If This is It

Looking back on this week, undoubtedly this will be the moment when a particular meme comes back to haunt me:

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A spectacular amount has been accomplished in November, including taking bodies of work produced over the last 18 months and placing them in a setting that is deserving of my efforts. Slowly, but surely, the plan is coming together. On the flip-side, an ability to communicate in my personal life is emerging, kicking and screaming from the burnt remains of previous failure. This is not pleasant; every setback is painful, an upsetting process of reinvention, as is recalled every time a certain room at the Gym gets walked into.

However, undoubtedly, progress is taking place. Typing that enough times does make it real.

The next step is to try and improve my domestic skills. I’m starting basic and realistic, after a couple of false starts, but there are a couple of sure-fire recipes that seems to lend themselves to my neophyte skill-set. Also, it gives something to stick on the Instagram feed, which is now being reinvented after the writing website got an upgrade.

This is my scheduled reminder that every day is a School day.

I Might Be Wrong

There is a eucalyptus tree in our garden, almost pulled over in the last round of Winter storms. We’ve decided it was too unwieldy, that our whole garden is going to be remodelled in the next year, and this (plus many things) had to go. My husband had taken most of the height from it, but showed reticence to finish the job, and after a particularly passionate discussion over commitment to maintaining the outside of the house, I stepped in. That meant that yesterday morning, as remnants of a teenage LAN party were filtering into unusually warm April sun, I stepped into the garden with a huge hacksaw and a plan.

I am not, as a rule, an outdoors person. Sure, I enjoy going to places and looking at things, but relaxation for me is never outside. However, now I’m beginning to grasp that my future is changing, it is only right and proper that I force out of my normal comfort zone and start doing stuff that is not fun. That eucalyptus was taken to almost ground level yesterday, and has a root system that is a metaphor for how sometimes it is hard to remove things from your life. Every time I thought I’d got on top of removing the stump the thing showed me how deep to dig and strong I’d have to be to cut it out. I’ve done good work, but one day will not be enough, and I’ll be back this week to finish the job. However, what I did manage was to clear more than half the rest of the mess, and call out for a chainsaw because sometimes, you just gotta use the big equipment.

However, yesterday was exactly what was needed.

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The change to my upper body strength was the biggest revelation: sawing shit is FUN when you don’t get tired after 30 seconds. In fact I hacksawed so many things it was enjoyable: once upon a time I’d have never coped with the job I’d set myself in one sitting. Yesterday, by 3.30pm I was tidying up and feeling the effort had been very much worthwhile. The other massive upswing from last week is the ‘nothing fatty that could set off another gallbladder incident until you’ve had bloods and an ultrasound’ warning from the Doctor. I now know that peanut butter is off the books, organic included. It meant the roasters had to be omitted from last night’s chicken dinner too, but that didn’t diminish the awesomeness of the experience, because I sneaked bread sauce in.

This has also stopped me looking at calorie content at foods and pushed me back to the ‘fat’ part of the nutritional information. Even though I’ve been better with food, there were indulgences (especially in the cheese and butter departments) because I’d be able to burn the calories off. The problem now, of course, is if my body cannot handle the process of breaking down high fat foods, there has to be accommodation and I will need to start logging those indulgences to ensure I’m not potentially causing more harm. What I really want to avoid is surgery, because that will put back all my hard work potentially for months. If I can manage this without the need to do so, that will be the long term aim.

I might be wrong, but the more I think about last week is turning out to be a massive positive than negative.

Broken Wings

Yesterday evening my youngest came back from seeing a friend, and ran up to me for our normal hug, before blanching. When I asked her what was wrong, she screwed up her face and pronounced:

‘Mum, you’ve gone yellow.’

I knew summat was seriously wrong yesterday afternoon, about 2-ish. The pain in my upper abdomen was worse than anything I can ever remember, including childbirth. I thought for a while that maybe my weights session on Monday had pulled something, that perhaps I had a stomach spasm… and then I just couldn’t breathe, and began to panic. The plan was simple: I’d take a shower, and if the pain didn’t abate I’d call my husband and tell him I was going to the Hospital. Then, amazingly, everything stopped hurting. It was as if someone flicked a switch and there was nothing wrong. I went for a sleep, woke up, and when my daughter saw me, I was fairly confident I knew what had happened.

