Thursday, 29 December 2011

Weight loss - not really!

Weight last week: 88.2kg
Weight this week 91.4kg

Well, the numbers speak for themselves.

Hopefully, it's not being affected by fluid still (because I don't think I could survive more fluid tablets!)

So what happened?

Firstly, I didn't record what I ate all week. I just decided to go with the flow over Christmas, not bother recording, and just eat all the rich yummy foods around. (For someone with a history of compulsive eating - this is not a good idea.)

At the same time, I really pushed myself to get all the baking done, and then to get to all the celebrations. And since then, I've been lying in bed or on the couch all day, recovering. (But still eating leftovers.) I haven't been to Curves (and I'm not sure if they're open this week.), or doing any other exercise either.

Now I've gained 3.2kg in a week.  Depressing? Maybe, but I have to confess, that I had a good time making a mess of myself. Now, it's time to put the rest of the cake, fruit mince pies, etc in the freezer. I can go back to eating healthy salads and fruit, and hopefully that will start to help me deal with the fatigue as well. And I can start to move - do a bit of housework, maybe go for a short walk, build up to going back to my normal exercise program straight after the New Year.

Since the treats all came out of my kitchen, there was at least one factor mitigating the damage. I don't cook with saturated fats. (Or at least with any that can be avoided. So cheese, etc has to be the lowest fat possible.)

I've got a bit of pain, especially in my lower back - which will make it a bit hard to start exercising, but also makes it essential.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Christmas recovery

It's been a great couple of days - time with friends and family, eating too much.

I'm tired now. I put a lot of energy on the "credit card" over the week leading up to Christmas, and on Christmas Day itself.

The Boxing Day sales are on, which are no longer confined to Boxing Day but will go through now until the January sales begin, and I was given a couple of gift cards - so I will go out to look at the shops. I'll do this a bit carefully - I'm not the person who spends an entire day at the sales scrambling for bargains.

My son and I have this theory that the hottest part of the day is a good time to be in an air-conditioned shopping centre, instead of in our house, which does not have air-conditioning (except my bedroom, but the aircon in my room's misbehaving at the moment as well.)

Most of the next day or so, I'm planning to nap, to live on leftovers so I don't have to cook, and to have the occasional visit to somewhere with air-conditioning when it gets too hot at home. Somewhere in there, I'll get some work done for my actual job.

It's weigh-in day tomorrow, and I'm going to guess that I've gained this week. There were just too many good things around. Actually, my tummy's starting to feel the effects of lots of rich food. Fortunately, there's also lots of salad and fresh fruit left over and that's pretty much what I need to munch my way through to start to feel a bit better.  On the plus side with regard to weight, taking diuretics twice a day seems to have last got my fluid problems under control  - the headache I had for weeks leading up to Christmas has finally gone. (Actually the headache had made sleeping difficult - another reason there was too much energy clocked up on the "credit card".) Hopefully, fluid won't be adversely affecting the numbers on the scale this time around.

So this week's about taking it easy, getting the energy budget back in balance, maybe thinking about getting the financial budget back in balance as well, and starting to look forward with a bit of advance planning for the new year. Nothing that takes too much energy.

I hope you're also getting time over the public holidays for some rest and recovery.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas everyone!

My schedule today is a bit busy - the Christmas service at church at 7.30am. (Yes, you read that right!)

Mr Wonderful, his daughter and I are going to my  best friend's place for lunch - she's got air conditioning, so I'll be out of the heat of the day for lunchtime.

Then it's a nap before my kids come home from their Dad's place, and Mr Wonderful and his daughter come around for Christmas dinner.

It's busy - but I've been planning for this for a long time.  The presents were bought early, so that they were wrapped and under the tree before I started dealing with the cooking.

The cooking was done in bits and pieces over the week  (with the groceries ordered on-line and delivered so I didn't have to face the supermarket.) Food today is all being served cold - salad and sliced meat (no, I didn't even bake the ham, I bought it sliced.)

There's lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, before the baked goodies, so we'll fill up on something nutritious.

Cakes, puddings, shortbread, profiteroles and fruit mince pies have come from a variety of gluten-free cookbooks. Gluten-free cakes and pastries are just better made at home than bought - and if I bought the non-gluten-free, I wouldn't get to try them!

