Weight loss challenges
For those of you that don’t know me personally, in January 2010 I had a life changing experience, and not in a good way!
I’ll get to that in a minute, but I’ll give you a bit of my background first….
Having an Irish mother, every meal came with potatoes and was always followed by a “pudding”. (Well okay, not breakfast, I’m talking evening meals here)
There was always a plate of bread and butter (the real stuff, not that sunflower crap!) on the table and you were not allowed to leave the table until your plate was empty. All good, homecooked, fresh food though, no take-aways or ready meals – in fact I was 16 before I even tasted my first pizza! So I was always chunky as a kid; “a strapping lass” as my Nanny (who was Old Lancashire) used to say. But that was fine as this was the 70’s – 80’s and I was a tom-boy, so I was always out playing football / running / climbing trees and the like with the boys. There was no such thing as the internet, or games consoles, and the only TV I watched was maybe half an hour of some kids TV (ScoobyDoo!), usually followed by John Craven’s Newsround and either Neighbours or Home and Away, which we watched while having dinner.
After that my Dad would be home and he’d have his dinner and then Mum would go watch her Corrie (or Emerdale Farm, or EastEnders, depending which night it was) and Dad would usually sit in the kitchen listening to John Dunn on Radio 2 and talking with his friend DooRonRon about fishing or fixing cars. (No that wasn’t actually his name, but he was one of those blokes that could do everything, or had done it, so Mum named him DooRonRon. To be fair his name was Ron! ) Anyway, I would be off out with my mates come rain or shine until it was time to come in, do my home work and then off to bed.
Once I hit secondary school age that changed as the homework was piled on more and more, so I spent less time out. And then I discovered boys, well just the one actually, and he had a car so even less excercise.
Now I’ve had on-going weight issues since my mid teens when I was diagnosed with PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome; irregular cycles, weight gain, etc. – Actually, I’ve just put together reading this back, that most of that started around the time that I was at Secondary School with all that extra homework and less going out with my friends – homework, it’s the Devil! LOL
Anyway, I’m digressing; suffice it to say it was sort of pre-written that I was never going to be Twiggy. Genetics and diet along with PcOS and, later, career choices that included working nights, all made for a difficult time managing my weight. Even at age 13-ish at 5’3″ I was about 12 stones, but stocky with muscle, not fat. As I left school and started working I seemed to pick jobs that were late hours: working in an all-night chippy/ cafe; working in pubs / night-clubs; serving food in pubs/clubs, running a pizza shop, etc. So obviously I was eating more and more at work, and at later and later hours. And the weight piled on. At age 20 I was 5’6″ and about 16 stones, but still, mainly muscle weight due to long hours of standing on my feet and lifting heavy things a lot. I was “stong as an ox” built more like a bloke with boobs! Hey it came in handy for chucking out drunks at the end of the night! (the being strong that is, not the boobs. Although an Ex did once refer to them as my “weapons of mass distraction”! LOL)
Anyway, I’m digressing again, I do that sometimes…. So eventually I met my Mr Right (well Mr Parker actually.) We met through work when I was transferred to his branch, and after working together for almost a year we finally got together. Actually there was a lot more to the story than that, but that’s for another time. He pretty much moved in after a few weeks, and after being together a couple of years we moved out of my flat and got our first house. And the rest, as they say, is history. We’ve been together 17 years, married for the last 9, and I haven’t frightened him off yet. Yeah, we’ve had some ups and downs, had some stinking rows and some really great times. Sometimes he drives me insane, and sometimes I drive him to distraction – but we can also make each other laugh and we truly are best friends as well as husband and wife.
So back to the life-changing experience I mentioned earlier…
I was on my way home from work about 11pm, (we had a Domino’s Pizza franchise) driving my lovely Hyundai Santa Fe (my pride and joy) when I was smashed into by a drunk driver.
The impact was at a funny angle as she (yes it was a woman who ploughed in to me!) swerved across onto my side of the road, hitting the back wing / wheel arch on my driver’s side, shunting me sideways into a car parked on the pavement (hard enough that I actually knocked the car off the kerb and shattered it’s windows) and then got her front wheel trapped up under my wheel arch, so spun me a 180 across the road as she peeled off me (which is why my car is diagonal across the road, facing the opposite way from the direction I was originally travelling)
She was breathalyzed by the police at the scene and carted off to spend a night in the cells as she was 2&1/2 times over the legal limit. She tried accusing me of pulling out in front of her, then offered me out for a fight in the middle of the street! Charming! Well okay, I did call her a liar and accused her of either being drunk or drugged, but still… Luckily I had a witness in the taxi driver that I was following, who she barely missed by a gnats whisker.
My car had to be dragged onto a flat-bed to be towed away as both the rear tyres had burst and the back axle was snapped; the rear of the chassis being squished so that we had to crow-bar the tail gate open to get my stuff out of the boot, then it wouldn’t close! Also the airbags had gone off – don’t they stink?
