Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Almost ready...

I am making good progress with the book I am going to follow for my cleansing diet. I have been out to buy some "magic foods" - the blue foods which contain amazing antioxidents & healthy quantities of vitamins & minerals, such as blue berries, blackberries, strawberries & beetroot juice...
I have dug out some of the dietry shakes which were recommended to me some time ago, which are low in fat & contain little to no dairy, but which have vitamin complexes which will support me & give me energy while I am trying to adjust my diet. I remember having great success with these a couple of years ago, when I gained energy from having a magic berry shake with this added for breakfast. It not only helped me feel full & suppressed my false appetite (which is due to the insulin resistance which causes blood sugar levels not to register properly) but also gave me added energy which I need to be more active & when keeping up with young children!
I did break down tonight & eat chocolate... It was just one bag of m&ms but it was a big bag... I used to binge a lot. Does anyone else do that? I imagine it's a bit like bulemic binge eating - anything & everything you desire - & then purging, only I don't purge. Partly because I hate throwing up & partly because I feel like that's cheating (& I don't want to ruin my teeth) so I feel gross & sick & swear I'll never, ever binge eat again...
In the past I've done this with all sorts of foods. Back in the day my favourite things to binge on were Twisties, family size blocks of Cadbury's chocolate (the Australian version), Camembert or Brie cheeses (a whole wedge or a small wheel), any cheese really... ice cream - especially the real vanilla version with the visible vanilla seeds from the pod, sugary drinks, milky drinks, alcoholic drinks (although getting drunk was never part of the plan...) Snakes Alive, Fantails, Tim Tams (sometimes as a slam with coffee), Kingston biscuits, salami or other manufactured, hand made sausages or luncheon meats..
It's really rather pathetic reading that list, but I am really, really trying to be honest, & I don't think this is something I've ever discussed before. I feel disgusting & slightly sick just reading that list, but I also feel somehow liberated to admit that I've done this... time & again! Always promising myself, as I stocked up on forbidden treats & indulgent quantities of favourite foods, that it was one last hurrah before I started a diet in earnest... It never really was. I am very honest with everyone, but myself. I never, ever intentionally tell a lie, except where my own health or happiness is concerned. I know it has to stop.
Anyway - I am facing up to my faults & failings & hope in naming them & bringing them out in the open I can avoid them. If I am tempted to go out & buy ready mixed icing or Kraft peanut butter with the intention of spooning it straight from the jar & eating the lot, hopefully I will read this blog & remember how sickly I feel when I do so...
I am also looking to get some further counselling. I had a great series of sessions in 2010-2011 soon after my Mother passed away. It helped enormously, but I have still been through a lot more since then, believing I was going to die, or at least end up on the street, but relying on the kindness & charity of others instead & finally finding the strength to get back into a normal life again. It is not an exaggeration to put it in those terms... The depression which I went through is difficult to explain, but depression is not about feeling down or being sad or crying a lot... it's not even about the dark, heavy, suffocating world you believe you live in... it's about not seeing a way through. It's about not being able to envisage things getting better or how to get to the next stage in your life. I couldn't imagine how I would pay for food, or rent, or how I would get strong enough to work again... I sometimes couldn't be inspired enough to walk downstairs & have a shower, because I wasn't going to see anyone or do anything which required me to be that clean so why spend the energy on washing my self & my hair? Depression does pass, though... it takes strength & a belief that things are going to get better, but you will make it better, no matter how hard it is to see that possibility! It's also true that you rarely realise how depressed you are when in the grip of a bout of it... but part of the healing process is looking back & knowing how far you've come. Now that I recognise I've come through a very difficult time, especially when I am so far from home, from family & friends, & especially given that some friends just didn't have it in them to be there for me, even long distance (which is sad, but something I am slowly coming to terms with) I know it's time to sit down & reassess where I am with some professional guidance... I am looking forward to understanding myself better & learning how to help myself become stronger & healthier through taking care of my mental health as well as my physical & spiritual health...

Another fun Fact you might not know about me #8

I was raised to believe that an open bathroom door was really vulgar, & to this day I really find an open toilet door disgusting. In addition I was raised to lower the lid, so forget any debate about seats... there's a lid for a reason & you need to close it, people! End of! 
 I also dislike people putting toilet paper on the roll back-to-front... yes, there is a correct way to face TP & it always is rolled over & towards you... rolled towards the wall is silly & wrong! Yes - I realise these rules combine to create toilet etiquette OCD, but I HAVE to live by them!!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Where I am at...

pic of me taken at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket
23rd Feb, 2013
Many of you know I have been eating gluten again for a while, now, & once I have had some blood tests which my lovely doctor has ordered but which I haven't "got around to doing, yet" I will return to a gluten free diet once more.

Why? Because I need to make some changes in my life!

