Odyssey : milestones

Who said a picture speaks a thousand words?

The answer, if we can believe Wiki answers, is an early emperor of the Xia Dynasty in China.

Well, his words resonate with me about 4 000 years later!

So, here goes everyone! Rocky Horror Show!

The beginning.2 

During lunch on Mother’s day May 2008, I called for everyone’s attention and then took the drastic step of announcing to my assembled family that I had reached the end of my tether regarding my skyrocketing weight. I did state what my weigh-in was on that Sunday  morning– a nice rounded kg amount that would have not been lightweight on a rugby front ranker!

I told my  family that I was embarking on a health & wellness journey and no-one must ever take offense if I pitched up at their homes with my own food bowls in hand!  There was a shocked silence and then everyone spoke at once assuring me of their support and understanding.

Later that evening I received a much appreciated email from my daughter-in-law who commended me on my ‘bravery’ and assured me of her support in any way I needed it.

The beginning.1

Almost 10 months – March 2009 – after the big Mother’s Day Announcement, I marched into my hairdressers and Zanet gaped at me in horror. She had not seen me – previously a monthly regular – in 7 months. She shrieked across the salon shouting “where the hell have you been?”. Only  our temperamental hairdressers can get away with such cheek not so?!! I did not blame her though for the look of shock on her face. There I was with 7 months worth of hair growth – brown ends and a HUGE re-growth of silver/grey  making up the truly dreadful picture.

I told her I wanted her to cut off all the brown and leave just the short grey growth. In other words I was “going grey”. At first she point-blank refused and it took much persuasion on my part to force her to do the deed.

When she had shorn off all my wild locks, there I was with grey hair with brown tips on the ends. She dug in her heels and refused to lop off any more and so I landed up with the brown tips being bleached a light blonde colour!

The change was indeed drastic. My husband loved it and my children hated it.

On arrival at home, I deliberately had the above two ‘before’ photos taken. At the time, I had also only lost about 3kg in 10 months but I had joined a gym and I was gearing myself up to ‘diet’. Hate that word.

I knew there would come a time when I would show the world where I had come from. I also always thought it would be on the day I reached my ultimate goal weight. Not so. Sometimes we have to pause and take stock and this is what I have decided to do.

“Odyssey : Interrupted” is a time for looking back at where I was and for taking a (brief) moment to pat myself on the back! 

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At the time this was taken I was just starting to believe I could do it!

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I was starting to feel quite good in my very loose clothes here. I was honoured with a request from Dr Anna to speak as a patient living with diabetes at her seminar of the same name.  Hair getting longer and I was getting used to the change in appearance.

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This was taken one afternoon right after getting back from gym. Marc objected to taking the picture with me all sweaty-faced. I said I wanted to show how baggy the t-shirt was. I had bought half a dozen especially for gym in size XXL as I was not about to expose my fat rolls to the lycra clad guys and dolls at VA! Turns out nobody gives a damn what you look like at gym – everyone is there for their health and fitness – as it should be.

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28 May 2010 and all dolled up to talk at Dr Anna’s seminar on weight management.  Felt quite glam.

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Having said that I felt quite glam, I was also checking out my loose skin and darn wrinkles! Skin is not so elastic any more when you are as ancient as I am!

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Eileen birthday 2010 cropped

These two photos were taken on my birthday  9th June and this, dear friends, is what I look like today! Looking back up the screen I am chuffed with the change.

A long journey from May 2008 and the odyssey ( ‘a series of wanderings’ remember!) continues…..

Anyone know of a good plastic surgeon???!!! 🙂

Weight Loss : Spring has sprung .. or so they say…

All rightee! Listen up you lot!  After an absence of over a month from my  soapbox, I am back in full voice! You poor people!

Have endured damn nearly 3 months of pure hell business-wise. No, rather make that work-wise; business is good. The pace has slowed down very slightly from  barely concealed hysteria to the usual controlled chaos!

I also had what I am resolutely calling My Pitstop for the last two months. A slight weight gain over the period which I have firmly decided I will not beat myself over the head about. Various reasons for this and I am fully aware of all of them! Here are a few:

No food journal. Too busy to take time to record what I was eating. It was so easy to just mindlessly eat whatever was put in front of me with my left hand while my right hand was wielding the mouse at literally all hours of the day or night!

