Diet Update 12

This week I lost 2kg. Of course some of that was the half kilo I put on last week so it’s only a net loss of 1.5kg (about 3 pounds). This is for a total weight loss of 11.5kg (25 pounds).

Still not much of a visible change though. In fact there’s so little change in my forearms that I’m starting to worry that I might have lipoedema there as well. At least I now have an appointment for the next stage of assessment for the lipoedema and it’s less than a month away.

With the end of NaNoWriMo approaching I think it’s time to think about a proper exercise plan. Going to a gym just isn’t practical but I do have a rowing machine. Now I just have to work out how to use it. I’ve got a bunch of weights for weight training but no bars to put them on, no bench and no squat rack. I suppose it’s a start.

 

Diet posts.

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Playlist Track 9 and 10

Track 9 is another song that makes me think about co-dependency but now with a heavy side order of loss and regret. If you’ve never seen the video then I recommend stopping what you’re doing and watching. It’s beautiful and poignant.

 

Track 10 is more about loss and regret and about how sometimes a brief happiness can make seem like a cruel lie when the misery returns.

 

These two songs take me into the state of mind of my little group of amature detectives. They’ve all felt a terrible loss they’re each one striving to be strong for the others. They’re each living with a gaping hole where someone they cared about used to be.

Why not tell me in the comments about the sort of music that helps you when you’re writing? Does it help you to concentrate, or help you visualise a scene, or does it create a mood. And if you don’t like music what do you like? Silence? Ambient noise? Podcasts?

All the Playlist posts.

Just keep writing

For everyone about to face week three of NaNoWriMo.

How you doing? Are you still writing? If you’re ahead then good work but don’t get cocky. If you’re behind but you’re still writing then well done but don’t stop.

Week one was all about enjoying the fun of creation but accepting that your novel wasn’t as good as you hoped it would be because your imaginary novel is perfect and your real one is not only real but a first draft. Week two is about keeping going even after it’s stopped being fun. Week three is different depending on where you are with your word count.

If you’re roughly on track with your word count then Week three can feel a bit precarious. You’ve kept up the pace so far but you’re beginning to worry that you can’t keep it up till the end of the month. You start to worry that you could lose all the work you’ve done so far with just a couple of bad days.

You can’t lose the hard work you’ve already done as long as you have backed up your work. You have backed it up haven’t you? Go and to it now, just to be sure. If you do fall behind you can claw it back. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve even done it myself. But if you’re starting to worry, if you’re looking ahead to commitments that you can’t get out of then decide today to do an extra 20 minutes. After you’ve hit your total for the day write an extra 20 minutes worth of words. Do that whenever you can and you’ll build up a buffer to carry you through.

If you’re well ahead of track, either because you need to finish early, or your story is longer than 50,000 words, or because you’re writing more than one this year, or things are just going really well for you then take a couple of minutes to congratulate yourself. Pat yourself on the back. Eat some cake. Celebrate with a beer if that’s your thing.

Now get back to work. November isn’t over. There are greater heights to scale. There are lessons to be learned from whatever you’re writing. And, since you’re ahead, you have time to spare to help, advise or commiserate with the people who aren’t doing so well.

Speaking of which.

Hi, how you doing? Still writing? Not giving up even though you’re sure you’ll never hit 50,000? Good work. If you can keep writing till the end of the month then you might not officially win but you won’t’ have failed. To keep writing in the face of all the distractions the world can throw at you is its own kind of victory.

But don’t write the official win off just yet. There is still time to pull it back. Just sit your arse down at the keyboard/notebook and write. Write anything. Start by complaining about the mad woman with the walking stick who keeps threatening you. Because if you don’t write more I will come round to your house, stand behind you, and poke you with the stick of doom until you do*.

 

*I won’t actually do this unless you’ve given me your address and specifically asked me to so you’ll have to use your imagination.

Playlist Track 8

This song is for my group of ‘detectives’. They’re good people but they’re all a bit damaged.