(I'm sorry - not going to look through Amazon to get you pictures of them this time around - this lupus flare means I'm doing minimal everything.) Maybe when I'm planning for next Christmas, I'll recommend my favourite recipes and give you the details of the books they come from.

I've been really looking forward to Christmas (and yes, I did write this ahead of time and set it to publish Christmas day.) While one of my best friends is overseas, and my sister is always overseas, I'm spending today with the rest of my favourite people. If I'm exhausted on Boxing Day, I don't care.

I hope this Christmas, you get to spend time with your favourite people, and that the message of peace on earth and goodwill to all reaches you in a special way.

Happy  Christmas, and God bless you.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Weight loss: a little less of me

My weight last week: 91.2kg
My weight today: 88.2kg

Well, a 3kg weight loss in one week sounds impressive, but I won't get excited about it. I'm struggling so much with fluid retention problems that my weight is just doing anything and everything.

So, here's an interesting look at weight loss issues: how do we keep up our motivation when health problems are interfering?  I've been working on weight loss for months, and not getting anywhere. Now that I'm having constant headaches from fluid, I've had to start taking extra fluid tablets. I don't think I'm yet down to what would be my actual weight without excess fluid (because my feet are still swollen, and I've only just woken up but the headache is already starting.) The weight I've put on while I've been working so hard to lose it, may not actually have been weight at all. For all I know, I may actually have been losing "weight" while the numbers on the scale were going up.

Working on weight loss and seeing the numbers on the scale going up was very frustrating, and it's nice to see the numbers going down again. I think what I have done is taken the attitude that healthy eating and activity were good for me whether or not I was seeing results on the scale. I also felt like a bit of a fraud, leading a weight loss group while I just kept gaining weight.

Will the weight keep dropping off like this?  I have no idea. I would love to know how much I actually do weigh, and how much is excess fluid. It may be that I have nowhere near as big a weight problem as I think! (On the other hand, if I'm still carrying kilos of fluid - that means a lot more fluid tablets, and I am so sick of spending my life in the loo!)

On a different (but tangentally related) topic: I would love some feedback from other lupies as to whether this happens with them as well.  I have a horrible problem with dry eyes. When I take a fluid tablet, my eyes are suddenly not so dry and are far more comfortable, I don't seem to need my Polygel to moisturise my eyes as much. Has anyone found this happens for them? I had expected that removing fluid from my body would make my dry eyes worse, but the opposite seems to be true.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Fighting the Flare

Well, I haven't posted anything for a while.  In fact, that's probably how it will be for some time to come.

Since my lupus is flaring, I need to try to conserve my energy wherever I can - it's the nature of the beast that I have to budget energy carefully at the best of times, and right now isn't the best of times.

Over the last couple of days, I've put a bit of energy on the "credit card", done just that little bit extra because there were things I really wanted to do, and because there were things I really needed to do. The problem with the credit card is it all needs to be paid back with interest. So yesterday, I slept. Today, I've also slept a fair bit.

How am I preparing for Christmas with this going on? Slowly. I'm also trying to plan ahead. Fortunately, I started getting presents very early (working on the theory that I want to avoid shopping centres in the last couple of weeks before Christmas anyway.) We're having Christmas dinner at my place - and the menu is cold meat and salad.  I am doing my Christmas pudding and Christmas cake, but they're being done ahead of time, just one thing a day this week.

My rheumatologist is away for a couple of months - so the earliest appointment I could get is mid-February. Meanwhile, my pain and fatigue are flaring, which my GP is trying to manage by increasing my steroids. The increased steroids cause fluid retention problems, which gives me headaches, so I'm taking more steroids and more diuretics. And neither of those make me feel wonderful! My GP's also adding magnesium to my cocktail of drugs - but I have no idea what that is meant to do.

So I'm still here, and I'll try to find the energy to post a couple of times per week, but that's likely to be the most you'll hear from me, at least for a while.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Weight Loss: Old Habits Die Hard

My weight last week 90.6kg
My weight this week 91.2kg
(I have no explanation - beyond medication and ongoing problems with fluid.)

Have you ever found yourself putting food in your mouth and thought: "I didn't even want this?"

We develop our habits over a lifetime. Some habits are useful for us, some not so useful.

When we develop the habit of washing our hands before eating (because Mum or Dad constantly tells us to do it at each meal time when we are little) we are developing a useful and healthy habit.