No meal planning. No proper shopping trips to make sure we had the right food in the right quantities in the house! Increased incidence of takeaways when we were too exhausted to bother with cooking which was a lot of the time.

Not enough pure water. Too many mugs of coffee (also mindlessly consumed while wielding the mouse!) and not nearly enough portions of fruit and vegetables to make up for the drought. The 500ml Aquelle bottles are now back on my desk – I try to swallow 4 bottles through the day. I particularly like the Aquelle bottle shape and they go to gym with me too.  

No regular exercise. I kept up the mandatory 2 days a month at Virgin Active but did little else there. We went walking several weekends – up the mountain, walked on the beach and over the rocks from Llandudno to Sandy Bay, climbed up above Simonstown to Admiral’s waterfall… All spectacular stuff and we have amazing photos to show for it but it was not nearly enough. We plan another walk this Sunday – out Hout Bay/Llandudno way again. Looking forward to that and do hope that the weather co-operates.

I also joined a unique ladies gym called Adrenalynne. The owner is an amazing person called Lynne who is not young enough to be my daughter which is a plus for me!! She is a previous Mrs Fitness SA title-holder and the fabulous framed photos and qualification certificates in her well equipped home gym have to be seen to be believed! I go (try to get to!) to a twice-weekly class of ladies who call themselves the Golden Girls. Enough said! The first couple of times I went, I thought the gentle dance/stretch routines were a little tame for me. I very soon changed my mind however and have left several classes quite puffed and feeling lekker ‘loose’ all over from all the stretching we do.

Zero self care. Hurtling from one day to the next; battling one computer issue after another. Dealing with multiple and extraordinary client issues all coming at me at once. All culminated in severe stress, fatigue, serious night leg/foot cramps from all the sitting for hours on end and weight creeping stealthily up each day on the scale – that is when I did weigh myself in the mornings!  Most days, I was already at my PC by 4:30am and often stayed right there until midnight.

As I prepare for my resumed onward and downward Odyssey, I am looking at a number of things:

Body Fat Percentage – as opposed to plain old body weight which can be deceptive.

The Metabolism Miracle – a New York Times bestseller by Diane Kress, RD, CDE.  I have never been one for fad diets and I could not care less about NY Times bestseller lists but this book resonates with me and it is anything but a fad diet.

Nutribase software – yeah, yeah, OK. I know. Just do it Eileen!  Don’t mess around with theory. Or get too technical/analytical.

Well, I see it this way for me, myself and I!  I achieved a 25kg weight loss and have almost brought the real Eileen back to life by making a big deal of plotting on graphs, keeping food logs; weight logs; BP logs; Glucose logs; examining food labels minutely, etc. etc.  It works for me and millions of others as well if we go by the sheer volume of health-based software available on the http://www.  So I let you’all know how it goes!

So do let me know how things have been for you over the worst of the Winter? Or the best of Summer for those of you in the Northern hemisphere?

Talk again soon, have a great day, Eileen

Weight loss : a mini-breakthrough

Well, it was a damn long time coming. What a battle! As of this morning, I have edged past the 25kg mark for the first time – 25.2kg down to be exact. As I said, a mini breakthrough but a breakthrough it is.

My weight loss has fluctuated between 24 –24.8kg for the last 2 months. I know the reasons for this very well. Lax portion control, little exercise, insufficient water and occasional mini-binges all contributed to the patchy downward progress.

June was a month of bi-annual medical checks I have which form part of the diabetic care protocol. At the beginning of the year and at mid-year, I have various tests done to check my health status.  Doctor, pathologists, ophthalmologist, podiatrist and dietician all had the dubious pleasure of my company last month. I will talk about it in a later post.

Diabetes really is a dread disease in that uncontrolled – or even just poorly controlled glucose levels wreak havoc with virtually every body system. Unseen and undetected until too late. That’s fact and not just me becoming neurotic or a hypochondriac! While I am very aware of my health diagnoses/challenges and am doing (action!) all I reasonably can to reverse the situation, I have no time to sit around contemplating my ‘health navel’!

Between health, business and personal challenges, I seldom have time to scratch myself! I do not schedule enough ‘me time’.  I call it down time or time out. I am looking at that quite seriously and would recommend it for everybody.

