and support him and just give him lots of time to talk and express his emotions which I’ve also started to write about but never finished so I’ll be on that too. His elder two are still in the UK studying so that is something and in some ways I think it’s made him put a little more into communicating with them. I’ve blogged about this but I think before he kind of felt as if he had a quota on the number of times a week he could contact them and now he’s much more spontaneous with it which is a good thing to come from so much sorrow. He’s also had to cope with the ex having a new man in her life who was moved in pretty quickly and who is definitely playing daddy to the little ones and I don’t think we’re being over sensitive to say that we feel there’s some enforced kind of competition and nastiness going on which I’m so glad Nick has not risen to in a negative way but has handled well even though it’s hurt him a lot. I’ve seen the other side of divorce, from the man’s side and I will be writing lots about that. Although of course no two cases are the same and my own case and experience with my children’s father is very different and has always been far less fraught than many I’ve seen over the years.

Nick also began trading over seas which has led to a number of trips that I’ve managed to tag along on, having a 16 year old means that they are more than happy to be left at home with friends for 4 days while you take off on a business trip and some times he’s come along depending on the location. I’ve not had my house trashed yet and I have been super impressed with the way the boy and his friends have taken care of the veggie garden and animals this summer, we’ve had bumper crops and tons of eggs.

The blog wasn’t the only thing which suffered when our lives got in the way of the things we enjoy doing, our allotment project, which is still going strong, now does so without our direct involvement although we continue to be financial backers and we do drop in when we can but the over eaters group have really made that their own and they are doing a fantastic job of it and have lost tons of weight between them as well as been able to offer each other vital support in their battles with food and the number of people in the group has grown too. They are talking about having a young over eaters side group as there are a number of young kids and teens who are getting involved and they have specific needs. It’s all great and so good that the professional counsellors and doctors are involved but letting the members lead the way and shape the group the way they want it to be.

I don’t have Darren, my personal trainer anymore, sorry if I already mentioned that. He’s now taking care of ladies in another part of the country and specialises in helping obese women now which is great. He really understands the psychological issues and the battle it is and I’m sure he’s going to transform many lives. I train more at home now and have a pretty straight forward training plan which takes one hour four times a week (that’s all about strength so is kettle bell swings, burpees, planks and resistance work) and then I exercise every day, walking, cycling, swimming, rowing, playing sports, dancing and just generally keeping active. I maintain a very low carb diet and more lately have reduced the amount of meat I eat too, so I have a couple of days a week where I’m a veggie and I continue to drink tons of water and have my cultured drinks each day and shots of goodness. Nuts and seeds are a part of almost every meal too.

Life is just settling down now into a normal pace again where there is less upheaval, less emotional stuff going on and more of a routine being established. I’ve missed blogging so much and have written so many posts which remain incomplete but I will be getting on with those now. I feel like life just went through a massive gear change, it kind of took off at full pace and we’ve had to work at bringing it back down to a nice steady trot again, but I feel we’ve achieved that now and I definitely feel less stressed and more calm. I feel like I’ve been on a crazy round the world trip, sleeping in a tent and at last I’m home, showered and in my own bed again.

Can’t wait to catch up on what all of my favourite bloggers have been doing 😀

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Is hitting a weight loss plateau something to get worked up about?

plateauI’ve hit one, 17lbs from my ultimate goal of being in a normal weight for my height. This is the first time I have not seen a decrease in weight on the scale or a downward shift in inches since I started out on my journey just over a year ago as an over 300lb unhappy lady.

I’m amazed that I’ve got this far for this long without having hit a plateau before and I really think that has been down to changing my activity and my diet a lot throughout the past year or so, experimenting with this and that and never really letting my body settle into a comfort zone. I don’t know if that would work for everyone but it seems to have worked for me.

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Even cave men chilled out

I also have to tell myself that as I lost weight just moving about was going to be using up less and less calories and it was impossible to imagine increasing my activity to accommodate for this. I was on pretty intensive activity quite early on and I don’t think I can fit more activity into my days if I tried. Besides I don’t want to try because there was a point where I became obsessed with activity and I was in danger of blowing myself out. Whilst the human body was made to move it was also made to rest and to know its limits, we were never designed to spend all of our waking hours thrashing ourselves into a sweaty breathless mess. Yes we were built to be able to do that if we really had to for a short time… think walking or running long distances now and then for food/water/shelter/communication or throwing ourselves into a physical challenge like climbing a tree/a battle/protecting children from lions by launching into hand to hand combat with one… but really we were made to take it easy now and then too.

