Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bam - Hits You Like A Truck

Good grief - I just had some chocolate on cheat day - goodness me you can feel it impact your body just showing you what you aren't doing to your body for the other 6 (in my case 7 this week) days.  Wham Bam this stuff is good :-)  

I looked at my cupboard with all the tins, pasta, soup and other goodies in it and my mind pictured this:

It's a bit of a disturbing vision but perhaps you can get my thinking especially when you just take a little time to review what's actually in the tin or the packet.   I suppose you could even look at Carbs and Sugar as a type of drug as they present you with cravings and surely cravings for more of the same stuff.......

Anyway, I'm sort of happy that I can have carbs and sugar today and then again I'm not, if you get my drift?  At least for 6 out of 7 days I'm repairing the damage what I'm doing to myself today.  Of course there is also a good reason to have a cheat day and whilst one of them is a sort of reward day for being good 6 days in a week the other is more scientific and it shocks the body and stops it going into a sort of survival mode because you are burning fat off during the other 6 days - if you continued to do that the body has some sort of survival mechanism built into it to prevent this.

British SUMMER Time

And we have a very cold morning but magic blue skies and the sun is shining nicely.  Makes a change from the Siberian winter :-)

It's amazing how it can lift your spirits and today is cheat day too and so I'm just about to embark on a trail of forbidden foods :-).  My Protein Power book arrived yesterday - nicely altered for the UK market which is a good touch as the examples are nicely Europeanised for us.  The amazing thing about this book is the range of food is slightly more than the 4HB or the Insulin Factor but very similar to Dr. Atkins revised book.  It has the chapters neatly summarised in a few pages too so you can go the end of a chapter when or if your eyes glaze over - not that this is an overly technical book it is written for the lay man but it does have some sections in there that are designed for GPs.

So far, the books I've read are all counter-intuitive to what is "accepted" science and yet all of these books rest on accepted science and repeatable experiments.  They've drawn a different conclusion to those by GPs and indeed some Government agencies and some of the stuff you read makes you sit up and think.  A good thing too in my opinion.

When I started on this journey sparked by suddenly getting ill after many years of (seemingly) good health I decided that I'd need to change my lifestyle which in many ways I did.  This included diet and some horrendous mistakes in that diet.  I remember going for a high fruit and vegetable diet, concentrated juices and other similar actions and of course in some ways - maybe as a reaction to being so seriously ill I tended to go fully at a solution and gradual was just a word in a dictionary :-)  I spiked my insulin levels way too high and got a ticking off from the Doctor.

Neither he nor my Specialist had any real tangible advice for me how to keep myself healthy as the last thing I wanted to do was end up back where I started if there was something that I could do to prevent it - it's common sense really but no one really tells you anything they deal with the Symptoms and they very rarely deal with the cause other than, in my case, telling you that it was highly probable that smoking earlier in my life would have brought it on.  

So back to these diet books and what they say.  It's a little bit worrying as they all point to Insulin as being a massive problem.  Of course Diabetes but weight and other problems all point to an imbalance caused mainly through the production of Insulin and that is caused through Carbohydrates (Sugars and Starches .  The problem appears to be that our food (mainly processed) is just loaded with the stuff and where in the good old days we used to have a high protein diet with occasional carbs we now have the opposite and guess what?  Our bodies just aren't designed to take it.  Obesity, weight problems, high blood pressure and heart problems, Diabetes and many other common problems appear to be related and stemming from this one area.

So I read through the book yesterday and it all begins to gel into something that's not great for reading if, like me, you've been told you should have a "balanced" diet.  These books look at that and show another way to lose fat (not weight) and retain muscle whilst doing so making you leaner.  The propose a higher protein approach to eating that is low in carbs and anything else (lactose for example) that would spike your insulin levels.  Why you may ask is that important?  Well there are a number of things that Insulin does extremely well it's a major hormone in the body and responsible for lots of things but when you put sugar into your blood stream it goes to work to take it out of your blood and preserve your body by storing it in cells around the body.  The more carbs you eat the more you store.  The trouble is that you never release the stores all the time insulin is present and storing stuff which if you are stuffing carbs into your body is all the time, it never gets the opportunity to be burnt off.  

It is a big subject but I'm pretty much sold on the basics as I've lost quite a bit of weight and interestingly yesterday on the Easter Egg Hunt I had to do some sprinting around the gardens and lifting stuff around - I didn't feel out of breath at all and also noticed how "fit" I was especially when I consider that 3 or 4 months ago I was out of breath tying my shoelaces!  That shocked me into going on the diet - well that and not fitting any of my clothes.  I'm still losing weight but more slowly at the moment a pound or so a week which is plenty to lose.  I'm in two notched on my belt and my trousers need taking in by a few inches so I'm on the right track.  I don't feel hungry except occasionally and that's often because I don't eat enough sometimes or look for a smaller portion but regret it later.  I'm still learning what is right and after about 10 weeks or so I'm doing rather well I think - I haven't got scurvy or beri beri, I feel great and I feel thinner, I'm beginning to lose the weight around my neck and areas like hips are also improved.  My skin feels good.  

I need to check out my Blood Pressure as that should have fallen down and eventually it should fall to "normal" as well.  I sure hope that this brings all of those areas down too.  It should also have a positive effect on Cholesterol as well.  

I'm sure I'll have more to say about this as I read and compare books further.  The one thing is that they all agree on is that the Insulin coursing around isn't doing humans much good and obesity and a host of other things are caused through stuffing our face with carbs many hidden in the ingredients in processed food.  Want to make yourself shocked - take a look at the amount of sugar in a canned drink or breakfast cereal.   Frightening stuff and some kids can ingest 8 - 10 oz of sugar a day - imagine what that does to your Insulin levels and the work the body has to do to keep that out of your blood stream.......

