2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Category: General (page 1 of 3)

Then it went a bit pear-shaped!

My week this week was meant to have loads of fun and exciting things in it. We had tickets to the cinema on Monday evening to see a live performance streamed from London’s West End of Les Misérables. We also had tickets to go and see the rescheduled John Barrowman Fabulous Christmas Tour. A trip to see Frozen 2 and ice climbing was for Friday and then away for the weekend for Rosie and my first-year anniversary treat. On top of that we had PT booked at the gym, many Zumba classes, some of my favourite clients where I work and a routine that would have made the week amazing.

8 in total

As I write this blog, I currently have four keyhole marks on the abdomen, two jab marks on my elbow from where bloods were taken, one in my hand from an IV and a further one in my bum from medicine. If you haven’t guessed already, I had another emergency surgery on my ovaries.

What happened?

A good question. I had woken up on Monday in the wee small hours with my ovaries playing tennis (pain), took some pain killers and had gone back to sleep. I woke in the morning to a non-existent appetite. Not thinking too much at this point I ate what I could of breakfast and toddled off to work in Glasgow. Later in the afternoon I started to feel sick, had a sore stomach and after my lunch felt even worse than I had previously. Alarm bells were starting to ring as I had had similar symptoms the last two years when this had happened.

Rosie took one look at me!

I called Rosie and warned her that something wasn’t right and then called my Mother to talk things over. Rosie came home from work a few hours later, took one look at me and had me in the car up to our local A&E. I was prodded and poked there for a couple of hours before it was decided to transfer me to the specialist unit in another hospital a good half hour drive away. It was getting late at this point, but we did what we were told. The consultant in the next hospital again took a look and I was admitted for scans the following day. The diagnosis was a possible cyst rupture again.

The next day

The next day we discovered there were no specialists for that specific scan, so we had a new consultant do a trans vaginal up in a little room off the ward. I walked down to the room in my Harry Potter pj’s, Doc Marten Boots and black t-shirt. Excellent combination and I am sure London Fashion Week will be calling me any day now. With the help of my Mother the consultant had a good look around. Now considering they had done the finger check for the ovaries the previous day which left me doubled over you can imagine my response to the probe. My Mum helped me to stay calm, keep my breathing under control and issue words of comfort.

The diagnosis

They had found two cysts, one on the right and one on the left which were both the size of an orange. The right one had grown since it was last scanned in August and that was the main suspect. We had mentioned to the consultant that we were in the middle of IVF tests so they had suggested I had the coil removed, the Hy-Co-Sy scan complete and a general look around whilst I was asleep. Answering any questions, I had the consultant put me on the surgical list for the next day. I was an emergency but could be controlled on the ward. My main concern was if the cyst was a pain in the ass, I was at risk of losing a one or both ovaries. Not want you want to hear if you are sitting at the start of IVF.

Later that afternoon

Back on the ward I was told to start eating and drinking as I had been fasted until this point, this was as the operation would take place the next day. I had a few sips of water but nothing more. A lucky move.

Then it really kicked off!

Within about an hour of being back on the ward I had the consultant, the consultant’s colleague, a surgeon, an anaesthetist, two nurses and two surgery porters ready to take me to theatre (and I don’t mean the all singing, all dancing kind). There was a gap in the schedule, and they were going to use it. I was changed from my pj’s into a sexy hospital gown complete with very sexy hospital stockings, tucked into bed and wheeled down to theatre. Rosie came with me and I had the two porters cracking jokes which put me somewhat at ease. I was taken into the surgical waiting room and it was the coldest I had felt since I had arrived. I was then wheeled into theatre.

The theatre

At this point I wish it was the all singing and all dancing variety. There were lights, surgeons with big cloaks and masks on, a black table, lots of other machines, I had people moving me, prodding me, hooking me up to various and bits and pieces and straps put on to my legs. The porter said to jump from my comfy bed to the table. I took one look at it and crumbled. I was scared. A nurse stuck out her hand and said you can hold on to that for as long as you need. I held on good and tight until I was put to sleep. So, to that theatre nurse, thank you so much and I hope I didn’t crush your hand too much.

Recovery

Surgery is weird. You are put to sleep and then after what feels like a massive nap you wake up again. My first questions apparently were:

  • Where was buddy? (Rosie) – she was upstairs waiting for me
  • Did I still have both ovaries? – yes
  • Are you Tony (I was to ask for Tony when I got to recovery so I was just checking) – he was Tony

I wasn’t in recovery for long before I was taken back to the ward and to Rosie.

The surgical diagnosis

I apparently had endometriosis cysts which were drained and burnt. I had the coil removed and I had the Hy-Co-Sy scan completed. We are still a little confused as to the PCOS/Endometriosis diagnoses. I have been told for years it was PCOS and now it may be something completely different. It is one of our questions for January when we see yet another consultant. Apparently, the thing with endometriosis cysts is they can come back. Now the fact they are in my ovaries only means I have a good chance of falling pregnant but what are they to do in the meantime? They have given me a jab in my bum to shut down my ovaries temporarily. The side effect, I may experience menopausal type symptoms. So, at 35 years old I may get hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings. Something to look forward to.

