Imperfect Ten

The lovely M has a blog game thingy going on where she gives you a letter and you come up with ten words starting with that letter that somehow pertain to your life. Here is my lacklustre attempt at the letter T!

Total rest is what the physio ordered this week, since the knee hadn’t improved. No bike, no Spin, no Pilates, no Everest attempts – no freaking exercise at all. (Updated to clarify: This is rest for the upper body too as the shoulder/back are still problematic, see my comment below. The only thing I am doing is certain kinds of ab exercises and of course the physio exercises.)

For the past five-and-a-bit years I have spent all my energies trying to motivate myself to move my flabby arse, but I have to find the motivation not to move. It’s been complete and utter…

Torture! There was a time when I’d have done anything to avoid exercise. I’d long for broken legs or measles or rabies – anything to keep me out of PE class. I’ve finally got my note from the doctor and now I don’t want it. I feel so flabby and blah. But I will be good and rest properly, because I have a fear of…

Theatres. Operating theatres, that is. If my knee doesn’t heal soon I may need an arthroscopy. It is a routine procedure, but that doesn’t mean I won’t freak out. I don’t want a camera poking round in my joints, thanks very much.

Three is the number of days left in May, which means I have three days in which to finish the draft 2001 chunk of my stinking book. I am slightly behind schedule.

Time-wasting is what I am doing by writing this entry instead of writing those chapters.

Thirteen thousand words of shite is what I have so far. It stinks. Can you smell if from where you are? Let us pray that it will all scrub up at the editing stage.

Tea is a beverage I like to drink. Especially when paired with scones and jam and cream.

Tea is also another word for dinner, and tonight I’ll be cooking Melissa’s droolworthy Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Spicy Feta-Olive Salad.

Triceps are my favourite body part to exercise when doing weights. I like tricep kickbacks and barbell extensions, but cannot do tricep push-ups for love or money.

Two kilograms is the amount of Yeo Valley Natural Yogurt crammed into our fridge right now, since I accidentally clicked on four 500g tubs when placing our online grocery order, instead of the usual four wee 150g tubs. Anyone for smoothies?

Righto, old chaps. I better skdaddle. Hope you are all well!

Geek On Wheels

It pelted down with rain today. For a week the weather has veered wildly from rain to hail to sunny bursts to gale force winds to general shitiness. Top temperature of 13’C (55F). It’s almost June! WHERE THE HELL IS SUMMER?

I went out on my bike on Sunday afternoon anyway. It was smooth sailing for the first half of the trip. The dark clouds behaved themselves, there was minimal dog shit on the cycle path, and I was feeling rather speedy and competent! Until Gareth pedaled up beside me and pinched me on the arse.

I let fly with a nasty torrent of abuse that I won’t repeat because my mum reads this, all while staring straight ahead. I couldn’t reach out and pinch him back as I’m too scared to let go of the handlebars. I can only ride in a straight line, you see. There’s no admiring the scenery. I’m no good with corners or sticks on the ground and afterwards my hands are cramped and red raw from my death grip on the handlebars. I am sure this will get better over time!

Riding back home was interesting, as we were heading into the wind and my too-big waterproof jacket filled with air to add even more resistance. It was like pedaling through treacle. Mmmm, treacle. I remember thinking, Whoa! This is just like when we turn up the resistance in Spinning class! Then when I hit a non-windy stretch I thought, Woohoo! Just like the sprints in Spinning class!

Then of course I eventually remembered that cycling on roads actually came first, long before classes where you pedal to nowhere. Moron.

So I had great fun and felt nicely worked out too. The only drawback was feeling like I had been repeatedly kicked in the groin. Even with padded shorts, the seat just ain’t comfy. Gareth has kindly ordered me a nice Women’s Seat, which are designed for a wider butt. And they’re nicely padded with an indent to nestle ones delicate nether regions. A FLAP GAP if you will, as my husband so eloquently calls it.

