Sunday, 15 December 2013

A cheese fest!

Monthly Cheese Boxes




http://www.pongcheese.co.uk/shop/

Placed an order for
 £60 worth of cheese to be delivered on Christmas Eve!!! We are planning a few cheese fests over the festive period...

I defy anyone to look at the site and not drool! 

Drool away!!!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Four days post surgery

Hello all! 

Thought I would drop in and give you all an update on my progress. I am now four days after surgery, a full abdominoplasty and breast reduction. 

I am in no pain I would describe what I have as just some mild discomfort. I am taking only regular paracetamol.

Tomorrow, I go for my dressings to be changed. This will be my first opportunity to see my new breasts!

I have now lost a total of 7 pounds since last Friday when I went in for the surgery. I guess there must still be some swelling and fluid retention however. 

My appetite has reduced since the surgery. This may be due to the anaesthetic or it may just be something else. I am ensuring that I am eating regularly, as I am still taking antibiotics. Dinner tonight was a quarter of a tomato and goats cheese quiche and some sliced tomatoes and cucumber followed by a bowlful of lowfat yoghurt. I haven't fancied anything sweet at all! Having said that I did in a slice of a fruit loaf with butter as my late night snack.



Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Post surgery report

Hi there! 

I am back. I had my breast reduction and abdominoplasty on Saturday morning first thing. After two nights in hospital I came home this morning. I am experiencing discomfort more than pain. Only using paracetamol to control the pain the moment. I will take codeine tonight to ensure I get a good nights sleep after two nights of regular waking up experiences whilst I had my observations done.

The surgeon has done a terrific job. He expected only to be able to perform a mini tummy tuck because he didn't think I had enough skin to stretch down. He also warned me that he may not be able to relocate the button to a new position. In the event he was able to take away much more skin than he thought would be possible and he has also given me a new belly button in the right place! I now have a completely flat stomach. In fact I can see parts of my anatomy that I haven't seen in 37 years!

As for the breasts, I can't really see them at the moment as they are strapped up and supported, but one thing is for sure they are not size H any more. If they turn out to be as good as my tummy I will be more than happy with all of my results.

I had the surgery just two days ago and already I am 5 pounds lighter than I was then. There is probably some residual swelling I should imagine. 

All in all definitely not an operation for the faint hearted - it was a big one. Four hours under anaesthetic which made me very sick afterwards. Now I have to take things very slowly for the next fortnight. No driving, no house work and mostly bed rest.

Just thought I would check in and let you all know that I survived it!



New flat tummy with re-located belly button!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Contemplating surgery....

I have got to just under 11 stone, and I too feel a bit "stuck" bobbing up and down the same few pounds since the end of May, despite continuing to log, exercise.... and I am wondering whether this is just what I am meant to be?

Having said that, I am still obese and still weigh too much for my height, but my short height is due to my disability rather than genetics (both my sisters are about 5ft 10). I am now down to a size 16 from a size 24, and I know I could never be a size 10 or 12. A size 14 perhaps.

I have, after a lot of thought and deliberation, booked myself in for a breast reduction and a tummy tuck.

My boobs have always been large and they've just not got any smaller during my weight loss journey (3 stone) and remain as 38H's. Given the length of my arms, they are "in the way" and of course must add quite a few pounds to my short frame! In the past people have asked me why I don't get them reduced, but they've never really bothered me and as the rest of me was "big" they looked in proportion. Now they don't. They just look far too large for my narrow shoulders.

My belly has reduced significantly, but I am left with a horrible "hanging flap" of skin which doesn't seem to have much fat in it now! My muscle tone underneath, I am hoping, is good - I concentrate a lot in by 3 - 7 times a week 1 - 2 hour workout on my legs, bum and tum.

I know that surgery is a huge risk, but I can honestly say that I'm really excited now about getting rid of these "bits that won't budge". It's certainly not for a lack of hard work or enthusiasm!

Over the weekend, I met a friend who has just had a breast uplift/implant. She was kind enough to show me how her boobs look 12 weeks after surgery, and I must say I was totally gob-smacked! The scarring had virtually vanished (she has been using bio oil daily on the scars) and the overall shape was really great. Like me, she also had one boob larger than the other, but the surgery has evened them up as well.