The next day

The next day a nurse popped by my bed to say I was going down for my scan at lunchtime. I lifted my t-shirt and said erm, I think they did it already. It was a small funny moment in the grand scheme of things.

Rehab

I am now back at home and being looked after by my family. I am sore and swollen but doing well. Stairs are tricky but we will get there. With regards to rehab, I feel very lucky as I went through a similar surgery three years ago, so I know what to do with regards to rehabbing me back to normal. I am currently banned from high intensity training, weights, heavy gym work, boxing and my favourite, Zumba. The ban is in place for the next six weeks. I can walk and when the swelling in my abdomen subsides, I can start stationary cycling in the gym.

Thank you

A massive thank you to Rosie and my Mum who saw me through the hospital procedures, you were both superstars. My friends and family for their well wishes. The theatre nurse whose hand I could hold on to. My work colleagues who have re-arranged all my schedule and classes.

-Helen

Nutrition and much more

The vote

This months vote was:
Option 1
How nutrition helps mental and physical recovery.

Option 2
Food schedules and easy trips to the supermarket.

The votes have been counted and it is 50/50 with regards to results. This means I will do two blogs in one. I think they tie in nicely with one another as well so here we go.

Nutrition helping mental and physical recovery

Nutrition can play a big part in mental and physical recovery. I admit it is sometimes easier to grab the take out menu when you are sick than to heat some vegetable soup. I have done it in the past. The downside to a take out is that it is usually pizza, fish and chips, Indian or Chinese. Lots of fats and sugar in them with very little nutritional value. I mean yes they make us feel better. They are quick and easy too. But at the end of the day your body when sick needs nutrients. Proteins to help the muscles, vitamins and minerals to help fight infections, sustenance to help fight whatever you are fighting and the list goes on. So unfortunately, as much as we want those tasty things to make us feel better we also need to make sure we are getting the right nutritional value as well.

Snacks

If you are struggling to eat a big meal or your appetite has done a disappearing act then keep it simple. A slice of wholemeal toast with honey, a piece of fruit or fruit juice (150ml), little porridge pot, banana on those wholemeal crackers or a handful of nuts, seeds and berries.

Water

Remember also to keep your water intake up. The water flushes out the toxins our body has and helps our digestive transit.

Ask a family member or neighbour

If you are really struggling then see if a family member, friend or neighbour would mind making you a little something. A healthy delivered meal for example. Unfortunately in these times this is few and far between but I like to live in hope. If you don’t ask then you don’t get I find. Alternatively get a supermarket to deliver healthy salads, soups and so on.

Hot chocolate to the rescue!

I can remember when I had my appendix out and my appetite had returned Rosie came to see me one day. She told me to walk with her to the end of the ward. Slow and steady we went. Rosie kept saying it would be worth it. I kept wondering how far it was. She had found the best cure. Hot chocolate, biscuits and fruit. Yum! If you needed an incentive to get out of bed then there was one right there. I had the best of both worlds. I had sugar to get my strength back up and I had vitamins and minerals in the fruit which helped my body recover. Once we had gone home it was soup and salad all the way.

Coughs and colds

Seeing as this is very seasonal I thought I would include it. It is rare that I take medicines during a cough or cold spell. I tend to go for the more natural items. Orange juice and oranges being a big one as they are full of vitamin C. The same goes for smoothies full of vegetable and the odd fruit for taste. Again full of vitamins and minerals. The drink of ginger, lemon, honey and hot water can work wonders for a cough and sore throat. Usually I make a big batch at the beginning of the cold and it sees me straight through. I can also recommend turmeric. I add a dash to the smoothie or drink and hey presto I have an anti-inflammatory.

Try it!

Next time you are sick or recovering from something try the above (with a chocolate bar now and then). You may find it helps you through.

Food schedules

Ah, the food schedule! That little white board on the wall which is going to tell me what I am eating. If it needs to be taken out of the freezer or needs preparation. The 2 Spud house hold does not seem to function incredibly well without that white board.

NB: Other writing materials can be used, for example, the good old pen and paper.

How to write a food schedule?

It is pretty easy to write one which is the good news. It could look something like this:
Dinners:
Monday
– Scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast with avocado and tomato
Tuesday – Dinner with friends/local restaurant
Wednesday – Spaghetti bolognaise from freezer (remember to take out in the morning)

Lunches:
Soup (remember to buy from supermarket), spaghetti bolognaise (from Wednesday), wholemeal sandwich.

And then you carry on for the rest of the week.

For the next week you take the past week, see what you had and then add in some different meals.

It is amazing once it is all written down how much it makes sense, you eat better options and you don’t grab that take out menu.