Besides all of that, flippancy aside, I recently posted about the impact of exercise on fat loss and ultimately scientists and other professionals concur that  diet is the key to losing the fat and should be the real focus. Exercise is great for so many many reasons and should be engaged in but it’s not going to make you skinny alone… if skinny is what you want to be of course.

But anyway, all that aside, I have to tell myself that reaching a plateau is not a bad thing. It’s not something after all of the progress I’ve made to beat myself up over or to need to find an answer to. I’ve been the same now for about three weeks, after the second week I got angry with myself for weighing myself each week. I’d promised to only weigh once a month but as the end grew closer I got addicted to the scales. That was a big mistake and I have now learned from that. This week was my weigh in with my trainer and so I couldn’t avoid it and was disappointed to see that same figure staring back at me.

Then I thought about it in the whole scheme of things and realised I’m an absolute imbecile and got angry with myself for undoing in a couple of weeks all of that work I’ve done over the past year of gaining perspective, learning to look at things in positive ways, not getting down on myself, not having feelings of failure in my repertoire of emotions. I’d let myself down not by reaching a plateau but by allowing all of those horrid, fat person on a diet, negative emotions back in. In a way it was good, it reminded me of what I’d always feared, those feelings will always lurk around me, I may have expelled them but they’ve not gone far, they’re just waiting around for moments when I become weak stupid and then they pounce. So to some extent I’ve lost that complacency I was maybe beginning to feel and that’s a good thing that plateauing has taught me.

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I can live with this

I also got to thinking, I remembered when I really believed my ideal weight for me was around 15 stones, I thought this because I always had trouble getting below it, when I made a determined effort to lose weight I mean, not when I was starved by the psycho I lived with. I had done it but it had never been in a healthy way. So for me to be way below that now and to have achieved it in the most healthy way I can imagine is a huge achievement and maybe this is my real ideal for me weight. What if I am 17lbs overweight? It’s better than 180lbs isn’t it? Why can’t I be happy to be 17lbs over weight? So I started thinking like that and it made me feel better, I gained perspective as well as having realised I was an imbecile for even feeling bad about it in the first place and as well as having learned that I really would always struggle with the emotional and mental issues of a fat person or of a compulsive over eater or of an emotional eater… whichever label sticks best.

Then I started to think about time. I thought, what if I carry on doing what I enjoy in terms of my movement and exercise and fitness, what if I carry on eating healthily with a treat now and then but making good choices for myself and eating foods I’ve come to love, cooked in ways I’ve come to really enjoy and find easy to fit into my day… those 17lbs might gradually vanish and if they do that will be fabulous but there is no time frame for them to do so, they go or they don’t either way I’m safe in the knowledge that I’m healthy and fit and doing the best by me. I’m giving myself the best shot of a longer life, a healthier life, a more active life and a happier life, how could 17lbs threaten that? If those 17lbs want to stick along for the ride then so be it, if they want to slowly slip away then so be it but I’m not going to stress about them. I’m stupid if I do.

I thought about what I could do to make those 17lbs shift. I realised very quickly thankfully that I can’t do any more and remain healthy. Yes I could go on a liquid only ridiculously low calorie fad diet for a month and probably see those 17lbs off especially if I upped my PT sessions from 3 a week to 5 but would that be healthy? Would that be sustainable? Not in a million years. I’m doing the best for me now and that’s that. Those 17lbs are not significant to me and I’m not changing for them. I’ve spent a life time letting fat dictate who I am and what I do and don’t do and those days are gone, I’m free from being dictated to by invisible layers of gloop under my skin.

downloadThen I thought about goals and I spoke to Nick about it and he said to me “You’re at your goal honey” and I said “I’m not, my ultimate goal was to be a normal weight” and he said “No, your absolute ultimate goal was to be happy and healthy, you were there ages ago”.

17lbs? What 17lbs? He’s right, I’ve already done it, I have what I wanted and those 17lbs are not going to take it away from me, they are insignificant, just numbers and stay or go they are not going to take away my joy at having done this, at having made it to where I wanted to be.

