Down a blogging rabbit hole

I had planned to write every day for Jumpstart January. But yesterday I found myself down a blogging rabbit hole. As I mentioned in my post on Tuesday, I have started a new blog – Big Fanfare:

Food, Fitness and Health

I set it up about 6 weeks ago, but December was a busy month and I hadn’t had the time to devote to it. Then after Christmas and over the past few days I have been writing every day. I have a lot I want to write about my thoughts of food and eating, on getting fitter and on health in general. I also feel that before I invite others to contribute their thoughts I ought to have a bit of material I’ve written myself.

But also I want it to look right and I wasn’t especially happy with how it looked (though I like the theme I’ve chosen on the while). So yesterday I decided to put together a front page and then crazily published it too early. Hours passed while I tried to fix things and so I spent all afternoon and half the evening down a WordPress plugin rabbit hole. It’s still not quite right but lets call it work in progress. Plus I want to write something here. Especially as the Wicked Wednesday post where I wrote about it as one of my goals was chosen in the round up by Marie. Plus she has kindly highlighted it. My plans for this new place are:

Plans for Food Fitness and Health

Provide a vanilla place for myself to write about my progress to maintaining my health and being ready for surgery. This will require me to lose some weight, but also to be fit for surgery. Then afterwards to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Provide a place where people might find my Breast Cancer journey (though it will still be here), I’m hoping to attract non Sex Bloggers as well as my lovely kinky friends.

Provide a space for others to write about their health goals and projects. To provide encouragement, advice and support to each other. This isn’t about saying we all have to conform to the same ideal. Since health means different things to different people.

To share recipe ideas. This won’t just be about eating food that might be considered ‘healthy’. Since feeling good also includes sweets, chocolate and carbs. But in the main I will be trying to find ways around sugar, food with fewer starchy carbohydrates etc. So any recipes to make me feel good while eating healthy will be fabulous.

Link to other sites such as Sex Bloggers for Mental Health, since mental health is as (if not more) important as physical health. Certainly one can’t happen without the other. Links to other health and food related blogs and sites I wouldn’t link to here.

Review books and try to weave through the crazy world of diets, weird fads and health crazes. Including calling out the downright dangerous, body and sex negative stuff that fills the internet.

In a few weeks

I’ll launch a meme (plus guest posts) over there for sharing food, fitness and health related articles, stories – good and bad. I hope you will come and join me there.

Positivity

Another week of being mindful about my health and wellbeing has passed and I’m feeling more positive. I truly believe that to lose weight you have to be in the right frame of mind. I’m in it and I hope it lasts.

Fitness

This week I have been reading about metabolism and how to improve it. I’m a woman in the second Half of her 50’s, going through a second. drug induced menopause. So it isn’t surprising my metabolism is sluggish. Two things from my reading struck me: eating more protein and moving more. I am trying to have some protein at each meal, it is better at keeping you feeling fuller longer and has less calories than carbohydrates. But this week I have focused on moving. Once I get stuck into a book, or reading blogs etc. hours can pass me by. Then when I rise from my chair I feel stiff. So I’ve been making sure I follow the Fitbit and do at least 250 steps each hour (preferably more).

End result – more steps! Thankfully the weather has improved so I’ve been able to get out walking. Plus a brilliant victory in the swimming pool – I managed 30 lengths in 30 minutes this week which is back up to where I was some years ago. I’m really enjoying this weekly exercise and am definitely keeping it up. I am also eyeing the gym upstairs from the pool and it is only a matter of time before I take myself up there. Motivated or what?

Diet and weight loss

I’ve eaten so much salad and vegetables I’ll soon turn green! Seriously I am eating salad most lunch times and lots of veg at dinner time. I am also trying to eat more slowly. The wine consumption has increased a bit and I need to scale it back down, especially at weekends. But I have stepped up the amount of water I drink. This week I lost another 1lb so that is 4lb in 3 weeks. While I’d like more it is consistency that is important.