Enjoy your Easter Eggs :-)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Egg Hunt Done

For another year - the same old faces help year in and year out which is lovely and donate eggs and their time.  It was cold and the sun came out a few times so we were all dressed up to the nines - my thermals worked so well that when I got into the home it was like an instant sauna:-)

We raised over £100 and over £200 for the home in their raffle.  Everyone appeared to have a good time the kids especially.  I've almost forgotten how many years I've run it but the nice thing is that it gets the kids in to the home and it allows children and grand and even great grand children to have a reason to come to the home.  For a nominal amount we run the event and let the kids scoop up loads of chocolate Easter Eggs.  The home donate a number for their raffle and we have members of the Lodge contribute. 

We now have sleet and snow in the air blowing around so at least we got away with it this morning.

Next task for today is to get on with my accounts and try and sort those out somehow.

Friday, March 29, 2013

That Heart Stopping Moment

When you go for a pee and think you see something fire out in the stream.  Only a Bladder Cancer patient can actually tell you how utterly frightening it is to see it.  Warning - gory bit coming up.

The initial presentation is often (but not always) blood in the urine and often bits and clots firing out.  It is gross, it is highly unpleasant and unnatural and I it fills you with horror and foreboding.  A sharp intake of breath and just an almost unexplainable fear bordering on terror.  I wish no one would ever have to experience it - it is just nasty and very very frightening.

So last night, after having got my note to go and get a flexible cystoscope 2 weeks today, I go to the bathroom and saw something fly out and into the toilet bowl.  Now, it could be nothing and is more than likely to be a piece of cotton or something that just happened to be there - I certainly didn't feel anything - and generally (although not always) you can feel if it has come from within you.  I have to say I didn't experience anything like that and so whilst it took my breath away when I saw it, I did a quick think and realised that it wasn't what my instinct told me it was.  

Again, only someone who has had this will know but it brings it all back in a flash, the blood in the urine, the sting of treatment, the fear that having Cancer produces, the black cloud hanging over you and the general negative stuff you had pushed to the far reaches at the back of your mind.

I'm OK about it but of course having spooked myself a bit, sleep was a bit difficult but once I was out I was out and this morning - nothing untoward has happened.  In many ways, I'm going to be checked out in a few weeks and that's fine - if there is anything there - it will be picked up and whether I like it or not - they'll sort it out.  For now, I'm pretty certain that it was just a bit of cotton or fluff or something like that but if it isn't I'll be in good hands and will get sorted out.  Bladder Cancer is (normally) slow growing and so if it is back it will be early stages and they can sort it out.

Of course the thing is not to worry about it and as one Swallow does not a Summer make, I can start to worry if it recurs.  

Anyway - I still feel very well and not at all fatigued (I hadn't realised that had gone away - probably my diet) I also have to say that my general outlook is pretty much OK and now weight is coming under control and as we head out of winter and get some more daylight - and let's hope spring weather - I'm generally optimistic and looking forward to moving on one way or the other after I come back from holiday.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

4 Day Weekend

An interesting weekend - probably the first I can remember when we aren't all together for Easter.  A is working, L is at University for a few more days and then coming back.  I have the Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday and not one of the girls will accompany me.  They used to participate either in the hunt itself and later on organising and face painting.  It is bitterly cold but should remain dry for the hunt itself.  Let's hope that we can hold it outside even if it is a little cold as holding it in what is, after all, an old people's home disturbs the residents a bit - but it is doable and we've managed before.

So with that happening on Saturday morning I then have to return and speak to me friend who will help me out with my accounts.  It's not that I don't get balance sheets but sometimes, having worked on mainly contract accounts, the balance sheet principles aren't as firmly fixed in my head as they should be and so I see myself double accounting or taking something off when I should be adding it on :-)  It may prove interesting that I might be working for a large Accounting Corporation (or not) in the future!  Just don't tell them :-)

My couple of days of experimenting with dropping out the legumes from my diet doesn't appear to be detrimental - I certainly haven't felt hungry at all.  I may have some tomorrow though for a change but not have as large a quantity as I have done in the past.  After all, there are carbs in the vegetables and so it isn't as if I'm missing out on them altogether.  

To eat Cheese or not?

It's a funny question I know but you see opinion is split.  If you follow the 4-Hour Body then you can't have any cheese but can have Cottage Cheese and a few parmesan shavings occasionally.  I believe this is because of the lactose content.  If you read other books they say cheese is mainly protein and fat and is fine to eat although in limited amounts.  Mind you 4 oz would be plenty.

So I'm waiting to see what the consensus is on this.  It is a mixed argument depending on who you read and what plan you follow.  

I hope my book arrives soon, I could do with reading that one and then comparing them all.  It would be nice to have a bit of cheese to flavour some of the meals which can be bland on occasion.

I always try and eat some cheese on cheat day anyway - it is my one real food fad - I like a bit of Stilton or some mature farmhouse cheddar, Brie etc... :-)

Cystoscopy 12th April

I have been expecting a letter for my Cystoscopy for a while as it must have been about this time a year ago and around 6 months since my last one.  What a stroke of luck though being just a few days before we go away.  Let's hope for continued good news.  I certainly haven't noticed anything and neither have I felt unwell.  I have to get a sample over to the Hospital sometime in the next week or so - I'll time it towards the end of next week to allow the results to get to my Consultant before the event.

No matter how hard you try - there's always that lingering element of concern about these things.  I'm hopeful that I will have continued to have made progress and that the repairs have been effective and lasting.

The postman didn't bring my book but then again it is meant to be with me on Saturday....