I’ve transformed my life, everything about my life screams happy and new and free… my career, the way I dress, the colour of my  hair, the design of my home, the way I have fun, the way I love, the way I parent, the type of friend I am, my role in my community and so much more, it’s all better and it suits who I am, who I always was under that fat. It really has been a total and complete unwrapping process, not a transformation but an unveiling of who I was always supposed to be before fat took a hold, before I used food as my go to healer, food as my shield, food as my comfort. I’m never going back again and this plateau is pretty cool, I can see for miles from up here and it’s all looking bright.

Out with the old, in with the new

I seem to give one thing up and pick up another when it comes to adjusting my eating habits these days.

Chocolate has gone from my diet altogether now. I managed a choc free Easter with no eggs received and none gifted. Instead I made some cute little upcycled gifts for people I would normally give eggs to and asked for daffodils instead of chocolate and I filled my house with the little beauties. I love them and they brighten up my day, unlike chocolate which gives me a horrendous sugar rush and makes me feel like crap.

In has come Coconut Oil. Now I have long since been a fan of the coconut. I remember years ago when on my travels in Africa that I was told and had it demonstrated how the Coconut Palm is 100% useful. There is not a single part of the plant which goes unused, from its bark to its sap from its fronds to its fruit/seeds. It is used either as food, drink, medicine, tools, utensils, material for shelter, clothing… it’s crazy how much that one plant gives to us. I believe that the presence of the coconut palm in the very parts of the Earth where humans originated and its usefulness to us is testament to the fact that we should be taking in as much of what it gives out as we can.

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Image from here http://coconutoil.com/

So are you trying it? Eating it, bathing in it, medicating with it, cleaning with it? It seems to be the new bicarbonate of soda, or vinegar it is all things to all people. OK so that may be exaggerating but have you read about this stuff? Try starting with this info from Wellness Mama with links to even more info or check out the link beneath the image I used to go to dedicated website Coconutoil.com

I’ve been consuming it for sometime but stopped when I started the low carb thing because for some reason I thought it must have lots of sugar in it and my research so far has turned up conflicting stories on how much sugar, if it’s fructose or glucose and so the jury’s out but in small amounts it’s doing me more good than harm and to be honest I am so sensitive to sugar now that I positively explode if I ingest the stuff and I don’t when I eat coconut or the oil, milk or water and so my body tells me I’m doing OK.

I must admit that it’s used more on the outside of my body than the inside. I’ve used coco oil based body moisturisers for a long time now but have combined them with other concoctions but I’m gradually phasing out other things and trying to get really simple with these other elements of our lives. Our diet is so simple now it’s crazy, it takes little thought yet our meals are fabulously satisfying and delicious. I figured it’s time to rid the bathroom and my dressing table of a load of pointless junk too. We’re using up last bits of gels and oils and sprays and going as natural as possible with as few products as possible.

I kind of figured that we’re refining what we put into our bodies and what we ask of our bodies yet we’re still spraying and rubbing on who knows what harmful rubbish. So over the next few weeks the old stuff is going and we’re seeking out more natural, less harmful products to use on the outside of us.

I’m turning into a health freak but to be honest I’ve heard some bad news about a couple of family members this last few weeks and I’m counting my lucky stars not to be in their shoes and to still be so healthy in spite of the abuse I’ve given my body over recent years. I don’t think at approaching 50 I can take my  health for granted even though I’ve lost a lot of weight and changed so much, my continued health, weight loss and subsequent maintenance of a healthy me into the future will depend on the changes I have made and continue to make.

Besides, a slim healthy person has to be thinking around now of their mortality and of fending off illness, disease and immobility for as long as possible so in some respects I’m just doing what any normal close to 50 person should be doing and evaluating the way I treat my body and thinking of what I want out of the next phase of my life. I don’t want to crack and creak every time I move just yet, I don’t want to have stiff joints and water retention and bloating. I can’t do much about the wrinkles that will come and the grey hair that’s under the dye already but I can try to keep the rest in check for as long as possible.  For now coconut oil is my miracle… it might be something else next month but whatever it is, it will be better than chocolate.