I most certainly am not looking at this as a way to lose weight (it would be a very expensive way to lose weight!)

I love the Weight Loss Resources website, the support it provides, the tools which enable me to monitor my food intake and weight loss.  I will most certainly continue with that side of things for the foreseeable future, whatever the outcome of the surgery.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Size 16!

Weird.

I am the same weight now as I was at the end of July. I went up a bit over the Summer (holidays, getting married, honeymoon....) but have more or less got back to my lowest weight since starting.

My measurements haven't really altered since I last took them (May) But I am smaller! Definitely!

Went clothes shopping today and bought some size 16 tops and dresses, quite fitted with just a little stretch.

and..... THEY FIT!!! Grin

I find this totally incredible because (1) I started off as a size 24 just 19 months ago... so I have dropped four dress sizes and (2) I have not been a size 16 since I was about...... 21???

I can only think it's the continued exercise, so a great incentive to keep going....




Tuesday, 4 June 2013

15 months...... 68 weeks

My weight loss journey started on 24th February 2012. 15 months or 68 weeks ago. 

I have now lost 3 stone.

I’m a shortie (4ft 9 inches to be precise). My start weight was 14 stone. I’m now 11 stone. My aim is to get to 9 and a half stone. The last time I remember weighing this little was when I was about 20 years old (30 years ago).

So easy to blame why we are overweight or not succeeding at losing the weight on something…. 

For me, it was my disability. Then my lack of mobility as I grew older. Then being pregnant, having a baby and being a mum…… then the injuries I sustained in a road traffic accident that left me with leg injuries and needing to use a wheelchair outside of the house.... yes, there was always something that stood in the way of me being "slimmer".

My weight loss journey has changed all of that. Without any exercise at all in the first 7 months I managed to lose one and a half stone. This was just by "calorie counting" on-line.  I use the websiteweightlossresources.co.uk  to complete a daily diary.  Yes, it's tedious to write down every single thing that passes through my lips... and yes it does consume a large portion of my day.  But I have discovered it works!  If I stop logging, I have no clue how many calories I've consumed.

With my improved mobility and not lugging around that extra weight the thought of undertaking some regular exercise popped into my head from nowhere! I hadn’t exercised for maybe 20 years since a step aerobic class! I started to go swimming once a week – and LOVED it! I’d never been “proper” swimming before (swimming up and down the pool non-stop for an hour). It helped my pain, helped reduce swelling in my damaged ankle and each week I would earn 400 calories.


In February 2013 on the first anniversary of my joining the weightloss site, and now having lost 2 stone, I was greedy for more!

I signed up for a free assessment with a Personal Trainer (Ollie Adkins) at the Berkshire Physiotherapy Centre I attend regularly. Between us we devised a suitable exercise routine that concentrated on just about every part of my body. Nothing too strenuous and certainly not aerobic exercise. 



Polar FT2 Heart Rate Monitor

I bought myself a Heart Rate Monitor, the Polar FT2. I “borrowed” my ex-husbands treadmill. I spent under £100 on some resistance training bands, a wobble board, a stepper, some gym matting for the garage floor, some running shoes and a sports bra. And I began to exercise every day!

66Fit Wobble Board
The most rewarding thing about the exercise is the calories I earn! Wearing my heart rate monitor, I know that I can earn between 600 and 900 calories in my exercise sessions - which I try to do every day. Of course some days I don’t have the time… or I am in pain… or I just don’t want to do it. But most of the time, I make myself get up earlier…. I talk myself into going out of the door and into the garage and doing that exercise. And after I have finished my one or two hours of exercise, I come back inside for a revitalising shower and some well earned breakfast. I feel GREAT! I am sleeping well… I am eating better (thanks to those calories I earn!)


Shock Absorber Sports Bra
Friends and family are really supportive, although slightly shocked that over a year down the line I am still as dedicated (if not MORE dedicated) to this journey. The reasons are simple. The choices I need to make about food and eating are now natural and require very little willpower. I don’t feel as though I am being deprived or missing out. In fact I now seem to see people all around me over-indulging and eating things I wouldn’t want to eat any more (I would have once upon a time!) 
 