Not too bad actually

Not too bad this morning - someone told me (I have no idea if it is true or just a wives tale) that if you take statins you hardly ever get a hangover.  I have to say I generally don't get hangovers and this morning whilst I was a little slower out of the blocks I was still up and moving around about 8.

The rest of today will be taken up sorting out odds and ends like words for the meeting I have in June - my swansong, sorting out accounts that I just don't understand (I've got to do something with the balance sheet but appear to have missed the point about some subs - when and what year they were paid in).  At least I have a friendly chap to talk to on that on Saturday!

It looks like cheat day needs to be on Sunday this week as we've been invited out to lunch or dinner or both...

So a bit of a pottering around day - I hope that doesn't lead to me feeling down again later like it did earlier in the week.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Great Fun Evening

Good old Flocky Bicep - what a trouper - he picked me up and the also dropped me back home again - which I wasn't expecting.  That allowed Mrs. F. to go to bed early and that in turn means no ear bending for having too much to drink or otherwise!

Had a great evening and good company and that's what it is all about really.  I enjoy the banter and I also enjoy the company too.  It is nice to meet different people who share a common interest and it was also nice to get out early and get a "few beers (in my case wine) in"

I have no doubt that I will end up being a little bit sleepy in the morning but I need to get up and get moving as there is a possibility that some deliveries are due to the house that need a signature and I'm "home alone" tomorrow.

I feel great after a good meal (sticking to my diet) but perhaps a few more red wines that prescribed!  I believe I will pay for that tomorrow.  

Wednesday already

Blimey where did this week go?  Suddenly it will be Easter weekend and I have the Easter Egg Hunt to go to on Saturday - it looks as if, for the first time in its history we may have snow - but then the weather is a little too fickle to be forecast quite as accurately as that :-)  We have never had snow in the 16 years (or so) of running it - it may even be longer.   We've had it very cold and had it indoors and last year it was nice and sunny but this year looks to be "interesting".

I'm looking forward to spending a bit of time out this afternoon and evening at our Officers' Mess where we will have a nice meal and wine which comes heavily subsidised through membership and annual subscriptions and people who don't come along.  So of the thousands who are eligible perhaps 300 of us turn up and so our meals are very reasonable indeed about half the price they'd normally be.

I need a bit of an escape and some (male) company for a few laughs and a bit of socialising which are the main things, it will certainly lighten me up.  I may even be able to fit into my remaining suits, I will check those out later especially as I now fit comfortably into my Morning Suit and my Interview Suit :-)

I'm still hanging on waiting on whether or not I'm going forward to this next interview stage - it has taken close to SIX months now to get this far and it just doesn't get any easier.  It's the new Tax year next week so maybe they are waiting until budgets can be sorted out.  I hope so.  

In some ways the choice to go back and join a Corporate is utterly clinical and mercenary and in many ways it isn't what I'd do as a first choice.  I've some ideas about what I'd prefer to do and one way or the other, this will make up my mind for me.  Big corporate life will bring big bucks back to the family and bring with it status symbols and all that old guff.  It will allow me to ply my trade and work with huge businesses around the globe and that's exciting and great fun. Of course, I'm also not your average project jockey which may be giving them a few sleepless nights.  I tend to be one of the sorts of people you parachute in to get results and not everyone gets on with someone who gets things done as it tends to expose those who don't.  That could be it.  I wouldn't want to work for me!

If it comes about it sticks some serious wonga in to my account but as someone mentioned the other day that the results of my working at these levels last time may have contributed to the cancer diagnosis.  Well I suppose it may have but I'm certain that smoking and diet also contributed towards it as well.  I'm hoping that my new insights into lifestyle, diet and stress will come to bear in my working life - I should understand and be able to manage my stress levels but I still believe you need a bit of stress to work with or it really isn't worth getting up in the morning.

Oh well - I can wish away all I want to, I still haven't heard from them and that's disappointing but not entirely uncommon quite how they manage their projects is going to be interesting if they take this long to hire - the jobs are probably so laid back they are horizontal.


I had a bit of a wobble yesterday but not too bad - I just felt a little down but not to a level where I was depressed - I was just a bit quiet and not really feeling great.  I guess having been doing things for a week or more and being out and about I then had a day of catching up and trying to sort things out.  

I spent a bit of time catching up on the adventures of a friend who is in South America reading a month's worth of blog entries and photographs of a trip of a life time.  How wonderful and what a great adventure.  I'm looking forward to getting away myself in a few weeks to Italy for just a week but it could just help me get out of the blues this awful winter and last year's events have left me.

I decided yesterday to reduced my carbs a bit and I have no doubt that in doing so I also added to my feeling a bit blue.  I've maintained that through to today as well by reducing the amount of carbs I'm taking in to those in my vegetables.  I'm out tonight and Flocky Bicep is picking me up on the way through - this time last year I walked as it was about 20 Degrees C warmer but it is bitterly cold out there and a lift will do nicely :-)  I was a little bit lighter last year than I am now but I'm certainly heading back to those heady days when my good clothes fitted me.   When I went to the same event about 6 months ago (twice a year March and October) it was cold and I walked but I was a couple of stone heavier than I am now :-)

I'm waiting now for my book The Protein Factor so I can read that and then compare that to the other books I have including the Insulin Factor, Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution, Tim Ferris 4 Hour Body and Gary Taubes Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It.   Each of these has a slightly different approach to losing weight but more importantly they tend to agree on limiting the production of Insulin or having a Low Glycemic approach.  Whatever you may think about these "fad" diets, this is the only one that I can see that I can easily stick to (4 hour body) that allows me to eat well and many of the things I like, lose weight and importantly not lose muscle in the process and I don't feel hungry.  The results are quite impressive as the weight is coming off all over the place.  Men tend to store their fat above the waist and women below but having said that I can see weight off my hips and thighs and my trousers do up around my waist (not under it) and my watch is almost falling off my wrist too.  