Walking Back to Happiness

A good walk is really under-estimated. Sometimes we get so caught up in fashionable trends that we forget the simplest of things. Forget all this fancy exercise, just get up and take a walk. It gives you a moderate workout, most people can do it, it lightens your imood, it pumps some fresh air into your lungs and circulates lots of rich oxygen around your body, you see things and meet people if you’re lucky. It’s free,  you don’t need equipment and you can do it in all weathers.

We need to walk more.

When my dad died he had the heart and lungs of an ox, the doctors said they would have kept him going another fifty years and he’d been a smoker and a drinker and a consumer of much fat at times in his life BUT he always took a daily walk. Even when it was bitterly cold outside he would go for a walk to buy his morning newspaper rather than have it delivered and rather than take the car. Mum used to moan that he was gone too long because he used to stop and talk to all of his admirers along the way (he was always a hit with the ladies) and in bad weather everyone in the  neighbourhood knew his clockwork like routine and so they might flag him down and ask him to bring them something they needed so they didn’t have to step out, he was even known to push the odd baby or two in their prams to the shop and back to get them to take a nap for stressed mothers. Old ladies worried about a slip and a hip fracture and young ladies with snuggled up babies alike would make the most of his happy to help approach to life. His walk kept him in touch with the community, gave him a ton of people to cheer up every day and kept at least some parts of his physiology in good shape. Even the undertaker commented on how good his muscle tone was for a guy of his age.

Nick and I biked down to the sea front today after my ‘proper’ work out and we met up with old Charlie and we took a walk with him and we asked him the secret to being so sprightly and alert at 91 and he told us it was his daily walk. “No matter where I am in the world, no matter the weather, no matter how I’m feeling, I get myself up and get myself out for my walk, I think that’s the secret to this living longer lark, exercise and fresh air” he told us.  Nick didn’t mind that I chose to snuggle up to my surrogate grandad rather than him. I just love the smell of him and I never had a grandad so I’m making the most of Charlie’s offer to be anything I want as long as I have a walk with him now and again. And joy of joys, when he got home the other day several of his children and grandchildren rang to see he was OK and to chat about his wife. He was glowing when he told me.

Little things mean a lot folks. They really do. In this complex world it can be easy to forget that.

Good News… you don’t have to run a marathon to get fit

downloadI read this article the other day and thought I’d share it. It interested me because it talks about short intensity exercise perhaps being better for health in the long run than endurance type exercise, think marathon running.  This is good news for people like me who near burst into tears at the thought of pounding away at a pavement in running shoes for hours on end.

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http://www.idlehide.com

I have found that once I began working with a personal trainer (Darren one of my journey to a new me guardian angels) and  I switched to more focused short intensity exercise my overall fitness level increased quite noticeably. My energy levels went through the roof, my body strength certainly increased. I’ve always had very strong legs but a weak upper body and that is not the case any more. I found also that my endurance improved even though I do mainly short intensity exercise. As I’m not a real runner and probably never will be in the ‘go for a run every day’ sense of the discipline, I noticed that I did, and do, feel like bursting into a run more and more often, either outside when I’m having a brisk walk or indoors on the treadmill and at Christmas I did my first planned run, it was only a mile or so but as much as I enjoyed it I knew I couldn’t do more than that, it was mind numbing.

Where I have really noticed the increase in my endurance was in the swimming pool, I just found that I felt stronger and more in control of my muscles and more aware of how they made my body move, which ones were working and how they were working as I drove download (1)myself through the water. My breathing had improved and I just felt more efficient as a swimmer. I’ve never been a good swimmer, I’m a leisure swimmer but not long after starting to work with Darren I began to feel more serious in the pool, for want of a better word. It was there that all of the gym and outdoor work felt like it came together to make me a stronger healthier person and a more skillful swimmer.

I’m not sure if it was all just due to the intensity training or if it was a combination of factors, the breathing techniques and muscle awareness that comes from Tai Chi and now the yoga that I do may have helped too. Darren does explain to me though how my muscles actually work to move me and how they process the food I take in and how they expel the waste and how they strengthen and weaken and can become damaged and I think all of this has combined to make me a more physically aware person who is using that awareness as well as the increased strength and stamina to push myself beyond anything I’ve achieved physically before.