Ultrasport Up-Down Stepper

I can walk (wheel) through the town centre and smell and look at food and continue walking (wheeling), as I know that I have prepared a salad ready to eat when I get home again. I don’t want to ever go back to how things were. I didn’t think that my dietary habits were too bad, but it was quantity and feeling that I “deserved” this treat…. meal out….. cake… or whatever. I can now seriously say “I don’t want that!” remembering just how hard I have worked to get to where I am. I want to see the weight coming off EVERY week. It won’t if I don’t stay on track.

I have to say my weight loss has been one of the most amazing achievements of my life! I believe I AM allowed to say this smugly. But oh how I wish I had done this sooner.

But if the truth be known, I wasn’t in the right place before. Suddenly I found myself with the time to devote to making this my absolute TOP priority. I am surrounded by the right people to make it happen. 

Actually, one person particularly - my boyfriend of 6 years – soon to be my husband (9 weeks to go!) I have absolutely no doubt that without his support I wouldn’t have stayed the course. Each day he fastens me into my sports bra, straps on my heart rate monitor and puts on my sports socks and trainers, lacing them up for me. He doesn’t need to lose weight, but he eats the same meals as me, doesn’t complain about the fact we don’t eat out as often, helps to prepare healthy meals, looks out for interesting healthy recipes on line… and gives me lots and lots of compliments about my improved body shape and fitness levels. I am not sure I could have achieved this without his support and assistance. 

I decided I wanted to write up “my journey” for anyone who needs an incentive to lose weight or get fitter or those who have started their journey or are struggling.

Don’t give up. It gets easier and most importantly, you are so worth the effort!!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Pork and popcorn

I accidentally ordered this rather large pork joint from Tesco.  2.3kg or 5lbs.  It weight a ton!  Luckily there was a half price offer on, so it only cost £10.  I have carved it up into steads and a couple of joints now.  But by lifting it up and moving it about I realised that I have been carrying around almost 7 of these!


So if you feel a little fed up because your loss isn't as much as you'd like, find something that weighs the equivalent of your weight loss and remind yourself of the additional weight you were once lugging about!


Popcorn Tea from TeaPigs

I am also trying out my new teabags, delivered this morning from TeaPig.

Not sure what to make of it... Described on the website as - Green tea with a popcorny, almost nutty undertone. “Sugar Puffs in a cup”.

The teabags are beautiful though, they look as if they are made out of fine silk (but they are fully biodegradable...)

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Exercise and Heart Rate Monitor

So.... back to exercise and my treadmill…. walking…..

I’ve been swimming once a week for about 8 months now. I go and swim for an hour on my back (can’t swim on my front because of my short arms and arthritic neck). I wear swimming fins (shortened flippers) which help me move through the water but also provide greater resistance so my legs/ankles have to work harder to power me through the water. BUT I wanted something to help me with cardio vascular exercise.

So to recap, about two weeks ago, I borrowed my ex husbands treadmill with a view to being able to start exercising regularly. Bear in mind, I’ve not walked for 10 years (in the proper sense of the word). I know because of the weight loss that my fitness has already improved. I don’t feel as if I’m having a heart attack when I over exert myself now! My asthma seems to have vanished.

I planned to start by walking quarter of a mile. However, on my first attempt, I walked half a mile. I did this at a slow pace (1.7 mph) and I had to stop every five minutes. But I did it.

I have been visiting a personal trainer (one assessment and one session last Friday), because I recognize that I need to make sure I don’t overdo it. And I bought my HRM because I wanted to monitor any improvements in my fitness levels and ensure that I was giving my heart a really good work out.

Interesting results!  

My treadmill measures calories as I walk, based on distance and speed, etc.  It tells me after 15 minutes of walking at 1.7mph I have used 53 calories.

So I don my HRM.  It's in two parts.  A chest strap that fits snugly around the lower chest under my bra.  A watch device (doesn't need to be worn, just in the vicinity of the chest monitor so it picks up the heart beat) which records what the monitor is picking up (my heart rate).  You set your age and the heart rate you want to achieve (see the graph below, which shows heart rates based on age and the varying levels of exercise - from "light" to "hard").