These diets are so counter-intuitive to what perceived wisdom says and to what we are told even by health and Government agencies that you need to ensure that something that sounds a little too good to be true really is.  Some of the things are quite logical and quite obvious and yet seem to have been completely overlooked or discussed when talking about dieting.  These books make great and blindingly obvious cases for why conventional diets don't work as people go back to eating the way they did before dieting and that they are literally starving themselves to lose weight.  The old adage of calories in and calories out also doesn't hold water and that fat in puts fat on to you also doesn't stack up either.

Indeed these books make you question the whole "balanced diet" thing and in a way you need to go back to basics here.  I suppose I'm old enough to remember when vegetables and fruit were actually seasonal.  Our garden never produced apples and pears all year around, neither did our vegetables grow other than seasonally and so how could you possibly have had a balanced diet many years ago?  You ate things when they were available and so you could imagine that at harvest time, man was presented with a complete abundance of fruit and vegetables but what on earth did they eat for the rest of the year?  Cereals and the like are very modern inventions and even more modern are refined sugars used in just about everything these days.  I'd be surprised if I ever touched cereals or fruit juice again after reading the sorts of things that go into them and as for sodas - well I'm horrified by what is in them and what it does to your body.

It can be no coincidence that presently weight problems, almost (but not entirely) a modern phenomenon are to do with a modern diet and the sugar and carb rich mixture they contain.  These switch our bodies into carb craving machines and our bodies store this for the future.   I'm over simplifying it but the Insulin Factor gives an interesting series of reasons that the body craves carbs and why you always feel you want more.

Anyway, more later when I've read and compared the books a bit more.   

Monday, March 25, 2013

Insulin and Diet

It is funny how I've taken a lot more interest in my well-being since having Bladder Cancer.  By that I mean looking at diet and trying things out and realising that I was eating and doing all the wrong things and in many ways I've been on a catch up since about 4 years ago when I nearly overdid the diet stuff and make myself ill.  Since then I've looked at exercise and diet to start to address my body's imbalance (as I see it).  I moaned about having no energy and being dog tired and having no strength.  I whined about my lot on many occasions and took to some "healthy" options and started to go down the route suggested by many of the "balanced" diet and plenty of fruit and vegetables so much so that I also decided to get a juicer to stick some heavy duty goodness from fruit and vegetables into my system.  I also used to use a mixture of Flax Seed Oil and Cottage Cheese every day FOCC from the Budwig Protocol too which had some pretty good effects too.

All of these things though resulted in mixed results and it wasn't until I learnt about the Tim Ferriss diet from Steve Kelly that I started to bring together all the bits of research and started to get a bigger picture about overall health and fitness and some of the dangers out there especially some of the links between Cancer and Sugar and indeed some of the damage that sugar can do to the human body.

The article HERE that I highlighted earlier in the week is a straightforward explanation I guess of where I am now.  I still think there are some other things involved but hell - I'm no scientist - I just read lots of stuff like this and take the common sense approach (now).  I got a book called The Insulin Factor and I'm hoping to get Protein Power in a few days which added to the 4 Hour Body and the Atkins Diet books when read together appear to all be saying the same things.

I suppose simply the main points are:

  • Humans haven't evolved to be able to metabolise modern "man made" carbohydrates.  Man has been around about 2 million years and yet has only been making things like bread recently perhaps 12,000 years or so.  We just haven't evolved to eat flour, grains and sugars processed the way they are
  • Sugar and Fructose give you body a hard time especially because you need Insulin to take the sugars out of blood and do something with it.  Long term exposure messes up you insulin and/or your resistance to insulin - there's lots of things can complicate this - it is a big subject.  The Insulin Factor and the article above should worry you if you eat a lot of sugary things and if you eat a lot of processed foods 
  • Carbohydrates were sparse and not plentiful in man's diet, neither were fruits as we know them today.  Things were seasonal, man didn't dig into Florida oranges all year around, or bananas or indeed anything like that.  Occasionally berries and perhaps some honey or a binge out on harder fruit (in the UK).  Modern fruit (nearly all of it) has been produced through man made manipulation of species to make them sweeter and plumper, less fibrous etc.  
  • Man lived mainly on meat, fish etc.  Protein was a large part of the diet.  Vegetables were available - leaves and the like too.  
  •  Sugar is addictive and turns on something in the body that makes you crave more of it.  You don't need to eat lots of these foods but they give an immediate hit to the body and the body craves more tempting you to overeat. 
  • Carbohydrates are cheap and plentiful today as are products containing sugar.  It is easy to gorge on these cheaply.  Carbs release insulin.  Insulin helps your body store stuff for later.  Trouble is, there isn't a later unless you need to call on these reserves.  If you have carbs reguarly, the body doesn't need to call on the reserve and just continues storing.
  • Everyone has been "sold" the story that "Fat" makes you fat and that things should be lean and that low fat is the way to go.  Look on a low fat yoghurt and see how much sugar they contain.  Look at most products you buy and see what is in it - you are pretty likely to find wheat powder or potato starch, sugar, fructose and so on.   Even in a stock cube I was horrified to find stuff like this.  It is everywhere
  • Many diets work by limiting what you can eat - or starving you.  You feel hungry and it is difficult to keep the diet going as invariably it allows you to have carbs and fruit and sugary things that your body craves for.  You lose weight through burning fat but also, and more worryingly, by losing mass from your muscles.  Protein based diets don't do that, you may even gain some muscle mass when losing the "fat" 
So just a few of the things that should start you wondering what is going on and why are people so much heavier today than a few decades ago.  There is a lot of work out there about this and the one thing I've noticed about this diet is that I actually feel good, I rarely (if ever) feel hungry after I've eaten or between meals.  After a few days I didn't crave foods I liked any more so I've given up bread, potato, rice, pasta, cereal even my beloved soups were found to have sugar and other grain based products.   I've dropped almost all processed foods apart from cheat day (more about that later).  It took a short while to get over not having sweeteners  sugar, honey and other sweet things that lie around the house.  

