Thursday, 30 January 2014

Diary of a Dieter Week 3



Well, it was my first weigh-in last night and it wasn't good news; I had gained one pound.  Even though I was half expecting the gain to be more, I was (still am, actually) very disappointed.

I have been following the plan for four days but ~ here comes the excuse! ~ my menopausal body has decided that this is the right moment to have one of its funny turns.  I am in the throws of the menopause and my periods have become erratic; I can go three, four, even five months with nothing then suddenly I have a (usually very heavy) period.  At the moment, I am pretty uncomfortable and very bloated ~ it is quite obvious that I am retaining a lot of fluid.  This usually indicates that a period is around the corner ~ oh, what joy!

So whilst it can't be denied that the result was very disappointing, all I can do is just hang on in there and keep up with the plan.  Once my body is back to (what passes for, at any rate!) normal, then I am hopeful that I should start to see those numbers falling.

Let's see what next week brings...

The Thursday Poem


Potted Flowers with Books IV
Eric Barjot


New Every Morning

Every day is a fresh beginning,
Listen my soul to the glad refrain.
And, spite of old sorrows
And older sinning,
Troubles forecasted
And possible pain,
Take heart with the day and begin again.

Susan Coolidge
(29th January 1835 - 9th April 1905

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Ouchies!

Dentist by Joaquin  Moragues

Oh woe is me, for I have been to the dentist today!  I always get so worked up about going, even though Mr F is such a lovely man, very kind and gentle ~ plus it was only a check-up today!  Still, I have known for some time that I would eventually need another crown and a tooth extracted, and that time has now come *sigh*

I broke an upper left tooth quite some time ago, and unfortunately the tooth broke more or less level with the gum so there was nothing to anchor a crown to.  Mr F and I decided to leave it "for the time being".  By the last time I went for a check-up, though, it was obvious that there was some kind of minor infection going on as I had developed a sort of "abcess" on the gum.  This may well be too much information but I discovered that I could press on and sort of "pop" it, which released the liquid and it would go away for a time.  Mr F offered to write me a prescription for antiobiotics but I decided to carry on with the "popping".  This last week or so, though, the abcess and gum have been painful, and the abcess is there continuously.  So, I now have antiobiotics to take three times a day and an appointment for the 12th February to have the tooth extracted.  To be quite honest, I will be pleased to have it taken out as I am now starting to get a little concerned about the infection possibly spreading further.

Funnily enough, the crown I also need is in the same place but in my lower left jaw.  Mr F was able to fill the tooth last year but warned me that eventually it would have to be crowned.  Really, I'm surprised that it has lasted this long so I can't complain too much.  Mr F will prepare the tooth for the crown at the same time as he extracts the other one, so I shall probably be extremely sore and grumpy this time in a couple of weeks!

Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1


They do not love that do not show their love

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Happy Birthday to the Gruesome~Twosome!

June 2009

Wow, it hardly seems possible that Sam and Beverly are 23 years old today!  Funnily enough, I say something along similar lines every year!  I wish I had a more recent photo of the two of them together ~ next time Beverly is back home, I must try to remember to take some.

I still vividly remember the day they were born, a Monday ~ Sam at 09.59am and Beverly at 10.01am (by elective C-section).  Adrian was there with me, along with a gaggle of students!  I didn't feel at all well, to be honest; I think the epidural may have had something of an adverse effect on my system.  The room seemed to be full of people, as there were double the staff because I was delivering twins.  I remember the anaesthetist and the surgeon having an argument; she wanted to do a second c-section (another set of twins) and he wanted to wait until the following day!  It was all quite surreal.  All in all, I was in hospital nearly three weeks ~ 10 days before the delivery and another 10 after, waiting for Sam to start feeding properly.

It was a long journey to actually becoming pregnant in the first place.  We had planned on waiting until I was about 30 before having a family, but when I was 23 I started to have menstrual problems.  My periods ground to a complete halt for a while, then were almost continuous for a while longer.  In the end it was discovered that I wasn't ovulating and would have to have fertility treatment to stand a chance of conceiving.  There followed six years of treatment, back and forth to hospital for lots of tests and check-ups.  Eventually we were almost at the end of the rounds of injections, with no success, and were advised that it would perhaps be a good idea to start looking at alternatives, such as adoption.

We duly started to look into this, and had what was to be our final lot of treatment.  I had the initial injections as usual, and went for the scan which would show how many eggs were ready before the final injection.  We were told that there were in fact five eggs and although normally the last injection would have been withheld because of the risk of multiple birth, we were given the choice as to whether we went ahead or not as it was our last attempt.  We decided we might as well go through with it, as we weren't expecting this last attempt to be anymore successful that the previous ones.