So I've been using the HRM to monitor my calorie burn during my 20 minutes walking (with two stops, not letting my HR return to less than 120bpm). It took me 29 minutes (20 mins walking, 9 mins resting), my average speed was 1.7mph. My average heart rate during the session was 140bpm, the highest it got to was 159bpm. My HRM tells me I burned 390 calories!  From this, I have to take away "background calories".  Those are the calories you burn just by being alive (but not moving), so when you are "at rest".  

So the Treadmill estimates my regular 20 minute walk would earn me 53 calories. However, my HRM tells me I earned 390 calories during the 29 minutes – which minus background calories leaves me with 281 calories. That’s over 200 calories more!!  When I am walking, my heart enters the "aerobic" level of working for about half the time, and works "moderately" for the remainder of the time.

Andy has tried the monitor.  Bearing in mind he is 9 years younger, fitter, lighter, etc. he walked for 30 minutes at 4mph (twice my speed) and his heart rate got to the "light" level only.  He hardly broke a sweat!

So – purpose of this post is to (1) encourage EVERYONE to try and do some form of exercise and (2) to encourage people to use HRM’s to give themselves a more accurate idea of just how hard – or not – they are working themselves.

I kind of thought I was burning a lot more than the treadmill or the weight loss website I am using were giving me, but I hadn’t realized that the difference would be quite so mammoth!!!

If anyone wants to ask me more, please do!  The HRM I purchased is a Polar FT2, about £38.00 from Amazon.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

White Velvet Soup

White Velvet Soup

Invented a new soup for all of us cauliflower lovers! Calling it "White Velvet Soup". 

It's made with a lot of cauliflower, garlic, onion, tarragon, nutmeg, butterbeans, ground almond and almond milk. Just over 150 calories a serving (I'm making 10 servings with 2 heads of cauliflower - my lunches for a couple of days next week!) 

I'm thinking that this would be perfect with either some crispy bacon sprinkled on top, or my other idea is a few slices of chorizo sausage fried with some cubes of bread (to the flavour oozes out of the meat) and sprinkled on top. The soup (without bacon, etc) is vegetarian - also dairy free (as using almond milk) but may contain traces of nuts!
Photo: Inventing a new soup for all of us cauliflower lovers! Calling it "White Velvet Soup". It's made with a lot of cauliflower, garlic, onion, tarragon, nutmeg, butterbeans, ground almond and almond milk. Just over 150 calories a serving (I'm making 10 servings with 2 heads of cauliflower - my lunches for a couple of days next week!) You'll have to wait a while for the recipe, as I'll need to test it first and see whether I'd do anything differently. I'm thinking that this would be perfect with either some crispy bacon sprinkled on top, or my other idea is a few slices of chorizo sausage fried with some cubes of bread (to the flavour oozes out of the meat) and sprinkled on top. The soup (without bacon, etc) is vegetarian - also dairy free (as using almond milk) but may contain traces of nuts! 
White Velvet Soup
Preparation Time:          25 mins
Cooking Time:                  1 hr 15 mins
Serves:                               10
Calories per serving:       157.0



Ingredients
Cauliflower, Raw, Average                         -  830g
Beans, Butter, Canned, Drained                 -  1 Can/250g
Onions, Brown,                                          -  2 Onions/200g
Garlic, Raw, Average                                  -  2 Cloves/6g
Oil, Olive, Extra Virgin, Average                 -  2 Tbsps/30ml
Butter, Spreadable, Slightly Salted, Lurpak -  1½ Servings/15g
Almonds, Ground                                         -  85g
Almond, Milk, Alpro                                    -  500ml
Water, Mineral Or Tap                                -  2 pt 8 fl oz
Tarragon, Dried, Ground                             -  2 Tsps/4g
Nutmeg, Ground, Average                          -  1 Tsp/3g
Stock Cubes, Vegetable, Organic, Kallo   -  1 Cube/50ml


Method
(1) Put oil and Lurpak in a large pan and melt over a medium heat.

(2) Finely chop onion and add to pan. Stir for about 10 minutes until translucent - don't allow to brown! Finely chop the garlic cloves and add to the onion. Continue to stir for 5 minutes more.

(3) Add the stock cube to the pan and about 2 and a half pints of boiling water. Stir. Break the cauliflower into florets and add to the pan. You can also use the stalk of the cauliflower (not the green leaves) but cut the stalk up into 1cm cubes before adding. Drain the tinned butterbeans and add.

