So Eff’ing Angry & Sad (language warning)

I am about to have a whinge and a cry… I am so fucking sad and angry that I have been between tears and fuming with anger. I am back in Hospital and not doing well. I was at work Friday afternoon in the sun with the kids for the last session, I had a hat and sunglasses on but by 3:20pm I started to feel very off colour and had to run to the bathroom. I felt sick and hot and when the bell went I was quick to get home to go to bed. Luckily I had cancelled plans earlier in the week to go to Lake Eildon Bonnie Doon for a dose of serenity and water skiing, I did this as I felt quite tired from returning to work and getting my head around teaching. All week I felt tired, I thought it was me adjusting to full time work and a new role.

Friday night I had a temp and slight discomfort in my right leg near the operation site, I woke Saturday morning to discover the right leg at the surgery site to be very red, hard and hot – essentially infected. I headed to the GP who diagnosed me with a temp of 39C and an infection and wrote a letter to attend the hospital where I had my leg lift surgery in November, which is where I am now…

I did write about some complications that happened with the surgery, the site took a long time to heal, but I had no infections… I healed up and I thought it was all good… I got the all clear from my surgeon to return to training, and life as normal, and now this.

Why am I angry and sad, well I have just started my new job, which I am really enjoying, and I now have an infection in my right thigh that has landed me in hospital. I was told today that I will likely not get out of here until Wednesday at the earliest,that is if I respond to treatment. Well as of tonight, my temperature is up again after coming down overnight and the infection site has spread – this doesn’t bode well for my body responding to treatment, shit,  bugger, grr argh . The infection is called cellulitis, and they can’t tell me why or how I have it. I have no open wound site, it is possible that it has brewed underneath and my body has been able to keep it in check, but it raised its ugly head as I have been a bit run down from starting work and not sleeping so well.

So here I am back in hospital with the same nurses, the same routine and all I want to do is go to my new job and get to learn the ropes and more about my amazing students… I am  angry that my body is sabotaging my plans, I am sad to be back in hospital and if I’m honest I am scared that this bloody infection won’t respond to treatment and this whole saga will get worse – I haven’t really had a lot of luck with this leg so far…

Anyway peeps, that is where it’s at – till next time

Lin xox

(PS – the language is not how I would usually write but I feel very raw and this is how I want to express myself today! )

The issue with tonsils – Advice needed

My tonsils are inflamed and toxic, they are actually poisoning me, and are now resistant to antibiotics . I have seen an ear nose and throat surgeon and have a surgery date for the 1st of August to have the buggers taken out.

My issue is at the moment, every time I push myself to exercise, do my long runs and training sessions, I end up getting sicker. My Doctor has advised me to stop stressing my body and ease off my training… This is difficult and is upsetting me. I want  to do a half marathon in 3 weeks that I have entered, but every time I push myself I get sicker and taking 3 – 4 days to get better;  The tonsils get worse, I find it hard to swallow and I get a temperature and headaches that don’t go away..

It seems like a no brainer, stop pushing myself… But that is what I do now – I push myself, I love the feeling of pushing my limits, long runs and proving I can do it…

I am really unsure about continuing my running training at the moment, or if i will be able to compete in the half marathon… this makes me want to cry a little…

To all my runner friends out there, Any one got any advice here? Should I keep going with some 10km & 15km and then push it on the day? or stop and take a break on the long runs until the tonsils are gone???

Till next time, Lin.

Winter Tea Tonic

It feels like my throat and I have been at war for the longest time. I have had bouts of tonsillitis for the past few years, at least 4 to 5 times a year. It is frustrating and when it gets bad, the tonsils end up infected and then send their infection around via my blood stream. Fun times….

I have an appointment with an Ear Nose and Throat surgeon, I have waited for 2 months and have around 2 weeks until I see him, and hopefully it will be all systems go and he can take them out. The sooner the better 🙂

Until then I will keep drinking a little drink that I like to call my lemon ginger winter tonic. It is very soothing for the throat. All it contains is lemon juice, fresh ginger, honey and hot water and I thought I would share it for the cold winter ahead. It is a lovely drink even if you’re not sick.

The lemon juice aids in decreasing dehydration, has vitamin C which assists in promoting and protecting the immune system.

Ginger is used in many asian countries steeped as a tea to help with the common cold and flu. Ginger has been shown to reduce free radicals and promote gut health.

Honey apart from tasting nice and being a good sweetener, has been used in Ayurveda (indian medicine) for 4000 years to rebalance the body. In more recent years honey has been proven chemically to have antibacterial and antiseptic  properties.