Planning ahead

In just over 2 weeks we head off on our 6 week trip. I’m beginning to think about how I’ll stick to my eating plan and make sure I do enough exercise. For the first week we’ll be visiting new places and staying in hotels. So, there will be plenty to walking and hopefully enough restaurants in the towns we stay in to find healthy eating options. I will need to stay away from too much bread and cheese. Plus of course wine. I need to check to see if any of the hotels have a pool as it will be good to keep that particular exercise up. Once we arrive at the apartment there is a pool in our complex, but I’ll need to swim in the mornings before all the kids arrive.

All in all I’m feeling very good about this and definitely need to keep hold of this positivity.

General frustrations

My laptop has been playing up big time and that has put me off of blogging so much recently. Coupled with a blog that spent as much time down as up this weekend and it is no wonder I have been absent. But my blog host has rebuilt their server and I have a new MacBook on order. The one I’m using now is over 6 years old and I think it may well be on it’s last legs.

We completed my tax return for the last tax year last week and I am due a reasonably large rebate. Big enough to allow for the extravagance of another Apple product! Anyway I digress from the main frustrations of life.

Weight loss

Friday was weigh day and I had lost 1lb. Despite filing my face with spinach, tomatoes and other salad stuff all week that is. Maybe looking back one or two bad habits had slipped back in (i.e more than one glass of wine), so that will be rectified this week. But anyway a loss is just that and I plough on.

Exercise

The weather last week was terrible. For several days it rained almost constantly, so although I walked to the pool on Tuesday my step count was down considerably. So, I have downloaded a fitness app and am now exercising 2-3 times a week in doors. The exercises so far seem good because I can feel them later, though have recovered the next day. Tomorrow is Tuesday and I plan to walk and swim again.

Work

So, just when I thought I wouldn’t be working this side of autumn I have a project to do. I’m reviewing some health services the other side of London for the next few weeks before we go to France. This is going to involve much time at the computer (hence the decision to buy the new laptop). It will also mean a night or two away, which will be worth it for getting things done quickly and not spending too much time driving. This week I am planning everything and will be out and about next week. Then I’ll take some of my holiday time to write up the report. As it’s through and agency I’ll be getting paid weekly and that is a great bonus.

Health

Last week I saw one of the surgeons, they alternate with the oncologists. He seemed pretty happy with progress which was great. I am due my first annual mammogram in October which will be a landmark event. My plastic surgery appointment about the reconstruction is in September, so I am now free from health appointments for the summer.

So that is my FFF, late again. Other contributors can be found on Fondle’s blog here.

Progress – Fit for Friday #9

At last I feel I’m making progress with my fitness and weight loss. Plus I’m feeling positive about achieving my goals. So to the summary for this week.

Diet and weight loss

In some ways double paying for weight loss support seems crazy. But for a limited period it feels the right thing to do. My slimming world group is supportive and a social event. But I have struggled to stay on plan. I am also convinced that I can no longer eat loads of carbs and still lose weight. Slimming world is based on a food optimising approach, concentrating on eating a balanced healthy diet. It doesn’t involve calorie counting, because if you make healthy choices calorie intake should be less.

But the Noom approach is actually similar, encouraging you to focus on eating foods with a high water content rather than stuff that is proposed. What I am getting from noom though is evidence based guidance about habits and the psychology of over eating. The calorie counting is useful as a guide, but I’m not religiously weighing everything. Interestingly some foods I had considered healthy are more processed than I imagined.

But whatever the science etc. I have lost 2lb this week and am motivated to continue.

Fitness

Spurred on by our recent holiday I have kept up the exercise. Last week I hit 70k steps for the week, though that included the end of the holiday and 20k steps in one day in Amsterdam. I rested a bit after we got back, but then got back to it on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week. I swam again this week, and am pleased to note that I am managing more laps within my half hour in the pool. The sports centre has a gym, which can be used on an ad hoc basis so that will be my next fitness challenge.

Health

This week I had an abdominal CT scan in preparation for my next plastic surgery appointment. The purpose was to check that I have a healthy blood supply so that the subcutaneous fat can be used to create my new breast. I won’t get the result till I see the doctor in August. Meantime, I have to concentrate on losing weight so I am fit for the operation when the time comes. This has, I think given me the renewed incentive for dieting. It is behind the mental progress which is spurring me on.

