Stonehenge and other diversions

2 Mar

It’s been a busy few days at Cauliflower Towers.  After going to the London Comic Super Show (more on that later), Dave dropped Lucas and I at home and then headed back to London to spend the week showing some friends around the city.  They’d come over for a “once in a lifetime” type trip, so he was happy to tag along and play tour guide.  From all accounts, they had an awesome time!  I am very, very jealous that they went to the Sherlock Holmes Museum and I will definitely be going there when I’m next in the smoke!

Yesterday our friends wanted to see some countryside before jetting off home, which we certainly have plenty of in England, so I picked them up at the train station and we went to Stonehenge and then to Bath.  I had forgotten just how bleak Salisbury Plain could be.  The wind was bitterly cold up there!  But Stonehenge was awesome, as it always is.  They now have an audio tour included in the ticket price, which is what I was listening to in the photo above, which is quite dramatic and along with the mist and the wind, it was quite an atmospheric trip.

By the time we got to Bath the sun had struggled out from behind the clouds and it was gloriously warm.  (The temperature swung from 5C at Stonehenge in the morning to 14C!)

I say this every time I’m there, but I really should spend more time in Bath.  It’s one of the prettiest cities around and would be great for a nice long walk…. There’s almost always an opera singer or two busking near the Abbey on sunny days, and I love the speciality shops…

And now, take a trip back in time to the LCSS!  It was awesome!  One of the best shows I’ve ever been to.  I think the organisers did a great job for their inaugural show.  We met up with some old friends and made some new ones, and I stood in several queues with determined Britishness and got sketches from three of my favourite artists.  Lucas dressed up as a Power Ranger and eventually decided that posing with other superheroes was quite fun.

Lucas with She-Hulk and Wolverine

Before the show started we went for a walk around Tower Hill and then across Tower Bridge for the first time.  Tower Bridge is hugely iconic to me.  I grew up on kid’s TV shows made by Thames Television, and I remember seeing the bridge on TV several times a day as a result.  I always get a bit tingly whenever I cross the Thames and going across Tower Bridge itself?  Awesome.  Such magnificent architecture and engineering.

Oh, and last, but by no means least, my amazing Batman sketch by Jock!

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Downward trend…

2 Mar

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I love graphs. Especially when they show a steady downward trend! This graph from MyFitnessPal (allana3uk, if anyone fancies buddying up) shows my loss over the last three months. You can see the occasional blip where I’ve had a stressful week and resorted to comfort eating, but I’ve managed to get myself back on track each time. That’s what I’m proudest of.

So, here’s to another three months of trending downwards! I wonder how low I can go?

Tales from the scales #5

1 Mar

Phew!  Busy week!

I opted to weigh in a day earlier than usual as I knew today would be a bit tricky for food.  Roaming the countryside with friends and stopping at random pubs for food doesn’t lend itself to particularly good eating.  Well, usually.  I think I did pretty well to find a gorgeous steak–wikipedia tells me that a bavette of steak is a flank steak, learn something new every day–with a flat mushroom and roasted tomatoes.  Perfectly primal!  We had mezze for dinner–I had shark!  Always wanted to have shark!–and while I did succumb to a solitary scoop of Turkish Delight ice-cream, I’m not bothered.  I’m planning to zumba tomorrow and I reckon I’m still in the carb sweet spot anyway.  Plus, I let Lucas eat half my scoop as well.  I’m all for him trying new flavours!

So, to the scales!

Last week: 17st 11 (249 lb)

This week: 17st 9 (247 lb)

2lb lost!

Only four pounds to go and I’ll have lost 3 stone!  I’ve just had a peek at my first weight loss entry and I’ve lost 7lb in 5 weeks which I think is pretty respectable and it is seriously motivating to see the line on my graph going down down down. Time to make a plan for next week and stick to it.

Tales from the scales #4

24 Feb

A fantastic week!

Last week: 18st

This week: 17st 11

3lb lost!