So the drink is easy to make, tastes great, soothes my throat and can’t be doing me any harm.The recipe is as simple as this all placed straight into my favourite big red mug.. (the mug doesn’t need to be red but it is my favourite color and cheerful)

You’ll need the juice of half a fresh lemon, 1 teaspoon of finely grated fresh ginger root, 1 tablespoon of honey. Pour over boiling water… Wait to cool a little and drink.

Personally using fresh lemon, ginger and good quality honey is a must, I also love to eat the ginger at the end of the drink as it has been cooked by the boiling water and I think that it gives me an extra boost. You can adjust the amounts of each to suit your tastes, but remember the sugar content in the honey!

Enjoy, Lin xox

Coping & Routine

We all have strategies that we utilise to cope with navigating our world. I was discussing this idea earlier in the week and reflecting upon some of my personal practices.

Coping mechanisms can be healthy and unhealthy.  Having a big night out with a few too many drinks and bad moves on the dance floor can be good to let off some steam, drinking by yourself every night not healthy… Eating a bowl of ice-cream after  hard day not too bad occasionally; eating the tub, a large pizza and a packet of cookies (in one sitting), not so good.

Exercising is a healthy option, often under utilised and under estimated. Studies have shown that even a simple 30 min walk each day can help in improving mood and decreasing some of the symptoms of depression. I wrote recently about not being able to run (which is my personal preferred coping mechanism now). When this was off the table, I slipped into some unhealthy coping strategies and ate more than I usually would, in particular foods that I attempt to limit.

Part of the reason that I believe that I went back to older patterns quicker was that I hadn’t re-established my exercise routine after surgery in February. I wasn’t back to training until April, the routine wasn’t solid yet, the routine didn’t have enough time to solidify prior to the confluence of life situations that lead to me feeling overwhelmed. Here is the key… Pattern and Routine.

Pattern and Routine are essential for us to be able to navigate through each day and keep our emotions, thoughts and feelings in a state of relative order. To be in a space of emotional safety and allow us to move through life and cope with what the world flings at us. When our pattern and routines are not established, take a hit or become disrupted we can fall back into easier or older coping mechanisms.

Recently, when my “Perfect Storm” of stressors rose up it wiped me, my running and my exercise out. This lead to falling back into old thinking and patterns – Honestly, this scared the crap out of me. I have worked hard over the past 4 years to move the weight and change my patterns of coping. While I didn’t completely fall off the wagon or relapse – I felt a little out of control and that I was trying to hold onto water with it only to run straight through my fingers.

This got me thinking – There will likely come a time when I am faced with another “Perfect Storm” of stressors. That is just the way of the world; we cannot (despite trying) control all the factors of our lives. This has pushed me to think about extending my coping mechanisms and routines to include other healthy coping mechanisms on a regular basis.  This will allow me to build into my routine new coping mechanisms and use them on a regular basis, so, that if the day comes that I am not able to run or walk, or move as I would like, I will have another healthy way of working through the stress, thoughts, feelings and emotions. It is a bit like exercising a muscle, the more you train and work that muscle the stronger it becomes. I need to exercise new coping strategies, make them strong and build them into my life.

So my question to myself and one that you can ask yourself is this; What do I enjoy that can become a solid practice in my life  (part of my routine) that will allow me to cope and deal with the stressors of life in a healthy way?

Some ideas for me to explore are having focusing methods and projects,  understanding meditative practice better, and incorporating reading and writing as reflective practice.

I would be interested in reading your ideas or thoughts about this so feel free to leave a comment.

Till next time, Lin.

Total Eclipse of the Heart

I blogged earlier in the week that there has been some stuff I have dealt with over the past fortnight, and that I might share that later. So here is the story… A fortnight ago I ended up in Hospital with some bad abdominal pain. They did a bunch of tests, and couldn’t find the source. I saw 5 different doctors over the course of my stay, and was given 3 different diagnosis, and a bunch of wrong info.

When I was discharged the doctor told me they had found something else that needed to be followed up, she then said it could wait until I saw my GP on Monday to discuss it and get further tests. The Dr said I could read it when I got home in the letter to my GP as my friends were there to pick me up and take me home. Bad practice right there to start. It was serious news, she should have asked my friends to step outside and given me the info, and allowed me to ask questions, and not send me home alone to read it myself without any way of being able to follow-up with my Doctor until Monday.