Fit for Friday #8

I should be up to week 21 or something but for me this is the 8th post. I guess though that doesn’t matter.

Fitness

On Wednesday we returned from 6 days travelling to Holland, via France and Belgium. We mostly stayed in hotels which was a challenge for the diet (more of that below). But there was plenty of opportunity for walking. In fact, my legs still ache! Last week’s step count was up from 61,000 to 66,000 and this week will be even better. My best day last week was 12,517 on Saturday when we visited a beautiful town for a music festival. This increase has prompted me to increase my Fitbit daily target from 9,000 to 10,000. I plan to keep up this level of walking where possible. I haven’t been swimming this week for obvious reasons but might try twice next week.

Food intake

I have recorded my meals religiously over the past 2 weeks, but while away recording exact portions was challenging. I also know that some snacks and drinks went unrecorded. So my plan this week is to be more accurate. I also need to look at portion sizes a bit more than I am used to. I am determined to lose some weight so this week am going to drastically reduce my alcohol intake.

Weight

Not surprisingly I put on a couple of pounds while away on holiday. But am focused on losing that over the next week. We have 5 weeks till we go away again and ideally I’d like to lose a stone in weight by then. Let’s see if this resolution is better kept than the last 25! I feel positive though and positivity brings results!

Health

All is good on the health front. I have a scan this coming week as part of the preparation for my breast reconstruction. More about that next week.

I took the decision yesterday not to go back to work just now. while I like the idea of working again, the job being offered was, I fear going to lead to stress but not fulfilment. It was below my previous pay scale, and they were just a little over keen on having me. The crunch came when I was asked to go to a 9am interview this morning. I decided no thanks. So for now, I remain a lady of leisure.

Fit for Friday on Tuesday

Having stated on the blog that I planned to join in with Fondle’s weekly fitness updates I have completely failed to do so. I have also put back on all of the weight I lost in January. But since I am not to be beaten and since I have a health and fitness update, here I am with Fit for Friday on Tuesday.

Post mastectomy update

Now that everything is well healed and I am over the radiotherapy side effects it is time to look ahead. Yesterday I was the plastic surgery team about a reconstruction of my right breast. There are two choices, an implant that is gradually inflated or a surgical reconstruction. For this, they use the person’s own skin and fat to create a new breast. Luckily I have plenty of abdominal fat and skin so that is where they can take it from. I’m pretty sure that I could have had the operation this summer, but we have other plans. Plus I really want to give my body a good year of recovery.

I also need to lose some weight. This is more about being as fit and healthy as possible for surgery. So I now (as if I didn’t already) have a reason to get on with losing weight. I know I am lucky to be living here in the UK as this operation will be provided on the NHS, I don’t have to pay. It will be done in London, which is less convenient for Master, but we’ve already begun to think about him staying in a hotel while I am in hospital.

Weight loss

Ideally I’d like to lose 2 stone (28lb), this is weight I’ve lost before so I know I can do it. I am pretty sure the tablets I take to stop oestrogen production are interfering in my body’s ability to lose weight. But I’m not going to use that as an excuse as I know plenty of people in my position have lost weight.

I love my Slimming World group, but attending has become more of a social event than it should be. For some reason I struggle with motivation. So I have signed up for a 12 week online programme with Noom. For the last week I have recorded (most) of my food and drink intake plus it is connected to my Fitbit. After a week I have lost no weight, but am not going to lose motivation. Ifeel I have leaned a lot about my eating habits. Now, though it is time to make the necessary changes.

Exercise

I have made a concerted effort this past week to increase my exersise levels. Today and last Tuesday I walked to the swimming pool and swam for 30 minutes last week and 40 today. I am keen to improve the range of movement in my right arm and swimming is good for that. On top of that we walked a lot while in Oxford last week (though I know I drank too much too) and we have made the effort to walk more when we are at home. Last week my step count was up to just over 60k and I plan to gradually increase that more.