(4) Cover and bring to the boil. Once it's reached boiling point, lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook for an hour, checking and stirring every 15 minutes.

(5) Add the almond milk, ground almonds, tarragon and nutmeg.

(6) Continue to simmer for 10 minutes.

(7) Finally, use a hand liquidiser to puree the soup mixture.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

The Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) - A useful exercise incentive

For those who don't know me too well that I have a severe physical disability, I was born with my arms shortened to elbow length, just three fingers on each hand and my femurs (thigh bones) shortened to about 30cm both sides. This is as a result of the drug Thalidomide (see Google for further info on what this was!) 

My left leg is about 4cm longer than my right. My lower back has slight curvature. I don't have any proper ball and socket joints in my shoulders or hips. My walking gait is severely compromised. All of my life I have been unable to walk very far (about half a mile maximum before I need to stop and rest). Of course, none of this helps with weight and my being able to exercise. 


In 2002 whilst I was on holiday in France, I set off on the wrong side of the road (driving) and had a head on collision with a car coming towards me. Although we both braked and took avoiding action, we met in the centre of the road. The force of the crash was so bad, it fractured my right ankle (through the accellerator pedal) and my car was written off. My daughter (the aged 5) and my then husband were both also injured - my daughter my the force of the seatbelt on her collar bone and hip, and my ex husband (because me put his left arm out and braced himself) injured his left wrist and ankle. Thankfully neither of their injuries were severe. 












 









I had to have immediate surgery to plate and pin my right tibia and fibula. Our holiday was... urrrm, extended (shall we say) and I was flown back to the UK on a private plane (thanks to the holiday insurance company). 

I couldn't walk as I couldn't use crutches (because of my shortened arms). I was forced to use a wheelchair outside of the house so that I wasn't housebound. I had my (new) car adapted with a wheelchair hoist to accommodate my powered wheelchair. 


My right ankle never healed. Although it wasn't (prior to the accident) affected by my disability, it failed to regain it's full movement/mobility and I was in constant pain. Despite physio, my ankle was swollen all of the time. I'd be forced to go upstairs to bed at 6pm just to elevate my ankle and try and reduce the swelling. 


About 8 months after the accident and with no improvement and after getting a second opinion from a ankle/foot specialist, I had further surgery - an arthrodesis. They remove all the cartilage from all parts of the joint and pin all the bones of the ankle to permanently fuse the joint in (approx) 50 degree angle from the leg. The aim was to get rid of the pain and to prevent any more arthritis setting into the joint (my ankle bones were all moving out of position). 


Sadly the ankle isn't that much changed - I still have pain, it's still swollen.... I can't walk even one step without severe pain. I use a powered wheelchair when outside of my house, but it's kept in the car. I can manage to walk around the house and I can manage stairs with extreme difficulty (I come down in the morning and go up at night). 


Doing ANYTHING for me requires far greater effort and exertion than it would for most people. Because of my short arms, getting washed, dressed, showered... takes me twice as long (at least) and possibly takes twice as much effort. I haven't really been able to walk (other than around the house or out to the car) for over 10 years. My weight increased. My (slight) asthma worsened. I was possibly even a bit depressed I am guessing (most people would have been I think!). I gave up paid work, and suddenly for the first time in my life I had to arrange for some help around the house with housework, shopping, laundry, etc – and yes, even caring for my daughter (which was really hard…) 


So.... back to exercise and my HRM… the treadmill…. walking….. 


I’ve been swimming once a week for about 8 months now. I go and swim for an hour on my back (can’t swim on my front because of my short arms and arthritic neck). I wear swimming fins (shortened flippers) which help me move through the water but also provide greater resistence so my legs/ankles have to work harder to power me through the water. BUT I wanted something to help me with cardio vascular exercise. 


A week ago, I borrowed my ex husbands treadmill with a view to being able to start exercising regularly. Bear in mind, I’ve not walked for 10 years (in the proper sense of the word). I know because of the weight loss that my fitness has already improved. I don’t feel as if I’m having a heart attack when I over exert myself now! My asthma seems to have vanished. 