The diet is predominantly one of Protein and I have vegetables and some slow release carbohydrates in the form of various beans (Red Kidney, Pinto, Black Eye etc).  It isn't that hard for me, I like meat and in many forms and I like fish and so I have plenty to eat.  I was a bit worried about how I cooked this so got a George Foreman grill and griddle combo which means I can have food without too much fat involved in cooking it.  It is easy to cook and I can generally vary my food throughout the week but there is some repetition.  It is totally counter intuitive to what you are told, it doesn't seem possible that you could, for example, have steak and egg three times a day and lose weight.   

Occasionally our ancestors would have binged out on carbs and fruit and also the body can be tricked into doing the exact opposite of losing weight if somehow it thinks it is starving it will re-start storing food as fat even under diet conditions.   Hence, in the Tim Ferriss 4 hour body he suggests one day where you "go wild" and eat sugar and carbs to your heart content.  This spikes the body and stops it entering into a sort of starved mode.  Additionally it allows you to have one day off when you can eat stuff you might crave or miss - for me that's beer and perhaps something sweet, cheese and bread which I don't have at all during the week.  I notice some diets allow lite beers and some allow cheese and some even allow a little bread too.  This is where reading a number of books and making up your own mind must come into it.

I've just ordered Protein Power which I will then compare with Atkins, Time Ferris and The Insulin Factor and will then hope to draw my own conclusions.  I've continued with the FOCC occasionally - I used to have it every day but it is a little filling and I've found it difficult to adapt as I used to water it down with yoghurt or milk and have it with cereal or dried fruit both of which are now firmly off the list from Sunday to Friday - Saturday is fair game though :-)

Having seen the damage that diabetes can cause I'm very wary of it and after having read the internal damage that carbs and sugar can do (don't get me wrong we need some of these not none) I feel that I'm getting my act together on this and making sure that I'm limiting my carbs to a low but useful amount and that I'm ensuring that the protein and carbs I do get are beneficial to get me back to a "normal" weight and also to help me maintain general good health which I am pleased to say I am currently enjoying.

That WAS a LONG Week :-)

I love my mum a lot we get on well but a whole week strained things a little :-)  We don't share quite the same ideology and politics and my mum is always full of well meaning suggestions and ideas but it can wear you down with me finally having to say (like I often do on Facebook) "Stop keep telling me what to do"  it reminds me a bit of  Harry Enfield's character below "you don't want to do it like that!"  So if you can imagine that whatever I might do whether cooking, washing up, something in the house, driving etc my mum has an opinion and a way of doing it that is not only counter to what I was doing or do but also is guaranteed to wind me up :-)  Bless her! 

So, I've just delivered mum to the station with L who will travel most of the way home with her on the train which is great.  I'm pleased about that.  I was a bit worried that the trains would be screwed up like they were yesterday.  poor A tried to get to work for hours and the trains were just iced up and couldn't run - this country - it makes you despair a tiny bit of ice and snow and as it was a weekend service they probably didn't run the de-icing trains.  I imagine thousands of people were badly affected by the lack of foresight of the train companies once again.  

So now I'm in catch up mode and trying to get myself back to where I was a week or more ago.  In the meantime I've picked up my book "The Insulin Factor" by Antony J. Haynes which is really interesting as it reinforces much of what I've been reading about our modern carbohydrate fuelled diets.   It also goes a bit further and gives a holistic look at lifestyle too.  We were discussing diet and this book added to Tim Ferriss, Dr. Atkins and the Dukan diet all appear to be saying the same thing but each has a slightly different slant to the benefits of a higher protein diet and less man made carbohydrates.  Certainly the move away from processed foods and anything white (potatoes, rice, pasta, sugar, milk etc).  Some diets say cheese is OK and some say it isn't.  Some say coffee is OK and again others say it isn't.  I've lost plenty of weight but now need to drive it a little further and I'm thinking that I might just reduce my carb intake a little more and reduce the amount of legumes I'm taking in place of other carbs during the day.  

It is strange that I'm losing weight all over my body not just my stomach.  The strange thing is that my trousers now don't sit under my stomach any more but properly around my waist.  My watch is sliding around my wrist as I've lost the fat on my arms, fingers, legs chest and the side bits around my stomach area :-)  I'm feeling good and not getting out of breath - I can bend down to do my shoes up without discomfort and many other things that are recognisable.  Like many of these diets I'm trying to make sure I lose weight in a controlled manner and after the huge loses at the start I'm now taking a few pounds a week off.  I'm two stones lighter and getting close to two and a half stones lighter depending on when I weigh myself (I really should set a time and day to do it to compare properly).

Anyway my mum's on her way home - it wasn't a great week with snow, rain and freezing weather but at least she had a week (more in fact) to chat to someone and we got around a bit and did some trips out and the grandchildren were around for some time too so that was good. It is nice that L is going back to Uni and can take mum back as well which is great.  Yesterday could have been a bit dodgy as it was Mum's Anniversary and the first one without dad around. She is doing remarkably well without him I think and I imagine she will be a bit lonesome tonight but I'll talk to her later and will recommence my daily calls.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bit of a worry

My friend thinks he may have diabetes and is being checked on Thursday.  One of the worrying things is this onset of diabetes and what may be causing it.  He looked remarkably well having lost a load of weight following getting ill on a Cruise Ship and then having Flu.  