It took a trip to the Out of Hours doctor to confirm what I’d worked out for myself: I’d passed a Gallstone, which is why I have sudden onset Jaundice. This happened once before, about a decade previously, but it wasn’t nearly as painful or as destructive to my body: I’ve had digestive issues since, but eating sensibly had pretty much solved this, until on Monday night after my training I ate Cauliflower Cheese and had a Cream Eclair for dessert (both huge no-no’s for anyone who’s had Gall Bladder issues in the past) and pretty much set back my cause ten years. I’d forgotten why I couldn’t eat these two together on an empty stomach, but that won’t happen again any time soon. In fact, that’s NEVER going to happen again. My lesson has been summarily learnt.

I am, my daughter rather cheerfully informs me, considerably less yellow than I was last night, but still dehydrated and, frankly knackered. I’m about to go get a scan of my stomach area booked and a full set of blood work. It was a wake up call I didn’t ask for but now makes me realise that I may be able to change some parts of my body, but this only works if I do it with everything. That means plain and simple eating for a couple of weeks until I can get myself sorted, and to rule out anything else that might have cause the issue or that could be bothering me.

Mostly, I’d like to just go back to bed.

Life in Tokyo

I’m at the Gym, earlier today, looking at the people working on a Friday lunchtime¬†and realising I’m the only one sweating.¬†The women either side of me are perfect, thin specimens with co-ordinated clothing and beautiful hair and yet neither of them perspire at all. They run like mice, all scurry in the legs, yet neither appear to expend any calories at all. I’m dripping after my first 500 metres of running and it gets worse, I begin to smell unpleasant at 3k and decide to put in a 5 % gradient for the penultimate mile to give my legs some variety. As the pair get off I realise I probably pissed them off by taking the treadmill between them and preventing them¬†from talking, and the look one throws back at me as she leaves is enough for me to consider giving the finger back. No, that’s not polite, but I can sure as fuck think it after the event.

My¬†second¬†major objective in 2017 is¬†Persistence,¬†which means running until legs ache and body drips. I don’t care what I look like in the Gym, I’m there to work, not win a beauty contest.¬†Doing life properly is accepting that occasionally I do have to look decent, but at all the times in between it’s a frippery that’s not necessarily needed, especially not during exercise. I really don’t understand people who turn up, do the minimum amount of work and go home again. I do understand however that sometimes people do shit to make them feel as if they are making a difference to their own lives, and if that involves you never wearing out running shows or getting holes in the ankles of your leggings because you’re a fucking short arse and they’re always too long? Honestly, totally fine.

You are what you are, and this is what it is.

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As time goes on, I want to spend less time being something I’m not or will never be. There are better things to be doing, after all, than pretending to enjoy not eating. I fucking love my food, and despite trying my damnedest to lose half a stone (quite possibly more) and keep it off in January I am going full into cooking my own stuff and making more sensible meal and menu choices. I really would like, if I can, to cut out as much junk for as is conceivably possible going forward. It will be interesting to see how far I can take this and how much is achievable considering my current lifestyle choices. This is probably the biggest step in the dark I’ve taken for a while, but already it is bearing fruit.

Yesterday was a passable Chicken Casserole I’m already planning on making better. Tomorrow will be Pulled Pork. None of this will get me on Masterchef, but it’s a step towards further autonomy and helping¬†make the most of what we have available.¬†That’s all it ever has to be, one step after the other, until you’re not afraid to run.

I learnt how to do that in 2016. Now I can, there’s just so many new places I can go.

The Master Plan

It’s taken a fortnight, but this morning I woke up horizontal and without a coughing fit, which means that YAY health is now returning to normal. However, there’s been some hangovers from the massive antibiotic use, including a couple of¬†quite scarily painful bouts of heartburn. That means that today, I’ll be eating simply and trying not to stress. On that front, there’s been quite a lot of thought about exercise goals going forward, and how I’d like to continue in 2017 the good work I’ve managed this year.

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This week, I made a conscious decision to get myself back into walking without aggravating my asthma, which is cold/heat triggered. That meant a drive to the Gym every day, which I’ll now replace with walking starting tomorrow. That in itself will tip me well over the 12k limit I’ve set for each day, and means I’ll be far less likely to be berated by angry cyclists as time goes on (that was an incident on Thursday I’d be happy not to repeat.) On the Treadmill this week I’ve been alternating light jogging and brisk walking, and yesterday I got up to a 400m jog without everything going terribly wrong. I’ve asked my PT to just do weights (again) tomorrow and I’ll spend another week getting myself back up to 100% fitness. Right now, I’d place myself at about 90%.