As part of my mid-year checks, I consulted a dietician about the prolonged weight plateau. Yeah. Another one. Another dietician I mean. Did I learn anything new? No. Didn’t expect to. What I did get was a slightly revised eating plan which cuts kJ to 5200 per day. (About 1222 calories). Rather strict plan for sure. Cuts carbs and leaves protein/fats much the same. Am I following the recommendations to the letter? Not quite but I have had a shift in weight and that’s the bottom line isn’t it?!

The other perennial recommendation is to increase exercise. Any regular physical activity is crucial for overall health improvement – any physical activity at all.

So get that fat dog out on a leash and get out into the neighbourhood so that he can pick up his pee-mail!

Weight loss: we must know where we are headed

“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. “Which road do I take?” she asked. “Where do you want to go?” was his response. “I don’t know,” Alice answered. “Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.””

— Lewis Carroll, author

Reducing my weight and maintaining at goal weight is the single most important element of my journey to optimum wellness. With my weight at a normal level, the other ills I have will come right. Well, if not ‘come right’, they will certainly be the best results I can achieve given my specific circumstances.

Damn it all to hell! I have said it before and I will say it again. It’s all self inflicted. By upping the ante as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I am placing a much higher value on self care.

By doing this, I will be better able to cope with a stressful, busy life and better plan for the more rounded lifestyle I yearn for.

The first thing I am doing, as of this morning, is re-looking at portion control. W & I have been eating far too much and this is one of the main reasons why our weight is not shifting as rapidly as it was. With W-L and the very comprehensive food list booklet they provide, I am able to instantly see what size my portions should be. So, I have no excuses. Period.

The other day, I saw a list of portion sizes compiled by Dr Ingrid van Heerden (DietDoc on Health 24.com). I am sure I made a copy of it. I’ll dig it out and post it later in the day.

Chow for now. Have a good one.

Weight Loss : I’ve got to up the ante

It’s now exactly two weeks since we returned from our wonderful break at Pinnacle Point. A fading memory I am afraid. 😦  We had to jump right back into the fray and catch up on time lost while we chilled out.

There’s something fundamentally wrong with the whole scenario; with the way that we live our lives in our house. This work, work, work is not a good place to be. We should be relaxing and I suppose I should be relaxing doing crochet or something or maybe gossiping with the other tannies in our quiet apartment block. Nah, just can’t see that ever happening.

I, for one, am right up there with my kids checking out the latest Blackberry, muttering about what in the cloud data backups are costing me, taking on new payroll work for small businesses. I would just like to have a more rounded life and in truth am striving towards that goal; without any notable success at this time!

What has happened since returning to Cape Town two weeks ago? Well, on the weight front nothing much at all and therein lies the problem. Having lost 23kg, my metabolism has settled down and decided that this weight is quite OK, thank you very much. So, another dreaded plateau. I have 7kg to go to the W-L goal set for me and I still want to go at least another 5kg down after that!

I feel good! I’m told I look good (but not when I am still working in my dressing gown mid-morning!) I am much smaller than I was, of course. I had the most amazing experience just before we left on holiday. I simply had to go to Woollies and find some denim pants to take on holiday – the old ones were all hanging like sacks on me. Great feeling actually! 🙂

Not having a clue what size to buy, I confidently took home two pairs of denim pants in size 18. Bearing in mind that I had been wearing size 22 stuff, this in itself was a major victory for me. Got home to find that the jeans as well as the pull on elasticised denim pants were both far too big!

As I hate trying on clothes in shop fitting rooms, I went back, changed the pants and came home with size 16’s. Tried them on. WOW!  The fitted jeans were fine – even a little loose. The elasticised pants were too big!  So back to the shop again to came home with size 14’s. Anyone who has worn size 22 clothes and now wears size 14 will know exactly how I felt!  I was and still am over the moon about this very tangible evidence of my progress so far.

SO FAR

Two very crucial little words for me. I have come so far and am justifiably chuffed with my efforts. But now the real test must begin. The last 7kg’s will be difficult to lose and hence the expression below :-

“ If you up the ante, you increase the importance or value of something, especially where there’s an element of risk as the term comes from gambling, where it means to increase the stake (the amount of money bet). “    Wikipedia

The element of risk for me is, of course, the real possibility of deteriorating health issues due to too slow intervention on my part. I must place a much greater emphasis on where I am heading and pick up the pace substantially.  I will have to worry about all the loose, wrinkled, floppy bits that will only get worse once I have arrived at my destination! The value of goal weight as the basis for optimum wellness has to be the most important element of my odyssey.