The shopping list

The best bit from a written down food schedule is you can make your shopping list. If you have a written list for when you enter that big building full of aisles you then know exactly what aisles you need to visit. It has been a long time since I have been down a biscuit, cake or crisp aisle. I don’t need to get anything from those aisles so I just don’t visit them. I go with my list, tick off once I have got them, circle the item if I cannot find it or it is out of stock and then go to pay.

The supermarket zapper thingy!

I find this is quite a useful tool for shopping. You get your zapper at the entrance to most big supermarkets. You go around and zap your products to put straight into your bag and then you go to pay. I find it useful if I am doing a big shop so I don’t up spending loads of money on things I do not need. If I can see the price in front of me totalling up as I go I know exactly what to expect at the checkout.

Online supermarket shopping

Shopping from the comfort of your own couch. What more could you want?! The best bit about this is the supermarket will remember what you have bought so next time all you need to do is check and confirm. You quite often get a two hour window so you can take your time as well. You can also check the kitchen cabinets to see if you do really need mayonnaise and there aren’t five bottles in the cupboard already.

Shopping on your own or with a buddy?

A good question. If I need a big shop then I tend to like to do it on my own. Rosie tends to muck up my filing system and then sneaks things into the trolley which are not on the list. If I am in the mood for a wander and chat when shopping then I take someone with me. On these trips I take time going up and down all of the aisles. This is especially exciting at this time of year. I get to see if I have missed anything in my quick trips. Lets just say these trips tend to happen once in a while and not every week.

Any questions?

Feel free to drop 2 Spuds a line with any questions you have from this blog. We will try our best to answer them.

-Helen

That time of year (lists)

It’s getting to “that time of year” again. The time when we need lists. What to buy lists, what to get at the supermarket lists, a general “to do” list to make sure the Christmas decorations go up and I am sure a few more list ideas too.

This blog is to do with just that. Rosie and I are aware we covered this in June but thought as it was a very big topic for this time of year we would re-visit it.

Writing a list

Making a list can be a massive step forward but it can also help you de-stress. Jotting something down means you can remember it better and things tend to happen in the right order. I mean it would be a disaster if you cooked all the vegetables, made the gravy, the Yorkshire puds were baked and then you put the turkey in. As I say, not a good way forward. A list can make sure we get everything done we need to do so we can relax and enjoy.

Being accountable with a list

The other point to make here about lists is that you are then accountable for it. If you stick the list up on the fridge door at home, then other people are there to help you remember it too. It is amazing once you write something down how concrete it can be and therefore you remember it.

Rosie and I are both list people

After a sleepless night due to loads of tasks to complete for our Wedding we took to a list and had a very restful night the next time bedtime rolled around. We had highlighted sections on our list for different elements. We had flowers, cars, who had to be paid, who we had to confirm certain items with (like our photographer), we even had on our list to remember to eat on the night before the Wedding. The final item on our list was to turn up to the Wedding and have loads of fun. Now that was more a of comedy one, but it put a little bit of laughter amongst the tasks.

Try making a list right now and see if it empties your brain so you can then think about the basics of a good night’s sleep and that all important “me time”.

Lists

Just in case you have forgotten what a list may look like I have included a small one below. 

  • Get milk. 
  • Pick up dry cleaning. 
  • Invite Bob and Charlie for dinner. 
  • Call Sandra and check on her Mum’s health. 
  • Buy and wrap Billy’s Christmas present. 
  • Double check holiday insurance for February. 
  • Call GP and renew prescription. 
  • Be kind to myself and take some “me time”.

Let me do the list one more time with ticks, notes and so on.

  • Get milk.
  • Pick up dry cleaning.
  • Invite Bob and Charlie to dinner (called them and left a message, will try again tomorrow).
  • Call Sandra and check on her Mum’s health (texted Sandra as she said she was in the hospital).
  • Buy and wrap Billy’s Christmas present.
  • Double check holiday insurance for February.
  • Call GP and renew medication.
  • Be kind to myself and take some “me time” (booked in for a massage on Sunday morning).

The list looks a look less scary with a few completed tasks on it doesn’t it?

Simple yet effective

As I say a list is simple yet effective. I always start with the easier stuff as it is then ticked off before moving on to the more time consuming and harder items. Setting an hour allows you to complete some of the list but does not then take up your entire evening. I find this works best in my opinion. Try it and see what happens.

Pick the easiest option then build it from there (and don’t beat yourself up over it)

The most important element to remember is to start with a small task and work your up to the bigger ones. There is absolutely no point in beating yourself up over something that in the end is the smallest task of them all. The private counsellor that Rosie was working with said to her to take each task and think about it. She had to think what it would achieve and at the end of day would anyone suffer from her not doing it. I always thought that was a good way to look at a task.