And! Geekgasms ahoy! I have a bike computer! It’s a tiny hunk of plastic that looks like a glorified stopwatch but it can tell me the time, how far I’ve ridden, how fast and my average speed; plus stock tips and astrology reports. I love statistics. I think this calls for another spreadsheet. Huzzah!


In other news, I weighed in today and the four pound gain of last week has been reversed. But I don’t trust those figures. I will see what happens next week. I’m paranoid that it’s only because my precious muscles have all wasted away from lack of lifting! That was a joke, hold your fire!

Here is a picture of my bike! It’s supergrainy and nicked from the bike shop website. One day I will take a photo of my actual bike with me on it, but I feel too flabby right now. I’ve still yet to give it a name; I was thinking Valentino, after my favourite MotoGP rider. But he has had a run of bad luck lately so I don’t know if should curse my precious machine!

Pep Talkin’

It’s been a week of ups and downs. The first down was weighing in and finding out I’d gained four pounds over the previous two weeks. If you don’t mind I won’t be updating the weight on the sidebar because it’s too bloody depressing, and I am determined to reverse it as soon as possible.

Admittedly my eating hadn’t been perfect, but the real killer has been the drastic reduction in my exercise. I’m just not burning the same amount of calories. My cardio is restricted to bike and elliptical trainer on doctors orders, which can get mighty tedious no matter how funky the tunes are on your iPod.

And I miss my weight training so badly. I’m strictly forbidden to do lower body weights, and looks like upper body weights are out for now too – I did Cathe’s Pyramid Upper Body last weekend and was in agony afterwards – screaming shoulders and back – and not in that pleasant, smug muscle singing way. It seemed to exacerbate the problems I’ve been having. After a week on holiday I thought I was mended again, but as soon as I got back to work and computering again, things started to hurt. Despite being extra vigilant about posture.

Even Pilates is a bitch. Between the knee and the shoulder, the simplest moves feel awkward or painful, like the all-fours box position (kneeling hurts), or the most basic face-down "swimming" move where you simply lift your arm off the floor (poor mobility in that bloody shoulder). I’m so busy trying to arrange my body in the least painful configuration that I forget to do my breathing and stomach contractions properly, which is the whole bloody point of Pilates.

So I definitely need to speak to the physio, yes indeedy. But can I just vent for a minute?

ARRRGH! ARrrghhhh! AaaarrrghHHH!

So that’s why I haven’t written here all week. Have just felt too bloody demoralised and didn’t want to come here just to whinge.

I am sick of the sound of myself! I missing feeling sporty and strong. Instead I feel flabby and paranoid. I’m convinced my biceps are deflating and my stomach is one jiggling, untamed tsunami of flesh.

But I did say there were Up moments this week! It’s been raining all week, which hasn’t helped my mood, but there was a brief chink of dry yesterday in which I was out on my bike. I felt so much more comfortable with that machine, I wobbled less and I even went down a hill and enjoyed it! Okay, it was hardly Everest. But it was slope in the park that I used to whinge about when I had to run up it, so I will count that as progress. I had such a great time. This could be my saviour!

I need to stay positive, instead of moping about wishing I could get a transplant for the entire right side of my body. I need to get through this. I need to find ways to burn calories without causing further injury. I might need to eat less to compensate. But I can’t keep letting things overwhelm me and let even more pounds sneak back on. It may take longer and I may have to do it differently than I’d planned, but I’m too close to the end to screw it up now.


Recipe Corner: Mighty Sputnik

This post was imported from my short-lived, now-defunct food blog, Cooking With Ginger.


A couple of weeks ago this strange and seemingly extra-terrestrial vegetable appeared in our organic box delivery. Thanks to the clever citizens of the internet, I quickly discovered it was kolhrabi. Most people recommended I try it raw, and indeed the lovely and famous Clotilde once wrote about the joys of pressing slices of it into a wee pile of sea salt. And it sounds even more exotic in French: le chou-rave! 