Shock is a funny thing isn’t it? (as in peculiar, not ha-ha) I didn’t even realise until I got home about 3am, after waiting for the recovery chap and dealing with the police, that I actually had a cut on my head from where I’d smacked it on the door pillar. It wasn’t until about 2 days later that my bruises came out and the shoulder, neck and back pain started. And the migraines. And the nerve twitches in my leg. Yeah I was in a mess.
After many months and many trips to the doctors for pain killers, and visiting my own chiropractor several times over those months to un-trap nerves and try to straighten me up so I could walk around the house, I finally convinced my GP to get an MRI scan done on my back which revealed disc and nerve damage. I was sent for physio, which was absolutely useless; giving someone a sheet of A4 paper with diagrams of excercises on it is NOT physio in my opinion!
As a result 3 years later I’m now using a walking stick, hardly sleep due to back pain and nerve problems (you try getting to sleep with your left leg doing a Michael Flattely every time you turn over on your back), I can’t go back to work as we ended up having to sell the shop and there’s no way I can’t stand or sit for long periods of time or lift anything remotely heavy. I’m constantly doped up on painkillers and suffer frequent violent migraines that last up to 4 days and make me actually physically sick. Nice! Add to that my monthlies had pretty much stopped (once every 14 – 18 months is NOT a cycle!) and when I did come on I was so heavy I was going through underwear like it was going out of fashion, and it would last for weeks. I was so ill with it, it made me anaemic. I tested positive for high cholesterol, then diabetes. And still the weight piled on.
Eventually I got to an all-time high of 27 stone and 2 pounds. Being largely immobilised and in constant pain I couldn’t excercise any more. Walking was difficult even with my walking stick, and I was in constant pain in my back. I tried everything diet-wise; eating salads, “detox” diets, soup diets, cutting out sugar and fat, only eating chicken and vegetables. I ended up seeing a dietician through my GP for 6 months to “help manage my diabetes” and using the “eat-well” plate – I actually ended up gaining 1 pound instead of losing any weight. What I found was that without being able to excercise as well the weight just wouldn’t come off.
After months and months of being cooped up in the house doped up on meds or in so much pain I couldn’t walk (or even get up out of a chair to visit the bathroom on my own, then couldn’t get up off the loo afterwards!) I became depressed. Then I got mad about it. Then I decided to do something about it.
I found a website one day whilst mooching about on the internet, called Mark’s Daily Apple, by a chap called Mark Sissons. There was a lot of talk about Paleo dieting, or “Primal” as Mark calls it, and this thing called “The Primal Blueprint.” I read on and a lot of things started to make a hell of a lot of sense. Like the fact that we (humans) were never really designed to eat large quantities of grain and fibre rich foods, then follow it up with hours a day sitting on our bums in offices and cars. Rather the human body was really designed for a Hunter/Gatherer lifestyle; lots of walking and foraging, followed by short, intense, bursts of speed to catch prey, or run away from the dinosaurs! So our diet was meant to consist of proteins and fats, from either meat that we caught or nuts and seeds, and carbs and sugars from vegetables and fruit.
This isn’t a new fad diet idea; try googling “The Stone Age Diet” by Dr Walter Voegtlin, published back in 1975 when I was still a nipper!
Anyway, In the primal blueprint, Mark talks about not just making a dietary change but a lifestyle change, and adapting this lifestyle to modern living. Eating fresh foods instead of processed convenience foods, how it’s important to get outdoors and get our daily dose of sunshine and fresh air, and get exercise by lifting things, walking, and running in short bursts.
Okay I thought, I’ll give this a try.
At the time I was attending a “weight management clinic” who had been extolling the virtues of the high fibre/ low fat diet and the “Eatwell plate” which as I mentioned earlier, doesn’t work for me. So it was no surprise that after a few months I hadn’t lost any weight. I actually GAINED weight! (And I wasn’t the only one)
I’ve tried all sorts of diets and even saw a nutritionist via my GP for 6 months (), but nothing seemed to help. The old “eatwell plate” they preach at you isn’t suitable for everyone I guess.
I came across Paleo and Primal diets, and that way of eating – with less processed foods, less carbs, and more proteins – seemed to help somewhat and I lost a bit of weight that way, so did some further research into Diabetes and weight gain / loss programmes. I found a website with a report of clinical trials done in the US and over here, referring to “The Blood Sugar Diet” so looked it up and found a book by a Dr Michael Mosley on Amazon. I read it and everything started to make sense about my weight etc. So I’ve been following that for 4 weeks now and have lost over 2&1/2 stones so far. So any recipes I post October 2016 onward, will be for low carb food and suitable for a Very Low Calorie Diet (or VLCD).
End of the 7th week (last week of November) I’ve now lost 21.3 kilos (3st 5lb), but have had a bit of a setback with exercising as I’ve torn my piriformus muscle in my left hip and trapped the transiting S1 nerve. Very painful. No feeling in my left leg and foot. Lots of drugs, not a lot of moving about.
How did I do it? Getting into bed, of all things! Our bed’s very high, so I have to use a little step-stool to get in it. I stand on the stool with my left foot, and sort of hop up from my left leg and swing round to the side. As I landed on the bed, I felt a horrid burn, like cramp, in my left hip and thought “OW!!” but it went away after a few seconds, so I thought nothing more of it.. until I tried to get up a few hours later.
