Monday, 20 October 2014
It is with a certain amount of embarrassment that I have to report I am now a stone heavier than I was on my wedding day in 2011. Most of it has crept on this year largely due, I think, to the stress of numerous hospital appointments of the gynaecological variety and the shock of turning 50. I had been adhering well to the Rosemary Conley low fat regime but had slipped back into the heinous sin of adding butter to bread and, worse, developing a passion of Tarte au Citron at Cafe Rouge. So far, so self-obsessed I agree. But isn't it difficult to rein your appetite back in once you have set it loose?
And aren't you sometimes suspicious that the things you do to stay slim are not that healthy for you? I swear a large part of my appetite control was due to diet coke (2 cans a day) even though studies indicate that drinking aspartame laden drinks actually increases your appetite. Drinking a substance that contains what is basically formaldehyde (aspartame) is surely never wise but aspartame is everywhere and, shockingly, OK'd by the US Food and Drug Administration (the FDA). My other appetite suppressant is a snack of four marshmallows instead of biscuits with my morning coffee. These are low fat and surprisingly filling. The trick, of course, is restricting yourself to only four!
A slim-line us on our wedding day in 2011
This time of year is a nightmare for trying to curb your appetite. It is goodwill to man and good-swill at the same time. The supermarket magazines are groaning with comfy, cosy, autumnal recipes - beef and ale pie, pulled pork, apple crumbles, and then there is the sugar onslaught that is now Halloween where any mum worth her salt is creating witches and vampires out of sponge fingers and a packet of Maltesers.
The main ingredients of a celebration are family, friends, food and drink (and generally not in that order). I'm sure at some level many of us believe that food = love. An equation which is making the Food and Clothing industries very happy. The growth of plus size clothing catalogues is interesting as, if you go by the TV advertising, these now outnumber those from companies offering the more 'traditional' sizing. As a side note, many shoe manufacturers do not seem to have cottoned on to the fact that our feet are getting bigger too. Karen Millen, for example does not stock shoes over a UK size 7.
There is a subtle hint in all of this advertising that we should embrace our weight - and I wholeheartedly agree that we should love ourselves no matter what we weigh - but is ignoring weight gain on the basis that we only need to buy the next dress size up a wise approach?
As we approach mince pie season (and I could eat them every day), the hubby and I are having six weeks of sensible eating (hubby's main weakness is crisps) so that we can treat ourselves over the festive period - without looking like a pair of chocolate snowmen at the end of it.
How are you approaching the season of endless food? Do you diet in preparation for it? What are your diet tips. I'd love to know.
Monday, 22 September 2014
It is Monday morning in the Hobbis household and I have the kind of head cold that renders you grumpy and out of sorts with the world. It is the sort of cold that makes you want to retire to your bed with a Mary Berry recipe book, a milky coffee and a packet of digestives. My eyes sting, my ears hurt and their usual buzzing has been amplified to an even higher pitched "wheeeeee".
I should have been taking the advice of my many natural health books and making batches of chicken soup, dosing myself with echinacea and drinking honey, lemon and cinnamon but, as usual, whilst I have been mentally flirting with these ideas, the reality is a fresh box of tissues and some Lemsip capsules swigged down with lukewarm tea. I always think it is baffling that whilst we are even now planning to create cities in space, nobody has managed to eradicate the common cold.
Plus now that the kids have settled back into their routine, I'm noticing that, aside from housework, I don't really have a routine. Certainly nothing mentally challenging is looming on the horizon. The garden is wearing its autumn jacket and there are leaves to be swept. I have a pile of novels to read (I still haven't got around to reading Hilary Mantel's Bring Up The Bodies) and more recipe books to peruse than the cookery section of Waterstones.
I could tidy up my wardrobe, although it mainly comprises leggings and the odd frock for going out to dinner with the hubby. Or, I could attack the nightmare that is 'toy corner' in our lounge and weed out all the broken and outgrown toys. Previous attempts to do this though have resulted in Caitlin and Ieuan going through charity bags when my back is turned and replacing anything which could be passed on with cries of "but muuuum we still play with it" - when I know full well said toy hasn't seen the light of day for at least three months.
I haven't even got the energy to start planning for Christmas (well, it is nearly October!) or, my other favourite, Halloween. Every year I revisit Martha Stewart's Halloween guide and plan six foot witches and cats cut out of balsa wood and painted black (by the hubby obviously), ignoring that fact that we've nowhere to put them and since our garden is walled around its entire perimeter, nobody apart from us will see them anyway.
I need something to get me out of this slump. But what?
Tuesday, 16 September 2014
It's back. The incessant buzzing in my ears. Who knows what triggered it. The usual suspects could be caffeine, red wine, chocolate, aspartame or sudden loud noises. The hairs in my cochlea could be bent. It could be too much ibruprofen. The buzzing has reduced slightly today after a good night's sleep (thank you amitryptyline) but in the name of silence how come so little can be done for a complaint which affects thousands in the UK?
That is the number one question asked in the Facebook tinnitus forums - and the question that has no answer. There are trials being conducted - nebulous trials involving implanting iPod like devices in the sufferer's body. There are drug trials - apparently anti-epilepsy drugs have shown positive results in preventing tinnitus in mice. Great for the mice but useless for the rest of us. Is that the choice? Listen to the endless cacophony in your ears or wander round like a zombie, zoned out on medication?
It is very difficult too, to describe to someone what it's like and thus sympathy tends to be short lived and advice focuses on the "well you'll just have to live with it and pull yourself together". I am pretty sure my tinnitus developed as a result of listening to music too loudly on the Sony Walkman (in the days of cassette tapes) and I worry about people today who play their ipod tunes so loudly that the bass or treble can be heard by everyone else in the railway carriage or the length of the bus. Then there are those who, as we walk to school in the morning, play music in their car so loudly it sounds like someone is beating the side of their car with a mallet or worse, those who take in-car telephone calls at a volume which ensures their entire conversation can be heard miles away. "She did what???" - speak up love, there's someone in the Outer Hebrides who didn't quite catch that.
I am going to have to bite the bullet and start wearing my hearing aids. I'm told it will replace the buzzing with sound at the frequency my ears are missing and so I'll gradually notice it less and less. Reports on whether hearing aids are effective in masking tinnitus are equally mixed on the forums but I will give it a go. I did try them a few weeks back at a children's party. This was obviously completely the wrong occasion to try them out and the sound volume was so loud, they were swiftly removed and hidden in my handbag.
I have heard good reports about Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) which uses cognitive behavioural techniques to change the way you think about your tinnitus. I am not sure that it is available in Cardiff or the Vale though.
In the meantime, I'm trying to take my mind off it and if you're suffering with it today too, you have my heartfelt sympathy.