Monthly Archives: June 2016

The 40-something lament

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I don’t know if any of you read the piece by Miranda Sawyer in The Guardian recently?

If not, here’s a link.

Miranda Sawyer’s Piece in the Guardian

So I read this, all the way through, and I realised I’m not alone!  Death Maths is actually a thing.

At 45, Miranda has two kids and tortures herself thinking about how old she’ll be when the youngest is 18. I don’t have any, and I don’t realistically expect that to change, which is something I’ve struggled to come to terms with. But the mathematical equations around dwindling fertility and the % likelihood of me ever getting pregnant are just as scary as death maths. So Jennifer Aniston might be pregnant at 47?  That little voice tells me I might have another two years. But really?  Nah.

Glastonbury

I swore I’d never be that person who complained that music of today all sounded the same, but I’ve tried so hard to stay up to date with what’s in the charts and you know what, I AM now that person.

Every now and then I’ll go onto Spotify and check out the Top 50. I tell myself I probably like some of it. But then as I look down a list of songs by artists I’ve never heard of, all featuring other artists I’ve never heard of, I make it to about number six and then retreat to my eighties and nineties play lists.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there’s some good stuff out there, I just don’t seem to have the time to look for it any more. My NME days are in the past (even though I follow them on Twitter) and I can’t get XFM on my DAB radio anymore. Is it even still going?

It hardly seems possible that it was only six years ago that I went to Glastonbury. I absolutely loved it. Muse, Damon Albarn, Paloma Faith, Slash, The Lightning Seeds, Faithless, Florence and the Machine, Biffy Clyro,  Dizzee Rascal, Editors … There were so many bands I wanted to see that I missed loads.

Last year I just laughed at Kanye West.

This year I’m thinking that watching Adele in the rain doesn’t sound like my idea of fun.

Falling apart

If you read my last post you’ll know all about my body woes. I said to someone yesterday  if it’s not overactive or underactive it’s probably dropped off. That’s my body, right there.

The standing desk is on its way. I ache everywhere. I sprout hairs in unexpected places, like three in one mole on my cheek and that lone one on my chin that appears from nowhere.

But I still get spots!  What’s that about? I’m forced to accept that if by a miracle I ever lose weight, I’ll look old. Chubby cheeks take years off you. I don’t have much in the way of wrinkles but my eyes are a bit droopy and my sight isn’t as good as it was.

On the upside, the doctor said I have a less than 2% chance of heart disease or a stroke in the next decade. My blood pressure is fine, I’m not diabetic, my liver, kidney and thyroid tests were all fine and my cholesterol is nothing to worry about.

So  is being 45 the start of the decline or a chance to look at where I’m at, where I want to be and plan how to get there?  Expect a few more blogs on my own personal forties experience… I’d love to hear about yours too!

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Ouch – the unglamorous story of my insides.

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Another morning seen in with the dawn chorus can only mean one thing. I dared to have a few glasses of wine last night and my stomach didn’t like it.

It’s not glamorous but my life has been blighted with IBS and acid reflux for at least 15-17 years.

The first time I remember getting heartburn was after a very indulgent two weeks house sitting for my late Aunt Wendy in Brighton in 1999. Not only did I pig out on chips and doughnuts, but she lived very close to an ASDA with a late night off licence and on site bakery.

My weight was probably an issue at the time too, I think I was nudging 14 stone, but otherwise a pretty healthy 28 year old.

The first time I realised I might have IBS was on holiday in Canada six years later. It had been a stressful few months for one reason and another and I started to notice that every time I ate breakfast, which I didn’t always do at home, I needed to run to the loo.

It wasn’t a MAJOR problem until I got divorced in 2008. My insides went into stress fuelled overdrive and when I could eat, after my appetite came back, I was in the loo straight afterwards. I remember a particularly horrible bus journey on holiday in Australia with my brother… I’ve never run so fast and prayed so hard the public loo was bearable!

I go through stages with IBS. Stress makes it unbearable and I live off Immodium for it. Another habit I’ve developed is adding codeine to the medication, so when it’s bad I’ll be on Solpadine and Immodium to keep it at bay. It’s a bitch of a condition, I never know when it’s going to be bad and I can get the telltale cramp that means I have to go NOW at any time.

I told you this wasn’t glamorous.

With the reflux, it started getting worse in about 2012. I’d struggle to work out (I was going to the gym regularly then) because as soon as I got moving the acid would gurgle up. If I was really unlucky I’d have an IBS attack too and have to cut the treadmill session short. You think I’m making it up?  Oh, I wish.

The doctor gave me medication for it which I’m still on. I would love to come off it, but the rebound is painful. I don’t dare do it unless my system is calm… And it’s not at the moment.