I got home and read that one test (of the 4 I had that day) detected fluid backed up on the right side of my heart. In fact I read “Right Sided Heart Failure”… Not helpful… I was stressed. Saturday was a nightmare of a day – I felt so alone and scared. I rang my mum in tears at 12:15am on Sunday morning – I was a wreck…. So Mum and Dad drove down arriving at 1am to try to calm their daughter who was a mess. It was a tough weekend all round for a number of reasons, I am very grateful to have parents who love me and understand that sometimes, despite the courageous facade I put up to the world, I can’t actually handle everything…

Off to my GP on Monday and she sent me for an Echocardiogram… I had that last Thursday and I had to wait a week to get the results. Waiting for the results since first reading the test from the hospital has been a time of high anxiety.  I haven’t coped well with it. I guess I felt that I had abused my body for so long, being obese for so many years that I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I felt that now that I kinda have some of my sh!t together, loving life and enjoying exercise, having all these fitness goals this year, the rug was going to be ripped out from under me…

Back to the results. I saw my GP yesterday for the results…. I got a clear bill of health – My Heart is all good and functioning within normal limits. Yee Haw!

Giddy Up, was my thought, I am back. I walked out of the doctor’s clinic feeling that I had dodged a bullet and  a smile from ear to ear! So I am back to training, running, and cycling and no need to keep the heart rate down… In fact my trainer did smash me a little last night (Thanks Dave – love it, bring it on more I say)

Being fit and healthy is the priority for me, this scare was again a good reminder that my best defence against illness and disease is a good offence… So I will keep eating well and moving more…. Remembering every time I don’t feel like running how I felt when I thought I wouldn’t be able to again.

But why write this post? Why share so much of my life on here… Despite what some people think, it is not about getting personal attention..  It is about letting people know that change is possible. Life is a choice. Everyday I spent overweight I was closer to dying. Everyday I was depressed, tired and at some levels did not want to live. Now that I have a life again, I don’t want anything to stop me living it. This is why I write my blog. It is about living everyday, but I do have to remember that I have to live with the consequences of my former decisions and life. If you or someone you love or care about is struggling with obesity, know that there is hope… If I can change my life – anyone can, there are solutions, there are second chances;  But I do understand this can be hard to believe if you are in the grip of obesity, there are days that I never believed that could be possible…  Part of my goal now is to be an example to people who feel that they have no hope, no future – to look them in the eye and say; I understand the pain, your journey, I have walked the long, slow, painful mile in those shoes…

You can reclaim your life. It can be better than you even imagine or dream, I never thought it was possible for me, yet here I am living it!

Till next time, Lin xox

Evil Easter Bunnies…

If I could photoshop I would have made his eyes look evil to reflect his true character.. Actually if you look closely he does look like he is hiding something.

Have you heard the bad news…. It is about the Bunny… We used to be close, I was once so fond of him; but he is abusive and I am sorry to tell you – a little evil.

Sure, he looks cute, with his little red bow and bell. He is all shiny and gold, with a teenie tiny nose, And by God if he doesn’t just taste like a tiny piece of heaven… all creamy, velvety, smooth; so very smooth. OK enough of the food porn… Back to the point of the post.

I got back to my training classes this week – Cardio on Saturday morning and then a fitball session – Whilst there; the amazing Dave (our trainer) decided to educate us on the Evils of Easter. Dave (being the good trainer he is) tells us that the bunny to which I refer *cough Lindt cough* has a little secret, for the 200gm size bunny – he packs a big 1086 calories, that is pretty much your whole daily intake of energy for the day, all sugar, all going straight to storage (also known as fat cells) Yikes! I couldn’t believe it, surely Dave was wrong,  But I looked it up, and if you don’t believe me I have added the calorie king link below.

Sure I know it is Easter, and the phrase Easter Scrooge was bandied about yesterday in relation to Dave, but these little treats add up friends… A bunny here, an elegant rabbit there, a chocolate creme egg or two, and then there are the hot cross buns, best I don’t get started on those; someone is likely to take a contract out on me…

Some might call me a kill joy – Yes I have eaten a few eggs this Easter (a big basket of free eggs at work didn’t help) but it is over – I have cut myself off… Most people will get their stashes of chocolate today – I dare you to add up the calories of your collection, remembering that you have to burn 7700 calories to lose a kilogram of fat…I think It is easier not to eat it in the first place… I burnt around 400 calories in a one hour cardio session yesterday… So Lindt you can keep your bunny, have him back – for around 3 hours of hard work – He’s just not worth it…

Enjoy your Easter, till next time – Lin xox

CalorieKing.com.au – Food Data. Nutrition information about your favourite food. fat, fibre, protein and more.