I read an interesting article which relates to the diet I am following and it may be of interest in what it suggests about insulin, diabetes and diet.  There are some interesting points made and I'm pretty certain that these diets (Atkins, Tim Ferriss etc) appear to explain why diabetes and obesity are so prevalent in our western diet.  Have a look and read this article HERE

I'm surprised that there is reference to being able to eat dairy food and also a bit worried that coffee may spike an insulin response.  I've been happily drinking coffee alongside copious quantities of water for some time and will do some more research into this.  

I'm feeling quite good and appear to be continuing to lose weight and feel better and so in my mind, I'm moving along in the right direction.

My mother and I spent some time looking at old photographs today which was fun.  L arrived home from University and all of us are off for a few days now and so we can go and do something together.


Mum being here with me is like being a kid again.  I mean - I'm 55 and I feel like I'm 16 again being told what to do receiving advice I didn't ask for and many other indignities of having one of your parents over to stay! :-)

It's fun but I find it very hard work because (of course) I share very different value systems to my mother as indeed my kids do with me.  I'm one of those people you need in negotiations who understands all sides of an argument and yet is able to be completely without sides (to a limit).  I normally understand all sides of an argument and the counter arguments and can weave my way between.  I'd suggest that my mum is somewhere to the right of Attila The Hun with her politics as most people or her age are.  The lived through WWII and so don't get the current wet liberal times we find ourselves in.  

Last night I was in the middle of reading some interesting stuff and found my mum appearing in my office at 1:45 to tell me to go to bed!  :-)  DOH! I was smack in the middle of reading about Diabetes and Carbs and Diets!

Anyway, we are having some fun and it's nice to see mum out of her old environment and in to a new one.  We haven't done much but perhaps in the next few days we can resolve that - the weather has been sh1t really though and it is difficult to do much when things are so bad.

Anyway - it's a beginning and after 12 years or so mum is here and that's a start.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Week Ticks By

This time last week I was getting ready for my trip up to town for my interview and it has been quiet since then - I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised about that given how slow they've been in the past.

Off to see my mum tomorrow morning and then on Friday out in the evening as an official visitor at a Lodge meeting and then bring mum back here on Saturday which will be nice - I hope :-)  I think it will give her a good change of scenery and an opportunity to do something a little different - let's hope the weather improves so we can go out and about.  I'd like to take her for a walk in the nice countryside we have locally but let's see.

Life is going to carry on around us as I am out Monday and Tuesday nights.  I also have a busy Saturday in a weeks time.  A meeting taking over most of the day and a party in the evening!

I was contacted by someone I knew 15 years ago.  A lovely lady who I worked with and had a good friendship with.  She has got out of the City now and is enjoying a more relaxed lifestyle and I can see the advantages but also said to her that having been up there last week I really started to get the buzz again and hanker for the Corporate life in some ways - just the atmosphere (power) that you feel in the environment and who you work with is enough to set my mind crackling and bring the hairs up on the back of my neck.  It's terrible to think that the stress and hours that I so often disparage can also be the life force and energy that really makes you feel alive.  It's a bit counter-intuitive but there you go.

Talking of counter-intuitive, we sat down to eat tonight and A mentioned that she couldn't believe the things that I'm eating at the moment and yet I'm losing weight.  It's crazy but it does work but you have to keep at it.  I'm just adjusting my diet slightly now to take in less carbs as I may have been overdoing those a little and I'm adjusting those slightly so as to have no more than a cup full of legumes a day - I tend to have quite a few but also I'm finding I'm also eating less too although I may just have to adjust that as well.  Anyway - it's coming along and I'm still doing well but weight loss is now reasonably around 1 or 2 lb a week - the rapid weight loss has happened and now it's a matter of sticking to it and making sure I don't come off the diet.  The dangers are my mum is around and I'm at hers for a few days.  Also holiday will be coming up in Italy where the food is just too nice to not have - so maybe I'll have a cheat week?

Off early to see my mum

Mums know best - or so the saying goes and she suggested that rather than me driving up and then going on to a meeting and driving back here the next day with her, why not come up a day early and relax?  Well hell why not - good idea and means a nice lazy journey up tomorrow and then I can arrive relaxed at the meeting on Friday too.

Just need to go and sort myself out now and remember my regalia so I can attend this meeting as an honoured guest of the Norfolk Stewards Lodge.  Interesting and how strange it should be just around the corner from the Hospital where dad was.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Drives You Nuts

I hate having to go to meetings like AGMs or Committee meetings and actually got banned after being quite outspoken at one particular meeting.  People - the other 90% of the human race who aren't like me tend to go to meetings having not read the information provided and who don't actually contribute whatsoever to proceedings.

Flocky Bicep and I had to go to one tonight and I hate it.  the last time I went I actually walked out of the meeting half way through as I was arguing with an idiot and he was bringing me down to his level - as I told him as I left the meeting.  the trouble is hardly any of these guys understand company law and when they do ask a question they don't actually listen to the answer.  They also have some sort of ADHD problem that means when we are at a Shareholders meeting you need to discuss important things (to them) like:

  • Toilet doors
  • Parking spaces
  • Gates
  • Light fittings
  • Room temperatures 
And so on!  Now - me I'm interested in how things have moved on, the larger projects in place, the accounts (who isn't) and that sort of stuff.  Now this one guy wanted to know if we were operating "within the law" when what he meant were do the accounts run as the tax year does?  Then he rattled off about the temperature in one of the toilets and by question and observation 20 or more the rest of the meeting were getting a little dissatisfied so I kind of brought the meeting to a close by saying that as that appeared to be the last question that we ought to thank the Directors and that I was almost dying of de-hydration!  I don't suppose he really got it but just liked the sound of his own voice and didn't really have the intellect to hold a conversation.  Apparently he is always like this - if I come across him again I will tell him he is an arse and I know so will Flocky.  Natural selection and the gene pool ought to have sorted this guy out.  In fact I feel like pouring a litre or two of Chlorine into the gene pool to stop people like him wasting our Oxygen!