Tragic backstories all round.

But the thing about damaged people is that they can be hard to scare. How do you intimidate someone when you can’t say anything that’s worse than they say to themselves? How do you threaten someone when they’re already in more pain than you will ever know?

And if you’re a killer who has so far gone undetected you can forget about them missing any evidence you’ve left behind. The OCD won’t let them miss things that are out of place. The Autism won’t let them stop looking. The PTSD and the depression mean that they don’t care enough about their own safety to  even think about letting things lie.

For further information

Diet Update 9

This week I lost 0.7kg ( just over a pound). That takes my total weight loss on this diet up to 9.5kg (21 lbs or about a stone and a half).

This week I learned that I can have a cheat day and still lose weight but only if I’m defining a cheat day as one where I stay under my calorie limit while not caring about the carbs. Maybe. I was well under the calorie limit though. That’s good news because it means that if I fancy cinema popcorn or a sandwich then I can have that just not every week and I still have to be careful.

I’m still using the coffee trick and it really does work even with decaf. But I’m drinking high quality ground coffee which makes it feel more like an indulgence and less like I’m punishing myself.

As I said last week my referral to the leg ulcer clinic turned out to be useful. The nurse there is referring me to Vascular so they can check on the state of my veins and then to a specialist physiotherapist for massage and compression wraps. The goal is to reduce the size of the affected areas and then get made to measure compression garments. She also prescribed a moisturiser because dry skin on the affected areas can lead to cracking and infection.

For the first time since I heard about lipoedema it seems certain that I do have it and there is a plan to deal with it. I have to keep on the diet though.

Last Update. This Fucking Diet.

Procrastination Deathmatch

So it’s almost time to start writing (for NaNoWriMo). It’s a bit late now for preparation but I have one final tip for those trying to catch up on chores they won’t have time for next month and finishing an outline that they will probably throw out the window sometime during week two.

Don’t do all of the chores. Leave a couple that you really don’t want to do. The ideal chore is something menial, boring and important. Whether it’s deep cleaning the fridge or sorting out the 800 pieces of malware that your mother has somehow downloaded it should be something you loathe.

These chores will be joining your novel in PROCRASTINATION DEATHMATCH. When you should be writing your novel but you’re putting it off these chores are the only acceptable procrastinations. Snacking, Netflix and computer games are for writers. If you owe your novel words then no fun for you. If you haven’t hit at least 1667 words that day either get back to the keyboard or go hack the ice out of the freezer or steam clean the George Foreman grill.

That was an excerpt from one of the messages I have to write as a NaNoWiMo municipal Liaison. I am going to be super busy for the next month. I will be writing a new novel (well the first draft of one), shepherding the members of the Fife forum through their attempts to write and trying to prepare for Christmas.

Usually I don’t post much to my blog during November but this year I’m going to try to continue to post three times a week. However you can expect these to be shorter posts. I will still post the weekly diet update and I will try to post more playlist stuff. I might repost the ‘motivational’ messages that I send to my region. There might also be at least one rant on the subject of how much I hate my fucking novel.

Diet Update 7

I have lost 3.3kg (7lb or half a stone) since my last official weigh in and 8.5kg (18.7lbs or 1 stone and 4lbs) since the start of the diet. That’s ridiculous. You can’t lose half a stone of fat in a week. Clearly my weight is all over the place and it’s probably because of fluid.

I have been a bit more careful about carbs and about meal planning this week. There’s still room for improvement though. I’ve also been starting to think more seriously about exercise. Calorie restriction alone isn’t going to work in the long term.

Exercise is going to be tricky. I have mobility problems, chronic pain and no money. I’ve started with incline pushups and bodyweight squats. I’ve gone from being able to do 4 good form pushups and 1 terrible form squat to 10 and 5 with good form and reasonable speed. My husband has a rowing machine that I’m thinking about using but for some reason haven’t tried out yet.

