I am sitting in bed, cup of coffee in hand, Birdie at my feet. Outside perpetual lapping of water in the swimming pool and birds chirruping away as they go about their day. Kids are downstairs. Up at the crack of dawn OF COURSE because they had a friend to stay over. They have a whole schedule planned and it meant they had to be up at 0700. They are taking their fun very seriously. I am just breathing a sigh of relief to see them all happily preparing muesli for breakfast. Usually I get roped into pancakes or smoothies and I was already formulating plans of french toast, aka the cheater’s pancake. H was up and out for a run at 0600 so should be back soon, it is so hot now by 0900 that it’s the only way to get morning exercise done. AKA Time to blog!
I am feeling a bit down lately. I think it is mostly my weight. My normal resting weight is around 65/66 kgs. Since I have been in less than top form this dropped initially to around 60 and then settled at about 63. 63-65 is my golden weight. What I weighed when I was skinny and lithe, 25, free and single and having the time of my life. 62 and I start to look a bit too skinny, 66 and up and I start to feel a bit flabby. Lets get something straight: I am not flabby. I am untoned, I seriously need to get in physical shape but I KNOW I am not fat. And yet. AND YET. It drives me mad that there is that little whisper in the back of most women’s minds that obsesses so much about those stupid little numbers. I KNOW that when I was skinny it was because I was ill. I KNOW that putting weight on means my body is recovering. But in the last few months I have been able to eat freely (admittedly I naturally wanted to eat much less than normal) and not put on a gram. This is NOT the story of my life. Maintaining a certain weight or shape has always meant strict control of snacking and junk food and good amounts of exercise. If I slack off the effects are immediate. I have been slightly overweight only a couple of times, and then only by a few kilos; once at the end of a very unhappy relationship and then naturally after both pregnancies. My unease with my weight centres usually on 2 or 3 kilos this way or that way.
2. Or. 3. Kilos. It is NOTHING. I KNOW in the scheme of things it is an irrelevant amount. I know that last year when I was in the throws of the BBG I was in great shape and looking good and the scale did not move at all. I did not lose a pound. And I didn’t care. because I felt strong and healthy. It drives me absolutely nuts that I know all of this sensible, logical information to be true and yet it can still niggle and gnaw away at me.
Right now I am just fearful that the numbers will keep going up. I got out of hospital at 63kgs three weeks ago and since then the scale has just gone up, and up and up. Very small amounts, 1kg a week, but steady, and without any discernable changes to my diet, that is what is bothering me. What if it keeps going up? Why is it going up when I am not eating more? I have been googling like mad and can’t find any stories really about gaining weight after an ileostomy reversal. If anything the norm seems to be to lose.
I am only at 66kgs now. If it stays here thats okay but I cant help but worry I am going to start piling it on for no reason. I haven’t had a period for a year. I am currently in medical menopause. At 38. Is it temporary? I don’t know. Is this part of it? Is my body changing because of this major hormonal shift? If so am I beginning a battle I will have to keep up forever now? I should have a good 10-15 years more to enjoy a hormonally young body. Have I been propelled into my fifties with worries of weakened bones, loss of libido, thinning hair, WEIGHT GAIN etc etc etc?
I find it hard to explain to H why it all upsets me so much. He says I look the same and I think he is right. I only weight 3kgs more than before. But its that slow rising of the numbers that is freaking me out. It makes me feel a loss of control that I haven’t felt since all of this started.
I have started hot yoga. Not Bikram yoga, because I am not sure I am ready for that yet, but vinyasa yoga at 40 degrees. I sweat like I have never sweated in my life, rivers running out of me dripping onto the mat, and it makes me feel amazing. I have only done 4 classes but already there is a slight improvement. A leg a bit straighter here, an arm held more strongly there. My balance is atrocious. Even the teacher called me out on it. A year of no exercise and muscle wasting chemo will do that to a person. But it is improving, slowly. Patience, PATIENCE I know, I know. But that has been my watchword all this time and I try so hard and once in a while I feel like a toddler stamping its feet I WANT IT NOW!
I think next week I am going to try the BBG again. In a nutshell you start by doing a low impact exercise (walking, cycling…maybe sweaty yoga??) twice a week and 3 home circuit sessions of 30minutes each. Because these are broken down into 4 x 7 minute circuits which each consist of 15/20 rep exercises, it goes very quickly. It is really effective and although I have never been any good with home exercise videos this particular plan worked really well for me. No matter how much I don’t want to do it, I just start. Saying ‘today I will just do 1 x 7mim circuit’ then I do one more, and again and again and then I am done. The testimonials are inspiring and they are true. I did the regular progress photos as advised and I am so glad I did because the change was noticeable even when that dratted scale refused to play along. I may just start with a 7 min circuit and I will probably have to modify some of the plyometric (jumping) exercises but even so just getting daily exercise in, of any form and quantity, can only be a good thing.
As for diet. I am making small changes. I have tried to do elimination diets in the past and drastic just doesn’t work for me. It has an entirely contrary effect where by day 5 I am eating everything in sight to shouts of ‘FUCK IT, LIFE IS TOO SHORT’ and I think it is about time I accepted that short sharp shocks are not the way for me. I really wanted to do the Whole30 or maybe paleo but the heavy reliance on meat just doesn’t sit well with me. I am definitely leaning more to vegetarian/vegan eating as my personal holy grail of healthy eating but I know now that it will not be an overnight change for me. Me, the burger lover. Adorer of bacon, and cured deli meats likes saucisson or fuet, chorizo, salami. It has been gradual but it is happening and it has not been as hard as I thought it would be. I am trying not to make hard and fast rules. Maybe one day I will want a burger. More than anything else. So much that nothing else will do. If so, I will have the burger WITH BACON. But for now I am finding that it is easy to avoid cured, processed and red meat. In the process even my consumption of chicken is way down. I am trying to make sure each meal has a healthy vegetable prescence. If that is the same boring green salad THAT IS FINE. I have removed the pressure of feeling like I have to be making exciting and varied vegetarian meals. If I make a salad and I like it and I want to make it every day THAT IS FINE. Just get those veggies in. I do the whole gluten debate but am not yet convinced. The arguments for cutting it out are everywhere and I know in some places it is considered the highest of all most high evils. Yet the medical evidence is conflicted at best and at worst totally against the gluten free movement. I really don’t know what to make of it. At any rate cutting out bread and pasta is not on the cards for now. Knowing I can’t do all or nothing I need to prioritise and from where I am standing meat seems like the bigger bad to cut out. The next target is sugar but that is my nemesis. I am a lover of snacks and sweet things and giving up that lovely white stuff is infinitely harder than giving up my bacon butties. Right now I am at baby steps stage. I have stopped sugar in my coffee (i only had half a teaspoon so this was easy) and no more sugar laden muesli for breakfast, now it is eggs or porridge with banana and cinnamon. I walk past bakeries and resist not by saying that is no longer allowed but just saying, not now. Maybe later. Maybe tomorrow. Not now. I still have a couple of biscuits a day, but I don’t have 4. A piece of cake after dinner at a friend’s house but a small one. It is not perfect but I am entirely confident that these tiny little steps will eventually take me where I want to be.
So. Trying to eat better. Slowly, slowly, one meal at a time. Trying to do more exercise, one circuit at a time. With patience, always always patience. Playing the long game. I will get there.