For one thing, I am feeling so tired, and yet I am not sleeping well - or rather, I am not sleeping when I should! I go to bed, do all the things which are supposed to be "cues to sleep" but then I either toss & turn for hours or I do other things in order to distract myself from tossing & turning... Things like watching TV, going online, reading... the usual!

I am also having far more headaches than I did when I was avoiding gluten... I don't think either of these things are a coincidence, as I noticed a decrease in my headaches the first time I switched to a wheat-free diet back in 2010. I know that making the switch again will make a difference to my overall health.

I've had a really rough couple of years which takes it's toll on not only my mental & emotional health, but my overall immune system. It's been shown time & again, during studies, that the physical, spiritual & mental states of people have a close correlation. Well, apart from numerous minor ailments over the last couple of years, I've had 2 sinus infections in the last 6 months. I have suffered depression, & gone through a period where my only contact with the church I love has been the home group I attend every other Wednesday, which I make it to most of the time - except when I am not well... see above!

Then there's the fact that I do actually want to get healthier & lose weight, but right now I simply don't have the energy. I've noticed  that I don't have the mental energy, either, especially at the end of the day, when I am making choices about what to do & how to eat in my free time.

I know I need to lose weight as I am officially classified as obese. This means my knees & joints are under added pressure from the extra weight they are bearing. I recently saw an episode of "Embarrassing Bodies" which was about weight-related problems. The handsome, & very buff, Dr Christian has only 7% body fat... so he certainly did not suffer from excess weight! (In fact if anything his body fat is considered too little to be truly healthy). Dr Christian donned a body suit which added both size & weight to his frame, & carried out a series of tests which he'd previously performed at his regular weight & fitness level. I initially thought that the tests would not be that difficult even though he had the extra weight, because of his fitness & strength, but to my surprise he had difficulty walking any great distance without becoming breathless due to both the effort & impact on his joints which the added weight caused. This was an eye-opener.
Me (left) with Janine
23rd Feb, 2013
I've also been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome (PCOS). Additional weight is both a cause & an effect of PCOS. Weight adds to the body's inability to absorb insulin & insulin resistance adds to the bodies cravings for food & to the inability to lose weight. I am in a difficult starting place, and even my doctor has said it's going to be "very, very, very difficult" to get started, but she also said a little weight loss will make a huge difference to the condition & that once I start losing weight it will become easier. I am trying to cut out refined sugar, although I do still have cravings which result in me having slip ups in my good intentions.

Being insulin resistant also means I am predisposed to developing type 2 diabetes, which is something I do not want! I have read a lot about insulin resistance which is pretty much what type 2 diabetes is caused by & it can definitely be eased, if not completely reversed by losing weight. Diet is important in this, so I do most definitely need to make changes in my diet. I also want to exercise to improve my chances of both losing weight & getting fitter & more able to keep up with the demands of my job & life!

To sum it all up in a word, I am feeling "sluggish".

It's clear to me that I need to kick start some changes in my life. Poor immune system, lack of energy, lots of headaches, sleep problems, lack of motivation, difficulty organising myself, even poor memory compared to my previous abilities, have made me feel that I am far from being who I really want to be & I want to get back to being that person!!

I have done several things in the past which have helped. Losing weight is obviously an important thing I need to do. My health would benefit hugely, & we all know that losing weight means gaining energy, so, I am currently reading this book, "The Ultimate Detox" by Dr Sandra Cabot & Margaret Jasinska ND. It's subtitle is "2-Week Deep Cleansing Diet" it's described as a way to "restore your health & lose weight". My sister, Leigh, has recently done this cleansing diet & she feels more energised, is thinking more clearly, is sleeping well, & has lost weight. Of course she was nowhere near as heavy as I am when she started, but she feels so much better that I figure I will definitely see a difference. I've done cleansing diets before & felt healthier & stronger & more able to think clearly, & slept better, as well as lost weight as a result! What I really need to do to get started is be more organised each day so I don't grab the nearest snack or most tempting food available. I also need to get my head into a place where I can follow through on my good intentions.
The Ultimate Detox, which I am currently reading.
So, I am preparing at the moment - a) by reading the book & b) by purchasing some dietary items which will support me on this journey. I want to start in about a week when I will not be working (as the family I work for are in Hong Kong) & so be in a better position to cope with expected initial side-effects such as headaches, stomach discomfort, possible constipation, diarrhoea or nausea, aching, feeling like I'm coming down with something, or other possible symptoms of my liver & lymphatic system clearing out the toxins I've been gathering by my sedentary & indulgent lifestyle... It might not be pretty, but it will be worth while!

I will, of course keep my blog updated... and I might just pop in here to reread this post from time to time in order to prop up my determination to follow through on this course of action!