The Best Medicine (is half an hour)

23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health? – YouTube

Seriously, Watch the link above, it is a great watch; I love an easy to follow, informative animated presentation – and I am not going to write about the ins and outs of the video – Just watch it, it is better than any summary I can write. Surprisingly  it does touch on a post  I wrote a while ago in relation to TV and health…But If you don’t watch it the premise is that one half hour a day is the best medicine for us, it’s free (ie walking) and will save us our health and hip pocket!

I just got the big thumbs up from my surgeon this week to go ahead with exercise. I had reconstructive plastic surgery of a tummy tuck and arm lift 6 weeks ago. He let me know I can get back into everything: slowly building up my running and weights… I did my first 2.5km run back after 6 weeks off this week – I Loved it, I went without my Garmin running watch which calculates distance, pace, heart rate etc. I went just for the love of running and not looking at numbers allowed me to relax and let my body go at its natural pace whilst I continue to recover and build up.

Exercise for me is not just about losing more weight or weight control. For me exercise just makes me feel really bloody good! I am addicted and get a bit of a high off it 🙂

Exercise has improved my quality of life and improved my overall fitness. It gave me my life back, and I would much prefer to live a 21 -23.5 hour day (giving the balance to exercise) than ask for more hours in a day – Honestly there ARE enough hours in a day; and I am willing to bet that a large majority of people who would ask for more hours would end up giving those hours over to their TV habit anyway. 😦

We cannot change the clock to give us more time (unless you have the DeLorean with a flux capacitor in your garage), but we can change our priorities, our lives, families and communities by becoming healthier. Every minute counts, and it is up to us what we do with them.

Till next time

Lin xox

Rest is not an Option – it is a Requirement

Just a little tired?

I think I possibly only have two gears – All or Nothing. I don’t think this is good, and I need to work on this… Leading up to Christmas (without realising) I upped my running too much. Basically I was enjoying my running so much that I forgot to track what I was doing, and increased my km’s from roughly 18 – 20km a week to 32km. My hamstrings, ITB and calves went out on protest, and I couldn’t figure out why I was so tight… then sitting in the physio’s waiting room (to get him to look at the hammies)  and playing with my Garmin watch I realised my mistake…

I wasn’t tracking my running and running to a plan… I wasn’t giving my body enough time to rest, or have rest days from running, and as I saw that I had run 32km in that week I cringed at the thought of having to admit this shortly to my physio.

SO I rested, for 2 weeks over Christmas I rested my legs, and they thanked me. This resting was not easy – I felt antsy and wrong – all I wanted to do was run…  But with further physio, work on the foam roller and no running, my legs gradually improved and I got my range of motion back….

Then I went for a run, it was hard after a break – the fitness dropped a little, it was hot even at 5am, but i enjoyed it and pushed out 4.5km…. then i got sick – Pushed myself too much and came down with a mild tummy bug, still went to work and thought I was OK – But still deciding that I needed to exercise, have fun and make the most of my summer, off I went water skiing….Got to the lake only to realise I was still not 100%, had a go anyway and learnt that this is not a good idea when you can’t keep down fluids. (Throwing up whilst clad in a wetsuit, floating on your back and skis in the air is not fun)

This lead to spending the next 5 days under the weather, short on sleep, long hours at work and quite emotional… All my fuel tanks felt low and I was a bit of a mess.

Why am I sharing all this? Good Question really – and I think this is why…

As I said, I only seem to have two gears – all or nothing  – and what I am scared of is if I start to do nothing (because of illness, injury, lack of sleep, work etc) then this may lead me back to bad old patterns, but what I need to find more of is BALANCE.

BALANCE with my workouts, balance with sleep, work, rest days etc… When I moved to Mordi I walked everyday, now with improved fitness and the ability to do more, i do do more… Sometimes I think I might do too much – leading me to a place where I am doing more damage than good. I need to have rest days of walking and swimming to give my body time to recover from the hard days when I exercise for 3 hours or more. Rest is important to building muscle and cells regenerating and I know this, but I have this thing where I think If can do more I should do more… BUT  with proper rest I am more likely to not become sick or injured and be able to maintain a good workout schedule. So for now that is the aim. Still be active everyday – but for it to be OK to listen to my body, have a gentle walk or swim and not think I need to break myself down and hit it hard every day…. So I will see how that goes.

Till next time, Lin xox

TV – The Weight is On

TV - Is it all white noise?

Television and Weightloss – No I am not writing about yet another fast track unrealistic reality weight loss show (cue The Biggest Loser!) – Yes this post is about the “idiot box” as my Dad affectionately called it when we were growing up, but I want to explore and look at the link between the screen and the scale, and lets be honest – we have all had that mindless time in front of the screen.