So, onward and downward again – are you joining me? You are most welcome!

Fitness: an essential part of the wellness journey

Those of us who have gym memberships – great stuff!  BUT, in all honesty, are we making full use of the state-of-the-art facilities at our disposal? Sadly, the answer in my case has to be ‘no’.

Do we ask questions of the fitness staff that  wander around all over the place while we are stepping along smartly on that treadmill?  You will be surprised at the snippets of very relevant info they give  re maximising the fitness benefits of the machines, equipment and designated areas of the gym at our disposal. Do we attend the myriad FREE classes on offer?

In this post, I won’t go into all the reasons (read excuses) why we no longer look like we did the day we got married or when we were at our best. Like everyone else, I will stick my head in the sand and not ‘go there’ at this time of writing.

What I want to do is to steer you in the direction of a couple of websites that may inspire us to get up off our butts and start toning up!

In the days of Dallas on TV, Victoria Principal the actress playing Pamela Barnes Ewing (alright, I Googled that – I would never have remembered the full name of her character!) wrote a couple of quite good books on health and beauty. Cashing in on stardom of course and suddenly they’re ‘experts’ on all sorts of things! Her first publication was The Body Principal. I am sorry that I must have ‘hospice shopped’ the book as I no longer have it.

In the book she illustrated and propounded the gentle, stretching isometric exercises that maintained ‘the body’. What a body that was too! In her latest book Living Principal published in 2001, she still looks pretty darn good and she is/was still married to her plastic surgeon husband. (!)She did not subscribe to the ‘feel the burn’ aerobic physical jerks of Jane Fonda and others.

Using the lessons  learnt from Victoria’s book, I created a short, all-over stretch routine that I practised quite religiously early every morning right up to 2003 when we left our farm and moved to the Western Cape. 

The cold, dark and wet Cape winter is closing in on us. My body – I do not take time often enough to check the reality of it’s very poor condition – has more and more loose, floppy bits waving around as the weight goes down! UGH!

What am I going to do about that? Well, for a start, I am going to re-create my morning stretch routine (adding some appropriate weights) and inveigle W into joining me!

We sit slouching over our computers for hours on end daily (in our family most of us have computer based jobs). We are (or will be) paying for it dearly with loss of tone, flexibility, range of motion and all the others ills of little/no exercise in our lives.

I, for one, have paid for my workaholic lifestyle by developing severe osteoarthritis in my neck. A neuro surgeon said to me, ‘This neck is tired’. He prescribed a neck brace which I do use occasionally. He also suggested some supplements to take and asserted that he would deny it if I ever told anyone what he had recommended! Poor man, I understand he too is now a diabetic.

My GP at the time had just returned from 12 years practice in Canada and upon seeing my neck x-rays exclaimed, ‘ Oh my Gaad! Oh my Gaad! Your poor thing!‘ An Afrikaans accent overlaid with 12 years of Canadian accent makes an interesting combination!

We sit hunched over with our necks stretched forward reading our computer screens for hours on end and we wonder why we feel sore and stiff when we straighten up  and try to correct our posture. Young people I know who shall remain nameless are developing exactly the same symptoms. I manage my osteoarthritis with a daily anti-inflammatory – yet another drug added to my daily cocktail – plus a twice daily supplement.

As usual, I digress. Back to the URL’s.

If you go to the URLs hereunder, you will see the sort of thing we will be making an effort to implement. Most of the very basic exercises in the 9 step routine were part of Victoria Principal’s routine and they are as much in use today as they were back in the days of Dallas!

http://www.hearthealthyonline.com/fitness/workouts/anytime-workout_ss1.html

A website I have discovered in my (hopefully discerning) wanderings around the www is:

http://www.livestrong.com/

Connected to super cyclist Lance Armstrong who as we know has had his own health demons to conquer, I think we can safely consider the many tools and information offered on this huge site for implementation in our own lives.

The World Wide Web is truly an astounding place where any info on the planet can be accessed with the click of a mouse. With due caution and a good dollop of commonsense, we can only benefit from using it wisely. More about that in a future post.