As I said I don’t think I’ll ever be a runner or a long distance serious cyclist I get far too bored but swimming is where I’ve found that I become aware of my body as a machine, a really clever machine and I love the feeling of all of those muscles working together to propel me through water. I find a real serenity and deep sense of relaxation when swimming which kind of consumes me and I find that before I realise it I’m exhausted and it’s the exhaustion which makes me stop swimming and I often find that I’ve swam far more lengths than I ever did before, always outdoing my personal best and always feeling amazed at the way my body loves to perform.

I know that is arguably endurance training itself but it was and I believe is, definitely the short interval training which has boosted my stamina and over all sense of well being in so many ways which has led me to be able to let my body do its thing in the pool.

Besides swimming, thinking back to interval training, I kind of like the instant call on everything you have to give and then some, I like instant gratification, perhaps why I’ve turned to food to make me feel happy over the years. The minute that chocolate is in my mouth I feel my anxiety, fear, sadness whatever begin to fall away. Short interval training gives me that instant gratification, I feel download (2)what I’ve done right there in the moment, I don’t need to wait for measurements and weigh ins I know I’ve pushed myself and  I know I’ve done good because I feel better instantly, I get an almost immediate high that I don’t get from a drawn out session or repetitive exercise over a long period of time. I get a feeling of accomplishment from that kind of training but not an instant rush of feel good that I believe I need to combat my food addiction.

I guess sharing my experience here has the dual message that it’s important for us to find what is right for us as we are all individuals and we all respond to exercise in different ways and without turning into a total fitness nut, it does pay to find out how your body works, it makes you more aware and when you are tempted to put rubbish into it you do think twice on autopilot eventually.

I think a journey from a morbidly obese sedentary person to one in a normal weight who is active has to include many steps. Don’t try to rush through them. We can’t go from 350lb languishing hulk to 349lb marathon runner, that isn’t how it works. It’s a gradual process and so you have lots of time to learn new things along the way that will help you to lose weight, get fit and stay that way once you reach your goal.

Take opportunities to learn and find what suits you by trying out different exercises, different imagesapproaches and seeing how they might impact on things you didn’t think you could do or would enjoy.  I’ve never enjoyed open water swimming, I’ve always been very cautious, but then I know now that my weight and my emotional hang ups made me feel cautious about most things, but now I’m really looking forward to my next beach holiday so that I can swim more in open water, I’m craving what I see as my next big challenge. I never would have imagined a year ago that I’d actually be getting excited about my 2015 summer holiday and checking out safe sea swimming as one of the most important factors in making my decision about where to go and actually planning a daily open water swim as part of my holiday routine.

You might have an idea in your mind of what you’d like to be able to do physically, maybe you want to be able to go for a run, maybe you want to be able to cycle for miles, maybe  you want to swim miles in open water, maybe you want to learn to ice skate or to do a particular dance, like a sexy samba, maybe you have a vision of an exercise that you think you would enjoy and can picture yourself doing when you’re in your slimmer form. You may not be able to do it right away but other exercise, any other exercise you can do along the way will help build you up so that one day you are flying and that sense of accomplishment will uphold you to keep on striving to maintain and surpass your own personal bests time and again. For me it started by stepping from one foot to another with some music on for twenty minutes and flailing my arms about for some of those minutes and I was shocked when I was worn out, heart pumping fast, sweating, breathing heavy from just doing that and if I’d not carried on and found that it soon became easier and moved on to the next thing and the next I wouldn’t be here now doing what I do and knowing what I know.

Take being healthy seriously. We are not here for long and being seriously overweight can impact on our enjoyment of life and it can shorten our life and I bet none of us, me included, want a shorter less fulfilling life when there is another option just a few steps will lead us to.

Back pain update…exercise is still possible

Last week I put my back out and I self diagnosed (doctor later agreed) Sciatica. I’d had it many years ago and so the pain in the lower back, on one side predominantly emenating through the posterior and down the leg were familiar. However there has been definite improvement and as everything these days I saw a learning opportunity and seized it. I now have more future coping mechanisms in the bag.

These things helped:

1. Application of superb pink fluffy hot water bottle. I don’t do hot water bottles as I’m always hot but boy is applied heat good on a sore inflamed body part?41tx0eIEPKL._SX300_

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I used these which are fabulous and last for ages and ages but there are other brands out there to try

2. Stick on heat packs so I can move about and still get the relief of that soothing warmth without strapping pink water bottle to my back.