When we learn that food is a cure for pain, or boredom or stress, we're learning an unhealthy habit. Many people with weight problems, like me, learned this early on in life.  One of my earliest memories of this lesson learned, was tripping over and cutting my head quite badly. While my mother cleaned the wound, my father went out to get me a Cherry Ripe bar to make it better. (For people outside Australia - a Cherry Ripe is glace cherries and desiccated coconut in what's probably a condensed milk base, covered in rich dark chocolate - it's addictive, and definitely not on any dietician's list of foods essential for anyone.)

As a kid, whenever I went to the movies, my mother always had lollies or chocolate in her handbag to had out during the film. (We weren't one of those families rich enough to buy popcorn at the theatre.)

For special occasions, there was always lots of food around. Conversely, in everyday life, especially when I was very little, there were times when food was quite scarce.

I learned to associate food - especially unhealthy food with feeling better when things were bad, and with things being good. I also learned to eat while doing other things, such as watching a movie. Fast forward about 40 years, and the first thing I think to do if I've had a bad day, is to find something sugary and fatty to eat. (Chocolate is always good.) I also have an issue with "unconscious" eating - eating things without even noticing while I do something else like watching tv.

Does this really make my bad day better? Well no, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I know my rheumatologist has very good reasons for wanting me to lose weight, and eating stuff with a high energy-density and no nutritional value does not really help to meet that goal.  Another reason it doesn't help is the uncomfortable way fatty foods just seem to sit in my stomach for ever and cause horrible reflux.

So how do we change any habit? It starts with becoming aware of the habit we have. For me, that means writing down what I eat (the Calorie King website makes this relatively easy for me), and making an effort to notice why I'm eating - is it because it's time to eat, or because I'm stressed or bored, or because I'm honestly hungry.

The next step, if I'm not actually hungry, is to identify the need I am trying to meet with food. If I'm lonely - it's better to call a friend than to eat. If I'm bored, picking up a book to read, or going on line, or draw or paint, or even sweeping the kitchen is a better way to deal with boredom. If I have a problem that needs to be worked through, I need to get out my journal and work in that (or again call a friend or Mr Wonderful). If I'm tired (and I often catch myself eating because I'm tired) I need to sleep. If I'm in pain (and yes, I've learned to medicate physical pain with food - usually chocolate) I need pain relief or the TENS machine.

 That all sounds so simple when I write it down - but in the real world, of course, it is very, very difficult. The reason it's difficult, is that after 45 years of really bad habits with regard to food, I can't expect to develop completely new habits overnight. The challenge is to accept that I'll slip up at times, but to keep trying anyway. The only way I can fail is if I give up trying.

If you're struggling with a lifetime of bad habits - then like me you have a big challenge ahead. It's hard work, but it's worth it. As long as we keep trying, we're going to get there in the end.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Crunch Time

I'm sitting tied up to the TENS machine (what's new?) while utter chaos reigns in the house around me.

I do have to get some housework done today because tomorrow morning the real estate agent inspects. She probably doesn't need to know that I've left the dishes for several days because I just haven't had the energy to face them. (Well, I've told you what I spent my precious energy budget on for the past few days - I'm totally unrepentant about that.)

And once more, the cat believes his litter tray is due to be changed. Actually, he's probably right about that. No-one wants it reaching the point where the smell of used kitty litter wafts out of the garage.

Even though I have a cleaner come once a week to do the "heavy" stuff - vacuuming, cleaning the bath and shower, etc, there still seems to always be something that needs to be done around the house. When I budget my energy, this is what I keep forgetting. After 45 years of life, I should have learned that the basics of doing dishes, cleaning up after animals, generally tidying up, actually take time and effort. I should know that I absolutely must save a bit of energy each day to do this quickly - because if I don't do it quickly every day, suddenly it's a huge job and a massive drain on energy reserves and sore joints.

So today, my priority is housework, and a long rest because tomorrow I'm on the train back to the Gold Coast to spend a couple of days with Mr Wonderful and his daughter. I have spent the morning so far on things for work, and I have a function for work early this evening, so I need to pace myself very carefully for today.

Will I learn my lesson after today? Will I always keep that little bit of energy in reserve for a quick clean-up of the house at the end of the day?  Well, actually I'm going away for a couple of days and returning to whatever chaos pets and two grown-up offspring can create in my absence. So I know I have to set aside a significant amount of time and energy very soon to do it all again - but some time I hope to learn my lesson. Some time (whenever some time is) I am going to start out the day, planning to have a half hour at the end of the day, along with the energy to use the time,  to have a slow look over the house, a brief clean up and straighten up and the dishes clean and feel good about the place.