A minor task

I have a mountain of washing up to do from dinner and the clothes from this morning are still in the washing machine which I forgot to take out this morning, I am exhausted and have no idea on where to start to sort all of this out. Now which task do you do first? You could leave the washing up (or stick it in a dishwasher if you have one) and deal with the clothes or you could leave both. The dishes will still need washing up the next morning and the clothes can be washed again. Do you see the difference? If you didn’t do either task not too much is going to change and more importantly no one is going to suffer from you not doing it.

An important task

Take this for example, you have run out of medication for your mental health condition, the new one is sitting at your local pharmacy and you need to go and get it. Now this is a more pressing task to get sorted. You need your medication at the end of the day, and you are going to suffer if you do not get it sorted.

I hope that all makes sense

As I say have a look at the situation you are involved with and the tasks that need to be accomplished. If no one is going to suffer then leave it. If you (or someone else) is going to suffer then do it. This is how we determine what to do and what not to do. You will get around to washing those dishes but not much is going to happen if they are not dealt with immediately.

Stop and think

Stop and think about it next time you feel yourself in a stressful situation and ask yourself these very questions. It is not a selfish act in any way. It is differentiating between right now and a few hours later.

Alternatively

Alternatively, if you have a friend, a partner, a husband, a wife, a mother, a father or anyone else who can help you out then ask them.

-Helen

Frustrating!

Why does life have to be so frustrating?! I mean sometimes we are only trying to get from point A to point B. In the way there are obstacles, hoops, wrong phone numbers, people who are no help at all. You find yourself three steps backwards and feeling down from doing such a simple task.

Customer Service

Now I could talk about customer service for hours and hours. However, for the point of this blog I will keep it short. Having worked in many a customer service role you could say I have a fair amount of experience. I also have a lot of people experience.

My current line of work

In my current line of work I deal with people who comes from all walks of life, from different careers, who have different illnesses or mental health conditions, who have different fitness goals and different life goals. Everyone in my book is treated with respect. A seven letter word that means so much but is quite often forgotten about, don’t you think? My point is with everyone I met I try to display professionalism, friendliness and a quirky sense of humour. The bottom line is that in my book everyone is treated the same. I try to give the best customer service that I can give.

When it goes bad!

I struggle when I have a big problem to solve and no one out of a customer service role is ready to help me. May be I am asking too much but then again may be I am not.

Let me paint you the picture!

Let me do just that. There is one more test I need to do for the IVF criteria and it something called a HyCoSy scan. Google can fill you in. In order to do this I need to have a Mirena coil removed.

Too many phone calls!

First of all I called my local GP but no, they apparently do not do such things. I was given another number to phone. But that number wasn’t recognised. I then got on to Google and had a search around other practices in the area to help us. But there were no phone numbers that I could see on their website. I tried the one number I could get and got through. But again no, they apparently stopped doing coil removal earlier this year. I was given yet another number. My poor phone was beginning to wonder what it had done to be calling so many different people. I got through to the last number and the lady asked had I spoken to the GP. My exact words were something like, “I have and they don’t do it, I have been sent on a wild goose chase, can you help?”.

I finally got a date!

After a few questions and a few calendar dates I finally have a date. It took about an hour to do all of that but I finally made it to the end. And here is my point. Did it really have to be that challenging to do such a simple thing?!

IVF

To me this is just another hoop we need to get through with a few obstacles thrown in. It is like we are being tested to make sure we are ready to progress down the children route. It is frustrating, it is challenging and it is darn right annoying as well. To do something so simple, which is to have children of my own, I need to go through many, many hoops.

What else do they want from me?

Exactly that. I have changed my diet, changed it again and finally changed it so it makes even more sense. I now eat a lot more than I did. The first few weeks were nerve-racking and scary while I looked at the amount I had to get through. Now I willingly make my own breakfasts and lunches making sure I have the correct meals and snacks. Admitting it now that I do like to snack. My appetite is back and I am not hangry as often. We have discovered that I have more muscle than fat and that is what is making my BMI and weight loss is challenging.

What else?

I changed my exercise regime and now run. Run! I do many more gym classes. In the rain, the sun and the cold I train. I do exercise when I really want to sit on the couch and eat cake. I do my own research into how best to go forward with IUI or IVF. Rosie and I ring many different people to try and get an answer. We have become massive Google fans as well. We read articles, forums and much more just to see if there is anything else I can do except wait.

I know it will be worth it!

Now, I know in the end it will all be worth while but I am also aware we are going through many different hoops. A lot of hoops before we even get to the massive ones that IUI or IVF will throw at us. I know I will have a little rant and then pick myself up and carry on. I have a goal to get to and I am going to try my hardest to get there.

-Helen

NLP

NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming is something that 2 Spuds did over the weekend with Bodycore Training. We were aware we were doing the course on Saturday but what we were unaware of was how much it can help someone, how much it can benefit us and how deep it actually goes.

Tissues

The course instructor opened the course with, “the tissues are on the table, water on the side and hugs are also available”. We suddenly thought what had we let ourselves in for. Over the next 8 hours we were about to find out the full ins and outs of NLP. We are still finding out today what it is about and I am sure we still have a lot to learn going forwards too.