OMFG!!!! Pain?? I’ve never experienced anything like it.
I’m continuing with the diet, but some nights I just can’t stand in the kitchen prepping food, so have had a few naughty take-aways this last week or so
I changed my diet to the Primal one without telling my dietician what I was about to do, and the following month when I’d suddenly lost several pounds, I told her what I’d done. We compared my weights and measurements and found that not only had I lost actual weight, but also inches, AND that I’d also lost visceral fat (from around your organs) which apparently is the hardest to lose. She was flummoxed to say the least, and still somewhat skeptical, until the following month when all my readings had come down again. This time I’d also come armed with copies of literature off the website and a bunch of recipes.
This continued for several months and I lost several stones over that period period of time.
Unfortunately January this year (2014) we started doing major renovation work to the house (which dragged on for months and ended up in a lawsuit, but that’s another story.) One of the first things to go was the kitchen, so we were back on a diet of eating takeaways and other convenience food that we could throw in the microwave, and then I had to go in hospital for an op which laid me up for weeks, so sadly I’ve put some weight back on. But now that the kitchen is pretty much finished (aside from some replacement work that needs to be done) I’m getting back into my cooking and preparing our own meals and hopefully the weight will start to come off again.
I’ll be posting recipes and details of my progress on here so keep an eye out for updates.
UPDATE: October 2016
It’s been a while since I posted here, and sadly I didn’t stick to the dieting. After months of the kitchen being out of action we’d fallen back in to the lazy, convenience food and takeaway routine, so I’ve put back on all the weight I lost, and more.
Lately I’ve been getting depressed again, and I’m fed up with no longer being able to get clothes to fit me. After some further research into Diabetes and weight gain / loss programmes I found a website with a report of clinical trials done in the US and over here, referring to “The Blood Sugar Diet” and that led me to a book by a Dr Michael Mosley on Amazon. I read it. Twice.
It’s quite technical and goes into a lot of detail about insulin production and hormones and lipids and all that. However there are several examples of case studies of REAL patients in the UK and USA, that have followed the diet plan with success. There’s input from other GP’s as well, and info from university study research papers. So I thought “give it a whirl I suppose”
800 calories a day seems like a very small amount when you first start, but following the advice in the book – drinking plenty of warm drinks (fruity green tea and herbal infusions) along with plenty of water each day – I’ve surprisingly not felt hungry!
I also bought the official recipe book for the diet, which has helped a lot, as I can just pick meals from gthe book and not have to sit and try to work out calorie contents of what I’m going to eat. The food’s been lovely, tasty and filling, and I’m not missing carbs TBH.
I will post some recipes as I go along. So any recipes I post October 2016 onward, will be for low carb food and suitable for a Very Low Calorie Diet (or VLCD).
Starting weight 176.2 kilos
Week 1 – 166.2 kilos – 10 kilos gone in a week! I can really see it in my legs – my ankles have really gone down!
Week 2 – 163.8 kilos
Week 3 – 162.2
Week 4 – 161.0
So heading into week 5 I’ve lost 15.2 kilos (over 2&1/2 stones) so far. 🙂
Week 5 – 159.4
Week 6 – 158.1 – seem to put a bit of water weight back on my legs for some reason???
Week 7 – 154.9 – YEY!! End of the 7th week (last week of November) I’ve now lost 21.3 kilos (3st 5lb)
OK 2 things this week.
Firstly, had my first “monthly” in 2 years!!! (not sure if that’s a welcome result or not LOL) and that explains the water weight in my legs last week. TBH it’s been so long since I had one, I’d forgotten that used to happen. And as for the back ache, well I just put that down to my knackered back as usual.
Secondly, and definitely not a good point – I’ve had a bit of a setback with exercising as I’ve torn my piriformus muscle in my left hip and trapped the transiting S1 nerve. Very painful. No feeling in my left leg and foot. Lots of drugs, not a lot of moving about.
How did I do it? Getting into bed, of all things! Our bed’s very high, so I have to use a little step-stool to get in it. I stand on the stool with my left foot, and sort of hop up from my left leg and swing round to the side. As I landed on the bed, I felt a horrid burn, like cramp, in my left hip and thought “OW!!” but it went away after a few minutes, so I thought nothing more of it and went to sleep .. until I tried to get up a few hours later.
OMFG!!!! Pain?? I’ve never experienced anything like it. I could hardly walk to the bathroom (in fact I was worried I wasn’t going to make it there!!) I was actually sat on the loo, in a cold sweat and in so much pain I couldn’t get up and had black edges to my vision like I was going to pass out. It didn’t hurt that much when I had my car accident!!
Naturally Hubby was out, so I was on my own. I just about managed to half crawl back to the bed, using doors / frames and thankfully my walking stick t get there, and just collapsed there, writhing in pain. Hubby got home about half an hour later and found me still there, crying and shaking. He rang the Chiropractor and got me an emergency appt, then helped me into the shower and to get dried off and dressed.
I’m continuing with the diet, but I just can’t stand in the kitchen prepping food, so have had a few naughty take-aways this last week or so