Well, that's the goal.

In the meantime - I'm putting on my rubber gloves - if you don't hear from me again, you'll know it was all too much!

Monday, 12 December 2011

What a feat!

Mr Wonderful and his daughter are on holiday at the Gold Coast.

After church yesterday, I caught the train down to see them. (Two hours on the train. I slept part of the way.) We went swimming in the late afternoon. For me that means I played in the water for a while then went to sit in the spa until the others were ready to go back to the motel room.

This morning we went shopping at Harbour Town. We shopped for five hours. I stopped for rests a number of times, and took a fluid tablet at lunchtime, because my feet were ridiculously swollen and I had a headache. Then it was the train home, as I have to be at work tomorrow.  I slept on the train again. My headache was gone, but my feet were still sore and after a very short walk home from the station (which seemed very long today) I noticed my feet were so swollen that my shoes were cutting into them.

I took an extra fluid tablet. I dont' know that I'm really supposed to do that - but if my feet are so swollen, a fluid tablet is essential before the headache sets in. (The headache is actually already starting to set in, but the extra fluid tablet hasn't had time to work yet.)

Did I overdo it? Probably. But then again, this out-of-control fluid retention issue is one of the reasons my GP wanted me to move my appointment with the rheumatologist forward - it's a sign of a flare.

If I tried to do this much every day, I would have a serious problem. At the moment, it's an issue, but one that can be managed by what I do next.

For dinner tonight - I've got leftovers in the fridge, and I'm leaving the kids to deal with their own food. (For anyone who doesn't know, my kids are aged 20 and 17 - I didn't abandon small children overnight.) Then it's an early bath, a session on the TENS machine and bed.

My work tomorrow begins with a Christmas party - and I need a good sleep for that!

I'm actually having a fairly easy week work-wise, as our youth worker is doing the service this Sunday - but I do have a couple of Christmas parties to attend for groups in the church or to represent the church. And I have to start doing some forward preparation for Christmas day.

I'll go down to the coast again on Thursday and come back on Saturday. In the meantime, I'll pace myself, with plenty of time for rest, and some work and some household tasks. I have to start planning my Christmas baking - but that's happening a bit at a time starting next week.

In the middle of January, I'm taking a couple of weeks off work - I haven't actually taken holidays in 2011 at all. Working 12 hours per week, I've been able to go away for the occasional weekend or midweek break without actually taking any holidays.But now, I think I need to actually take some time out to do pretty much nothing. I'll let you know closer to the time if I'm going to stop blogging for those two weeks as well. (I may do.)

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Weight Loss: A Good Start

My weight last week: 89.4kg
My weight this week: 90.6kg
(I gained - but I lost 2kg the previous week, and my lupus is flaring, so it's not so bad.)

Well let's look at what we're talking at Weight Loss Group tonight.

How do you start your day? Do you grab a coffee, on the run and not worry about food? Do you have a quick bite of toast?  Do you sit down to a cooked breakfast?

People say breakfast is the most important meal of the day - and there's some truth in that, although of course, every meal is important. (There's no point in having a really good breakfast and eating junk the rest of the day.)

So what makes a good breakfast?

Firstly it needs to be good basic fuel.  You haven't eaten for eight or more hours, this is about as low as your body's fuel level gets. So you want some great low-GI carbs to give you that energy to keep going for the day. So for breakfast cereal, we're looking for whole grains; for toast or bread, again we're looking for whole grains.

It needs to have a bit of fibre - that helps lower the GI of the meal, but also helps keep your body healthy, so we're looking again at whole grains, maybe some psyllium or rice bran or wheat bran if your body can handle it; or fruit. If you're going for a cooked breakfast, baked beans are always good as a mix of protien, low-GI carb and fibre.
Having mentioned baked beans, let's look at protein. Remember protein helps you feel full for longer, so you're less likely to feel like you're starving before you get to your next meal.  If you're having cereal, you can add protein by adding a few nuts, if you're doing the cooked breakfast, think baked beans, eggs, lean meats.

Fruit and vegetables always are a good idea at every meal. Fruit on cereal is great. Grilled tomatoes or even grilled peaches are great with a cooked breakfast. Spinach or mushroom is also good with a cooked breakfast.

