Where did the last month go?!

I’m finally back online and I’ve realised it’s a month since I last posted – where did that time go?

I spent a week working and getting ready for my holiday in Italy and didn’t have time to post. I then spent a week away and loved being completely offline. The week after I got back was pretty hectic too and then I got ready to settle down and blog again. Unfortunately my laptop had other ideas and had basically ground to a painful halt. I’ve since done a backup and completely reinstalled it from scratch for a fresh start.

I had to make a fresh start on my not drinking too. I caved in and drank on holiday and for 3 days after I returned. It was nothing too horrendous but I could feel it creeping upwards within the space of just 10 days and I didn’t want to jump back on that treadmill. I actually realised I preferred how I’d felt after 60 days alcohol-free so I felt good about going back to that. I feel no sense of shame or drama about it and am trying to take away all the lessons it has taught me. It’s day 12 today.

I ate my own weight in pasta, pizza and pastries while I was away and put on about 5lbs. Fortunately I already lost 4 of them and I’m eating pretty healthily again. I don’t do well eating wheat and a week of wall-to-wall wheat consumption wasn’t pretty in some ways – I was bloated, constipated and I had gut pains and dreadful wind (sorry for too much info!). I’m feeling particularly motivated to do interesting gluten-free cooking experiments.

I got fed up of trying to taper off coffee as I always ended up drinking more than usual. I’ve felt exhausted, nauseous, headachy and just generally poorly for a couple of weeks now and I know coffee is so bad for my particular health issues so I just stopped on Tuesday morning. For 2 days I’ve had a headache and the complete inability to stay awake more than a few hours. I think I’ve slept more than I’ve been awake which is probably good, I’m sure my body appreciated the time to rest and heal. I still have a slight cranky head feeling but I’m trying to stay mindful and my energy is returning. Hopefully I’m through the worst of the coffee withdrawals.

I think that’s probably a fair summary of my last month. I haven’t been online much so I’ve got some catching up to do with other blogs. I hope you’ve all had as happy and healthy a month as possible.

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Day 33 – Sliding into a slightly darker place

After the mainly upbeat and revelatory state of the first month I seem to have slipped into a slightly darker place. This is manifesting in a number of ways.

The initial joy and productivity brought by a sense of time expanding has given way a little to restlessness and laziness though I’m still fortunate that I don’t suffer too much from boredom. The novelty has worn off. I need to make a plan to stay productive and use my time well but also build in lots of down time and relaxation. If relaxation time is counterbalanced by lots of progress in other areas of my life then it feels good. If ‘relaxation’ turns into something bordering on lethargy (or a teenage game-playing marathon) then it’s heading to a darker, unproductive place. I don’t want to swap treading water for a ‘dry’ version – tired of standing in quicksand maybe?

I’m not feeling much better physically and there are a couple of reasons for that. One is that I’m drinking too much coffee. I do love the feeling of a good coffee buzz but I also know it’s not good for me. I was diagnosed with autoimmune hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s disease about 7 years ago. My doctor told me it was a lifelong and incurable disease that could only be managed by taking thyroxine. I had other ideas. I researched everything I could about it and identified a number of possible nutritional deficiencies and things I was doing wrong with my diet. The short version of it is that I went from horrendous blood test levels and being barely able to move my ass off the sofa to normalised blood tests and a reasonable level of energy again – all with supplements and dietary changes (much to my doctor’s annoyance but that’s a whole other story). The two most critical dietary changes were cutting out gluten and coffee.

I’ve been rewarding my sober efforts with coffee and various baked goodies which I really need to stop because I can feel my low thyroid symptoms creeping back in which is totally unacceptable. Being gluten-free isn’t really a big problem, I’m used to it to a degree and if I really want something sweet and baked there are plenty of alternatives that I can buy or bake myself. Coffee however is a huge one. I love it and giving it up feels almost as bad as not drinking even though I’ve been coffee-free in the past and I know it does make me feel so much better. I’ve also been having some mild stomach irritation – nothing terrible but it’s definitely there. I’m going to taper down over a couple of weeks – I can’t face the just-been-punched-in-the-head coffee withdrawal headache. Sigh 😦

The baked goodies, and chocolate, and sweeties thing also means that I’m not losing weight either. I know I should be going easy on myself and not tackling too much at once but I have reasons beyond superficial appearances to get my 2 stone off. One of my knees is irritated and painful at the moment, as are both my feet. At my job I walk on average 6 miles a night (18 miles a week), on a hard floor while lifting, carrying, pulling and pushing – some things I lift are up to 18kgs. It’s hard on my feet and knees and they tend to hurt. With extra weight on they tend to really hurt. I’m tired of joint pain and I know how much difference losing weight makes.

On a funnier note, I’ve been stubborn recently about buying new casual trouser for myself at this weight. I’ve lived in a pair of black velvet jeans to the point they developed a small hole in the crotch area. As I couldn’t think of a scenario that would involve me showing that area in public (particularly as I’m now not drinking!) I thought, oh well, never mind. I sat down at the top of the stairs a few days ago and heard a ripping sound as the hole got somewhat bigger. A few unladylike poses in front of the bedroom mirror convinced me that a line had been crossed and the beloved velvet jeans went in the bin. My nearest alternatives need about 6lbs to come off before I can wear them comfortably and so I have a bit of a problem. Oh the drama 😉

When I was younger I lost about 4 and a half stone using a food diary to count calories. It was a hassle to swap wine for vodka to cut calories but I did it. 2 of those stones have crept on again and never really gone away. I’ve tried various alternatives to lose them but nothing really works as well as calorie counting. I’ve low-carbed but that doesn’t work with a physically demanding job – I nearly passed out at work a few times to learn that the hard way. I’ve been doing 5:2 fasting but I have a tendency to go a bit off the rails on non-fasting days. Counting calories and using a diary for accountability is the only way that I know has worked in a long-term way and now I don’t have to count wine calories that should be a hell of a lot easier. I like the reported health benefits of fasting so I’m planning a combined approach – one day of fasting a week (6:1) and using myfitnesspal to do the calorie counting.

I’m gritting my teeth and hoping I’m not too crazy to be dealing with all this at once. I’ll blog here for accountability which I think will really help.

Happy Thursday to you!