In the end I opted for this Kohlrabi Slaw. If you're trying to lose some blubber, SLAWS ARE YOUR FRIEND, people! Sick of lunchtime salads? Tired of grilled fish for dinner? Worrying about how to fit in your Five A Day? Just get out the grater, baby. It's easy to mow through a pile of vegetables when they're in slaw form. And you don't need barrells of mayo either! This recipe calls for just a few tablespoons, but I think it would taste fine if you left it out altogether and just used the lime juice and vinegar. We had this with some tuna steaks and a oven-roasted potato wedges. The kohlrabi is zingy and fresh and makes a nice change from ol' fashioned cabbage-based slaws. Thanks for your help, Internet Detectives!

Serves:  4
Source:  Slashfood

1 large kohlrabi, peeled and grated
1/2 fuji apple, peeled and grated (I used a whole bog-standard Braeburn!)
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 sweet yellow or red onion, thinly sliced
handful of chopped parsley (whoops, forgot this)
juice of half a lime
3 or 4 shakes of sherry wine vinegar (I subbed white wine vinegar)
mayonnaise, just enough to bind ingredients
sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Combine everything in a large bowl. Mix well. Chill 30 minutes to blend flavours. Serve. You cannae get easier than that! 

Serving dish courtesy of New Blossom Chinese takeaway down the street. One day I will take a proper photo instead of hasty snaps of leftovers!

Getting To Know You

Hello comrades! I’m back from Amsterdam. Things didn’t turn out so well Radiohead-wise, but it’s a lovely town and we had a great time and I didn’t eat too badly. Ha!

My problem has been more about the days before and the days after. All this stupid knee/shoulder pain, and feeling frustrated and translating that into too many pieces of cheese on toast. But I was back on track today. No more wallowing.

. . .

This month is designated 2001 Month for The Book. I’m giving myself a month to write each year, if that makes sense. 2001 is proving to be a real bitch. I’ve got my notes and my outline and I’ve poured over the archives so many times, but I’m still struggling. It’s taken me two weeks to figure out why – I just don’t recognise myself.

I always downplay how much this Lard Busting Journey has changed me. I fear sounding like an egotistical wanker, and I don’t want people thinking I’ve done anything particularly special or difficult. People ask me How I Did It and I’ll say I just ate right and exercised. For five years.

But reading back, I was a completely different person in 2001 and it’s hard to relate to her. Who was this chick, hiding from the world, afraid to go to the pub with friends, exhausted by a walk around the block? Don’t get me wrong, I empathise with her, I want to hug her and sometimes kick her arse — but it’s so hard to believe that was actually me.

Back in the day I used to wander up and down the aisles at the supermarket in tears, wondering if I’d ever climb out of my black hole. Then I’d stop by the freezer and pick up a 4-litre tub of Home Brand Vanilla Ice Cream. No expense spared! I’d eat the whole lot it in front of the telly over the next few days, just plain or sometimes drizzled with passionfruit cordial. Cordial makes a great sauce on the cheap, don’t you know.

And then last week in the depths of my injury-related self-pity, I was cruising the freezer aisle again. I debated for ages over whether or not to buy a Marks & Spencer Exotic Fruit Split, a single serve ice cream with just 100 calories. Tastes like passionfruit!

So I still like my comfort food in the same flavours. Not everything has changed. But at least the portion sizes are different!

Y’know, I’m always bitching about how I’m taking so long to lose this blubber, but if it had happened any quicker my head would probably just explode from the enormity of it all.

Don’t Like Hills

The shoulder is much improved! Thanks to rest and ibuprofen and stretching and paying attention to my posture, I’m no longer in agony. I even cranked out 1300 words of Book yesterday with no major problems. As I said in the comments of the last entry, it’s no good me doing all these bloody Pilates classes and yoga tapes if I’m not going to put it into practice in everyday life.

Today at the physio we focused more on my Dodgy Knee. What Dodgy Knee, you may ask. Well it’s the same ol knee I injured during my running training last year. It’s still giving me trouble almost a year on, I just haven’t been boring you with the tedious details. It seems ridiculous that I could still be having problems from such a brief flirtation with running, but it’s true. While the pain eased the general grinding and sporadic aches never really improved. And because I’m a bloody idiot, and got used to the sensation, I never got round to doing anything about it til now.