Ideally I’d like to get back into weight training but with little room in the house, no money for a gym membership, and no easy way to get to a gym it’s going to be tricky. We’re thinking about moving some of the furniture around to make room for weights. I already have some weights and it’s not too expensive to buy more. It’s a decent squat rack and bench that’s going to be expensive. You don’t want to skimp on those because that’s a safety issue.

 

Last Update. Diet update page

Not another #MeToo post

This isn’t a #MeToo post because I’m not ready to talk in detail about any of my experiences. Just be aware that even someone as fat, ugly and grumpy as me has something to add to the chorus.

This is a post about puberty, because that’s where it usually starts. This is a post about the gendered differences in the puberty experience. It’s taken from one of my first drafts, from last year’s NaNoWriMo in fact, and it’s been edited a little to make sense when removed from its context. I suspect it won’t make it to the final draft like this. The entire conversation it comes from might get cut for reasons of pace.

I’m aware that going through puberty sucks for boys. They’re attached to this thing that they can’t control, that keeps reacting to stuff in a potentially visible way. If they like girls then there’s stimulation everywhere that they can’t help reacting to. Girls their own age seem so much more sophisticated than them, younger girls are still children, older girls and women seem to find their near permanent arousal hilarious. If they don’t like girls then our heteronormative society makes them feel like there’s something wrong with them and their erections seem even less appropriate. And regardless of who they like everything in pop culture is conspiring to tell them that they’re doing masculinity wrong

If it’s tough for boys it’s even worse for girls. Every time you leave the house it’s like you’re surrounded by fucking predators. For some girls it’s like that even in their own homes. Our bodies change in ways that we have no control over and suddenly it draws all this attention, not just from boys but from grown men and women. And it’s attention that we are in no way prepared to deal with. We become shop windows for a product that we don’t understand and that everyone seems to want. If we give in to the constant fucking pestering and let them have it then we’re a slut. If they break in and steal it then somehow that’s our fault too. But if we try to hide the goods by dressing like a boy or trying to look unattractive, or God forbid actually being unattractive, then what is the point of us. Because the only point of a girl is to attract the boys.

It’s even worse for girls of colour because they’re bombarded with the lie that the less white they are the less attractive they are. They’re perceived as being more sexual at a younger age and they’re expected to be grateful for any attention they get. East Asian girls are expected to be submissive and just put up with it and God help Asian girls who don’t conform to the appearance standards expected of them. Muslim girls are harassed because how dare they cover up their bodies but any girls that do reveal anything can expect to get pawed like nearly ripe avocados in a Notting Hill Grocer shop.

Tell me in the comments, did I get boys right? I’m talking from my own experience and I went through puberty in the 80s. Maybe it’s different now. I hope it’s better now but I doubt that it is.

The Mathematics of Scottish Independence

Recently an English friend that I haven’t seen in ages suggested that I might hate all things English. I suspect that she thinks that because of all the pro Scottish Independence stuff I post on Facebook. I felt hurt at first but then I realised that it’s not her fault. The London based media has been lying to her about the Scottish Independence movements for years.

Yes I said movements. As in it’s not just the SNP. The Green party is pro independence, so are the various socialist parties. There are pro independent Labour supporters. There are unaffiliated groups like Women for Independence and YesBikers. Most of us don’t hate the English. Particularly not English Scots For Yes – a group of English born people who are vocal in their support for independence and their belief in an inclusive future for Scotland.

Of course that proves nothing. There are pro Trump gay republicans but that doesn’t change the homophobic and transphobic nature of his administration. Saying that some English people are pro-independence therefore it’s not anti-English is like saying that you can’t be racist because you have a black friend.

I’d like my English readers to put their preconceived notions about the SNP and Scottish Nationalism and the Union to one side for a moment and look at the maths.