I am sure you can imagine our feelings when my next period didn't arrive as expected!  A pregnancy test was duly done ~ still not really believing that the treatment had finally been successful.  To our utter amazement, I was indeed pregnant!  Then, of course, was came the realisation that actually there could be up to five babies!  Seven weeks into the pregnancy I went for a scan, which to our relief showed only two heartbeats.

The pregnancy progressed well, with only a slight worry at 10 weeks when I started to bleed a little.  Thankfully, it came to nothing and I continued working until a week before I could officially go on maternity leave; I took that final week as holiday.  At just over 36 weeks, I had a routine internal examination and my gynaecologist told me that he could feel "a spongy mass".  The placentas were below the babies which meant I would have to have an elective c-section ~ Sam was also in the breach position.  As my blood-pressure was starting to become high, I was admitted to hospital and had the children about 10 days later.

They both spent a couple of days in the special care unit before joining me up on the ward.  They were good weights, Sam being 5lbs 12oz and Beverly 6lbs 8.5oz.  Sam was a little slow to start feeding properly but once he got the hang of it, things were fine.  And as you can see, they have both turned out wonderfully! 

Adrian and I are so proud of our "gruesome-twosome"...

  

Sunday, 26 January 2014

The Sunday Prayer

Dove of Peace by Pablo Picasso


Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Diary of a Dieter Week 2



Around the time of my 50th birthday (back in 2011),  I was feeling like I had just wasted so many years of my life and realistically I knew that I had far fewer years left ahead of me than had already passed by.  You'd think, wouldn't you, that that would have been the spur to get on and "live" my life but instead I was, up to just a few weeks back, still sitting around moping and brooding over all that's gone wrong or been unpleasant in years past.  I certainly didn't like it there in such a horrible self-made rut but somehow it was more comfortable than climbing out into the unknown.       



On the other hand, the thought of spending the next 10, 20, 30 or however many years I have left living like this filled me with even more dread!  The question was, though, just how was I to get myself out of the increasingly-deep hole that I had dug?  You see, the picture above is how I would like to picture myself ~ happy with who I am and skipping through whatever life throws my way.  Unfortunately, I seem to have cultivated a persona of depression and low self-esteem instead ~ and of course, both my physical and my mental health are suffering dreadfully.  Looking back with honesty, I can see that the low self-esteem is something that started way back in my childhood but I have allowed myself to let it take over my life and dictate the way I live, which is how I believe the depression may have first arisen.  Feeling that you are a horrible, fat, worthless person simply does not go hand-in-hand with being a happy, jolly and contented woman whatever ones size!  

  


I came to the conclusion that one thing is for sure: if I was ever to live a happy and contented life, then it would all be down to me and my attitude.  I could choose to carry on the way I have done for these past many years ~ in which case I will continue to feel like crap for the rest of my life.  Or I could give myself a bloody good shake, pick myself up, dust myself down and make a concerted effort to change how I think and how I live.  


I knew that it was not going to be an easy ride, because old habits are so very hard to break.  But I realised that I simply had to get stuck in and start the climb up out of this unhappy place in which I have been living for far too long.  I have gradually come to the conclusion that actually, I really do want to live my life rather than just exist in it.  



So here I am some years later, on the approach to my 53rd birthday and a turning point has suddenly (somewhat miraculously, I feel!) been reached on my life-journey.  I have chosen to follow a different path.....

my sister, Amanda, and I
circa June 1965

I wasn't a fat child but I started to grow and develop much more quickly than my friends.  I was always the tallest girl in my class during junior and senior school, and I was very conscious of this fact.  My feelings of self-consciousness weren't helped in the least by the fact that I also had very bad acne, and was tormented about it a lot.  I remember even my Mum once saying to me "you had such lovely skin as a baby, I just don't know what has happened to you!"  I was still at junior school, and had only just turned 11, when my periods started and I seemed to go overnight from wearing little-girl vests to a size 36C bra!  I felt very different to my friends and classmates, in fact, I felt freakishly big.  Looking back, though, I can see that really it was only that I was somewhat taller than they were ~ not surprising as my Dad is about 6'1" ~ and was built to match my height rather than being "fat".