3. Stretches recommended for sciatica to help free up the nerve from the inflammation. These include simply maintaining good posture even though it hurts to get there once I have my spine straight and I do the imaginary cord through the top of the head pulling me up thing and press my shoulders down and back and curl my hips forward it does ease the discomfort. You can try some by clicking here.

4. A natural anti-inflammatory juice three times a day made with pineapple, lemon, ginger and turmeric root and cayenne pepper. Now I’m not going to say this is the nicest juice in the world but 9867e4d0ccb5c1e06bc15e1ed2c8bc3dit’s not doing any harm. Here’s a fab list of anti inflammatory juices to try. What’s interesting is that while I was researching these to avoid taking prescription or over the counter drugs I read how many physical ailments have inflammation of some cells or other at their root and how these juices can help in general health and well being in terms of reducing the chances of inflammations occurring ever. Worth a try to include one every other day or so in the diet perhaps.

5. A cayenne pepper topical pain relief poltice. Which actually does seem to work. Try it here. I was amazed by the many and varied uses of Cayenne pepper. The mind boggles and I will be sure to try out some more however pouring the stuff into my socks is not happening anytime soon.CayennePepper

6. Resting up in comfortable well postured positions.

7. Water…not sure why but water makes everything feel better. You just know you’re doing something good when you put water into your body.

All of this and a manipulation session with a healer guy seem to be doing the trick. I can walk at least although I’m trying not to as any kind of stress or pressure seems to quickly start to undo the progress. But there is definite improvement in the length of time I can spend upright before I feel twinges so I’m listening to my body and letting it have a good rest.

I’ve been managing to work with the use of a lap table and delivered some training although I had to do that seated but it wasn’t such a big deal in fact it was more informal as I had trainees gather around and I felt that made it more effective. So I’ll be sitting more often.

I’ve been extremely limited in terms of exercise which is devastating but what I can do I do. For instance I’ve found it ok to just use a bungee band to exercise arms, chest and shoulders without any strain on my lower back. I’ve done some yoga which is not usually my thing but the well postured positions have helped and the overall sense of relaxation has really been good for me as well as the stretching.

I just don’t want to be a seized up atrophied lump at the end of this period of incapacity so I’m doing very little but it’s something.

calorie-counting-foods2I’ve also been hugely strict with my calorie intake. I’m not normally a calorie watcher but to compensate for the lack of movement I’ve had to become one for now. Hopefully that will keep me on a level and help me not gain weight. I’m on around 1200 -1400 calories a day and am sticking to three meals a day.

At first I sulked about this as I do eat large amounts and hate measuring and counting calories, it’s never been my bag. However, I have long since said that one day I will have to get to grips with portion control and volume of food consumed to shift the last weight and to develop a maintenance programme for life.  The amount of food I eat has definitely decreased and of course the quality of it has improved in terms of it being nutritious and wholesome, healing and therapeutic. I found that over time I just wanted to eat less and less and found myself leaving food on my plate which I’d never done and so I subsequently reduced portions to avoid waste but still I consume more calories than would see my weight loss as sustainable in the long term and so this has been a good experience for me and is getting me into the calorie counting zone a little ahead of schedule. I’m becoming more aware and that’s going to help in the long run.

My heart goes out to people who are trying to lose weight and get in shape who suffer painful conditions or who have a permanent disability which brings about a lack of or reduced mobility. Exercise for me is not primarily about calorie consumption and weight loss it is about the feel good factor it brings and how that motivates, energises and enables me to carry on with all of my lifestyle changes. It must be so tough to have to do this without that physical and mental daily boost.

I believe though that ultimately it’s the changes we make to what we take into our bodies in terms of reduced fat and calories which have the biggest impact on our weight loss and while it must be more difficult to do without the exercise high it’s still possible for people who have mobility or pain issues to lose weight.

This is only my opinion based on my own experiences over the years, but the focus has to be on food more and ways to move body parts have to be identified and maximised rather than imagining that exercise is impossible. We see disabled athletes who prove that theory wrong more and more. While we don’t need to be olympic standard we can find something, most of us, that will help to shift some pounds but more importantly create a mental sense of well being.