A little bit of low-fat dairy is good for protein and calcium.  Skim milk or yoghurt on your cereal . A bit of low-fat cheese on your toast with some tomato is good.

It sounds like a lot to fit in at one meal.  Remember that when you come to breakfast, you haven't eaten for anything up to about ten hours, depending on when you last ate before bed. At this stage, your body needs some really good quality fuel. Remember, also, that breakfast sets the whole tone for the day in terms of what you are going to eat.  If you don't eat enough at breakfast time, you get hungry again earlier in the day and are more likely to eat something you will regret later.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

I am getting sleepy, very sleepy....

Well, my urgent trip back to the rheumatologist can wait - he's away for two months! I did manage to bring my next appointment forward - from the start of March to mid-February. I guess if the GP decides it really is more urgent than that, she'll have to send me to someone else.
In the meantime? I'm still a bit ouchy - but at the moment, I'm mostly just exhausted! Today, I went to Curves, had coffee with a friend, and took my son to finalise his TAFE enrolment for next year. Then I slept. And slept. And slept. The DVD I attempted to watch played itself through about three times - I know because I woke up a few times and have a vague idea of the timeline of the movie, even though I saw it completely out of sync.

I had housework to do, and I had work work to do, and nothing's been done, except watching bits of a DVD.

So all the work's still waiting for me, but I think, for now, I'll just have another little nap.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Why won't everything else just stop until I catch up?

The big problem with a lupus flare is that nothing else will wait until I'm ready to handle it.

Those dishes I didn't have the energy to wash last night are still sitting in the sink (and they're looking much worse this morning).

The cat still believes his litter trays should be changed.

I have work to do for my actual work.

And what am I doing? Well, as you probably guessed, I'm hooked up to my TENS machine trying to get some aches and pains under control, reading twitter feeds, and generally doing nothing much.

What do I want to do? Get a replacement pair of shoulders to start with - some that aren't hurting. I want my headache to go away. Then I want to sleep for the next six months or so.

What am I going to do??

When this 30 minute block of time on the TENS machine is done, I'm going to get up and do the dishes and see to the cat, because these issues will only get worse the longer I leave them.

Then I'm going to stop for a cup of coffee and put my feet up for a while.

Then I'll sweep and mop the kitchen.

Then I'm going to have a nap.

After lunch, I'll actually start this week's work for work.I can hook myself back up to the TENS machine while I'm sitting at my desk to do that.  And somewhere in there I'll fit in an afternoon nap.

In an ideal world - I wouldn't have lupus.  In an almost ideal world - everything else would stop while I have a flare, so that I'm not always trying to catch up!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Back to the rheumatologist

Well, I've scored an extra trip to the rheumatologist.

I wasn't due for a check-up with him until March.

But, about two months ago, the GP increased my prednisolone from 2mg per day to 15mg per day, to get my pain under control.

Then the ophthalmologist found something not quite right with my eyes - he's decided not to worry about it, just to check again in six months instead of the usual 12 months, but there's a risk that plaquenil,  one of my main lupus drugs, is starting to do something unpleasant.

Added to that, I'm having problems with retaining fluid. That's something that can happen for any number of reasons, including hormonal. (After a hysterectomy about eight years ago, I don't know what's hormonal and what's not.) But one of the big things that can cause fluid retention is prednisolone, along with a number of other drugs in my cocktail.

So, time to make the extra appointment, and see how much fun it is to go see my specialist for Christmas.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Lentil Sausage Rollettes: Great as next day leftovers

You know I just love food that I can make a double batch of and serve for more than one meal. This one's so more-ish that I just about blew my calories for two days with it!

It comes from Food for Health and Happiness. That's one you won't get from Amazon, but if you're in Australia, you can request a free copy from Sanitarium Nutrition Service. Their website can give you all sorts of nutrition information - my daughter and I used it when we first tried being vegetarian.

(The whole vegetarian effort failed when my doctor told me to give up gluten, I was already off lactose, and thought I couldn't handle having such a limited diet. Now, my daughter and I have been missing all our yummy vegetarian foods and are eating vegetarian meals more often than meat-based ones. I think, but of course can't prove, that the mostly vegetarian diet does help my lupus symptoms a bit. Given the price difference between lentils and meat - it helps the budget a bit as well.)