The stress of the last few years left me constantly medicating the problems. The reflux isn’t so bad unless I really overdo crap food and alcohol as the meds keep it at bay. The IBS is massively unpredictable and painful. The fact it’s IBS-D (work it out) also means it’s likely I’m not absorbing all the nutrients I should, which probably accounts for why I feel so bloody knackered half of the time. PPI meds for reflux also interfere with absorption of some vitamins.

I’ve been doing some reading and apparently IBS and reflux are also linked to joint aches and pains (tick)  headaches (tick) and lethargy (tick)

It’s got to the point where I want my life back. I’m sick of knowing that if I indulge in a nice meal and wine, I’ll have a restless night, stomach pains and have to either dose up on Immodium or spend the next day in close proximity to the toilet.

My plan, difficult as it’s going to be, is to soothe my insides with a combination of diet, exercise, stress relief and… Intermittent fasting!

The first steps are the hardest. Two weeks with zero wheat, dairy, caffeine (no coffee????) or alcohol. Just to see what happens  to my symptoms. At the same time, two days on 500 calories a day or thereabouts, to give my digestive system a rest.

I could really do with some cheerleading; it’s not a diet and it’s not about weight loss but it’s going to be restrictive which is a red flag for me. Still, it’s just two weeks to see if it makes a difference. If it does, I’ll probably want to carry on just for the relief!

Sorry if this one’s been TMI. It’s 4.27 am, I probably should try and sleep. Just need to get to the bathroom…

Seriously, WTF?

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I try to stay positive. I like being positive, it’s where I want to aim for with my mood. Sometimes I miss, but that’s OK.

Anyone who has the Internet or a TV knows that 2016 has been a bitch of a year. We’ve lost some gorgeous people, talented, clever, kind and funny people, the likes of which we’re unlikely to see again.

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It sucks, but at least we can comfort ourselves with the knowledge that they lived. And their deaths, sad and unexpected as they were, were mostly unfortunate fate, or illness.

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2016 just feels so sad, and I’m so angry right now. I’m finding it hard to watch the news these days; I have done for a few years now. Terror attacks – Brussels and Orlando. Why?  Why the effing hell do complete maniacs do it?  I suppose the answer is; they are complete maniacs. Don’t start on religion because massacre isn’t a religious thing  it’s an ego thing. These fcukwits actually think they are doing something honorable by massacring completely innocent people. That’s not religion, it’s totally fcuking madness. Evil. Whatever you want to call it.

How in God’s, Allah’s, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s name can it ever EVER be honourable to murder people out having fun in a gay club, just because you don’t like seeing men kissing, and have an issue with homosexuality?  For the record, I have no issues whatsoever with men kissing men, or women kissing women. There’s not enough love in this world, celebrate the hell out of it wherever you see it, is my feeling on the issue.

Why murder people just going about their business?  Or on a Tunisian beach?  Or at a rock concert? Shopping? People just enjoying their lives, having fun, not hurting a soul. It’s a sickness, a deep deep sickness in their soul  one that normal people just can’t comprehend.

But for me, it’s not even just about that. 2016 has such a feeling of negativity about it, a lot of people I know feel the same way and are working hard in their own way to try and make things better but it’s like an overwhelming tide of sewage flowing through a pretty garden; the shit covers up all the flowers.

The politics of 2016 is divisive and nasty. Brexit. Will I be glad to see the back of that referendum?  If you’re for leaving, that’s your prerogative… I’m firmly in the remain camp. But why so nasty?  Not you, personally, I’m sure you’re lovely. But the level of hostility and nastiness I’ve seen on TV, social media and everywhere just makes me sad. Disagree by all means but enough of the fighting. The people I associate with Brexit are Nigel Farage and his merry UKIP band of negative, xenophobic, misogynistic scaremongerers, Boris “I will be PM even if I have to make up statistics on the EU” Johnson, Far Right politician Marine Le Pen from France, and of course, Donald Trump.

Oh God, the Trump. A man so hateful that he used the murder of 60-plus innocent people this weekend to push his anti Islamic agenda “We’ll have no Muslims allowed into the USA” and claim victory on Twitter, thanking people for congratulating him on his stance. He also took the opportunity to make the bizarre claim that if MORE of the people in the Pulse nightclub had been armed, there wouldn’t have been so many deaths.

Really?  Quite apart from the ethics of letting any frigging idiot with a grudge have a gun in the first place, how exactly would being armed have helped the people in that club?  They didn’t realise what the noise was until people started falling after being shot. They were in a club. Probably had a few drinks. Maybe popped a pill. It was dark. They were confused and terrified. Just give ‘em all guns and that’ll solve the problem, right, Donald?

How about you stop treating deadly weapons like status symbols, introduce effective controls on who is allowed to have them, and ban people from buying powerful killing machines?  Arming hundreds of people in a club wouldn’t have prevented the tragedy.