It can't be denied, however, that once puberty was in full swing I did start to put on some excess weight, although by the time I left school at the age of 16 I wasn't huge by any means.  I can't recall how much I actually weighed but I do know that I was wearing a UK size 16 clothing size.  I am a sturdily-built woman, very much taking after my Dad ~ good old country stock!  

me in August 1983

The photo above was taken a few months after Adrian and I started living together, when I was about 12 stone (168 pounds).  I could weep when I look at this photo and think back to how fat I thought I was.  Okay so I was no super-model (how many of us are??), but I really wasn't the fat lump I believed myself to be *sigh*  I was very conscious of how much I "needed" to lose weight but over the years I just became bigger and bigger.  It seemed that the more I thought about it, the heavier I became!

Mum and I
August 1984
In the photo above I am starting to get a little larger, just one year on from the previous photo (about 13 stone/182 pounds).  And so it continued, year-upon-year.  Things got steadily worse when I discovered that I was going to have difficulties in becoming pregnant.  At the end of six years of fertility treatment I finally found myself pregnant with Sam and Beverly.  I started the pregnancy at about 17 stone/238 pounds, and just before I gave birth I was 19 stone/266 pounds.  By the time of my six week check-up I was actually down to 16 stone/224 pounds, but the from that time onwards the pounds just relentlessly piled on.


Beverly and I
January 2010
And the photo above is pretty much representative of how big I still am today.

But as I have said, something recently has changed in me and I am determined to shed the excess load I have been carrying around for far too many years.  So, after thinking about it for a couple of months, last week I took the plunge and joined a new Slimming World class.  I had been somewhat unimpressed with the class I attended last year and was a little dubious as to whether this class would be much the same, but I can honestly say that I was extremely pleasantly surprised!  The group leader, Amanda, is a very nice young woman and she is obviously passionate about helping others to attain their ideal weight.  So ~ deep breath, Sharon! ~ I weighed-in at my first class at 22 stone 13 pounds (321 pounds).  Very heavy, I know, but believe it or not, last year (at my heaviest weight ever) I tipped the scales at about 23 1/2 stone (329 pounds).

Because I have such a vast amount of excess weight to shed, I have decided that it will be less disheartening if I take it in incremental stages rather than thinking about the "big picture".  To that end, Amanda and I have set my first target at 19 stone 13 pounds (279 pounds) ~ it will be so wonderful when I get below that 20 stone (180 pounds) mark!

I haven't forgotten, nor am I ignoring, all that I talked about in my previous diary post  regarding "real" food as opposed to low this/low that, etc.  The beauty of the Slimming World plan is that the emphasis, so far as I can see, is very much on real, healthy food ~ most of which can be eaten in abundance should one wish to do so.  There is also the opportunity to add some of those "naughty" treats that we all seem to crave at times.  

I joined the class on Wednesday evening, did my online supermarket shopping on Thursday, for delivery yesterday, and started the eating plan today.  Usually my diet consists of an awful lot of bread (for breakfast and for lunch) but today I had Ryvitas for breakfast and an enormous plate of crunchy salad leaves and prawns for lunch.  And guess what I discovered?  I actually really enjoyed that lunch, far more in fact than my usual toast or sandwich.  It tasted crisp, fresh and wholesome ~ real food indeed!

Of course today is only day one, and one is always enthusiastic about the first few days of a new "diet".  But I am making a concerted effort to remember that this is actually a lifestyle change, not yet another attempt to lose weight and then simply go back to the old way of eating.  I have a new mantra:

If you always do what you've always done, then you will always get what you've always got!

Diary of a Dieter Week 1



So here I am once again, on yet another dieting journey.  This time, though, it does feel different somehow.  I feel ready to make the necessary, life-long, changes.

It's been obvious for a very long time that my diet ~ in the true sense of the word, as opposed to a slimming campaign ~ has been extremely dire.  I have been thinking about this, in general terms, an awful lot over the last few months; I know that I simply cannot stay on this path for much longer if I wish to live happily, and healthily, as far into my old age as I possibly can.  If I don't do something now, at the age of 52, then quite frankly I just don't see my life changing for the better at all.

When I was growing up I ate a far better diet than I have done for many years now.  Things really started to change when I left home and married my ex-husband.  To say that he was not an adventurous eater is putting it mildly!  He seemed to exist mainly on carrots, very little fruit, no meat or fish other than chicken breast, and potatoes.  He did consume a lot of peanut butter and milk, though, and somehow managed to grow to 6'4" with a 46" chest!  I just became very lazy in the nearly two years we were together and didn't bother making different things for myself.   