Here's the recipe:

Lentil sausage rollettes 
1 slice grainy bread
400g can lentils, rinsed and drained
1 carrot coarsely grated
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped chives
 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
5 sheets filo pastry
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (or olive oil cooking spray)
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 200 deg C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Process bread in a blender to make breadcrumbs. Place breadcrumbs in a large bowl with the lentils, carrot, egg, walnuts, chives, sauces and mix well to combine.
3. Remove 1 sheet filo pastry and cover the remaining sheets with a damp tea towel. Brush or spray with olive oil. Cut sheet in half lengthwise and then turn so both short ends of the two strips face you . Place 2 tablespoons of mixture on each edge closest to you, about 5cm from the edge and 1/2 cm from the sides. even it out so the filling is about 3cm wide. Fold pastry over filling and then roll up. Do this for both strips of pastry. Place on prepared tray and brush with oil.  Repeat with remaining filling and pastry.
5. Sprinkle over sesame seeds and bake for 25 minutes until pastry is lightly brown.

Nutrition information (original recipe - not counting my changes): 540kj (130cal); Protein 4g; Total Fat 7g; Saturated Fat <1g; Carbohydrate 12g; Total Sugars 4g; Sodium 250mg; Potassium 135mg; Calcium 20mg; Iron 1.0mg; Fibre 2g.

Makes 10. Preparation Time 30 minutes. Cooking Time 25 minutes.

© Recipe kindly provided by Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing Company.

My variations to make it gluten free: 
Gluten free bread in place of bread
10 sheets of rice paper instead of the five sheets of filo pastry

Tips for using rice paper:
Rice paper comes as hard sheets, and needs to be softened to use as pastry. Work with two dinner plates. Place a sheet of rice paper on each, brush well with a pastry brush soaked in water. Leave one to soak while you work with the other.
When rice paper has softened: drain off any excess water.  Fold two opposite sides into the middle so as to give two straight sides. One rice paper sheet will do the job of a half filo sheet in the original recipe.
Fill and roll as for filo.
Before you start to work on the next sheet, put a fresh dry sheet on the plate you've just used, and wet it down, so it can soften while you're working on the sheet on the other plate.
The rice paper won't go as crisp and brown as the filo does: but I haven't heard any complaints.  In fact, my daughter's had it both ways and says the rice paper version is much better. If you eat it cold the next day, the rice paper is a bit chewy, but it is actually really nice.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Trying to decide...

Wegohealth, those same people who brought us the 30 posts in 30 days health blogging challenge has now opened its Health Activist Awards 2011 for nominations.  (If you want to nominate anyone you can at this address: .

There are some amazing people blogging about lupus - and I've been trying to think who to nominate.  If you want ideas, go to the lupus links page and check out some of the blogs.

I've been thinking about who to nominate, and why:

  • Christine, from But You Don't Look Sick would have to be high up on the list.  Not only is hers probably one of the longest running blogs, but she's helped us to define ourselves. The term "spoonie" often used for people with chronic illness comes from her "spoon theory" explaining the issue of fatigue. She always seems to be travelling somewhere to raise lupus awareness.
  • Tiffany, from Tiffany and Lupus would also have to be high on the list. She writes not only her own blog, but also for The Lupus Magazine and other sites. She founded Friends Against Lupus, that wonderful group that keeps putting up Facebook messages reminding lupies to take our medicine. She's changed her Twitter picture now - but the picture of her purple wig always made me smile when I saw it.  When she's had a down day or few days and been out of circulation she's always very open about it. She shares life as it is, both good and bad.  I'm probably twice her age, but I want to be like Tiffany when I grow up.
  • Brynn, from Lupus Interrupted is just the most amazing woman on earth. I find life with a chronic illness and two kids a drama. She manages it with a husband and five kids. She's got an attitude that says nothing will ever beat her. A self-declared badass, who has on her blog an amazing photo of her in her warrior princess outfit with her sword, she's an inspiration to anyone who decides they're not going to take being sick lying down!
  • Melissa (Dr Snit) from Living with Lupus, But Dying of Everything Else is challenged by multiple health issues - but still manages to find ways to laugh. Maybe being a stand-up comic gives her practice at this. 
  • BD from memory doesn't serve me so I blog would have to be in the running for the rookie category. One of my absolute favourite posts in any blog is hers about breaking up with her doctor.
  • How about Pill Poppa from Taking Pills and Paying Bills? Or Tim from The Home of Lupoid? Or or Annie from It's Time To Get Over How Fragile You Are?
There are just so many amazing people out there advocating for lupus and other chronic illnesses. I'm so glad I've got all of December to think about who to nominate! 