What is it?

A very good question I would say. According to our notes and that multi-coloured search engine NLP stands for neuro which has to do with neurology, linguistic refers to language and programming is to do with neural language functions. It is about changes in perception and developing positive choices in a given situation. NLP can be used for personal development as well as phobias and anxiety.

What did we learn?

We learnt a lot. We learnt that our brain has a MAP and no I don’t mean Google. I mean it has a record of our past, our feelings, our thoughts, our learnings and so on. We get this information from our parents, teachers, television, social media and much, much more. NLP takes us from our comfort zone to our uncomfortable zone then flourishes. My favourite metaphor from the course is: there are 10,000 films playing in our brains at any one time but consciously we are only aware and concentrating on 1. Just the 1 from 10,000 films. We have 1! Wow! Now that is a bit mind-boggling at the best of times. Around 95% of us is working on a subconscious level or in other words, auto-pilot. Again, wow!

Life style questions

There are series of life style questions which you answer to determine what area of NLP will be good for you to experience. We were then introduced to the NLP technologies. These are the “trances” for want of a better word. Someone will speak to my subconscious and my conscious beings to determine where I need help and what behaviours need changing to help me too.

The trance

Now this was interesting. We were put into a trance like state and then asked questions. It is very weird when you are moving part of the body, the brain is controlling it but you cannot figure out when you open your eyes how it did that. If that makes any sense whatsoever! That is the kind of weird that it is. Helen didn’t go too deep on the first try but has over the last day or so been saying that one of her bad memories has a block on it. The memory is hazy. It is something that she will continue to work on. Rosie is also feeling calmer over a bad memory and now has a more positive frame of mind.

We tidied the house

We are not sure if this has anything to do with NLP but on Sunday we did all of those jobs which have been on our “to do” list since May. The garden has been put away for the winter, we tidied the shed, we took the stuff we had been saving for a rainy day to the tip. At some point we had lunch before we tackled the kitchen. The cupboards were emptied, checked what we actually wanted to keep, what we hadn’t used since we had moved in, cleaned from top to toe and all sugary snacks given to the neighbours kid. By the end of Sunday we had 10 bags to go to charity.

2 Spuds and NLP

2 Spuds is currently practising a lot of the NLP techniques so we can be ready for a launch next year. Due to the nature of NLP, how deep into your past it can go and the fact it needs to be handled with the utmost care and respect it will take some time for us to get this ready. We will of course keep you updated on this site.

-Helen

This time of year (and exercise)

I thought I would do a quick blog on this time of year and exercise. There are a few things that may influence our exercise during the next few months. Yes, stress will be a major factor but I am talking more about coughs, colds, flu, SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and so on.

Can we exercise when we are sick?

The short answer to the question is, listen to your body. It is as simple as that. When we are sick with a cold or flu our bodies are using up vital energy. Energy trying to fight the bugs that caused us to be sick in the first place. If we then decide to go and run a 5k the energy switches from making us better to attempting the 5k. In short, it could make us much worse which will take even longer to recover from.

Our CV system

Our cardiovascular (CV) system is made up of our heart, lungs, arteries, veins and so on. If our lungs are already inflamed fighting off a chesty cough and we decide to run a 5k then this could make us worse.

An overnight bike ride

Let me put this into an experience. With a cold I was about to complete an overnight 100km (62 mile) bike ride. I should have been at home in bed recovering but I was at the start line at 2330. Riding through the night breathing in the continuous cold air was not a good idea. My body ached, I struggled uphill as I couldn’t breathe properly and I eventually made it to the finish line. Lets just say it was more of a collapse over the finish line. I was exhausted. Later that day my chest hurt, my cough sounded like a barking dog and I had a temperature. My mother was less than sympathetic (“it’s your own fault” she said) and I ended up with a chest infection. Several years later if I get a cold it always goes straight to my chest (a reminder for being such an idiot). The long and short of it was, I should have been in bed.

Temperature

Again if you have flu or a high temperature then attempting a high intensity class will only make you warmer. If the body gets too hot then it will shut down and you will faint. Not a great thing to do in the middle of a crowded gym.

But can I exercise?

If you are like me and you are determined to get into the gym then here is my top 5 things to do if you feel you really do need to work out.

  • Stay in bed
  • Drink a hot drink (water, lemon, ginger and honey can do wonders)
  • Watch TV
  • Eat chocolate
  • Call lots of people to give you sympathy

There you go.

No, in all seriousness if you are determined then here is the “real” list.

  • Slow to medium walking on a treadmill (no incline)
  • Cycle (not a spin class)
  • Lift little weights (no 100kg’s)
  • No high intensity/circuits/or anything that will get you out of breath
  • Some light stretching

Your body needs the time to recover and it is time you will need to give it.