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I need to be eating more vegetables and fruit. I’m consuming far too much tea, again.¬†My weight is finally beginning to reduce and the muscle content is remaining. I can see now EXACTLY on my body what needs to change. What used to be vague, nebulous requirements are now solidifying into targetable goals and precise objectives, and it is time to work on the stuff that can be and not stress about the stuff that can’t. The New Year would traditionally be the period to do this but I’m going to restart the #50Kin50Days Challenge starting tomorrow, for no other reason than I should be doing more, every day, to improve myself mentally and physically.

The physical has always been the harder of the two disciplines to maintain, but now that might not be the case. I’m finding as I do more physical, it is making the mental so much easier¬†to accomplish, and whilst that remains the case, I’m going to do my damnedest to maintain the momentum. So, let’s start before Christmas with something that will make all the difference over the Festive Period, and see where things go from there.

There’s No Other Way

By now, on an average day, I’d have drunk at least¬†three large cups of tea. Today, I’ve had just one. I’d have stopped logging food for calorie content too, but that’s not the case as of now. It is time to stop fucking about and go cold turkey on all the things I’ve been using to keep me going. It is the moment to look at my weight and be honest about it. This is where I get serious, and stuff changes.

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I know what’s good in this number and that’s fine. The bad has come from not doing this properly, and by that I mean actually sticking to my task. The rules are now simple: I weigh myself once a week, on a Friday morning.¬†There is no snacking and absolutely no feeling sorry for myself, or moaning about shit to you good people. I withdraw everything and I just get over the cravings and the issues and we see, if I REALLY make an effort, if I can’t at least hit the 160 pound limit by Christmas. I’d love to get to 150 but I’m not actually sure I’ll need to if I can shift these excess inches, and they do exist. I’m not being unfair on my body, I can see it all sitting now on top of muscles that weren’t there before.¬†I only intend to add to those. Everything else needs to go.

Also, if I’m going to survive the hormonal onslaught I¬†know is not over yet by a long way? Sugar’s just going to convert to fat if I eat it. I gotta stay focused and with sources of energy that aren’t destructive. Having a goal is great, sticking to it becomes something else. I can take away the bad, if I work hard enough. Less caffeine, less empty calories, and allowing my body to stop depending on a sugar rush from things that just don’t help.¬†If I can keep myself occupied and stop obsessing about what I’d like to eat, everything will be fine. Focusing on strength, power and attainment is what I should do.

It’s what is going to happen.

I know what I’m capable of, and I’m going to fucking well do it.

Creep

Reality checks are useful, and if you ever believe you don’t need someone else to¬†read your fortune? You’re wrong.¬†If you continually baulk¬†at objective, critical appraisal, the chances are that it’s not the rest of the World with the problem. There are consequences to every action, and conveniently forgetting this does nobody any good. Today, in my case, this is the moment to concede that even I can’t do everything, all the time, and not suffer the consequences. It hasn’t helped that this week has been the most hormonally difficult¬†for some time. However, once I grasped that sometimes there is nothing you can do but ride out the problem? It all got easier.

What I’m not doing¬†well is¬†factoring rest into the equation, plus¬†considering what I drink.

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I could have walked on Thursday had I not thrown myself into the task with such enthusiasm on Tuesday: as my PT likes to point out, every trip doesn’t have to be a Personal Best. I struggled on Friday to maintain the pace for a 7.30 kilometre, and it had nothing to do with physical issues and everything around the energy to do so.¬†Recovery time is being dictated a lot by how my hormones¬†effect sleep.¬†I need to watch how this dictates my actions throughout the week and amend my exercise accordingly. Most importantly, however, and it will hurt when I type this, I gotta cut my excessive tea drinking.¬†I don’t do cups, I’m a bucket or nothing kind of girl and when you shove milk and honey into this, it is beginning to be detrimental. As a result, I’m going to count every cup as 200 calories from now on, and there is going to be a limit. That means I’ll want to get some green tea into my diet that doesn’t compromise on taste and allows me a notion of freedom.

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This week however there is an enforced change to my routine, because tomorrow evening I’m giving blood for the first time. I signed up after the weekend of the Miami Club massacre¬†but it has been this long to get me an appointment. The venue is the Church I walk past every time I go to the Gym, so it’s as local as I can probably get. I hope this will be a regular event too, and I can start giving back and making a difference. My PT as a result’s been shifted to Wednesday, whilst on Friday I’m having a check up at the Doctor’s Asthma clinic. This will show how much better (I hope) my lung capacity has become since I started exercising.

This week, therefore, will be making sure I actually use My Fitness Pal to accurately log my calorie intake, and take an enforced break from excessive beverage consumption. After that, I’m hoping my hormones will play nicely and I can improve on the last seven days’¬†fairly woeful exercise totals.