On Thursday we are off on a road trip of The Netherlands (via Lille in France) and plan to walk as much as possible when we aren’t driving. I will also try to be much more mindful of my food and alcohol intake than I often am when away.

So, that is my update. I plan to write more Fit for Friday posts in the coming weeks. Who knows some of them might even be on a Friday.

Fit for Friday the catchup

It’s been a few weeks. February was a crazy month blogging wise. February photofest is always fun, but fitting in other posts too makes it all a bit of a challenge. I know I have the time these days, but normal life still has to be fitted in. Also February was challenging for another reason – post radiotherapy blues well and truly set in. Thankfully at the end of the month we headed off on holiday and now I am feeling fit and healthy once again (well kind of).

Diet and weight loss

February was a right off for weight loss. I put on a couple of pounds early in the month and spent the rest of the month losing and putting on the same two. Then I went on holiday and so am where I was at the end of January. Thankfully that gain was just 1.5lb, I guess if I hadn’t had those pizzas and that extra wine I would have lost weight. But where is the fun in that. I only really eat pizza on holiday anyway. It is 6 weeks till Easter and my next trip away, so I’m going to knuckle down and try to shift a few pounds.

Exercise

Thank goodness for holidays. For a whole week neither of us drove a car and apart from taxis from and back to the airport in Cape Verde we used either public transport or our legs (mostly the latter). Walking beside the sea is much more enjoyable than walking down to the shops at home. Plus exploring new places is always fun. So, not surprisingly my step count shot up and I surpassed 10k steps each day for 9 or 10 days in a row. I also swam while away and was pleasantly surprised that I have full range of movement in my right arm. Now I plan to start going to the local pool to swim each week.

Sao Vicente is quite a hilly place, as is Lisbon where we stopped over on our way. Many of the steps while away were up (and down) hill which will have helped keep the pounds off. Keeping up the walking at home is also an aim, but since we have been home the weather has been awful and I am a fair weather pleasure walker.

Health

I guess I naively thought the worst effects of radiotherapy would come at the end of treatment rather than 3 weeks later. I was wrong. The skin under my right arm shed and the area was absolutely raw. My chest area was sore but had nothing on my under arm. Thankfully the dressings supplied by the radiotherapy radiographer helped immensely and by the time we left for holiday I was healed.

The after effects of treatment also brought with them an anticlimactic feeling that I know is written about. I felt very low and lethargic. Our holiday couldn’t have come at a better time.

I was very careful to protect my skin and wore a 50 factor sun block on my chest and moisturised very regularly. I also chose clothes that covered my chest a bit more than usual. for swimming I had my new costume and also a gel prosthesis that doesn’t retain water. It’s a little lighter than the other one I have so win / win.

Since returning I have had one day where I felt exhausted. A combination of travel and lack of sun light I think. But now I’m feeling good. I have a small piece of work to keep me occupied till Easter, so can expect some income in April. I am also very much looking forward to Eroticon, which is next weekend.

Me in my new swimsuit with matching wrap.

Fit for Friday in February

There was no time last weekend for a fit for Friday post. After a quiet January, we burst into February with a vengeance. There have been old films to see, concerts to attend and a couple of gallery exhibitions. We are culturally on top of our game. But this meant a lot of meals out, wine and beer. Enjoyable but not necessarily conducive to weight loss.

Diet and fitness

We’ve had some great meals out as well as in. When we are home we try to eat healthily, and include lots of vegetables. When out though it is difficult because even when you think you are choosing wisely it can still turn up smothered in oil. Mind you, being out and about lends itself to tons of walking and an improved step count. Unfortunately one doesn’t cancel out the other, so the net gain over all has been another pound. Today though my weight stayed the same so perhaps I can turn things around next week. Steps averaged 7000, with some highs of 12,000 and more. But there are some post radiotherapy lows that have definitely got in the way.