When you feel better

When you feel better you will need to again listen to your body. Depending on how much time you have had off you will need to let your body get back into the swing of things. Don’t assume after 2 weeks off you can do straight into lifting 100kg’s or sprint for 2 minutes. Give your body time to get back to where it was.

SAD (seasonal affective disorder)

Now, there is one condition you may get around this time of year and it is SAD. SAD is a type of depression that presents itself during the winter months. The 3 best ways to help SAD is getting as much natural light as possible (sunshine) , exercising regularly and keeping stress away. For more information on SAD please visit the NHS website.

Listen

As I keep saying, during the next few months listen to your body. Let the main symptoms disappear and then get back into your exercise routine. Don’t beat yourself up about not being able to make a circuits class. It is much better that you recover first rather than collapsing mid-class. Even I have been known to say “I think I need to sit on the couch tonight”.

-Helen

That BMI thing, again…!

You guessed it! I am not quite finished with this BMI thing. The reason being we had our chat with the nutritionist and it came up there with an interesting twist.

The Nutritionist

We saw the nutritionist last week where she was not as scary as I was first thinking. Read my previous blog to find out why I thought they would be scary. She went through our food plans and then put us on a fancy looking machine. Said machine sent an electrical signal through our bodies as it measured our fat, muscle, calories expenditure and biological age. It provided a lot of interesting answers to say the least. My personal favourite was backing up the fact that I think a BMI measurement with me is useless.

Let me explain

As I have explained before in a previous blog BMI takes your height and your weight to give you a number. The number is then put on a chart which tells you if you are: underweight, normal, overweight and so on. However, (and this is the issue) it takes your full weight. It takes your fat, blood, muscle, bone and all that other stuff in our bodies that make it work. It doesn’t separate it. And this is where I am falling down. I have lost around 8 kilos at the minute which is highly likely to be fat based. I am due to lose another 10 kilos to make it into the IVF criteria number. But due to my nutritionist machine results I can only lose a further 4 (ish) kilos in fat. So what about the 6 other kilos I hear you cry? Muscle. To get to the IVF number I am now having to lose healthy muscle.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Due to having PCOS I have more testosterone running around my body than someone without PCOS. Testosterone is partly responsible for muscle. This is why I have more muscle in my body. Muscle weighs more than fat. Therefore I am heavier than most but it is muscle which is causing me an issue and not so much the fat.

What have I to do?

A very good question. After years of doing heavy weights I have to give it a break and concentrate on cardio to decrease muscle mass. Zumba and boxing are thankfully cardio based exercises but I am also going to have to try this running thing. Now me and running are not the best of friends. The first time I attempted running I got so far and then had my appendix out and the second time I attempted it I ended up with a slipped disc in my back. I hung up my running shoes after that as I wasn’t about to attempt a third time. However, here I am having to attempt a round 3. I am really hoping with a gradual build into it and a physio on stand by the third time will be better.

Sunday

Last Sunday we attempted a run. We went down to a running track in the next town and saw what we were working with. It was great (maybe not!). It was cold, it was tipping it down with rain, the ground had many puddles on it and it was an early Sunday morning. I was very tempted to take a photograph of this and send it to our IVF consultant with a note saying, “this is weight loss”. We started slowly and just let our legs take us where we needed to go. I ended up running around 4.4 km. I have not run like that in about 18 months so I thought it was a good attempt. Now we need to see where running may take us.

A glimmer of hope

Now all this being said the chat with the nutritionist and the fat to muscle result has given us a teeny tiny bit of hope. It may be a lost cause but it is something new to try. The end of December was always going to be a point for checking our weight and seeing how close we were to that magical BMI figure. It is still going to be but what I am going to do is this: get on the nutritionist’s machine again, ask her to write a report about the results then take it to our consultant. Once we meet our consultant I will show them our results and ask if we have a chance to get into the IVF service. I fully understand they may turn around and say no but it is worth a shot, isn’t it?

Not eating enough

The nutritionist also mentioned that I am not eating enough calories and not eating enough protein. It is common in a weight loss journey to eat too few calories. This will slow everything down and your body will learn to hold on to calories to make you function. Having come from 2 meals a day to 3 with snacks I thought I was doing ok. According to my food diary I was still 300 -400 calories short. I was also short on my protein intake. With a few protein suggestions (which didn’t scare me as being too much) we put together a new eating plan. I am currently trying it and so far so good. Our next weigh in is at the end of November and I will see where I am there or if there are a few more amendments to make. Time will tell and I will of course update you from there.

Just ask!

If you have any questions with anything I have said in this blog then feel free to drop 2 Spuds a line.

-Helen

Something different!