Exercise is as I always say just moving and moving any part of your body more than you used to willdownload use more calories and putting some resistance in with that will increase its benefit. Here are some tips I found while doing my research, although many of these are not doable for me right now but there is good advice about exercising through pain or disability. Obviously nobody wants to injure themselves further so always check with a doctor before doing anything drastic and don’t do anything which causes you more pain or discomfort or which puts you at risk of injury.

You could try resistance bands, light weights and such if you are able. Don’t rule out yoga or imagined resistance, muscle isolation and control techniques like tai chi either. They help with mental focus and relaxation for some feel good and they do utilise calories and increase flexibility and improve posture. If you really can’t do any exercise then diet has to be your king and you will lose weight if you reduce your calorie intake. The more you reduce it the faster that weight loss will come but be sure to do it healthily and make sure your body gets all of the nutrients it needs. Starvation is not healthy nor sustainable and muscle wasting if it can be avoided should be avoided.

Even this is better than total immobility
Even this is better than total immobility. It’s a place to start if you can do this with your arms or legs.

This kind of advice regarding simple chair based or low level work outs is also pertinent for the very obese who may be bed or couch bound. Believe me it is amazing how fast we regain fitness and strength when we begin to move more. It’s like the body is relieved to find itself being used again and it rejoices and really helps us out. I started off eight months ago literally stepping from one foot to the other to my favourite music and chair dancing…read flailing my arms around. Within weeks I was taking long walks and following fitness class tutorials on you tube and within a few months I was swimming and biking and before my mishap I was running and in a cross fit programme. It really is amazing how fast our bodies forgive us our sins.

It hurts oh boy does it hurt that first time you push your fat body to a new extreme but the burn is good and it pushes you on to the next achievement.

I can’t wait to get back into full swing but I have to be patient and let my body heal or else I could do lasting damage and that isn’t going to help anyone. Again key message is to listen to your body.

There are lessons to be learned on every step of this journey and I’ve learned a few from this which will help me in the future. I’ve learned to be grateful for my health and fitness, for my mobility and I’ve learned ways of coping with pain using natural remedies and my own body and mind and I’ve learned to relax more and most importantly to respect my fitter body more than I did my fatter one.

St Nicholas – you might need a bucket for this one

If St Nick is Santa then my Christmas has come early because for a huge chunk of this year I’ve had my very own St Nick by my side and what amazing gifts he has brought to my life!

I’ve always said I’ve never been in love and people always laugh and say I must have been, but I knew I hadn’t. I’d loved people, oh gosh I love people with a fire that would rival the sun for heat but ‘in love’, nah, it has evaded me.

I know, I know, I was married and I loved him and lusted after him but I wasn’t in love with him. I think I knew it then, I definitely knew it soon after and without a doubt know it now.

I wondered about the guys who had told me that they were in love with me during my life, I never felt that they were, I took them at their word but inside I thought I’d really know if they were truly in love with me, I’d feel it. I knew one or two of them loved me and I knew they lusted after me, they were under my spell (haha) but were they ‘in love’ with me? I didn’t know, I was never so sure. Maybe that said more about me than them I don’t know.

I didn’t really care to be honest, they were the ones living with their feelings and I was living with mine, I wasn’t going to try influencing or pressuring anything, I take things as they come and never try to influence people’s emotions, I think it’s pointless. We can attempt to alter people’s behaviour and actions but even that I think it is fruitless if they are not ready to receive and act on what we say.

When I say I don’t care if nobody likes me I mean it, I’m not bothered, it’s something I can’t change in any way other than being myself and demonstrating that I’m a good person but even then some people still won’t like me.

But you know what? I’m in love now. This is like… well I don’t have words. I always knew it would come one day, I had faith that it was somewhere waiting for me, for the right time, for the stars to line up right and deal me a shower of stars and hearts and flowers, fuzzy head, harps playing when I hear his voice, pulse quickening when I hear his name… I’m in love for the first time and oh my word, it’s made me lose my mind.

My daughter says I’m not in love for the first time, I’m letting my emotions have a louder voice than my head for the first time, but whatever she’s happy for me. I’m in love for the first time whichever way we look at this.

My son says I’m easier to get pocket money from these days so if that’s being in love he’s happy it’s happened now at a time when he has greater demands with his little harem of girl friends all needing Christmas gifts – we’ll talk about that another time.