  1. The first past the post system used for Westminster elections inevitably skews to a two party system.
  2. The Scottish electorate is too small to influence who wins at a Westminster election
  3. Since the Scottish electorate can’t get them into power the Westminster parties have no reason to pay attention to the needs of the Scottish electorate.
  4. Therefore Scotland puts more into the Union than it gets out.

You don’t have to believe me on the problem with first past the post. Here’s CGP Grey explaining.

 

The Scottish population, and thus electorate is tiny compared to the rest of the UK. If you don’t believe me you only have to look at the last two elections. In each one the whole Scottish electorate could have voted Labour and we would still have a Conservative Government.

Once upon a time this wasn’t such a huge problem. The industrial working class in Scotland could make common cause with the workers in north of England and south Wales. Scottish farmers had the same interests as farmers in the rest of the UK. The Peterhead fishing fleet could unite with the fishermen of Cornwall and Suffolk. It’s become a problem because the rest of the UK has swung to the right politically and because advances in polling mean that politicians now know who they have to appeal to in order to win at Westminster and it’s never us.

I know that you’ve been told that Scotland is dependent on the Union. That Scotland is a nation of subsidy junkies. Think about who it is that’s tell you this. The same people that won’t subsidise a spare room for a disabled child’s medical equipment want you to believe that they’re subsidising an entire nation. In the end it doesn’t really matter though. If Scotland is a drain on the rest of the UK then we should be taking responsibility for our own economy and standing on our own feet. If it isn’t then the UK Government has been lying to all of us and basically stealing from Scotland.

In the future these mathematical inequalities will only get worse. Westminster politicians are stuck chasing thinner and thinner slices of the electorate who can actually affect the outcome of the election. Scotland didn’t vote for Brexit and it will probably be  worse for us than for the rest of the UK but we’re stuck with it. See my Tapas Bar post for how that feels. The Scotland that’s depicted in the UK press looks nothing like the Scotland I see when I look around. It’s starting to look like the UK government is ramping up to remove powers from the Scottish Government, maybe even get rid of the Scottish Parliament completely.

 

Bonus Maths:  When London hosted the 2012 Olympics the whole of the UK paid for it, including Scotland. The Scottish share of the bill was at least £165 million. When Glasgow hosted the 2014 Commonwealth Games it was paid for by Scotland. The rUK share of the bill was ZERO. The new Queensferry bridge across the Firth of Forth was paid for entirely by the Scottish Government. Scotland is paying towards the cost of the HS2 rail project even though it doesn’t come north of the border and will probably increase travel times from Edinburgh to London. Estimates of the exact share paid by Scottish taxpayers vary and the oft quoted £3.64 billion estimate is from an anti HS2 organisation.

Diet Update 6

This week I have gained 200g. That’s not a lot. Less than half a pound. But it’s the wrong direction.

It’s particularly galling because I have had a thoroughly miserable week sticking to this fucking diet. I have not gone over on calories but I have been much closer to the line and I did go over on carbs on Friday and Saturday. That could mean that the weight gain is down to to fluid but I’m not going to rely on that.

In the future I need to be more careful with carbs, and I need to work on the assumption that either MyFitnessPal is too generous with calories or there’s stuff I’m eating and forgetting to track and not get too close to the line with Calories.

And I need to drink more coffee. I need to get back into the habit of defaulting to a decaf if I get hungry late at night.

EDIT: I weigh myself on a Monday and then write up the diet update but set it to post on a Wednesday. I do this because no-one else should have to deal with my dietary bitching on a Monday. But it does sometimes mean that the information is out of date by the time it’s posted.

When I weighed myself on Monday my weight was up by 200g. When I got curious and weighed myself on Tuesday it was down by 1.3 kg ( that’s nearly 3lbs). I can’t have lost that much fat in 24 hrs so the difference must be down to fluid. As someone with both lipoedema and lymphoedema I can carry a lot of excess fluid. It could also be down to the difference between having eaten enough carbs to have stored some glycogen and having used up the glycogen and not eaten enough carbs to replenish the stores.

All the Diet posts.