I thought I would do a slightly different blog today.
I mean yes, I could write about my week. About how my own personal trainer gave me many ab exercises that I now have DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). All I can say about that is it hurts every time I sneeze or cough. I could say that I had my flu jab this week too and my arm feels like a dead weight. May be I could mention that I am incredibly frustrated that I had my weigh in this month. I only lost half a kilo. I am still heading in the right direction which is something. Still eating the “good and healthy foods”, exercising like there is no tomorrow, not drinking alcohol or eating chocolate. However, I am currently wondering where I am going wrong, I can’t work it out. With PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) I am aware it will make a weight loss harder. But is that the main reason on why I am not losing a lot of weight? Couple this together with the fact it means even more hoops for me to go through before I get to even start IVF. It is a slow journey and at the minute it feels a little troublesome.

The Nutritionist

On the up side we are due to have a chat with a nutritionist on Friday. This is causing some anxiety. Let me just clear something up here. As a personal trainer we are qualified in nutrition. We do the basics as part of PT school. We are allowed to get you to write us a food diary so we can give you recommendations on it. This all has to be in line with governmental guidelines and the NHS Eatwell Plate. However, what we are not permitted to do is; write food plans for you, send you for blood tests to determine how your body is working and so on. A nutritionist or dietitian will have been to university and done a full degree in the subject. They are the ones who should know the subject inside and out.

Why am I nervous?

So here is the thing. I am concerned for Friday because of my background. Is the nutritionist going to laugh at me as it should be something I know?! Is said nutritionist going to think that I am lying in my food diary. Eat cakes all day and that is why I am struggling (I am not!). I know it seems like a small issue to deal with and I am desperately trying to keep it that way.

My week and my blog

So there you go. I could write in depth about that but I want to keep this blog fairly upbeat I will change topics.
Last week I went to the Enchanted Forest up in Pitlochry, Scotland. May be not what you were expecting me to say but there you go. Now why do I want to write about this?

The moon and the world!

Well, the main reason is we are tiny in comparison to the moon and the world. Sometimes the world feels like it is on our shoulders and we wonder how we are going to get through to the next day, the next and the next.

Facing a problem

But stop to breathe, rise up with your boxing gloves on and ready to take on that challenge, whatever it may be. This is what helps me get through some of the hard things I have to deal with. I take a deep breath (may be two), stand up taller, shoulders back, chest out, raise my head and then take that first step into the challenge. I have found if I am physically strong then I tend to be mentally strong as well. The Helen from years ago was a quiet type who wouldn’t take on a challenge. The Helen today picks wisely what challenges need attention and what ones are just going to zap my energy and I will walk away from.

The illusion!

This is another image from the Enchanted Forest. The moon and the world in the background are suspended on wires above the water to give its reflection. The trees were just there but gives it a very cool and mystical theme. Sometimes taking your mind off of the problem, looking at a different element of it or turning the problem on its head is when you may find you solve it better. I tend to find if the moon is smiling back at you then everything is going to be ok.

You could always just pop up to the ISS (International Space Station) for a quick birds eye view of a problem before you tackle it.

I’m sure the astronauts up there won’t mind and I am sure there will be some freeze dried tea to offer you. Someone told me that a cup of tea solves almost everything. It’s a shame I don’t drink it really.

Problems and perspectives

All I am saying is sometimes the world will throw a curve ball at you, something unexpected. That nice email you wrote a month ago will go unanswered. A weight loss journey will seem like you are going nowhere fast. You will lose sleep over something that can be sorted within minutes but the body likes to worry about it first. You will plan a day out which then needs to be re-scheduled. And so on.

What is meant for you will not pass you by!

My Dad keeps telling us this. It is true. You may not see it at the time and it will get frustrating when you have you heart set on your goal. But afterwards you will be able to connect the dots and realise that it didn’t happen then for a reason. Your goal will come when it is the right time and the problems leading up to said goal will just melt away.

But…

Look at the beauty the world creates and see some of your problems in a different perspective. That is what I am saying, this is my point. The Enchanted Forest is made up of lights (and clever artists). Just lights but gives us that amazing mystical affect and can take us away for the evening to just have fun (or find a solution to a problem!).

-Helen

2 Spuds did a presentation

And we were terrified!

I was at work one Wednesday morning preparing to go and teach the early morning spin class. I had texted a friend of mine about tickets for a fitness event at the weekend. His response was something along the lines of “we have had a speaker drop out and the topic is mental health, would you like to do it?”. I was grateful I had a spin class to take my mind off of responding. My immediate thought was it was would be a fantastic platform for 2 Spuds. My next thought was how to pull it off with 3 days notice.

Preparation

I am really lucky that for 11 years (before turning to personal training) my job was to organise international conferences and events. Thankfully my rusty skills knew how to put a presentation together. Over the Wednesday evening I started to put the mental health content into a presentation. About halfway through the evening I went too quiet. Rosie always worries when this happens. The reality of what was in front of us was getting to me. A quick trip to the supermarket for chocolate made the evening pass better. As 2 Spuds often says you need an outlet. That particular evening for me it was chocolate. I finished around midnight but the content was in.

Over to Rosie

Thankfully with Rosie being at home recovering from surgery she could help with the graphics, slide alignment and slide transitions. Rosie spent most of Thursday doing this. Her university background is in computer graphics and the like. She did a really good job with the presentation.