I planned to start by walking quarter of a mile. However, on my first attempt, I walked half a mile. I did this at a slow pace (1.7 mph) and I had to stop every five minutes. But I did it.
I have been visiting a personal trainer (one assessment, one session last Friday), because I recognize that I need to make sure I don’t overdo it. And I bought my HRM because I wanted to monitor any improvements in my fitness levels and ensure that I was giving my heart a really good work out.  


Today I’ve done 20 minutes (with two stops, not letting my HR return to less than 120 bpm). It took me 29 minutes (20 mins walking, 9 mins resting), my average speed was 1.7mph. My average heart rate during the session was 140bpm, the highest it got to was 159. My HRM tells me I burned 390 calories. 

I've compared this to what I would earn were I "normal" (hate that word, but you know what I mean!)


Regular 20 minute walking on treadmill would have earned me 53 calories. 


However, my HRM tells me I earned 390 calories during the 29 minutes – which minus background calories leaves me with 281 calories. That’s over 200 calories more than
 

So – purpose of this post is to (1) encourage EVERYONE to try and do some form of exercise and (2) to encourage people to use HRM’s to give themselves a more accurate idea of just how hard – or not – they are working themselves. 

I kind of thought I was burning a lot more than an on-line exercise calorie calculator tool on the weightloss website site was giving me, but I hadn’t realized that the difference would be quite so mammoth!!!
 


The Target Heart Rate Zone (65-85% of Maximum Heart Rate) is an area of moderate intensity activity that leads to improvements in your aerobic capacity and burns fat.  This zone provides many benefits for all fitness levels, including those who want to lose weight, those who are training for an athletic event, or those who are looking to have more energy and get fit. 

Exercising below this zone (50-65% of Maximum Heart Rate) is the Fat Burning Zone, because at this intensity, fat is metabolized for energy use at a higher rate.  This intensity is often recommended to individuals who are extremely de-conditioned or new to exercising.  While the name of this zone leads you believe that you will burn more fat at this zone, there is less cardiovascular (heart) benefit at this zone and less overall caloric burn.  Again, if you are de-conditioned, have a heart or respiratory disease, or are new to exercising this would be an appropriate zone for you. 

The High Intensity/Anaerobic Zone (85-100% of Max Heart Rate) is recommended for highly fit individuals, such as athletes.  This zone places a high demand on the cardiovascular system and does not burn much fat.  Individuals may use this zone as part of “interval training”, where your heart rate reaches the High Intensity Zone for a short period (less than 60 seconds) and is allowed to recover to the Target Heart Rate Zone (65-85% of Max Heart Rate) for a period of time (60 seconds to 4 minutes).

Warm Up and Cool Down
Always remember to start each exercise session with an easy warm-up.  You can use a heart rate zone of less than 50% of Max Heart Rate to guide your warm-up.  As a general guideline, a warm-up can be something as simple as walking for 5 to 10 minutes or just a slower version of the exercise you are going to perform.  Additionally, take 5-10 minutes after your exercise to do a cool-down.  Slow down your movement, stretch and try to get your heart rate back down to less than 50% of Max Heart Rate.


Use this chart to estimate your heart rate in bpm for each intensity zone
 50%55%65%75%85%95%
Age(220-Age) x .5(220-Age) x .55(220-Age) x .65(220-Age) x .75(220-Age) x .85(220-Age) x .95
20100110130150170190
2597.5107.25126.75146.25165.75185.25
3095104.5123.5142.5161.5180.5
3592.5101.75120.25138.75157.25175.75
409099117135153171
4587.596.25113.75131.25148.75166.25
508593.5110.5127.5144.5161.5
5582.590.75107.25123.75140.25156.75
608088104120136152
6577.585.25100.75116.25131.75147.25


Target Heart Rate

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Bring it on!

This morning I am dressed in...... t-shirt, leggings and trainer socks - and will add the finishing touch - the training shoes, at 11.45am, when I am off for a 30 minute free session with a Personal Trainer at the sports injury clinic where I attend regularly for physio, acupuncture and massage.

I had to go any buy the trainers, as my footwear is pretty limited, thanks to an ankle/foot injury I picked up ten years ago.  My first trainers in 20 years!!!

His challenge is to find me some sort of cardio-vascular workout that I can manage. Got a sneaky feeling this may involve a treadmill!