I am so, so happy!  There may even have been a victory dance after I hopped off the scale… Sticking to my meal plan and keeping plenty of easy foods around for lunches seems to work really well for me.  Such a simple idea, but if there’s good and easy food available then I am less likely to go raking through the old snack basket looking for a cereal bar or chocolate.

I have also hit one of the mini goals I set for myself.  I am now under 250lb!  (249 to be precise.)  Only 6lb to go until I hit 3 stone lost.  I think that might get me doing cartwheels.

The coming week will be tricky.  We’re away this weekend and I’ve had a look at a few restaurants and have found some that have Primal-sounding dishes.  I’m not going to be too picky about it, because I rarely go out to eat, but I would like to keep away from grains and legumes so that I don’t feel dreadful the next day.  I have a cold, I don’t need food to make me feel dreadful, too.  Looking forward to it, though!  Especially if I can talk Lucas into trying a Brazilian restaurant… I quite fancy something spicy to sweat this cold out!

 

Baby got back!

22 Feb

I like big butts and I can not lie…  Oh, Sir Mixalot, how I love thee… You did more for big-bottomed girls than Queen.

Now, I’ve always liked my ass.  It’s huge, yes, but it has a nice shape to it, and for years I’ve gone around thinking that it was, well, in good shape and I didn’t need to do any specific exercises for it because the occasional squat covered everything.  Apparently Not.  It turns out that ‘out of sight’ really is out of mind.

Recently, my doctor referred me for physiotherapy as I have what can be kindly described as a ‘dodgy back’ and would really like to avoid spinal surgery, ever.  I had an MRI in September—OMG, I love MRIs.  Am I weird?  So bizarrely relaxing—after about five years of on and off again back pain, ranging from oh, my back’s a bit sore today to I would be screaming if I could actually figure out how to open my mouth.  It turns out that I have three prolased discs in my lumbar region (L4, L5, SC1), one of which has fallen backwards and is intermittently compressing my sciatic nerve, which has left me with (aside from the back pain), a weird patch of altered sensation on the top of my right foot.  Did you know the sciatic nerve is the longest in the body, running down both legs?  That goes some way toward explaining why sciatica hurts so bloody much.

We don’t know how I prolapsed all these discs (but I’m pretty convinced that it happened during Lucas’s birth which was fast and unmanaged), and we certainly aren’t going to have a surgical intervention unless I start spending a lot of time flopping around on the floor in spasm (I have no plans for this), so the best thing seemed to be some intensive physiotherapy.  Hence the referral.

Enter Janet, my tiny physiotherapist.  I’d imagine that you’ll hear a lot about Janet in the next few months…

I went into the appointment expecting lots of poking and prodding and to them be given loads and loads of ab exercises.  It didn’t quite turn out that way… After ‘gently examining my back’ which felt more like The Mighty Thor was smacking his hammer down my spine, Janet  asked me to do a bridge.  So I dutifully did one and thought that I’d done quite well, until she said, “Now, do it again, but this time don’t brace your arms and really clench your buttocks.  Stop cheating.”  So I tried… and tried… and eventually managed to get my ass about an inch off the bed.  Clenching one’s buttocks shouldn’t be the hardest thing ever, should it?  It would appear that my glutes have gone into hibernation (which is a nicer thought than my muscles atrophying.  They’re just asleep.)  We won’t talk about my pitiful attempt at a one-legged bridge.

I then discovered that my sciatic pain has two sources.  The prolapsed discs and apparently, my sciatic nerve runs through my piriformis muscle instead of alongside it, which has irritated the nerve!  Wonderful.  Wikipedia tells me that 17% of people have thie lovely mutation.  My husband is beginning to wonder if I am still under warranty for returns…

In good news, I am really flexible.  She couldn’t stop talking about it, in tones of absolute astonishment.  I couldn’t quite figure out if I was astonishingly flexible or astonishingly flexible for a fat person.  Either way, Janet the Physio is Astonished.  She also tells me that I have really strong abs which is nice.  I look forward to revealing six-pack abs when I hit goal.  There’s a lot to be said for contracting your abs every so often and isometrically squeezing them.  I do it whenever I remember (guess what I’m doing right now?), while I’m standing in a queue at the supermarket, when I’m waiting at the traffic lights.  Like I said, whenever.  Mark Sisson wrote a post about this a few years ago, here.  I am now trying to do the same for my ass which is really hard as I seem to be clenching the hamstring and outer thigh muscles instead.