I have said this before; this blog  is about  figuring out what worked for me when losing weight. Not just the exercise and eating side of it, but the other small changes that I perhaps have overlooked. I think TV (or the lack thereof) has had a positive impact on the scale side of things.

Looking back I can now see that (particularly in the last year, and ironically when I brought a new TV) I drastically cut down the time I spent in front of it… When I moved to the beach, I began this little saying to myself, “Is this action going to change your life, is this a good use of your time?” Obviously it was pretty easy to see that going for a walk would change my life and was a better use of my time, than sitting there mindlessly watching yet another re run of some sitcom that I didn’t enjoy the first time! So I got up and would go for a walk rather than sit on the couch and hit the ON button. And as the year progressed I found that  I began to be more discretionary about my TV time.

I would exercise more in the evenings and as I work night shifts, I would record to my hard drive maybe 5 TV shows I enjoyed during the week and watch them (skipping the ads) when I had a chance.  So on average I found that my TV time became more focused, and I had a little store of recorded shows when I wanted to watch them.

I don’t want you to think that this is all about me saying that you must substitute TV for exercise, research shows that subsiting anything for TV is gonig to be better for you… The facts are surprising and scary, and while this is based on American figures, I am guessing that Australians are just as bad if not worse! The following quote is from the linked article.

“On average, American adults watch five hours of television a day, the third most time-consuming activity in our lives — after sleep and work. Watching television expends fewer calories than other leisure activities that take its place, including reading, writing, telephone conversations and desk work. The more time adults spend in front of the television, the more likely they are to suffer from obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, said Otten.”Cutting TV Time Reduces Weight Gain | Psych Central News.

The above article also noted that a study where people dropped their TV time by half but didn’t change their diet, burnt on avg. 150 calories extra a day than the other participants that did not change their TV habits – this would perhaps not be enough to drastically change your weight, but may help with weight management!

I think that there are a few reasons that TV impacts on our weight, and the more I look into it, the more links I see. Here are some reasons that have come up…

  • TV is a sedentary activity that doesn’t burn calories & the time in front of it takes time from other productive activities
  • We are more likely to eat in front of the TV.
  • We are more likely to eat easy, high calorie snack food when watching TV (think chips, chocolate, ice-cream, biscuits etc)
  • TV tends to allow us to disconnect the mind and body, we therefore eat in a somewhat “mindless” manner. We literally “tune out” not connecting what we are putting in our mouths with how we are feeling, this can lead to higher consumption of food and calories without realising, and not linking to that STOP I have had enough feeling.
  • The effects of food advertising on TV, and the impact that this has on perceived hunger.
  • It gives us “something” to do and can become a strong habit to sit down and eat when watching.
  • We watch TV at night after a long day and “reward” ourselves which can become habitual.

TV is part of our lives, and I think the thing I have learnt, is that I really don’t miss watching it that much. If there is a show I like, I can record it, watch it on line and control my access to it, and not allow it to control me. When I do this I am more able to control the other factors above… Skip ads, set up new habits, like have a herbal tea, not eat or watch it after a workout when I am not hungry. At the end of the day life is just more fun to live than watch someone else’s ideas of life on a screen.

I would be interested to hear what you think about the impact of TV in this area, feel free to comment, agree or disagree.

Till next time, Lin xox

Study Shows Why It’s Hard to Keep Weight Off – NYTimes.com

Study Shows Why It’s Hard to Keep Weight Off – NYTimes.com.

Read the article above 1st….It is very interesting.

I read this article and It struck a chord with me… I have lost a lot of weight, and it has been one of the biggest challenges and struggle that I have fought! And boxing or fighting is what I compare it to.

I was speaking to a friend about the weight loss and the struggle that losing weight is. Something that I believe deeply (and that research is starting to show)  It is not simply a matter of willpower, there are other factors going on.

I often felt that I was fighting with my body to get the weight off and keep it off. There were days when I could almost feel that I was in a fight, another round in the ring – another chance of a knock out that I wouldn’t get up from…

I am NOT saying excuses are OK, I am not saying that I was not responsible for the weight I got to, because I was! What I am saying is that when people want to change, and realise that they need to change… It is BLOODY HARD…

I don’t think that giving up is OK, We need to be a fighters & find solutions that work for us on an individual level. Lap Band worked for me (it is not the right choice for everyone), it wasn’t easy, in fact I think that option took more discipline and hard work than almost every diet i tried.

SO Everyday, (like everyone else out there) I watch what I eat and exercise…. It is a lifestyle thing, I can’t stress that enough… and I won’t let my own body and whatever hormones are choosing to float around in there, sabotage my desire and reality of living a real life!

Till next time, Lin xox