Notes, notes, notes

Our slides had the important facts and figures on them. It was over to me to put my notes together on what I was going to say. This took up most of the Friday. We had also sent the presentation to the event organiser to make sure we were in line with what they were thinking. We had an anxious wait before the organiser got back to us. Luckily all was good and we carried on with our preparations.

Next we ran through it

The next step was to run through what we had with power-point and notes. The first couple of times we did this it was a bit ropy but with practice it improved (thankfully). This took up the majority of Saturday evening.

The funny thing

Here is the funny thing about this presentation and public speaking. I can stand in front of a class of people and take them through a circuit, a indoor cycling or weights class. When it comes to a different event I was terrified. I had a similar feeling before I did my parents 40th wedding anniversary speech. Why is it I can stand in front of a class but then doing a presentation (which is still standing in front of people) can be a terrifying experience?!

Then it was Sunday

Sunday came around fast and we were suddenly in the car going to the event. The first thing we did when we arrived was check out the stage and see where I would be. I tried to be calm through the morning and waited patiently for my slot in the afternoon. Rosie and I had a look at the event, bought some brownies made with sweet potato, had a go at some glute exercises and tried everything to keep my mind off of the presentation. Then it was my turn.

The presentation

We had a few people turn up for the presentation. Not a whole lot which was a shame but a few. I was very nervous. All the other speakers we had watched during the day had completed their presentations without notes. I wasn’t letting go of mine for love nor money. The problem was I had a hand held mic, a slide clicker, my notes, 2 hands and no lectern to balance on. It was multi-tasking at another level. The presentation lasted for around 45 minutes which was excellent.

I was starving!

I hadn’t been able to eat very much from the Wednesday as I was worried about the preparation and outcome of the day. As soon as I was finished I was starving. We had taken snacks with us which was good news and we went for dinner shortly after that. It’s funny how the body show stress. As my presentation said what I had done over the last few days was a short-term stress.

Afterwards

Rosie and I both thought we had done very well with the time we had, the presentation and the actual public speaking. We now of course have a presentation in the 2 Spud filing cabinet which can be tweaked and ready to go whenever it is needed. We also found out post event that it was not very well publicised which would explain why the numbers were low. It has also spurred us on to set up the 2 Spud wellness days for everyone. So in some ways we had both good and bad points from the day and that is good.

-Helen

Tuesday

Tuesday is not even hump day. We are still at the start of the week in my opinion but there you have it. And why am I talking about Tuesday, well, this is the day I find myself writing this blog in the day surgery unit of the local hospital. Rosie has already been taken in for her checks and is sporting a very fancy hospital gown. I, however, need to remain in the waiting room and away from the ward.

It puzzles me

Now this puzzles me. I fully understand I am not allowed into the theatre and anyways I have a horrendous coldy thing right now so would not be permitted entry. I mean parents are allowed to be with their sick children, partners are allowed in for C-sections and so on but just because you are an adult to need to do some things on your own. What I don’t get is why I can’t be sitting by Rosie’s bed side making her laugh and making sure she is all right. I know they have nurses to check on these things, but nothing beats a friend, family member or your other half. That main person who has been with them through all of the appointments to date, has made sure everything in the house in left hand friendly and just generally wants to look after their welfare. I mean would it not be a nicer option to have a loved one waiting for you upon your return from surgery rather than a nurse. Now, I have nothing against nurses and they are very good at their jobs but it just isn’t the same as a loved one. So there you go that is what is what is puzzling me as I sit on the other side of the wall, waiting.

Waiting

I mean I have been using my time wisely. Have marked several papers for the fitness industry, read one of those quick read books, eaten a snack and paced around a bit. But it is amazing how time goes slowly when you are waiting.

Sometimes you are waiting for happy things to happen. Like when you have booked a holiday in the June and have to wait the following February before you go on it. Sometimes you are waiting for a medical result. And sometimes you are waiting for your dinner to cook and are starving. The egg incident (one of those days).

So, there you go, waiting. We have all experienced it as some point or other. We all have our views on it I bet as well. Some of us even wait better than others.

My best advice is to be prepared for waiting. As I say in the hospital waiting room I came prepared for the long haul. However, some alternatives may be to go for a long walk. Go to the gym for a workout or take in a Zumba class. Do a hard crossword, bake, take a bath and the list goes on. Take your mind off the waiting game and try to concentrate on the here and now. I am aware it is a very easy thing to say and a hard thing to do but at the end of the day try it. You may find your mind gets taken off the waiting at least for a little while.

Quick Rosie update

Rosie was very calm in the lead up to her carpal tunnel surgery which has been good. She hasn’t been sleeping well and has been dreaming lots which is the downside. We are aware when she dreams a lot this is her mind trying to process the information that is currently in it. I am very proud of her for Tuesday and all has gone well. She is on the road to recovery and apparently going to milk it for all it is worth.

-Helen

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