The problem for me is since my RTA (2002), my mobility has been (further) severely compromised. I can walk, but only very short distances so I use a powered wheelchair outside of the house. I can walk to the car and about the house easily, but the problem is when it's much further. So if I am going anywhere, unless I can park right outside the door and know how much walking/standing is involved, I take the wheelchair.

I have REAL difficulty with standing still, so queuing, etc. This causes severe pain in my lower back and hips, as well as in the ankle which was damaged in the car accident and was subsequently fused.

BUT I know with the weight loss and the hours swimming I am doing once a week that my mobility has improved - as has the pain. The problem is measuring how much more improved my mobility / stamina is. I need someway to measure how far I'm able to walk, but I can't do this by simply "going for a walk" because if I run out of steam or start to have a lot of pain - I still need to get back or sit down!

Okay, okay.... I have to admit that some of it is confidence and the fact that since the accident (which affected my already very weird way of walking) I have been more prone to falls. When I fall, I usually hurt myself really badly (because of my shortened arms, I throw my head back to prevent my face from hitting the ground, thus giving myself whiplash!)

Last Christmas I had three falls whilst we were staying in a cottage in the Lake District. The first two were little trips and I was relatively unscathed. But the final fall was whilst I was coming (at some speed because of the rain) through the doorway of the cottage. The stone step of the cottage was covered in green slime from a leaking gutter/drainpipe. My feet just shot out from underneath me and I landed with my full weight on my right arm. I thought it was broken, and could hardly move or lift it for the next few days.

An x-ray revealed it wasn't broken, but I was unable to drive safely, and as Andy isn't a driver himself, we ended up stuck in theLake District for a few extra days waiting for the arm to recover enough for me to do the long drive home... and even then I was terrified I'd not make it home safely (I was driving on my own).

Bit of a long tale, but the long and short of it is that I have realised that any more accidents or falls may leave me unable to continue to be as independent as I am - I can dress and wash (with a struggle, and it takes me 1.5 hours flat out) which is my little keep fit regime every morning!

I want to carry on being relatively self-sufficient.  I want to be able to continue to do those things I am able to do without help.  I don't want help from someone I don't know with my personal care, and I don't want Andy to have to do any more for me than he already does.

But then that is what this weight loss journey is all about right? Preserving the health and the abilities I have!

Will up-date you on how the assessment went at some point over the weekend!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

The treadmill has landed!

After my free Personal Trainer assessment a week ago, I started to think that a treadmill could be really valuable in increasing my stamina and ability for walking. You may remember that as my walking is VERY limited, I usually use a powered wheelchair outside of the house for any distance. So it's either walk a very short distance or use the wheelchair.  There's nothing in between for me to measure any improvement in my walking ability.


I am losing weight (2 stone at present) and hopefully this will have improved my stamina and walking abilities, but it's really hard to work out just how far I can walk or what the effect will be on me.  I can't just "go for a walk" as I have no clue how far to go before I'll need to turn back.  I'm also pretty worried about tripping / stumbling / falling over.  For that reason I'd need to have someone with me - and let's face it - if I fall, they're not going to be able to stop that from happening!

HOWEVER, ex hubbie bought a treadmill just before we parted company 6 years ago... It's a pretty decent one (cost £1k 5/6 years ago from John Lewis) so I asked if I could bring it out of retirement and make use of it. As far as I am aware he hasn't used it since he moved out.

He delivered it at midday, and it's all set up in the garage now. It's a Horizon Fitness Omega III HRC Entertainment (if anyone knows about these things....)

Once he'd set it up, I had a little toddle on it. It's far better for me than the one at the gym as there are some grab handles on the front of the machine (where the main controls are) and the speed adjustment is on the right hand rail. It also has an incline adjustment on the left handrail.

I'm only going to be able to use it for slow walking (initially) but I'll probably use a slight incline setting as I improve. I'm thinking that I'll set myself an initial goal of 500 metres (just over quarter of a mile) and decided that if I need to have a stop and a breather / sit down whilst completing the distance, then I will.

So wish me luck! Whilst Andy is enjoying listening to the footie (Newcastle game), I'm off into the garage with my ipod, some water and my trainers.

I may be gone some time :)