So there you go - anyway - it's always good to see Flocky for a glass of beer or wine in my case.  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Blizzard outside but managed to get stuff done

Yes the car and travel insurance were sorted today and huge difference between businesses and attitude so also very happy with the switch and the savings made.  Long story but as I have a pre-existing condition (Bladder Cancer) and of course Hypertension and am on Statins (cholesterol reduction) even though I don't have high cholesterol - I have to have slightly different insurance.  The first year it cost us a small fortune and yet Bladder Cancer isn't the sort of thing that makes you fall down dead!  At least now I've found somewhere where the costs are reasonable and reflective of how long I've been cancer free!

II hope this snow blows itself out in the next day or two so that I can get up to see my mum, visit a Lodge as an honoured guest nearby and then bring her down here for a week away.  Hopefully it will be a nice break for her.  

On Sunday week it is her Anniversary and of course that will bring back memories and whilst she is a lot better than she or we felt she might be after losing dad, I'm sure it will be hard as was Christmas.  She was wanting to go to the Crematorium on that day and I guess if she goes back on the Saturday she can but we will see - she may stay down here for a while longer.

I was absolutely charged on Friday and was in good form on Saturday but somewhat down yesterday and I'm back to "normal" today.  Oh well, I've come to live with the swings and roundabouts these days and I really hope that I can focus and get some of the things that need to be done this week completed.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Life is full of these ups and downs

Youngest daughter went back to Uni this afternoon - I thought she was staying for a few weeks - at least that was what I was led to believe.  So a bit upset about that.  I have two great daughters and they are like chalk and cheese, I love them dearly and to find out that she was off was a little bit of a shock and is probably why I'm feeling a little down at the moment.

I had a good day on Saturday but rather amusingly came home and fell asleep in front of the TV until 5 am!  So I wasn't particularly impressed with that but cheat day had gone rather well and it was enjoyable enough even though I always find the next day difficult to go back to the diet.  Not that I dislike the diet it's just that after over indulging I find the last thing I want to do is eat but I know that is what I should do!

My new grill and griddle is OK but I hope that I will get some non-slip matting through in a day or so to stop it moving around on the work surface.  It cooks pretty well and so that's good.

Suddenly I have a lot to do in the next few days and weeks and so I need to knuckle down and do something about it.  Car Insurance, Accounts and closing the business all appear on the list. I am then going to my mum's later in the week as I have a meeting to attend not far from the Hospital where my dad died and then I'm bringing mum home here for a week or so.  It should be nice as she hasn't been for a while.

I find myself down today and I really shouldn't be, it's been a good week really.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

A Strange Place Indeed

I'm in the strangest of places.  I'd like to consider myself on the road tor recovery and I also obversely feel that I'm back on the road to mediocrity as well.   So what do I mean?

Working for a global conglomerate appeals in as much as I will get a big salary and a nice car and all the trappings that go with a top 10 job.  I've earn't it, I deserve it, I can deliver and so on etc.  I can get a really nice salary and pension and I could get myself a decent living out of it but actually is that REALLY what I want?  I don't know at all but it will set in motion some interesting scenarios.  Take this evening as a case in point./  It is 11:20 as I write this.  Mrs. F. is knackered and dog tired.  She's been doing some private work and came and collected me from my meeting and I'd been in the bar - it's cheat day and so beer is on the menu!  She is in bed, I'm like a live wire.  This is a problem! We aren't even on the same wave length as she is asleep and I'd like to party all night.

She's got some Church Service to go to in the morning and so another day will go by without us talking or seeing each other.  Problem?  Of course it is.  She's awake when I'm asleep and I'm awake when she is asleep.  

I fear any new job I have will just widen that gap and make it untenable.  I find the Irony that everyone wants me to go and get a job and do what I'm great at will inevitably lead to a complete destruction of family life as it did in the past.   You see I loved my past life and the lifestyle I had - I enjoyed a lifestyle that you could only dream of.  I doubt that my family could reflect in that apart from the "rewards" that come from it.

I hate the idea of taking on a great job which results in my happiness but no one else's!

Technology - Slowly Getting There

I've signed up for and now got electronic access to my Doctor - so repeat prescriptions can be done on-line and then just picked up from my Pharmacist around the corner.  Later they are threatening to have online booking of appointments too - excellent news.  I've just requested my prescription so let's see how it goes.

They'll be wanting to see me soon too of course as will the Hospital for a check up I've no doubt. 

I'm feeling much better these days and even feeling better about going for this job.  I've a weekend now to make up my mind what to do about the other two jobs.  I'd rather not work for any of them but given that I probably should build up some retirement funds I suppose it is the easiest way to achieve it.  

Of course if nothing comes of one and I don't try for the others!?  It's the dilemma that we all face but nothing ventured noting gained so to speak.  After meeting the people yesterday I quite like the feeling of being back in Corporate life - I did enjoy some (not all) of it when I was there some years ago.  

I'm hoping to build on my energy levels and get cracking with the other things sitting around here at home and accounts need to be sorted, company closed down and other stuff.