I don’t want to go into too many details, because it’s impossible to accurately describe almost a year of various pains and attempts at healing and medical advice in just a few paragraphs, and it’s always open to misunderstandings and assumptions and that can be frustrating. But in summary, it turns out the knee is still in very bad shape. The exercises my last physio prescribed were apparently doing more harm than good, and my attempted Running Comebacks were premature. And some of the things I did thinking they were Low Impact were actually too much impact.

Arrgh. Arrgh. So. It’s going to take some fixin’. I’ve got 4-6 weeks of therapy coming up. No lower body weights, no squatting, no kneeling, no rowing and running is totally out. I’ve only to do the most teeny tiny exercises, like tensing my quad and releasing. Six sets of ten. Exciting. And after this time if it doesn’t respond I may have to be referred to the dude that has the camera thingies they stick in your knee to clean out all the debris that may be floating around in there.

Which of course freaking terrifies me. I don’t want anyone digging around inside my knees! I will do these exercises and rest and make every attempt to avoid the digging.

You have no idea how angry and frustrated I am with myself right now! I am so crap at listening to my body. All this past year I have been so obsessed with getting fitter and smaller that I just neglected to properly treat this knee. Since the crippling pain had gone, I thought it was okay to have the freakishly loud grinding. I didn’t do this out of misplaced martyrdom, I just stupidly got used to it and got busy with my weights and kickboxing and lord knows what, all the while making it worse.

Anyway, I’ll stop my whinging. The upside is, I’m in truly excellent hands. And I am determined to be a good, responsible patient this time. I’ve learned my lesson.

. . .

At least I have full blessing to cycle. I got my bike on Saturday and it RULES. We rode seven miles that afternoon and I had a ball, when I wasn’t crapping my pants with terror. I had my fingers poised over the brakes the whole way, just in case, and when we got back my hands ached from gripping the handlebars so hard. Nearly fell off coming back into our driveway, upon realising too late that I lacked the balancing skillz to do a hand signal.

On Sunday we went to the park where I was humiliatingly overtaken by a swarm of six-year-olds. Then I discovered my fear of descents most definitely applies to bikes as well. Anytime there was even a hint of a downward slope – say, the distance between the top of a Mars Bar to the bottom – I would freeze and dismount and whimper, "I don’t like hills! I don’t like hills!".

It’s a learning curve, I tells ya.

. . .

So Gareth and I are away tomorrow for a couple of days to see my beloved Radiohead and have our first non-wedding-related break together! Huzzah. I promise to return refreshed and ungrumpy. Take care, dear comrades!

Sporty Spice

Yesterday my GP said I was, "obviously a very sporty person". I almost snorted, but mostly I wanted to drop to my creaky knees and kiss his feet. He made my day.

He also agreed that my shoulder is screwy. I got a physio referral but the appointment isn’t for a couple of weeks and I don’t think I can wait much longer. Been calling round today, trying to get a private appointment but having no freaking luck at all. The back of my hand and under my collarbone are all tingly/burny and it feels freaky I tell you.

(Update: Just got an appointment for Monday. Huzzah!)

He also gently pointed out that my posture was appalling and that was certainly not helping. Even sitting there in the surgery, I was slumped in the chair, my shoulders bunched up around my ears and my back curled. You know what it is? I sit like I still weigh 350 pounds. I sit like my chins blend into my boobs with no defined neck, like there’s still that giant wall of flesh between my spine and the back of a chair, like my arse and stomach is a vast moat surrounding me. I looked in the mirror and you could just see it in my posture, me in the middle of the chair with all the space around me filled with invisible fat.

I might try walking round with a book on my head.

. . .

Another 0.7 kg (1.5 lb) surrended before the scales yesterday. Hurrah!