Health

They tell you that the after effects of radiotherapy continue for a few weeks following treatment. Also that effects are cumulative. They aren’t joking. I am now 16 days post end of treatment and am as sore as someone who lay in the sun for 14 days without sun lotion. Worse, much of the burnt area is under my right arm. It is red, bruised and bow the skin is peeling. On Wednesday I went back to the hospital for advice and dressings. I know this will pass, but it is seriously unpleasant. I am also tired and fed up.

Luckily we are off on holiday in a week and to be frank I cant wait. I’m hoping that by the time we get home I’ll be ready to step up the steps and exercise in general and lose so e weight.

Fit for Friday #2

This week I have spent many hours in hospital waiting rooms. This is not conducive to taking much in the way of exercise. Even our usual routine of a daily walk to the supermarket has suffered, since we did a larger shop one day on the way home. However, it has been a good week for health and fitness generally.

Dry January

It is now 17 days since my last alcoholic drink, so well over half way. The desire for wine at dinner time has somewhat subsided and I am enjoying the alternative. Usually water or some kind of fizzy low calorie drink. I used to be pretty addicted to Pepsi max but haven’t touched it for months, as I was worried about Aspartame. I am particularly enjoying a ginger beer drink, which is sweetened. However I am restricting myself to a can a day.

I am thinking seriously about how to manage alcohol consumption after I complete dry January. Probably, I need to be mainly a weekend drinker and even then cut back on what I was having before.

I will be breaking Dry January early as I finish my radiotherapy on 30th and intend to drink some wine to celebrate. Coincidentally there is a munch that night and luckily that will be in a pub. While it would be good to finish on 31st, some things need to be celebrated and the end of cancer treatment is one of them.

Fitbit stats

I don’t know if giving up alcohol is the cause, but my resting heart rate has dropped by 10 to 60 or below over the past couple of weeks. It had already dropped over the last few months since I became more rested and less anxious about much at all.

My hours of sleep are about the same, and I seem to wake the same number of times. But I feel more rested when I wake in the morning and best of all am not up to the toilet so much. This must be due to the no alcohol thing.

As for step count. We went to London this week for an art exhibition and that day I managed to clock up 11,000 steps. My average overall is 5500. This is way down on what I was doing when at work and isn’t something I can do much about until after Radiotherapy. But we are out this weekend to see some films, again in London, and will be walking around quite a bit. So I am hopeful of pushing up the average.

Diet and weight loss

In the main I have kept to my slimming group plan this week. We’ve eaten lots of extra vegetables, i’ve eaten fruit as snacks and not succumbed to chocolate. Not difficult since we don’t have any left. The result of this effort, plus no alcohol has resulted in a 2lb loss which puts me back to my August weight. My BMI is 31.1 so heading back to overweight rather than obese!

The tankini and new tops I ordered last week have arrived. These are all post mastectomy items with pockets for your prosthesis. The desire to look good in these garments is spurring me onwards.

Fit for Friday 1

In an attempt to be more structured about the changes I am trying to make to my diet and fitness levels for 2019 I have joined FFF 2.0. This is a weekly check in for bloggers and others without a blog on the Fondler’s Anonymous blog. Fondles will then provide a round up with her own entry. She and I go back a long time, in fact her relationship with BIKSS began at the same time I started mine with S. She stopped blogging for a while but has been back stronger than ever for over a year now. They are still together and of course I am now with G.

FFF Goals for 2019

  • Lose weight
  • Increase step count
  • Eat healthily
  • Reduce alcohol consumption

Progress Week 1

I decided the best way to kick start my weight loss was to give up alcohol for a month. I actually started on 2nd Jan. We rounded off New Year’s Day with a lovely bottle of English Sparkling Wine in the bath.

I can’t deny that I have missed the wine and gin, but not enough to lapse. Plus, as mentioned before it seems a good idea to abstain during my radiotherapy. Combined with cutting out sugar (again) and eating healthily all week I have lost 2lb in weight.

My step count hasn’t been fantastic averaging only about 5K. I have got too used to sitting about most of the day (writing and reading so not idle), but definitely too sedentary. So the aim next week is to get moving towards my previous 9k average.