As a child I ate meat, fish, potatoes, vegetables and fruit.  We had "proper" dinners, usually with a pudding of some sort, each day, and a traditional roast on Sundays.  There were cereals and toast for breakfast, or perhaps a boiled egg with toast soldiers, and a traditional English fried breakfast at the weekend.  And for tea ~ or at lunchtime if we were having our main meal in the evening ~ it would be something like a cheese, ham, tuna or egg sandwich, or perhaps baked beans, tinned sardines or scrambled eggs on toast, and a piece of (usually homemade) cake.


I have been finding myself thinking more and more about those childhood meals, and also to the meals I ate when staying with my Grandma during the 1960s/early 1970s (I was born in 1961).  There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that food was different then, as were meals in general.  To be honest, I don't remember eating ready-meals of any description until I was in my early teens; my Mum mostly cooked from scratch, and Grandma always did, other than the occasional fish-and-chip supper.  

Do you know, Grandma didn't even have a fridge when I was a child!  I remember how cool her pantry always was; she kept bottles of milk in a bucket of cold water and walked up the road into the village most days to buy fresh food.  Meat came from the butcher, wet fish from the fish and chip shop, bread from the village baker, vegetables and fruit from the greengrocer. 


There was a little supermarket of sorts in the village and that was where Grandma bought tinned goods (I remember having tinned peach slices with evaporated milk and a slice of bread and butter for tea!), packet foods such as flour and sugar, and various household sundries.


The other think I remember is really more of what I don't remember: being served large portions.  And yet I also don't recall ever leaving the table still feeling hungry.  We didn't eat until we were stuffed; we simply ate enough to satisfy our hunger.  At Grandma's house it was usually four meals: breakfast, the main meal at midday, tea and a light supper before bed.  There wasn't a lot of eating between meals either and if we did want something, we would probably have been given a piece of fruit.  I'm not saying that we never ate sweets, chocolate, shop-bought biscuits or had an ice-cream, but those things were generally regarded as treats.  Virtually everything else we ate was homemade, from scratch ~ and that included cakes and puddings.

So what went wrong then?  I should imagine that most folk of my generation grew up eating in a similar way to that described above, and of course our parents and grandparents would almost certainly have eaten those kinds of meals.  It was real food, not low fat/low carbohydrate/full of man-made additives.  And that, I suspect is the answer.  What so many of us eat nowadays is just so far removed from good, basic, wholesome food that it can't possible sustain and nourish our bodies ~ nor our minds, either, for that matter.

I admit that I have overloaded my body with way too much "non-food" for year-upon-year-upon-year, and I have become ever fatter and so terribly unhealthy in the process.  Recently it has occurred to me that perhaps my emotional eating may be partly caused by lack of proper nourishment, too.  In my travels around the internet I have noticed that many other folk are thinking along similar lines, and doing a search such as "eating like our grandparents" pulls up a lot of links to some interesting websites and blogs.

Really, then, the only logical next step for me is to start cooking from scratch, using good old-fashioned basic ingredients.  I have plenty of cookery books for ideas, recipes and inspiration.  I also have Grandma's battered old notebook with some of her own handwritten recipes, as well as a couple of her old cookery books.  And since it's not so easy for me to just pop into town every other day for fresh ingredients, I have decided to start menu-planning.  Unlike Grandma, I have the convenience of a freezer which makes it so much easier to buy meat and fish on a weekly, or longer, basis. 

I am not suggesting for one minute that by simply scratch-cooking my excess weight will just magically melt away.  Although I do want to feed my body, mind and yes, my soul too, good wholesome nourishing food, I also realise that I need to look at my overall eating patterns in general terms as well.  I would like to share those observations with you but since this post is already rather long, I will leave that for another day!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1

Marriage is a woman's way of calling a meeting
to order

Sunday, 19 January 2014

The Sunday Prayer

Dove of Peace by Pablo Picasso


Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1


At a dinner party one should eat wisely but not
too well, and talk well but not too wisely

Sunday, 12 January 2014

The Sunday Prayer

Dove of Peace by Pablo Picasso


Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1

Great things are not done by impulse,
but by a series of small things brought together

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Sunday Prayer

Dove of Peace by Pablo Picasso


Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Words on Wednesday

Alphabet Overlay 1

Whether we want them or not,
the New Year will bring new challenges;
whether we seize them or not,
the New Year will bring new opportunities

Michael Josephson
(10th December 1942 -  )






Happy New Year!

image from www.allposters.co.uk


Happy New Year, my lovlies!
I hope 2014 is filled with happiness, health and all you wish for!