The Scottish Companion and I are heading off for a couple days next week, so there’ll be a fortnight before the next weigh-in. I must be strong, grasshoppers! I do not want a repeat of the Portugese Pounds.

. . .

A huge thanks for the comments on the last entry. Lots of great cycling anecdotes and ideas. And a particularly cheers to Nic who has provided me with something new to obsess about: online rowing. And then Anna emailled with some excellent tips on rowing technique. Cool. How dull would life be without the internet?

. . .

So it’s May. A third of the year is gone. OH DEAR. A third of 2006, people! What a slap to the chops that is.

One nice thing is I’ve now successfully and religiously tracked my food for four straight months, something I’ve not done for years. And I am detailed, man. My spreadsheet gives me the horn.

Here are some fascinating statistics for you! In the first four months of this year, I have consumed, among other things:

  • 23 cans of tuna
  • 96 apples
  • 57 almonds
  • 54 bowls of porridge
  • 9 chocolate digestive biscuits
  • 205 cups of tea
  • 5.5 glasses of wine
  • 1 serve vegetarian haggis
  • 53 pieces of sushi
  • 480g of chocolate

I don’t know why I get such immense satisfaction from knowing this information, but I do.

Bad Mood Rising

Hello dearests!

A day of rest seems to have helped the ol’ arm a tiny wee bit. I was such a miserable bastard on Saturday. Being physically unable to write was utterly depressing. I didn’t realise how much I depended on it as my outlet. I had things to say! I had Book Stuff to do! And since even old fashioned pen and paper were painful, I started to panic thinking I’ll never get this stinking project done and I’ll never accomplish anything and never be more than the typer of someone else’s letters. Oh comrades, it was a truly wild pity party.

I was convinced chocolate would make me better, but luckily we didn’t have any. Instead I had a wee homemade jam biscuit and spent the weekend being a hermit with the Scottish Companion, watching Northern Exposure Season 4 episodes and the most thrilling MotoGP race ever. I also ventured into the Real World twice to go to the gym.

I’m seeking medical advice on Wednesday. Woohoo…

. . .

The tedious trudge to the Finish Line continues. The scales are showing unpleasing numbers this week. You know what? Screw the scale. I know it’s evil. It’s just that I have this desire to officially reach a healthy weight/BMI. Don’t write and tell me I am obsessed, just please try and understand that I am really anally retentive and I’ve always been a huge nerd for numbers and statistics. I know that the journey doesn’t end at goal, but please just understand that after working on this lard busting project for over Five Long Years, there has to be a proper conclusion.

And not even being too fussy about the numbers. I’m only wanting to reach THE TOP of my healthy weight range for closure’s sake. After that I will just simply continue living the same healthy lifestyle I am now, and the numbers can settle wherever they bloody feel like. I want to tie this up this part of the process in a neat little package.

It’s a good thing I employ so many non-scale methods of measuring progress. There’s no way I’d have lost all this lard if it had only been about the scale. I set myself challenges. I have all manner of spreadsheets. I have plenty of variety and balance. But at this point I must focus even more on the non-scale stuff. I will pretend the scale isn’t an issue and get busy making a healthy life even healthier. The numbers will budge when they’re good and ready.

Here’s a few of my current dorky challenges:

  • To beat my slowass rowing machine speed record (currently 2km in 10:15)
  • Resume Operation Push-Up (I’d graduated from 0.5 to 2 proper full push-ups before my shoulder died. WOW!)
  • Master the stability ball segment of Cathe CoreMax (currently can’t do it without falling off and crashing into the telly!)
  • Learn to ride a BIKE.

Oh people! I bought a bike on Friday! It will be ready this coming Saturday. I have invested a nice chunk of funds into a piece of machinery that I don’t know how to operate. Holy crap! But I have done other things before that scared the crap out of me and I survived so let’s bring on one more. Variety is the spice of life.

Anyway as you can see I have plenty of stuff to do rather than faff about with the scales. I’d best get on with it then. Hope you’re all well 🙂