Nick says he’s cracked the ice queen, he sees my being in love with him as some cute kind of victory which makes him do this crazy funny little giggly sound every time a little seepage of being in love makes itself obvious in my actions or words.

He came along right at the right time, although anyone who knows the story knows he has been on the back burner for a long, long time. I was ready for this guy and he was ready for me and even though we have been in each other’s lives for over twenty years for some reason those stars collided and it was time.

I don’t even think that it was a case of us both finding ourselves middle aged and single and thinking “Oh she’ll do” or “He’ll do”. Heck what am I saying, I know it wasn’t a case of that. Neither of us are the kind of people who make do, if something isn’t right we both have no problems with saying so and going in search of something that is. There was some magic waiting to happen for us and it just took a long, long time for us to be ready for it.

Sometimes we have no idea what the future holds, we have no idea or control over the joys and pains which await us, but I do believe that sometimes our behaviour leads us to a mindset where we miss out on good things, where we won’t fully appreciate or enjoy the joys and I believe that it is up to us to set ourselves up to receive good things and to appreciate them and only then will they come to us. They’re there waiting but just not connecting with us or us with them until the time is right.

It’s kind of like we’re a magnet for good stuff, we’re that all along, but sometimes we let our magnet get so buried in bad stuff that its pull on the good stuff flying around us is not strong enough to take a firm hold and the good stuff carries on floating around until our magnet is stronger. Once we shake off the crap from that magnet the good stuff starts to get drawn to us and it sticks and we feel that clunk when we and it collide and that clunk is a good feeling.

I think the same applies to bad stuff, I think there is bad stuff floating around that we have to experience, to learn and grow and to become better, stronger people and we also attract that when the time is right and just like the good stuff there isn’t a lot we can do about it, other than take it, work through it and then let it go, leaving space for good stuff which we have to work on keeping hold of.

The key thing is we have no idea what those good and bad things are, sometimes they slam into us without warning, without planning, they just hit us and knock us off our feet either in a good way or a bad way, sometimes they are more subtle and slowly approach and attach themselves, creeping up on us in either sinister or delightful ways.

I thought I had a good life before, I thought I was happy, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that the things I have experienced and enjoyed this past 8 months were waiting just for me. Who would have thought it, that I’d be on my way to a normal healthy size, that I would have shed over 100 pounds of fat, that I would be able to run and jump, that I would own my own business, that I would find even more new things to love about my children, that their pride in me would multiply ten fold, that I would believe that my mother loves me and be able to forgive the past, that I would be in love and have this amazing patient, loving, kind wonderfully supportive and very sexy man by my side? My own St Nick who I do not doubt will help to make this Christmas a very special time for me and also for all of our children. We were meant to be going away from Christmas but I’m glad we’re not now, I’m glad we’re going to be spending it at  my home here and in part at Nick’s home with our kids all together for some of it.

I’m very blessed.

All it took was to get through that cyclone of bad stuff that had been hovering around me, learn some lessons, think some new thoughts, reevaluate my life and my relationships, let some of it go hold some of it close and then I was ready for an influx of good things to come and attach themselves to me, one by one, sometimes thick and fast, at other times stealthily snuggling up to me.

I know there are more, of good and bad, I just know it and I’m excited to find out what the good things are as I clear away more rubbish and make more space for them to come into my life.

I’m grateful to this guy, he’s been beyond description in terms of supporting me with this new lifestyle, he has taught me so much about relaxation, inner peace and happiness which has been invaluable. He has taught me how to let go and give the reins to someone else and to be confident and comfortable in doing so. He has taught me how to indulge myself, to allow myself time, space and consideration and he has helped me to find joy and wonder in nature. He’s made me stop, slow down, look, think, breathe, listen and feel.

He has taken me to places in my mind where I’ve never been and he has loved me to the point where I was worried about how I was feeling and then loved me from that point to the point where now I love how I am feeling. All of those failed relationships, all of that messing around with guys and all of those years alone they all make sense now, they all made me ready for this.

I wouldn’t have been ready for this had I not started on that journey 8 months ago which has led to me beginning to heal myself, to give myself longer to live, to make myself a happier person and I thought it was all about losing fat. How mistaken I was.

Good things come to a positive mind, good things come to a happy soul and good things come to an unafraid heart.