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Weight Loss

It's been a while since I've actually posted about my weight loss efforts - and until the past couple of weeks they haven't been good. But things are at last happening now.

Here's my last three weigh-ins:
19 November 92.8kg (BMI of 38.1)
24 November 91.2kg (BMI of 37.5)
1 December 89.4kg (BMI of 36.8)

So I'm going in the right direction at least.

I'm using the Calorie King website to track my actual food and exercise, and I'm involved in a support group at church.  Actually I lead the support group (seem strange, since I'm the person who hasn't been losing weight?  I used to be a Weight Watchers leader some time in ancient history, and at the time was very successful at managing to maintain a healthy weight.)

Why have I had so much trouble in recent years?  Well, I just read today on Carla, the singing patient's site Lupus, Humor and Wellness that there's been a link found between inflammation and obesity.  Perhaps now that my medication, the TENS machine, exercise and rest are all working together to keep me much healthier than I have been for years, the inflammation is actually reducing and that is making things easier.

So each Thursday, I lead a weight loss group.

Tonight, we're talking about maintaining our metabolism. I actually chose the topic specifically for someone who's just texted to say they won't be there.

Cutting down the amount we eat is kind of a basic thing for weight loss. (Seems obvious, doesn't it). If we cut down the amount we eat too much, however, our bodies start to panic and go into "starvation mode" - they hang on to every little bit of fat they have just in case they need it.

We need to reassure our bodies, that there is enough food out there to live on.

The way to do that is to eat. (Obvious, as well, huh?)  So what do we eat?  This is where it gets tricky - we need meals and snacks throughout the day. Because we're trying to lose weight, we need to make sure we're getting good nutritional value for the energy we eat. Yes, you can use all your energy allowance for the day on creamcakes, but it won't be good for you, and you'll still feel hungry.

So choosing what we eat is important. We need things that help us feel full, provide our bodies with good slow-burning energy, nutrients and of course the fibre that keeps everything working smoothly.

We're looking for: Protien, Low-GI carbohydrates, fresh fruit or vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, small amounts of healthy fats (let's do a whole post about fats in the near future - one about the Glycaemic Index as well.) That's the food we're looking for all day - but we need to spread it out. A little bit at each meal, and boost it with a little bit in between. If we spread it out over the day, our bodies won't get that shock of suddenly there's food and then suddenly there isn't. We don't go into starvation mode, because our bodies know that there's going to be more yummy fresh food sometime very soon.

At this time of year, one of the best between-meal snacks is Christmas fruit. Cherries, apricots, nectarines, mangos, peaches are all out. A nice serve of fresh summer fruit straight from the fridge on a hot day is one of the great delights of the Christmas season. Compared to any pre-packaged "snack foods" you could buy, they're much healthier fat-free, lots of nutrition and fibre, and a low energy density. (Energy density - there's another topic for another week.)

How about a handful of cold cherries, and coffee made on cold skim milk over ice cubes for your afternoon tea? It contains enough energy to get you through the gap from lunch to dinner, and it's a real treat you can look forward to.

So, that's my thoughts on weight loss for this week - and what I'm going to be talking about with the group at church.

Want to check up on what I'm eating? My profile (including my daily food and exercise diary) is at the Calorie King website. My profile name is icarden.

Hope you're feeling well.

What's next?

It's December.

I survived both health blogging month and NaNoWriMo simultaneously. Will I do both again? Give me a year to recover and I'll think about it.

I'm already into Advent services and gearing up for Christmas - so as far as my church work goes, it gets busy from here. Part way through January I'm going to take holidays - not to go anywhere or do anything , but just to stop. Here in Australia, January is the middle of summer. There are two times of year I just don't function: when it's hot and when it's cold.  When it's hot, I'm tired and when it's cold my joints ache.

I've also got way behind around the house while I've been immersed in my frenzy of writing to deadlines. I have a house inspection mid-December, so that kind of needs to be caught up. (And I have to somehow motivate my kids to do their share - not an easy task.)

I'm already thinking of "what's next"? What insane challenge can I give myself so I  feel like I'm achieving something? After I recover, that is, from all that I did in November.