I've got loads of stuff I could get on with but of course it's setting priorities and getting myself motivated.  I think I've got some enthusiasm back and I've the holiday coming up and so I should be able to motivate myself sufficiently and also put sufficient pressure on as well.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Charged Today - Really Up!

I think on reflection and also chatting to my business partner this morning I noticed how up-beat I was and that I was talking faster and more animated.  I'd reflected on how I'd done at the interview and I feel that I gave a pretty good account of myself - I was certainly "me" and was able to inject a little humour and also some passion into proceedings.  I actually think that's the best interview I've done as I was at ease, assured and had most of the answers or an opinion or a view on things.

I was working the room, answering the question with one of the interviewers and then inviting the other to agree or to buy in to what I was saying.  I forget how good (and modest) I am.  I tend to look at others as superiors when in fact they are peers at best and I just altered my attitude yesterday - I played a blinder as they say and with a few minor things that I may have done better it all worked rather well and I got on famously with the pair of interviewers and one who was also an INTJ and I got on like a house on fire as he was already very much on my wave length.

It's really good to feel good inside and all charged up and it sort of carried through to the meal and the company I met.  I met a lovely lady yesterday who worked in a charity and we had a long chat about things - she used to work at University College Hospital London which is next to UCL where I'd worked some 25 years ago :-)

It's funny though that today I'm really charged, animated and quite excited.  I hope I've done enough now to get to the next stage of proceedings - but let's see.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Miserable day but seemed to go alright

It was a damp and miserable day - misty and it appeared to me to take the sharp creases out of my suit that I had carefully ironed.  I got to the meeting in good time though and walked into their stunning offices and was greeted by superb front of house staff and well looked after and put at my ease.  The interview was fine apart from the bit that there may be another set of interviews and assessments to go through - that was less happy :-)

Went on to lunchtimers and that was late but managed to be a good boy and only eat what was on my diet.  Plenty of red wine and home in deteriorating weather - you could hardly see the Shard in the mist and rain.

My George Foreman Grill and Griddle has arrived which looks to be a lot bigger than I thought.  I'm hoping to use it a lot for my diet - I don't like frying food too much and this will give me the option of grilling things like bacon and chicken and griddling eggs etc.  Anyway, will see how that goes.  I need to make a decision about whether to go for these other jobs.  I think I might just do a shot to nothing on one of them and see where I get to.  The other is sort of dependent on how things progress with this job I'm about (or thought I was) 5/6ths of the way through the process!  I could be 5/8ths through it - irritating but there you go.  

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Helpful Delay

I have to say I dislike travelling in peak times and to get to the interview it would have been travelling right in the middle of rush hour.  However, I got a call and the interview has gone back well over and an hour and that gives me plenty of time to get up, get fed and watered and ready to go.  It also means I won't be hanging around for ages waiting as I have another meeting a little later in the day so that now gives me about an hour to get there.  That's excellent and I can take my time to get there.

Not sure about getting back and whether I'll stay up in town and have a few drinks or not - probably not if I can help it.

I've spoken to our accountant today and have downloaded the paperwork to wind down our business.  After 15 years it really isn't going to be worth hanging on to it and I might as well let the business disappear and the web site - which is up for renewal later this year - can just fade away along with the email and everything else.  

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Like Buses

One day you wait and wait and then three come along at once.  Jobs - so finally I get to have my 5th of 6th Interview in the process and with any luck we can move things on a bit now.

Then there's another job that's come along that I may be interested in that needs a CV in by end of next week and then an old friend called with a possible position that sounds right up my street and so that too is a possibility.  It's a numbers game and I reckon that I will see how this goes and then approach the other two next week with a view to seeing if I can get an interview (at least) for either of them.  Mind you they wont pay nearly as much as this one.

I'm in good shape both head and body wise but trying on my suits I still can't get into the ones I was in this time last year and so even more effort will be needed to lose weight.  I'm doing OK but things tend to slow down around about now - I just need to keep the faith and carry on with the diet - it is working but of course it is slowing down a bit now compared to the early weight loss.  

I'm contemplating closing down the business I've run for 15 years and just shutting down shop and having done with that - I imagine I'd need to do that anyway.  This leaves me to then have my plan B in place for the other potential businesses I would set up if these three opportunities come to nothing.

So tomorrow I will be pouring over my CV and getting ready for my interview and hoping that they don't ask anything too difficult especially as I've been out of some areas for a number of years.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Lots Going On

A crazy week - I had the dentist and finished that course of treatment off and then did some more work for my Brother-In-Law finishing off some furniture he has built in.  I've almost completed my music library with track listing, album and artist pictures etc.  That's taken ages.  My weight has dropped off nicely and I'm on the way down towards 16 Stone having lost around 2 stone or so.  Clothes are starting to fit and I actually look slimmer which is great.

Mrs. F. had disappointment when work wouldn't allow her a full week off mainly because a number of staff have booked odd days off to complete their holiday allocation.  Anyway, that's been resolved and so we are off to Sorrento in Italy for a week.  We have made up a package on-line of flight and hotel and we hope to do a bit of touring of the area.  We were initially going to Sicily or one of the Mediterranean Islands but fancied a bit of touring around as well.

We went out on Sunday and so I delayed cheat day until then - lucky I did as we had afternoon tea which actually brought about a sugar rush and sweat on me  :-)  All those jams and cream and cakes were great but as always the next day I feel horrible in the morning and I managed to drag myself out of my bed a little later than usual and almost had to force feed myself.

Feeling somewhat up and down though this morning - sure that's to do a bit with cheat day as it totally unbalances my body and also I STILL haven't heard from the company that I'm meant to have an interview with on Thursday - you can't make it up it's been a series of mini disasters :-)