The upshot of this appointment is that I need to do lots and lots of bridges, pelvic tilts and clams to start strengthening the glutes and also work on my overall core strength by spending time sitting on a Swiss ball.  (Apparently I get to work up to doing bridges and crunches on the ball.  Yay!)  I dutifully trotted out and bought one last night and after the hilarity of blowing it up (Dave drew some very expressive squeaks and wheezes from the pump) spent a very wobbly ten minutes on it before bedtime, trying to lift one foot off the ground and well, not fall over.  My living room is now accessorised by a large shiny silver ball that makes me simultaneously think of Barbarella and a Sontaran spaceship.  I suspect I resemble a potato-headed alien more than I do Jane Fonda…

Oh!  Oh!  And in a few months, when I’ve got some strength in my glutes, I can join the hospital gym for their “Back to Fitness” group!  Geddit?  Geddit?   Janet told me about this while I was sitting on a Swiss ball.  Nearly broke my neck laughing.  I do love a good pun…

Meal Planning Monday #3 (20 Feb)

20 Feb

Hello, Monday!

Half-term is over and Lucas (and I) are very excited about the first day of school.  He’s looking forward to seeing his friends again and I’m looking forward to some peace and quiet.  And maybe a nap.  Hey, naps are totally primal!

This week I am fearsomely organised.  I actually made my meal plan on Saturday night, added the resulting shopping list to my second brain iPhone, and then hit the supermarket first thing on Sunday morning.  After I played Fridge Tetris, I made some salsa egg muffins for Dave’s breakfasts this week, followed by an Italian turkey meafloaf and a batch of cauliflower mash for his work lunches. So, he’s all set for the week and my halo is shining as brightly as any angel’s.

We’re off to London this weekend for the London Super Comic Convention which promises to be lots of fun.  I love London and going there is always a blast!  It’ll be good to see some of our old friends and make some new ones!  Eating properly will be challenging, but I’ll do the best I can and hopefully all the walking around Excel and the riverside will help with whatever damage does get done.

M: Moroccan Meatballs with cauliflower pilaf

T: BBQ chicken pizza (cauliflower crust!), sweet potato fries

W: Pork tenderloin wrapped in pancetta with sage, onion and apple; roasted sweet potatoes or carrot-cauliflower mash. Haven’t decided yet.

T: Leftover Moroccan Meatballs.  Mmmm… meatballs.

F: Out for dinner

S: Out for dinner

S: Chocolate chilli, cauliflower rice, sprinkle of cheddar cheese

I’m linking up with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday again.  Always fun to see what other people are cooking!

Tales from the scales #3

17 Feb

A much better week!  I think the lack of high-stress (or high-anxiety) situations really helped to keep me on an even keel.  My car, a significant source of stress lately, is on its last legs and at least now that I know what is wrong with it, I can fret less.  Fear of the unknown, I guess, or fear of expense.  Cars are such money pits!

Last week: 18st 4

This week: 18st

A loss of 4lb–w00t!

I am really proud of myself for getting right back to eating properly.  It helped, of course, that I felt dreadful after eating so much rubbish; I don’t fancy feeling like that again for a long time, if ever. I started off the week well with a 2.25 mile walk with Lucas–mostly uphill, too–and after doing that there was no way that I was wiping out my good work by over-eating good stuff or eating rubbish.

So, on to another week!  My little monster will be back at school on Monday and I’m looking forward to getting some more exercise done.  If the weather stays half-decent then I plan to walk to school to pick him up rather than drive.  I’ve been enjoying walking a lot lately, and I even found myself turning down a lift the other day so that I could clear my mind with a walk.