NOT fcuking arming the homophobic toss piece that decided on a whim to murder innocent people  now THAT might have avoided the carnage.

Sorry if this isn’t my usual cheery, think positive post but I’m angry. I try to tell myself the world is full of amazing people (it is) but these are testing times and pretending this awful stuff isn’t going on is getting impossible. I love this world. I truly believe that there’s so much beauty in the world, so much good in people and that there has to be a way to pull together and out positive all the shitty things that bring us down. But how?  What can we do?

The Dalai Lama said “The world will be saved by Western women”  – that’s a big responsibility!  But maybe, just maybe, he had a point. 

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Hello

Hello. It’s me.

I just wanted to drop by and talk really honestly about something that’s really important. To me, anyway.

There was a headline in the media today, saying that studies have shown that telling kids they are fat makes them gain weight.

No shit, Sherlock.

Here’s a link for you The Guardian

I’ll say it again.

Telling kids (or their parents) that they are fat makes them more likely to gain weight.

If you’ve read Gorgeously Full Fat, you might recall that my happiest, most relaxed periods around food have been when I’ve been trying to ignore my weight and learn to eat whatever I actually want. I learned this from my time working with Sue Thomason, a very wise lady who has had a massive impact on my life.

The Food Philosophy

Her Food Philosophy makes so much sense. I’d talk about it all here but I don’t want to steal her thunder and there’s so much research – 20 years of research in fact. As soon as I saw that headline today I thought of Sue.

Sue’s website

She passionately believes that the obsession with weight, fat, obesity and body size is THE MAIN REASON for the obesity problem we have. Think about it. We’re constantly bombarded with weight loss adverts and stories, body shaming, government warnings about obesity and the NHS. we’re getting a sugar tax. It’s crap. Fat isn’t making us fat, Sugar isn’t making us fat. Obsessing over our weight is what’s fuelling our weight gain because our natural reaction to being told we’re fat is to think we’re not good enough and we need to start restricting what we eat.

As soon as we start restricting, or even thinking about it,our subconscious brain kicks in. “Oh shit, food’s in short supply, I’d better send her out looking for it.”

All you can think about is food.

You know how your pet dog scoffs all his food as soon as it’s put down, and if you’re eating something he will beg for more minutes after you’ve fed him? He’s not hungry, but his doggy brain knows that food is in short supply, He doesn’t know when he’ll next be fed, so he gets as much as he can, when he can. And when he notices that plate of scones on the kitchen counter unattended, well they’re history. I’m talking about you, Benji.

But we’re humans and not dogs!

Humans aren’t so different. We use our free will to restrict what we eat to a point and we can be quite successful for a while but that pesky subconscious will kick in eventually and it’s almost as if someone else is in your head, making you eat crap you don’t even want or enjoy. You binge on autopilot because you just want to get as much food in you as possible to relieve the stress that you’re under psychologically. You feel better for a bit, as the food is being demolished. Then…”What have I done?”

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Remorse, guilt, disgust.

You ‘feel fat’. Your body image and self esteem plummet and you blame yourself for being weak willed. More news articles about fat people ruining the NHS. More celebrity fat shaming. More diet ads. You’re fat, you HAVE to lose weight. it’s your moral duty. You’re a mess. You want to be slim, your life will be so much better if you are slim. So off you go again.

Aaaaarrghhhh! I can see it, and I get it.

Is the world getting it? The media? No, I doubt it, because the media, women’s magazines in particular, NEED us to hate ourselves so that we diet. There’s a massive industry that relies on us wasting money on diet programmes, shakes and products. They also spend a lot of money advertising in magazines, so you’re not going to get many magazines refusing to run diet and weight loss adverts!

What can we do?

All we can do is make a stand. Even if you’re fat, refuse to make that your focus. Stop hating yourself, Focus on something else and refuse to waste any more money on diets. If you feel you need to lose weight for health reasons, try giving yourself s complete diet holiday for a few months and see how you feel. Focusing on weight and losing it is what’s keeping you fat. It sounds daft but it does make sense. The obsession about what you can and can’t eat, calories, fat, sugar and the rest (don’t get me started on ‘clean eating’) makes your brain think that it’s going to be going through another famine, makes you want to fill up on fatty, sugary and banned foods because it knows they are in short supply, and makes you eat crappy things you probably don’t even like.

By refusing to get dragged into it, accepting yourself as you are (yes, that’s the bit I’ve been stuck on more than once and for years at a time) and focussing on all the other good things about life, you’ll starve the weight loss industry rather than yourself, and quite possibly end up eating less because you’re only eating what you actually WANT.

Rant over. Does any of that make sense to you? I’d really love to know what you think.