Really fun thing you might not know about me #7

I photograph lost items! 
 If I see a lonely item, perhaps a glove or a scarf, a toy or a hat, sitting by the side of the road, on the footpath or kindly placed on a fence, I snap it! 
 It started when I was working here in Nappy Valley & every day I would see a dummy, a sock, a shoe & it was always so incongruous seeing a soft, childish item on a concrete path, or on a dirty black roadway... 
 I try to always take a pic with the item featuring in the foreground & the streetscape (or wherever it is) in the background... I have quite a few pics, now! 
  I could easily have more if I was always abe to stop! Sometimes it's just not possible!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Not-so-fun fact you might not know about me #6

I loath celery... There is very little food I won't eat, but celery is something that comes from the devil's bottom in terms of taste! It is so foul that the very smell of it makes me dry retch! I dislike aniseed a lot, & liquorish for that matter, but celery, especially raw, is the foulest thing anyone could ever put in their mouth & masticate... 
I am not a fussy eater... I have eaten snails in a French restaurant (in Melbourne many, many years ago) I have tried intestines (not sure what kind, but I actually tried them in the Philippines) I have consumed modern day Absynthe, I love steak & kidney puddings & pies, lambs fry & other foods which are not to everyone's taste... but if there was one food I would banish from this earth, it would have to be celery... It just adds insult to injury that it's so good for you & actually has negative calories!!!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

More you might not know about me #5

One of my (irrational) OCD things is to peel labels off things once they've been purchased... I cannot leave a price tag, sticker or advertising label on something either I, or someone else I live with/visit/happen to know, have bought... If you ever check out my book shelves or DVDs, CDs or anything of mine it will not have a price tag on it... Why? Because it's no longer for sale!!! Nor does it need a sticker with "bonus track" or "shortlisted for the Booker Prize" stuck to it... it doesn't need anything on it to promote it's sale because I already bought it!!! OK?

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Fun fact you might not know about me #4

I am passionate about history... 

I always have been, & always research the local history of any area I find myself living in! 

I have been researching my family history for the past 22 years... heading for 23, now! 

I seriously am addicted to history now I'm living in London! Every corner you turn, every building you enter, every person you speak with is a new story or a new slice of the history of this beautiful & amazing city! 

The River Thames is the beating heart of this place, too...

I still have to pinch myself from time to time... I just can't get over the fact that I live in the city where Dickens created such amazing characters as The Artful Dodger, Fanny Squeers & Lady Honoria Dedlock, Where William Shakespeare trod the boards & became the Bard... 

Where Henry VIII had 2 of his wives executed & broke with the Catholic Church. Where Queen Elizabeth refused every suitor & Queen Victoria & Prince Albert had 9 children... where Punch & Judy were first performed & where Samuel Pepys wrote copious diaries... Mozart played here, Anna Pavlova danced here & Wordsworth wrote here... People of a generation before mine lived through conditions which we would find unimaginable today... sending their children away to keep them safe, & working, living, doing everything as normal in the face of nightly bombing raids which saw thousands die & tens of thousands become homeless night after night after night... 

The history of this amazing city gets under your skin... I am just so lucky!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Fun fact about me #3

I received my first camera when I was a wee child... along with a black & white film. The camera was actually an old one which had belonged to my Dad, but I loved it & took lots of photos of my family with it... 
Later, when I was 17, I spent a whole summer working for a lovely family in their stationary shop. I spent all my earnings from that summer on my Pentax SP1000 camera & have taken so many photos on it that I have no idea how many thousands... it travelled to the UK with me in 1995 & to New Zealand in 1989, even the Philippines in 2003/4.
 It took me a while to embrace digital photography - but once I did, I did it with passion!!!
Now I tend to photograph every experience, even if it's just walking to the shops... I like to capture the world from my own personal viewpoint!  
As a footnote, it took me a while to realise that my Grandfather, Jack Arthur Ritchie Martin, was also a photography buff... he snapped pictures of my Grandmother, Helena, as well as places, family, events & holidays... I just wish he'd written more about them on the back or put them in albums with notes attached...  It is lovely to know that we shared a passion in common, though!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Fun fact you might not know about me #2

I eat m&ms in colour order from darkest to lightest... I have done this for many, many years, maybe as long as m&ms have been in my life! I have tried to work out why I do so, & the only thing I can think of is that I also eat jelly beans in order of my favourite flavours. I dislike the black ones badly, so I usually start by giving them to someone who'll appreciate them (aniseed... Blegh!) then go to purple & so on through to my favourite which is white! For some reason they are delicious! (not even sure what their flavour is, but it might be vanilla-ish...) 

Fun fact you might not know about me #1

After working in retail for over 10 years (while I was also an unemployed actress) I still "face up" my bank notes in my purse... I also keep them in order from the lowest denomination in front to the highest in the back... there's usually little difference between them, however, as I rarely have any "big notes" in my purse! British ones are easiest to face up, as we have HM Queen Elizabeth II on one side of each note! (above photo: British bank notes)

above: Australian polymer bank notes - traditionally the smallest denomination features the reigning monarch on it's face. The other notes feature Australians who are considered to have furthered the development of the nation.
above: Euro bank notes... the highest denomination I have ever held is a 50 Euro note.